Are you Really Eating for Two?

During pregnancy people usually say you’re “Eating for Two”- but that doesn’t give the green light to double your calories.

First Trimester

  • Weeks 1-13
  • You don’t need any extra calories (unless you are carrying multiples)!
  • Normal weight gain is up to 5 pounds during this time

Second & Third Trimester

  • 2nd Trimester (weeks 14-26) you need an additional 330 calories daily.
  • 3rd Trimester (weeks 27-40) you need an additional 450 calories daily.
  • Healthy weight gain is approximately 1 pound/week or 4 pounds/month.  If you started off overweight you should gain approximately 3 pounds/month and if you were underweight pre-pregnancy then you should gain closer to 5 pounds/month

What is the Recommended Weight Gain?

  • Pre-pregnancy BMI <19.8: 28-40 pounds
  • Pre-pregnancy BMI 19.8-26.0: 25-35 pounds
  • Pre-pregnancy BMI 26.1-29.0: 15-25 pounds
  • Pre-pregnancy BMI >29.0: at least 15 pounds
  • Twin pregnancy, any BMI: 35-45 pounds

Where does the Weight Go?

  • Baby: 7-8 pounds
  • Placenta: 1-2 pounds
  • Amniotic Fluid: 2 pounds
  • Breasts: 1 pound
  • Uterus: 2 pounds
  • Increased blood volume: 3 pounds
  • Body fat: 5 pounds or more
  • Increased muscle tissue and fluid: 4-7 pounds

I believe that the best way to keep track of whether you are getting adequate calories is to listen to your body and monitor your weight gain.  It’s not necessary to track every calorie.  If you eat nutritious foods when you are hungry and stop when you are full and you are gaining the appropriate weight then you’re right on track!

If you find that you’re gaining at too quick a rate, then evaluate if some of your meals have been higher in calories than necessary or if you’ve been giving in to too many cravings.  However, it is normal to gain a few pounds one week and less the next.  So listen to your doctor at your monthly weigh ins to see if you’re on track.

If you’re not gaining enough weight, then you’ll want to increase your caloric intake.  Think about making your snacks more calorie dense (nuts, dried fruit, granola), and increase your portions slightly.  Remember, it doesn’t give you free reign to junk food.

For me, I haven’t counted calories at all.  I have found that I’m much hungrier on certain days and less hungry on some.  If I’m ravenous (which happens quite often!) I add in a couple snacks or make my lunch bigger (usually when I’m hungriest).  I have found snacking consistently throughout the day works best for me to maintain my energy levels and keep my hunger at bay.  My snacks always consist of some sort of high fiber carb (fruit, veggies, cereal, whole wheat bread) with a protein (nuts, peanut butter, cottage cheese, yogurt, lattes, low fat cheese).


11 Responses

  1. Thank you for another informative post!

    I am now the personal shopper for a boy avocado 🙂


  2. I wish I would have had this advice when I was pregnant. I gained 70lbs with my 1st and 40lbs with my 2nd! It made it very hard to get back in shape after both pregnancies!


  3. Such great advice!! I took Nutrition in the Life Cycle last semester, and it was so interesting to see where the weight actually goes during pregnancy. I think a lot of people automatically think it’s just the baby’s weight that should matter, but there’s a lot more to it then that!

  4. So then how much weight can you expect to lose immediately – 2 months after the delivery?

    I’ve always wanted a professional opinion about this: If you don’t eat after 5pm you’ll naturally lose weight (even if you still eat the same number of calories per day) Do you think this is true?

    Thank you!

    • Everyone is different, so some people lose a lot of weight very quickly while others do not. Wish I could be more helpful with that!

      That is false – it’s really a matter of overall calories and it doesn’t matter when you eat them. However, if you wait until too late to eat usually you are very hungry and will eat more!

  5. Hey!
    I just came across your blog and I love reading!
    I would love it if you could check out my blog and follow as well 🙂

  6. Such a great post and I agree with “you are NOT eating for two”. I have 15 friends who had a baby last year (Feb 15 – April 25) and I could see how they all approached their pregnancy so differently. I had friends that they ate everything in sight. Their philosophy was that they didn’t want to deprive their baby of anything. I had friends who ate nutritious and controlled meals and sad to say friends who ate fast food (burger, fries and large cook) every day at lunch.

    We are not ready to start a family yet, but I am bookmarking this for future or the other 15 friends who are pregnant now. 🙂

  7. […] did a couple of very informative posts a while back: Planning for Pregnancy and Are you really eating for two?  that I thought I would share with […]

  8. […] the 2nd and 3rd trimesters of pregnancy you needed extra calories.  But guess what, while breastfeeding you have to keep those extra calories up or have even more! […]

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