Weighing in on Pregnancy Weight Gain
The adage that pregnant women are eating for two is a myth. In fact, it can cause you to gain too much weight, which isn’t good for you or your baby. Conversely, not gaining enough weight can put you at risk as well. If you are uncertain, talk to your doctor. For general information and guidelines on pregnancy weight gain, the CDC provides some basics. A CDC study found that only about one-third of women gained the recommended amount of weight during pregnancy, while 48% gained too much and 21% gained too little.
The CDC recommends that you start with calculating your Body Mass Index (BMI). You can find a calculator at cdc.gov.
Once you know your BMI, the CDC recommends the following for women who are pregnant with one baby: If you are underweight, plan to gain 28-40 lbs.; if you are normal weight, 25-35 lbs.; if you are overweight, 15-25 lbs.; if you are obese (BMI greater than or equal to 30.0), plan to gain 11-20 lbs.
Tips to Meet Your Pregnancy Weight Gain Guidelines
- Know your caloric needs. In general, the first trimester (or first three months) does not require any extra calories. Typically, women need about 340 additional calories per day during the second trimester (second three months) and about 450 additional calories per day during the third trimester (last three months).
- Work with your health care provider on your weight gain goals at the beginning of and regularly throughout your pregnancy.
- Track your weight gain at the beginning and regularly throughout pregnancy and compare your progress to recommended ranges of healthy weight gain.
- Eat a balanced diet high in whole grains, vegetables, fruits, low-fat dairy and lean protein. Most foods are safe to eat during pregnancy, but you will need to use caution with or avoid certain foods. Talk with your health care provider for more information about food safety in pregnancy.
- Limit added sugars and solid fats found in foods like soft drinks, desserts, fried foods, whole milk and fatty meats.
- Work up to or maintain at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity (such as brisk walking) per week. 150 minutes may sound overwhelming, but you can achieve your goal by breaking up your physical activity into 10 minutes at a time. Physical activity is healthy and safe for most pregnant women. Talk to your health care provider to determine if you have any physical activity restrictions.
For more information, visit cdc.gov