A Guide to Staying in Shape During Pregnancy

September 19, 2018

Today's guest post is all about staying fit during pregnancy. This is near and dear to me after my pregnancy with Harrison. With tips like these I've stayed in much better shape and had far fewer problems this round! 

In an ideal world, you’d make sure you were fit and healthy before you started thinking about the patter of tiny feet. However, the modern world can be very unpredictable, and new arrivals are often not planned. It doesn’t matter if this is the case because it’s never too late to start caring for yourself. Keeping your baby and yourself as healthy as possible can start straight away.  Over the next few months, you’re going to be bombarded with advice. You’ll have a list of do’s and don’ts as long as your arm! To help you make sense of it all, here are some top tips.

Eat a Healthy, Balanced Diet
This tip is very important, and don’t worry about eating for two! During the first six months of your pregnancy, as long as you eat healthily, there is no need to worry about extra calories. During the last three months, an extra 200 calories are all that’s required. So, all you need to do is to increase the size of your portions a little. Your diet should include at least five portions of fruit and vegetables every day. Carbohydrates in the form of bread, pasta, and rice (preferably wholegrain). Fiber is also important, and good sources are steel cut oats and other wholegrains. Don’t forget plenty of protein either animal protein such as fish, lean meat and eggs, or plant-based protein as in beans, pulses, and nuts. Milk, cheese, yogurt, and other dairy products also need to be included. Fish should be eaten twice a week, and one of them should be an oily fish such as mackerel, sardines or salmon.

Exercise Regularly
There are going to be days when you don’t feel like doing anything. However, regular exercise is important for you and your baby. You don’t need to worry about running a marathon or lifting weights. Gentle exercise such as swimming, yoga, Pilates, aqua natal classes and brisk walking is good for pregnant women.
You will benefit from regular exercise in several ways. It will help you maintain a healthy weight and make it much easier for you to get back in shape after having your baby. Exercise boosts your mood as well as protecting you against certain complications such as high blood pressure. Keeping fit will mean your body is better able to cope with the changes to your posture and increased strain on your joints. One last benefit, it will mean the chances of a straightforward birth are much higher.

Rest Whenever Possible
Getting enough sleep and rest during your pregnancy is important. You’re bound to feel more tired than normal, and as your bump increases in size, you’re going to find sleeping very uncomfortable. A good position to adopt is to lie on your side with your knees bent. This position will also stop the weight of your baby putting pressure on the large blood vessels carrying blood around your body. It has also been shown to help prevent varicose veins, hemorrhoids and swelling in your legs.

A number of other lifestyle changes will also make a difference. You should aim to stop smoking and cut out caffeine and alcohol. Always be very careful when it comes to food hygiene. Take supplements to ensure your body is getting all it needs. Remember to do your pelvic floor exercises and keep your appointments with healthcare professionals.

From the moment you start thinking about having a baby, until you give birth and beyond, it’s vital you take care of yourself so that you can take care of your baby.