How Many Calories Should A Pregnant Woman Eat?
Pregnant women should be aware of their calorie intake to ensure their unborn baby gets all nutrients they need for growing up. The most important question that arises here is, “how many calories should a pregnant woman eat?“
In this article on Hipregnancy, we will cover the answer to this question and discuss other questions related to calorie intake while pregnant. Read this article to the end to find your answers about calories and pregnancy.
How many calories should I eat while pregnant?
All pregnant ladies should pay attention to the quality of the food they consume during pregnancy and should be cautious about their calorie intake because their body needs nutrient-dense food to feed growing babies. So, how many calories should a pregnant woman eat?
You know that human beings are not the same; they are different in size, shape, genetics, and even in their activities. Therefore, there is no certain number about the amount of calories to eat during pregnancy, and all numbers we mention are based on averages.
Generally speaking, the number of calories a pregnant lady requires during the magic time of pregnancy depends on the following factors;
- Genetics and body composition
You may wonder, is 1500 calories a day enough when pregnant? No, but let’s discuss it in detail.
It is advisable to consult your doctor or healthcare provider about your calorie intake during pregnancy because each pregnancy is unique and has its circumstance; however, as a general rule, normal-weight pregnant women should bear in mind the following numbers related to healthy calorie intake while pregnant;
- First trimester
About 1800 calories a day, without any extra calories’ requirement.
- Second trimester
About 2200 calories per day, or about 300-350 calories more than the usual.
- Third trimester
About 2400 calories a day, or about 400-500 calories more than the usual.
Note that all the above numbers are averages and may change based on pregnant ladies’ circumstances. For example, those underweight before pregnancy may need more calories than normal-weight pregnant women. Or those who carry twins or multiple children may require additional calories. [1: betterme]
Also Read: pregnancy lunch ideas
Does eating too much during pregnancy affect the baby?
Always remember that consuming right should be your top goal during pregnancy and a rule which should be followed all the time during this period. If you eat right, you can help your unborn baby grow up better.
Studies indicate that eating too much during pregnancy can be one of the main causes of problems during pregnancy and even labor. We should warn you that obese pregnant ladies are at a higher risk of gestational diabetes, cesarean delivery, high blood pressure, and birth defects. Unfortunately, in severe cases, fetal death may happen, which is the worst thing that a pregnant woman can experience during pregnancy.
To prevent any health issues during pregnancy and keep your unborn baby safe, try to have a healthy, balanced diet which contains foods with high nutritional values, and do not consume foods like junk food during pregnancy because these kinds of foods have zero nutritional value and also put you at the risk of obesity.
Weight gain guidelines during pregnancy
Here is a table of weight gain guidelines for those who want to be sure whether they are gaining the normal weight based on their calorie intake. (The following guidelines are based on a woman’s BMI before pregnancy). Let’s take a look at this chart;
|BMI before pregnancy||Weight gain for full-term pregnancy||Weight gain with twins|
|Underweight: BMI below 18.5||28 to 40 pounds||*there is no guideline.|
|Normal weight: 18.5 to 24.9||25 to 35 pounds||37 to 54 pounds|
|Overweight: 25.0 to 29.9||15 to 25 pounds||31 to 50 pounds|
|Obese: 30.0 and above||11 to 20 pounds||25 to 42 pounds|
What should I eat to increase my calorie intake during pregnancy?
There are plenty of healthy foods that you can consume during pregnancy to increase your calorie intake. Add nutrient-dense foods like vegetables, fruits, nuts, lean meats, and pregnancy-safe fish to your meal plan while pregnant. Limiting ice cream or cookie and eating healthy options like dates during pregnancy is better.
Although you should consume healthy foods to be safe while pregnant, keep in mind that your diet should be balanced, and your calorie intake should not exceed the average amount mentioned earlier in this article.
If you want to know more and, in detail, about the foods that help you increase your calorie intake, read our article about “What can pregnant women eat?” to obtain more information.
How to maintain the calorie count during pregnancy?
Food cravings during pregnancy should be controlled; if not, it can be the main cause of increasing calorie intake, followed by obesity and unnatural weight gain. The following part shows you the ways to ensure you get the right amount of calories in a day while pregnant;
1- Eating breakfast for pregnant women is essential even if morning sickness suffers them. Never omit breakfast from your diet; if morning sickness prevents you from eating a full-fledged meal, try to consume at least some dry toast or crackers instead.
2- Fruits and vegetables should be one part of your meal plan every day. These types of food are rich in fiber and water and reduce the risk of conditions such as preeclampsia. Suggest you read the article “which fruit is good for pregnancy.”
3- Try to eat a small amount of lean meat or other types of protein with each mealwhile pregnant to balance your diet and feel full for a longer time in a day.
4- Control your appetite and food cravings bydrinking an adequate water, eating high-fiber foods, and doing regular exercise(about 30 minutes a day).
Pregnancy is when you need to be more cautious about your calorie intake because high amounts of calories can put both you and your baby at risk. But, how many calories should a pregnant woman eat? Is there any guideline?
Of course. Pregnant ladies should consume about 1800 calories during first trimester, 2200 calories during 2nd trimester, and about 2400 calories during 3rd trimester. Note that these numbers are averages, and you should consult your doctor about the amount of calories you need.