Adequate weight gain is important to prevent having a baby with low birth weight (less than 5 pounds). Low birth weight can result in serious health problems for your baby. The amount you should gain depends on your weight before you were pregnant.
Your Weight Before Pregnancy
Recommended Weight Gain
28 to 40 pounds
Appropriate weight for height
25 to 35 pounds
15 to 25 pounds
- Gain weight at a steady pace by eating a variety of foods each day from MyPyramid. While you are pregnant, eat at least the following number of servings each day:
3 servings from the milk group
2 to 3 servings from the meat group (for a total of 6 ounces)
4 servings from the vegetable group
3 servings from the fruit group
9 servings from the bread group
- Doctors prescribe iron pills containing 30 milligrams of iron for most pregnant women. Take iron pills with juice or water for better absorption; not milk, coffee or tea.
- Your baby's brain and spine are formed during the first 4 weeks of pregnancy. During this time you need extra amounts of a B vitamin called folate. Adequate folate may help prevent birth defects of the spine and brain. Your prenatal vitamin should contain 400-800 mcg of folate.
- When you smoke, your baby smokes. Any time is a good time to stop smoking, but it's really important to stop if you're pregnant.
- Each time you smoke or are exposed to someone else's smoke, the nicotine is absorbed by your baby.
- Smoking doubles your baby's risk of weighing less than 5 pounds at birth.
- Smoking during pregnancy triples your baby's risk of having sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
Alcohol and pregnancy don't mix!
- When you take a drink during pregnancy, the alcohol enters your baby's bloodstream. The only way to keep alcohol away from your baby is not to drink it at all.
- Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can cause your baby to be born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS). A child with FAS has problems such as growth retardation, facial defects, seizures, learning disabilities, mental retardation and behavior problems.