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Do women gain fat in their arms when they're pregnant?

April 8, 2024
April 8, 2024

Here's why women gain fat in their arms when they're pregnant, why some look pregnant even after giving birth, and how to lose arm fat after pregnancy.

Do women gain fat in their arms when they're pregnant?

Table of Contents

Weight gain during pregnancy is absolutely normal and, in fact, to be expected. Pregnancy weight gain is caused by a mother's overall weight gain and what the baby does. 

Maternal weight gain during a normal pregnancy typically results from the extra weight of the breasts, expanding uterus, amniotic fluid and placenta, water retention, and the baby's weight.

How much weight gain is too much during pregnancy?

According to ​​​​KK Women's and Children's Hospital (KKH), how much weight gain is considered healthy during pregnancy depends on your pre-pregnancy BMI. In general, the total weight for your entire pregnancy journey should be:

  • 12.5kg - 18kg for underweight mothers (BMI < 18.5)
  • 11.5kg - 16kg for mothers with average weight (BMI 18.5 - 24.9)
  • 7kg - 1.5kg for overweight mothers (BMI 25 - 29.9)
  • 5kg - 9kg for obese mothers (BMI ≥ 30)

A study led by researchers from KK Women's and Children's Hospital (KKH) has found evidence that pregnant women who consume more of their daily food intake after 7pm and who consume lower-quality diets during pregnancy are more than three times more likely to experience postpartum weight retention of five kilogrammes or more, 18 months after giving birth [2].

It is important to note that you cannot gain weight directly on certain body parts. Weight gain is evenly distributed across the body.

Do women gain fat in their arms when they're pregnant?

If your arms are bigger during pregnancy, that is not weight gain but it's fat gain. Reason why women gain fat in their arms when they're pregnant

You may inherit genes that contribute to the body's abnormal distribution and storage of fat.

Research on the relationship between changes in maternal subcutaneous fat and infant birth found that "a loss of upper arm fat area, measured from 28-week gestation to 4 to 6 weeks postpartum, was associated with greater birth weight. However, when pregravid weight was low, a loss of upper arm fat area was associated with a birth weight lower by more than 300g than that for women with higher pregravid weights who also lost fat, indicating that maternal stores among those with low weight may have been relatively depleted." [2]

The study concluded that mothers who gained upper arm fat late in pregnancy or continued to gain fat in the postpartum period had the largest gestational weight gains, bore smaller babies, and retained the most pregnancy weight.

Why do some women look pregnant even after giving birth?

Often, excess calories and fat will reflect on your body such as belly, waist (love handles), arms, buttocks and thighs.

Postpartum, women turn to exercise and diet to help shed the extra fat gained during pregnancy. However, exercise and diet often cannot deliver the results you're after as these approaches cannot reduce localised body fat deposits. 

Read related blog posts on pregnancy and its physical challenges:

How can I lose arm fat after pregnancy?

Vaser Liposuction, a fat removal and body contouring treatment, is an effective and permanent solution to get rid of excess and stubborn postpartum arm fat. Unlike traditional liposuction methods, Vaser Lipo removes excess fat while sculpting the body and tightening loose skin. 

What sets Vaser Liposuction apart from traditional lipo lies in its patented ultrasound wave energy, which provides a safer and more efficient tool for liposuction doctors like Dr Ivan Puah, to target and emulsify only the desired fat tissues. This translates to less trauma to other important connective tissues for patients. The liquefied fat is then gently removed through a specialised cannula, leaving behind smoother and more contoured arms. 

Advantages of Vaser Lipo for arm reduction postpartum

There are many advantages of Vaser Liposuction over the traditional liposuction method:

  • A one-time procedure that targets only fat tissues
  • Bulk volume removal and body sculpting all in one
  • Smoother body contouring results with the added benefits of skin tightening
  • Lesser downtime, bruising and pain
  • Faster recovery with minimal disruption to your daily activities

With over 17 years of experience in the medical and aesthetic field, Dr Puah combines advanced medical technology with his meticulous surgical approach, artistic eye for detail and focuses on achieving natural-looking results that complement each patient’s unique anatomy. Whether targeting stubborn fat deposits or refining arm contours, Vaser liposuction is effective in providing natural and long-lasting results that enhances one’s confidence and well-being. 

Schedule a consultation today with Dr Puah to learn more about this transformative procedure.


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