Eating for Healthy Weight Gain?

I want to make sure I'm gaining weight at a healthy rate during pregnancy. How can I make sure I'm eating the right things and the right amount of them?
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ByMelinda Johnson, RD
Nutritionist
Updated
Feb 2017
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There are lots of numbers you’ll be told throughout your pregnancy. First, your OB will tell you how much weight you should gain. The general rule of thumb is that women of normal weight before pregnancy should gain 25-35 pounds. And women who are overweight pre-pregnancy should gain about 15-25 pounds.

You might also be told that the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends pregnant women of normal weight eat 1,800 calories per day during the first trimester; 2,200 calories per day in the second trimester, and 2,400 calories per day in the third.

But really, paying too much attention to those numbers will just stress you out. So take the focus off the scale, and definitely don’t count calories. Instead, set your sights on eating quality food, says Melinda Johnson, MS, RD, Director of the Didactic Program in Dietetics at Arizona State University and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “As long as you try to eat nutritious foods, your weight should be just fine,” she says. Aim for three meals and one or two snacks a day. For each meal, include three food groups, and for snacks, include two food groups. Also, get some exercise if your doctor allows it.

If you’re concerned about your diet, or you’ve had disordered eating patterns, schedule a visit with a Registered Dietitian to make sure you’re on the right track — and that you stay that way throughout your pregnancy.

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