During pregnancy, you should preferably eat twice as
healthy as you usually do, but you should not eat twice
Eat for two?
The diet we eat should cover the body's daily energy
needs (calories) and not just maintain body functions.
During pregnancy, the need for energy increases. The
woman's body grows. The mammary glands develop and the
breasts grow larger, the placenta and uterus grow and
the amount of blood in the body increases. In addition,
the child's growth and development requires their share
of the nutritional supply. In other words, the pregnant
woman should eat for two, but not for two adults. The
extra energy requirement required during pregnancy
corresponds roughly to the nutritional content of the
following: a slice of bread with cold cuts, a glass of
milk and an apple.
How much weight gain is normal
During an average pregnancy, the weight increases by
about 12.5–15 kg. Normal hormone changes lead to about 6
kg of weight gain in water. Larger breasts and increased
blood volume also contribute to weight gain. The
placenta and amniotic fluid contribute, and the baby
weighs from 3 to 5 kg. If the pregnant woman weighs
about 12.5 kg during pregnancy, it can be assumed that
she will weigh approximately as much as before the
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Both obesity and underweight are associated with an
increased risk of complications during pregnancy or
childbirth. US health authorities have published
recommendations for the desired weight gain
during pregnancy in relation to the woman's BMI prior to
pregnancy and recommend that the pregnant woman receive
dietary and exercise information to achieve this:
- Underweight (BMI <18.5 kg / m2): 12.5–18 kg.
- Normal weight (BMI 18.5–24.9 kg / m2): 11.5–16
- Overweight (BMI 25.5–29.9 kg / m2): 7.0–11.5 kg.
- Heavyweight (> 30 kg / m2): 5.0–9.0 kg.
What is a good diet?
Good nutrition during pregnancy is what we all know
as eating healthy. It is recommended that you eat
regularly, with three to five meals per day. This leads
to less (danger) risk of constipation and other stomach
upset during pregnancy, and it makes it easier to ensure
adequate nutrition. Small amounts are often also good
for the nausea, which many suffer from. It is the food
you eat every day that matters. Therefore, try to keep
good everyday habits.
In short, healthy eating can be described by:
- Use less: Margarine and butter,
standard milk, sugar, salt.
- Use more: Bread and preferably
coarse cereal products, potatoes, medium or light
milk, fish, vegetables and fruits.
- Replace: Hard margarine against
soft margarine, fat dairy products against lean, fat
meat products against lean, some of the meat against
- Pregnant and breastfeeding are especially
recommended to ensure the supply of omega 3 fatty
acids, which are considered important for the
development of the baby's brain.
- Enough omega 3 can be secured by two meals of
fish per week.
What about vitamins and trace elements?
Both the pregnant and the baby need vitamins. Vitamin
A is found in carrots and other vegetables and in fatty
fish. Vitamin B is found in bread and green vegetables.
There is plenty of vitamin C in potatoes, vegetables,
fruits and berries. There is vitamin D in oily fish and
in margarine and butter. We can get these vitamins in
sufficient quantity through a healthy and normal diet.
There is one exception, it is vitamin B9 which is also
called folic acid or folate. Extra supplements of this
vitamin are recommended through week 12 of pregnancy.
See also: Pregnancy and folic acid
The trace iron is important and necessary to bind and
retain hemoglobin in the red blood cells. Both the
mother and the child need it. However, iron is not good
in excessive amounts. Most people get what they need
through diet and it is not recommended to eat iron
tablets for safety. At the first pregnancy check,
samples are taken to examine the amount of iron in the
body and iron tablets are recommended if iron deficiency
is detected. Your midwife or doctor will notify you.
Calcium is the second trace element that is often
mentioned in pregnancy. Regular diets are rich in
calcium and everyone with normal diets covers their
needs. Breast milk contains as much calcium as standard
milk. Two to three glasses of milk and a little cheese
every day is enough to meet the need. If you do not
drink milk or eat cheese, calcium tablets are
Alcohol and tobacco
You should abstain from alcohol and tobacco during
pregnancy. More information on this can be found in:
Pregnancy and alcohol and Pregnancy and tobacco.