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Calories need for a pregnant woman

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Does eating for two really mean you get to eat twice as much of everything? Unfortunately for food lovers, the baby-making math doesn't quite work that way. Keep in mind that one of the two you're eating for is a tiny growing fetus just pea-sized or smaller, in fact, during the first trimester. If your weight was within normal or average ranges and you were moderately active before becoming pregnant, your recommended daily intake was about 2, calories a day.

SEE VIDEO BY TOPIC: NUTRITION DURING PREGNANCY - Calories, Weight Gain, Nutrients - Becca Bristow MA, RD, LDN

SEE VIDEO BY TOPIC: Are You Really Eating for Two? Food and Nutrition During Pregnancy

How Many Calories Should I Eat During Pregnancy?

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What a woman eats and drinks during pregnancy is her baby's main source of nourishment. So, experts recommend that a mother-to-be's diet should include a variety of healthy foods and beverages to provide the important nutrients a baby needs for growth and development. A pregnant woman needs more calcium, folic acid, iron and protein than a woman who is not expecting, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists ACOG. Here is why these four nutrients are important. Also known as folate when the nutrient is found in foods, folic acid is a B vitamin that is crucial in helping to prevent birth defects in the baby's brain and spinal cord, known as neural tube defects.

It may be hard to get the recommended amount of folic acid from diet alone. For that reason the March of Dimes, an organization dedicated to preventing birth defects, recommends that women who are trying to have a baby take a daily vitamin supplement containing micrograms of folic acid per day for at least one month before becoming pregnant.

During pregnancy, they advise women to increase the amount of folic acid to micrograms a day, an amount commonly found in a daily prenatal vitamin. Food sources: leafy green vegetables, fortified or enriched cereals, breads and pastas, beans, citrus fruits. This mineral is used to build a baby's bones and teeth.

If a pregnant woman does not consume enough calcium , the mineral will be drawn from the mother's stores in her bones and given to the baby to meet the extra demands of pregnancy , according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Many dairy products are also fortified with vitamin D , another nutrient that works with calcium to develop a baby's bones and teeth. Pregnant women age 19 and over need 1, milligrams of calcium a day; pregnant teens, ages 14 to 18, need 1, milligrams daily, according to ACOG. Food sources: milk, yogurt, cheese, calcium-fortified juices and foods, sardines or salmon with bones, some leafy greens kale, bok choy.

Pregnant women need 27 milligrams of iron a day, which is double the amount needed by women who are not expecting, according to ACOG. Additional amounts of the mineral are needed to make more blood to supply the baby with oxygen. Getting too little iron during pregnancy can lead to anemia, a condition resulting in fatigue and an increased risk of infections. To increase the absorption of iron, include a good source of vitamin C at the same meal when eating iron-rich foods, ACOG recommends.

For example, have a glass of orange juice at breakfast with an iron-fortified cereal. More protein is needed during pregnancy, but most women don't have problems getting enough protein-rich foods in their diets, said Sarah Krieger, a registered dietitian and spokeswoman on prenatal nutrition for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in St.

Petersburg, Florida. She described protein as "a builder nutrient," because it helps to build important organs for the baby, such as the brain and heart. During pregnancy, the goal is to be eating nutritious foods most of the time, Krieger told Live Science. To maximize prenatal nutrition, she suggests emphasizing the following five food groups: fruits, vegetables, lean protein, whole grains and dairy products.

When counseling pregnant women, Krieger recommends they fill half their plates with fruits and vegetables, a quarter of it with whole grains and a quarter of it with a source of lean protein, and to also have a dairy product at every meal. Pregnant women should focus on fruits and vegetables, particularly during the second and third trimesters, Krieger said.

Get between five and 10 tennis ball-size servings of produce every day, she said. These colorful foods are low in calories and filled with fiber, vitamins and minerals.

Pregnant women should include good protein sources at every meal to support the baby's growth, Krieger said. Protein-rich foods include meat, poultry, fish, eggs, beans, tofu, cheese, milk, nuts and seeds. These foods are an important source of energy in the diet, and they also provide fiber, iron and B-vitamins.

At least half of a pregnant woman's carbohydrate choices each day should come from whole grains, such as oatmeal, whole-wheat pasta or breads and brown rice, Krieger said. Aim for 3 to 4 servings of dairy foods a day, Krieger suggested. Dairy foods, such as milk, yogurt and cheese are good dietary sources of calcium, protein and vitamin D. In addition to a healthy diet, pregnant women also need to take a daily prenatal vitamin to obtain some of the nutrients that are hard to get from foods alone, such as folic acid and iron, according to ACOG.

For women who take chewable prenatal vitamins, Krieger advised checking the product labels, because chewables might not have sufficient iron levels in them. Detailed information on healthy food choices and quantities to include at meals can also be found in the pregnancy section of the USDA's choosemyplate. Consuming fewer than mg of caffeine a day, which is the amount found in one ounce cup of coffee, is generally considered safe during pregnancy, according to a ACOG committee opinion , which was reaffirmed in The committee report said moderate caffeine consumption during pregnancy does not appear to contribute to miscarriage or premature birth.

Fish is a good source of lean protein, and some fish, including salmon and sardines, also contain omega-3 fatty acids , a healthy fat that's good for the heart. It is safe for pregnant women to eat 8 to 12 ounces of cooked fish and seafood a week, according to ACOG.

However, they should limit albacore or "white" tuna, which has high levels of mercury, to no more than 6 ounces a week, according to ACOG. Mercury is a metal that can be harmful to a baby's developing brain. Canned light tuna has less mercury than albacore "white" tuna and is safer to eat during pregnancy. Avoid alcohol during pregnancy, Krieger advised. Alcohol in the mother's blood can pass directly to the baby through the umbilical cord. Heavy use of alcohol during pregnancy has been linked with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, a group of conditions that can include physical problems, as well as learning and behavioral difficulties in babies and children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CDC.

Seafood such as swordfish, shark, king mackerel, marlin, orange roughy and tilefish are high in levels of methyl mercury, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and should be avoided during pregnancy. Methyl mercury is a toxic chemical that can pass through the placenta and can be harmful to an unborn baby's developing brain, kidneys and nervous system.

According to the USDA, pregnant women are at high risk for getting sick from two different types of food poisoning: listeriosis, caused by the Listeria bacteria , and toxoplasmosis, an infection caused by a parasite.

The CDC says that Listeria infection may cause miscarriage, stillbirth, preterm labor, and illness or death in newborns. To avoid listeriosis, the USDA recommends avoiding the following foods during pregnancy:.

A mother can pass a Toxoplasma infection on to her baby, which can cause problems such as blindness and mental disability later in life, reports the CDC. To prevent toxoplasmosis, the USDA recommends avoiding the following foods during pregnancy:. Some foods may increase a pregnant woman's risk for other types of food poisoning, including illness caused by salmonella and E.

When a mother-to-be is experiencing morning sickness , the biggest mistake she can make is thinking that if she doesn't eat, she'll feel better, Krieger said.

The exact causes of morning sickness are not known, but it may be caused by hormonal changes or lower blood sugar, according to the Mayo Clinic. This common complaint can bring on waves of nausea and vomiting in some women, especially during the first three months of pregnancy. And "it's definitely not happening only in the morning," Krieger said. It is common for women to develop a sudden urge or a strong dislike for a food during pregnancy.

Some common cravings are for sweets, salty foods, red meat or fluids, Krieger said. Often, a craving is a body's way of saying it needs a specific nutrient, such as more protein or additional liquids to quench a thirst, rather than a particular food, she said.

When people say that a pregnant woman is "eating for two," it doesn't mean she needs to consume twice as much food or double her calories. During the first three months, Krieger tells women that their calorie needs are basically the same as they were before pregnancy. During the first trimester, the recommended weight gain is between 1 and 4 pounds over the three-month period. Krieger typically advises pregnant women to add calories to their usual dietary intake during the second trimester, and to add calories during their third trimester when the baby is growing quickly.

It's hard to measure where pregnancy weight is going, she said, adding that a scale does not reveal whether the pounds are going to a woman's body fat, baby weight or fluid gains.

When it comes to pregnancy weight gain, Krieger advises mothers-to-be to look at the big picture: During regular prenatal checkups, focus on the fact that the baby is growing normally rather than worrying about the number on a scale. The total number of calories that are needed per day during pregnancy depends on a woman's height, her weight before becoming pregnant, and how active she is on a daily basis. In general, underweight women need more calories during pregnancy; overweight and obese women need fewer of them.

The Institute of Medicine IOM guidelines for total weight gain during a full-term pregnancy recommend that:. The IOM guidelines suggest that pregnant women gain between 1 and 4.

The guidelines recommend that underweight and normal-weight women gain, on average, about 1 pound every week during their second and third trimesters of pregnancy, and that overweight and obese women gain about half a pound every week in their second and third trimesters of pregnancy.

This article is for informational purposes only and is not meant to offer medical advice. Live Science. Please deactivate your ad blocker in order to see our subscription offer.

How Many Calories Do You Need During Pregnancy?

While pregnancy is not the time to lose weight, women should not use their expanding bellies as a reason to eat more than is necessary. The amount of food a woman needs during pregnancy depends on a number of things including her body mass index, or BMI, before pregnancy, the rate at which she gains weight, age and appetite. All pregnant women should eat a variety of nutrient-rich foods each day. It may also be necessary to take a vitamin and mineral supplement if recommended by a physician.

You do not need to eat any extra food in the first two trimesters of pregnancy. In the third trimester you may need to eat around calories extra. Much as this might be tempting, it's simply not true.

What a woman eats and drinks during pregnancy is her baby's main source of nourishment. So, experts recommend that a mother-to-be's diet should include a variety of healthy foods and beverages to provide the important nutrients a baby needs for growth and development. A pregnant woman needs more calcium, folic acid, iron and protein than a woman who is not expecting, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists ACOG. Here is why these four nutrients are important.

The caloric cost of pregnancy.

That you need to eat for two during pregnancy is a common misconception among many people. An average person may consume up to calories daily, depending on their activity levels, age and weight. However, the calorie consumption needs to be increased a tad bit for pregnant women to get through the term and provide enough nourishment to the little life in their wombs. In this article, we shall address the most common concerns about calorie consumption during pregnancy. Read on to know more. However, some women may experience weight loss due to morning sickness. An additional calories during the first trimester can help keep a continuous supply of nutrients to the body. Morning sickness also tends to dehydrate, so ensure you drink plenty of water and stay sufficiently hydrated throughout your pregnancy.

Nutritional Needs During Pregnancy

Making a baby is hard work for a woman's body. Eating right is one of the best things you can do to help your baby grow and develop normally. Eating for two does not mean eating twice as much food. Pregnant women need about extra calories a day.

Your body goes through numerous physical and hormonal changes during pregnancy. You must eat a healthful, balanced diet to help ensure you stay healthy throughout your pregnancy.

A growing number of pregnant women in the United States have weight-related conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, or cardiovascular disease that can increase the risk of pregnancy complications. However, current guidelines recommend all pregnant women increase calorie intake by to calories per day during the second and third trimesters, regardless of weight at conception. Now the results of a recent clinical trial evaluating calorie intake, energy expenditure, and weight gain in 54 pregnant women with obesity during pregnancy puts a spotlight on ways this recommendation may need to change. But many women with obesity can face stigma from healthcare providers that can also complicate their care.

Eating Right Before and During Pregnancy

Age Years. Weight Pounds Kilos This is your pre-pregnancy weight. First Trimester?

One of the biggest misconceptions when it comes to pregnancy is that you gotta eat for two. No, you do not need that extra plate nor does that baby. So, how many calories do you need, to be exact? Well, that number varies from person to person and from pregnancy to pregnancy. During the first trimester, you will only need about extra calories per day.

How much extra should I eat in pregnancy?

Being obese or overweight during pregnancy can result in serious health problems for the mother and child. Obstetricians are often reluctant to recommend restricted weight gain for pregnant women due to safety concerns for the baby and lack of time and tools to safely guide women in their weight control efforts. A new Northwestern Medicine study shows with proper nutrition guidance it is safe and feasible to restrict weight gain in obese and overweight pregnant women. The obese and overweight women in the study gained five pounds less during their pregnancy than those in the control group. Their babies were born in the normal weight range. The approach included nutritional counseling on a healthy diet and lifestyle as supported by a commercially available smartphone diet app, with ongoing coaching via the phone and online. S, leverage this unique opportunity during their pregnancy to adopt a healthier diet and lifestyle plan that they can follow throughout pregnancy and, hopefully, post-partum," said lead study author Linda Van Horn, professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. The majority of U.

PREGNANCY CALORIC INTAKE CALCULATOR However – this does not account for underweight women, or those who continue their physical activity during pregnancy. Research shows that energy needs are different for each trimester;.

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Pregnancy Diet & Nutrition: What to Eat, What Not to Eat

Eating healthily is key to feeling well and optimizing your health but even more so during pregnancy. If you are pregnant, what you eat not only affects you but it also affects the health of your baby. Some experts even suggest that the way a mother eats during her pregnancy influences the risk of obesity for her child later in life. Getting just the right amount of calories during this critical period of your child's development can have life-long consequences.

Healthy Weight during Pregnancy

Find out how many calories is recommend during your pregnancy and how to increase your intake. During the first and second trimester an average calorie intake is usually about 2, calories for usually active mums-to-be. When you reach the third trimester, your last 3 months of pregnancy, it is advised that you increase your calorie intake by around calories per-day. Of course, we all come in various shapes and sizes, have slower or faster metabolisms and different lifestyles which will effect how many calories we need as an individual.

During a normal healthy pregnancy, it is recommended that pregnant women gain pounds. If you are unable to exercise due to morning sickness, you can temporarily subtract the additional calorie allowance until you are able to be active again.

It is important to get the nutrients you need both before getting pregnant and during your pregnancy. In addition, there are a few special considerations for breastfeeding mothers. For more information, please see Nutrition Tips for Breastfeeding Mothers. Both before and during pregnancy it is important to eat between 20 and 35 grams of fiber each day. This is the same as the guidelines for the general population.

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