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reviewed 9/3/2018

Pregnancy and weight gain: Myth or fact?

Gaining the right amount of weight when you're expecting can help you have a healthy baby. That's just one reason it's so important to know the difference between fact and fiction when it comes to pregnancy and weight gain. Take this quiz and see if you're in the know.

Myth or fact: I should double my calories now that I'm "eating for two."

Myth. An expanding tummy isn't an excuse to overeat. Most women don't need any extra calories during the first trimester. The amount you need later depends on many factors. So it's best to ask your provider about your calories needs.

Myth or fact: The more weight I gain, the healthier and stronger my baby will be.

Myth. If you gain too much, you're more likely to have a bigger-than-average baby and—as a result—a complicated birth. Your baby is more likely to have birth defects or become obese. Gaining too little weight can also hurt your baby's health.

Myth or fact: Not every pregnant woman should gain the same amount of weight.

Fact. Talk to your doctor about what's best for you and your baby. Doctors typically use a woman's body mass index before she was pregnant as a gauge for how many pregnancy pounds she should add.

Myth or fact: It's OK to diet while I'm expecting.

Myth. While you certainly want to be careful about what you eat—and make healthy food choices every day—pregnancy is never the time to diet. If you don't get the calories you need, your baby might not get the right amounts of protein, vitamins and minerals.

Myth or fact: Breastfeeding can help burn off pounds from pregnancy.

Fact. Not only does breastfeeding benefit babies, it helps new moms burn calories. That means nursing can help you get back to your pre-pregnancy weight faster than feeding your baby with formula.

You need to consume the right nutrients—like protein, iron, omega-3 fatty acids, fiber and calcium—to help you and your baby stay healthy.

Find out what you should eat

Sources: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics; American College of Gynecologists and Obstetricians; National Academy of Medicine; March of Dimes; National Institutes of Health

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