Healthy Weight Gain During Pregnancy
How much weight should I gain during pregnancy?
Gaining weight during pregnancy is important and vital to your baby's development, but how much is "the right amount?"
Many women think that eating for two means eating twice as much as usual; however, most women only need to eat an additional 150-200 calories per day (a 6oz low-fat yogurt) during their first trimester and an extra 300 calories per day (a half a sandwich and a glass of skim milk) during the remainder of their pregnancy. Surprised?
Your actual weight gain depends on a number of factors, including your pre-pregnancy weight and BMI, your health and your baby's health. Work with your health care provider to find a healthy weight gain for you. Many women gain just a few pounds during the first three months, then a pound a week until delivery.
See also: Pregnancy weight gain: What's healthy? by Mayo Clinic.
Calculate your pre-pregnancy BMI.
Where does the weight go?
Let's say your baby weighs in at 7 or 8 pounds. That accounts for some of your pregnancy weight gain, but where does the rest go? Here's a sample breakdown:
How many extra calories do I need?
In general, pregnant women need between 2,200 and 2,900 calories per day. A gradual increase in calories as your baby grows is the best bet.
- The first trimester requires an added 150 calories per day
- The second and third trimesters require an added 300 calories per day
It woud be easy to add calories to your diet with junk food, but this won't give your baby the nutrients he or she needs. It's important to avoid overeating and make nutrient-rich choices. Consider these suggestions:
- Trade white bread and pasta for whole-grain varieties
- Choose a salad with low-fat dressing or black beans instead of a burger and fries
- Eat sliced fruit instead of a cookie
Should I exercise during pregnancy?
Being active throughout your pregnancy can help feel better and manage weight gain. The activity guidelines for most pregnant women are 30 minutes of moderate exercise daily.
Be sure to speak with your doctor before starting a new exercise routine while pregnant.
The safest and most productive activities are swimming, brisk walking, indoor stationary cycling, step or elliptical machines, yoga and low-impact aerobics (taught by certified instructors). These activities carry little risk of injury, benefit your entire body, and can be continued until birth.