There are guidelines for healthy pregnancy weight gain week to week, though no expectant mother’s experience is exactly alike. At your first prenatal appointment, your doctor should give you a lot of important information, including how far along you are, and your baby’s due date. Armed with this information, you can plot a course to eat well and gain the weight you need to nurture your baby, one week at a time.
Total Weight Gain
If you have a Body Mass Index (BMI) in the normal range (18.5 – 26), your doctor will probably recommend you gain 25 – 35 lbs. total. If you are overweight (BMI of 26 – 29), you should probably gain 15 – 25 lbs., and if you are underweight (BMI under 18.5), the doctor will likely recommend a 28 – 40 lb. gain. For more on BMI, visit http://www.3fatchicks.com/a-basic-body-mass-index-definition/
When to Gain Weight
Assuming your goal is to gain the standard 25 – 35 lbs., the key is to gain weight gradually so your body can better adjust to change.
The first trimester, you need only gain 2 – 5 lbs. If you whip out a calculator, that breaks down to roughly 1/6 – 1/3 lb. each week for the first 12 weeks. Some women gain no weight, or even lose a few pounds due to nausea.
In the second trimester, your baby really starts to grow and your weight gain should increase accordingly, about 12 – 15 lbs. Each week of the second trimester, you should aim to gain 1 – 1.5 lbs.
In the third trimester, you should gain approximately 8 – 10 lbs., about 1 lb. each week. Often, there is no weight gain the last four weeks, and sometimes even a small weight loss, because the baby puts pressure on the mother’s stomach and eating is uncomfortable.
Peace of Mind
Whatever the calculator and scale read each week, it is your overall total weight gain that matters. It is completely normal to gain .5 lb one week and 2 lbs. the next. As always, be sure to ask your doctor if you have any concerns.