Gain the Right Amount
According to the current Institute of Medicine (IOM) guidelines, women with a normal BMI should gain 25 to 35 pounds during their pregnancy. If you're overweight (meaning your BMI is between 26 and 29), you should put on only 15 to 25 pounds during pregnancy. Underweight women (those whose BMI is less than 19.8) should aim to accumulate 28 to 40 pounds.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that expectant mothers put in at least two and a half hours of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (such as brisk walking) each week. Unless you're experiencing a complication like placenta previa or bleeding, you should be able to continue your pre-pregnancy exercise routine. If you weren't active before you conceived, you can still start now. Having a hard time getting motivated? Enlist a friend to become your walking partner. Wear a pedometer and aim for 10,000 steps daily. Of course, be sure to first discuss with your doctor any exercise regimen you plan to start.
People may joke that you're eating for two, but "you're really eating for 1.02 people, and you might get up to 1.1 by the end of your pregnancy," says Matthew Gillman, MD, director of the obesity prevention program at Harvard Medical School, in Boston. The IOM recommends that normal-weight women consume no extra calories in the first trimester, eat an extra 340 calories per day in the second trimester, and an additional 452 daily in the third. (An extra 340 calories translates into a peanut-butter sandwich, a piece of fruit, and a glass of skim milk. Add a banana for 450 calories.) The best way to add healthy calories to your diet is to up your intake of fruits, veggies, and dairy products. Craving sweets? Try a lower-calorie substitute, like chocolate rice cakes instead of a candy bar.