How many Extra Calories do you need when you’re Pregnant?
You may have heard that on average women only need an extra 200 calories in the last trimester of pregnancy, but did you know that this doesn’t take into account women who stay relatively active or who may have been on the ‘lighter’ end of the BMI chart?
More recent research shows that on average your body may require up to 350 calories extra a day in the second trimester and up to 500 calories extra in the third; which is the equivalent of one more meal a day!
Having said this though I DO NOT recommend that you calorie count AT ALL during pregnancy; there is simply no need. I’m just telling you the above facts to show that you DO need to eat more in order for you and your baby to thrive (although yes, you don’t need to eat for two grown adults).
My top advice is to listen to your body and to eat when you need to; for me this was as soon as I got up and then every 2 hours during the first trimester (to prevent nausea) and then every 3 hours. I felt sick whenever my stomach was empty and I craved carbs like nothing else; you name it, I ate it.. Nutella wraps, jam on bread, crisps, pizza… BUT I still had 3 healthy meals a day in addition to these extra snacks and I only ate like this for a few weeks.
What is a Healthy Weight Gain when you’re Pregnant?
Regarding weight gain, 2 to 3 stone is pretty normal if you’re carrying one baby, however your midwife may give you a different guidelines depending on your pre-pregnancy weight; e.g. if your body mass index (BMI) was over 30 then you may be advised to gain only 1.5 stone. It really is amazing what effect more blood, fluid, baby, placenta, breast tissue and breast feeding stores can have on your size and weight!
Most guidelines say to expect to gain 1-7 lbs in trimester one and then 1 lb a week in trimester 2 and 3. If you don’t gain enough weight, this could result in a small birth weight baby (who is susceptible to more health problems) and if you gain too much weight, this could result in a more complicated birth. If you suffer with severe sickness in trimester 1 then of course you may gain more weight, and be hungrier/eat more (as a catch up!) in trimester 2 etc.
So please take this blog post for what it is meant; listen to your body, eat carbs (your baby needs them and that’s why low carb diets are NOT recommended if you’re trying for a baby or are pregnant), rest when you need to (but continue gentle exercise) and do NOT calorie count; your body is an amazing thing and it does not need a human developed app to tell you when to start and stop eating.. pregnancy is such a beautiful time and your baby needs you to eat a wide variety of foods.
Do NOT bother with weighing yourself (other than if it’s purely out of interest; I find it fascinating!!) as midwives in general only weigh you twice; once at your booking appointment, and secondly when you’re almost due.