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How much weight should I gain?

July 4, 2011

Eating for two? Well, sort of… pregnancy doesn’t give you the green light to pack on the pounds. In fact, gaining too much weight can have consequences. For one, it will make losing the baby weight later more difficult, secondly according to a study published in the Lancet, Expectant mothers who gain too much weight during pregnancy tend to give birth to heavier babies, who are more likely to become obese later in life.

On the flip side, not gaining enough weight can also have consequences such as giving birth to a low-weight birth with is a risk factor for developmental problems.

Based on your Body Mass Index (BMI) before becoming pregnant, here are the weight gain guidelines for a single baby.

  • Underweight (BMI below 18.5) Gain 28 to 40 pounds 
  • Normal Weight (BMI 18.5 to 24.9) Gain 25 to 35 pounds 
  • Overweight (BMI 25 to 29.9) Gain 15 to 25 pounds
  • Obese (BMI 30 and above) Gain 11 to 20 pounds 

Tips for keeping track of your weight

  • Beginning in the second trimester through birth, pregnant women need to consume 300 to 450 additional calories each day. If you are underweight shoot for the higher end, overweight women should stay at about 300 -350 extra calories. This translates into an extra two snacks like a smoothie and ½ sandwich or one mini meal like a sandwich or bowl of soup.
  • Watch your diet – gaining weight from sugary sodas, ice cream and cake is not nutritionally sound. Drink more water and remember good nutrition – low fat dairy, lean meats, fruits and vegetables.
  • Exercise – physical activity is a must, develop a routine that’s right for you. Swimming, jogging or an aerobics class are all appropriate; talk to your doctor to find out about any special limitations you may have.
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