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First Trimester

Q&A: Weight Gain During Pregnancy?

How much weight should I gain, and at what pace?

If your weight is in the “normal” range (body mass index of 18-25) before you conceive, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends a gain of 25-35 pounds throughout pregnancy. Shoot to add 3-5 pounds during the first trimester and 1-2 pounds a week after. According to ACOG, if you’re underweight at conception, you should gain 28-40 pounds. If you’re overweight, try to keep it to 15-25 pounds. No matter what your starting weight, your goal is to keep the gain as steady as possible. Baby needs a daily supply of nutrients, and those come from the foods you eat. Don’t worry if your weight gain fluctuates a bit from week to week, but contact your doctor if you suddenly gain or lose weight, especially in the third trimester. This can be a sign of preeclampsia.

A sidenote: You might think you’ll have no problem staying within your “gain range,” but don't be surprised at how quickly the pounds can pile on. Listen, pregnancy isn’t an excuse to pig out. It only gives you license to consume an extra 300 calories a day — the equivalent of a very small bagel, sans cream cheese. But, instead of stressing out about the quantities you consume, focus on eating quality foods and steering clear of junk foods that add bulk without nutrients. (Um, that includes French fries... But you knew that, right?)

By Paula Kashtan