• Nutrition

Weight Gain Facts

Pregnant lady and a plate of fruit

Gaining weight is a natural part of pregnancy and an important aspect of your growing baby's health. Although you're "eating for two" during pregnancy, it's important to avoid the temptation to eat twice as much. Rather than focusing on quantity, try to enhance the quality of your food choices.

Pregnancy and weight gain: Pregnancy calories still count

Eating the best foods and consuming the correct number of calories benefits your unborn baby's health — and yours — at every stage of pregnancy.

  • In the 1st trimester, Healthcare Professionals suggest continuing your daily intake of pre-pregnancy calories, which is 2000 to 2200 calories for most women during childbearing years. While your unborn baby’s calorie needs are small during the 1st trimester, their needs for nutrients are high. This is the time to start making every bite count.
  • In the 2nd trimester, Healthcare Professionals recommend adding about 340 calories a day. That’s the equivalent of 1 cup of fat-free skim milk and one slice of whole-grain bread with 1-1/2 tablespoons of peanut butter.
  • During the 3rd trimester, Healthcare Professionals recommend an additional 450 calories a day. That’s the equivalent of 1 cup of low-fat vanilla yoghurt, 1/2 cup of mixed fruit, and 1/3 cup of low-fat muesli.

Why weight matters during your pregnancy

How much weight you gain during pregnancy impacts your baby’s health and your well-being during and after pregnancy.

Gaining too little weight during pregnancy increases a baby’s risk of:

  • Pre-term birth
  • Low birth weight
  • Difficulty initiating breastfeeding

Gaining too much weight during pregnancy increases the risk of:

  • Macrosomia (birth weight of more than 4,500 g**)
  • Increased baby size, which might require cesarean-section delivery
  • Difficulty losing weight after pregnancy
  • Gestational diabetes or hypertension

The right amount of pregnancy weight gain varies for each woman and is based on how much she weighs before becoming pregnant. Ask your Healthcare Professional to help you determine the right amount of maternity weight gain for you.

How to manage calories during your pregnancy while ensuring proper nutrition:

  • Try eating smaller, more frequent meals to avoid intense hunger.
  • Watch portion sizes, eat slowly, and give your body time to digest food.
  • Fill up on fruits and vegetables, which provide nutrients, water, and fibre with fewer calories.
  • Focus on better-quality foods, and make adjustments in consumption based on activity levels.

With a healthy approach, you can ensure you’re responsibly eating for two while achieving the pregnancy weight that’s best for you.

We know as a mother you want the very best for your baby. This desire is born the moment you begin to plan for your pregnancy.

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