Understanding calorie intake in pregnancy
Helpful guide on the recommended calorie intake for your stage of pregnancy
“Eating for two” is a common myth in pregnancy, the reality is you don’t actually need any additional calories until the third trimester and even then you shouldn’t be doubling the amount!
How many calories should I eat in the first and second trimester?
During the first and second trimester an average calorie intake is usually about 2,000 calories for usually active mums-to-be. However, you may find that you’re hungrier than usual so make sure that you’re drinking enough fluids and eating balanced meals throughout the day to avoid snacking on fatty and sugary foods in between.
How many calories should I eat in the third trimester?
When you reach the third trimester, your last 3 months of pregnancy, it is advised that you increase your calorie intake by around 200 calories per-day. If you’re expecting twins or more, you may need to increase calories to up to 350 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.
Figuring out your own calorie intake
The number of calories you need while you are pregnant depends on your height, body mass index (BMI) as well as how active you are and how effectively you burn calories. There are numerous apps and online tools that are able to estimate how many calories you should be eating but the best thing to do is talk to your midwife who will be able to advise you on managing your weight in pregnancy.
What should I eat to increase my calorie intake?
Increase your calorie intake by eating a balance of high-nutrient foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, low-fat dairy products and lean meats rather than opting for the cookies and cream! That’s not to say you should feel guilty about eating the odd chocolate bar or packet of crisps though – we all deserve a treat now and again!
For more information on a balanced diet read our guide to sticking to a healthy diet in pregnancy.
If you develop gestational diabetes during your pregnancy, your midwife or doctor will advise you on the amount of calories and foods you should be eating to help manage the levels of sugar in your blood.
How can I keep track of how many calories I’m eating?
As long as you’re eating a healthy balanced diet and getting all the nutrients you need for you and your baby you shouldn’t get too bogged down in the number of calories. However, if you’re concerned about over or under eating your midwife may recommend keeping a food diary to help keep track of what you’re eating.