Pregnancy, Exercise and Diet: How To Ensure a Healthy Pregnancy

Photography: Stacey Lake Photography

By Laura Lucas

It’s positive. You are pregnant! A completely new world of mixed emotions has suddenly opened up. Disbelief, contentment, acceptance, joy and fears, the list is neverending. However for most women, they are ultimately eager to face a rollercoaster of challenges in the next few months.

Being pregnant is one of the most breathtaking phenomenons endured by women. At no other point in her life would she feel so many physical and emotional changes as in the time that she is pregnant. You will witness your feet disappearing from your view and feel like you have become the host to a kick-boxing tournament inside your belly. All of these are the precious moments that you will treasure for life, and keeping in reasonable shape will help you enjoy everything!

One of the most important things you can do towards a healthy pregnancy is to try to eat right and follow a maintainable pregnancy fitness regimen. It is the ultimate way to keep you and your baby healthy all throughout the upcoming months.

To ensure healthy eating during pregnancy, try to maintain a well-balanced diet that includes folic acid, calcium, carbohydrates, iron, protein, fat and vitamins A, C, D, B6 and B12.

A daily diet consisting of fresh vegetables and fruits, especially folic acid-rich dark green vegetables and citrus fruits; carbohydrate foods such as grains, potatoes, pasta and bread; lean meat, milk and dairy products like low-fat yogurt and cheese.

Eat fish once or twice a week but make sure to avoid fishes high in mercury such as shark, marlin and swordfish because consuming too much mercury has a harmful effect on the baby’s nervous system.

Drink lots of liquid – water, diluted vegetable and fruit juices – to prevent dehydration and keep your kidneys and bladder healthy.

Try to resist the urges for too much sugar as your body can crave it when you are lacking energy or feeling tired (which you most likely will be at some point during your pregnancy!). Don’t deny yourself the odd treat – let’s be realistic! But, if it becomes a frequent urge, try and opt for a healthier alternative – some of my faves this pregnancy have been coconut yogurt with blueberries or banana, popcorn with a touch of icing sugar, grapes (or any delicious fruit) and smoothies!

I love mine made with:

  • 1/2 cup frozen strawberries (fiber, iodine, folate, copper, potassium, biotin, magnesium, vitamin B6, and omega-3 fats)
  • 1/2 cup frozen banana (vitamin B6, manganese, vitamin C, potassium, fiber, protein, magnesium, folate)
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt (calcium,vitamin B12, vitamin B6, magnesium, protein, potassium)
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds (essential fatty acids, vitamins A, B, E and D, minerals, including iron, iodine, magnesium, manganese, niacin and thiamine + rich source of antioxidants).
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk (vitamins B2, B12 and E, high in calcium)
  • A splash of vanilla extract (yum!)

Healthy, filling, pregnancy vitamin-rich and YUM!

Add some oats to give you a boost in breast milk supply when breastfeeding and voila! Breastfeeding smoothie!

Our body’s nutritional demands can be translated to our pregnancy cravings. It is generally our body’s way to communicate externally by providing inklings of foods that are needed for the nourishment of the growing baby. When I was pregnant with Billy, I was all about the red meat – when I am usually a white meat fan – indicating a need for more iron. This pregnancy I have been loving glasses of milk throughout the day – indicating a need for more calcium. Changes in nutritional needs are mainly related to our body’s adaptation to pregnancy and how they respond to the baby’s growing demands.

See next page for more, including your pregnancy exercise program…

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