Physical Activity and Weight Gain

physical activity and weightRegular, gentle exercise during pregnancy will help you feel good. It will give you energy, and help you gain the right amount of weight for your body.

Exercise and Weight Gain During Pregnancy

Talk to your doctor about exercising during your pregnancy.

Exercise helps you feel good by:

  • Reducing backaches, constipation and bloating
  • Lifting your spirits and reducing stress
  • Helping build muscle tone and strength
  • Promoting better sleep
  • Improving ability to cope while in labor
  • Making it easier to get back in shape after birth

Forms of exercise that are easy and fun:

Walking is a great way to exercise during pregnancy because it puts very little stress on your body and you can do it anywhere! Try walking briskly for 20-30 minutes every day or at least 3 times a week.

Swimming is also great exercise during pregnancy because the water supports your body weight and you build many different muscles. It may be more comfortable for your back than other forms of exercise.

Exercise classes like prenatal water aerobics or prenatal yoga can also help you feel good as your body grows and changes during pregnancy. Getting together to exercise with other pregnant women can also be fun. Your local YMCA can be a good place to find exercise classes for pregnant women.

Financial Assistance

 Some YMCA’s offer financial assistance for exercise classes. To find out if you have a YMCA in your area go to
If you live in the greater Seattle area visit: Seattle YMCA.

Weight Gain

Gaining a healthy weight can help prevent problems for you and your baby (such as Diabetes, high blood pressure, infant growth, preterm birth, and other problems). Most if not all your weight should be gained in the 2nd and 3rd trimesters and steady weight gain during this time is the best strategy.

The weight you gain is not all the baby’s weight. Other parts of your body also get bigger and heavier. Your uterus needs to grow to hold your baby and water will fill the sack that your baby lives in. Your breasts will also get larger to get ready for breastfeeding. If you have questions, talk to your nurse, doctor or midwife. Click here to see an information sheet on healthy weight gain during pregnancy.  

How much weight gain is right for you?

This depends on how much you weighed before you became pregnant, how tall you are, and if you are having more than one baby. Medical providers will use your pre-pregnancy weight and height to calculate a Body Mass Index. To easily calculate your BMI visit:

Pregnancy Weight Gain Guidelines

Pre-pregnancy Weight Recommended Weight Gain Recommended Weight Gain with Twins
(IMC BMI less than 18.5)
28-40 pounds No Guidelines
Normal Weight
(IMC BMI 18.5-24.9)
25-35 pounds 37-54 pounds
(IMC BMI 25-29.9)
15-25 pounds 31-50 pounds
(IMC BMI 30 or greater)
11-20 pounds 25-42 pounds

Click here to learn about weight gain by trimester.