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

In pregnancy it is safe to and healthy to gain weight. The right amount of weight gained is essential and crucial all throughout your pregnancy. However, what we would like to avoid as much as possible is the irony of gaining more than what we should.

In addition to proper diet, supplementary pre-natal vitamins can ensure that you get all the necessary vitamins and minerals needed in the development of a healthy baby and your midwife will likely prescribe you folic acid, iron and iodine tablets to take throughout your pregnancy. And nowadays, the traditional cliché of “eating for two” can be substituted with eating the right kinds of food for two!

In pregnancy it is safe to and healthy to gain weight. The right amount of weight gained is essential and crucial all throughout your pregnancy. However, what we would like to avoid as much as possible is the irony of gaining more than what we should. If you are of a healthy weight, the ideal weight gain is said to be anywhere between 11-16 kilograms, if you are underweight then you may gain more, or if you are overweight or obese then you should look to gain less.

Exercise also plays a big part. Safe exercise during pregnancy not only helps you control weight gain but it also decreases your risk of labor complications, can shorten the span of time of your labor and promotes a faster recovery after giving birth.

The following are some of the benefits that you can gain from pregnancy workout:

  • Good posture
  • Lower risks of back pain
  • Strong and fit muscles for labor
  • Good blood circulation
  • Flexibility
  • Increased level of energy
  • Endurance
  • Relaxed muscles
  • Reduced irritability and moodiness
  • Self confidence
  • Better night’s sleep

In general, fitness for pregnancy incorporates mild to moderate levels of activities. The goal is to stay fit and improve health, not to lose weight. Start your fitness pregnancy program slowly if you don’t normally exercise. Exercise lightly for about 20 or 30 minutes three times a week, with a rest day in between workouts and increase from there.

Make sure to stay cool and hydrated while exercising. Wear comfortable and loose clothing when exercising and drink lots of water before and during workout. Never push yourself to the point of fatigue or exhaustion. You know you are exercising at the right pace if you can carry a conversation easily while working out.

Your fitness pregnancy program could include any of the following exercises:

Walking: This is the most recommended activity for pregnant women because it is easy to do and effective in improving your cardiovascular strength. Best of all, walking is safe. It is the ideal exercise to start your fitness pregnancy program.

Swimming: Just like walking, this activity is perfect for expectant mothers because you can work out your whole body without the strain to your joints thanks to the water’s buoyancy – it also just gives you a light feeling and takes off the strain in general!

Aerobics: Choose low-impact aerobic exercises. Look for DVDs that feature aerobic workouts specifically for pregnant women.

Prenatal yoga/stretching: Exercises based on these relieve tension and improve strength and flexibility of the body for pregnancy, labor and post-partum recovery. It also helps with correct alignment, breathing and mental state for birthing – I highly recommend yoga in pregnancy.

Ensure you practice safe exercise during pregnancy – here are some useful guidelines that you may want to consider:

Pay attention to your body:
If you run out of breath or feel dizzy, then that’s your signal to take a rest. Once you regain strength, then you can restart but at a slower pace. Pregnancy is not the time to push to your limits. A good indication is that if you can’t hold a conversation whilst doing your exercise, you are likely pushing too hard.

Be well hydrated:
Drink plenty of water in between exercises. It is a simple way of not getting overheated as raising basal temperature is dangerous to your pregnancy.

Avoid injury:
Your joints and ligaments are softer and less stable then they usually are, due to the release of a hormone called relaxin during pregnancy. Have plenty of support, especially on your back, and try to cut out floor exercises if you are beyond 20 weeks of pregnancy, due to the restriction of blood flow this can cause to the uterus.

Safety first:
Observing safe exercise during pregnancy is important. You may have been a super active person prior to your pregnancy, but exercise during pregnancy is something that should always be done with great care and with moderation.

Always stop exercising at once if there is sudden pain in the chest, pelvis or abdominal area, if you are short of breath or dizzy and if you experience severe headache or blurry vision. Likewise, vaginal bleeding or leak of fluid from the vagina is a sign that you need to stop and see your doctor immediately. If you are unsure what excercise is right for you and your pregnancy, consult your LMC or GP for guidance.

Laura Lucas is fiancé to Todd and mama to 22-month-old Billy and their newest edition 4-month-old Taylor! She absolutely loves all things outdoors, animals, fitness, style, family & friends. Laura is passionate about supporting mums to breastfeed their babies, is a breastfeeding mama herself and has recently been through a journey with Taylor in NICU. These passions saw her become the founder of Milkbar Maternity & Breastfeeding, on a mission to provide quality maternity and breastfeeding products and clothing to suit every mum.

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