According to the Institute of Medicine the average healthy woman should gain between 25 and 35 pounds during pregnancy. They define healthy as having a BMI (you can calculate yours here ) of 18.5 to 24.9.
When I got pregnant my BMI was something like 30. Which sounds scary, until you go follow that link and realize all they measure is your height and weight. They don't measure your lung capacity, your heart rate, your stamina, how much you can leg press, or your density through submersion. Just your height and your weight. So you can probably see how a woman within millimeters of the 6'2" mark might be harder for them to correctly calculate. If not, let me just point to the fact that they do not consider me "underweight" until I weigh 143 pounds. Which is essentially my skeleton and organs. I actually have a picture of me weighing 143 pounds around here somewhere, but everyone who looks at it tells me I was too skinny. I'm also only 15 in it.
In the first few months of my pregnancy I lost (yes, LOST) about 20 pounds. My morning sickness was almost unrivaled. I threw up everything I ate. I could usually keep down water and Gatorade, which is probably what kept me out of the hospital. That and my love of cupcakes. They didn't stay down, not really, but my body could process enough of the starches in the short period of time they were with me to keep me moving. Meat was impossible, it came up in less than ten minutes. The same with fruits, vegetables, and dairy. Pure starch was the only way I could see to go, and it wasn't even that I was keeping it down, I was just keeping it down LONGER.
That carried on in varying intensity for the first 5 months of my pregnancy. When I hit month 6, however, it was like an impenetrable part of my stomach had suddenly opened up again. Not only could I eat, I was RAVENOUS. Of course after having 5 months or so to shrink, my stomach would not hold very much at a time. I was simply always hungry. I became a grazer. Grazing is a much healthier way to eat, of course, so this was in no way or shape a problem. Until my husband starting gaining weight.
Now it's important to know that a pregnant woman should not eat for two. She should only eat 100-300 extra calories a day to support the baby, and besides, the baby gets first dibs on anything you eat anyway; the human body is just designed that way. So if you're adding three more meals but only 100 calories, your portion sizes go waaaaaaaaaay down.
Imagine, if you will: I am still cooking the same amount of food I have always cooked for my husband and myself. I am also eating several snacks during the day. I cannot eat a portion larger than half of my pre-pregnancy portion size. My husband really likes my cooking. The stress of having a new baby coming is starting to get to him a little, and at this time he's not getting the amount of exercise he likes to, because his hours at work and the time of year don't allow him very many (read: ANY) hours of sunlight during the week with which to ride his mountain bike (his preferred method of aerobic exercise), and we are almost always inundated with doctor's appointments and baby preparation on the weekends.
My poor husband. I wasn't losing weight anymore, but he was gaining, a little each week. I decided then that I needed to completely change my cooking style, and more importantly, I started bringing my husband his food and not letting him get up to get it himself. I imagine he thought I was being an adorable housewife, bringing his dinner to him and serving him first. The shocking truth is that I was controlling his portions, and his meal balance. In the past when I had made a three part meal...let's say chicken breast, salad, and rice...He would have skewered a whole breast, a ladle of rice, and a few scoops of salad. The effect would be a plate that was half meat, a quarter veg, and a quarter starch. Very manly, and a great style of recovery meal for someone who rides regularly and is burning quite a few calories during the day. ie, perfect for my husband's old lifestyle, less so for the one he was finding himself living. A few tweaks, however, and the weight gain, while not reversing itself, did stop. His plates became more vegetable centric, I stopped cooking so much starch, and the meat portions of our meals reduced DRASTICALLY in size.
Let me make a quick segue. There is this phenomenon called couvade syndrome. When a man and a woman are really deeply bonded, and they are having a baby, sometimes the man starts presenting pregnancy symptoms with the woman. This might seem like a crazy horror story to some people, but yes, it happens. Hormone levels shift, weight is gained, in some extreme cases men have been known to LACTATE (or at least their bodies try reeaally hard to) when their partners are pregnant. Luckily hubby does not seem to have a serious case. Though his cortisol levels, I'm sure, have done some wacky dancing recently and his testosterone levels have been their partner, he has not started growing hair in new and interesting places, and he has not gained the 25-30 pounds that some men are tormented with.
With all this in mind, I present to you my solution: if you're pregnant, pretend your partner is, too. Smaller, more well-managed portions, balancing heavily on vegetation (because trust me, you need that extra fiber right now). Scheduled meal times with grazing in between. Switch to non-fat milk. Cut out alcohol and caffeine as much as possible (in my husband's case, not really possible). Stop using pressed meats and unpasteurized cheeses (In pregnant women this is so you can avoid listeria, but honestly that stuff's tasty but not really good for you anyway). Don't eat right before bed. Drink more water. Take a walk together. And most importantly, set aside time each day to discuss something that is totally and completely NOT BABY RELATED. It might seem like a little thing, but if you set precedent during pregnancy to focus solely on the baby, your relationship will deteriorate until the baby is all you have left. This last tidbit, I know, doesn't seem diet related. But think a little bit about how and what you eat when you're relaxed and comfortable versus how and what you eat when you're stressed and anxiety-ridden. The differences should be pretty clear, and the dietary benefits of taking a few moments every day to specifically be NOT stressed, to discuss something trivial and entertaining, to really just BOND with your partner again should be apparent.
And if it's not, you should do it anyway.