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Pregnancy Nutrition


If you’re expecting, first off, congratulations! During your pregnancy, you’ll need approximately 77,000 [1][3] additional calories as well as extra nutrients [2]. Here’s a quick brief, which I hope you’ll find useful. Please do leave a comment with your thoughts; they’re always helpful for me.

  • On average, a weight gain of 12.5 kg can be expected for a full term, 40 week pregnancy. [3]
  • Expect to be constipated, for which additional fluid intake will be helpful [3].
  • Avoid Vitamin A supplements and foods containing high amounts of Vitamin A (e.g. liver and related) [3]
  • Certain types of fish should be avoided, including Shark, Swordfish and Tuna. [3]
  • Aim for a healthy body weight of BMI 20 – 25. Being underweight and overweight can effect fertility and birth outcome. [3]
  • Limit the consumption of fat and sugar. [3]
  • Increase intake of fibre, to avoid potentially impaired glucose tolerance [6]

Folate

The table further below mentions additional Folate requirements. This section is side by side with that recommendation. Low Folate levels are associated with Neural Tube Defects (NTD) among other issues [5]. If you’re pregnant or planning to be, and are in the following groups, consider the consumption of 4 – 5 mg / day (4000 – 5000 mcg) of Folic acid supplements [5]. This supplementation should continue until the 12th week of your pregnancy [4][5] and not later [5].

  • Previous pregnancy with NTD
  • Close family member with NTD
  • Obese
  • Use of drugs with anti-folate effects.
  • Genetic mutations in the folic acid metabolic pathway or folate receptors
  • Poorly controlled diabetes mellitus – type 1 or type 2
  • Poor compliance with folic acid supplementation
  • Smoker – passive or active
  • Usage of oral contraceptives
  • Celiac disease
  • Crohn disease

Protein

The table further in this article lists daily additional protein requirements. Side by side, this paper [1] suggests the consumption of protein as follows:

  • Early gestation, ~14% of calories
  • Late gestation, ~17% of calories

This means, if your BMR is ~1500 calories per day, ~14% of that would be ~210 calories, which at 4 calories per gram for protein, would translate to 52.5 grams of protein per day.

Additional Nutrition

Daily requirements during pregnancy are mentioned [3][4] in the table below. These are in addition to what your body usually needs for an optimum infant birth weight of 3.1 to 3.6 kg [3]. Please note, all vitamins and minerals aren’t listed. This means the unlisted ones must be consumed as per the Dietary Recommended Intake (DRI) for your age, which can be more than what you usually consume.

Energy / NutrientExtra Amount
Vitamin A+100 mcg / day
Vitamin C+10 mg / day
(Last trimester)
Vitamin D+10 mcg / day
Vitamin B-1 / Thiamin+0.1 mg / day
(Last trimester)
Vitamin B-2 / Riboflavin+0.3 mg / day
Folate+100 mcg / day
Energy+200 calories / day
(Last trimester)
Protein+6 gm / day

If you aren’t sure of the recommended levels of nutrients for normal women (who aren’t pregnant) or do not know how to implement pregnancy nutrition in your daily diet, consider signing up for my plans, which are all about precise nutrition. Click the button below to check out our different subscriptions and their pricing.

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References:

  1. Protein and Amino Acid Requirements during Pregnancy
  2. Pregnancy Requires Major Changes in the Quality of the Diet for Nutritional Adequacy: Simulations in the French and the United States Populations
  3. Nutrition in Pregnancy, C.S. Williamson, British Nutrition Foundation
  4. British Nutrition Foundation
  5. Folic acid supplementation for pregnant women and those planning pregnancy
  6. Low dietary fiber intake increases Collinsella abundance in the gut microbiota of overweight and obese pregnant women

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