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Pregnancy Weight Gain Guidelines Explained

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How Much Extra Food Should I Eat While Pregnant? continued...

A nutritious pregnancy eating plan with adequate calories -- about 340 more calories each day than your prepregnancy needs, starting in the second trimester, and about 450 more than your prepregnancy diet during the last three months of pregnancy -- should be enough to prevent constant hunger. Women who are particularly physically active during pregnancy may need more calories, however.

A woman pregnant with twins should eat about 440 more calories each day starting in the second trimester, and 500-600 more calories more per day in the last trimester.

Choosing foods that fill you up as part of a balanced pregnancy diet improves eating satisfaction. For example, whole grains, vegetables, and legumes are filled with fiber to keep you fuller for longer, without any extra calories. Drink plenty of fluids; it works with fiber to keep you full and to prevent constipation, a common pregnancy complaint. 

Why Does Pregnancy Weight Gain Vary So Much From Woman to Woman or From Pregnancy to Pregnancy?

It's difficult to understand why some women gain more than the recommended amounts during one pregnancy when they seem to be monitoring every bite, then put on the same amount of weight with the next baby when they pay much less attention to how much they eat. Unless you monitor every morsel you eat and every move you make, it's impossible to chalk up the pregnancy weight gain to anything but pregnancy metabolism.

Women who have struggled with eating disorders may be fearful of gaining weight, even during pregnancy. It's important to discuss your feelings about food with a qualified health care professional. Intentionally restricting calories to keep weight gain low can harm your baby's growth and development. Pregnancy is no time to diet, even if you started off overweight.

How can I control my cravings?

Avoid using your pregnancy as a reason to overeat or to choose low-nutrient, high-fat foods over more nutritious fare.

Giving in too often to pregnancy cravings for high-fat, calorie-laden foods, such as bacon double cheeseburgers and brownie sundaes, can lead to unnecessary weight gain.

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