Weight gain during pregnancy

How many pounds should I gain?

Long term health of people is influenced by their mother’s nutrition before and during pregnancy. The supply of energy and nutrients has a direct impact on fetal growth and body composition.  Many people still believe that a pregnant mother has to eat for two. Herself and for the unborn baby, however this is not true. In reality the energy requirement during pregnancy increases only slightly, in fact about 10% over the whole pregnancy. That means that an additional 250 kilocalories per day would be sufficient. So no increase of energy intake during the first trimester, but some increase in the second and third trimester.  Physicians taking care of pregnant women should determine the permitted weight gain during pregnancy on an individual basis. That means that a woman starting pregnancy with a very low body weight may increase more in weight than a woman starting pregnancy with a very high body weight. Is there advice on the normal gestational weight gain?  Yeah, a weight gain between25 and 35 lbs over the whole pregnancy is normal. We also must take into account that this weight gain is unevenly distributed throughout pregnancy. That means in the first trimester, practically no weight gain.And the real weight gain occurs in the second and third trimester. 

Where Does the Extra Weight Go During Pregnancy?

What should I eat during my pregnancy? Food Groups

It is always important to eat a variety of foods throughout the day making certain you get the nutrients both you and your baby need. Here is a look at the food groups and some suggested sources for creating a healthy diet during pregnancy.

Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables contain many important nutrients for pregnancy especially, Vitamin C and Folic Acid. Pregnant women need at least 70 mg of Vitamin C daily, which is contained in fruits such as oranges, grapefruits and honeydew, and vegetables such as broccoli, tomatoes, and brussel sprouts.
In order to prevent neural tube defects, 0.4 mg of folic acid per day is recommended. A good source of folic acid can be found in dark green leafy vegetables (other sources of folic acid include legumes, such as black or lima beans, black-eyed peas, and veal). You should have at least 2-4 servings of fruit and 4 or more servings of vegetables daily.

Bread and Grains

The body’s main source of energy for pregnancy comes from the essential carbohydrates found in breads and grains. Whole grain and enriched products provide important nutrients such as iron, B Vitamins, fiber, and some protein, even. You can get the required amount of folic acid from fortified bread and cereal.
Depending on your weight and dietary needs, you should consume anywhere between 6-11 servings (6-11 oz) of bread/grains daily.


Meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and beans contain the protein, B vitamins and iron needed in pregnancy. Your developing baby needs plenty of protein, especially in the second and third trimesters. Iron helps to carry oxygen to your growing baby, and also carries oxygen to your muscles to help avoid symptoms such as fatigue, weakness, irritability, and depression.
The U.S. RDA recommends about 27 grams per day. Lean beef, chicken, lamb, liver, turkey, and veal are good options. Fish and some other seafood can be a good nutritional choice for pregnancy, within guidelines. Avoid fish that contain high levels of mercury. (Read more about Fish and Mercury Levels). You should consume at least 3 servings of proteindaily.

Dairy Products

You have to get at least 1000 mg of calcium daily to support a pregnancy. Calcium is essential for building strong teeth and bones, normal blood clotting, and muscle and nerve function. Since your developing baby requires a considerable amount of calcium, your body will take calcium from your bones, if you do not consume enough through your diet (which can lead to future problems, such as osteoporosis).
Good sources of calcium include milk, cheese, yogurt, cream soups, and puddings. You can find calcium in green vegetables, seafood, beans, and dried peas. You should consume at least 4 servings of dairy products daily.