Healthy Weight Gain During Pregnancy

Written By: Gloria Tsang, RD

Title: Founding Registered Dietitian

Alumni: University of British Columbia

Last Updated on:

What you eat every day, even before you are pregnant, is important for your health as well as for the health of your baby. Your diet before pregnancy and while you are pregnant should contain the vitamins and nutrients that your body will need to help your baby develop and grow the way he or she should.

How Much Weight Should You Gain?

Weight gain among women who have healthy babies varies. The following is the recommended weight gain during pregnancy based on your pre-pregnant weight and BMI. If you do not know your BMI, use our BMI Calculator.

Pre-Pregnant BMI Healthy Weight Gain during Pregnancy
<20 28 – 40 lb.
20 – 25 25 – 35 lb.
>27 15 – 25 lb.

In order to gain the above healthy weight during pregnancy, it is recommended to increase your daily energy intake

Increase Daily Energy by…
First Trimester 100 kcal
Second Trimester 300 kcal
Third Trimester 300 kcal

As you can see, pregnant women only need to add about 100 calories in the first trimester, and 300 calories in the second and third trimesters. Strategically add an extra nutritious snack should be able to take care of your needs.  And don’t forget taking your prenatal multivitamins!

Pregnancy: How Many Servings Per Food Group?

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists ACOG recommends increasing the intake of the 4 basic food groups to the following:

  • 4 or more servings of fruits and vegetables
  • 6 – 11 servings of whole-grain and other grain products
  • 4 or more servings of milk products
  • 3 or more servings of meat, poultry, fish, eggs, nuts and lentils

8 Snack Ideas for Pregnancy

Dietitian Beth Ehrensberger has written a more detailed post on snacks for pregnancy.  Here are some of her snack ideas:

  • 1 cup low-fat chocolate milk with a large banana
  • 1 cup vanilla low-fat vanilla yogurt with 1 cup fresh cantaloupe chunks sprinkled with 2 tablespoons granola cereal
  • 1 cup fat-free skim milk blended with 1 cup fresh strawberries and 3/4 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt
  • 1 cup 2% cottage cheese and 1 cup fresh pineapple chunks
  • 1 cup carrot strips with 4 tablespoons hummus and 8 whole grain crackers (such as Triscuit)
  • 4 graham cracker squares spread with 2 tablespoons peanut butter (Some research suggests that if your family, or your partner’s, has a history of peanut allergies, you may want to avoid peanut products while pregnant. Check with your doctor.)
  • 8 whole grain crackers with 2 oz low-fat cheddar cheese and one cup red pepper strips
  • Trail mix combining 23 almonds, 1 mini box of raisins, and 3/4 cup whole grain cereal

Now What?

Now that you’ve figured out what snacks to include in your diet, check our detailed Pregnancy Diet and Nutrition Guide for more information on individual nutrients, foods to avoid and other pertinent pregnancy diet tidbits.




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