The amount of energy required when pregnant or nursing

According to the Dietary Reference Intakes for Japanese, published by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, the amount of energy required during pregnancy is +50 kcal at the beginning, +250 kcal for the mid-term period, and +450 kcal in the final term. Also, while breastfeeding, +350 kcal is required because of the energy consumed producing breast milk. It is also important for mothers to be conscious of their weight and maintain a balanced diet centered on staple foods. The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries have published a guidebook for mothers titled "Dietary Balance Guide for Expectant and Nursing Mothers".

Reference: Dietary Reference Intakes for Japanese (2015)

Demographic statistics reveal that the proportion of low-birth-weight infants increased from 5.1% (1975) of total births to 9.6% (2009), while the average birth weight decreased from 3200g (1980) to 3000g (2010). A report highlighted the cause behind this as mothers restricting their nutritional intake and weight gain during pregnancy. In 2006, dietary habit guidelines for pregnant women were published by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, which replaced the previous recommendation to limit weight gain during pregnancy to 10kg or less with an amount calculated in accordance with a woman's BMI. Because of this, it is important for women to manage their weight during pregnancy based on an understanding of their own pre-pregnancy BMI.

Recommended weight gain during pregnancy, by original BMI category

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