Eating right is essential during pregnancy, and most women require a somewhat higher calorie diet than before they were pregnant. Some situations, including twins or higher multiples or being underweight prior to pregnancy require additional calories. Get the calories you need during pregnancy from healthy foods, including plenty of protein, whole grains, healthy fats and fruits and vegetables, rather than high-calorie junk food. Always follow your doctor’s diet advice.
Typical pregnancies increase your nutritional requirements by approximately 300 calories per day, 350 per day in the second trimester and around 500 calories a day in the third trimester, recommends the What To Expect website. These are only general guidelines, assuming a normal starting weight. If you are not gaining enough weight or have special considerations, your health care provider may recommend you consume additional calories.
If you’re carrying twins or higher multiples, your doctor will advise you on additional calorie and nutritional needs. You may need as much as an additional 500 calories per baby. Women starting pregnancy substantially underweight will be encouraged to add calories as well. You may also need to increase your calories by approximately 200 calories a day if vomiting continues past the third month, you are breastfeeding an older child, or have closely spaced pregnancies.
Be sure to consume three servings of protein each day, according to WhatToExpect.com. You need three servings of vitamin C rich foods each day, and four servings of calcium. Have three to four servings of green, yellow or orange fruits and vegetables daily and one to two servings of other fruits. Include at least six servings of whole grains and legumes in your daily diet. Keep total fat under 30 percent of your daily calories and keep your salt intake moderate.
Growing a baby requires a diet high in vitamins, minerals and protein. Your health care provider may recommend a prenatal vitamin or other supplements, but a smart diet remains essential. According to What To Expect, you should consume at least 75 g of protein daily. Additional calcium helps to protect your bones during pregnancy, while vitamin C helps your baby grow. You’ll need more protein if you’re carrying multiples, and your doctor may suggest additional servings of milk or milk products as well.
A higher calorie diet will produce higher weight gain and may, according to AskDrSears.com, produce a larger baby. If you are underweight or carrying multiples, this is essential for a healthy pregnancy. Talk to your doctor or midwife if you feel that a high-calorie diet is appropriate for your normal pregnancy to address concerns you may have about weight gain or a larger baby.