A Complete Guide to Pregnancy Nutition

Hello Everyone!

As I mentioned before in My Pregnancy Diet, my mother in law sent me two really great books about pregnancy from the What to Expect Series! I have the original What to Expect When You’re Expecting and also What to Expect: Eating Well When You’re Expecting. Both of these books have been my go to pregnancy bibles for the last 9 months. If you are pregnant, my number one recommendation to you is to buy these books! Pretty much any question you have can be answered by opening up either one of them.

Anyway, I have really tried to stick to a healthy diet since becoming pregnant and this book has helped me tremendously! Before I only really cared about being healthy for aesthetic reasons, but when I got pregnant I realized that my body is going to nourish a little life inside of me, and I want my little baby to grow to be as healthy as possible!

This post covers many of the things I learned in What to Expect: Eating Well When You’re Expecting. The book covers everything from how many calories you need per trimester to which nutrients you should be getting on a daily basis! Lets get started…..

Pregnancy Nutrition

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How Many Calories do I need?

We have all heard the term “eating for two right?” While this is true, you are indeed eating for two, but one of you only weights about .5 ounces (at 12 weeks gestation)!!! So eating for two fully grown ladies will only lead to some serious weight gain, which we are all probably trying to avoid as much as possible!

In your first trimester you do not need any extra calories (just make sure you are following your daily dozen nutrient guide)

During your second trimester as your baby grows you need about 300 calories extra.

In your third trimester you should get between 300-500 extra calories. This is when your baby is really packing on the pounds so you need to make sure they are getting everything they need!

Also, if you breastfeed after the baby is born, you will continue to need 500 extra calories to not hurt your milk storage!

How Much Weight Should I Gain?Pregnancy Nutrition

This one depends on how heavy you were before getting pregnant and what your BMI was! Before getting pregnant my BMI was 26, which is slightly overweight sooooo that means that I should only gain about 15-25 pounds during my pregnancy. If you have a normal BMI you should gain between 25-30. Check out this picture to the left for more details!

Now that we have covered how much weight to gain and how many calories you need, where should all these calories come from? This is where the DAILY DOZEN comes in!

The Daily Dozen

1. Protein

Protein is so important because they are the building blocks of all cells. You should be getting about 3 servings of protein everyday!

2. Calcium

Calcium is important for growing your baby’s bones but also for you. It is the one nutrient that will go to your baby first before it goes to you. In other words, you need to get your calcium everyday because it will deplete YOUR calcium before it depletes your baby’s. You should be getting about 4 servings of calcium everyday!

3. Green Leafy and Orange Vegetables

Rich in Phytochemicals and plenty of other essential vitamins and nutrients, these are so important to your diet (and for your baby!) Not a fan of spinach? Try eating some apricots or sweet potatoes! You should get about 3-4 servings daily! These Made in Nature Organic Dried Apricots are AMAZING and packed with essential vitamins and nutrients (not to mention loaded with fiber to help with that pregnancy constipation!)

4. Other Fruits and Veggies:

While these aren’t the powerhouses of nutrients like our leafy greens are, they are still packed with vitamins and nutrients! Make sure to eat 1-2 servings daily, on top of your leafy greens and orange veggies! 

5.Whole Grains

Make sure your carb sources are coming from complex carbs like whole grains and legumes. Try switching out your simple carb sources for things like whole grain breads and oats! These are loaded with fiber, which is oh so essential for us pregnant ladies as we deal with pregnancy constipation (you can blame your hormones for that! Have you read Whats the deal with Pregnancy Hormones!?) Not to mention, complex carbs will also keep us full much longer which can help with all those cravings! Aim to get at least 6 servings a day!

6.Iron rich foods

Since we have so much more blood pumping through our body, we need extra iron! Many pregnant women suffer from iron deficiency! To prevent this make sure you get at least 30-50mg of iron per day. You can also take an iron supplement on top of your daily pre-natal vitamin!

7. Vitamin C

Your body doesn’t store Vitamin C so you need a fresh dose everyday! Vitamin C is so important to you and your baby and it also helps with the absorption of Iron! Aim for 3 servings daily.

8. Healthy Fats

You probably wont have any trouble fulfilling this requirement! Fat is essential to your growing baby! Omega-3 fatty acids are so important to your baby’s brain development. But make sure you try to get your fats from healthy fat sources such as olive oil, coconut oil, and avocados. If you find yourself gaining weight a little too quickly, you might need to cut down a little on the fats! Go for 4 servings everyday.

9. Other fat foods:

These foods include whole milk and whole fat yogurt and cheese. These don’t technically count towards your healthy fats total but you can still enjoy some in moderation. Just watch how much you eat, you could really start to pack on the pounds with these! At the end of my second trimester I wasn’t gaining any more weight for quite some time and I hadn’t really gained that much weight at all throughout my pregnancy. I decided to add some whole fat greek yogurt to my diet (soooo yummy) and the pounds really started to pack back on. I quickly realized, however, that I really needed to eat this in moderation for fear of gaining too much too fast! While I am still at a healthy weight gain, I have needed to cut back on my greek yogurt for the time being!

Looking for a healthy recipe? Check out these Super Yummy Pregnancy Muffins! They include 2 serving of fruits and veggies, 2 servings of whole grains, 1 serving of Iron-Rich foods, and 1 serving of Protein!

10. Fluids

It is soooooo important (I cant stress this enough!!!) to get enough fluids throughout the day. You should be getting at least 8 glasses of 8 ounces (Thats about 2 liters!) of water everyday. while you don’t have to get all of your fluids from water, your decaf coffee, tea, milk, or orange juice can count too, you should really try to get most of it from drinking just good ole water!

11. Prenatal vitamin

By following this diet you should be getting plenty of daily nutrients and vitamins, it is still important to have extra insurance by taking a daily prenatal vitamin!

Two great Prenatal vitamin options are MegaFood Prenatal & Postnatal Support and Garden of Life Vitamin Code Raw Prenatal! They both rank highly in a number of tests done by Labdoor.

12. Daily exercise

As your belly keeps getting bigger and bigger (and bigger and bigger!) it may be hard to keep up your same workout routine at the gym, or to make it to your weekly Body Pump class, but it is still important to get out and moving everyday.  Try taking at least a 30 minute walk everyday along with some light weight or body weight exercises!

I hope this post helps some of you develop your own healthy pregnancy diets! While there is no perfect diet for everyone, these are some guidelines on how to be as healthy as possible during your pregnancy. Be sure to check out My Pregnancy Diet or Our Weekly Meal Planning for more insight into my pregnancy diet and to what Daniel and I eat on a weekly basis!

Sources: What to Expect: Eating Well When You’re Expecting

I would love to hear your comments on how you maintain healthy pregnancies! Also, if you have any advice for other pregnant mamas on how to stay healthy and active!!

Once again, Happy Pregnancy!!