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Post pregnancy weight gain is a common experience among women following childbirth. While the amount of weight gained can vary, it is estimated that women can gain anywhere from 10 to 35 pounds during pregnancy, with some women retaining a portion of that weight post-delivery.

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There are several factors that contribute to post pregnancy weight gain, including hormonal changes, physical inactivity, and changes in diet and eating habits. During pregnancy, hormonal changes such as an increase in cortisol levels can slow down metabolism and lead to weight gain. In addition, women who have recently given birth may experience fatigue and a lack of energy, leading to a decrease in physical activity. This, combined with changes in eating habits, such as increased snacking and portion sizes, can contribute to weight gain.

Lifestyle changes

To combat post pregnancy weight gain, it is important to adopt a healthy lifestyle that includes regular physical activity and a balanced diet. Physical activity, such as low-impact exercises such as walking, can help increase metabolism and support weight loss. It is also important to eat a diet that is rich in whole foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein, and low in processed foods and sugar.

Breast feeding

Breastfeeding can also play a role in weight loss post-delivery, as it can burn an average of 500 calories per day. However, it is important to note that the amount of weight lost through breastfeeding can vary, and it is not a guarantee for weight loss.

Get help

It is important for women to be mindful of their postpartum recovery and to consult with their healthcare provider before beginning any exercise or weight loss program. This is particularly important for women who have undergone a cesarean delivery or other types of delivery that may impact physical activity levels.


It is also important to understand that post pregnancy weight gain is a normal and natural process, and it may take time to lose the weight. It is recommended that women aim for a gradual weight loss of 1 to 2 pounds per week, as rapid weight loss can have negative impacts on milk supply and overall health.

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Frequently asked questions

  • How much weight do you gain after pregnancy? Most women should gain somewhere between 25 and 35 pounds (11.5 to 16 kilograms) during pregnancy.
  • What is the timeline for the pregnancy related weight gain? Most women will gain 2 to 4 pounds (1 to 2 kilograms) during the first trimester, and then 1 pound (.5 kilogram) a week for the rest of the pregnancy. The amount of weight gain depends on your situation.
  • If I am starting overweight, should I gain less weight during pregnancy? Yes. Overweight women need to gain less. For example, they can gain 15 to 20 pounds or 7 to 9 kilograms or less, depending on their pre-pregnancy weight.
  • How much weight should an underweight women gain during pregnancy? If you are starting underweight before pregnancy, you will need to gain more during pregnancy like 28 to 40 pounds or 13 to 18 kilograms.
  • Should a women having twins gain more weight? Yes. You should gain more weight if you are having more than 1 baby. Women having twins need to gain 37 to 54 pounds (16.5 to 24.5 kilograms).
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  • What is the right amount of calories to eat during pregnancy? For most pregnant women, the right amount of calories is:
  • 1,800 calories per day in the 1st trimester
  • 2,200 calories per day in the 2nd trimester
  • 2,400 calories per day in the 3rd trimester
  • What's Causing the Weight Gain? Much of the weight that you gain during pregnancy is not fat, but is related to the baby. Here is a breakdown of how 35 pounds (16 kilograms) adds up:
  • Baby: 8 pounds (3.5 kilograms)
  • Placenta: 2 to 3 pounds (1 to 1.5 kilograms)
  • Amniotic fluid: 2 to 3 pounds (1 to 1.5 kilograms)
  • Breast tissue: 2 to 3 pounds (1 to 1.5 kilograms)
  • Blood supply: 4 pounds (2 kilograms)
  • Fat stores: 5 to 9 pounds (2.5 to 4 kilograms)
  • Uterus growth: 2 to 5 pounds (1 to 2.5 kilograms)
  • How to manage weight during pregnancy? Eating a healthful diet is important especially for pregnant women. Here are some healthy eating tips to help you get started.
  • What to eat during pregnancy? Fresh fruits and vegetables make good snacks. They are full of vitamins and low in calories and fat.
  • Eat breads, crackers, and cereals made with whole grains in moderation, especially if you are starting overweight.
  • Consume plenty of protein and drink a lot of water.
  • What are the foods to avoid during pregnancy? Naturally sweetened is better than foods and drinks with added sugar or artificial sweeteners.
  • Food and drinks that list sugar or corn syrup as one of the first ingredients are not good choices.
  • Many sweetened drinks are high in calories. Read the label and watch out for drinks that are high in sugar. Substitute water for sodas and fruit drinks.
  • Avoid junk-food snacks, such as chips, candy, cake, cookies, and ice cream. The best way to keep from eating junk food or other unhealthy snacks is to not have these foods in your house.
  • Go light on fats. Fats include cooking oils, margarine, butter, gravy, sauces, mayonnaise, regular salad dressings, lard, sour cream, and cream cheese. Try the lower-fat versions of these foods.
  • What foods to eat while eating out during pregnancy? Knowing the amount of calories, fat, and salt in your food can help you eat healthier.
  • Most restaurants have menus and nutrition facts on their websites. Use these to plan ahead.
  • In general, eat at places that offer salads, soups, and vegetables.
  • Avoid fast food.
  • What foods to prepare while cooking at home during pregnancy? Prepare meals using low-fat cooking methods.
  • Frying foods in oil or butter will increase the calories and fat of the meal.
  • Baking, broiling, grilling, or boiling are healthier, lower-fat methods of cooking.
  • What are the exercises to do during pregnancy? Moderate exercise, as recommended by your provider, can help burn extra calories.
  • Walking or swimming are generally safe, effective exercises for pregnant women.
  • Be sure to talk to your provider before starting an exercise program.
  • How to deal with body image issues during pregnancy? If you have struggled with your weight in the past, it may be hard to accept that it is ok to gain weight now. It is normal to feel anxious as the numbers on the scale edge up. Keep in mind that you need to gain weight for a healthy pregnancy. The extra pounds will come off after you have had your baby. However, if you gain a lot more weight than is recommended, your baby will also be bigger. That can sometimes lead to problems with delivery. A healthy diet and regular exercise are your best ways to ensure a healthy pregnancy and baby.

How can W8MD help?

  • How can W8MD help with post pregnancy weight gain? Pronounced WeightMD, our state of the art W8MD physician medical weight loss, sleep, holistic and aesthetic medicine programs can help you not only to lose weight, and sleep better but also look your best!
  • Since its inception in 2011, W8MD’s insurance physician weight loss program has successfully helped thousands of patients.
  • Weight Loss Program is unique in many ways with a comprehensive multidisciplinary approach to weight loss. The center’s team of practitioners are among the most qualified, dedicated and hospitable professionals in the industry.


American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. (2015). Exercise during pregnancy and the postpartum period. Obstetrics & Gynecology, 126(5), 1117-1129. doi: 10.1097/AOG.0000000000001310 McNeilly, A. S., Glasgow, R. E., & Deeks, A. A. (2010). Adrenal, neuroendocrine and metabolic responses to lactation. Journal of Neuroendocrinology, 22(6), 526-535. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2826.2010.01994.x Hinkle, S. N., Wisner, K. L., Gelber, S., & Rempel, M. (2002). Postpartum weight loss patterns. Obstetrics & Gynecology, 100(1), 29-34. doi: 10.1016/S0029-7844(02)01810-2

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