Pregnancy comes with a lot of the physical and emotional changes. A pregnant woman becomes more sensitive to smell, has an aversion to food and a strong craving for food, an increase in appetite, and may gain weight. Besides all these changes, calorie intake is of great importance during pregnancy.
It is a common belief that women should significantly increase their calorie intake during pregnancy because they are eating for two. But is it recommended to eat for two? Researchers stress that most pregnant women should increase their calorie intake. The average calories a pregnant woman should eat per day is about 2,000 calories, which is enough to provide both the mother and her unborn baby with the nutrients they need.
The amount of calories a pregnant woman should consume varies from woman to woman. Factors that affect food intake include rate of weight gain, age, body mass index, and appetite. Pregnant women should eat nutrient-rich foods daily to ensure the healthy growth of the baby.
How many calories should a pregnant woman eats every three months?
All pregnant women should focus on improving the quality of their diet and not spend too much energy worrying about increasing the exact number of calories they are consuming. So, how many calories should a pregnant woman eat in the first trimester of pregnancy? During the first trimester of pregnancy, it is acceptable for a woman to maintain her caloric intake around pre-pregnancy.
However, as pregnancy progresses into the second and third trimesters, you may need a few extra calories. How many calories should a pregnant woman eat per day during the first trimester of pregnancy? How many calories should a pregnant woman with twins eat? For most normal-weight pregnant women, a healthy calorie intake is as follows:
- First trimester of pregnancy: about 1,800 calories per day because no extra calories are needed.
- Second trimester: About 2,200 calories per day, or about 300 to 350 more calories than usual.
- Third trimester: About 2,400 calories per day, or about the 400 to 500 calories more than usual.
However, there are many exceptions. If a woman was underweight before pregnancy, she will likely need more calories. Also, if she’s carrying twins or multiple babies, she may need extra calories.
Research indicates that the risk of complications during pregnancy and childbirth is lower when weight gain is maintained within a healthy range. Obesity puts pregnant women and their unborn children at risk because it increases the risks of cesarean delivery, gestational diabetes, gestational hypertension, and birth defects.
Weight gain during pregnancy results from increased breast tissue, blood volume, fluid volume, and fetal growth. In obese women, these account for the 11 to 20 pounds they gain during pregnancy. Thus, obese pregnant women do not need to increase their calorie intake to have a healthy pregnancy. It is recommended that you keep your calorie intake before pregnancy unless advised otherwise by your doctor.
How can you check if you are eating enough?
It is essential to eat properly during pregnancy and to get about 30 minutes of exercise per day. However, there are some indications that women are not getting all the calories they need to get pregnant. Certain eating patterns can jeopardize fetal development.
Weight gain often occurs during pregnancy. However, the amount of weight gain varies. Here are the ranges for general healthy weight gain during pregnancy with one baby based on the mother’s weight status before pregnancy.
- A woman of normal, healthy weight (BMI of 18.5 to 24.9) should gain about 11.5 to 16 kg (25-35 lbs).
- An obese woman (BMI 25-29.9) should gain between 7 and 11.5 kg (15-25 lbs).
- An obese woman (BMI greater than 30) should gain about 5-9 kg (11-20 lbs).
- An underweight woman or woman with twins or more should gain 12.5 to 18 kg (28-40 lb.).
Loss of the appetite is common during pregnancy, especially in the first trimester but may persist. Sometimes a pregnant woman may lose interest in eating certain foods or lose the desire to eat them completely. Nausea, vomiting, mental health conditions, medications, and eating disorders such as bulimia and anorexia can affect appetite and eating during pregnancy.
Loss of appetite and nutritional deficiency
Loss of appetite may lead to nutritional deficiencies. Nutritional deficiencies can lead to pregnancy-related complications such as maternal weight loss, poor fetal growth and low birth weight (10). Pregnant mothers who have chronically decreased appetite are also at risk of developing fetal developmental defects, anemia, and preterm labor (9). Therefore, you must eat enough food to maintain a healthy pregnancy and ensure the healthy development of the baby.