Pregnancy – “Eating For Two” Myth Debunked
Mums-to-be, how often have you heard the phrase ‘eating for two’? It’s a widespread belief that you need to substantially up your food intake during pregnancy, but this simply isn’t true. In fact, over-eating can lead to you piling on the pounds, which isn’t good for you or the baby. In this post, we’re going to debunk the myth and discuss what you actually need to support yourself during this time.
Pregnancy is broken up into three trimesters of about three months each. During the first, your baby is so small that it barely requires you to adjust your calorie intake. Something as simple as a glass of milk, some fruit or an energy ball will be sufficient. By the second trimester, your baby will grow from being the size of a lemon to the size of the medium head of cauliflower – amazing! You should take in an extra 300-400 calories to replenish the energy they use for this.
The third trimester is the final stretch before your new arrival finally comes. Your baby will be at its biggest and will need the energy to continue to grow and develop. However, the amount may surprise you. Around 400-500 extra calories are all that this amazing process requires.
Taking all of this information into account, ‘eating for two’ is clearly a bad idea that will lead to unnecessary weight gain without any health benefits. You don’t even need to ‘eat for two’ when you’re carrying two. For twins, increase the calorie guidelines by 200 for each trimester.
Of course, calories are just one part of the story. Ensuring that you’re giving your body everything it needs is always important, but with a baby on the way, nutrition should be a top priority.
If you already eat well then there’s no need to adopt a specific pregnancy diet. A general rule of thumb is to squeeze in as many fresh fruits and vegetables as you can as these are rich sources of vitamins and minerals. Given that pregnancy can be a tiring time, you may want to consider cutting out refined sugar as this causes energy crashes.
If you suffer from morning sickness and struggle to keep food down, consider taking a multi-vitamin until it passes. It’s also recommended that you take folic acid from once you decide you want to conceive as this will help to prevent against birth defects.
Listen to your body
The bottom line is that a few more snacks should cover the extra energy expenditure pregnancy brings and you must be mindful of the nutritional content of your food – just like any other time, really! It’s also worth noting that you don’t need to give up exercise, in fact, gentle and regular exercise is good for you both. Go along carefully and don’t push yourself, but certainly don’t become a couch potato. And remember to enjoy this time, it really is special.