December 13, 2017
Healthy breakfast
Ask the Experts

Weight Gain in Pregnancy

by Leslie Goldman  

Q: How much weight gain is normal during pregnancy?

A: That depends on how much you weighed when you first conceived. A healthy course of weight gain will typically involve little weight gain (and possibly even loss) during the first trimester, followed by approximately 1 to 2 pounds per week throughout the second and third trimesters, for a grand total of 25 to 35 pounds for women who were at a healthy pre-pregnancy weight. But a woman who was overweight or obese before pregnancy (BMI of 25 or higher) will likely be advised to aim for less. And a woman who was underweight prior to conception may be advised to shoot for 28 to 40 pounds of weight gain.

As your baby develops and your body works to support that growth, you will gain much-needed weight in specific areas. While the exact distribution will vary by person, the average woman can expect roughly this allocation:

Baby: 7-8 pounds
Placenta: 1-2 pounds
Uterus: 2 pounds
Maternal blood volume: 4 pounds
Amniotic fluid: 2 pounds
Breast tissue: 2 pounds
Fluids in maternal tissue: 4 pounds
Maternal fat and nutrient stores: 7 pounds

Experts say a pregnant woman should take in an extra 300 calories per day while pregnant. That means that the old “Eat for two” mantra should be replaced by “Eat for 1.15.” Furthermore, those 300 calories should come from high-quality, nutrient-dense foods: Look for combinations of satisfying, muscle-fueling protein; complex carbohydrates for energy; and healthy fats for the baby’s brain development. Examples include an apple topped with two tablespoons of nut butter, half of an avocado and a string cheese, or a high-fiber tortilla sprinkled with cheese and black beans, toasted and rolled up.