While pregnancy can be a wonderful time, it is also essential to stay fit and active, not only for your own wellbeing, but also for that of your baby. Here are some top tips for staying in peak condition while you’re expecting.
While in the past, mothers to be were told to eat for two, this is no longer the case. Doctors now state that there is only a need for extra calories during the last trimester, and then only an addition 200 per day, so there’s no excuse to eat all those cream cakes! Pregnant women should eat a healthy balanced diet, rich in lean protein, dairy products, fruit and vegetables to get all the essential nutrients for healthy growth.
Pregnancy is no excuse to sit around and vegetate! Women who stay active throughout their pregnancies cope better with labour and are much fitter and healthier. Although this is not the time to suddenly take up a new and strenuous sport, if you already have an active lifestyle there is no need to stop exercising completely, while women who previously took little exercise would benefit from gentle workouts such as pregnancy yoga or swimming.
Although most of the essential nutrients can be gained by eating a balanced diet, there are some supplements which are recommended for baby’s health. A 400 mg daily supplement of Folic Acid should be taken from as soon as you are planning to conceive up to 12 weeks of pregnancy to guard against spina bifida. Some women are also recommended a daily supplement of Vitamin D. This is especially important for women who are planning to breastfeed. Breastfeeding is recommended by health professionals because of its many benefits including lowered risk of obesity, higher immune systems and a reduced chance of later development of serious conditions like diabetes. Breastfeeding mothers can also benefit as they have less chance of developing ovarian and breast cancer in later life.
Alcohol And Smoking
Doctors have recently stated that there is no known safe limit for alcohol in pregnancy, therefore pregnant women are advised to avoid alcohol entirely. Smoking should also be avoided as it can cause low birth weight and other problems in newborns.
From the moment you suspect you might be pregnant, you should arrange an appointment with your doctor to organise your antenatal care. It is very important to see your midwife regularly and to attend every appointment for blood tests and scans as this is the best way to spot the signs of potentially very serious pregnancy related conditions such as gestational diabetes and preeclampsia.