How much do I need to eat during pregnancy?

Pregnancy is the one time when you are expected and even encouraged to gain weight (good news). It doesn’t mean you can eat whatever, whenever, or however much you want (bad news). And it absolutely does not mean you are eating for two. Maintaining a reasonable diet and gaining the appropriate amount of weight are essential to your current and future health as well as the overall well-being of your unborn baby. The food you eat while pregnant will have a lifelong impact on your child.

What should I eat during the first trimester of pregnancy?

The food you choose to eat, the vitamins and minerals you put into your body on a daily basis, affects how your body functions. And during pregnancy, it’s crucial that your body operates at 100% efficiency. You are creating a tiny person whose growth and development depends solely on the choices you make. Therefore, take special care to load up on all the nutrients needed to sustain both you and your baby. However, don’t be fooled into thinking that means you should be eating everything in sight.

“You don’t need to gain a great deal of weight to have a healthy baby,” says Mary Rosser, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and women’s health at Montefiore Medical Center, Bronx, New York. The rate and amount of weight gain during pregnancy is important. During the first trimester, weight gain should be slow. You only need to increase your daily food intake by 15%, which translates to roughly 100 extra calories.

What should I eat during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy?

As you enter the second and third trimesters of pregnancy, though, you’ll begin to gain weight more quickly. You require an additional 300 calories per day as well as 25 extra grams of protein to support you baby’s rapid growth during this time.  Use the Mommi protein calculator to determine how much protein you need.

As you approach your due date, your baby will weigh, on average, 6 to 10 pounds. Your uterus will have grown to accommodate this little bundle of joy and will fill with amniotic fluid to protect Baby until birth. You total blood volume will increase by as much as 60% and even your mammary glands will be hard at work preparing to produce milk after delivery. Those 300 extra calories and 25 grams of protein will definitely come in handy as your body assumes these vital tasks.

When attempting to meet your increased nutritional needs, be wary of consuming too many empty calories. Solid fats and added sugars add calories to food but provide little nutritional value. Instead, choose a balanced diet composed of lean protein, calcium, whole grains, a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. Remember to include healthy fats in your diet: these can be found in olive oil, avocado, almonds and walnuts.

How do I get the extra 25 grams of protein and 300 calories I need during pregnancy?

  • 1 cup of milk, 1 serving dry cereal and 1 banana
  • 2 ounces lean meat or cheese and 2 slices of whole wheat bread
  • 1 medium baked potato, 2 tablespoons sour cream, and 1 cup sliced melon
  • A delicious Mommi 3-in-1 shake with 1% milk.

Establishing a nutritious eating plan before your baby is born provides many benefits to your child’s overall health including a healthy birth weight, improved brain development, and a lower risk of degenerative diseases and birth defects. But it’s also important to note the benefits of a healthy diet aren’t exclusive to pregnancy. The food you eat, whether pregnant or not, helps maintain your energy, strength, and health for years to come.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on Tumblr provides information designed for educational uses only. You should consult with a healthcare professional if you have concerns or questions about you or your family’s health or preventative care. Using indicates you agree to the Terms of Use of

Join Our Newsletter

Signup for our newsletter and we will send you a 15% off
discount code (valid for 30 days)!