During the first trimester of pregnancy, you don’t need to gain any weight at all. You may even lose a few pounds. That’s usually perfectly okay, as long as you make up for it later on in pregnancy. Your pregnancy weight gain should pick up in earnest, however, by the second trimester.
Most women know that they need to gain some weight during pregnancy. But just how much weight should a woman gain? The answer depends on your pre-pregnancy body mass index (BMI). During the first trimester of pregnancy, you don’t need to gain any weight at all. You may even lose a few pounds. That’s usually perfectly okay, as long as you make up for it later on in pregnancy. Your pregnancy weight gain should pick up in earnest, however, by the second trimester.
It’s perfectly normal not to gain a lot of weight during pregnancy. That’s because during your first trimester, you don’t need to be gaining weight at all. Your baby is still quite small and very fragile. As long as you make up for it by the second trimester, then there’s nothing to worry about.
There’s no need to gain a lot of weight during the first trimester of your pregnancy. In fact, you may even lose a few pounds that are typically made up for later on in the pregnancy. Once it’s time to get serious and start feeding your beautiful baby, you’ll need to gain weight accordingly.
While you don’t need to gain weight during the first trimester, it’s normal for some women not to gain any weight at all. That’s because the embryo itself doesn’t make up much of your body mass at this point. Ideally, though, by the second trimester you should begin to put on extra pounds as your body begins producing more hormones and nutrients needed to support both you and your growing baby.
How Much Weight Gain Is Normal During Pregnancy In Kg
During the first trimester of pregnancy, you don’t need to gain any weight at all. You may even lose a few pounds. That’s usually perfectly okay, as long as you make up for it later on in pregnancy.
Your pregnancy weight gain should pick up in earnest, however, by the second trimester. The least amount of weight you should gain during pregnancy depends on how much you weighed before you conceived, among other factors. If you had a higher body mass index (BMI) before pregnancy, you typically need to gain less weight than if you started out pregnancy with a lower one.
By the second trimester, you should aim to gain the following:
- Underweight (BMI under 18.5) before pregnancy: About 1 pound per week (for 28 to 40 total pounds during pregnancy)
- Normal BMI (18.5 to 24.9) before pregnancy: Less than 1 pound per week (for 25 to 35 pounds total during pregnancy)
- Overweight (BMI 25 to 29.9) before pregnancy: About 0.6 pounds per week (for 15 to 25 pounds total during pregnancy)
- Obese (BMI 30 or more) before pregnancy: About 0.5 pounds per week (for 11 to 20 pounds total during pregnancy)
If you’re carrying twins, you need to gain roughly 50 percent more weight (give or take, again depending on your pre-pregnancy weight).
More About Healthy Pregnancy Foods
What happens if you don’t gain enough weight during pregnancy?
Not gaining enough weight over the course of your pregnancy can put you and your baby at greater risk of complications. Babies whose mothers gain too little weight during pregnancy are more likely to:
Some babies who are born small may have trouble breastfeeding and be at greater risk for illnesses and missing developmental milestones.
A lack of weight gain is usually perfectly normal in the first trimester. Tiny fetuses have tiny nutritional needs.
The same isn’t true if you’re falling short of your recommended weight gain by the second trimester. As your baby gets bigger, calories and nutrients will be increasingly in demand. To keep up, you’ll need to increase your weight at a steady pace.
How to gain more weight during pregnancy
It sounds obvious, but it’s worth repeating. If you’re eating the recommended calories during pregnancy and you’re not gaining weight fast enough, you should eat more.
It’s easier said than done, but try not to stress if you’re not gaining the advised weight. Your doctor or a registered dietitian can help create a meal plan for you.
In the meantime, here are a few tips to help you put on more weight during pregnancy:
Choose nutrient-dense foods
If you’ve lost your appetite, focus on high-quality calories in small packages filled with healthy fats, protein and fiber. Nutrient-rich options include:
- Nuts and nut butter
- Fatty fish (like salmon)
- Olive oil
- Whole grain bread, cereal and pasta
- Brown rice
- Lean meat or poultry
- Plain Greek yogurt
- Dried fruit
Add a caloric punch to your dishes
Try dosing your dishes with an extra tablespoon of calorie-dense olive oil, butter, cream cheese, sour cream or cheese. Or toss a couple of scoops of powdered milk in hot cereal or scrambled eggs.
Some research suggests that adding protein supplements to your meals can help you gain weight. Talk to your doctor to make sure you get the right amount, since overdoing it on protein may limit a baby’s growth.
It’s important to drink plenty of water during pregnancy to stay hydrated. And fruits and vegetables are a staple of a healthy pregnancy diet. They provide your baby with folic acid, a vitamin that helps form healthy cells and reduces the risk of birth defects like spina bifida.
That said, both beverages and calorie-light dishes can put a damper on your appetite. Instead of starting your meal with a salad or big glass of water, save the beverages and greens for after your main course.
Don’t turn to junk foods
While it might be tempting to fill the caloric gap with doughnuts, try to resist the urge. Processed, sugary or greasy foods will add weight but not nutrition. Right now, you and your baby need both.
Eat more often
Try not to skip meals, even if you’re feeling nauseous. Instead of eating three large meals a day, try having six smaller snack-sized bites every two hours or so. Eating smaller, frequent meals also helps combat morning sickness.
Don’t feel like eating? Make yourself a thick smoothie and fortify it with wheat germ.
Compensate for exercise
Have a regular exercise routine? Exercise during pregnancy is excellent for your health and your baby’s in most cases. Just be sure to check in with your practitioner on your fitness program and make sure you’re eating enough to hit your caloric goals.
To make up for a sweat session, eat at a nutrient-dense snack around the time you exercise. It’s especially important if your workout involves high-intensity exercise or lasts longer than 45 minutes.
When to see the doctor
Sometimes, severe and continuous nausea and vomiting can keep you from gaining weight during pregnancy. If you’re among the 1 to 3 percent of women who develop hyperemesis gravidarum, your baby may not be getting the vital nutrients and vitamins he needs to grow. You may also be dehydrated, which can be a problem for both you and your baby.
Be sure to let your doctor know if your morning sickness is severe. Signs of hyperemesis gravidarum include not being able to keep food or liquids down and losing weight. Your practitioner may prescribe lifestyle changes or medication to help you manage the condition.
Finally, if you’ve struggled with an eating disorder in the past, it can be challenging to accept pregnancy weight gain. Speak honestly with your practitioner about past or present disordered eating. He or she may recommend seeing a registered dietitian with expertise in eating disorders for extra guidance. Building a supportive team can make it easier to ask for help when you need it. Remember that gaining weight is essential for your baby’s growth and health.If you’re struggling with pregnancy weight gain by your second trimester, talk to your doctor. Your practitioner or a registered dietitian can offer tools to help you maintain a healthy amount of weight gain.
Not Gaining Weight During Pregnancy 3rd Trimester
If you’d like to learn more about this topic in a visual way, check out my Google web stories for 6 tips to help you gain weight during pregnancy.
There may be several reasons that you’re not gaining enough weight during pregnancy—it could be due to excessive nausea, loss of appetite, food aversions, or other digestive concerns. If you’re concerned that you’re not gaining enough weigh, don’t worry. I’ve got you covered. Plus, check this out if you’re looking for the ultimate guide to pregnancy nutrition.
In this post you’ll learn:
- How to figure out how much weight you should gain
- Calorie intake during pregnancy (how do I know how much to eat?)
- How to choose calorie and nutrient-dense foods
- Why Smaller more frequent meals might help
- Why you might want to skip the salad
- Why you shouldn’t turn towards junk food for extra calories
- How to combat nausea
- How to notice food aversions
HOW TO KNOW WHETHER YOU’RE GAINING THE RIGHT AMOUNT OF WEIGHT DURING PREGNANCY
First of all, it’s important to understand what healthy pregnancy weight gain looks like. A common way to calculate your target weight gain during pregnancy is by using your pre-pregnancy Body Mass Index (BMI).
Now, I really don’t want to get stuck on the numbers here—especially when it comes to your body mass index (BMI)—because what’s defined as “healthy” according to BMI charts can be a little deceiving or unfair. For example, someone who has lots of muscle may have a higher BMI than what’s considered “healthy,” but may be in great shape and very healthy. Or someone who has a “healthy” BMI due to their genetics may have an unvaried diet and never move their body. BMI is just one assessment tool you can use, but it’s imperfect. Don’t get stuck on it! But for those of you who like numbers, here they are:
To calculate your pre-pregnancy BMI, multiply your weight in kilograms by your height in meters squared. Or if you want a shortcut, just google “BMI calculator” and plug your numbers in. The recommended weight gain during pregnancy depends on which category the pre-pregnancy BMI lands in.
PREGNANCY WEIGHT GAIN
|Prepregnancy BMI||Weight category||Weight gain for full-term pregnancy||Weight gain for full-term pregnancy with twins|
|Below 18.5||Underweight||28 to 40 pounds||No set guidelines|
|18.5 to 24.9||Normal weight||25 to 35 pounds||37 to 54 pounds|
|25.0 to 29.9||Overweight||15 to 25 pounds||31 to 50 pounds|
|30.0 and above||Obese||11 to 20 pounds||25 to 42 pounds|
CALORIE INTAKE DURING PREGNANCY
I’m not keen on overemphasizing calorie goals or ranges because I really want to encourage you to listen to your body when it comes to the amount of food you eat at any given meal or snack. And quite frankly, counting calories sucks and takes the enjoyment out of eating! But here’s what I will tell you:
- During your first trimester, it’s not necessary to eat any more than normal. So just eat like you normally would!
- During the second trimester, it makes sense that you’re hungrier than normal, because your energy and nutrient needs are rising. It’s good to eat a little more: about 300 to 350 extra calories. That’s like an extra snack each day.
- During the third trimester is when your nutrient and energy needs are the highest throughout your pregnancy, and it’s advised to eat an extra 400 to 450 calories per day. That could be an extra snack (Greek yogurt, berries, and granola) or maybe a little more at each meal.
HOW MANY EXTRA CALORIES DO I NEED (ASSUMING THAT YOU’RE STARTING OUT AT A HEALTHY BMI)?
|Stage of pregnancy||Calorie intake|
|First trimester||No additional calories|
|Second trimester||Add 300 to 350 calories per day|
|Third trimester||Add 400 to 450 calories per day|
Any additional calories that you take in should come from nutrient-dense foods such as lean protein, vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Limit foods that are overly processed with a lot of added sugar, salt, or fat to only once in a while. But do give yourself permission to indulge once a day on something that you absolutely love and can’t live without.
I’M HAVING TROUBLE GAINING ENOUGH
If you’re having trouble gaining enough weight during pregnancy, know that you’re not alone. This is a common concern and something that can be managed with a little bit of extra knowledge and even some help from a registered dietitian if you and/or your doctor are concerned. Lack of weight gain can happen because of many reasons, including:
- excessive nausea
- loss of appetite
- food aversions
- other digestive concerns
- you might be a small or particular eater to begin with, and may need to pay a little bit more attention to what and how much you’re eating.
To help ensure that you are gaining enough weight throughout your pregnancy, and in a healthy way, here are my top 6 tips:
1. CHOOSE CALORIE-DENSE (AND NUTRIENT-DENSE) FOODS
If you have a small appetite, it’s crucial to make every bite count! That means you want to get the most nutrition (protein, vitamins, minerals etc.)in the foods you choose. Even if you get full quickly or have a small appetite, you know you took in some great nutrition. Foods that are high in calories and chock-full of nutrients are:
- Nuts, seeds, and nut butters
- Olive oil as a topping or dressing
- Whole grain pasta, oats, brown rice, and other whole grains
- Legumes like lentils, chickpeas, and beans
- Fatty fish like salmon
If you’re needing some recipe inspiration for nutrient-dense meals and snacks, check out one of my fave cookbooks, Nourish. On top of this, you should be making sure that you’re taking a prenatal multivitamin, vitamin D and perhaps even an Omega-3 supplement too. Here are some nutrients (and foods) that you should be paying extra attention to during pregnancy.
2. TRY SMALLER, MORE FREQUENT MEALS
You may be turned off of larger portion sizes of foods, and eating might feel overwhelming if your plate is too full (which can actually decrease your appetite). Instead, try having five or six smaller more snack-sized, lighter meals that aren’t so overwhelming. For example, instead of having a big spaghetti dinner, have a piece of French toast with greek yogurt and berries. Or make a batch of homemade protein-rich muffins or energy bites that you can snack on throughout the day or on-the-go. These snack-sized meals can still pack a nutritional punch and provide the calories that you need, but might be less overwhelming and more appealing (meaning, you’ll eat more!).
3. SALADS ARE GREAT BUT MAY BE TOO LOW IN CALORIES
Wait, what? Did a dietitian just advise you to skip a salad? While vegetables are super-healthy, they are not calorically-dense and high in fiber. A big bowl of lettuce with cucumber can make you feel full quickly, but is too low in calories. That’s not enough to meet your needs! If you really have a low appetite and can eat only a small amount, it’s better to have more calories with every bite. For example, try whole grain toast with peanut butter and banana slices (yes, you CAN and SHOULD eat peanuts when you’re pregnant), or a pasta salad with avocado, nuts, meat and cooked veggies which would have more calories than a light green salad.
Look at the numbers to see what I mean:
- Whole grain toast with 1 tablespoon peanut butter and a banana: 220 calories
- 1½ cups romaine lettuce and cucumbers: 20 calories
- 1½ cups romaine lettuce, cucumbers, and 1 teaspoon dressing: 60 calories
If you ARE craving salad, what can you add to it? Maybe it means adding a tablespoon of dressing to your lettuce, and topping it with nuts, seeds, chickpeas, quinoa, avocado, or any other calorie-dense foods.
4. ENERGY DENSE FOODS ARE FINE IN MODERATION
We know what you’re thinking: “I need to eat more calories! I can have all of the ice cream I’ve ever wanted!” If only it were that easy! Yes, you need more calories. BUT. You also don’t need tons of sugar and fat. You want the calories to come from nutritious foods (see list above). Of course, you can enjoy ice cream mindfully, but please don’t get your day’s worth of calories from pint after pint of creamy goodness.
5. COMBAT NAUSEA IN PREGNANCY
Morning sickness can sometimes turn into all-day-sickness. Luckily, by the time you enter your second trimester, when weight gain starts to ramp up, nausea usually starts to wind down. If you’re one of the unlucky (approximately half of all pregnant women) who feels pregnancy-related nausea, here are some tricks that may help:
- Keep a snack on your night table. Have a bite before bed and in the morning. Soda crackers are a popular option!
- Avoid getting too hungry – that can lead to nausea. It might be your first instinct to avoid food when you feel nauseous, but that is the opposite of what you should do. Eating every two to three hours will help keep nausea at bay! Keep high calorie snack options (like nuts) with you throughout the day.
- Don’t take your nutrition supplements on an empty stomach–make sure you combine with a meal or snack.
- Try ginger. This age old-remedy is backed by science too. Try making tea with fresh ginger. You can use ginger in cooking and baking. Ginger snaps anyone?
- Stay hydrated, especially if nausea is accompanied by vomiting. Try drinking your fluids before or after meals, as opposed to with your meal. This is my favourite water bottle (that I carry around always!) to help me remember to stay hydrated.
If none of these tips help and you really can’t keep any food down, you may have hyperemesis gravidarum, and should discuss it with your doctor. They can prescribe medication to help.
6. NOTICE FOOD AVERSIONS IN PREGNANCY
There may be certain smells or flavors that turn your stomach when you’re pregnant – and often they are foods you used to love. Common food aversions are to strong flavors, such as garlic, onion, spice and coffee. If you can’t stand the taste or smell of certain foods, simply avoid them. Know that it’s totally normal, it’s common, and it will pass!
COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT PREGNANCY WEIGHT GAIN
How much weight should you gain while pregnant?
The weight gain ranges below are for a full-term pregnancy:
• Underweight: 28 to 40 pounds
• Normal: 25 to 35 pounds
• Overweight: 15 to 25 pounds
• “Obese”: 11 to 20 pounds
How fast do you gain weight when pregnant?
On average, people gain 1 to 4 pounds in the first trimester — but it can vary. Expect to gain ½ a pound to one pound (. 23 to . 45 kg) per week during the rest of your pregnancy. Ultimate guide to pregnancy nutrition.
How soon do you gain weight when pregnant?
Some initial weight gain will happen in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. The majority of weight gain will occur during the second and third trimester. How much is too much?