Nutrition and Exercise During Pregnancy:
During pregnancy it is important that you get the appropriate nutrients and energy needed to keep you and your baby healthy. Physical activity is also just as important when you’re pregnant as at any other time of life.
Follow your obstetrician’s advice regarding your use of prenatal vitamins. As mentioned, you should take vitamins only in the doses recommended by your doctor. Perhaps more than any other single vitamin, make sure you have an adequate intake (generally, 400 micrograms a day) of folic acid, a B vitamin that can reduce the risk of certain birth defects, such as spina bifida. Your obstetrician may recommend a daily prenatal vitamin pill, which includes not only folic acid and other vitamins, but also iron, calcium, and other minerals, and the fatty acids docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and arachidonic acid (ARA). Fatty acids are “good” fats, and DHA in particular accumulates in the brain and eyes of the fetus, especially during the last trimester of pregnancy. These fatty acids are also found in the fat of human breast milk. Make sure your doctor knows about any other supplements you may be taking, including herbal remedies.
Eating for Two
When it comes to your diet, do some planning to ensure that you’re consuming balanced meals. Make sure that they contain protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals. This is no time for fad or low-calorie dieting. In fact, as a general rule, you need to consume about 300 more calories per day than you did before you became pregnant. You need these extra calories and nutrients so your baby can grow normally.
5 Foods All Pregnant Women Need
These healthy snacks will help provide plenty of important nutrients for pregnancy, including vitamic C, folic acid and calcium.
Not only is this juice high in vitamin C and folic acid, it’s also a good source of potassium, which has been shown to help lower high blood pressure, a particular danger during pregnancy.
A good source of protein, yogurt has more calcium than milk and also contains active cultures that reduce the risk of yeast infections, which are more common while you’re expecting. Also, some people who are lactose intolerant can tolerate yogurt.
Known for being a good source of calcium, this veggie is also packed with vitamin C, folate, and vitamin B6.
Like beans, lentils are a great source of folate and are rich in iron and protein. They’re also full of fiber, which can help prevent constipation and subsequent hemorrhoids.
Fresh or dried, figs have more fiber than any typical fruit or vegetable, more potassium than bananas, and plenty of calcium and iron.
Regular aerobic exercise is great for just about everyone – including expecting moms and their developing babies. For moms, that daily activity can help ward off high blood pressure, postpartum depression and gestational diabetes. And while regular exercise is a key part of maintaining a healthy weight throughout pregnancy, conversely, a sedentary lifestyle can lead to obesity in both mother and child. “Women who are obese in pregnancy – and 30 percent of our population, unfortunately, does meet that diagnostic criteria – have higher incidence of having obese offspring, even by age 2,” Starck says.
If you can’t get out or you’re short of time, there are plenty of exercises you can do at home or at work that you can fit around your daily activities.
Look for pregnancy workout DVDs or try our easy home or office workout. You could always look at ways that you can be more active around the house – putting extra energy into the housework or gardening, for example.
If you work, can you use your commute to exercise by getting of the bus or train a stop early and walking the rest of the way.
Pregnancy and birth weaken your pelvic floor muscles. These muscles are located in your pelvis and go from your pubic bone at the front to the base of your spine at the back. They are shaped like a hammock and protect your bowels, womb and bladder.
Your pelvic floor muscles support these organs when you jump, sneeze or cough, lift heavy things, and push your baby out in the second stage of labour.
When you’re pregnant you should make sure you exercise the muscles of your pelvic floor. By keeping them strong you can help decrease the risk of becoming incontinent (when wee leaks out accidentally).
You can exercise them at any time of day, wherever you are, without anybody knowing you’re doing the exercises.
It’s not always easy to find a suitable session or instructor while you are pregnant, so here are some tips on how to find one:
Ask your midwife, GP or the receptionist at your surgery or antenatal clinic.
Join Facebook groups or online forums specifically for mums in your local area and ask for recommendations about local classes or instructors.
Ask the instructors at your usual class or gym if they can refer you to someone.
Contact your local council or leisure centre and ask about local services. Even if you can’t see anything on their website, give them a call and they might know somewhere nearby that offers sessions.
Look for posters in local maternity/baby stores or at community centres, and ask other pregnant women or mums you bump into.
Many instructors are members of the Register of Exercise Professionals, and you can search for those who are qualified to teach pregnant women.
Always make sure you tell your instructor about your pregnancy, including any complications or medical conditions.
Healthy eating during pregnancy is critical to your baby's growth and development. In order to get the nutrients you need, you must eat from a variety of food groups, including fruits and vegetables, breads and grains, protein sources and dairy products. Typically, you will need to consume an extra 300 calories a day.