Do you feel like you’re hungry all the time? Or hungrier than usual? That’s normal, but it doesn’t mean you need to double up on the food. We may be struck by the changes of pregnancy but often we underestimate our own bodies.

During pregnancy your body naturally becomes more efficient and is able to absorb more of the nutrients you eat. When you see statements like ‘eating for 2’ it doesn’t mean eat twice as much! It really means eat more effectively, making sure you get enough nutrients to support your baby’s development.

Your baby will get all they need during the first six months without you requiring any extra calories. Try not to eat more than is required until your third trimester, and even then it should only be an extra 200-300 calories (e.g. A couple pieces of toast, an avocado, 3 boiled eggs or a handful of sunflower seeds). However, please talk to your doctor about this if you’re having more than one baby. Overeating while pregnant will not benefit your baby’s development, but might leave you with unwanted extra weight after the birth. Especially if the food you’re eating is high in empty calories (fat and sugar).

How to get all the nutrients you need without increasing your calorie intake

  • Plan your meals and snacks
  • Eat a variety of foods, even within a category of foods (like vegetables), look for different colors, types, and textures
  • Minimize “extra” foods that have calories but few nutrients – sugary drinks, fried foods, foods with extra fat and sugar
  • Choose quality over quantity

Healthy breakfasts every morning will kick start your day and help you to avoid snacking on the bad stuff. A bowl of iron fortified oats and a handful of strawberries is a good place to start. Don’t worry if you experience morning sickness, just keep eating small amounts, and often. It’s easy to remember not to overeat when you think about it like this: you are eating for a teeny tiny baby, not for a full-size adult. But also, please don’t be too hard on yourself. Some days you’ll feel ravenous, other days you’ll just want to graze. Just go with your instincts. You’ll be surprised how well your body is designed for pregnancy.

Weight gain

Understandably you’re going to gain some weight during your pregnancy, you’re carrying another human inside you! If you have a healthy pre-pregnancy weight, then you’re looking to gain around 11 to 16kg (21 lb to 35 lb).