Weight gain targets in the third trimester

Your provider has already probably told you about how the third trimester is the most important for weight gain. This is because between weeks 29 and 40, babies gain weight super fast (about ½ pound per week), and grow up to six inches in length. Your body also needs to increase your blood volume, amniotic fluid, and fat stores, and also expand your uterus.

So, yeah, a little extra weight gain is necessary in the third trimester.

Third trimester: how much should you gain?

As is the case in the second trimester, the amount of weight you gain each week depends on your pre-pregnancy body mass index (BMI).

If you were underweight before pregnancy, you’ll probably need to gain between 1-1.3 pounds per week. If you were a normal weight before pregnancy, you’ll likely need to gain about one pound per week in the second trimester. If you were overweight before pregnancy, you’ll probably need to gain a little under a pound a week, maybe between 5-0.7 pounds per week, and if you were obese, you’ll probably only need to gain 0.4-0.6 pounds per week.

Calorie-wise, this amounts to about 2,400 calories per day.

Other ways to stay healthy in the third trimester

Here are some other ways to stay healthy in your last trimester of pregnancy.

  • Nutrition: As always, make sure you’re eating mostly whole grains, vegetables, fruits, low-fat dairy, lean protein, and taking a prenatal vitamin. Let your provider know if you ever have cravings for nonfood items, like clay, dirt, or ice chips (it could be a condition called pica).
  • Physical activity: Exercise is still great in the third trimester, as long as your provider gives you the go-ahead and you take it easy if you feel like you need a break. Walking and swimming, in particular, are excellent choices in the third trimester.
  • Checkups: You’re going to have more frequent checkups in the third trimester; make sure you attend them so that your provider can monitor you and Baby‘s health.
  • Keep monitoring your weight gain: Pregnancy weight gain isn’t just important during pregnancy. It matters up to your delivery date, and even after you deliver, as you get back to a healthy post-pregnancy weight. Keeping an eye on it ensures that you’ll stay within the doctors’ recommendations. 

Final tip: talk to your provider!

Speaking of your healthcare provider, make sure to talk with him or her about weight gain goals throughout your pregnancy. Your provider can give you tips about all kinds of things including managing your weight gain in the upcoming months.

  • “Managing your weight gain during pregnancy.” MedlinePlus. US National Library of Medicine, Nov 2016. Web. Accessed 7/12/17. Available at https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000603.htm. 
  • Mayo Clinic Staff. “Pregnancy week by week.” MayoClinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, Jul 2017. Web. Accessed 7/12/17. Available at http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-by-week/in-depth/fetal-development/art-20045997?pg=2.
  • “Stages of Pregnancy.” WomensHealth. Office on Women’s Health, US Department of Health and Human Services, May 2017. Web. Accessed 7/12/17. Available at https://www.womenshealth.gov/pregnancy/youre-pregnant-now-what/stages-pregnancy. 
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