What you'll get to know:
- Benefits of proper exercises during pregnancy
- Recommended exercises in pregnancy
- Dos and don'ts of exercising during pregnancy
- Pregnancy diet tips
- Foods to avoid during pregnancy
- Tips to stay fit during pregnancy
Pregnancy is a special time when your body undergoes a number of changes. But this is not the time to stop your fitness routine. Exercises and good diet should be combined to keep fit during pregnancy. This helps in easier delivery and the health of both the mother and the child. However, not all exercises are allowed during pregnancy. Moreover, with the problems of heartburn, morning sickness and sudden cravings, the diet is also affected. It is necessary to consult with your doctor to draw up a schedule of fitness and diet plan and stick to it throughout the pregnancy.
When you become pregnant, you are repeatedly admonished not to exert yourself and to take things easy. However, pregnancy does not mean that you have to stop your regular exercises and fitness routine. In fact, research shows that unless you are suffering from some complications, a healthy regime of exercises during pregnancy can have several benefits. In addition, healthy diet is necessary for the proper growth of the baby. However, you should always consult your doctor about any fitness regime that you are thinking of taking up.
Benefits of proper exercises during pregnancy
Whether you used to be a fitness buff or a couch potato before your pregnancy, an appropriate exercise regime is recommended for all. The benefits of exercises during pregnancy are as follows:
- It prepares the body for the physical strain of carrying your baby around for nine months.
- There are some evidences that an appropriate exercise regime aids in easy labor and less complications towards the end. In any case, it prepares your body for labor.
- It helps to ease back pain and is a great way to deal with mood swings. It can also help with constipation which is common in pregnancy.
- It improves cardiovascular system.
- It promotes endurance to go through the actual process of labor.
- It helps your body to recover better and faster after delivering the baby.
Recommended exercises in pregnancy
Here are some exercises that can help you to stay fit during pregnancy:
- The best exercises are those that give you a cardiovascular workout without exhausting you.
- Walking, jogging and running are some of the best exercises for pregnant women. The duration will depend on how fit you were before pregnancy. In any case, you should get a thorough workout but not get exhausted.
- Swimming is a highly recommended exercise in pregnancy. You can practice this even in advanced stages. You can also join an aquanatal class for a series of aquatic exercises.
- Certain styles of yoga and stretching exercises are good in pregnancy. It helps to build endurance and also relaxes you. Gentle stretching exercises can prepare your body for labor.
- Pilates are a group of exercise that targets those muscles that are weakened by pregnancy and labor. So, these can be especially helpful. They also help in relaxation.
- Low impact aerobics and dance are other good exercises. However, avoid sudden or jerky movements.
- If you used to do weight training before pregnancy, you can continue during this time. But you need to choose lighter weights and decrease your intensity as term nears.
Dos and don'ts of exercising during pregnancy
Though there is no problem in exercising during pregnancy, there are certain guidelines that you need to keep in mind:
- This is not the time to exhaust yourself. Your aim is to maintain your level of fitness, not to set new goals.
- At no time should your workout be so vigorous that you cannot talk. Try to keep the heart rate around 140 and not more.
- Draw up a practical exercise program in consultation with your doctor. Add some variety to it. Try different exercises.
- Get an exercise buddy, preferably a pregnant one. You should also maintain a record. This helps you to stick to a schedule. Also, keep some pregnancy exercise videos handy so that you can skip the gym if you want but not the workout.
- If you opt for yoga, Pilates or aerobics, make sure that your teacher is experienced in dealing with pregnant women and can guide you properly.
- Avoid contact exercises like judo or squash.
- Do not lie on your back during exercises.
- Avoid sports like horseback riding, skiing, scuba diving, cycling, gymnastics, ice hockey etc.
- Ask your trainer for pelvic floor exercises and pelvic tilt exercises. These prepare your body for labor.
- If you experience symptoms like shortness of breath and racing heart even before you start, pain in lower back, dizziness, headache, fatigue or spotting, stop exercising at once and get in touch with your doctor immediately.
Pregnancy diet tips
You have to combine a proper diet with your exercise regime to keep fit during pregnancy. Eating well also helps you to tackle the problems of morning sickness, heartburn, constipation etc. keep in mind that pregnancy is not the time to diet and lose weight. You can do that after the delivery. Your diet should include all the essential nutrients required for the growth of the baby.
One of the most important things to remember during pregnancy is to stay hydrated. You should drink plenty of water, and this is especially important if you are exercising regularly. You can opt for milk or juice, but it is best to avoid colas and caffeinated drinks.
Here are some foods that you should include in your diet during pregnancy.
|Foods to include||Source||Benefits|
|Protein||Meat, egg, fish, nuts, legumes, cheese||They help to develop the baby and keep up the strength of the mother.|
|Calcium||Milk and dairy products like cheese and yoghurt||It helps in developing the bone structure of the baby. It is also necessary for the mother because calcium level falls in the body during pregnancy.|
|Folates||Green leafy vegetables like spinach, collard greens, kale etc||They help to improve blood circulation and fight the tendency for anemia.|
|Vitamins and minerals||Fruits and vegetables||They supply essential nutrients necessary for the development of the fetus and the numerous changes in the body of the mother.|
|Iron||Broccoli, nuts, asparagus, meat||It is necessary to help the baby develop and prevent anemia.|
|Anti oxidants||Organic fruits and vegetables||These are necessary to detoxify your body and developing immunity for you and your child.|
Foods to avoid during pregnancy
While you gain weight during pregnancy, there is no need to pile on junk foods and add extra weight. Certain foods are quite harmful during pregnancy and can increase the level of your discomfort. Here is a list of a few foods that you should avoid:
- Caffeine is a big no-no during pregnancy. It interferes with your sleep and increases the problems of heartburn and nausea. So avoid coffee, caffeinated drinks, colas and chocolates, especially in the evenings.
- Cut out alcohol and tobacco strictly from your diet during the months of pregnancy.
- Though fruits are necessary, avoid papaya and pineapple during pregnancy. Papaya is rich in latex which triggers contractions of the uterus. Pineapple contains bromelain which is known to induce early labor.
- Avoid raw fish (as they can be contaminated with mercury), unwashed fruits and vegetables, unpasteurized milk, raw eggs and soft cheese during pregnancy.
Tips to stay fit during pregnancy
In order to say fit during pregnancy, here are a few tips that you can follow:
- Eat small meals at frequent intervals instead of three or four heavy meals.
- Drink plenty of water, mostly in the morning and afternoon. Drink less in the evening to cut down your visit to the bathroom.
- Do not try to lose weight during pregnancy. Instead, you need to gain weight gradually.
- Avoid junk foods and sugary drinks because they only add calories and nothing else. You can occasionally try a treat of cookie or a banana smoothie.
- If you are suffering from complications like gestational diabetes or hypertension, you need to monitor your diet strictly with the help of your doctor.
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