Eating for Two

You may have endless questions rolling around in your mind.
Do I need to eat double the amount of food?
How do I meet all of my nutrient requirements without increasing my calorie intake?
How do I make sure I don’t gain too much weight?
How do I make sure I gain enough weight? 

You have found out that your pregnant, now what? You might notice that everybody is full of well intentioned advice and information and sometimes it can seem like a daunting task to figure out how to start sifting through everything. Eating during pregnancy should not be a complex or complicated chore.

How much weight should I gain?

The amount of weight that you should gain during pregnancy varies based on your pre-pregnancy body mass index or BMI. Most women can expect to gain a few kilograms during the first trimester of pregnancy however most weight gain will occur during the second and third trimester.

If your pre-pregnancy BMI is less than 18.5 kg/m2 then you should gain between 12.5kg – 18kg during your pregnancy which equates to approximately half a kg per week during your second and third trimester.

If your pre-pregnancy BMI is between 18.5 – 25kg/m2 then you should gain between 11.5kg – 16kg or 400g per week during your second and third trimester.

If your pre-regnancy BMI is 25 – 30kg/m2 or over then you should gain between 7 – 11.5kg and if your pre-pregnancy BMI is above 30kg/m2 then you should gain between 5-9kg or less than 300g per week during your second and third trimester.

So what does “eating for 2” look like?

While pregnancy can be a great excuse to have that extra slice of cake or go back for the second bowl of pasta your body does not require double the amount of food. It is true, however that your vitamin and mineral requirements increase along with your calorie requirements during pregnancy. During pregnancy your body becomes much more efficient at supporting both you and your growing baby which means your body will absorb more of the vitamins and minerals that you feed it to support you in meeting your increased requirements.

The focus during pregnancy should be on consuming nutrient rich foods to meet your increased nutrient requirements without dramatically increasing your calorie intake. During pregnancy most women will not require additional calories during the first trimester and during the second and third only require an additional 1250kj or approximately 300 calories, even in the later stages of pregnancy. This is equivalent to 1 slice of bread, 1 piece of fruit and 100g of low fat yoghurt.

How can you get everything you need without consuming too many calories?

·         Eat small, regular meals and snacks, up to 5-6 small meals and snacks per day.

·         Planning your meals and snacks is important; if the healthy option isn’t the easy option it is less likely that you will choose it. For example have some nuts and fruit in your handbag or desk drawer at work, pack a lunch to take to work with you and plan your dinner meals for the week so that you can shop accordingly.

·         Eat from all food groups including dairy, fruit, vegetables, grains and meat and alternatives. Eat a variety of foods from within each group, choosing lots of different coloured fruit and vegetables.

·         Limit “treat” foods to approximately once per week.

·         Stay well hydrated, choosing water over high sugar fluids such as fruit juices, cordials and softdrinks.

·         Choose good quality grains such as traditional Oats, high fibre cereals, multigrain bread, brown rice over processed grains such as white bread, rice bubbles and white rice.

Should I be taking a Supplement?

A multivitamin is not necessary during pregnancy, while it is possible to meet all dietary requirements through food alone it is not always practical for every woman to eat the right amounts of the right food every day during pregnancy. For this reason, a general pregnancy multivitamin such as Elevit pregnancy multivitamin or Blackmores pregnancy and breastfeeding gold can be consumed in the recommended dosage alongside a balanced diet.

Choosing a healthy and balanced diet during pregnancy is important for both you and your baby. For more individualised help, support or education please contact us for an appointment.

Tell us about your dieting experience in the comments, or book an appointment with us today and let's discuss your goals!

Solutions With Food

SpringRuth Burton