Weight gain in the 1st trimester

For many people, the first trimester of pregnancy involves hormone-related symptoms like fatigue, nausea, constipation, swollen breasts, food aversions, and heartburn. All of these symptoms can impact our normal routines and self-care, from regular physical activity to nutrition and sleep. The good news? This is a short phase that your body does a great job of managing. Believe it or not, this great work can show up on a scale as everything from weight loss to higher-than-average weight gain. 

First trimester: What’s typical?

Weight gain averages can be tricky, as we know that a number on the scale isn’t the only or best indicator of health. That said, many guidelines suggest that an average weight gain during the first trimester is about 1-5 pounds if you start at a typical weight. People suffering from certain pregnancy complications may lose weight, and others may be trying to gain additional weight based on OB provider recommendations. Focusing on what you can do to make it through any tough symptoms is the number one goal.

Important health factors in the first trimester

Instead of watching the number on the scale, try this trimester, focus on lifestyle changes and other ways of staying healthy.

  • Nutrition: Eat whole grains, vegetables, fruits, dairy, and sources of protein you enjoy. Slowly increasing your fiber intake, along with plenty of water, can help reduce bloating and constipation. Probiotic-rich foods like plain yogurt and Kefir are also great for sneaking in some protein and moving things along! If sickness is your constant companion, eat whatever works from day to day. There is plenty of time to focus on nutrition when you’re feeling better!
  • Physical activity: Exercising in the first trimester can be challenging, as nausea and fatigue can run rampant. Even a short walk or stretch session can release some extra endorphins and benefit your physical and mental health. Try asking a buddy to accompany you and add some of the social benefits of regular activity to your days. 
  • Sleep: Sometimes rest is just as therapeutic, and you know your body best. If overnight sleep is a struggle, try shutting off electronics an hour before bed, keeping your sleep space totally dark (sleep masks are a great option too), and cooling your sleep space adequately.

If you’re concerned about your health and weight, your OB provider is a great resource and should be a source of reassurance. As pregnancy progresses, there will be more body changes and weight gain. Although this can be exciting for some people, if it’s triggering for you – let your provider know. There are many ways to monitor health and weight while keeping your mental health a top priority.

  • “Weight Gain During Pregnancy.” ACOG. Committee Opinion No. 548 from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Jan 2013. Web. Accessed 7/11/17. Available at https://www.acog.org/Resources-And-Publications/Committee-Opinions/Committee-on-Obstetric-Practice/Weight-Gain-During-Pregnancy.
  • “Weight Gain During Pregnancy.” CDC. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Oct 2016. Web. Accessed 7/11/17. Available at https://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/maternalinfanthealth/pregnancy-weight-gain.htm.
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