Weight Gain and Exercise Recommendations during Pregnancy

Amount of weight gain recommended during pregnancy depends on your starting BMI (body mass index). Your BMI is a calculation based on your height and weight. Click here to calculate your BMI.

  • BMI less than 19, you are underweight
  • BMI from 19 to 24.9, you are normal weight
  • BMI from 25 to 29.9, you are overweight
  • BMI 30 or more, you are obese

Recommendations for weight gain during an uncomplicated single baby pregnancy are as follows. This information is based on your BMI at the beginning of pregnancy.

  • If your BMI is less than 19, you should gain 28 to 40 lbs
  • If your BMI is from 19 to 24.9, you should gain 25 to 35 lbs
  • If your BMI is from 25 to 29.9, you should gain 15 to 25 lbs
  • If your BMI is 30 or more, you should gain 11 to 20 lbs

Starting pregnancy over or under weight and too much or too little weight gain during pregnancy have both been associated with high or low baby birth weights. Over or underweight babies can have more health issues and complications during pregnancy, delivery, and after. Women who gain weight within the recommended guidelines are less likely to deliver infants who are too small or too big.


Women in good health with an uncomplicated pregnancy should engage in regular, moderate intensity exercise for 30 minutes, most days of the week. Women who have been exercising regularly prior to pregnancy may generally continue their regimen. Women who have not been regular exercisers should undergo a gradual progression of increasing exercise up to the 30 minutes per day. Light to moderate weight lifting and flexibility exercises are ok. Pregnancy is not a time in which women should try to markedly improve their physical fitness.

Regular exercise may decrease the risk of gestational diabetes and preeclampsia. It may also improve your blood sugars if you already have gestational diabetes.

Most women will have to decrease their exercise intensity and/or duration as the pregnancy progresses. Women should pay attention to ensure they are not over heating and are staying hydrated while exercising. Exercise which has a higher risk of falling or of abdominal trauma should be avoided (examples: downhill skiing, biking, etc). There is no evidence that exercise causes preterm labor or delivery, but it can be associated with uterine contractions.