The Weight Factor In Pregnancy


I’m not going to lie, seeing my body change so drastically throughout my pregnancy has been difficult, even though I know that all these changes are necessary for the development of a healthy baby.

Did you know that about one third of the weight gained during pregnancy is fat? Your body does this on purpose! This storage of fat is most prominent during the first and second semester. Fat is stored opposite the growth rate of your baby, which is rapid during the last half. Stored fat provides a reserve of calories for you and your baby to use during the last few weeks of pregnancy when you may not be able to keep up with the nutritional needs of the baby. As you get bigger, it gets harder to eat large, heavy meals.

Just how much weight are you supposed to gain?

The first step is knowing your pre-pregnancy weight. Based on your weight before the baby-weight gain, you’ll know your projected target range. On average, a person should gain 1 pound every month during the first trimester. During the second and third trimester, you should gain about 3-4 pounds a month.

Pre-pregnancy weight                                          Recommended weight gain

  • Underweight (BMI < 18.5)                          28 to 40 lbs
  • Normal weight (BMI 18.5 to 24.9)              25 to 35 lbs
  • Overweight (BMI 25 to 29.9)                      15 to 25 lbs
  • Obese (BMI 30 or more)                             11 to 20 lbs

Weight Breakdown:

  • Baby 7-8 pounds
  • Placenta 1-2 pounds
  • Amniotic fluid 2-3 pounds
  • Uterus 2 pounds
  • Increased blood supply 3-5 pounds
  • Fluid, fat, breast tissue 10 pounds

Total: 25-30 pounds

How To Manage Your Weight

I found the following suggestions helpful during those growing months.

1.) Cravings are very telling. Pay attention to your body. During my fifth month, I craved dairy like never before! I actually had my first glass of milk in years. That said- choose wisely.  Caramel toffee ice cream does not provide the same nutrition as kefir mixed with berries and a little honey. Select nutrient dense versions of your cravings. Usually it satisfies the craving just fine! 

2.) Stay away from refined grains and added sugars. These are not only going to be empty calories leading to excess weight gain, but they also exacerbate what is called “pregnancy brain.” This fogginess can be worsened by foods that spike and lower our blood sugars.

3.) Enjoy small, relatively frequent meals and snacks. As I mentioned in my previous pregnancy post, you are only supposed to eat 150-200 calories more during the first trimester, and about 300 calories during the second and third. That’s not a lot! It’s equivalent to an additional snack or small meal per day. I know that hardly seems fair, but frequent smaller meals can help you feel like you are having more food that you actually are.

4.) Stay active. I realized around week 22 that my back was achy and my legs would get  wobbly every time I would go up the stairs. This was new and not the norm! I realized that the additional weight was taking a toll on my body. So, I started working out with a prenatally certified trainer, Diane Giresi, CPT. Just one session a week has done the trick! A lot of squats, TRX movements, and planks have helped me with the weight progression. Exercise improves circulation, decreases fatigue, and helps you retain lean muscle - all of these things will help with a healthy delivery and the recuperation of your body post-pregnancy.

Recommendation: Do not start a new exercise routine during pregnancy. Get approval from your doctor on what you can and cannot do. In general, it is recommended to keep some kind of exercise regimen. My goal is to work out 3 times a week (for at least an hour) and walk as much as possible!

5.) Monitor your weight. Even though your doctor will be checking your weight at each visit, I suggest keeping track on your own even if it’s getting on the scale once a week. At the beginning, you are seeing your doctor once a month, and trust me, a lot can happen in just one month of pregnancy!

Stay tuned for the next post: Pregnancy & Digestion. Boy, do I have a lot to say about that!… 

Written by Alanna Cabrero, MS, RD, CDN. Edited by Tamara Cabrero. 

Apricots: My Precious… Golden Apple

Referred to as “golden apple” in Greek mythology and meaning “precious” in Latin, apricots deserve way more glory than they receive. Often overshadowed by their fuzzy cousin, the peach, a fresh apricot has only 17 calories, 3 grams of sugar, and almost 1 gram of fiber.  What a find!  They are also high in potassium, vitamin A, and vitamin C to boot, making this precious fruit an ideal low-calorie summer snack! 

But before you reach for that package of dried apricots, I would encourage fresh fruit whenever possible because the fresh stuff contains significantly less sugar per serving.  Dried fruit can be coated in a preservative, sulfite or sulfur dioxide, to maintain a bright color; many people have an intolerance to this preservative, experiencing head fog or head aches, wheezing, hives, and in some cases, anaphylaxis.

How to Pick

Apricots are easy to choose because they aren’t shy about showing signs of ripeness.  Fresh apricots are a bright orange-gold color and slightly soft.  They let off a  strong, sweet smell when they’re to ready to eat.  Avoid pale yellow or tinted green ones as they’re not quite ripe, and wrinkly apricots have gone bad.

How to Store

Keep in the refrigerator to avoid over-ripening.  You can also preserve apricots in the freezer.  If you purchase unripe apricots that are still hard, place them in a paper bag to speed up the ripening process.  Just remember to check on them daily to evaluate whether or not they are ready to eat; they should take about two or three days.

When to Buy

Did you know that 90-95% of the world’s apricots are grown right in California? They have a very short season, but you can find them at their freshest from mid-May to mid-August, so get them while you still can.

Here are a few recipes to try:

  • Goat Cheese Stuffed Apricots with Honey and Pecans by from Domestic Fits
  • Grilled Apricot Halves on a bed of salad. Yum. My favorite! Check out this recipe on Cooking Light.
  • Fruit Kebabs! Made with fresh or dried apricots, grapes, and any type of berry. Both kid and adult approved.

Have you gotten your apricot fix this Summer?

Co-written by Alanna Cabrero, MS, RD, CDN and Debi Zvi, RD, CDN
Edited by Tamara Cabrero

Running: Fuel To Go The Distance

imageIt was estimated in 2012 that the running shoe market is a $3 billion industry. There is no doubt about it; running is popular! Having run a marathon and two half-marathons in the past decade, I am well aware of all the fun gadgets one can accumulate—the latest shoes, heart rate monitor, GPS, Dri-Fit ensemble, iPhone armband, water belt, you name it! But sometimes people forget to ask about the most important equipment of all…food!

In anticipation of NYRR NYC Half-Marathon taking place on March 16th, here is some key nutrition advice to help you enhance your training; it sure helped me along the way.


Carbohydrates are incredibly important to runners because they act as our primary fuel source. We store carbs in our muscles and liver by way of glycogen in order to maximize energy while on long-distance runs, like half or full marathons. Distance training enables us to increase our glycogen storage capacity up to 1,500-2,000 calories, on average. Assuming that we burn 100 calories per mile, we can run on stored energy for 15 to 20 miles. That means, for half-marathons, as long as we properly “carbo-load” throughout our training, and especially a few days prior to the race, we will avoid hitting the dreaded “wall.” But just to be on the safe side, I always carry a snack. Easy grab-and-go snacks are granola bars (KIND, Cliff, Luna, Mojo, Larabar), dried fruit, or trail mix.  

How many carbs are enough?

To ensure proper carbohydrate intake while training, you want to source about 45-55% of your total daily calories from carbohydrates. Therefore, an average intake of 2,000 calories per day would equate to 900-1,100 calories from carbs. Another general rule of thumb, for a moderate to high activity level, is to consume 3 to 5 grams of carbohydrates per pound of body weight. This is especially important if you are competing at moderate intensity or greater for 90-minutes or more. Translation: jogging on the treadmill for 5 miles does not mean you get to eat a whole plate of pasta after! 

Which carbs should you eat?

Starches such as bagels and pasta are staple runner’s foods, but all wholegrain/ unprocessed complex carbohydrates are ideal for training. Integrating these foods into your diet will promote stable energy levels and prevent sugar lows. Tip: I would not recommend experimenting with new foods a week before the race. Stick with what you know works for you.

  • Fruits & Vegetables. Eat the skins for added antioxidants and fiber. Sweet potatoes are a great runner’s snack!
  • Beans & Lentils. Dry or canned.
  • Dairy products. Milk, chocolate milk, cottage cheese, yogurt and Greek yogurt.
  • Whole grains. Brown rice, quinoa, millet and buckwheat, to mention a few.
  • Whole grain pasta. Try Barilla Plus with added omega-3 and protein!
  • Whole grain breads.
  • High protein cereals. Try Nature’s Path Optimum Rebound, Back to Nature Flax & Fiber Crunch, or Kashi Go Lean.


While training, your body will also need adequate protein for repairing and rebuilding muscle tissue, especially after workouts lasting longer than 1 hour. Dairy and legumes are great sources of protein, but be sure to include others such as lean meats (chicken, fish, low sodium turkey-jerky), eggs, cheese and seeds with each meal to compliment your carbohydrate choices.


Recent research suggests that a post-run snack or meal should be consumed within 30-45 minutes of working out to avoid muscle fatigue, as well as injuries like tendonitis. A strong combination of protein and carbohydrates are recommended to help your muscles recover faster. 

Smart and delicious post-race snacks include:

  • 6 ounces of Greek yogurt with 1 cup of fruit
  • 1 cup of protein-rich cereal with 1 cup of milk
  • 1 cup of chocolate milk
  • 1 piece of toast with 1 teaspoon of almond butter & half a mashed banana
  • 1 small sweet potato with ½ cup of cottage cheese
  • A serving of whole wheat crackers with 2 ounces of tuna
  • Smoothie: 1 cup of milk with ½ cup of fruit + 2 tablespoons of hemp seeds
  • ½ cup of cooked quinoa with ¼ cup of crushed pistachios and dried fruit


Runners should always carry a water bottle, period. Calculating fluids lost while exercising can be tricky, but a quick tip is to monitor the color of your urine; you want to maintain a pale yellow color. Another tip, especially before your long runs, is to weigh yourself immediately before and after exercising. One pound lost is essentially 16 ounces (2 cups) of water. When you need to replenish significantly, make sure to drink from electrolyte-rich drinks such as coconut water. 

Are you training for a race? I want to hear about it! 

Written by Alanna Cabrero, MS, RD, CDN 

Picture by Rob Zand. 

Clark, N. Active. Carbo-loading: Tips for endurance athletes. 

What are my carb needs half training. Runners World.

Edited by Tamara Cabrero & NYHRC Team