Abstract Objective: The usefulness of adaptive centiles for weight gain as well as sudden weight gain spurts in identifying women who will develop preeclampsia was assessed. Methods: A study sample of 99 women who developed preeclampsia and a control sample of 675 women with normal pregnancies, were randomly selected. Weight gain spurts were identified by the upper bound of adaptive maternal weight centiles. Average changes in weight between successive clinic visits were also assessed. Results: Weight gain exceeding the 90 th percentile of the adaptive centiles resulted in estimated sensitivity and specificity of 52% and 66% and weight gain >0.9 kg per week between visits in 76% and 29% respectively. Of women who would develop preeclampsia identified by the adaptive chart, 62.0% exhibited abnormal weight gain prior to the onset of abnormal clinical findings. Conclusions: A sudden weight gain spurt is a far from reliable sign of impending preeclampsia. This reason for weighing women at antenatal visits appears to be unfounded.