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What is normal pregnancy weight gain? How many additional calories are needed?

Updated: Sep 30, 2019

*This post is based on a singleton pregnancy. Aka not multiples (i.e. twins, triplets, etc.).*

What is a healthy pregnancy weight gain?

Although each mother will gain weight differently, the following post will help shed light on approximately how much weight gain is expected during 'normal' pregnancy circumstances.

The following numbers are based off of the mother's BMI. As we all know, the BMI calculator is not always accurate when deciding an individual's overall health and wellness. So, take the following inforamtion with a grain of salt and know your pregnancy journey truly is unique and may not follow these guidelines to a T... which is 100% OKAY!

The following information states the rate of weight gain for under/normal weight women (according to BMI):

  • 1st trimester: ~3-5 lbs. total

  • 2nd trimester: >/= 0.5 lbs./week

  • 3rd trimester: >/= 0.75 lbs./week (try to stay below 1.5 lbs./week)

The following information states the rate of weight gain for overweight/obese weight women (according to BMI):

  • 1st trimester: ~3-5 lbs. total

  • 2nd trimester: >/= 0.5 lbs./week

  • 3rd trimester: >/= 0.5 lbs./week

In summary, regardless of your body type, you should be looking for ~3-5 lbs. total weight gain in the first trimester with gradual and consistent weight gains from then on.

Important!: No mother should be expecting or taking action to lose weight during pregnancy. You are supporting the growth of your child at this time via healthful nourishment. Weight loss is therefore contraindicated.

How many additional calories are needed in pregnancy?

Although there are calorie recommendations throughout pregnancy, they do indeed vary for each individual. The following information will be based on an average additional calorie need.

For a more individualized calorie requirement--- make an appointment with Mamas Maternal Health to meet with your Maternal Health Dietitian, who will be happy to help you find your individualized additional nutrient needs!

The average additional calorie needs are stated below:

  • 1st trimester: 0 additional cals/day

  • 2nd trimester: 340 additional cals/day

  • 3rd trimester: 452 additional cals/day

The additional calories that are needed for pregnancy may be less than you expected!

Self Love Mamas!

Although these are wonderful guidelines to support a healthy pregnancy--- know that they are indeed simply guidelines.

If you consume a bit more or a bit less than the above guidelines... all is well! You and your baby are still on the right track to a healthy pregnancy.

However, if you find yourself going WAY overboard, or WAY below the above guidelines with your additional calorie intake--- it may be time to self-reflect and bring out your intuitive eating skills.

Are you eating when you're hungry? Are you done eating when you're full? Are you eating a colorful/balanced diet?

Help is here...

If you are reading this blog questioning your current dietary choices throughout your pregnancy... visit www.mamasmaternalhealth.com and check out our maternal nutrition and lactation counseling programs! Our Dietitians will help you understand the basis of balanced and healthful maternal nutrition through the span of your pregnancy.

Thank you for reading and feel free to sign up on our mailing list for Mamas Maternal Health updates and weekly blog posts at www.mamasmaternalhealth.com.

Until next time!

Mikayla and Cassie

Mamas Maternal Health Registered Dietitians/Lactation Counselors

Reference: Brown, J. (2007). Nutrition Through the Life Cycle. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.

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