How Much Should I Be Eating While Pregnant

Too Much Or Too Little

Pregnancy Information : What Should I Eat & Drink While Pregnant?

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.

Energy And Weight Gain During Pregnancy

Maintaining adequate energy intake during pregnancy is important to ensure that the body has sufficient energy for maintenance, pregnancy related growth and physical activity. As a woman gains weight during pregnancy, her energy requirements increase with increasing weight gain.

Normal weight women who consume a healthy balanced diet should expect to gain 1.6kg in the first trimester of pregnancy and 0.44kg per week thereafter. Overall, an average weight gain of 12.5 kg is expected for a normal weight woman who bears an infant weighing 3.4kg. However, gestational weight gain varies from woman to woman depending on pre-pregnancy BMI. Women who are already overweight before pregnancy typically gain less weight, while those who are underweight prior to conception will gain weight at a faster rate. Women bearing multiple pregnancies may have greater weight gain.

Weight gain is an important indicator of good nutrition and foetal development during pregnancy. Extra blood volume, enlargement of the breasts and growth of the placenta and uterus will necessarily increase weight. Maternal weight gain of less than 10kg by 40 weeks of gestation is a risk factor for intrauterine growth restriction .

Managing Some Common Problems


The iron in prenatal vitamins and other things can cause constipation during pregnancy. So try to get more fiber than you did before you became pregnant. Try to eat about 20 to 30 grams of fiber a day. Your best sources are fresh fruits and vegetables and whole-grain breads, cereals, or muffins.

Some people use fiber tablets or drinks or other high-fiber products, but check with your doctor before trying them.

If constipation is a problem for you, your doctor may prescribe a stool softener. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids, especially water, when increasing fiber intake, or you can make your constipation worse.

One of the best ways to avoid constipation is to get more exercise. Drink plenty of water between meals each day to help soften your stools and move food through your digestive system. Sometimes hot tea, soups, or broth can help. Also, keep dried fruits handy for snacking.


Some pregnant women find that broccoli, spinach, cauliflower, and fried foods give them heartburn or gas. You can plan a balanced diet to avoid these foods. Carbonated drinks also cause gas or heartburn for some women, although others find they calm the digestive system.


If you’re often nauseated, eat small amounts of bland foods, like toast or crackers, throughout the day. Some women find it helpful to eat foods made with ginger. To help combat nausea, you can also:

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Macronutrient Requirements During Pregnancy

As a womans energy expenditure increases during pregnancy, her macro-nutritional requirements also increase and she must consume more food.

During the first trimester of pregnancy there is generally no need for women to increase the amount they eat, although increasing food intake is recommended for women with a Body Mass Index < 20.

This information will be collected for educational purposes, however it will remain anonymous.

In the second and third trimesters of pregnancy, women need to consume additional food to account for the energy requirements of pregnancy. Pregnant women should aim to increase their energy intake by 240 calories per day in the second trimester and 452 calories per day in the third trimester of pregnancy to account for their additional energy requirements.

Women should try to consume additional healthy foods from a variety of food groups to meet their additional calorie requirement and also provide important micronutrients to their body and foetus. The additional calories should include an extra serving of cereal, but also protein and micronutrient rich foods, particularly fruit and legumes.

Healthy foods which women might consume to meet their additional calorie requirement of 240 calories in the second trimester of pregnancy include:

Healthy foods which women might consume to meet their additional calorie requirement of 452 calories in the third trimester of pregnancy include:

Food Safety And Hygiene

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Listeria and toxoplasmosis are uncommon infections that can be passed onto your unborn baby. Salmonella food poisoning can also affect your pregnancy. It causes nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and fever, and in rare cases miscarriage.

To reduce your risk of listeria infection:

  • Wash your hands before preparing food.
  • Eat freshly prepared food where possible.
  • Ensure chopping boards and cooking utensils are clean when preparing food.
  • Thoroughly wash vegetables and fruit before eating.
  • Avoid foods such as pate, cold cooked chicken, and deli meats such as ham and salami unless reheated to high temperature e.g., on a pizza.
  • Avoid soft cheeses soft serve ice-cream and unpasteurised dairy products. Soft cheeses in cooked dishes are safe.
  • Avoid uncooked or smoked seafood and pre-cooked prawns. Freshly cooked seafood and canned seafood is safe.
  • Listeria is killed by cooking, so make sure that when you reheat food, it is very hot.

To reduce your risk of toxoplasmosis infection:

  • Cook meat thoroughly
  • Wear disposable gloves if handling cat litter or gardening
  • Wash your hands after gardening or touching pets.

To reduce your risk of salmonella food poisoning:

  • Don’t eat raw or undercooked eggs
  • Avoid using eggs with cracked shells or foods containing raw eggs
  • Sesame seeds are also a salmonella risk so avoid eating sesame seeds and ready to eat products such as tahini, halva and hummus. Sesame seeds that have been heat treated are safe to eat.

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The Benefits Of Fish During Pregnancy

“For years, many women have limited or avoided eating fish during pregnancy or feeding fish to their young children,” said Stephen Ostroff, M.D., the FDA’s acting chief scientist, in an FDA statement. “But emerging science now tells us that limiting or avoiding fish during pregnancy and early childhood can mean missing out on important nutrients that can have a positive impact on growth and development as well as on general health.”

Indeed, fish provides plenty of protein, iron, vitamin D, vitamin B12, and minerals like iodine, zinc, and selenium. It’s also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which promote fetal brain and nervous system development and lowers the risk of preeclampsia, low birth weight, and preterm birth. When incorporated into a healthy diet, fish has also been associated with heart health and decreased obesity risks, according to the FDA.

Pregnancy Diet Guide & Meal Plan

Rich sources are vegetables , bread, pasta, rice, and fruit. Low-carb foods include milk, yogurt, and legumes such as beans.

Protein is very important for a babys development during pregnancy. Eat at least three to four servings a day. Healthy sources of animal protein include fish, lean meats, chicken and eggs. All pregnant women, especially vegetarians, should consider the following foods as good sources of protein:

You should get a healthy amount of calcium daily. A pregnant woman needs about 1 gram of calcium per day. Calcium deficiency during pregnancy can affect bone metabolism or affect fetal development.

Dairy products such as milk, cheese and yogurt are rich in calcium. Some calcium-rich foods include soy milk, soybeans, bok choy, broccoli, okra, kidney beans, mustard greens, cabbage and soybeans.

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Do I Have To Eat For Two When Pregnant

No â this is a myth! Being pregnant, you’ll obviously be more hungry than usual, but even if you are expecting twins or more, you don’t need to eat extra portions. In the final 3 months of your pregnancy, you’ll need an extra 200 calories a day â that’s the same as 2 slices of wholemeal toast and margarine.

How Much Fish Should I Eat While Pregnant

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The FDA recommends that pregnant and breastfeeding parents take advantage of eating fish since it is a healthy, nutrient-dense protein. They recommend that a single serving of fish is 4 ounces . The FDA has broken up its list of safe fish into Best, Good, and Avoid categories. By their measurement, a pregnant or breastfeeding parent can safely eat a 4-ounce serving two to three times per week from the Best list.

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What To Drink When Youre Pregnant

Aim for nine cups of fluid each day – water or reduced- or low-fat milk is best.

Its a good idea to limit your caffeine intake when youre pregnant, and be careful of herbal teas some are not recommended for pregnant women and should have a label saying that.

Drinks like soft drinks, flavoured waters, fruit drinks, cordial and diet drinks are low in nutrients and can be high in sugar, so its better to limit these.

Avoid drinking tea with meals. The tannins in tea mean you won’t absorb the iron in the meal as well as you could.

What To Eat When Pregnant: Foods To Avoid And Prioritize

The result of this effort is My Pregnancy Dish, the Spanish Version, which focuses on eating habits and is designed to guide people towards a nutritious, balanced diet.

As a dietitian, I love talking to people about eating style because its a positive way to discuss nutrition and furthers the goal of living a healthy, long-term life. Although its called My Pregnancy Plate, its a plan or tool for healthy eating before and after pregnancy.

During pregnancy, the mothers need for additional energy is not very high, but the need for more trace elements increases exponentially. Thus, as explained on My Pregnancy Plate, a balanced pregnancy diet includes plenty of plant foods.

You should eat moderate amounts of animal foods, preferably fat-free/low-fat dairy products, lean meats and fatty fish. A small amount of healthy fats should also be included in the diet.

How Many Calories A Day Do I Need While Im Pregnant?

There is an old saying that wisely emphasizes the concept of Think for two, but dont eat for two. Foods or drinks that are high in sugar and/or saturated fat are high in calories and low in nutrients and should be included in very limited amounts. Thanks to our graphic designer, the pregnancy plate is a feast for the eyes, which brings me to the bottom line: It reflects a healthy nutritional balance, variety, and moderation.

Editors note: Amy Wang at The Oregonians Omamas blog interviewed Kristi about My Pregnancy Plate. You can read the article here.

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Get Legitimate Advice On What To Eat During Pregnancy

Knowing what to eat during pregnancy will keep you and your baby safe and healthy. With nutritious meals on the table, you can safeguard your child from various health risks. Eating the right foods will also reduce symptoms, such as nausea, morning sickness and fatigue.

Some long-time parents who insist that they know the routine should never assume this pregnancy will be like their others nutritionally. Your family and friends may also mean well when giving you pregnancy advice, but keep in mind that a legitimate set of guidelines is what you need the most. This will ensure that you get precise details on what to eat and what not to eat during pregnancy.

First-hand information from a nutritionist specializing in prenatal care is 100% reliable. Ideally, consult one, who will offer advice tailored for your specific needs. A certified nutritionist** can provide you definitive advice on proper prenatal care and diet.

During pregnancy, you are your babys only source of nourishment. What you eat and drink will affect your childs health, so you want to be sure that you choose the best food to eat during pregnancy.

Family Health Centers of San Diego can guide you through your pregnancy. Our dedicated certified nutritionists** and registered dietitians will assess your condition and help you make healthy food choices. We will help you manage your symptoms through the foods you eat and educate you on prenatal care.

What Are Common Misconceptions People Have About Pregnancy And Food

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The most common pregnancy misconception is the impression that pregnant women are eating for two. I dont inherently dislike this saying, but I think its meaning is often misinterpreted.

While it is true expecting moms do need some extra calories, it’s not necessary for mothers to eat for two. In fact, women dont actually need any extra calories in the first trimester. Calorie needs increase by 340 calories per day in the second trimester. In the third trimester, intake increases again by 450 calories per day. These increased nutrition needs can generally be met through the addition of a few healthy snacks such as 1 cup of low-fat Greek yogurt, ¼ cup walnuts, and a piece of fruit.

Instead, I urge women to think about the phrase eating for two in terms of nutrients. There are many key nutrient needs that significantly increase during pregnancy and need to be met via diet and/or supplementation.

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How Can Prengnat Women Consume The Recommended Nutrients Through Their Diet

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends a prenatal vitamin supplement for most pregnant women. This ensures that they get adequate amounts of folic acid and other nutrients. It’s important to remember that prenatal supplements are just that a supplement and are not intended to replace healthy eating. Here are some important food sources to be aware of:

  • Folate: Dark leafy greens like kale and spinach, brussels sprouts, broccoli, beans, peanuts, oranges, bananas, and fortified grains
  • Note: Folate is a form of the nutrient found naturally in food. Folic acid is the synthetic found in supplements and fortified food products. Both can contribute to achieving mothers increased demand in pregnancy for the prevention of neural tube defects.
  • Choline: Eggs, beef, chicken, soy/tofu, fish, quinoa, broccoli, potatoes, kidney beans, mushrooms, peanuts, and dairy products
  • Note: This nutrient is not always in standard prenatal vitamins. Therefore, it’s important to focus on including food sources daily if your prenatal vitamin doesn’t.
  • Calcium: Milk or fortified plant-based dairy products, yogurt, tofu, canned sardines or salmon, fortified breakfast cereals, broccoli, almonds, dark leafy greens such as kale, turnip greens, and spinach
  • Iron: Meat, seafood/shellfish, lentils, white, kidney and garbanzo beans, spinach, broccoli, raisins, tofu, and fortified breakfast cereals
  • If you have questions about safe fish intake while pregnant, the FDA has some advice.
  • Milk Yoghurt And Cheese

    You should have 3 servings of dairy products a day like milk, yogurt and cheese.

    1 serving is:

    • 125g carton of yogurt
    • 2 thumbs of cheese

    You should not eat unpasteurised milk and cheese while pregnant. These can make you ill or harm your baby. Avoid cheeses like Brie, Camembert, Danish blue, Gorgonzola and Roquefort.

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    Don’t Forget To Drink At Least 12 8

    “It’s hard to stay hydrated when you’re pregnant because a lot of the fluid you drink leaks from your blood vessels into your tissues,” Ricciotti explains. Yet hydration is essential for preventing preterm labor when you’re short on fluids, the body makes a hormone that simulates contractions. Staying hydrated also helps prevent headaches, kidney stones, dizziness and common pregnancy complaints such as constipation and hemorrhoids. You know you’re well hydrated when your urine is light yellow to clear.

    Dont Overlook Food Safety

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    To protect yourself and your baby from harmful bacteria such as E. coli, Salmonella and Listeria, dont eat raw or undercooked meat, poultry, seafood or eggs, and dont eat leftover food that has been sitting out for more than two hours, says Gidus. Also, stick a thermometer in your refrigerator to make sure the temperature is below 40 degrees, cold enough to stop bacteria from growing. Heat deli meats until steaming hot. With Brie, blue cheese and other soft cheeses, check the label to make sure they are made with pasteurized milk unpasteurized soft cheese can harbor Listeria, which can lead to premature delivery, miscarriage or stillbirth. If theres no label, dont take the chance. Stay away from sushi made with raw fish, but youre welcome to enjoy California rolls containing imitation crabmeat or sushi made with cooked eel.

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    How Much Should You Eat During Pregnancy

    You are feeling hungry all the time and everyone tells you its okay because you are eating for two. Its natural to be skeptical about whether you can just eat how much ever you want during pregnancy. During your pregnancy, you are indeed eating for two people, which is why the quality of nutrition is more significant than the quantity. Eating healthy has never been more important.

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