Dietary Guidelines and Weight Gain in Pregnancy

Weight Gain

In general, you should aim to put on between 25 and 35 pounds. If you’re underweight to begin with, you can gain a bit more (30-40 pounds); if you’re overweight at the start, your goal should be to put on a little less (15-25 pounds). This weight gain should be accomplished by eating a healthy, well-balanced diet. Special situations, such as twins, may change the amount of weight we would recommend you to gain. If you have questions regarding the correct amount for you to plan on gaining, we can address it in your visits.

When you put on weight may be as important as the total amount. You should expect to gain the least weight during the first trimester (roughly 2 to 5 pounds total). Although some people may even lose a few pounds initially, especially if they have significant nausea or were overweight to start with. In the third trimester, when the baby is growing the most, you should expect to gain the greatest number of pounds (roughly a pound a week).

Well-Balanced Diet

Pregnancy is a time to eat smart. You only need on average an extra 300-400 k calories a day to support the growth and development of your baby. By eating a healthy diet and taking a prenatal multivitamin supplement on a regular basis you should be providing your pregnancy will all the necessary vitamins and minerals, including folic acid.

To see a food pyramid specially tailored for pregnant women, feel free to check out:

Click here for more information on nutrition in pregnancy

FOODS: Special Considerations

Although there are potential health benefits to eating fish/seafood, some types are unhealthy to eat during pregnancy. A pregnant woman can safely eat up to 12 ounces (two average meals) a week of a variety of other fish and shellfish (examples include shrimp, canned tuna, salmon, and catfish). But you should eat no more than 6 ounces of canned albacore (white) tuna per week. Also avoid raw fish, especially shellfish such as oysters and clams, to avoid potentially dangerous infections. Due to potentially risky levels of mercury, which can cause serious health problems for a growing baby, you should avoid swordfish, shark, king mackerel, tile fish, and ahi tuna.

Unpasteurized foods can potentially contain harmful bacteria, one of which is called listeria. Avoid soft cheeses such as Brie, Feta, Camembert, and Roquefort, unless they are labeled as made with pasteurized milk. Also some fresh fruit juices, like homemade apple cider, may be unpasteurized and potentially risky. For other infectious reasons, you should avoid foods with raw or undercooked eggs in them.

Cook all meats, poultry, and seafood thoroughly to kill bacteria. Avoid raw or undercooked meats. Avoid pates or refrigerated meat spreads, due to the risk of infection. Some doctors recommend avoiding deli meats for similar reasons. If you are going to eat deli meats please make sure they are fresh and from a clean source, although heating them until steaming hot is the best way to significantly decrease the risk of infection. Processed meats, such as deli meats and hot dogs, are also very high in nitrates and should be limited in pregnancy.

It is suggested to limit intake of caffeine to less than 2oomg/day. Remember to consider the caffeine you may consume in sodas and some teas.

Food/Beverage Caffeine mg/oz Food/Beverage Caffeine mg/oz
Barq’s Root Beer 23/12oz Einstein Bros Coffee 206/16oz
Chocolate Milk 5/8oz Hot Cocoa 5/8oz
Coca-Cola Classic 35/12oz Lipton Iced Teas 50/20oz
Coffee-brewed 108/8oz McDonald’s Coffee 145/16oz
Coffee-drip 145/8oz Milk Chocolate 11/1.55oz
Dark Chocolate 30/1.45oz Nestea Iced Tea 34/16oz
Diet Coke 45/12oz Starbucks Caffe Latte 150/16oz
Diet Mountain Dew 55/12oz Starbucks Mocha 175/16oz
Diet Pepsi 36/12oz Starbucks Coffee-drip 260/12oz
Dunkin’ Donuts Coffee 143/16oz Starbucks Caffe Americano 225/16oz