How Many Calories Should You Eat When Pregnant

Correcting Misconceptions About Weight Gain During Pregnancy

How many calories do one need during pregnancy?-Dr. Nupur Sood

For fear of delivering large babies, some women purposely restrict their food intake whilst pregnant. This may be particularly true for women who have immigrated to Australia from countries where cultural beliefs about eating are very different. However, there are no benefits to a woman or her growing babys health associated with restricting food intake in pregnancy. On the contrary, not eating enough is associated with numerous health risks. Women should therefore avoid restricting their food intake, due to the numerous health risks it entails.

More information on How Much Weight to Gain During Pregnancy.

How Many Calories Should A Pregnant Woman Eat Per Day

It is a common belief that a woman should drastically up her calorie intake during pregnancy as she is eating for two. But is it advisable to eat for two? Researchers maintain that most pregnant women should increase their calorie intake. The average calories per day a pregnant woman should eat is about 2,000 calories, which is enough to provide both the mother and her unborn baby the nutrients they require.

The amount of calories a pregnant woman should consume varies from one woman to another. Factors that influence food intake include the rate at which she puts on weight, age, BMI, and appetite. Pregnant women should consume nutrient-rich foods daily to ensure the babys proper development.

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Too Much Or Too Little

The pattern in which you gain weight is also important. It is perfectly normal not to gain any weight until a week or two after you’ve missed your period. Doctors have found that when women gain weight too quickly early in their pregnancies, they usually keep gaining at a higher rate than normal. Weight gain should be gradual throughout your pregnancy. Shoot for two to four pounds during the first trimester and close to a pound a week in the second and third trimesters.

Watch out for sudden weight gain or loss. If you are experiencing a great deal of nausea and vomiting, you may need help to make sure you’re getting proper nutrition. Sudden weight gain can signal rising blood pressure. Call your healthcare provider if you experience either of these scenarios.

Women who gain too little weight risk having a premature baby or one with low birth weight. Newborn complications are related to low birth weight studies show that weighing too little at birth can predispose your child to diabetes later in life.

Too much weight gain can mean problems for you as well as the baby. Severely overweight women are more prone to hypertension and gestational diabetes, and are more likely to have a cesarean section. Their babies are also usually bigger. Some studies have shown that larger baby girls are at a greater risk for breast cancer when they become adults.


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First Trimester Healthy Eating Tips

Ultimately, while it’s important to eat well in the first trimester, you should try not to worry too much about what you’re putting on your plate, as this can add unnecessary stress during a time that is likely already filled with plenty of anxiety.

Although variety is important, it will be easier to fill your plate with a wider range of foods once your nausea and morning sickness subsides in the second trimester. So for now, take it easy on yourself and your stomach.

  • Stay hydrated. Start early. Fill up a glass with water and place it on your nightstand before bed, then wake up and drink it before starting your day. If plain water doesnt sound appetizing, add a slice of lemon, cucumber or fresh berries.

  • Snack well. A common symptom early in pregnancy is the quick onset of hunger with a simultaneous feeling of nausea and even fullness. Keep your blood sugar steady throughout the day by eating healthy snacks, such as a small handful of nuts, a few whole grain crackers with cheese, a piece of fresh fruit or a slice of whole grain toast with nut butter.

  • Pop that prenatal. No one eats perfectly every single day, which is one reason why taking your prenatal vitamin is so important. Set an alarm on your phone so you remember to take your vitamin each day.

When in doubt, consult your OB/GYN. He or she can advise you about foods and drinks to completely avoid during the first trimester, such as alcohol, unpasteurized dairy and undercooked meats.

Fluid Intake During Pregnancy

How Many Calories Should I Eat While Pregnant To Lose ...

Fluid intake is also an important part of pregnancy nutrition. Follow these recommendations for fluid intake during pregnancy:

  • You can take in enough fluids by drinking several glasses of water each day, in addition to the fluids in juices and soups. Talk to your health care provider or midwife about restricting your intake of caffeine and artificial sweeteners.

  • Avoid all forms of alcohol.

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How Many Calories To Eat During Pregnancy

Pregnant women should be aware of their calorie intake to make sure their unborn baby gets all nutrients he/she needs for growing up. The most important question arises here is how many calories to eat during pregnancy?

In this article of Hipregnancy, we will cover the answer to this question and discuss other questions related to calorie intake while pregnant. Read on this article to the end to find your answers about calorie and pregnancy.

What Should I Be Eating

  • Have a balanced diet – this is eating a variety of food from the five main groups of fruit and vegetables, carbohydrates such as pasta and potatoes, protein like pulses, fish, eggs and meat, dairy such as milk and yoghurt and fats
  • Have a healthy breakfast every day to avoid snacking on high fat and sugar foods
  • Get at least your five-a-day of fruit and vegetables
  • Get fibre from wholegrain foods and nuts
  • Make carbs just over a third of the food you eat. Carbohydrates, including bread, potatoes, rice, pasta and oats, are an important source of energy
  • Have protein every day which can include fish, eggs and pulses
  • Eat two portions of fish a week, only one should be oily fish like salmon or mackerel
  • For dairy – try and choose low-fat options of milk, yoghurt and hard cheese
  • Limit food and drinks high in fat and sugar like fizzy drinks and biscuits
  • Choose healthy snacks such as salad vegetables, hummus, and vegetable soup

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Papaya And Pineapples Can Cause Miscarriages Or Abortions

Only raw papayas and pineapples contain specific enzymes which, when consumed in large quantities may cause uterine contractions. However, ripe papayas and pineapples, when consumed in moderation are safe. Although, due to artificial ripening, traces of the harmful enzymes may remain in the fruits, which is why most pregnant women are suggested to steer clear of them.

Pregnancies are varied, and the need of every pregnant woman may be different. You do not need to keep track of all the calories you consume during your pregnancy if you eat a healthy and balanced diet, stay fit and maintain a healthy pregnancy weight. With some guidance and awareness, you will find this journey manageable and enjoyable, too, while you wait to welcome your healthy baby.

References & Resources:

If I’ve Gone Off Food In Pregnancy Will I Be Getting Enough Calories

What foods to eat while pregnant – Diet & nutrition during pregnancy

In the earlier stages of pregnancy, it’s very common to feel nauseous. This is often known as morning sickness, although it can happen at any time of day.

Some women find they’re sensitive to smells and tastes, too. This can put you off eating or mean that you struggle to keep food down.

Vomiting and feelings of nausea usually pass between weeks 16-20 of pregnancy or earlier.

Not feeling hungry or being able to stomach much in the early days shouldn’t affect your baby’s health, just eat what you can and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. You can make up for it by eating lots of healthy, nutrient-rich foods when you’re feeling better.

If you have severe vomiting, struggle to keep anything down and are dehydrated, however, speak to your midwife. You may be suffering from a condition known as hyperemesis gravidarum a form of severe, prolonged nausea and vomiting in pregnancy.

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Why Do I Feel So Hungry In Third Trimester

Quite simply, your increased appetite during pregnancy is due to your growing baby demanding more nourishment and shes sending the message to you loud and clear. Starting in the second trimester, youll need to steadily gain weight to meet your babys needs.

What If I Feel Hungrier When I’m Pregnant Than I Did Before

You shouldnt go hungry when youre pregnant so eat when you feel like you need to and don’t worry too much about calories. Try to make healthy choices, though.

When youre pregnant, you may crave foods that are high in fat or sugar. Indulging now and again is fine, but try to eat well most of the time to ensure you and your baby are getting all the nutrients you need.

The NHS recommends starting the day with a healthy breakfast to stop you snacking on unhealthy foods between meals.

Try having plenty of healthy snacking foods in the house as well, such as fruit or crackers and hummus, so youre not tempted to reach for the biscuits when hunger strikes.

Some women find grazing on smaller meals and snacks throughout the day works better for them and gives them more energy than eating three big meals when they’re pregnant.

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How Can You Tell If Youre Getting The Right Amount Of Calories

Now that you understand how many calories you require, is it the time to break out the old calculator and start counting? Never. The best way to see what you eat isnt really to keep tabs on every bite Instead, watch the scale.

If you developed at a regular weight, during pregnancy you ought to gain about 3 to four pounds during the first trimester, then about one pound each week in the 2nd and third trimesters. Of course these recommendations likewise differ based on your pre-pregnancy BMI and other aspects, so make certain to ask your specialist for your customized suggestions.

Its easy, nevertheless, to fizzle but thankfully there are actions you can require to get your weight gain back on track:

These suggestions will help you to feel complete, while keeping your calorie count under control:

Rather than counting calories, its much better to eat when you are starving, and adhere to healthy foods whenever you can.

If you develop gestational diabetes and your body mass index was 27 or over prior to you became pregnant, your midwife or doctor might give you different suggestions.

They might suggest that you lose some weight by limiting the quantity of calories you eat and doing more workout. This will help to manage the levels of sugar in your blood.

Your midwife, diabetes nurse or doctor will have the ability to give you more recommendations, or you may be referred to a dietitian.

Pattern Of Weight Gain

How Many Calories Should A Pregnant Woman Eat? The Truth ...

Patterns of weight gain during pregnancy are as important as total weight gain. Your health care provider will keep records of your height and weight starting on the first prenatal visit. Regular weigh-ins will be recorded at each visit to make sure you are gaining weight at the proper rate.

Weight maintenance or slight weight losses are normal during the first trimester of pregnancy. But most women should expect to gain about four to five pounds during the first trimester. Weight gain should come from the nutrient-rich foods described earlier in this resource. Listen to your bodys signals and stop eating when you feel full. This will help keep you from overeating because youre eating for two.

Women with healthy pre-pregnancy weights should gain about one pound a week during the second and third trimesters. Women who are underweight before conception should gain a little more than one pound per week. Those who were initially overweight should gain at a slower rate .

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Frequently Asked Questionsexpand All

  • What is folic acid?

    Folic acid, also known as folate, is a B vitamin that is important for pregnant women. Folic acid may help prevent major birth defects of the fetuss brain and spine called neural tube defects .

  • How much folic acid should I take?

    When you are pregnant you need 600 micrograms of folic acid each day. Because its hard to get this much folic acid from food alone, you should take a daily prenatal vitamin with at least 400 micrograms starting at least 1 month before pregnancy and during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.

    Women who have had a child with an NTD should take 4 milligrams of folic acid each day as a separate supplement at least 3 months before pregnancy and for the first 3 months of pregnancy. You and your ob-gyn or other obstetric care provider can discuss whether you need to supplement with more than 400 micrograms daily.

  • Why is iron important during pregnancy?

    Iron is used by your body to make the extra blood that you and your fetus need during pregnancy. Women who are not pregnant need 18 mg of iron per day. Pregnant women need more, 27 mg per day. This increased amount is found in most prenatal vitamins.

  • What is calcium?

    Calcium is a mineral that builds your fetuss bones and teeth. Women who are age 18 or younger need 1,300 mg of calcium per day. Women who are 19 or older need 1,000 mg per day.

  • Give you energy

  • Supply energy for your fetuss development

  • Promote good vision

  • What Should I Eat When I’m Pregnant

    A healthy and nutritious diet is especially important when you’re pregnant, as your baby needs a wide range of nutrients to grow and develop properly.

    Rather than worrying too much about calories, It’s best to focus on eating a well-balanced diet and a variety of different foods around 80% of the time.

    You should include the following food groups in your diet during pregnancy:

    • Fruit and vegetables fruit and veg are full of fibre, vitamins and minerals,aim for at least five portions a day.
    • Carbohydrates found in starchy foods such as bread, rice, pasta and potatoes, carbohydrates provide you with energy.
    • Protein found in foods including eggs, meat, beans, nuts, soya and fish, protein helps the cells in your body grow and repair and helps your baby develop.
    • Dairy or dairy alternatives milk, yoghurts and dairy products contain calcium, which is essential for healthy teeth and bones in pregnancy. If you’re opting for dairy-free products, choose those fortified with calcium.

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    How Many Calories Do You Need In Pregnancy

    So for that reason, it is crucial that mothers eat the right amount of calories every day, no more and no less, for each trimester of pregnancy. Here is a guideline for the number of calories most women should be eating in their daily pregnancy diet listed by trimester. Bear in mind that your specific dietary recommendations may be different, so consult with a medical care provider or nutritionist for more information.

    • First Trimester 2,000 calories per day
    • Second Trimester 2,300 calories per day
    • Third Trimester 2,300 calories per day

    As you can see, you do not need to increase your caloric intake in the first trimester at all, however in the last two trimesters, you should be adding 300 calories to your pregnancy diet.

    Here is another way to figure out how many calories a pregnant woman should be eating. You should get 36kcal per kilogram of pregnant body weight. Lets try that formula out on a real life example.

    Lets say the pregnant woman is 145lbs in her second trimester of pregnancy. Converting pounds to kilos, you have 65.9kg. Multiply 65.9 x 36 and you have 2372 calories.

    A Message From The American Academy Of Physician Assistants

    Pregnancy Weight Gain

    PAs are licensed health professionals, and valued members of a health care team that includes a supervising physician. PAs deliver a broad range of medical and surgical services to diverse populations. They can diagnose and treat illnesses, order and interpret tests, develop treatment plans, and write prescriptions in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and all U.S. territories, with the exception of Puerto Rico. PAs also counsel on preventive health care and assist in surgery.

    AAPA is the only national organization to represent the nations more than 108,500 physician assistants in all clinical specialties. Founded in 1968, the Academy works to promote quality, cost-effective health care, and the professional and personal growth of PAs. For more information about the Academy and the PA profession, visit AAPAs Web site,

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    How Much Total Weight Should I Gain

    The amount of weight you should gain depends on your weight and BMI before pregnancy.You should gain:

    • 25-35 pounds if you were a healthy weight before pregnancy, with a BMI of 18.5-24.9.
    • 28-40 pounds if you were underweight before pregnancy with a BMI of less than 18.5.
    • 15-25 pounds if you were overweight before pregnancy with a BMI of 25-29.9.
    • 11-20 pounds if you were obese before pregnancy with a BMI of over 30.

    Why Calorie Intake In Pregnancy Is Important

    However the phrase eating for two needs to be qualified. In one sense of course you are eating for two, that is assuming youre not carrying multiples, but of course one of these two is a far tinier developing human being that you are. During the first trimester the developing fetus is the size of a pea or even smaller.

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