While pregnant (4 months), is it ok to "be careful"? Is it ok to avoid eating too much and bear hungry feelings some days?

  • You need to eat for two, now. That said, this is a question only your doctor can answer properly.
    – DA01
    Commented Aug 20, 2012 at 15:10
  • Eating for two is a myth. See Greg's answer.
    – Rory Alsop
    Commented Aug 20, 2012 at 16:39
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    You will be eating for two. Only one is very small and desperately depends upon nutrition to develop. Commented Aug 22, 2012 at 14:20
  • @RoryAlsop Well, not really. Eating for two calorie-wise may be (eating for 1.15 people?), but nutrient-wise, there are two people to think of.
    – bobobobo
    Commented Aug 27, 2012 at 14:43

6 Answers 6


Many women think that being pregnant is an excuse to eat everything is sight, however the average pregnant woman only needs 200-300 calories more per day, and that's at the late stage of pregnancy. However, your need for certain vitamins and minerals goes up dramatically, and sometimes cravings are your body's way of telling you you are short of something. You need more iron, calcium, folic acid, and other things is quantity. So if you have a specific craving it's best to fill it.

Dieting while pregnant is not a good idea, eat a healthy diet and don't go short on anything.

  • No you don't need more folic acid, you need folate. Folic acid is the synthetic precursor and our body can only convert about 260mcg a day, so anything more than that is useless and possibly dangerous. It's best to get folate from food, like daily egg yolks (several of them @25mcg per egg). Egg yolks are like super multi vitamins cholesterol-and-health.com/Egg_Yolk.html
    – w00t
    Commented Aug 20, 2012 at 19:32
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    Very true, it's always better to get vitamins and minerals from whole foods. Eggs are great food, so are beans, really you can't go wrong with a varied diet of real food. And don't avoid fats, you need some fat to be healthy. Vitamins A, D, E, and K are all fat soluble so you need fat to store them. And because they are fat soluble the best places to get them are healthy fats.
    – GdD
    Commented Aug 21, 2012 at 8:09
  • Except chocolate cake! Maybe chocolate is good for you, but not too much.. for people watching their weight, sugar quantity is the #1 thing they need to be mindful of. It gives calories, but nothing else.
    – bobobobo
    Commented Aug 27, 2012 at 3:02
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    Add water intake as both mom and baby need a lot of water too and it can stave off cravings for junk, coffee, soda etc. If you know you are well hydrated, then if you feel hungry, you can be more certain you really are hungry and need the intake. Keep healthy foods around to nibble on occasionally throughout the day. Commented Nov 18, 2012 at 20:58
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    +1 for a great comment @balancedmama, you're right that people often mistake thirst for hunger, often drinking a tall glass of water will get rid of hunger pangs. Drinking lots of water helps reduce constipation, which is also a problem for many women in pregnancy.
    – GdD
    Commented Nov 18, 2012 at 22:28

Popular diet programs such as Weight Watchers prohibit participation in their programs while pregnant (see here and here), as their systems are often designed to promote weight loss, which is not healthy during pregnancy.


It is much, much better to identify healthy low-calorie foods and eat as much of those as you like, while limiting foods that will lead to a lot of weight gain. Munch on carrots and celery sticks at least. Going hungry isn't good for anybody, least of all a pregnant woman.

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    But she also has to keep in mind that nutrients are important as well -- she needs to eat some rich foods as well to supply fats and proteins
    – bobobobo
    Commented Aug 27, 2012 at 3:01
  • @bobobobo - of course. But her question was whether it's ok to go hungry sometimes. I'm saying it's not ok, not even sometimes.
    – Ana
    Commented Aug 27, 2012 at 9:21
  • I agree -- even if you're not pregnant, fasting is going to decompose your muscle tissue and reduce your metabolism
    – bobobobo
    Commented Aug 27, 2012 at 14:42

If you want to cut back on anything, cut back on empty calorie items, such as sugar-filled cakes, cookies, etc. Cake and cookies contain no nutritional content while at the same time delivering plenty of calories. You're best off eating healthy and rich foods that have proteins, vitamins and minerals. There is some advice for exactly what to eat here, to sum:

You need your minerals:

  • Folic acid: Good natural sources of folic acid are barley beans, fruit, green vegetables, orange juice, lentils, peas and rice.
  • Iron: Good sources of iron are green vegetables such as broccoli and spinach, strawberries, muesli and wholemeal bread. Iron is more easily absorbed if it is taken in conjunction with vitamin C - either as a supplement or in citrus fruit or juice.

In addition, be sure to eat some of everything: do not eat less than the recommended daily allowances of fats: fats contain essential nutrients!

  • 10 per cent of calories should come from protein. Protein is mainly found in meat, fish, eggs, dairy products and beans.
  • 35 per cent of calories should come from fat, which is mainly found in butter, oils, margarine, dairy products and nuts.
  • 55 per cent of calories should come from carbohydrates, which are found in bread, pasta, potatoes, rice, corn and other grain products.

Absolutely, as long as you start at a healthy weight, or are overweight (which applies to the majority of the developed world) - the core element that doctors stress is just "to get a balanced input" so you aren't missing out on essential vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients.

Of course, if you are underweight, then you may not want to go down this route, as a malnourished mother will have an effect not only on the child, but on her own health as her body does its best to provide nutrients for the unborn baby.

  • In the case of being overweight to begin with, to meet the extra nutritional requirements, perhaps it should be a change in food (to low-energy high-nutrition foods) rather than a reduction in quantity eaten. Commented Aug 23, 2012 at 9:06

If there was ever a time in your life to throw a diet out of the window, it is during pregnancy.

By all means avoid fizzy drinks and confectionery, but other than that - open up and consume!

Of course, eat healthily, restricting your intake to that which is wholesome and nutritious, but do not restrict your intake due to weight-gain fears.

And one thing I must stress: Whatever your cravings - GIVE IN TO THEM.

  • "Whatever your cravings, give in to them" doesn't necessarily mesh with "avoid fizzy drinks and confectionery" -- that was often exactly what my pregnancy cravings were for ;)
    – Acire
    Commented May 11, 2015 at 17:05

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