Physiologist describes pregnancy as a stress test for life.
Disease conditions that may come up later in life are often exposed during pregnancy. Therefore, staying healthy and fit during pregnancy is crucial as you care for yourself and the developing foetus.
Staying healthy and fit during pregnancy will help you recover faster after your child is born, help reduce pain and help you sleep smoothly.
Being physically fit and healthy during pregnancy is vital for expectant mothers. Good preparation helps strengthen your body for labour and gives the baby a healthy foundation for growth.
6 Tips for Staying Healthy and Fit During Pregnancy.
Balanced meals and regular physical exercise are the best ingredients to staying healthy and fit during pregnancy. Of course, pregnancy cravings are a real thing.
I remember my sister’s first pregnancy; she longed for shawarma every day all through the first trimester of pregnancy.
Eating healthy is a crucial way to stay healthy during pregnancy. During pregnancy, you usually eat two or more times daily. Therefore, it is never a time to cut calories or start dieting.
Pregnant women need about 300 extra calories a day, especially much later in the pregnancy when the baby begins to grow bigger. So, calories consumed must come from highly nutritious food that will aid the baby’s growth and development.
During pregnancy, you must try to maintain a well-balanced diet that incorporates more protein, iron, calcium, calories, and folic acid than before your pregnancy. Also, avoiding eating lots of sugar during pregnancy is vital as research has shown it could be detrimental to the child’s cognitive abilities, such as memory and intelligence.
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Exercise is another way to stay healthy and fit during pregnancy. The United States Department of Health and Human Services recommends about 150 minutes of moderate exercise.
The more active and fit you are during pregnancy, the easier it is for your body to adapt to your changing shape and weight gain. Exercise also helps you cope with the rigours of labour and help you get back into shape after childbirth.
Can you stay fit during pregnancy? This is one common question many pregnant women ask, and the answer is yes.
It is crucial to keep up your usual physical activity or exercise, such as running, dancing, yoga, and brisk walking, for as long as you feel comfortable doing them.
Exercise presents no danger to the baby, and research has shown that women who exercise are less likely to experience birth complications.
Exercise Tips For Pregnancy
- Do not exhaust yourself during exercise; you will need to slow down as pregnancy progresses.
- Always remember that exercise does not have to be strenuous to be beneficial.
- Try to be active daily, as 30 minutes of walking daily.
- Drink plenty of water and other fluids
- You can try swimming as the water helps support your increased weight.
- Avoid exercises that risk falling, such as horse riding, gymnastics, and cycling.
- Important exercise to fit into your routine includes stomach-strengthening exercises, pelvic tilt exercises, and pelvic floor exercise.
Sleeping is another way to stay healthy and fit during pregnancy. As a pregnant woman, you will most likely feel more tired than usual. The baby and the mother need ample sleep between 7-9 hours daily.
As the baby grows bigger, it becomes harder to find a comfortable sleeping position. Lying on your side with your knees bent is most likely the most comfortable position as your pregnancy progresses. It also helps your heart as it prevents the baby’s weight from putting pressure on the large blood vessels that carry blood to and from your heart, feet, and legs. Lying on your side also helps reduce cases of varicose veins and swelling in your legs. Doctors recommend that pregnant women sleep on their left side to avoid big blood vessels on the right side of their abdomen and improve blood flow.
Go for prenatal care check-ups
One of the most helpful healthy habits during pregnancy is your antenatal check-ups, as it keeps you stay healthy and fit during pregnancy.
Pregnant women must get regular prenatal care from their desired health care provider. Pregnant women who do not get regular prenatal care are much more likely to have a baby with low birth weight or many other complications. If available, you should also consider group prenatal care.
Pick a water bottle you love
Hydration is critical to staying healthy and fit during pregnancy.
Water plays a significant role in the development of the foetus and is also very important in the formation of the placenta and amniotic sac, both of which help deliver nutrients to the baby.
Drinking a lot of fluids, especially water, during pregnancy is essential.
During pregnancy, a woman’s blood volume increases dramatically, and enough water daily helps you prevent common problems such as constipation and dehydration.
Dehydration can occur at any time of the day due to issues such as morning sickness, overheating, and sweating. The institute of medicine recommends drinking between 8-12 glasses of water to help ensure your baby gets enough hydration.
Staying hydrated daily helps keep your energy levels high and helps prevent constipation during pregnancy. If you ever get tired of taking plain water, you can add cucumbers, strawberries, lemons, or limes to help produce various flavours.
Take a break
Another healthy habit during pregnancy is understanding your body. You need to know you are not a superwoman. You must listen to your body and must rest when needed.
You can nap, lie on the couch with a novel you love, or go to bed early. When you give your body a break, it ensures your foetus grows appropriately and saves energy for your daily activities.
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It is essential that, as an expecting mother, you must take care of yourself and your baby from the first week of pregnancy to the last. Staying healthy and fit during pregnancy is vital to mother and child as it ensures positive birth outcomes.
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- David Chiedozie Ndeokwelu is a graduate of Microbiology, who holds a Masters degree in public health. He is currently a medical student at the University of Ilorin and is passionate about fields of career, public health, entrepreneurship and career building.
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