Eating for Two?

Tip for maintaining a healthy weight during pregnancy

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You are pregnant! A lot of what you do now affects your health and the health of your developing baby. Eating a well-balance diet, being active and having a healthy weight can help you have a healthy baby!

What You Eat Matters

No doubt you will get advice from friends and families. Some of it may be good, some may not be. This guide gives you good advice on ways to have a healthy weight during pregnancy and after your baby is born. Share this information with your partner, mother, sister, neighbor or friend so they can support you during these important months.

When you are pregnant you may find that you want to eat some foods more than others. And some food smells may bother you. Eating a variety of foods makes it more likely that you and your baby get what you both need to be healthy.

If you find that you crave things that are not food (dirt, clay, starch, ice or coffee grounds) talk to your doctor or WIC nutritionist It is possible that your blood may be low in iron.

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How Much You Eat Matters

Have you heard "Remember you are eating for two now" or "Now you can eat whatever you want"? Your baby depends on you for all its food and you will need to eat a little more, but not twice as much. What you eat is important for your baby's health. How much you eat is important for your health.

Advice form other North Carolina moms for healthy eating during pregnancy:

Did you know...

during the first three months of pregnancy you need to eat only 150 calories more each day? 150 calories = yogurt and a small fruit

starting in the fourth month, you need to eat only 300 calories more each day? 300 calories = yogurt plus a small fruit and a slice of whole grain bread

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Have you heard "Eat small meals instead of big ones when you are pregnant"? That's good advice and and is a great rule to follow after the baby is born too.


When you're hungry between meals choose: cheese and crackers and a cup of carrots. Graham crackers, a cup of milk, and a small banana.

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Be Active - To Feel and Look Better

Being active doesn't mean you need to join a gym or run a marathon. You just need to move more. Find someone to help you stay motivated and to encourage you.

Of course, if you have a medical condition, check with your doctor before starting to exercise.

Know your limits and start small. Work up to 30 minutes of exercise three times a week. Too much at once? Break it up and do 10 minutes at a time, three times a day. Walking and swimming are usually safe during pregnancy.

You can also:

Exercise has many benefits.

It can:

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Just Enough (Weight) for Two

The amount of weight you should gain depends on your weight before pregnancy and your height. Ask your doctor or WIC nutritionist how much weight you should gain.

In the first months of pregnancy, you may have nausea and feel like vomiting. This could affect your appetite and you might eat more, or less, during this time. Be careful not to gain more than four pounds in the first three months. It may be hard to lose extra weight after the baby is born. Gaining too much weight also puts you at a greater risk of developing gestational diabetes and high blood pressure while pregnant.

You can expect to gain: Two to four pounds total during the first three months of pregnancy. Three to four pounds per month between months four and nine.

Before you got pregnant, if you were:

Average weight - you should gain 25 to 35 pounds.
Underweight - you should gain 28 to 40 pounds.
Overweight - you should gain 15 to 25 pounds.
Obese - you should gain 11 t0 20 pounds.

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Don't Stress Over Your Weight

Yes, having a healthy weight is important while you are pregnant, but now is not the time to diet or lose weight. Try to be active and eat healthy. You will have plenty of time to work on losing weight after your baby is born.

If you are gaining too much weight quickly, try to cut back on foods high in fat and sugar like soda, desserts, fried foods and cheese.

Try these snacks instead:

How Much Does It Weigh?


7.5 to 8.5



Amniotic fluid



2 to 3






5 to 6

Other parts of the body

3 to 10

25 - 35

Before your baby is born, learn about the benefits of breastfeeding. Breast milk is the best food you can give your baby. Breastfeeding can help you lose weight and costs nothing.


Talk to your WIC nutritionist or healthcare provider to learn more about breastfeeding your baby. The WIC program can provide special support such as one-on-one education and a breast pump if you need one.

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How Much Time Will It Take to Lose the Baby Weight?

Be patient. Remember, it took nine months to gain this weight. It will take time to lose this weight. After your baby is born you will want to keep eating well and being active. Listen to your body's signs and don't do too much too quickly.

It can be hard for new moms to find the time or energy to exercise. Here are some things you can do:

For more information on healthy eating and being active, contact:

The Department of Health and Human Services does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age or disability in employment of the provision of services.

State of North Carolina
Department of Health and Human Services
Division of Public Health
Nutrition Services Branch -

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