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Pregnancy

How Much Weight Should I Gain During Pregnancy?

Susan Zogheib, MHS, RD, LDN
January 3, 2019 . 2 min read

You’ve no doubt heard the old saying that “Pregnancy means eating for two,” but it’s a good idea to keep in mind that one of you is very small. While you’re pregnant, it is important to follow a nutritious meal plan. However, your overall diet should not be dramatically different from your normal eating pattern — we should always be eating healthy!

Your calorie needs increase modestly during pregnancy. In general, you should gain very little weight in the first trimester, only about 2-4 pounds during the first three months and one pound a week during the rest of your pregnancy. However, your ideal weight gain will vary depending on your BMI (body mass index). The BMI is a measure of body fat based on height and weight.

Here is how much weight you can safely gain during pregnancy: 

25-35 pounds if you were a healthy weight before pregnancy (BMI of 18.5 – 24.9)

28-40 pounds if you were underweight before pregnancy (BMI of less than 18.5)

15-25 pounds if you were overweight before pregnancy (BMI of 25-29.9)

11-20 pounds if you were obese before pregnancy (BMI of over 30)

Weight gain during pregnancy is important. Pregnant mothers should not diet or try to control their weight with extraordinary measures. Weight gained during pregnancy is distributed to the baby, placenta, amniotic fluid, uterus, maternal breast tissue, maternal blood, fluids in maternal tissue, and maternal fat and nutrient stores.

Following a nutritious meal plan during pregnancy is imperative. Be sure to include the five food groups for optimal nutrition for you and your baby:

Grains: Bread, pasta, oatmeal, and cereal are all grains.

Fruits: Fruits can be fresh, canned, frozen, or dried.  Juice that is 100% fruit juice also counts.

Vegetables: Vegetables can be raw or cooked, frozen, canned, dried or 100% vegetable juice.

Protein: Meat, poultry, seafood, beans and peas, eggs, soy products, nuts, and seeds are good sources of protein.

Dairy: Dairy products include milk, cheese, yogurt, pudding, and ice cream.

Reviewed by Dr. Jen Lincoln, November 2018

Sources:

  • Center for Disease Control and Prevention
  • PNSS Health Indicators.
    National Institutes of Health
  • Calculate Your Body Mass Index.
    Institute of Medicine of the National Academies
  • Weight Gain During Pregnancy: Reexamining the Guidelines.

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