Tips for a Healthy Weight Gain During Pregnancy

Disclosure: I am not a doctor, and if you are pregnant you should follow the advice of your own physician.  The tips below are what worked for me and what were supported by my own doctor.

One of the many things that pregnant women face during their pregnancy is the rising number that they see on the scale.  Well before I became pregnant, I knew that I wanted to maintain my fitness levels while pregnant, not only for the health benefits during pregnancy for both myself and the baby, but also to make bouncing back after pregnancy easier.  Just like with any healthy lifestyle, maintaining a fit lifestyle is not just about the exercise that you do, but also what you eat and put into your body.

Most doctors recommend gaining between 25 and 35 pounds during pregnancy, depending on your pre-pregnancy weight.  Though I only gained 23 pounds, my OB was never concerned about me not eating enough or not gaining enough weight while pregnant.  What tricks/tips did I focus on utilizing in order to limit my weight gain?

tips for healthy weight gain

1.  Focus on eating healthy, nutritious foods.  Yes, there were times when I felt like I couldn’t eat enough to satisfy my hunger, but filling up on healthy foods and avoiding junk food helped to ensure that I fed both myself and the baby a nutritious diet.

2.  You only need an additional 300-500 calories per day.  The whole “eating for two” thing is a myth.  Most doctors argue that you actually need more calories while breastfeeding than you actually do while pregnant.

3.  Eat small snacks throughout the day instead of large portioned meals.  I always found it difficult to stomach large plates of food, and instead found it much more appetizing to graze on smaller portions.

4.  Stay as active as possible to support your own health and the health of a growing baby.  Not only will staying active help you to promote healthy growth for the baby, but it’ll also likely help in easing some of the expected aches and pains of pregnancy, especially the further into your pregnancy that you get.

running for two

5.  There’s no such thing as drinking too much water.  Water will not only help you to feel full for longer, but its also necessary for maintaining any healthy and active lifestyle.

Looking for other tips for maintaining an active and healthy pregnancy?  Be sure to check out my other posts:

Lessons I’ve Learned from Training While Pregnant
Tips for Running While Pregnant
Why I’m Still Exercising While Pregnant

QOTD: What tips do you have for maintaining a healthy weight gain while pregnant?

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44 Responses to Tips for a Healthy Weight Gain During Pregnancy

  1. Sue @ This Mama Runs For Cupcakes says:

    Great tips! I gained under 30lbs with both of mine. While I only wanted to eat fast food during the first trimester that went away in the subsequent ones. Thank goodness because I would have gained a ton!

  2. mkadens1 says:

    I had crazy cravings with Thing 2. I’d make the Caveman bring me a slab of ribs or KFC, both of which I never eat otherwise. But yes, small meals are key. I had so little tummy space with baby taking up so much room!

  3. I gained most of my weight my first trimester. I think between the nausea and the cravings, I had to do what my body wanted. I gained 40# with both pregnancies. Ugh. But it came right off.

  4. You’re right on! I wish I’d been into fitness and healthy living when I was pregnant, long ago. I would have had such an easier time of it, I’m sure. Being 230 with my daughter and 220 with my son was very hard on my body.

  5. Excellent tips! I took the whole “eating for two” thing too seriously when I was pregnant lol!

  6. MCM Mama says:

    I gained 50 pounds with both of mine, despite very different activity levels and eating patterns. Given that I dropped it all within 3 months both times, I think that’s just what my body needed to do. I think your tips are great tips for a healthy pregnancy, but I’m not a big fan of worrying about the actual numbers on the scale.

  7. Awesome tips! While I’ve never been pregnant, I know a few women who took pregnancy as a chance to eat all the things and later regretted it.

  8. I am not pregnant nor have I ever been. But your advice seem to be spot on!

  9. Karen :0) says:

    Yes, yes, and yes! All great advice – I’ve followed all of these and it’s definitely helped curb my weight gain during pregnancy!

  10. Janelle @ Run With No Regrets says:

    Great advice! I will be looking to these tips when the time comes in a few years! Hope you and the baby are doing well!

  11. Good tips! I gained so much weight with my first but back then no one really talked about that as much. I’ve loved seeing your pics of the little cutie!

  12. Maureen says:

    I’ve never been pregnant, but I can imagine that it might be hard to keep a healthy weight. Good advice on not eating for two. 🙂

  13. carmyy says:

    I dislike it when people say “I’m eating for two!” giggle then proceed to literally eat for two! It’s unhealthy and an extra 1000+ calories a day just doesn’t seem right!

  14. Great tips I have never been pregnant, but I have heard there are a lot of right and wrong ways to do things.
    I had a friend, I kid you not would eat two chips for her, and pop a third for the baby, and she did that with everything the entire pregnancy and wondered at the end why she gained over 80 pounds. Not everyone I guess understands the whole you don’t really need to eat for two thing, LOL

  15. These are great tips and most of them apply to non-pregnant life as well.

    I didn’t really have a shot at purposefully managing weight gain. I only gained 18 lbs (I’m 5’10” so it looked like way less), because I was so miserably sick the first 20 weeks and then because little man insisted on growing up into my rib cage, squashing my lungs and stomach so that eating more than a few bites of anything at a time was close to impossible.

    That being said, I have a few friends who were active and ate reasonably and gained a ton of weight. Most of it was bloat and water weight, but pregnancy can be tricky that way. In some cases the body does what it wants, in spite of our best intentions.

    • That’s absolutely right about having the the best of intentions and our bodies choosing to handle things otherwise, which is why its so important to follow the advice of your doctor instead of focusing exclusively on a specific number of pounds or a target range that many doctors collectively suggest. Your own doctor will know what’s best for you given your own circumstances.

  16. I gained over 30 pounds with both of mine. I ate pretty well (after the first trimester) an worked out until the very end. My doctor was never concerned. The totally strange thing is, is that the number on the scale was the exact same at the all my month check-ins and the very end. It was almost like my body has a number it needs to be at to grow a baby. This time, I have already gained less weight- not sure why, but I am sure I will catch up.

  17. natrunsfar says:

    Love these tips! I agree – people should not make pregnancy an excuse to pig out and go crazy.
    It is so unhealthy to do that!! You had such a beautiful, healthy approach to your pregnancy!! 🙂

  18. Great tips! Wish I had read this 11 years ago – I gained 45lbs with my first and less and less with each subsequent pregnancy.

  19. jillconyers says:

    The eating for 2 things makes me laugh. You crushed tip #4!

  20. great tips! My mom is a L&D nurse so I have learned all about pregnancy since I was young-she always says she is amazed how many people come in to deliver and say-well I have been eating for two

  21. All of this is great info! I feel like when I get pregnant I will gain weight from the “eat for two” mentality lol I already struggle with keeping my cravings in check 🙂

  22. 40isthenew30 says:

    Hi Kathryn I really love these tips 🙂
    I have also created a blog which includes some great pregnancy tips that I thought you might be interested in 🙂

    My blog is based on a campaign that is dedicated to advocating awareness and educating women that it is perfectly okay to be an older mum. There is currently a negative stigma surrounding this issue, even though there are a large proportion of women who are having kids later in life. It would be great if you could support our campaign by checking out our blog.
    – D.W

  23. Pingback: Top 5 Posts of 2016 | From Dancing to Running

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