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How to Keep the Weight Down During Pregnancy

By Kelsey Casselbury ; Updated June 13, 2017

Despite all the focus on weight loss in American culture, pregnancy is the time in a woman's life when she's supposed to be gaining weight, not shedding it. Generally, a woman should gain between 25 and 35 pounds during pregnancy, though this varies based on her preconception weight. With the blessing to gain weight, however, along with the rapidly growing child inside her, some women find it hard to keep within the recommended weight range.

Learn the right number of calories for your stage of pregnancy. According to MedlinePlus, women in their first trimester need around 1,800 calories a day. During the second trimester, bump it up to 2,200 calories a day and then 2,400 calories in the third trimester.

Avoid the temptation to indulge in your craving frequently if you're pining for sugar, refined carbs or fatty or salty foods. You don't need to deprive yourself every time the craving for a bowl of ice cream hits; however, keep an eye on how many calories it's adding to your daily diet -- perhaps just a spoonful or two of low-sugar ice cream will quell the craving, rather than entire bowlful.

Save the bulk of your daily calories for healthy, nutrient-rich foods that will help your baby grow healthfully. Choose fresh fruits and vegetables for snacks, and make your meals from lean proteins like poultry or beans, whole grains such as brown rice and reduced-fat dairy products, including low-fat milk and yogurt.

Keep sodium-rich foods to a minimum. Salt causes your body to retain water, which can lead the scale to display a higher number at your next doctor's appointment. Don't add salt to foods, and focus on cooking meals at home rather than ordering take-out -- even though your energy levels are running low.

Incorporate extra physical activity into your daily life. During the first trimester, fatigue makes it difficult to devote time to exercise, while the third trimester brings body aches and, again, exhaustion. FitPregnancy recommends standing up and walking around for 10 minutes every hour, adding a few dance moves while doing household chores or playing with your other children or pets.

Engage in low-intensity exercise regularly; options including walking, swimming or prenatal yoga. Keep your heart rate below 140 beats per minute, says obstetrician Jeanne-Marie Guise on the BabyCenter website, which could prevent enough blood from getting to your baby.

Tips

Although you shouldn't fret about gaining a couple too many pounds, the weight range is in place for a reason. According to BabyCenter, too much weight gain can lead to a baby that's too large, causing labor complications for both the mother and the baby. The women are also less likely to lose the weight after birth.

Warnings

If you're concerned about your weight gain during pregnancy, talk to your obstetrician. Don't try to go on a diet or lose weight while pregnant.

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