How Many Calories Should You Eat Per Day When Pregnant?

WHAT'S YOUR REACTION?

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1 What’s Normal For Pregnancy

The average calorie intake of a woman is somewhere around 2000 calories per day. Despite what we hear about “eating for two”, the truth is that pregnant women really don’t need a ton of extra calories. This is very surprising to most women to hear.

calories-per-serving

The truth is that most pregnant women only need to eat around 300 calories per day more than you would otherwise during the first trimester. During the second trimester, women should eat around 350-400 calories per day in addition to their regular diet. The third trimester is when women should eat around 500 extra calories per day.

2 Special Considerations

While the 300 calorie per day example above is just an example, there are some special cases in which a woman might need to adjust her daily calorie intake to fit her needs. For example if a woman is extremely overweight at the beginning of her pregnancy, she may not need to consume as many calories per day as a woman who has a normal BMI.

Body-Mass-Index-chart

Also, women who are pregnant with multiples or who are severely underweight might also need to consume more calories than other women. The average amount of weight that women gain during their pregnancy is 26 pounds, so women should aim to keep their numbers right around there.

3 What to Remember

It is important to remember that you get your daily extra calories from healthy food sources, and not from foods that are high in fat or added sugars. Also, make sure to get enough daily exercise during your entire pregnancy in order to stay in the best possible shape.

exercise-during-pregnancy

This will also make it easier to lose weight after your baby is born. Try to aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise each day for the best results. Try to include lots of whole grains, lean meat, low fat dairy and fruits and veggies in your daily diet for the best results.

This will help to ensure that you are gaining weight steadily and at a good pace and that you are not eating a ton of “empty calories”, like cookies, cakes, chips, and fried, greasy foods. It is very important to make sure that you are doing a good job of balancing your calorie needs while pregnant.

eating-empty-calories

You have to make sure to gain enough weight to keep your baby growing and developing properly, but not enough weight to make it hard for you. It’s a fine balancing act, so ask your doctor if you have questions.

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Dr. Karen Leham is double board-certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology and in Reproductive Endocronology and Infertility. Dr. Leham completed her residency at Loyola University, followed by a fellowship at UCLA.

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