Saturday, May 30, 2009

300 extra calories?!

The concept of the extra calories during pregnancy has been in my head a bit more this week. Earlier this week I received a newsletter for expectant moms reminding me that the perk of being pregnant is the 300 extra calories I get to eat every day.

This type of email bugs me a bit. Over the past few months I've done some searching of information about pregnancy and nutrition. Although there are some good sources out there it seems there are more places that merely mention this magical number of extra calories you deserve or get as a reward for being pregnant. It bothers me that many women might not give it much more thought and may just see that number and run with it, or eat with it in this case.

I've noticed a few things for myself that I feel are worth mentioning. Keep in mind, this is what I've noticed and it probably won't hold true for everyone.

First, what's the deal with the 300 calories?

Basically, that's the number of calories your baby needs to grow.

Second, is there something we should know about the breakdown of those 300 calories?

All calories are not equal (this goes without being said) but there are certain things pregnant moms need more of; folate, calcium, and iron. The folate usually comes from prenatal vitamins but the calcium and iron come from the foods you choice to eat. Personally, I have noticed I feel hungry on days when I haven't had extra protein early in the day. Which brings me to the next question...

Third, are you really eating for two people?

Heck, if I were only eating 300 calories a day I'd be dead by now. I laugh whenever I hear the phrase, "Eating for two." If I were eating for two of me I would probably gain 80lbs and be on bed rest for the next 4 months. I'm eating for a baby and a mom who isn't working out as much as before.

In January and February I was very hungry, a lot. There were a couple of nights when I ate 1/2 a pizza at dinner. But, during those 2 months I was working out about 4 hrs more per week and had a lot more intensity. Overall, I'm eating about the same as I did before. This might make some wonder if I'm eating enough but I tend to think I am. My baby is growing up well and I've been feeling relatively strong too. Keep in mind, with 3-4 hrs less working out per week and less intensity I'm sure my body is using less calories than it is when I am actually training for an Ironman.

Fourth, do we really need those 300 calories?

As I just mentioned, I am most likely using less calories per day than I was last summer. So maybe every pregnant lady needs to sit down and ask her self a few things before the arbitrarily extra calories... Was I getting more calories than I needed before? Have I cut back any activity since I became pregnant? Are there certain foods I should be including in those extra calories?

*** On a side note, Michael just walked in the door, as I am writing this. He went flying to Llano today to get some BBQ. He told me to close my eyes because he had a present for me. I had already seen a box in his hands and replied, "Michael, I know I've been eating more beef but I really didn't want a box of BBQ."

"Are your eyes still closed?" He walked over and opened the box.

"Oh my Gosh, you brought me an apple pie." :)

Time to hop off the soapbox! (I have pie)

Even if I don't need those extra calories I can still say I am quite excited to get some pie. After all, I too want to have a little treat too myself while I am pregnant.