An old myth that people often still refer to is the idea that women need to be eating for two during pregnancy. We now know that during pregnancy a woman’s body becomes much more efficient at absorbing nutrients and in using the bodies’ readily available stores of nutrients too. For this reason, calorie intake doesn’t increase much during pregnancy.
In fact expectant mothers only need around 200 extra calories during their third trimester and no extra calories in the first and second trimester at all.
This means that pregnant women can eat roughly the same amount of food that they did prior to becoming pregnant. However it’s important to make some healthy changes to your diet such as taking pregnancy supplements and keeping an eye on the foods to avoid eating while pregnant.
Extra calories needed during pregnancy?
The extra 200 calories that are recommended during the third trimester are equivalent to eating:
- a small bowl of porridge and milk
- a small sandwich
- around 30g of nuts
I’m Pregnant, Should I Eat For Two?
The answer to this is no! You can sometimes have cravings for certain foods and this is fairly normal during pregnancy, but it’s also important to eat healthy foods and to avoid putting on too much weight. If you’re finding you’re hungry, make sure you stick to a structured routine around mealtimes and include some healthy snacks during the day when you’re most likely to feel hunger or cravings. Good snack ideas to include are cheese and crackers, vegetable sticks and dips, plain yogurt and fruit or a handful of nuts and seeds.
Choose protein and fibre rich foods at mealtimes and snacks to help you feel fuller for longer – this includes wholemeal and wholegrain carbohydrates, plenty of vegetables and protein and fibre rich foods such as beans and lentils which can add bulk to meals, without the extra calories. Ensure you’re getting plenty of fluids throughout the day and keeping well hydrated too.
For more information check out my blog post on all the ins and outs of what to eat when you’re pregnant, as well as other clear information about caffeine recommendations for pregnant women and more about SR Nutrition’s work around pregnancy nutrition.