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How Much Weight You Should Be Gaining During Pregnancy?

Updated: Oct 18, 2023

I have been training many people since 2010. I have the experience to deliver real weight loss results and help people transform their bodies. With this in mind, I also have the experience of hearing a lot of myths and lies about healthy eating and exercise. One of those lies is that pregnant women should not be active, or do mild exercise.

Many times pregnant women are afraid of lifting weights during pregnancy...

So I decided to interview one of our members who is pregnant close to delivery to clarify some of the pregnancy myths.

Enjoy the interview.

Sandro, “Welcome everybody to another interview here at CBF. Today we have my friend Justice. She was with us a couple of years before and then she stopped and she came back, but this is a special interview which I'm going to tell you why in a minute. She started with us, like I said, a couple years ago, then she got pregnant. While she was pregnant, she stopped exercising. She came back to us and continued exercising. She's in her second pregnancy. She is, I believe, 8 months pregnant and she is exercising during this pregnancy. We have a couple questions for her about myths and doubts, so you can either exercise or stop exercising. Justice welcome!”

Justice, “Thank you.”

Sandro, “Justice, this is very exciting. You probably know my wife is pregnant, but I want to hear your story since you started exercising. What was the reason you started exercising?”

I felt like my body was getting out of control…

Justice, “The very beginning I started exercising because I felt like I was getting out of control of my body. That was not what I wanted it to be and I wanted to be in control of myself.

Sandro, “And you thought that by exercising it’s a direct way to control your body?”

Justice, “Yeah.”

Sandro, “Okay, then you got pregnant with a baby that you have planned. Tell me about that. Why did you stop exercising?”

Pregnant woman giving weight loss tips

Justice, “So I was exercising until probably about month two because you don’t find out early that you are pregnant. So I found out and kept working out for a month, but I was so tired with that pregnancy as many people do get in the first trimester; that I stopped for a little bit and then the whole pandemic happened and everything shut down. When it was time to open everything back up, I was in my third trimester. I didn’t really feel like exercising again in the third trimester. You get so tired and so fatigued that it is hard to motivate yourself.”

Sandro, “Tell me if I am making wrong conclusions. The reason why you stop exercising is because you felt tired in the first trimester because it was your first pregnancy and you did not know what to expect. Then you tried to come back, but the whole pandemic happened and you decided not to for whatever reason. Then in your last trimester you also got tired. Since you did not exercise the whole pregnancy, you said, ‘I am only going to have the baby’.”

It definitely gets harder the longer you wait…

Justice, “Yeah, it definitely gets harder the longer you wait. The longer you don't exercise, the harder it gets to go back into it.

Sandro, “Okay, now in your second pregnancy, why did you decide to exercise the whole pregnancy?”

Justice, “Because I felt like I had a better understanding of pregnancy. I thought I did before during my first one, but now since I've been through it, I really have a personal know how. And my last pregnancy, I think, I gained about 50 lbs and came back after that pregnancy and was getting to about my pre-pregnancy weight. But I hadn't quite gotten there yet. I knew I didn't want to gain another 50 pounds in this pregnancy. And so I wanted to be more active and be more health-conscious about this pregnancy.”

Sandro, “How much weight have you gained in this pregnancy?”

Justice, “So far about 17 pounds.”

Sandro, “So, 50 to 17 is a bit different. Tell me about that. I have no experience in this. Tell me about the weight gain the way you explained it to me- like you gained a couple pounds in different areas and you also gained fat.”

Justice, “So for my BMI, according to doctors, you should gain about 20 to 30 lbs in your pregnancy and that includes the baby, the placenta, the uterine growth, fluids, water retention, your breast growth and your fat storage.”

Pregnant woman exercising

Sandro, “You also mentioned that your blood flow is more.”

Justice, “Yes, your blood increases more.”

Sandro, “So not everything that you are gaining is fat, right?”

Justice, “Right.”

Sandro, “But you have to gain some fat?”

How much weight you should be gaining during pregnancy?

Justice, “Yeah, it stores in you, so that you can feed your baby and then when the baby comes out it transfers in what you are going to feed the baby.”

Sandro, “There you go. You heard that. It is okay to gain some fat during pregnancy. So now tell me about the difference between this pregnancy and your past pregnancy. How would you compare them now to when you were not exercising? Did you feel any difference? Is exercise helping you? Do you have more energy? Does it make any difference?”

Justice, “I feel like my last pregnancy was super easy just because I did whatever I wanted until the last trimester.”

Sandro, “What do you mean with whatever you wanted?”

Justice, “Kind of ate whatever I wanted and then I didn't exercise a lot, and I kind of just let my body do what it was going to do because I was like, ‘it's okay I'm pregnant.’ Like they say, you're eating for two, so you should eat a lot more. But in reality the recommendation from doctors is that you supposed to eat 500 calories more a day which is like a sandwich.”

You supposed to eat 500 calories more a day which is like a sandwich…

Sandro, “If you think about it, it does make sense, right? Because for a full grown human being, you should eat between 1500 to 2500 calories. If you think about this little baby, he does not need the same amount of food as you need, not only because is not as big as you, but also the baby is not as active as you are.”

Prego doing push ups

Justice, “I took the ‘eating for two’ at hard because I haven't researched that much and I did [eat a lot] during my first trimester. But it got better. I still kind of just relaxed about it. Then, during this pregnancy, I'm not restricting my eating, but I'm definitely eating healthier and not overeating. I'm exercising which I do feel like it gives me more energy. I usually start off in the mornings working out. So if I do that, I feel a lot more motivated throughout the day to do other things.”

Sandro, “Okay, also it does give you more energy. Do you think exercise affects the baby somehow? Some people believe that by exercising you may deliver earlier and could be harmful for the baby. What would you say about that?”

Justice, “My husband is a big reader and he did a bunch of research about working out in pregnancy and just pregnancy in general when we had our first. There are studies that show that if you workout while you are pregnant, the baby actually gets more blood circulated to him and ends up being a healthier, sometimes bigger baby.

As for coming early, I think that is true for some people, but I don't have any worries about it because I am very calm and have a healthy pregnancy. I would say that if you have a typical pregnancy where you are at risk for a lot of things probably not the best. There are some exercises that doctors don’t recommend. When I tell the doctors that I am exercising, for example, last week I was coming four days a week, and she wasn't worried about it at all. So I feel like I'm fine. I don't think I'm going to deliver early.”

If you workout while you are pregnant, the baby actually gets more blood circulated to him and ends up being a healthier, sometimes bigger baby…

Sandro, “What do you think is something that you can recommend to people when they're pregnant about exercising and eating?”

Justice, “I would say, don't restrict your eating obviously because you are pregnant. You should be given nutrients to your body and your baby, but it should be good. You shouldn’t be eating unhealthy, especially if you are eating more. You should be getting good vitamins. And as for exercising, I think you should just listen to your body. The same thing that the doctors tell you every time. If you feel uncomfortable doing something, don’t do it. But if you feel comfortable, there is no reason why not to.

Pregnant lady exercising

Sandro, “Before I used to see, I mean in my family and people around me, I used to see that women suffer a lot of lower back pain when they are pregnant. I don't see that on you and on my wife. What do you think is that? You think it's because of the strength that you have, because of the exercise you do?”

In my first pregnancy I did not have any. This pregnancy since it's my second, I didn’t have a little bit because your body already knows what to do and it releases those hormones faster just because your body knows what pregnancy is like. So for a little bit I did get a little bit of hip pain, but I think that exercising has helped because it does strengthen your muscles. It keeps everything together.”

Sandro, “Any particular pain, any particular discomfort from exercising?”

Justice, “No from exercising.”

Sandro, “Tell me your story. My wife goes to work and she lifts heavy boxes and she moves fast and she is active just like a normal person. It is like I see you here exercising. People really worry about my wife being active. How is it for you in your daily life since you don’t have any limitations?”

Justice, “I am staying at home with my toddler, so I'm running around all day with him. But I don't do a lot of heavy lifting. On Fridays, I do work at a preschool, so I'm running around with him times 15 more kids. Sometimes, I go outside and I'll shovel snow. Everyone around me will say, ‘Be careful. Don’t wreck yourself too hard.’I am pretty active outside too. Mostly because I have a toddler and that keeps me running around.”

Sandro, “So, Don't limit yourself. Listen to the discomfort of your body. Let's clarify discomfort because exercising is discomforting. So what would you say is discomforting? What's the difference between shoveling the snow which is discomforting to something discomforting that you should not be doing?”

Justice, “A couple of weeks ago, I was doing Romanian Deadlifts. My belly would get very tight. It felt a little bit discomforting, so I told you. So we decrease the weight. It still works and I'm still sore after workouts but it's not hurting at the moment.”

Sandro, “What would you recommend to someone who is pregnant to stay in shape, healthy and a healthy body weight to do? And what mindset should they have to achieve that?”

Justice, “There's a lot of doctor recommendations. So you should be active for at least 30 minutes a day even if it's just going on a walk or on a bike. Actually no, you can't ride bikes when you're pregnant.

So you should be active for at least 30 minutes a day…

Sandro, “Maybe because you lose your balance or other things?”

Justice, “Your balance is off when you are pregnant. But being active for 30 minutes even if it is something small. They don’t really recommend starting a new exercise routine when you're pregnant, especially if it's very difficult. But you can always build up to it. If you were exercising before, there's no reason to stop. You might as well keep going. It always helps with the postpartum. It helps with recovery so much if you exercise.”

Pregnant woman being interviewed

Sandro, “Okay we're going to do another interview after the postpartum. What mindset should they have for success during pregnancy?”

Justice, ”I feel like even if it's hard and even if you don't want to do it, the commitment to it will pay off in the long run. It is worth it.”

Sandro, “So thinking about the results and thinking about the things that are going to be worth it even though you don't want to do it.”

Justice, “Yes and it's only an hour out of your day, especially if you are here.”

Sandro, “Perfect, Thank you Justice. I really appreciated it. You hear those tips everybody. I will see you in the next interview.”

What I got from this interview is that…

Women usually feel fatigue in the first trimester of being pregnant. You should not stop exercising because exercise will give you the energy you don’t have from being pregnant.

Don’t wait too long to go back to exercise if you stop because it gets harder if you do wait longer.

Learn from your mistakes and don’t make the same mistake. Justice gained 50 pounds in her first pregnancy. She did not want to make the same mistake and she is making healthier decisions during her second pregnancy. She only has gained 17 pounds and she is almost ready to deliver.

You actually need to gain weight in two different ways, by liquids and the baby, and by increasing your fat which you are going to need to feed the baby.

Even when you are pregnant, don’t overeat, but eat healthy nutritionist food. Your food should increase only 500 calories more not 2000.

Exercising aids with the health of the baby, delivery and postpartum. So if you want a healthy pregnancy process, exercise.

Please comment with your thoughts and what you learned from this interview.



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