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Calorie Intake for Pregnant Women

  • 4.7 (5 Votes)

According to a survey conducted by ELA, majority of pregnant women are not aware of the right amount of calorie intake when they are pregnant. In this article, we discuss everything about the ELA survey and their prediction on calories for women who are pregnant and bust some myths around pregnancy eating habits.

Importance of calories for women during pregnancy

The daily calorie intake is the most crucial aspect to be taken care of during pregnancy as it ensures the health of the mother and the new born. Eating right is the mantra all your peers and Ob-Gyn will tell you during your glowing period. But how to determine the calorie intake and right nutrients, which will nourish both the mother and the baby? A recent ELA survey conducted with 146 pregnant women in the United States of America debunks various issues regarding calories for women pregnant.

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Common myths around calories for pregnant women

  • According to the ELA survey, 2 out of 3 women think that eating twice more than her regular intake will nourish the baby inside more effectively.
  • More than 60% of pregnant mothers believe that eating more calories right away from your first trimester is helpful.
  • Many women focus on quantity of foods rather than quality food or nutrient rich foods during pregnancy.

How much should an expecting mother eat?

An expecting mother should eat approximately 77,000 calories during her pregnancy. This comes down to 285 calories per day. Also ELA survey and research confirms that the mean weight gain of an average woman during her pregnancy should be around 26 pounds or 12 kilograms. ELA has presented us a list of calorie divide or calorie chart per trimester after an intensive research, explained below:

  • 85 extra calories in first trimester
  • 285 extra calories per day in second trimester.
  • 475 extra calories during third trimester per day.


Foods to be eaten vs. foods to be avoided during pregnancy

Nutrition is the key-says ELA survey after looking at the unhealthy eating practices of women during pregnancy. Here is a list of some highly nutrient foods rich in calories to be consumed by an expecting mother-

  • Good carbohydrates- whole wheat, sweet potatoes, corn, maize etc.
  • Protein- Eggs, Salmon, lean meat, legumes, beans, oysters etc.
  • Fibre and folic acid rich vegetables and fruits- Broccoli, cabbage, spinach, kale, mango, fig, banana, watermelon, sun melon, avocados etc.
  • Dairy products- Milk, clarified butter, cottage cheese, tofu, yoghurt etc.
  • Vitamin C rich foods- Berries (all categories), orange, grapefruit, dried fruits etc.
  • However, an expecting mother should not go beyond the daily calorie intake as too much weight gain can cause her problems of breathing, acidity, etc.

There are certain categories of food to be avoided by a pregnant woman such as

  • Junk foods
  • Too oily or too spicy foods
  • Unregulated carbohydrates

Hope you like our article. Follow Ela woman blogs to get regular updates on fertility health and treatments.

Dr. Aanchal Agarwal

About The Author

Obstetrician Dr. Aanchal Agarwal

Dr. Aanchal Agarwal is an infertility specialist and gynecologist who has graduated MBBS from University of Delhi in 2001 and then pursued DGO from University of Delhi in 2004. Dr. Aanchal specializes in treating patients with IVF, IUI, High-risk pregnancy care and Normal vaginal delivery procedures. Dr. Aanchal Agarwal is at present practicing at BLK Super Speciality Hospital, Pusa Road, Delhi. You can find more information on


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Rajat Kumar

Although sushi is rich in carbohydrates and calorie but avoid them during pregnancy as there may be parasites inside the Sushi and consuming this may lead to infections.

Oct. 10, 2018, 12:57 p.m. 5.0


Prakriti Rawal

Try to avoid raw eggs and lettuce during pregnancy. Uncooked egg or vegetables may contain salmonella virus.

Feb. 17, 2018, 7:34 p.m. 4.5


Suganya Banerjee

Diet and pregnancy health go hand in hand. This article has a wonderful combination of veg and non-veg foods to consume in daily diet and the foods which one needs to avoid at the time of pregnancy.

Oct. 25, 2017, 2:58 p.m. 4.5


Michelle Bahre

I think it is very difficult to set absolute and right calorie levels, especially for women. This is because every women has got different body composition and activity levels. Still some health authorities have set certain parameters where they say that a woman should take 1200 calories per day.

Oct. 25, 2017, 2:27 p.m. 4.5


Manu Rajput

It is hard to find out the regular intake of calories for me. Please suggest some easier and accurate way to evaluate daily calories intake. Does Ela app help in this?

Aug. 7, 2017, 3:11 p.m. 5.0

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