How to Calculate Calories Needed During Pregnancy


How many calories do pregnant women need?

If you are pregnant, you do need additional calories, but not as many as you might think. In general, most experts and institutions recommend an additional 300 calories beyond what you need for weight management when you are not pregnant. During your first trimester, you are likely to gain only two to four lbs. You may or may not feel extra hungry but should increase your caloric intake at this time. As the fetus grows and you gain weight to support it, you will likely feel hungrier than you did during the first trimester. Specifically, during the second trimester, a pregnant woman needs 340 additional calories and by the third trimester, approximately 450 extra calories. It is not difficult to increase your caloric intake; however, these calories must be wisely spent on very nutrient-dense foods since. In addition to certain vitamins and minerals, you require an extra 25 grams (g) of protein, more dietary fiber and essential fatty acids daily.

What vitamins/minerals are most important during pregnancy?

During pregnancy and lactation, a period of nearly two years, a woman’s body requires more energy, in the form of calories, protein, water and other nutrients, such as certain vitamins and minerals. Women of childbearing age, actively trying to conceive, should take a pre-natal vitamin every day and stop only under the advisement of a physician or other health care provider. During pregnancy, a woman’s need for iron and folate increases by 50%. These nutrients are essential for forming new cells, such as red blood cells and increasing blood volume. Vitamin B12 also works with folate to make new cells and genetic material or DNA. In addition, folate or the synthetic form of this vitamin, folic acid, is important for forming the tissue (neural tube) or the tissue that develops into the brain and spinal cord of the fetus.  Other important vitamins and minerals for developing bones and teeth include calcium, vitamin D, phosphorus and magnesium.


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