Weight Gain Guidelines

ACOG (American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the professional association of Ob-Gyns in the United States) recommends a total weight gain of 24 lbs. during pregnancy. Most of your weight gain should be achieved in the last part of pregnancy, that is, 11 lbs.

Weight Gain is a balancing act between food consumption (calories in) and food burned (calories out). Gaining more than the recommended 24 lbs. means that you will hold on to that weight after your delivery, i.e. net weight gain. If you are gaining more weight than recommended, then you need to do one or both of the following actions:

Eat Less

Exercise More

Exercise and physical activity help burn calories. Also the composition of your diet can influence weight gain: try to reduce fats and eat more protein. My advice is to focus on protein foods: fat has twice as many calories as protein and carbohydrates. Further, protein does not cause the higher level of insulin release from your pancreas as do carbohydrates (“sugars”). The moment your blood sugar (or glucose) bottoms out, your body’s “hunger center” becomes activated. Consequently, high carbohydrate diets cause “rebound hunger” in about 2 hours: you experience the up and down cycles of hunger and eating with resultant unwanted weight gain (particularly during the morning sickness of the first trimester.

Fat: 9 calories/gram (you need to burn 9 calories to use up one gram of fat)

Protein and Carbohydrates: 4.7 calories/gram

Eat less fat by avoiding fried foods. Decrease your amount of carbohydrates by eating less breads, pasta, and desserts. Excess weight gain makes you feel more uncomfortable and just makes weight loss more difficult postpartum. Most food establishments fry or add a lot of fat and butter to their food (because fat tastes so good! Like French fries and pizza!). Avoid eating out: dining at fast food restaurants will make you consume more fat and sugar calories (and you can save a lot of money and waiting time simultaneously!).

Where does the weight gain come from?

Another patient also stated, “According to my BMI calculator, I am too short!”

If you are gaining more than a pound per week in the first 28 weeks of pregnancy, then you are gaining too much weight. As above, avoid fats (butter, fried foods) and decrease your “carbos”: ice cream, cake, candy, deserts, breads, pasta, etc.)

Weight gain or loss is based on a simple formula:

Calories IN – Calories Burned = Net Calories

Simply, that means that the amount of calories you consume minus calories you burn up equal net weight gain or loss.

So if you are gaining too much weight, just eat a little less and exercise more.

Author’s Note: Miracle Grow© Not Recommended as “Growth Nourishment” for Your Baby!

Other helpful ways to watch your weight:

- Drink more water, such as 6 to 8 full glasses of water per day (it fills you up!)
- If you are not hungry, do not eat! Just because it happens to be lunch time does not mean that you have to eat.
- Conversely, when you are no longer hungry: stop eating! You do not have to finish your plate: better in the waste than on your waist! Further, you do not have to finish your child’s plate: throw it out or store it up for leftovers for another time.
- Eat more vegetables such as carrots, celery and cucumbers: they tend to fill you up and eliminate your appetite.
- Eat and chew your food very slowly. Chew gum when you feel like snacking.
- Exercise or be more physically active: go outside for walks or if the weather is not conducive, walk on a treadmill or use other equipment. If you watch any TV shows, put your treadmill in front of the TV and walk when you ordinarily just sit on your butt!