How Many Calories Should A Pregnant Woman Burn Per Day? In order to make the best recommendation, you should look at a number of different factors that will affect the total amount of calories you should be taking in on a daily basis. In addition to looking at those factors, you will also want to take your own situation into consideration when finding out how many calories the average woman burns during pregnancy.
There are numerous health benefits of exercising while pregnant. According to Fit Pregnancy, these physical fitness routines can increase circulation, burn calories and boost energy.
Burning Calories During Pregnancy
When you eat the right amount of calories during pregnancy you will have a healthy weight gain. You can track healthy weight gain through pregnancy using an average scale of gaining one to four pounds during your first trimester and two to four pounds per month during your second and third trimesters.
The rule of thumb is most women need about 300 extra calories every day during the last five to six months of pregnancy for good fetal development. This will combine to a healthy weight gain of about one pound each week. If you consume too few calories your body may begin to take the calories from stores that are needed for healthy pregnancy weigh gain and baby development.
Replenish the calories you burn by doing moderately intense cardio exercise every week. This may sound a bit off, but exercise will give you physical benefits as well as psychological health. Exercise will also help you to eat better; you need to eat to prevent your intake from dipping below your energy needs.
If you eat the right number of calories and replenish them quickly you will ensure that your baby is receiving the proper amount of nourishment. The old saying that you are eating for two can be correct in the fact that you are eating for two different body types and nutritional needs.
Always make sure you are eating low-fat dairy, plus the adequate amounts of proteins and vegetables. Fruits and whole grains need to be a part of your pregnancy diet. These foods will help provide your body with energy and nutrient dense calories. You need to gain weight while you are pregnant, but in a healthy and timely manner.
Nutritionists and the medical community love it when mothers gain the proper amount of weight. You can gain the proper amount of weight by eating foods that are highly nutritious. Empty calorie foods do little to help your body stay healthy while pregnant. Nutrient dense foods have a lot of nutrition in a small amount and with a reasonable number of calories. Eat the proper foods that have ounce for ounce the right nutrients and calories.
How many calories a day do I need while I’m pregnant?
Tasty snacks for your third trimester.
For the first six months of your pregnancy (first and second trimesters), you won’t need to have more calories than you did before you became pregnant. That’s about 2,000 calories a day, on average.
However, during the last three months of your pregnancy (third trimester), you will need an extra 200 calories a day, making a total of about 2,200 calories a day.
Bear in mind that we’re all different shapes and sizes, and some of us are more active than others. So any recommendation about the amount of calories you need when you’re pregnant is based on averages.
The number of calories you need while you are pregnant depends on:
- your height
- your current weight
- how active you are
- your body composition and genetics
However, you may need to adjust your calorie intake if you are expecting twins or more, or if before you were pregnant:
- your BMI was 19 or under (underweight)
- your BMI was 25 or over (overweight)
- your BMI was 30 or over (obese)
Talk to your midwife if you fall into any of these categories. She will record your weight at your first antenatal appointment. She can also tell you what a healthy weight gain in pregnancy would mean for you.
There are lots of delicious, healthy snacks you can have for an extra 200 calories in your third trimester. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- A small, toasted wholegrain pitta, filled with a tablespoon of hummus with grated carrot and three chopped dried apricots.
- A small bowl of muesli with milk, and an apple.
- A slice of wholegrain toast, with mashed avocado or peanut butter.
- A yoghurt with a sprinkle of almonds.
- A slice of malt loaf, with cheese.
Being pregnant may sometimes make you crave fatty and sugary food. You shouldn’t go hungry, but try to get the balance right. Treating yourself to the odd packet of crisps is fine. The rest of the time, try to have healthy snacks between meals.
Do You Burn More Calories Exercising During Pregnancy?
During pregnancy, not only can exercise improve your mood but it may also make delivery easier.
The amount of calories you burn during exercise when you are pregnant varies because you most likely are not working out at the same exertion level as you did prior to pregnancy. More important than a high calorie burn is your growing baby’s health.
Pregnancy exercise varies from your routine before becoming pregnant because you are pushing yourself as hard.
Most of the exercises you did prior to becoming pregnant are safe to continue during your pregnancy.
According to the American Pregnancy Association, working out to the point of exhaustion should never be considered because that means that you and your fetus are not getting adequate amounts of oxygen. Monitoring your heart rate and keeping it at a lower level means that you are not burning as many calories.
A heavier person burns more calories than a lighter person because at a higher weight, you have a greater demand placed on your body and a larger work effort. The further along you are in your pregnancy, the more weight you have to carry. A healthy weight gain is 25 to 35 lbs. by the end of your pregnancy. Your increased weight can contribute to a slightly higher caloric burn per minute. For example, A 160-lb.
person burns 277 calories walking at a 3.5 mph pace for an hour, while a 200-lb. person burns 346 doing the same activity.
While you may be trying to burn calories to keep a healthy weight during pregnancy, it is important that you are not choosing to try and lose weight during your pregnancy.
Pregnancy is not the time to start trying to lose weight; instead, focus on exercising to feel healthy rather than to burn a high amount of calories. Incorporate 30 minutes of exercise into your day most days of the week.
Exercising during your pregnancy delivers far more benefits that just a caloric burn. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists explains that exercising helps reduce backaches, constipation, bloating and swelling. Your energy can increase, as well as your mood. You can prevent or treat gestational diabetes through your workout routine. Exercising also helps you sleep better, and improve your overall muscle strength and self-esteem during pregnancy.
How to Safely Lose Weight During Pregnancy
Maybe you wish you planned for your pregnancy in every way possible — including being at a moderate weight beforehand. But for many people, this isn’t realistic. Pregnancy, while an exciting time, can turn into a weight dilemma for those who are already overweight. This is because of the inevitable weight gain associated with having a baby.
Fortunately, growing research suggests that losing some weight during pregnancy might be possible — and even beneficial — for some people with a high weight, or BMI over 30.
Losing weight, on the other hand, isn’t appropriate during pregnancy for those who were at a moderate weight before pregnancy.
If you believe you can benefit from weight loss during pregnancy, talk with your doctor about how to do so safely without affecting the fetus.
Create a plan for gradual weight loss during pregnancy
Even before they’re born, your future baby relies on you in numerous ways. Your body nourishes and carries them for about 40 weeks, helping them grow and develop. Having excess weight can cause problems during pregnancy because it can get in the way of these processes.
Having obesity while pregnant may lead to:
- premature birth
- cesarean delivery
- heart defects in the baby
- gestational diabetes (and type 2 diabetes later in life)
- high blood pressure
- preeclampsia, a severe form of high blood pressure that can also affect other organs like the kidneys
- sleep apnea
- blood clots, especially in your legs
Despite such dangers, your best approach to weight loss is through a consistent, yet gradual plan with a focus on healthier lifestyle changes. Gradual weight loss is best for your body and the fetus.
If your doctor recommends that you lose weight, here’s how to do so safely during pregnancy.
1. Know how much weight you need to gain
Being overweight during pregnancy can sometimes change the focus to only losing weight. But the fact is, you’ll still gain some weight, and it is important to know how much is healthy. After all, there is a human growing inside of you.
Follow these pregnancy weight gain guidelines from the National Institutes of Health, based on your weight before you became pregnant:
- obese (BMI of 30 or more): expect to gain 11 to 20 pounds
- BMI between 25 and 29.9: expect to gain 15 to 25 pounds
- normal weight (18.5 to 24.9 BMI): expect to gain between 25 and 35 pounds
- underweight (BMI below 18.5): expect to gain 28 to 40 pounds
2. Cut down on calories
The first way you can lose excess weight is by managing your daily calorie intake. Eating more calories than you burn off is the most common cause of weight gain. It takes a 3,500-calorie deficit to lose 1 pound. Over the span of a week, this equates to about 500 calories per day to cut out.
If you had a suitable weight for your height before pregnancy, you will likely need between 2,200 and 2,900 calories per day during pregnancy. But, this will vary.
- trimester 1: no additional calories
- trimester 2: an extra 340 calories per day
- trimester 3: add around 450 calories per day to your usual intake when not pregnant
Consuming fewer calories can help you lose weight, but be sure to speak with a member of your healthcare team first.
Start by keeping a log of how many calories you usually eat. Then, talk with a dietitian about how much you can safely cut and which food plans will help.
Nutritional labels for foods in stores and restaurants can give an idea of how many calories are in each food.
If you normally consume far more calories than this, consider cutting down gradually. For example, you can:
- eat smaller portions
- cut out condiments
- swap unhealthy fats (like butter) for a plant-based version (try olive oil)
- trade baked goods for fruit
- fill up on vegetables instead of traditional carbs
- cut out soda, and opt for water instead
- avoid large amounts of junk food, like chips or candy
Take a daily prenatal vitamin to ensure you’re getting all of the nutrients you need. Folate is especially important, as it helps decrease the risk for birth defects.
While cutting calories, it’s essential to consume enough to provide energy and nutrients for yourself and your growing fetus.
3. Exercise 30 minutes daily
Some people are afraid to exercise during pregnancy for fear of it harming their babies. But this definitely isn’t true. While some exercises, such as situps, can possibly be harmful, exercise overall is extremely beneficial.
It can help you maintain your weight, reduce birth defects, and even ease some of the aches and pains you experience during pregnancy.
The current recommendation is the same as for those who are not pregnant: 30 minutes of activity per day. If this is too much for you to start, consider breaking up the 30 minutes into shorter blocks of time throughout the day.
Some of the best exercises during pregnancy are:
- prenatal yoga
On the flip side, you should avoid any activities that:
- rely on balance, such as bike riding or skiing
- are performed in the heat
- cause pain
- make you dizzy
- are done on your back (after 12 weeks of pregnancy)
4. Address weight concerns early
While you’ll certainly gain weight naturally from your pregnancy, the majority of this weight gain happens in the second and third trimesters. Your baby also grows rapidly during the last 2 months of pregnancy. You can’t control weight gain attributed to the fetus and supporting elements like the placenta, so it’s best to address any weight issues earlier in pregnancy.
Some research has reported success in weight intervention during pregnancy. Findings showed that people who received advice between weeks 7 and 21 of pregnancy were less likely to gain excess weight during the third trimester. The same participants studied also benefited from weekly support group meetings.
This is just one example of when early planning helps stave off excess weight gain. If you want to lose weight or control the amount of weight you gain overall during your pregnancy, be sure to have your doctor help you come up with a plan early on. Your doctor can also refer you to a dietitian for more advice and meal planning.