Staying Fit and Healthy in Pregnancy

Congratulations – you’re pregnant! And once your baby is born you’re more than likely to have no worries about staying fit and active as you’ll running around after him or her for years to come. However, pregnancy is an altogether different matter. While some women take to it like a duck to water, others struggle with their changing body shape, the extra weight, and coming to terms with it mentally, too. If you’re in the latter bracket and feel like you need a little helping hand as you work through these next nine months, read on for some helpful hints and tips on staying fit and healthy. After all the best health insurance you can give yourself is by treating your body with respect…

Britney Spears Pregnant Smoking Cigarette - Quit Smoking!

Eat Right

Just because you’re pregnant doesn’t mean you’ve got free rein on eating whatever you fancy. And while you’ll often hear the saying, “well you’re eating for two now” when you reach for that extra cupcake, it’s actually not true.  In reality, you don’t need to up your calorie intake until the second trimester. Think about it – a woman who isn’t pregnant needs around 2100 calories a day while a pregnant woman needs just 400 extra at 2500 calories a day. It’s not exactly a huge amount and certainly doesn’t mean you’ll be doubling up all your meals.  [1]

So what sort of food should you be eating in order to get these extra calories and help your baby on its way? A well-balanced diet is the answer with something from all the food groups of dairy, fruit, veg, meat, fish, eggs, fat and carbohydrate. Eating a balanced diet with all of these food groups will ensure your energy levels stay constant and you don’t feel wiped out. To help you out we’ve broken things down further –

  • 20% of your calories should be taken from protein which you’ll find in fish, meat, eggs, dairy and beans.
  • <30% should come from the fat group – dairy products like butter and milk, and nuts plus fatty veg like avocado.
  • Finally 50-60%% should come from carbs. You’ll find these in pasta, potatoes, rice, bread and other grain products.

So now you know what you should be eating in pregnancy, here’s what you should be doing in order to help you stay fit and healthy…  Some research suggests that gaining too much weight during pregnancy leads to obese babies and children.

Exercise

At the start of pregnancy it’s not difficult to keep up with your normal regular exercise although it’s probably best to avoid contact sports. The problem in the first three months though is that this is the time when you’re most likely feeling horrible. Your hormones are in overdrive, you’re trying to get your head round your changing circumstances and you’re probably dreading piling on the pounds. However, if you can keep up with regular exercise now you’ll be doing yourself a favour for the coming months.

If you do nothing else, make sure you have a walk – just 20 minutes a day is better than nothing. And not only will your body feel the benefit, it should help out with the mental side of things too.

Swimming is a great choice of sport – all through your pregnancy. And as you get bigger you’ll really be appreciative of the fact the water takes the weight of your bump away from you. Try swimming 10 or 20 gentle lengths about three times a week and you’ll be doing your bit to keep your body in shape.

Yoga is great for pregnant women as it’s not about burning super amounts of calories but more about toning and strengthening your body. If you do decide to take up yoga make sure your practitioner know you are pregnant as you’ll have to do certain yoga positions slightly differently as you shouldn’t lie on your back for long periods of time when pregnant.

Pelvic Floor Exercises – Kegels

Finally, there are these ‘secret’ exercises that you should be doing every day while you’re pregnant and once you’ve given birth. They’re important in helping prepare your body for labour, and also in helping you keep in control of your pelvic floor muscles. If you work on them now you’re much less likely to encounter any embarrassing problems like incontinence which can affect women in pregnancy and in later life too. They’re simple to do and you can do them pretty much anywhere so don’t neglect them!

Sources:

  1. Canadian Prenatal Nutrition Guidelines
  2. Post Natal Fitness

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