Eat the Right Amount

Maintaining a Healthy Weight

Weight gain during pregnancy is an important subject to discuss with your doctor or healthcare provider. How much you should gain often depends on what you weighed before you became pregnant.

If you begin your pregnancy with a normal BMI, which is an indicator of body fat based on your height and weight, your doctor may advise you to keep your weight gain between 25 and 35 pounds. If your BMI is 30 or more, a lower weight gain of 11 to 20 pounds may be recommended. For those whose BMI is greater than 40, it is suggested that the mother follow a carefully monitored weight- loss program throughout pregnancy.1 Obesity affects the mother and the baby and is an important matter that you should discuss with your doctor.  

Many doctors recommend pregnant women gain one to four pounds total during the first trimester, followed by two to four pounds gained per month during the fourth to ninth month.2

The following table was prepared by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) to demonstrate recommended daily food choices for a woman who is a normal weight and who gets less than 30 minutes of exercise per week.













6 ounces

7 ounces

8 ounces

1 ounce is 1 slice of bread, ½ cup of cooked rice, ½ cup of cooked pasta, 3 cups of popped popcorn, or 5 whole-wheat crackers


2½ cups

3 cups

3 cups

2 cups of raw, leafy vegetables count as 1 cup


1½ cups

2 cups

2 cups

1 large orange, 1 large peach, 1 small apple, 8 large strawberries, or ½ cup of dried fruit count as 1 cup of fresh fruit


3 cups

3 cups

3 cups

2 small slices of Swiss cheese or ⅓ cup of shredded cheese count as 1 cup

Meat and beans

5 ounces

6 ounces

6½ ounces

1½ cups of cooked beans, 25 almonds, 13 cashews, or 9 walnuts count as 2 ounces


290 calories

360 calories

410 calories

These extra calories come from high-fat and high-sugar foods, or higher amounts of foods from the 5 food groups

Fats and oils

6 teaspoons

7 teaspoons

8 teaspoons

Some foods are naturally high in fats and oils, such as olives, some fish, avocados, and nuts

1. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Nutrition during pregnancy. ACOG Educational Pamphlet. Pregnancy AP001. 2012.
*Make half whole-grain.
†Make sure you get a mixture of dark green, orange, starchy, and other vegetables, including dried beans and peas.