Eating for Two - Nutrition During PregnancyHow many extra calories do I need while pregnant?
During pregnancy, your basal metabolic rate (BMR, or the number of calories
you use each day) will increase, and you'll need more calories to support the
extra work needed for fetal development. During the first trimester, most women
usually don't need to increase their usual daily intake of calories (i.e., 1,800
to 2,000 calories) unless they need to compensate for starting a pregnancy underweight.
But even if extra calories aren't consumed in the first trimester, you should
still make balanced nutrition part of your daily wellness plan.
During the second and third trimesters, you will need an extra 200 to 300 calories
each day. But that doesn't mean feeling uncomfortably full: for example, just
one piece of toast and a banana can supply those extra calories.
There are exceptions to the extra-calories rule: women who start out under-
or overweight, women who are very physically active, and women with certain
medical conditions should talk to their doctor about specific caloric needs.
Choose healthy foods to supply calories instead of high-fat or high-sugar alternatives.
For example, if you like sweetened snacks and beverages, remember that fresh
and dried fruits, and fruit juice concentrates, are sweet but also contain important
vitamins and nutrients (unlike some other high-sugar snacks). The occasional
ice cream treat is OK, but note that enjoying a cone or small bowl of low-fat
yogurt is a more nutritious way to obtain dietary calcium.
Women with diabetes should talk to their doctor or a registered dietitian about
their special nutritional needs during pregnancy. Women who are pregnant and
have diabetes should carefully monitor their blood sugar levels to make sure
the levels remain within the normal range. Women with blood sugar levels that
are too high risk having a difficult birth. They also risk having babies that
weigh more than normal at birth and have various newborn problems.
Women who did not have diabetes before may also develop the condition during
pregnancy. This kind of diabetes is known as gestational diabetes. Most
women with gestational diabetes can control their condition with a healthy balanced
diet and moderate exercise. Medications are usually not necessary. Gestational
diabetes usually disappears after the baby is born.
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