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Caloric intake

The new being growing inside of you adds approximately 300 to 800 calories to your daily caloric needs. You need to eat for two, but remember that number two is much smaller than you are and the calories that he or she needs should be obtained from fruits, vegetables, carbohydrates and proteins, not excess fat.

Your activity level and metabolism play a role in determining caloric needs during pregnancy. An active, normal weight woman who burns calories quickly may need to increase her intake by 800 calories a day. A sedentary, overweight woman may need only 300 additional calories for optimal weight gain during pregnancy.

Your pre-pregnancy weight also affects caloric needs during pregnancy. Overweight, underweight and normal weight women have different caloric needs. This will affect the amount of weight you should gain while pregnant. Women who start out their pregnancy underweight may need to eat a little more than women who start out overweight.

Your health-care provider will inform you of the weight gain that is appropriate for you. He or she will assess the progress of your weight gain during prenatal visits. If there is a problem, such as too great a weight gain or too little, your physician or midwife will let you know. Do not restrict your caloric intake during pregnancy unless recommended by a health-care provider.

Some calories are nutrient-rich; others are empty. Taking in additional calories with sweets and chips will not do you or your baby any good. Increase your caloric intake to meet the needs of your developing baby by increasing the low-fat portions of your meals such as fish, lean meats and vegetables, while consuming healthy snacks in-between meals such as fruit or raw vegetables. Dips for carrots and celery sticks can be made low-fat and healthy by substituting yogurt for sour cream in the recipe.

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