Weight Gain During Pregnancy?

Kimberly A. Tessmer's picture

QUESTION

Dear Nutritionist,
I am 26 years old and 17 weeks pregnant with my first baby. In the first trimester I lost 9 pounds due to not feeling well and lack of appetite. Since about week 13 my appetite has better, but I have still only gained 2 of the lbs back.

How quickly should I be gaining and do you suggest any certain foods to help? I have added a boost supplement daily and try to eat a well balanced diet with many snacks in between my meals. My doctor checked my thyroid levels which were normal.

ANSWER

The general rule of thumb is to gain about 2 to 5 pounds in the first trimester and about 1 pound per week for the rest of the pregnancy. Ultimate weight gain by the end of pregnancy should be between 25 and 35 pounds. It is very important to discuss with your doctor what he/she thinks is an appropriate weight gain for you at this time.

Every women is different and will gain at different rates. Pregnant women need about 300 additional calories (over your maintenance calories) after your first trimester. To meet your additional calorie needs for protein, calories, and essential vitamins and minerals, you should be eating a variety of foods from ALL of the food groups each day. In general that would be:

  • 9 or more servings of breads, cereals, and grains (especially whole grains)
  • 7 or more servings of fruits and veggies
  • at least 3 servings of dairy (milk, yogurt, etc...)
  • at least 3 servings (2-3 ounces each) of lean meat, poultry, fish, eggs, nuts and dried beans or peas.

These are just general guidelines. You really should speak with your OB/GYN to find out what your specific calorie needs are. If necessary your doctor may refer you to a dietitian that can help you to map out a specific plan that will aid in adequate weight gain. You should also inform your doctor about ANY supplements you are taking such as the Boost.

Good luck with your pregnancy!
-- Kimberly A. Tessmer, R.D., L.D