Our top tips to ensure you meet your nutrition requirements during pregnancy and beyond

  • 3 Minutes Read
Katherine Isacks Katherine Isacks, MPS, RDN, CDCES - Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist (CDCES)

Sue Heikkinen Joanna Kriehn, MS, RDN, CDCES - Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Care and Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist (CDCES)

You want to check all the boxes for a healthy pregnancy, including your nutrition requirements. Besides regular visits with your doctor, use the MyNetDiary app to keep track of all of your health metrics in one place. Read on to learn how to track your calories, nutrients, and weight gain needed during pregnancy and for optimum breastfeeding.

Nutrition requirements during pregnancy

Weight gain: What's new and how to track this important nutrition requirement during pregnancy

Did you know that pregnancy weight-gain targets are now more individualized than when your mom was pregnant?

While eating enough to support your developing baby is vital, weight-gain guidelines are based on your pre-pregnancy body weight. If you haven’t received an individualized weight-gain goal from your doctor, use the guidelines below from the Institute of Medicine as a starting point.

Record your weight on the home screen or dashboard in the MyNetDiary app. Check your weight at least weekly to ensure you are on target.

If you were overweight before pregnancy, your weight-gain goals are lower than if you started out underweight or at a healthy pre-pregnancy weight.

Weight-gain goals shift by trimester and/or based on an assessment of your baby’s growth. For example, the first trimester (weeks 1-12) has the least amount of weight gain, whereas the second trimester (weeks 13-28) and third trimester (weeks 29 - birth) have more weight gain.

How many calories do I need during pregnancy to achieve a healthy weight?

MyNetDiary's flexible tools help you plan calories and adjust your weight goal safely and effectively.

When you sign-up for the app, you’ll input your current and target weights. If you are at a healthy body weight when you first become pregnant, you’ll only need to gain about one to four pounds (0.5 to 1.8 kg) during the first few months of pregnancy. Many women are relieved to hear this, as morning sickness makes it hard to gain at all, much less meet ideal nutrition requirements during the first weeks of pregnancy. Strive to maintain weight during those first few weeks or gain very slowly.

As your pregnancy progresses, go through your Dashboard to “My Weight Plan” to adjust your weight-gain goal. If you were a healthy weight before pregnancy, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends gaining between half a pound and one pound a week in your second and third trimesters.

Pro Tip: Depending on your activity level and progress towards your weight goal, you may decide to enable the “add exercise to calorie budget” setting. This feature increases your calorie budget based on the calories burned from exercise, above and beyond your baseline activity level. Thus when you track your exercise in the app and enable this feature, your calorie budget will increase depending on how many calories you burned during the recorded activity.

How to adjust nutrition requirement targets during pregnancy

Pregnancy has higher calorie and nutrient goals to support the growing fetus and your nutritional needs. Yet, MyNetDiary's default settings are based on the non-pregnant state, so to use MyNetDiary safely, you must increase the targets in the app.

If you haven’t received nutrient targets from your doctor, this evidence-based calculator from the National Academy of Sciences provides daily vitamin and mineral targets for the different trimesters of pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Adjust your vitamin and mineral targets under “My Weight Plan” > Nutrient Targets. This brief article walks you through personalization steps for your nutrient goals.

In addition to a healthy and balanced diet, you'll also want to take a daily prenatal vitamin and mineral supplement. Enter your supplement as you would a regular food or drink under "Meals." Use the barcode scanner to quickly upload nutrition information for your supplement.

Using MyNetDiary while breastfeeding

General calories needed for breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is a lot of work, and you’ll likely need to eat more to keep your energy up and produce enough breast milk. Your calorie needs will change depending on your baby’s age and whether or not you are supplementing with formula.

Baby is 0-6 months old

You burn about 330 calories a day from exclusively breastfeeding.

Baby is > 6 months old

You burn about 400 calories a day from exclusively breastfeeding.

Tracking breastfeeding in MyNetDiary

The easiest way to account for the calories burned from breastfeeding is to enter it as an activity in the exercise log (see screenshot below).

Remember to enter these amounts once daily, not every time you breastfeed.

If you split feedings between breastmilk and formula, then enter half of those calories for the day.


Breastfeeding results in higher nutrient goals than in the non-breastfeeding state. For help in customizing appropriate targets, ask your healthcare provider for goals or use this evidence-based calculator from the National Academy of Sciences.

If I want to lose weight while breastfeeding, how many calories do I need?

Here are two ways to calculate daily calorie needs for breastfeeding and weight loss.

Weight Maintenance calories

Simply use your weight maintenance calories as your daily target and then allow the calorie deficit caused by breastfeeding to shave off your weight naturally.

From your dashboard, go to “My Weight Plan” >"Weight & Calories" and then scroll down to "Planning Tools." There you will find your Weight Maintenance cals.

Set a weekly weight-loss goal

Another way to approach weight loss while breastfeeding is to set a weekly weight-loss goal.

We suggest setting a modest goal of no more than one pound a week. This allows you to eat a bit more, providing you with the extra energy you need to take care of your new baby.

You can adjust your weight-loss goal from “My Weight Plan.” Then, keep track of your calories burned from breastfeeding by recording in the exercise log.

Taking care of a newborn is no easy task! Remember to set reasonable weight and tracking expectations. Motherhood takes adjustments, so be gentle with yourself regarding milestones, just as you would be with your new bundle of joy.

Here's to you and your baby's health!

Related Content

Managing gestational diabetes: What you need to know for a healthy pregnancy

How to plan your calories for weight loss or gain with MyNetDiary

Develop a personalized nutrition plan by setting targets with MyNetDiary

Still new to MyNetDiary? Learn more today by downloading the app for FREE.

Other Health Issues->Pregnancy & Breastfeeding
Dec 5, 2022

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