Where Your Calories Should Come from During Pregnancy
The majority of the extra calories you get while you’re pregnant should come from three sources: carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Of course, variety is the spice of life, and it should definitely be a part of your diet, whether you’re pregnant or not. If you eat the same foods all the time, you get the same nutrients all the time.
But if you vary your food choices, you get different nutrients in the foods you consume. But what should those foods be?
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) provides a guideline for the average person to follow for good nutrition. This guideline is called MyPlate, and it shows the proportion of calories that should come from each of the five food groups (grains, protein, vegetables, fruits, and dairy). You can see the MyPlate graphic and get specific recommendations for calories and portions based on your height, weight, age, and activity level.
The role nutrition plays in your baby’s development is critical. In fact, some researchers suggest that the nutrients a developing fetus receives in the womb (and that a newborn receives in the first few weeks of life) are more critical than the nutrients received at any other time in life. That may seem quite shocking, but more and more evidence is connecting a woman’s nutritional status during pregnancy to the health of her child, not just at birth but throughout that child’s life.