New Study Proves That Being Pregnant Can Be Hard Work

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Creating and carrying a baby is an incredible feat that demands significant energy from the entire body. A recently published study has revealed how much energy goes into producing a child, and it far exceeds past estimates. Scientists from Australia examined thousands of studies on the reproductive health of various species, including humans. The new research has shown that pregnancy, especially in placental animals like humans, requires about ten times more energy than previously believed.

Pregnancy Is Very Taxing

Overall, an average nine-month pregnancy demands nearly 50,000 dietary calories! Results showed that smaller animals need fewer calories for reproduction compared to larger ones. For mammals with placentas, indirect gestation costs represented around 96% of total energy expenditure, and humans require higher energy investments due to prolonged pregnancy duration compared to other mammals.

Customized nutritional needs also vary per individual and trimester. For instance, fewer calories are needed during the first trimester compared to the third. Producing milk further adds to the energy expenditure of those who have given birth. The effort required for lactation surpasses even the energetic content of the milk produced.

Nutritional Needs and Healthy Habits

Healthy habits still matter during pregnancy. Comfortable sleep and engaging in light exercise, such as a walk before bedtime, are all great for pregnant people. Avoiding daytime naps can also promote restful sleep at night, which can help get the circadian rhythm to a more predictable schedule.

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Balanced eating habits are crucial for a healthy pregnancy and the postpartum period, including consuming plenty of fruits and vegetables and lean meats. Last but not least, staying hydrated is just as important. Typically, pregnant people expend about 183 extra calories daily compared to non-pregnant people. However, dietary recommendations specify around 1,800 daily calories in the first trimester, increasing by 340 in the second trimester and another 450 in the third trimester.

Extra Calories and Exercise

When breastfeeding, an additional 450-500 calories per day are needed. Balanced eating habits and regular exercise are crucial for promoting a healthy pregnancy and postpartum recovery period.

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While it’s long been acknowledged that pregnancy is an exhausting process, this new study provided concrete data demonstrating just how much energy is required for carrying a human to term. From early gestation through to lactation, balanced nutrition and healthy habits play essential roles in supporting this incredible journey pregnant people go through while creating life.