Is a pregnant woman really eating for two?

It is a common health myth, not to mention an old passed-down saying, that pregnancy means eating for two. A UK survey found 63 percent of pregnant woman admitting they feel pressure from others to eat more simply because they were pregnant.

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists is continuing to work on a way to bust the eating for two myth. According to National Institute for Heath and Care Excellence “energy needs do not change in the first 6 months of pregnancy”.

How much weight gain is normal during pregnancy?

On average, a woman of normal weight should gain between 25 and 35 pounds (11 to 16 kilos) during pregnancy, while overweight women should gain only 10 to 20 pounds or 4 to 9 kilos. Underweight women or women with multiples (twins or more) should gain 35 to 45 pounds (16 to 20 kilograms) in pregnancy.

How much extra should you eat when pregnant?

They say that it’s not about eating twice as much as it is about eating twice as healthy. Women only require approximately 200 extra calories per day during the last trimester of pregnancy, something equivalent to an extra slice of bread with peanut butter.

Aim for nutrient rich foods such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and calcium foods including milk, yogurt and cheese or dairy alternatives such as soy beverage or rice milk.

A Boston doctor says many women who eat for two ending up gaining an excessive amount of weight, adding that putting on too much weight can increase your risk of more than just backaches. She says too much weight during pregnancy can also increase the risk of gestational diabetes, high blood pressure and the need for a cesarean birth due to a very large baby.