Updated: Mar 27
Calories are what we can find in any food source that gives the body energy. Pregnant women are required to take an extra of 300 calories besides the 1800 daily calorie for the average woman. This daily intake varies according to age, height, body composition, weight, and engagement in physical activities.
For pregnant women that are aiming to lose weight during pregnancy, it is advised not to reduce the daily recommended amount, rather, try your possible best not to exceed it.
Calories for weight loss during pregnancy
Women are advised not to cut down their calories, especially during pregnancy. According to Jonathan Valez, Genki Nutrition, “women burn out calories by doing nothing.” So, eating less than the recommended daily amount means they are burning the calories, leaving nothing for the baby. Low calorie in the body leads to tiredness even without engaging in any physical activity. It will also lead to a decrease in muscle mass and a slower metabolism.
To determine how many calories you need for weight loss, you have to know how many you need on a daily basis. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans have stated that women need about 1800-2400 calories daily. Daily calories intake varies because everyone has a different body type which is dependent on the genetic makeup of the body.
To calculate the number of calories you need to cut down, you have to, first of all, find out your BMR which stands for your Basal Metabolic Rate. The BMR means your body’s minimal metabolic rate when you are resting or sleeping. Because the amount of calories you can burn is dependent on your body’s metabolic rate and it also involves your hormones, pattern of sleep, level of activity and body size.
According to a physical therapist, Grayson Wickham, to find out what your BRM is, you will need to fast for a total of 12 hours and slept for eight days. When you have achieved that, go to a laboratory where they will analyze your oxygen and carbon dioxide. It is is a very burdensome task to carry out, a pregnant woman fasting for 12 hours could seem outrageous unless she is sleeping all through it. So, what do you do to determine your BMR? There are two known methods; one is the Harris-Benedict equation, and the other is the Mifflin-St. Jeor.
The first equation is this:
BMR= 655.1+ (9.563* weight in kg) + (1.850*height in cm-(4.676*age in years)
The second equation
BMR= (10*weight in kg) + (6.25*height in cm) - (5*age in years)-161
You can use any of these two methods to check your BMR, adding your personal information in places where you see height in cm, weight in kg and age in years.
When you have gotten your BMR, you will need to calcite the barest minimum number of calories your body will need each day, to determine how much you are allowed to cut. Your barest minimum number is dependent on your lifestyle. See how to calculate it based on your lifestyle;
For sedentary pregnant women who are not allowed to lift a finger during pregnancy: BMR*1.2
For pregnant women who engage in light exercises 1-3 times per week: BMR*1.375
Those who engage in moderate exercise 3-5 times a week: BMR*1.55
Those who engage 6-7 times a week: BMR*1.9
How to Cut down Calories
After determining your barest minimum calorie you need to survive, you can then determine the amount you need to cut down. To lose at least one pound every week, you will have to cut down about 500 calories from your diet every day!
To get your specific number of calories you need to take in every day to lose weight, you have to subtract 500 from the number you had gotten your lowest minimum calorie.
You have to check in with your doctor to see if you are permitted to do this as pregnant women are advised to refrain from cutting down calories. They should rather aim to maintain it.
Other healthy ways exist to help you cut down your calories and they include:
Depending on the strength of your work out, you can burn out 250 calories in a week. Cycling, walking, yoga, Pilate and the rest of them can foot that bill.
Fruits and vegetable intake
It is highly beneficial to eat fruits and vegetables during pregnancy because not only are they packed with antioxidants,vitamins, fiber, and minerals; they are also very low in calories. Eating the daily recommended amount of fruits and vegetables which is five servings will help you in maintain or lose weight during pregnancy as well as keep you satisfied and will quench any sweet cravings.
Most pregnant women for one reason or the other, find it difficult to incorporate fruits and vegetable to their daily feeding. There are ways to do so to ensure you meet the daily recommendation. They are:
Use fruits for dessert
You can opt for orange, apples, coconut, grapes and other fruits as desserts rather than a big tray of cake or sweets.
Add fruits to your food
You can add fruits such as berries, coconuts, raisins, apples, dried bananas, etc. to your cereals or oat to make it delicious and crunchy while giving it a different taste from just plain cereal. Replace your side dish with a bowl of crunchy fruit or vegetable salad.
Use fruits and vegetables to satisfy your sweet craving
Rather than taking sweets like biscuits, cakes, doughnuts, etc. eat, bananas, salad, pineapple, oranges, strawberries, cherries and the rest of them. It would contribute immensely to cutting down calories.
Eat a variety of vegetables
You do not have to stick with one or two vegetables such as spinach or broccoli; there are different types of leafy green and cruciferous vegetables that you can eat during your pregnancy to encourage you to indulge more in vegetables. The good thing is that they are packed with lots of minerals and vitamins and will help you lose weight very easily as it contains few calories and can serve as lunch or dinner.
There are a lot of vegetables you can experiment with while cooking. Some are lettuce, kale, Chinese cabbage, arugula, etc.
You would want to cut down on empty calories such as those gotten from unhealthy fat, condiments, soda, and junk food. These things do not offer the body any positive thing. It only causes weight gain and health complications such as diabetes. Pregnant women should strive hard to avoid them.