Feeling your best while pregnant and having the healthiest pregnancy possible means maintaining healthful eating habits and a routine of safe and effective pre-natal exercise.
Maintaining healthy eating habits and staying physically active during pregnancy are essentials for your baby and you to be as healthy as possible. Of course, your physical activities and dietary allowances must be kept within appropriate limits. Therefore, include a discussion of nutrition and exercises in your list of questions to ask your gynecologist. You and your healthcare provider can develop the ideal pre-natal health and fitness program for you based on your personal needs during your pregnancy.
Healthy amounts of pre-natal exercise can improve the way you feel and yield significant health benefits for you and your baby. Also, because what you eat also provides your baby’s primary source of nutrition, maintaining a balance of good eating habits and healthy exercise can lead to the best possible health for both your baby and yourself. Here is some information about nutrition and exercise during pregnancy, to help you plan your prenatal health management program.
Healthy Pre-Natal Diet
By “diet”, we mean adjusting your eating habits to ensure you are receiving adequate nutrition for the health of you and your baby. Maintaining balanced nutrition during pregnancy is basic for your baby’s healthy growth and development.
For the nutrients needed during pregnancy, you must consume foods from a variety of food groups, including grains, fruits and vegetables, dairy products, and protein sources. Generally, pregnant women need to take in an extra 300 calories per day. However, discuss your personal calorie needs with your doctor, before adjusting your calorie consumption.
The recommended weight gain for women with a normal starting weight can be anywhere from 25 to 35 pounds. If you become pregnant while overweight, no weight gain is okay and even weight loss is okay if approved by a physician. Putting on too much weight increases your risk of pregnancy complications, including C-section rates.
Water is the life-sustaining carrier of the nutrients you take in through the foods you eat to your growing baby. Also, water can help prevent excessive swelling, bladder and urinary tract infections, hemorrhoids, and constipation. About 10 cups of fluid per day are recommended during pregnancy, per The Institute of Medicine. This includes all beverages.
Due to the potential for effects on a developing baby, your doctor might recommend that you eliminate caffeine from your diet while pregnant, or that you limit your caffeine consumption to under 200 milligrams per day.
Even with a healthy diet, it is common to miss essential nutrients. Adding a prenatal vitamin to your nutrition program—preferably beginning three months or more prior to conception—can complete your nutritional requirements during pregnancy. Discuss appropriate vitamin supplements and any other nutritional supplements with your doctor before you start taking them.
Exercising During Pregnancy
Women’s health experts advise that pregnant women stay physically active. Women who maintain regular exercise during pregnancy tend to have more energy, less back pain, and a more positive body image. Also, after delivery, they experience a quicker return to their pre-pregnancy fitness condition.
Staying active does not mean you need to start a full-scale workout program with expensive equipment. There are numerous varieties of excellent, simple pre-natal exercise routines that you can do conveniently at home, during each trimester. Also, many exercises with which you are probably already familiar can be easily incorporated into exercise routines during pregnancy.
- Walking is ideal exercise for pregnant women.
- Aqua-pre-natal exercise routines that you can find online or at your local fitness facility are also ideal options.
- Many of the exercises you may be familiar with from your gym routine can be continued or modified, including:
Discuss your plans for your pre-natal exercise program with your doctor before you start any exercise program during pregnancy.
If you would like more information about proper nutrition and exercise during pregnancy, or to make an appointment for a consultation with a Little Rock gynecologist at a woman’s clinic, contact The Woman’s Clinic by calling (501) 664-4131.