Staying Healthy During Pregnancy
During pregnancy, your main priority will most likely be the safety and health of your unborn baby. Many women find it easy to neglect their own wellbeing during this time, forgetting that a healthy mom is the most important factor in the safe growth and birth of a baby. Keeping yourself fit and healthy is incredibly important during this amazing time in your life.
The old myth that you have to ‘eat for two’ during pregnancy has been totally debunked, so sadly there’s no excuse for digging into the chocolate and fries anymore. Experts now believe that quality over quantity should be emphasized during pregnancy. Eating a balanced diet is important whether you’re pregnant or not, but it’s especially important while you’re nurturing another life as well as your own.
Aim to eat at least five servings of vegetables and fruit every day, and include plenty of nourishing whole grains and lean protein sources in your diet. Avoid eating too many processed foods, refined carbohydrates or sugary foods, as these can lead to excessive weight gain and potential complications further down the line.
A good quality prenatal vitamin is also important throughout the entirety of your pregnancy. It will ensure that you get the necessary folic acid during the first trimester, and will supplement nutrients that are lost through morning sickness. An iron supplement may also be helpful, as anaemia is common in pregnancy and can make you feel exhausted and weak.
Exercise may be the last thing that you feel like doing while your stomach is ballooning larger every day, but it may actually make you feel better. Even if you were out of shape before you got pregnant, you should try to walk regularly and do light aerobic exercise for as long as you feel able. Keeping fit will also make the extra weight of the third trimester easier to manage, and help you through the hard work of labour.
Exercise can also lift your mood and help you to feel more relaxed, which is extremely important during pregnancy and through the post-natal period.
Not all exercise is suitable for pregnant women. Swimming, prenatal yoga classes, walking and pilates are all perfect for stretching and soothing during pregnancy.
Rest is extremely important during pregnancy, as your body is probably letting you know through its persistent tiredness. Growing a baby is hard work, so getting a good night’s sleep each night is crucial to maintaining your physical and emotional health. It can be difficult to get comfortable enough to sleep well as your baby grows, so a wedge-shaped pregnancy pillow may be a good investment.
Sleeping on your back will become increasingly uncomfortable in the later stages of pregnancy and can cause dizziness and nausea, so doctors recommend that pregnant women lie on their left side to sleep. This will help prevent your uterus from pressing into your blood vessels, and will improve the blood flow to your placenta.