With my first pregnancy, I overused the phrase “eating for two.” It was my excuse to help myself to another serving of cake, ice cream, pizza, or whatever it was I wanted at the time. I was always told it was fine to eat more because you have to have enough nutrients to feed your baby too; so I never worried much about it. However, I was sadly misguided. Eating for two is completely false and can actually lead to problems for mother and baby, if too much weight is gained during pregnancy.
How Many Calories Do I Need?
Caloric intake during pregnancy is surprisingly minimal and is based on numerous factors. Those factors include current weight and activity level. The more active, the more calories you may need in a day.
First Trimester= No extra calories needed. If you are very active an extra 100-300 calories are needed
Second Trimester= An extra 300-350 calories are needed. Remember, if active you are closer to the higher end of the calories needed.
Third Trimester= 350-500 calories extra are needed. Again, the more active you are a day the more calories you will need to take in.
Problems with Eating for Two
The problem with the phrase “eating for two” is it doesn’t specify exactly how much more. So it’s up to interpretation. One persons eating for two can be an extra cookie or extra serving of dinner, while another can be two meals for every meal. Obviously women of the latter may end up gaining too much weight, which can lead to complications.
Gaining too much weight during your pregnancy can lead to complication for mother and baby. Some of these complications can be gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, and a larger baby, which may lead to a cesarean section.
On the other end, gaining too little weight can also lead to complications. Some of those are low birth weight and premature delivery. The ideal weight gain during pregnancy is around 25-30 pounds.
Other problems are with wanting to double up on “bad” foods. Improper nutrition during pregnancy can have lasting effects on baby. Not eating nutritious foods during pregnancy can lead to heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity for the baby well into their adult life. Focus on healthy food and snacks!
What do extra calories look like?
Extra 100 calories
· Half of an apple mixed with ½ cup of unsweetened apple sauce
· ½ cup of low-fat cottage cheese with ½ cup of diced cantaloupe
· One slice of whole wheat bread top with two scrambled egg whites
· 10 baby carrots with 2 tablespoons of hummus
Extra 300 Calories
· Whole wheat crackers with 2oz low fat cheese- thinly sliced
· 1 apple and 2 tablespoons of peanut butter
· 1 ¼ cup of whole grain cereal, ½ cup milk, 1 banana
· 8 oz. glass of V8 juice and 3 oz. mozzarella cheese