Does pregnancy mean that you should be eating for two with the baby growing inside you? You have to note that the developing baby is just the size of a bean and hence if you eat for two, from the moment you decide you are pregnant, will mean putting on weight which is unnecessary and will only cause complications in the future. However, you do need to eat a little extra but how much?
Studies have shown that what you need is just 300 calories extra per day, on an average, then what you were consuming each day, before becoming pregnant. This is equal to just two glasses of skimmed milk and a bowl of oatmeal. During the first trimester, you do not even need this extra 300 calories. However, if you are underweight than this may be a good time to put on some weight to get you to normal size. During the second trimester, you may need to consume an extra 300 to 350 calories per day. In the last and last trimester, you may need to eat even more as the baby is now growing fast. This would mean an upward of 500 calories per day extra.
What is more important is the quality of what you eat more than the measure. Eating more calories than you need results in putting on the extra weight, without any benefits. At the same time eating too little is also unhealthy as this can slow down the growth of the baby. However, there are some exceptions to these rules. These are:
(a) If you are underweight, you need to become a normal weight so that you are strong enough to bear the rigors of pregnancy with comfort.
(b) If you are in your teens than as you are still growing and your nutrition needs are more depending on your current weight.
(c) If you are pregnant with twins than you have to cater for two babies and this would mean 300 extra calories for each baby.
Pregnancy diet is not about calories alone but mainly concerns with the required nutrients for the healthy growth of the baby. Hence if you take a proper diet with the required supplements all you need to do is to keep a track of the weight gained by you during the pregnancy. There is a weight gain calculator in the Healtheoz-HMom app that you can use. Too little weight gain means you are eating too little and too much weight gain means you are eating extra to the need. In all this discussion on calories do not forget that it is calories with the right nutrients. What are these nutrients we keep harping on? Proteins at least three servings of proteins 25 grams each
- Calcium at least four servings daily of calcium-rich food. Note that calcium is not easily absorbed by the body if only taken as supplements
- Vitamin C containing food to cater to three servings daily
- Vitamin A, which is vital for cell growth, at least three to four servings. This would come from green leafy vegetables and yellow fruits and vegetables.
- Vitamin B available in other fruits and vegetable at least one to two servings daily These come from apples, bananas, grapes, peaches and the like.
- Whole grain at least six servings every day. Please note it is important to have whole grain and not the processed variety as to available in white bread, polished rice, etc.
- Iron-rich food at least some every day. Your medical advisor may ask you to take iron supplements as these are essential for developing a blood supply to your baby and your diet may not have it in sufficient quantity to meet the requirements.
- Fats and high-fat food about four servings daily. This to be taken keeping your weight gain requirements in mind and not to overdo.
- A doctor recommended Pre-natal vitamin supplements daily to be taken as insurance so that if your diet is not able to cater for the essential requirements for baby growth the vacuüm is filled in by these supplements.
There are many diets available for women who are vegetarian, non-vegetarian, non-animal food eating, lactose intolerant, wheat allergic and so on. It is best to consult your doctor so that your particular needs are met. Weight gain is going to take place in pregnancy and all you have to do is to make sure you eat the right food, gain weight as required, to make sure you have a healthy baby at the end of none months.
(Any health-related information or any medical opinion in the content is gathered from secondary sources and is only for the purpose of information and this should not be treated as a specific diagnosis or treatment plan for any personal situation. Using this site and the information contained in it is not to create a doctor-patient relationship. Always make sure to seek the advice of your doctor if you have any issues or questions about yours or the health of others.)