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It is just an amazing feeling when you find out that you’re pregnant. However, more sooner than later, you start thinking about the numerous questions not only about the baby but also about the pregnancy.
One of the things that tend to worry more women regards the weight gain. As you know, eating a healthy and balanced diet, is crucial to ensure that your baby gets all the nutrients he or she needs so that he or she can grow at a healthy rate. However, how many calories are we talking about? How many calories does your baby really need?
Eating For Two
One common expression that is always associated with pregnant women is they need to “eat for two”. However, and unlikely to what you may think, this isn’t actually true. As a rule of thumb, the average pregnant woman only needs around 300 calories more a day during pregnancy. Hopefully, this will help you maintain the right weight gain during pregnancy.
How Much Weight Should You Gain?
A very important aspect to take into consideration is that you should always ask the opinion of your health care provider about your weight gain in pregnancy. While it is ok to guide yourself by what it is normal, the reality is that each woman has her own specificities, her own genes, her own conditions. And since your health care provider knows your medical history better than anyone, he can advise you about the right weight gain in pregnancy. Nevertheless, we believe that it is still important that you have into consideration some numbers that are true for the average woman.
As a rule of thumb:
- a woman who was average weight before getting pregnant should gain between 25 to 35 pounds during pregnancy.
- a woman who was underweight before getting pregnant should gain between 28 to 40 pounds.
- a woman who was overweight before getting pregnant should gain between 15 to 25 pounds during pregnancy.
Pregnancy Gain Weight By Week
When you are worried about weight gain in pregnancy, it is important that you keep in mind that the weight gain during pregnancy isn’t the same during the entire pregnancy. So, to give you a better idea about the pregnancy gain weight by week, here’s what you should know:
- During the first 3 months, you should gain around 2 to 4 pounds
- During the rest of the pregnancy period, you should gain 1 pound each week.
Notice that if you are expecting twins, your pregnancy gain weight by week will be different as you can imagine. So, in this case:
- During your entire pregnancy, you should gain between 35 to 45 pounds.
- During the first 3 months, you should gain around 2 to 4 pounds
- During the rest of the pregnancy period, you should gain 1 1/2 pounds each week.
In case you are expecting twins, the weight gain in pregnancy becomes more important. The reality is that in most cases, twins tend to born before the due date. So, you want to ensure that even if this happens, your babies will have a good birth weight.
Where Does The Extra Weight Go During Pregnancy?
Most people tend to assume that all the extra calories pregnant women ingest fo directly for their babies. However, this is not entirely true. In case you are wondering where your extra weight goes to when you are pregnant:
- 8 pounds go to the baby
- 2 to 3 pounds go to the placenta
- 2 to 3 pounds go to the amniotic fluid
- 2 to 3 pounds go to the breast tissue
- 4 pounds go to the blood supply
- 5 to 9 pounds go to stored fat for delivery and breastfeeding
- 2 to 5 pounds go to the larger uterus
Is It Safe To Lose Weight When Pregnant?
The truth is that not all women are the same. While there are women who have a good an healthy weight before pregnancy, there are others who are either underweight or overweight.
In case you were overweight before pregnancy, it is important to keep in mind that you shouldn’t consider losing weight or dieting during pregnancy. However, whenever in doubt, it is always important to check it with your health care provider.
How To Gain The Right Amount Of Weight During Pregnancy
A healthy diet is crucial to everyone, and not only during pregnancy. Nevertheless, when you are pregnant, you want to ensure that you have a healthy diet that is good for you as well as for your baby. So, with this in mind, and to ensure that you gain the right amount of weight, you should consider to:
- Add nonfat powdered milk to mashed potatoes, scrambled eggs, and hot cereal.
- Add extras to your meal, such as butter or margarine, cream cheese, gravy, sour cream, and cheese.
- Eat five to six small meals every day.
- Spread peanut butter on toast, crackers, apples, bananas, or celery. One tablespoon of creamy peanut butter gives you about 100 calories and 7 grams of protein.
- Keep quick, easy snacks on hand such as nuts, raisins, cheese and crackers, dried fruit, and ice cream or yogurt.
Using Our Pregnancy Gain Weight Calculator
When you are trying to know what your weight gain during pregnancy should be, the best way is to use a calculator such as our pregnancy gain weight calculator that is located at the top of this page.
With our pregnancy gain weight calculator, you will be able to know exactly the weight gain and body weight that you should get for each pregnancy week, according to your height and body weight before pregnancy.
While this may seem a bit complicated, it really isn’t. Just let us explain to you how you can use our pregnancy gain weight calculator.
The first thing that you need to do is to add your height to our calculator. Make sure that you choose the right measurement unit o the right side of the blank that you fill with your height. You can add it in inches, feet, centimeters or even meters.
Then, you will need to add your body weight before you got pregnant. As we already told you above, the weight that you gain during pregnancy may be different depending on whether you had an average weight, or in case you were underweight or overweight. So, with this in mind, it is important that you add your body weight before pregnancy. Again, you should pay attention to the measurement unit that you are using. With our pregnancy gain weight calculator, you can add your weight pre-pregnancy in pounds or in kilograms. So, you just need to make sure that you have the right options selected.
The next field that you need to select is concerned with your pregnancy week. As you already know, the weight that you should gain during the first trimester and on the rest of the pregnancy vary. So, you should make sure that you select the right pregnancy week.
As soon as you have all the data in place, you will immediately get the results in terms of weight gain as well as in terms of body weight. This will assure you that you have both measurements.
One of the best things about our pregnancy gain weight calculator is that it won’t tell you a specific value for the weight gain or for the body weight. Instead, you will get an interval with the max and min weight gain and body weight as well as with an average value for both fields.
What if You Gain Too Much Weight During Pregnancy?
The truth is that bodies are different and they tend to react to pregnancy in different ways. After all, there is always the genetic factor that you should keep in mind. Nevertheless, if you just used our pregnancy gain weight calculator and you saw that you gained more weight than the one recommended, the first thing that you should do is to talk to your health care provider. Unless there is a major problem that comes from the extra weight, your health care doctor will tell you that it is preferable to wait to lose weight until after delivery. Besides, he may also make some suggestions that can help you lose a bit of that extra weight, even during pregnancy. Some of the things he or she may recommend include:
- Avoid whole milk products-. Notice that while you want to ensure that you get at least four servings of milk products every day, you should consider using skim, 1%, or 2% milk. Besides, you can also try to eat fat-free or low-fat cheese.
- In case you need to eat fast food on one occasion or the other, you should make sure that you pick wisely. So, you should prefer to eat lower-fat items and avoid foods such as breaded chicken patties, mozzarella sticks or French fries.
- Avoid adding salt to foods when you are cooking since this leads to water retention.
- Limit sugary or sweet drinks such as soft drinks, fruit punch, fruit drinks, iced tea, lemonade, or powdered drink mixes. Instead, you should prefer water, mineral water or club soda.
- Use fats such as butter, margarine, cooking oils, mayonnaise, sauces, gravy, sour cream, lard, regular salad dressings, and sauces in moderation. Instead, you should look for lower-fat alternatives.
- Limit high-calorie snacks and sweets. While you may be thinking about snacks and sweets the entire day, you should definitely consider limiting their ingestion. Things such as syrup, cakes, donuts, candies, cookies, potato chips, and honey have very little nutrition and a lot of calories. While you can eat these foods once in a while, it is important that you don’t eat them on a daily basis. Instead, you should opt for pretzels, angel food cake with strawberries, low-fat yogurt, fresh fruit, and other lower-calorie snacks and dessert choices.
- When you are cooking, make sure that you do it in a healthy way. Instead of frying foods in butter or oil, you should prefer boiling, grilling, broiling or baking instead.
- You should consider exercise. While not all exercises and sports are appropriate for you, and this is why you should always get the help of your health care provider, moving a bit can do wonders.
Not Too Much And Not So Little
As we already stated, eating for two shouldn’t b taken to the letter when you are pregnant. In what concerns the right weight gain in pregnancy, you need to ensure that you get a balance, an equilibrium. After all, when you pack too many pounds, you incur the risk of developing gestational diabetes, complications during labor and delivery, and hypertension.
According to a government report from November 2015, about 47% of American moms gained more than the recommended amount of weight during pregnancy, putting themselves and their babies at risk for health problems both during and after pregnancy.
However, this doesn’t mean that you should also restrict your calorie intake drastically. The reality is that if you pack too few calorie, as about one in five moms do, you are more prone to have a baby that gets born too soon or too small (or both).
Understanding your BMI
In case you just got pregnant, you may have already heard from a friend or even from your mother that you should gain between 25 to 35 pounds. However, one of the things that you probably didn’t hear is that this is directly related to the Body Mass Index or BMI. The reality is that this weight increase can be only applied to women who fell under the normal weight category in the BMI before pregnancy.
So, How Much Weight Should You Gain And When?
While the BMI can work well for women who had a normal weight before pregnancy, the truth is that putting on pounds is not an exact science. One of the things that you need to always keep in mind is that your weight gain depends on a wide variety of factors that include your genetics, your metabolism, and your activity level. And this is why you should make sure that you keep up your doctor appointments throughout your pregnancy. Nevertheless, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) offers general weight gain guidelines based on various BMI ranges, which vary by trimester:
- During The First Trimester: Since your baby is still tiny, you don’t need to gain more than 3 to 4 pounds. However, in case you suffer from morning sickness, you may not only not gain an ounce as you may even lose a little weight. Notice that this is perfectly ok as long as your appetite picks up and you make up these pounds in the second trimester.
- During The Second Trimester: This is when your baby starts to grow and you want to ensure that your weight gain picks up. In case you started your pregnancy at a normal weight, you’d gain a total of about 14 pounds.
- During The Third Trimester: This is when your baby’s weight will pick up steam. However, you need to ensure that you start to taper off for a net gain of around 10 pounds. Notice that during this last trimester, you may notice that your weight simply holds steady or that it even drops a pound or two.
The Recommended Weight Gain According To ACOG
Check out the following pregnancy gain weight chart:
|Pre-pregnancy Weight Category||Body Mass Index||Recommended Range of Total Weight (pounds)||Recommended Rates of Weight Gain in the Second and Third Trimesters (pounds) (Mean Range [lb/wk])|
|Underweight||Less than 18.5||28–40||1 (1-1.3)|
|Normal Weight||18.5–24.9||25–35||1 (0.8-1)|
|Obese||30 and greater||11–20||0.5 (0.4-0.6)|
Again, in case you are carrying twins, these values will be slightly different. After all, you are not carrying one baby but two. In this case, the weight gain recommendations for women who have an average weight is 37 to 54 pounds. Overweight women should gain 31 to 50 pounds, and obese women should gain 25 to 42 pounds.
But should you strictly follow this pregnancy gain weight chart?
Honestly, no, you shouldn’t. You should only regard it as a general rule. However, as you already know, you should consider all the other factors that affect your weight gain as well as you should always sick for the help of your health care professional to help you determine how your weight gain is going.
The best way to keep track of your weight and weight gain, you should keep an eye on the scale. With this in mind, you should try to weigh yourself:
- Always using the same scale
- At the same time of the day
- Once a weel
- Wearing the same amount of clothes or none at all to make everything easier.
What Should You eat During Pregnancy?
As we already stated, while it is important to keep a healthy diet all the time, this is especially true during pregnancy. After all, you know that what you eat affects the health of your baby.
Notice that the advice about what you should eat during pregnancy varies depending on your culture and other factors. However, there is some general advice for eating healthy and this includes eating a balance of healthy fats, lean proteins, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Besides, it is also important to notice that there are some nutrients that are very important for the growth as well as for the development of a healthy baby. These include:
#1: Folate And Folic Acid:
Folate and folic acid are very important since they can prevent birth defects. Folate, for example, protects against neural tube defects as well as potential abnormalities in the brain and spinal cord. Besides, it has been also shown to decrease the risk of premature birth.
In what concerns the folic acid, it can be consumed in the form of fortified foods or supplements.
Calcium is important to support strong teeth and bones as well as it is also very necessary and useful for the nervous, muscular, and circulatory systems. You can find calcium in many dairy products such as cheese, yogurt, and milk. However, you can also find it in non-dairy foods like kale, broccoli, salmon, and spinach.
#3: Vitamin D:
Just like calcium, vitamin D is also great to promote bone strength besides helping your baby’s bones and teeth. You can find vitamin D in eggs, fish, orange juice, fortified milk, among many other foods.
When you are pregnant, it’s important that you have a high intake of protein not only for your baby but for yourself as well. You can find protein in soy products, nuts, peas, beans, eggs, fish, poultry, lean meat, among others.
When you are pregnant, you want to ensure that you ingest the best nutrients that can help your baby grow and develop. One of these nutrients is iron.
In case you don’t know, a pregnant woman should consume double the amount of iron than they otherwise would because iron is essential for the body to produce more blood to supply oxygen to the baby.
Iron can be found in lean red meat, poultry, fish, iron-fortified foods, beans, and vegetables, among other foods. Iron from animal products is most easily absorbed through pairing iron from plant sources with foods or drinks that contain high amounts of vitamin C can increase the absorption of iron.
Foods To Avoid
Just like it is important to increase the intake of some foods and nutrients, it is also important that you avoid certain foods and activities. Some kinds of seafood are a great example since they are high in mercury. In most cases, the older and the bigger the fish is, the more mercury it will contain. According to the FDA, pregnant women should avoid eating shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish.
Some of the seafood that is considered safe includes shrimp, salmon, pollock, catfish, anchovies, trout, cod, tilapia, and light canned tuna, among others.