Suggested Weight Gain During Pregnancy – Harmful or Helpful?

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I had another post planned for today, but after I received an email from a reader yesterday (that I have not been able to get out of my head), I felt this issue needed to be addressed and discussed.

Below is a quick synopsis of the email I received(I want to keep her anonymous):
Reader X is pregnant with her first child. She’s an extremely active (biked 100 miles just before she got pregnant), petite woman ( she would get turned away if she tried to donate blood), who has continued to eat healthy and remain active during the early part of her pregnancy.  She gained 10 pounds in her first trimester and although she was initially okay with this weight gain, is now distraught because her doctor gave her a hard time about it at her last appointment.

I briefly talked about my weight gain during my first pregnancy in a previous post.  I am not ashamed to admit that I gained 9 pounds by week 10.  I was eating healthy, running, and maintaining my usual active lifestyle (occasionally biking, walking, doing the elliptical and strength training).  The numbers on the scale were going up and I was starting to freak out.  I had known my doctor for most of my life (I went to high school with his daughter) and therefore, he knew my lifestyle and calmed me down.  He told me over and over again that every woman’s body handles pregnancy differently – and the quick weight gain was my body’s way of preparing itself for the next 7 months and then for labor and delivery.  The weight gain was primarily in my thighs, hips, and butt – the areas that would receive most of the pressure from the pregnancy and L&D.  My doctor was right – over the next 7 months, I gained a total of 16 pounds – I went into labor having gained 25 pounds (which, according to most pregnancy sources, is on the low end of the 25-35 range for a woman of my BMI/weight).

It’s easy now to look back and be okay with the high weight gain in the first few weeks since I know how the rest of pregnancy ended up for me.  But at the time, I was worried and confused.  Why did ALL of the books and online sources I found give low recommended weight gain in the 1st trimester?  Some even said most women could lose weight in the first couple of months.   I blew these numbers out of the water and it was hard NOT to have these numbers constantly in my head:

BabyCenter: 1-5 pounds (total)
WebMD: 2-4 pounds (total)
American Pregnancy: 1-4.5 pounds (total)
Mayo Clinic: only a few pounds (total)

As a caveat, all websites do have a blurb about how the weight gain is only recommended, but since I gained double what any of them had suggested before I even was out of the 1st trimester,  I was concerned I was on the road to gaining too much weight.   I was worried for me and my baby’s health – numerous sources indicated that:

 …women who gain too much weight during pregnancy are at a higher risk for having a cesarean delivery…and the babies of women who gain more than the recommended amount of weight during pregnancy may be too large at birth, which can cause labor complications for both mom and baby.
Source

I understand that there has to be some guidance for females, but I, personally, found the information detrimental.  I was not overweight to start pregnancy nor did I sit on the couch and eat potato chips and Bon-Bons all day.  I had an average BMI and was exercising six days/week for 45-90 min/day.  So was it really terrible that I gained 10 pounds right off the bat?

 If my doctor hadn’t been so knowledgeable about my physical condition, activity, and overall lifestyle, he may have given me a hard time – just like Reader X got from her doctor.  My doctor, who had been delivering babies for almost 40 years, had told me that if I’m eating healthy and staying physically active, then high weight gain early on in pregnancy is likely my body’s way of preparing for the rest of pregnancy and childbirth – and NOT to stress or worry about it.

Every woman’s body is different as is the way her body responds to pregnancy.

It seems like all the information out there causes too many females to get wrapped around what the scale says during pregnancy (especially early on) rather than HOW they feel, what their vitals are indicating, and how their baby is doing.  If you are staying active and healthy, does it really matter how many pounds you initially put on?   

What are your thoughts?  Do you think the suggested weight gain is helpful or hurtful?  

Have you given birth?  What was your weight gain like during the 9 months?

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    Comments

    1. I have been looking for this post for weeks. I was 5’4” and 106lbs pre-pregnancy, I work out 5 days a week mostly running and doing weights. I gained weight very quickly and now am at 12 pounds in week 19. I’m not eating a ton more or worse have been running 6 days per week (although at a much slower pace to keep my HR under 140bpm) throughout the entire pregnancy. I am already showing quite a bit and struggling because I’m not fitting the mold of weight gain discussed in all of the books. Glad there are other fit women who experience this, it is really tough. Glad to know I am normal and I’m not going to blow up or gain 80 pounds:).

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    3. Thank you so much for this post! I am only 9 wks along and have already gained 6 pounds. Like you mentioned above I’ve started to panic since that’s more than the recommended amount for the 1st trimester and I still have 4 wks to go! I have run 10 marathons and workout daily (although I’ve modified the intensity due to morning sickness), and while my BMI is not considered underweight I know I carry a lot of muscle weight. Your post has helped me feel better and relax about my gain. What’s really confusing me are the calorie recommendations for the first trimester. Some sources say no additional calories, and others say 300 a extra per day. Does the 300 extra a day assume you were eating 2k calories a day before pregnancy? Or regardless of your pre pregnancy calorie intake just add 300 to that? I’m definitely eating more calories (still from healthful foods) since I feel much hungrier now.. But based on your post I will try not to sweat it and just enjoy the ride :)

    4. Baby Benc says:

      Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! First baby, and I was also getting super nervous… I’ve gained 10 lbs at 15 weeks (way too much according to the charts- seriously???). Pre-prego weight 105lbs at 5’5″, a BMI of 17.5. I have been swimming ALMOST everyday since week 4. My diet is healthy and snacks consist of fruits and veggies, and icrecream some nights, but that’s 100% normal for me. I wasn’t upset about the weight gain because I trust my body for the most part and figured there’s a reason, and since I’m smaller I might need the extra weight, but I was a little nervous about “unhealthy quick weight gain”. Thank you for calming my nerves!

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    6. Jourdan says:

      I’m so happy to have read this post. I’m at week 16, and I’ve gained a total of 9 pounds. I’m very active, and was nervous about this because my midwife told me I needed to start a diet after gaining 5 pounds my first trimester! Apparently the new recommendation is for women to not gain more than 20 lbs during the whole pregnancy! Mind you, before getting pregnant I was 5’4″ and 127 pounds.

      • Hey Jourdan,
        Thank you so much for your comment! And congratulations on your pregnancy!! I had no idea that the weight guidelines had changed ! And I’m really surprised that your midwife wants you to diet – especially after gaining only 5 pounds! I’m not a medical professional but that just seems strange to me! I’ve read in a lot of places that dieting during pregnancy is risky business and the focus should be more on steady gaining – not losing weight!!
        nycrunningmama recently posted..LA Marathon Weekend + GoalsMy Profile

      • I would double check that midwives’ credentialing then…honestly. I’m pregnant with #4, run a marathon, started at 5′ 6″ and 127 and always gained exactly 25 pounds by the end (it just naturally happens…no extra planning required, although it has always come in different times through each pregnancy). Anyway, the guidelines have NOT changed and if you are already getting a hard time over 5 lbs and not getting the correct overall weight gain information (still at 25-35 according to every website I’ve visited) then maybe you need to find a better fit. 20 lbs is the recommended total weight gain if you start your pregnancy obese (only 15 lbs if you start with a BMI greater than 30). BUT that obviously doesn’t describe you at all! Hope you got some clarification on this from your midwife or found someone more knowledgeable that you can trust. :) Good luck!

    7. Yes, this post has helped me too. I’m not a runner, got a knee injury many years ago (running), but I go to the gym around 4 times a week doing a mixture of cardio and power yoga. I was 129 pounds, bmi 22 before I got pregnant. Not as low as many of you, but I have a fair amount of muscle on me which bmi does not seem to address. And I do weight watchers so I was on weight watchers maintenance regime when I got pregnant (correcting a bit too much overheating over the years – I’m in my 40s now), and I’ve continued it – so all food monitored and weighed and controlled. Anyway, massive weight gain. As at 18 weeks I was one stone up. Half of that went on in the first 14 weeks, the second half in weeks 14-18. God knows where I’m heading next. My tummy is absolutely massive. But I’ve continued my work out regime. I didn’t get any morning sickness or tiredness or anything so I just kept going all the way through so far, even increasing it to 5 hours some weeks as I’m so paranoid over the weight gain, and that’s AFTER cutting back on my regular red wines. Honestly, I can’t help thinking that I’m developing a super muscular uterus or something and that’s where all the weight is going!! Really nice (well, you know what I mean) of other slim fit women having the same experience. It’s kind of reassuring.

      • Hi Clare! Glad you found the post useful! The more and more comments that come in, the more the weight gain chart seems to be proven wrong – so many active, healthy women are gaining weight differently (and mabe even more weight!) than recommended. Hope the remainder of your pregnancy goes smoothly and uneventfully! Congratulations and best of luck =)
        nycrunningmama recently posted..LA Marathon Weekend + GoalsMy Profile

    8. HungryBetty says:

      Thank you for this post!!! I was freaking out because I’ve gained 10 lbs at 12 weeks. Prior to falling pregnant, my normal weight was 125lb at 5’7″, a BMI of 19.6. I have been exercising at least 45 minutes 4x a week since week 9. (I was running prior to the pregnancy, but bleeding early on and previous miscarriages put me on bed rest until week 9). My diet is quite healthy and snacks consist of fruit, veggies, and homemade raw vegan items like flax tortilla chips and salsa or kale chips.

      I kept saying to myself that my body knows what it is doing, but I didn’t quite believe it. Now I do! Thank you. :0)

    9. I’m 13 weeks and have gained almost 10 pounds. I’m also active, exercising 5 days a week including running and strength training. I eat well about 80% of the time but definitely give in to cravings. But I always did before I was pregnant too and have always been at a good weight for my height. I wasn’t worried about it at all until I downloaded an app that said I would probably have gained 4-5 pounds! So I feel better having read this for sure haha. Thanks!

    10. Thank you for this! I workout 4x/wk & try to eat well (aside from a few cravings in moderation) I was at the heavier end of my normal weight when I found out I was preggo (right after Christmas). I was very concerned that I only gain 1-5 pounds during my fist trimester, but after only 10 weeks I’ve already gained 7 (I think mostly in my boobs)! I know I’m doing everything right, but the scale just keeps creeping up! I have a dr. appt. this week & I was going to ask if I’m gaining too much or if I should be concerned, but I know I’m doing just what I’m supposed to. It’s really comforting to know that others have had a similar experience and that just because I’m not “text-book” doesn’t mean I’m not “normal” :)

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    14. Allison says:

      Thanks for the post! Phew…it made me feel much better. I love running and I actually ran a 3:50 marathon 3 weeks before finding out I was pregnant. I have a BMI of 19 and I gained 11 lbs in the first trimester as well. My doctor freaked me out and kept saying I was on the road to gaining 60 lbs during pregnancy and I would have a terrible time losing it. This was absurd! I eat healthy, manage to run around 12-15 miles per week, swim and take spin classes. I’m 21 weeks now and have gained about 15 lbs. I have come to the conclusion athletes gain more weight early on and if your body needs it…well your body and baby need it! Thanks again!

      • Hi! I just had a similar experience at my dr yesterday. I am 20 weeks pregnant and gained 15 lbs already. The doctor freaked out on me. I do half marathons and triathlons. In fact when I found out I was pregnant I was training for a half Ironman. I am constantly at the gym and eating right- obviously I occasionally cave to some cravings. My first child I gained 40 lbs. and had a 9 hr labor. I lost every single pound I gained. I try not to stress over all the guidelines which can be intimidating. I agree that athletes seem to gain weight during pregnancy faster.

    15. Your article is very moving and very supportive considering all the pressure being put on pregnant women to stay in shape, eat right, exercise and get back into pre-pregnancy form ASAP. It’s so hard to enjoy a pregnancy when everything is so structured and critical of every pound you gain. I’m 19 weeks and have been monitoring my weight like crazy. I exercise an hour every day and I try to reduce my sugar and processed food intake. I am at a normal BMI and I have gained 5 pounds. I wish I could let loose and just do whatever I feel like but I know eating healthy and exercising is right for the baby but at the same time all the pressure to stay at a lower weight is so stressful. I ate Mcdonalds today as a treat and I felt soooo guilty. I guess what I’m trying to say is it’s great to stay in shape but it’s good to take breaks, enjoy pregnancy and enjoy every day we have these little guys so close to us, growing and maturing and forming into the bundles of joy we will hold on to.

    16. Thank you!!!!!!!!! We are trying to get pregnant. I am dieting and 3 lbs from my goal weight, so I will stop dieting as soon as we are pregnant. I was already looking at weight charts and I definitely would have worried if I gained too “fast” or too “much.” Now, thanks to your post and the comments, I won’t worry! I am going to keep exercising and eating healthy (but add in 650 cal in first trimester, 500 cal to stop the weight loss and 150 cal for baby). No eating free for all, but I will have much more detachment from the number on the scale thanks to your post! I am not in control of the way my body gains during pregnancy, I realized! I am in control of exercising, eating healthy, and a positive Attitude :)

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    20. Just wanted to say I loved this post. I’m just like you, active (I run/walk/elliptical and/or strength train daily for at least an hour 6 days a week). I also went into pregnancy with a low BMI and I’m about 5’9″. I’ve put on about 11-12 lbs and I’m coming up on 16 weeks. I know this is an older post but it really helped to read it. I agree with you, this whole “weight gain limitations” can be a bit intimidating and annoying. I feel wonderful, I eat healthy and lots of vegetables and lean meats but I don’t hold back on a daily indulgence. Its also my first pregnancy so I don’t have anything to compare it with. The weight has all gone to the breasts, but, hips, thighs and of course a small baby bump so I relate to you on that as well. Thanks for the post and reminding us active women and even non active women that these weight gain guidelines are just that, guidelines!

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    23. thank you so much for this article !!! I was, just like you, freaking out! my first trimester I just gained 3 pounds and feeling really good, since I run 6-8 miles 4-5 days of the week and eat very healthy, very clean…just to find out this week that I’ve gained 6 pounds in just a few days!!! what heck went wrong?? feeling much better more relax after reading your personal story. Thanks again for writing all this articles they are very helpful!!

    24. I found this article to be very uplifting for me..i am 13 weeks along with my first pregnancy and i have gained 4-5 kilos. I am 178 cm tall and i weighed pre pregnancy 66 kilos. That being said, i had been on a 1200 cal diet and had lost almost 30 kilos prior to getting pregnant and i was active. Now that my calorie intake has increased i find it normal that i gain a bit of weight after my body had gotten used to a strict diet..that being said i am eating healthy and rarely eat sweets or junk food so i was really depressed when all i hear is women should barely gain any weight in the first trimester.

    25. What a treat that your site recommended this to me just now! I literally have been going back and forth with myself on this for approx 4 weeks! I am probably hovering around 7-9 pounds at 14 weeks, and have read ALL of those websites listing recommended weight gain for the first trimester. I could not be doing one darn thing differently as I am at almost the same exact pre-pregnancy activity level today! All of my clothes fit, I don’t have any issues, and no one even knows I am pregnant! After more research and thought, I believe that some people gain more of their water weight and blood weight (as the amount of blood in your body nearly doubles) early on, as well as the increased breast tissue and placenta/slight growth in uterus to that point. I think those things could easily account for 5–10 pounds depending on the person. So really, probably not much to worry about. And look at you!!!! You are a prime example of that. You didn’t pile on another 50lbs because you put on more up front. So doctors, shut it! hahaha
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    26. Mama to two says:

      I think pregnancy weight depends on the person. I am 5’8″ and 120-125lbs when not pregnant. I am extremely active with being in the gym and running half marathons. With my first son I gained 68lbs on 1700-1800 calories while hiking/working out daily! With my second son I worked all day as a teacher, worked out, ate 1700-1800 calories and gained 72lbs! My boys were not tiny: 9 and 10 lbs. Within a year of my children being born I returned to 125lbs. My OB and midwife said not to worry if you eat right and are active because everyone is different.

      • Mama to two says:

        I should add I am 7 weeks pregnant with #3 and have already put on 8.5 lbs and am not worried. Lol

      • I am so glad to see someone was more like me in pregnancy..I truly worried, because although eating healthy,skipping all ice cream, Mcdonalds, and fried foods..I still ,(like Mama to two)..gained around 70 pounds or so with every pregnancy to 3 boys.I am now 40, and with 2 recent miscarriges under my belt,..would gladly gain 100 pnds, if it would give me a healthy living child.I am still trying..(girl)..and have thrown the weight issue out the window.I will do what I always do, eat healthy, stay as active as possible, and take vitamins..and have faith for the rest. Concentrate on your health, not weight gain.

    27. OMG thank you i needed this and wish i had read it sooner. At my first appointment at 12 weeks i had gained 11 lbs already. I was slightly underweight by 2 lbs when i first got pregnant (I got pregnant right after running my first full marathon in May:) So i was a little put off by gaining so much due to the recommendations. I am so glad to hear that you and many other active momma’s have gained a lot the first trimester as well. I have my 2nd appointment next week at 16 weeks and am anxious to see how much more i have gained. But i feel that it’s slowed down a bit. I will admit it sure is weird having a little belly when you are used to a 4 pack, lol. But i am getting used to it and loving it! I am also making sure i eat enough and still eat well and clean.

    28. LonestarMama says:

      Thank you so much for this post. I too am a petite (5’3″) very active woman (ran a half marathon in April this year). I have gained 4 pounds within the first 6 weeks of my pregnancy and reading all the recommended weight gain guidelines had me really worried. I am maintaining a similar diet as pre-pregnancy and similar workout routine (lower intensity), so it’s good to see that it will even out in the end.

    29. SterlingBabiesDue2013! says:

      You are too cute pregnant! :-) I am only in the middle of my 10 weeks now with TWINS but I wanted to respond since I am having some concerns and pressure from my family on my weight. I am 5’4″ and before IVF was 105. With the injections, they bumped me up to 108 pounds. I maintained that weight and even fluctuated to 110 until this week. I am now back down to 107. I’m NOT trying to lose weight. I’ve heard through sources petite women will look preggo sooner b/c of our thin frames, however, I really only have a small “pizza pouch” I call it. My sis and brother keep telling me to eat more and more. I tell them I am only supposed to eat an extra 300 calories/day with twins (that’s one bagel!). I am eating more than I used to but, to be honest, I am having aversions to healthy foods. All I want are carbs and fruit! And Salt & vinegar chips. LOL Before IVF I ate more healthy and was conscience of what I ate. I worked out a LOT more but my doc told me to stop working out until the end of my 1st trimester (so not to risk anything since I already have challenges getting preggo), so I haven’t been exercising for the past 3 or so months! How am I LOSING weight??! I want to look and feel pregnant and start to tell people but I just worry people will criticize me and tell me to eat, eat eat to gain. And it can take a toll on me when people keep saying these things. Anyone else gone through this experience and finally started to gain? When did you start to finally gain? Thanks!

    30. Bummer I didn’t mean to post AGAIN but wanted to say one quick thing :) Here in the UK (I have only been here since this summer so it’s my first baby to have here) I was only weight on my first visit to the doctor. THEY HAVEN’T WEIGHED SINCE, and I’m 34 weeks. I’ve even read that certain things like pre-eclampsia (sp?) have sudden weight gain at a certain point as a symptom – so you think they’d be checking that. I even asked the midwife and the Ob about it on my latest two visits – and they just don’t think it’s important! :) Also, they release you from the hospital 4 HOURS AFTER BIRTH if baby and mom are healthy. They send a visiting nurse to your home in the next day and days following, but THEY DON’T TREAT YOU LIKE YOU’RE SICK. They also encourage home births, and only higher-risk pregnancies see Ob’s – all the rest see midwives. You can even do a water birth at home easily, and certainly in any of the hospitals, without going through extra classes or anything. I just mention all these things to make the point that – in the US – pregnancy, labor, and childbirth are treated like an illness – something that needs to be managed, handled correctly, dealt with, etc. We’re a strange country that way. It seems the rest of the world is much better at seeing it as a natural part of life – maybe not every country, since I’m not an expert, but it seems like lots of other places are more easy-going about it than the US.

      • SiobhanCs says:

        My midwife in the UK made a valid point, I gained a stone (14lb) in a silly amount of time, by week 17, I said my fears to my midwife who very simpily said “you don’t look unhealthy to me, your not fat, your not to skinny, you look healthy so I don’t care” … I like her attitude. This is my first and I’m mind blown how relaxed the midwives are as they see me as having a healthy pregnancy. Barely see them! I Think with the treatment in the USA being as you described I would be a wreck!!!!

    31. I’m on the opposite end of the spectrum, I was overweight to start both of my pregnancies. With the first, I gained 27 pounds due to what they think was undiagnosed late developing gestational diabetes. I had only gained 7 pounds up until 32 weeks and the other 20 came on very quickly in the last 9 weeks. He ended up being a week late and 10 lb 12 oz. Within a week I was at my pre-pregnancy weight.

      With my second, I was really conscious about watching any late developing weight gain and monitoring my blood sugar even though I wasn’t diagnosed either time with GD. With that pregnancy I only gained 5-6 pounds. For my BMI, my OB was completely fine with that and I weighed less immediately after having her than I did pre-pregnancy.

      I think you’re completely right though, each body, each pregnancy even is different and there is no ‘guideline’ that is going to fit every person.
      Michelle recently posted..Motherhood in Numbers.My Profile

    32. Great post, Michelle! I was so amazed how different this is for everyone, too. I only gained a few pounds until I hit 20 weeks, and then it starting coming on quickly but my overall weight gain was still on the low end (about 16 pounds)… I was a little nervous about it being so low, but my midwife assured me it was fine and my daughter was also born almost 2 weeks early, which could have been another pound or two. My mom gained almost the exact same amount for all 3 of her pregnancies, so there definitely seems to be a hereditary component. Ironically, I held onto those last 5 stubborn pounds until after I weaned her at 14 months… so it doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with how easily that weight comes back off! :)
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    33. This was really informative! I’m a ways off from having a baby but I learned a lot from this!
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    34. I gained 40 pounds during my pregnancy which was higher than the recommended 25-35. I couldn’t wrap my head around why I was gaining so much weight despite eating healthy and working out 6 days a week.

      The fact is that these are just guidelines. What’s more important to note is that every woman is different, and as long as you are eating well and staying active, the scale should only be something that your OB should be monitoring.
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      • Sam, I agree 100% – I understand the necessity of getting weighed at the dr appointments…but in the end, it is just a # and isn’t the true test of how healthy a pregnancy you are having. Thank you for your comment =)

    35. I gained 40-50 pounds with both of my pregnancies. Both times I gained 10 pounds almost instantly and then didn’t gain for a while. I was more active with my first pregnancy, but I watched what I ate in both. I swear I gained more in my thighs and butt than in my belly, but apparently that’s just what my body does. I had two very healthy, moderate weight boys and the weight came off steadily, so I just accepted that’s what my body needed. (Not planning to have a third to test the theory though LOL).
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      • HAHA! Well if you do, you’ll have to share how much you gained this time around!! From all the experiences other females have shared, it seems that our bodies have different #s they each want to gain for pregnancy – I think a lot has to do with genetics…And you could still gain well over the recommended amount even if you ate healthy and stayed active!

    36. Adri @FoodieBeFit says:

      I might just be the worst person to ask. With my first pregnancy I gained 50 lbs and with my second 40. I was conscious about nutrition, but I wasn’t obsessed about how much I was gaining. I wasn’t into working out then, but was my leanest before I got pregnant. Still I decided to listen to my body, give in to {almost} every craving and relax about the weight thing, I had way bigger things coming my way and to worry about. I had a lot of water retention that contributed a lot to my weight gain and I also carried big babies 8.2 and the second was 10 lbs! But myself and the babies were and are very healthy healthy. You are right, all bodies are very different and so we are all bound to have different pregnancies. But I think is important for women to enjoy this moment and with a general healthy mentality just listen to their bodies and enjoy the process.
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      • Wow! You had big babies =) I don’t think there is anything wrong with giving into temptation / craving when you are pregnant. Honestly, I believe that when we crave something when we are pregnant, it is our bodies way of saying we need something in that food…Lately I’ve been on a dairy craving (cheese and milk) so I am eating a ton of cheese and drinking lots of chocolate milk =)

    37. Before I was pregnant with my daughter I was happy and healthy BMI. While carrying my daughter, I was active – running until 30 weeks, then walking lots. I lifted weights and ate relatively well (ok, I admit, I ate more dessert). I deliverd my daughter two weeks early, naturally, no meds, in 3.75 hours. She was not overweight in the slightest coming in at just under 7lbs. How much weight did I put on – 48 pounds!!! I did everything by the book and yet that’s what my body did. I didn’t have gestational diabetes – my blood sugars remained if anything, low. My mom – who was also very active through her two pregnancies gained 50 and 60 pounds respectively. So, factor in genetics and weight recommendations are just that. Recommendations. Every woman is so different and ultimately there’s more to a healthy baby than how much weight you put on.

    38. Jennifer says:

      I was in the same boat. This is my first pregnancy and had already gained over 10 lbs the first trimester. Since then, it has tapered off but at the rate I’m going, I will probably gain 35-40 lbs by the end of the pregnancy. I stay active, eat as healthy as I did before pregnancy (with the occasional succumbing to my cravings) and overall feel really good. I think the standards are there so people don’t get overboard but EVERYONE handles pregnancy different. I feel that as long as we stay active and make healthy food choices, we’ll be just fine.

    39. Great Post Michelle,
      I gained 30 lbs during my twin pregnancy and 12 of it was in the first trimester. I was told that this was rapid, but that my body needed the weight. Later as the weight gain slowed I was told that I needed to gain more and was constantly picked on for not gaining enough. I tried, I ate as much as I could but I also maintained a healthy lifestyle because I couldn’t see the health benefits of gorging on chips and ice cream while sitting on the couch.
      The bottom line is that there is no norm, the book and many doctors refer to outdated guidelines and it saddens me that they don’t personalize them more. Pregnancy is personal.
      Your friend should keep up what she is doing. I am certain that smaller women gain more in the first trimester, its just what you said … your body is preparing itself for the extra load its about to carry!
      Gia @ rungiarun recently posted..A case of the Grumpies and the Week in WorkoutsMy Profile

    40. Christina says:

      It is very interesting to read about other women’s weight gain experiences. I’m 28 weeks and have gained 15 lbs. I’ve been working out 4 to 6 times a week but at lower intensity levels than pre-pregnancy (yoga, barre classes, weight lifting, elliptical, etc) and eating healthy. I didn’t gain any weight in the first trimester and am surprised every time I go to the dr to see that I’ve gained 3 or 4 lbs in 4 weeks – everytime. I feel like I would be really packing it on if I wasn’t staying active and eating well.

    41. For people who aren’t being conscious of the choices (eating and activity) that they are making during pregnancy, yes, the guidelines can be helpful. But even then, every body is so different! And for me even every pregnancy-obviously in the same body :) – has been so different. During my first pregnancy I was not very active, worked a desk job, ate for two…gained 40lbs. I did better in a couple of my subsequent pregnancies, gaining considerably less (27-30lbs in most of them) and taking better care of myself.
      But now ironically, having started my current pregnancy in the best shape of my life, eating better than I ever have, still running 3 times at week at 37wks, I am up 37lbs. Not what I expected! lol Thankfully I have been blessed with an amazing midwife who after two big months of weight gain told me “keep making good choices, keep up your workouts, let your body do what it needs to do”. Even having gone through various gains in the past, it’s still hard to watch that scale go up. If I had a dr who was giving me grief about having gone over that recommended 25-35, I’d be crushed.
      Women have been conditioned to be so freaked out at that number on the scale…what we really need to pay attention to is our lifestyle choices!
      Catey recently posted..Things I was reminded of last weekMy Profile

    42. I gained 65 lbs., yes you red that right with my first son. I thought it was a free for all, eating whatever I wanted. I had an emergency C section at 37 weeks with him, it was hard on everyone to say the least. My second pregnancy my twins, I gained most of my weight the first tri and then tapered down gaining a total of 35 pounds, I drank 72 oz. of water a day. They went full term 39 weeks.. I had to have a C-section because we were on a very small military base (they did not carry liability insurance to deliver natural) I probably wouldn’t have anyway, for the safety of my babies. Like you said everyone is different and so is each pregnancy. I needed to eat in the first tri due to severe morning sickness (the food helped eliminate symptoms) By the end I was so big eating became uncomfortable, so I naturally tapered off.. the only weight I was gaining was baby weight. I think as long as you are not feeling hungry, listen to your body, be smart, not the time to diet, but not the time to stuff your face either. The end. ; )
      Lisa @ RunWiki recently posted..10 Tips for supporting a runner during a marathonMy Profile

    43. ugh. this takes me back to the part of pregnancy that i REALLY did not like. i have had three kids. with each one, i gained 40-50 pounds! i ate exactly the same (and i am a pretty healthy eater), exercised and stayed active — it was simply what my body needed to do. i hated the weight gain part, and the guidelines always made me feel awful because I gained way more than they “said” i should. thankfully my doctor during my first pregnancy was so great and he told me he was never worried – he knew i ate well and that i was active and he spent a lot of time telling me not to worry so much about it. during my other two pregnancies i really missed that doctor (he had moved away) but i tried to remind myself of his advice because the fact was my body was just going to do what it needed to do to bring a healthy baby into this world. and after i had each of my babies the pounds came off without any crazy diets or anything – it took time, eating right and exercising – but my body has actually never been stronger than it is now :0)

      great post michele :o) you are looking ADORABLE!!!!
      jessica (pace of me) recently posted..so many things…My Profile

    44. I think the biggest problem is that doctors are NOT used to fit active pregnant women. They are used to having women who ARE giving themselves permission to sit on the couch and take it easy – that is because that is what society tells us to do when we’re pregnant. So for the average, non-active, non-fit person, perhaps watching weight gain is a good thing, listening to guidelines is a good thing. For those of us who are active, who are used to eating to fuel our activity, and who are not used to eating to fuel some extra fat gain, pregnancy gain is really hard.
      With my first pregnancy I gained 12lbs or so in the 1st tri, and this felt like A LOT – I felt round and fat and frumpy. It did level off though, and over the entire pregnancy gained 27lbs or so, so right in the right range. I was active, and kept running until 37 weeks. I ate when I was hungry and indulged in treat more than normal. By the time I was 8 mos post pardum I was a good 5 lbs under my pre pregnancy weight.
      With my current pregnancy (I’m 22 weeks), I have only gained 9 lbs so far. It has felt very different so far. I’ve been much less hungry, and have kept my mileage a bit higher than last time. It still is hard to see the lb’s come one, and to see a few rolls on my back – but I’m trying to embrace it and remember that the fat I put on now will be fuel for feeding my baby in a few months.

      • I’m also a fit woman: build like a football linebacker, I lift weights, play football and do pole dancing. I gained over fifty pounds, despite I kept working out (I switch to pilates and long walks) and eating healthy (I DECREASED my calorie intake and ate lots of whole grains and lean protein). So even women who are in good shape aren’t exempt from pregnancy weight gain.

    45. I am not a big fan of the recommended weight gain and I think some doctors need to take a lot more into account than the # on the scale, like your doctor does. I have 3 kids, and gained 30-35 pounds with the first and the 3rd (and only 15 lbs with the second – mostly because my 1st and 2nd are only 13 months apart, so I didn’t lose it all from the first). But with my first, I put on 10 lbs before I even saw the doctor, because that was what my body needed. With the other two, I went weeks with gaining normally, and then would gain 10lbs in two weeks, no exaggeration. I think if you are active and eating healthy, your body knows what it needs to do to prepare for having a child. I think the recommended guidelines can just cause a lot of unneeded stress on pregnant women to fit into the number and causes stress over the scale when it’s just not necessary. I was happy to have a doctor that didn’t focus on the number, but how everything was progressing. The focus should be on being healthy and enjoying the pregnancy. That is my two cents:-)
      Katie @ msfitrunner recently posted..Little Bit of This, Little Bit of ThatMy Profile

    46. anonymous says:

      Great post! I have three children. With each pregnancy I lost weight in my first trimester and had no morning sickness to blame. Women are constantly put into a one-size fits all category which is incredibly annoying. I actually gained the least with the third pregnancy, however it was all in the third trimester and pretty much all at once (within about 6 weeks I gained 20 lbs). The doctor recommended I go on a vegetarian diet. I simply smiled and nodded. I ran 4 to 6 times a week and ate healthy until two weeks before delivering, so I merely let his suggestion go in one ear and out the other. It turns out my quick weight gain was due to an underlying condition. We know our bodies and our habits best. I would say to any woman, pregnant or not, to throw out your scale! It’s not about how much you weigh, it’s about how you look and feel.

      • AMEN!!! The scale cause more problems than it’s worth!! And I agree – it is ALL about how you feel and look – not the # that is staring back at you!! Thank you for your awesome comment!

    47. Very fascinating post. I’ve never been pregnant but this is helpful to know’ thank you!
      Ricoleruns recently posted..Seattle RnR Training Week #7My Profile

    48. As a mother of two and a runner, my honest opinion is that unless you are severely underweight, not gaining weight in the first tri should not be an issue – as long as you are eating a proper diet. Many women actually lose a few pounds in those first months due to morning sickness. If you are 30 weeks and haven’t gained weight, NOW we have a problem.
      Jen Correa @ Mom’s Gotta Run recently posted..Going to the Next LevelMy Profile

    49. sometimes I think we read all this info and freak out if our bodies don’t respond the way it “should.” Sometimes it’s best not to know, does that make sense? But then again, i have yet to be pregnant… one day though!
      lindsay recently posted..A “Whoa” WeekendMy Profile

      • YES!!! I would have thought that the 10 pounds in the 1st trimester was normal (if not low!) b/c I was active and eating right. I was devasted when I saw that my #s were literally off the charts. You are going to be the cutest pregnant lady – EVER. I guarantee it!

    50. Great post! I obviously have zero experience with this, but for all situations we are individuals and there’s no “normal”.
      Jess recently posted..Breaking Race Day RulesMy Profile

    51. I get annoyed with all the recommendations. I suppose they have to have something, but they do not take in account that every woman is different. Not every woman goes by “the book”. I am currently pregnant with my 3rd. I have been the most active with this pregnancy but gained the most weight in the 1st trimester. With both my boys I gained 29 and 27 lbs. and honestly for me that was too much. I was not careful about what I ate and I hardly exercised at all. My goals this time, are to be better in my food choices and to stay active…whatever that looks like.
      Renee recently posted..My New FavoriteMy Profile

    52. I couldn’t agree MORE! Weight gain guidelines are NOT helpful. They set women up to be concerned about weight. Women should be focused on eating when they are hungry, stopping when they feel full and making sure what they are eating is packed with vitamins and nutrients beneficial to pregnancy. I gained 7lbs in the first trimester with my daughter (and a total of 28lbs) and gained 10lbs in the first trimester of my second pregnancy. I’m. Now 19 weeks and the gain has slowed. I expect my total gain will be similar to
      My first. I think initially my body gained the weight to add extra fat stores. I had been running 45-50 Miles a week and was quite lean. When I found out I was pregnant I cut back on mileage and intensity. But my appetite took a while to adjust to less activity. So I think that contributed to the weight gain too. I think there is more to Be said for intuition and overall healthy lifestyle vs. guidelines from a medical text book.
      Sarah recently posted..I never wanted to be a "Stay-At-Home-Mom"My Profile

      • YES YES YES!!! Sarah – you are just like me! With my son, I was in the middle of training for a 24 hour race, and while I was healthy, I definitely didn’t have a lot of fat on my body. I think the first trimester was my body’s way of adding some extra (and necessary) fat stores for later on in pregnancy and for L&D.
        Thank you for your sweet comment – hope you and Danielle are having a blast together =)

        • Thanks:) this issue is near and dear to my heart! So glad you posted on it:) and we are having a great time! Chatting, running together, holding my little nephew. We didn’t skip a beat:) love sister-friends! They’re the best!

    53. I just think that women should watch what they eat, continue to exercise, and not worry about the weight. However, pregnancy is not an excuse to binge and stuff your face. Just imagine you’re only eating for 1.2 instead of 2. I’m almost 38 weeks pregnant with my first and I’ve only gained 15 pounds. My doctors are all worried, but I promise I’m eating…but I’m also exercising. There must be a balance. Thank you for the great post! :D
      Caroline @ chocolate & carrots recently posted..Turtle Candies {California Walnuts Giveaway}My Profile

      • I agree! There has to be a balance – some women gain very little weight, others naturally put on a few more pounds than the “recommended” guidelines, but if you are eating and being healthy, the weight should be irrelevant!! =)

    54. I find it amazing that a doctor would warn a fit, normal weight woman when I know SOOOO many doctors who let obese girls gain weight because they are afraid to say something. I know this firsthand because I was one of them and I have family members with doctors who continue to say nothing about weight. Now that I know girls who need to gain weight during pregnancy, these guidelines scare me. Your body needs be ready for everything like you stated. I wish OB doctors would look more at the history and lifestyle of their patients and be involved. I probably shouldn’t have gained more than 15 pounds in my pregnancy and I gained 35, without one word of warning. I think standards are just that standards and doctors should learn to understand their patients more.
      Robin recently posted..Dreaming of Summer & Chobani WinnerMy Profile

      • It seems that there are two opposite ends of the spectrum with doctors – some that get on top of females who gain slightly over the recommended weight gain and others who don’t say a word when someone gains entirely too much.
        But I agree – I think a lot of it comes down to the doctor knowing his/her patient and their lifestyle.

      • Rosebriars says:

        I think the 15 lb recommendation for overweight women is total bunk. My OB also told me not to worry about it. It’s basic biology; your body will work to put on weight to protect the pregnancy despite having adequate fat stores. I started my first pregnancy obese and gained 45 lbs with each of my 4 pregnancies; I’m currently still about 20 lbs over my first pre-pregnancy weight but I lost all 45 pounds of pg #2 in 3 months. I probably ate better during my pregnancies than ever before in my life, too. Having 4 kids in 5 years has made it particularly hard to lose weight.

        Now I’m training for a sprint triathlon while nursing a 15-month old and I’m excited to have a goal that will keep me motivated and improve my health.

        • I really liked this comment. I started pre pregnancy at around 200 lbs but again I’m taller than the average man. Yup, and I worked out for about two hours a day (bikram yoga, swimming and running) and ate/eat a very clean diet which continued throughout my pregnancy with no portion changes. No ice cream in my house! I didn’t gain in the first trimester, most of it was in the third. I know working out, my father was a multi-time ultra-marathoner (100 milers) and I’m married to someone whose job requires fitness professionally and so in spite of my measurements I know I’m fit. But still I’ve gained about 40lbs. I think this comment is great because you can be “obese” by height weight standards but I assure you charts are not one size fits all. Be healthy and your body will do what it needs.

    55. I think it’s all about where you start out, if you are morbidly obese, I understand why a doctor wouldn’t recommend gaining a lot of weight, but active petite women need to gain weight, it’s healthy, I was told a baby will take what it needs from your body(depleating calcium stores, and iron etc) so its important to eat, to gain.
      Nadine recently posted..The Jelly Bean Madness!My Profile

    56. I HATE the whole recommended weight gain thing when it is taken so literally to the point of ignoring the overall decisions of the person. Sure…if someone gained 10 pounds because taking the whole “eating for two thing” literally and downing extra junk all the time – there needs to be some thought to that and change. But gaining more than the “recommended” while still caring for bodies – NO reason for doctors to lecture there. Obviously, I’ve been there too based on my feelings. I gained 1/3 of my total pregnancy weight both pregnancies in ONE WEEK. Week 19-20 both times was like a sudden growth spurt (7-10 pounds no joke in a week). My doctors scolded both times…but my overall gain turned out just fine and I was always remaining healthy.

      I think if a woman eats relatively balanced and stays moderately active (if able), then the body will gain just what it needs and that is different for every woman. And comes on at different times and rates. Great post.
      Tina @ Best Body Fitness recently posted..Blend Retreat Recap: Part 1My Profile

      • YES! Sure, I splurged a little bit more than usual when I was pregnant, but it sure as heck wasn’t enough for me to gain basically a pound or so a week for 10 straight weeks!! There were periods during pregnancy where I ate A TON and thought that the next time I got on the scale that the #s would be through the roof, but those were the times that I actually stayed the same (or lost weight)…I took it to mean that all the food was going straight to the baby =)
        Thanks, Tina! Hope you guys had a great weekend =)

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