How many extra calories do I need to eat?

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Obviously you're going to gain weight during pregnancy – it stands to reason, considering you have a baby growing inside you! But if you have a healthy pre-pregnancy weight a weight gain of around 11 to 16kg (21lb to 35lb) is considered normal.

As for the extra calories you need, this really only comes into play when you get to your third trimester. 200–300 extra calories a day should be enough for women who were a healthy weight before their pregnancy. But put aside those visions of double dinners! Just something like two extra slices of buttered wholemeal toast, one avocado or three eggs can supply those extra calories.

Baby with deep blue eyes

What you should eat during pregnancy

How well you eat is as important as how much you eat. Your baby is getting their nourishment directly from you, so try and eat a well balanced diet. Avoid too many sugary snacks which get your blood sugars up and then rapidly down again, leaving you feeling quite low or lightheaded at times.

Also avoid fatty and salty snacks. Fat is really high in calories and too much unsaturated fat can lead to an increase in cholesterol which may lead to heart disease. Too much salt can raise your blood pressure increasing your risk of heart disease and stroke.

The main thing is not to be too hard on yourself. Some days you'll feel ravenous, others you'll just want to graze. If you have morning sickness, eating little and often will help too. Just go with your instincts. You'll be amazed how well your body is designed for pregnancy!

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