How to Gain Weight While Pregnant

Gaining Weight in Pregnancy

Pregnant woman at the dinner table
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There is so much focus on ensuring that you don't gain too much weight in pregnancy. But the truth is that there are some women who actually need to gain more weight than they have been gaining. Here are some tips to gain weight while you are pregnant:

  • Eat more frequently.

    Sometimes you don't gain weight in pregnancy because your stomach is so squashed that you can't add extra calories to your meals. By eating smaller, but more frequent meals, you have the ability to add extra calories throughout the day. This can also help with some pregnancy complaints like nausea and heartburn.
  • Carry food with you.

    To help you snack throughout the day, I think it's important to carry some food with you. Carry easy foods - no preparation required. I like to carry nuts, like almonds. Sometimes I add dried fruit like a trail mix. If you have a place to keep food cold, I would suggest that you try cheese with fruit. I love cheddar on apples or pears. And fresh fruit is always handy. Pop a banana or orange in your purse and you're ready to roll. This also helps you remember to eat or at least be prepared to eat when you're actually hungry.
  • Drink your calories.

    If you are having trouble eating or having trouble getting in calories during the day, consider what you drink as an added way to increase your calories. In other words: Try drinking some of your calories. It may be easier for you to take a smoothie with you and sip it throughout the day. You can even add protein powder to your shakes for a bit of a caloric punch. It doesn't really taste any different, but it can add calories from protein. These can be fruit and vegetable smoothies to help you get in your needed vitamins and minerals as well. 
  • Eat snacks that pack a punch.

    When you're snacking try to make your calories count. A hard boiled egg, yogurt or a wedge of cheese can be nutrient dense and good for you. They don't cause you to stuff a lot of food into your stomach, however. I am a huge fan of cheddar cheese with apple slices. It's a great sweet and savory combination that can also soothe a lot of cravings. 
  • Add supplements if needed.

    Protein powders added to foods for extra calories. They can also be added to shakes. If powdered supplements aren't your thing, then you can also do bars. When I was pregnant with the twins I ate Tiger's Milk Bars and Luna Bars. There are also a whole slew of bars designed for pregnant women. There are a ton of nutrition bars out today, each with a variety of ingredients to meet the needs of almost everyone out there, including plenty of vegetarian and vegan options.

Generally speaking, it's recommended that most women gain between 25-35 pounds in pregnancy. It should be a bit more if you were underweight to begin with and a little bit less if you were overweight when you got pregnant. If you are expecting multiples, you will need to gain more weight, and the weight gain in the first 24 weeks of pregnancy is crucial for healthier babies.

If you are concerned, you should start by having a conversation with your midwife or doctor. Though how much an individual practitioner knows about nutrition varies.

If you need to, do not be hesitant in asking for a referral to a dietician or nutritionist. This is a way to help you increase your confidence.

Sources:

Mola GD, Kombuk B, Amoa AB. Poor weight gain in late third trimester: a predictor of poor perinatal outcome for term deliveries? P N G Med J. 2011 Sep-Dec;54(3-4):164-73.

Yan J. Maternal pre-pregnancy BMI, gestational weight gain, and infant birth weight: A within-family analysis in the United States. Econ Hum Biol. 2015 Jul;18:1-12. doi: 10.1016/j.ehb.2015.03.002. Epub 2015 Mar 19.

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