What‘s Healthy Weight Gain During Pregnancy?

When you discover you are pregnant, many questions like healthy weight gain go through your head. One old wives tale, “eating for two,” may come into play, but this is a myth. Of course, pregnancy is no time for dieting. You just need to eat just enough for steady weight gain. This article will explain how much weight you should gain, and breaks it down by each trimester. It will also list some healthy foods that will help keep it steady. Read further for more information.

How Much Weight Should You Gain During Pregnancy?

There are specific guidelines about weight gain during pregnancy. These are set based on your Body Mass Index (BMI) prior to pregnancy. While they are only a guide, your doctor will want you to try and stay as close to them as possible.

Here are the guidelines that have been set:

Body Mass Index 18.5 to 24.9

If you have an average build prior to pregnancy with a BMI that is between 18.5 and 24.9, it is recommended that your weight gain be kept between 25 and 35 pounds.

Body Mass Index Under 18.5

If you are smaller build and your BMI was under 18.5 before you got pregnant, you need to gain a little more weight during pregnancy, and try to gain around 28 to 40 pounds.

Body Mass Index 25 to 29

If you have a larger build with a BMI around 25 to 29 pre-pregnancy, they recommend that you try to keep your weight gain between 15 and 25 pounds.

Body Mass Index 30 or Higher

If you are considered obese with a BMI that is 30 or higher before pregnancy, you need to keep your weight gain at about 11 to 20 pounds. While dieting during pregnancy won’t be considered healthy for you and your baby, you might need to see a dietician to design a diet that gives you and your baby enough nutrition.

How Many Extra Calories Do I Actually Need?

The calories you need are organized by which trimester (3 months) you are in during your pregnancy. Here are the guidelines:

First Trimester (1 to 3 Months)

During this trimester, you need to be eating around 1,800 calories per day. This is very close to a normal daily calorie intake for a non-pregnant, average sized woman. This means you won’t need much extra during the first trimester. If you are wondering, “how much weight should you gain during pregnancy,” most people don’t even begin to gain weight in the first trimester.

Second Trimester (4 to 7 Months)

During your second trimester, you will need to add about 300 calories a day to your diet. The total needed intake during this time is around 2,200 calories. When you think about 300 calories, this equals; a baked potato, a bowl of cereal, or an extra egg. 

Third Trimester (8 Months to Birth)

The last trimester of pregnancy is when your body will be putting on the most weight. On average, expect to gain around 1 to 2 pounds per week this month. Your calorie recommendation for this month is 2,400 calories per day. To get to this amount, you really only need to add 200 calories per day from things like; a peanut butter sandwich for a snack, crackers and a few pieces of cheese, or cream cheese on a bagel with your usual breakfast.

Healthy Foods During Pregnancy to Keep Weight Gain Steady

A steady and sensible weight gain will help you have a healthy pregnancy. This means omitting sugary, processed, and high calories foods. Focus on the food groups and eat a variety of high nutritional food choices each day. Choose foods from these groups:


Grains are very important. You can’t get your daily grains in the form of; cereal, bread, quinoa, rice, and oats. They will give you needed folic acid, iron, and energy to fuel your body.

You should be eating at least 9 servings of grains daily. 1 serving = 1 slice of bread, ½ cup rice, or 1 cup of cereal.

Fruits and Vegetables

Fresh fruits and Vegetables will give you the majority of vitamins, minerals, and folic acid you need. They also help you get enough magnesium in your diet. Vegetables can help you meet your fiber needs to avoid constipation.

You need 4 to 5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily. 1 serving is about ½ to 1 cup.


Milk and milk products will help you meet your needs for protein and calcium everyday. You need this to help your baby build strong healthy bones, and tissue. If you do not get enough calcium during pregnancy, it will be taken from your bones.

Try to get at least 3 servings of dairy each day. This is about 1 cup of milk, 2 ounces of cheese, or ¾ cup of yogurt.

Meats and Protein Foods

Protein is going to be the main food that helps your baby grow. Try to eat lean meats like; chicken, fish and turkey. They will provide you with iron, and protein. If you are vegetarian, make sure you eat plenty of; beans, nuts, and eggs if you are lacto-ovo vegetarian.

A serving of meat or fish is about 6 ounces or the size of a deck of cards. Try to get at least 3 servings daily.

Pregnancy Eating Tips

“How much weight should you gain during pregnancy?” The answer is not too much, or not too little. In order to gain just enough for a healthy baby, eating a sensible diet is the best bet. These tips will help you along the way:

  • Eat a balanced diet with a variety of healthy foods each day
  • Try to exercise at least 30 minutes daily (with your doctor’s okay)
  • See a dietician if you need a special diet due to; obesity, diabetes, gluten intolerance, vegan diet, or if you cannot tolerate milk (lactose intolerance).
  • Make sure you drink at least 8 glasses of water daily
  • Ask your doctor about prenatal vitamins and folic acid supplements

Manage food cravings sensibly. A small cup of ice cream is better than the entire pint. Munch on vegetables if you crave something crunchy. Try an extra piece of fruit if you crave sweets.