A pregnant woman needs to ensure that her diet provides enough nutrients and energy for her baby to develop and grow properly, and also to make sure that her body is healthy enough to deal with the changes that are occurring.
For a healthy pregnancy, the mother’s diet needs to be balanced and nutritious – this involves the right balance of proteins, carbohydrates and fats, and consuming a wide variety of vegetables and fruits. If you are pregnant and your diet may be impacted by ethical beliefs, religious requirements, or health conditions, you should check with your doctor.
A pregnant woman’s calorie intake grows during pregnancy. However, this does not mean she should eat for two, i.e. her calorie consumption does not double, it just goes up.
Weight gain, if the mother is carrying just one baby, varies considerably. According to the Institute of Medicine, USA, a woman whose body mass index (BMI) is between 18.5 and 24.9 should gain from 25 to 35 pounds (11.4-15.9 kilograms) during the nine months. A woman who is overweight at the start of pregnancy should gain between 15 to 25 pounds (6.8 to 11.4 kg).
Weight gain recommendations may also vary, depending on the woman’s age, fetal development, and her current health.
Excessive or insufficient weight gain can undermine the health of both the fetus and the mother. (Up to the eighth week of pregnancy the baby is called an embryo, after that, when its major structures have formed, it is called a fetus)