Chapter 8: Prenatal checkups
Weigh the mother
Healthy signs Mother slowly and
steadily gains between 9 and 18
kilograms (20 to 40 pounds) during
pregnancy. This is the same as 1 to 2
kilograms (2 to 4 pounds) each month.
Rania is so much
bigger than I am.
Am I gaining
You are both
amounts of weight,
a little each month.
Wa r nin g s ig n s
• Mother is very thin or gains fewer than
9 kilograms (20 pounds) during pregnancy.
• Mother gains more than 19 kilograms
(42 pounds) during pregnancy.
• Mother gains weight suddenly —
more than 2 kilograms (4 pounds) in 1 week
or 4 kilograms (8 pounds) in 1 month,
especially in the last 2 months of pregnancy.
Most of the weight a woman gains during pregnancy is from her baby, the
placenta, and the bag of waters. The mother also puts on some fat. This is healthy.
If you have a scale, weigh the mother at each visit. If possible, always use the
What to do if you find warning signs
Mother is very thin or does not gain enough weight
Some women are small or thin and may stay small or thin during pregnancy. That
is normal. But all pregnant women should steadily gain weight. If the mother does
not gain enough weight, try to find out why. Ask the mother about:
• her eating (see page 33).
• hookworm and other parasites (see page 37).
• drug use (see page 46).
• nausea and vomiting (see page 73).
• HIV and AIDS (see page 99).
• money problems (cannot afford food — see page 104).
Mother is very fat or gains a lot of weight
Women of all sizes can be healthy and have safe births. But gaining a lot of weight
can be a warning sign of diabetes. If a woman is very fat, or gains a lot of weight
in pregnancy, look for other signs of diabetes (see page 115).
A Book for Midwives (2010)