You make it through two trimesters and finally, after six months, you can officially eat more food.
I wouldn’t get too excited just yet.
Disappointingly, this doesn’t mean eating for two fully grown human beings. Just you and (at time of writing) the lamb (or watermelon, or wedding cake) that you’re carrying around.
Apparently, 200 calories per day is all that’s available for this lamb however if this isn’t doesn’t serve your purpose, a random google search will reveal an array of sources confirming you can eat up to 450 extra calories per day, absolute win if you're based in the USA although sadly NHS guidance specifies only 200. I say guidance because a) everyone will have completely different calorie requirements pregnant or not and b) at this stage in the game there is definitely way more to life than counting calories.
However, for reference 200 calories equates to roughly the following:
One banana on toast;
Almost a whole doughnut;
A Cadbury Creme Egg (plus a very small bite of the next one);
Or, if you want to make yourself completely miserable……
........588g Broccoli. Yum.
So why so low?
The calorie guidance takes into consideration a significant decrease in activity in the third trimester and unfortunately, that’s pretty accurate. No matter how hard you try to push through at your usual pace, your body finds a multitude of interesting and attractive ways to try and slow you down.….. joint pain, waddling, breathlessness, sleep deprivation, and general exhaustion to name but a few.
My own activity has plummeted despite still trying to move a fair amount for a preggo. At 38 weeks trying to hit my 10,000 steps count every day is more trouble than it’s worth as for every long (ish) walk there are a few days of lower body aches and pains to recover from. My perception of a ‘workout’ is also drastically different from what I’d count a few months ago.
How things have changed.
So back to food. If you’ve been tracking calories during pregnancy then adding another 200 calories is fairly straightforward. The guidance doesn’t specifically state where these additional calories should come from however, you can’t go wrong if you’re sticking to nutritious options that include non-refined carbs, protein, and healthy fats (see post Eating for Two: Trimester One Nutrition for more information on a balanced diet).
If you haven’t been tracking?
Tracking calories during pregnancy was personally not on my priority list. Instead, I’ve focused on eating healthily where I can and intuitively (although intuition does make you eat a lot sometimes)! I’ve been aware that I could have more food this trimester however I’ve not gone out of my way to specifically add any extra into my diet although anyone that knows me will know that my appetite is not shy. If I’m hungry or fancy something to eat, I’ll eat. I woke up super hungry this morning so have already consumed a bowl of cereal (4 am), banana on toast (7:30 am), and then after a final stint of napping three eggs and some avocado on toast (9:30 am). It's unusual for me to have three breakfasts (although I have been regularly getting up for a bowl of cereal around 4 am) but if the hunger pangs are there I'm listening to them, particularly if those hunger pangs are preventing me from getting back to sleep.
Calorie-wise, I’ve probably been a bit over the whole way through but for me, the focus has been on feeling good, keeping my energy up, getting lots of varied nutrients in, and making good choices. FYI Sometimes a good choice also happens to be a pizza, freshly baked cookies, a bar of Lindt, or the occasional tin of Quality Street (minus the Toffee Pennys).
Balance is key.