Pregnant woman eating donuts, having cravings

How many times a day should a pregnant woman eat?

There’s the saying you’re eating for two, but really the recommendations for a healthy diet plan during pregnancy don’t vary significantly from everyday life. But good nutrition is more important now than ever, as it is critical for both your and your developing baby’s health. We always recommend a nutrient-dense diet, keeping highly processed foods and fast food to a minimum. But what about the when?

How many times a day should a pregnant woman eat?

A pregnant woman should eat three healthy meals each day with nutritious snacks in between. Meals and snacks should be spaced out during the day. This means no intermittent fasting. 

Intermittent fasting is the rage, but it can be problematic and unhealthy for a pregnant woman and her developing baby.

  • Intermittent fasting might lower a pregnant woman’s blood sugar too much. Low blood sugar with a drop in blood pressure – which is natural in pregnant women – might cause light-headedness, dizziness, and even fainting.
  • In studies fetal movement is lower in women who engage in intermittent fasting. This makes sense considering that a developing baby’s movement is directly tied to glucose. And intermittent fasting can cause a drop in blood sugar levels.

It’s important for pregnant women to listen to their bodies and eat when they feel hungry. Some women may find that they need to eat more frequently than others, while others may need larger meals to feel satisfied. It’s also important for pregnant women to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water throughout the day.

Keep in mind every woman’s pregnancy is unique. Some might need nutrition coaching to manage gestational diabetes and high blood pressure. Others might struggle to eat because of nausea (Morning sickness doesn’t only happen in the morning, and it’s not exclusive to that first trimester, unfortunately). Some pregnant women experience bloating, acne, and drops in energy. Others experience cravings (the famous pickle and ice cream) that might not be nourishing options.

Receiving an individualized meal plan with a prenatal dietitian, getting strategies to implement this meal plan, and developing sustainable healthy eating behaviors can help you get the nutrients you and your developing baby need. The best way to keep your baby healthy is to keep YOU healthy.