Healthy Pregnancy Weight Gain

Maybe it’s chocolate. Or tacos. Or donuts. Or cream cheese smeared on sweet, doughy, egg-laden bread procured from Chinatown (ok, maybe that was just me). Pregnancy cravings can hit early or late in gestation. Days when even the THOUGHT of food brings on waves of nausea may be followed by periods of feeling absolutely famished – and before you know it, you’re devouring everything in sight! Indulging during pregnancy is perfectly natural, and may feel well-deserved. However, it’s wise to be aware of the guidelines for full-term pregnancy weight gain, based on pre-pregnancy BMI (body mass index):

Underweight (BMI below 18.5): 28-40 lbs.
Normal (BMI 18.5 – 24.9): 25-35 lbs. (twins: 37-54 lbs.)
Overweight (BMI 25 – 29.9): 15-25 lbs. (twins: 31-50 lbs.)
Obese (BMI 30 and above): 11-20 lbs. (twins: 25-42 lbs.)

Source: Institute of Medicine, 2009

So how does this translate into your daily energy needs? In the first trimester, there’s actually no need for additional calories.  During the second trimester, pregnant women need approximately 340 calories more than what they were eating pre-pregnancy. That number goes up to 450 during the third trimester.

Sure, you could “spend” those extra calories on crave-worthy treats, but your body also requires extra protein to build that baby. Fiber is also crucial during pregnancy to relieve constipation caused by increased levels of progesterone and the iron found in pre-natal vitamins. Just be sure to add water when consuming additional fiber, and get moving to help stay regular.

Below are three snack pairings in the 340-calorie range that pack a fibrous punch!

Creamy and sweet:
-1 single-serve container plain, non-fat Greek yogurt
-1 cup fresh raspberries
-1 oz. dried toasted coconut
340 calories, 10g fiber

Just nutty:
-2 T. almond butter
-1 large pear with skin
-1 tsp. honey
347 calories, 10.3g fiber

-3/4 cup cooked quinoa
1/3 cup sliced avocado
1 T. tahini
338 calories, 7.4g fiber

The bottom line? Add smart calories, stay hydrated, and be active. Here’s to a healthy pregnancy!