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Best Tips and Guidelines for Pregnancy Diet and Exercise

By October 26, 2018 No Comments
Best Tips And Guidelines For Pregnancy Diet And Exercise
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Pregnancy and Nutrition

You are beside yourself with joy as you see that your pregnancy test is positive. You find yourself already caressing your stomach in hopes that your little one can feel you. The next nine months are going to be an exciting time for you and your baby. You are going to have a human life grow inside of you and feel them move as they get bigger. Your baby is going to go from a single sperm and egg into pounds of adorable flesh that you can’t help but kiss over and over again. It truly is a miracle.

In order to help this miracle along, it is essential for you to eat as good as you can throughout most of your pregnancy. The first three months might be a little difficult to eat balanced meals when you are dealing with food aversions and morning sickness. If you are one of the rare lucky ones whose stomach doesn’t so much as move during your first trimester, then you can take full advantage of eating healthy right out of the gate.

Making sure you eat balanced nutritious meals is laying down the foundation for your baby. A diet of junk food is not going to help your baby with bone development and organ formation. Potato chips will not help with brain development. Your baby and your body need calcium and vitamins to achieve all of this.

Eating well during pregnancy is going to help your baby eat well after it is born and on solid foods. As your pregnancy progresses, some of what you eat will cross the placenta and the taste will be in your baby’s amniotic fluid. Babies swallow this fluid and their taste buds are so develop that even in the womb they are able to taste the flavors. Doctors believe that babies who are exposed to a wide variety of fruit and vegetables while in utero have less of a chance of being a fussy eater later in life. They believe that these are the babies who will eat their fruit and vegetables without putting up any fight.

Doctors also believe that moms who drink their milk throughout their pregnancy have an easier time weaning their babies from formula or breast milk to regular milk. This, however, is only one benefit, the other benefit of drinking milk throughout your pregnancy is all the calcium you will be giving your baby’s bones. Many doctors recommend that you drink at least one eight oz glass of milk, usually fat-free a day. Calcium is a must have your baby’s bones and his teeth, even though you won’t see his teeth for at least a few months.

This isn’t to say that you have to stay away from all sweets all the time. You can indulge every now and then and thanks to cravings you may find yourself wanting sweets more often than not. You do have to keep it in moderation. Being pregnant should not be looked at as an excuse to eat whatever you want for nine months. Both you and your baby could pay a dear price.

Eating Healthy During Pregnancy

Starting off your with a healthy well-balanced diet is the best thing you do for yourself and your baby.  This way, you’ll only need to make a few adjustments during your pregnancy.

Your first trimester

If you find it tough to maintain a balanced diet during your first trimester, you can rest assured that you’re not alone.  Due to queasiness, some women will eat all of the time and gain a lot of weight in the process.  Other women have trouble getting food down and subsequently lose weight. Preventing malnutrition and dehydration are your most important factors during the first trimester.

Calories

When you are pregnant, you need to consume around 300 calories more than usual every day.  The best way to go about doing this is listening to your body when you are hungry.  You should try to eat as many foods as possible from the bottom of the food pyramid.

If you gain weight too slow, try eating small meals and slightly increase the fat in your diet. You should always eat when you are hungry, as you are now eating for 2 instead of one.

Calcium

By the second trimester, you’ll need around 1,500 milligrams of calcium each day for your bones and your baby, which is more than a quart of milk. Calcium is something that’s missing from many diets.  Along with milk, other great sources for calcium include dairy products, calcium-fortified juices, and even calcium tablets.

Fiber

Fiber can help to prevent constipation, which is a common pregnancy problem.  You can find fiber in whole grains, fruits, and even vegetables.  Fiber supplements such as Metamucil and Citrucel are safe to take during pregnancy.

Protein

Unless you happen to be a strict vegetarian, your protein intake is not normally a problem for women who eat a healthy diet.

Iron

A lot of women will start their pregnancy off with a bit of iron deficiency.  Good sources of iron include dark leafy green vegetables and meats.  Iron supplements should be avoided, as they can cause internal symptoms such as cramping, constipation, or diarrhea.

Vitamins

Seeing as how you get a majority of the vitamins you need in your diet, you may want to discuss prenatal vitamins with your doctor.  Folate is one of the most important, and if you are getting enough of it, you may be able to avoid vitamins altogether – just ask your doctor to make sure.

 

Healthy Pregnancy Tip: Supplements To Avoid

Prenatal vitamins are an important source of folate and other vital nutrients during pregnancy. And many women, with the popularity of herbal medicine, take other herbs during pregnancy. Some of these herbs they may have been taking before, for an existing condition. Others, they may take to help cope with some of the physical difficulties that go with pregnancy. The following supplements and food additives should be avoided during pregnancy to avoid potential problems with the health of the baby.

  1. Quinine is found in many drinks like tonic water, and these are popular as a result of their slightly bitter taste. But it was found that one woman who drunk more than 1 liter of tonic water a day whilst she was pregnant had a baby that was suffering withdrawal symptoms when it was born. It had nervous tremors within a day of being born, which disappeared two months later. Germany’s BfR (Federal Institute for Risk Assessment) recommends that pregnant women treat quinine drinks, no matter how small the amount of quinine in them, as a medicinal product, and avoid them as a precaution during pregnancy.
  2. Ginseng is One of the more than 20 active constituents of ginseng was found by researchers at the Chinese University of the Hong Kong Prince of Wales Hospital to be a possible cause for concern for pregnant women. These researchers were measuring the effect of this active principle on fetal development in rats. And they found that relating to the dose, rat embryonic development was affected. Higher doses meant a higher level of abnormalities, according to the markers of development their study used. Now, this study was one done on rat embryos, and so may not translate into similar effects on humans. And it only studied the effects of one of the ginseng’s active constituents, which was a ginsenoside called Rb1. Ginseng actually has over 20 ginsenosides, and other studies have found that these each have different actions. One of the difficulties with studying active constituents in herbal medicine is that the whole herbal extract may have a very different overall effect than a single constituent. This is because of the way active principles both work together and counteract each other. These two aspects, the fact that the study was not done on humans, and does not measure the overall effect of the whole ginseng extract, meaning that its results should be treated cautiously. As a safety precaution, at this time it is best to at least avoid ginseng supplements during the first trimester, as the authors of the study suggest, and probably for the whole of the pregnancy. But ginseng should certainly not be branded dangerous as a result of this research as it is only a very preliminary finding in the overall picture, and more points the way as to where further research needs to be done.
  3. Ginkgo biloba is another supplement that is best avoided whilst pregnant. Researchers at Wayne State University in Detroit found one of the constituents of ginkgo biloba in the placenta of women who had taken ginkgo supplements. This particular constituent, an alkaloid called colchicine, can be fatal in high doses, though medicinally, it has great anti-inflammatory effects. Other research has found that colchicine can harm a growing fetus. The potential problem with taking ginkgo supplements regularly whilst pregnant is that colchicine can build up in the womb, like caffeine when taken in excess of the recommended maximum amounts. The researchers did stress that there was no link established in the study between ginkgo and complications in the pregnancy, the study only looked at levels of colchicine in the womb.

Fitness While Pregnant – Is It Safe?

For many years it was believed that once a woman became pregnant she should just lounge on the couch and rest for hours on end, each and every day. After numerous clinical studies, it was found that most women should do quite the opposite.

In most cases, women should continue with their daily routines, and if they are not doing so already, they should begin a regular daily fitness regimen. It has been found that exercising during pregnancy has numerous beneficial effects. Exercising will give you more energy and stamina, increase your confidence, and give you the extra strength you need for delivering your newborn.

A daily fitness regimen performed by the mother-to-be during pregnancy has also been found to produce a healthier and stronger baby.

An added bonus for those of you dreading those long hours of child labor is that regular exercise during pregnancy has been known to reduce the time frame for this process by about a third. This in itself is a great motivating factor, since every hour spent in labor can seem like a much longer period of time.

While exercise will undoubtedly help you obtain all these wonderful benefits, there are some guidelines you should follow:

  1. Always consult our physician before beginning any diet and/or exercise regimen. This is to ensure you will be able to do this without causing harm to yourself and your recovering body.
  2. Always start out slowly. Try several activities and do not attempt to perform very strenuous exercises or spend too much time at the gym. Find some exercises or activities you like and enjoy and do them regularly, but try not to exceed more than 30 minutes at a time. If you begin to feel exerted or worn out, stop exercising immediately and rest for a while. The whole purpose of exercising is to help maintain good health and self-esteem, not injure or endanger yourself or your unborn.
  3. Avoid high altitudes, extreme humidity, or especially warm temperatures when exercising. Getting overheated is not beneficial to you or our baby, and it could actually cause harm. Be sure you drink plenty of water and keep yourself hydrated.
  4. Monitor your heart rate, your breathing, and your pulse. This will allow you to observe your progress and notice any limitations you may need to be aware of. Knowing this information and making a note of it while exercising could assist your physician in diagnosing any problems or potential hazards you may face.
  5. While you are in your final trimester, try to avoid any bouncing, jumping, or running. These activities can potentially cause injury to you or your unborn child.
  6. Pregnancy causes many changes for any woman, physically, mentally, and emotionally. Be sure you communicate openly with your partner and your doctor. Keep all of your limitations in mind and never try to exercise more than is reasonable for your stage of pregnancy.

Exercise During Pregnancy

For some women, the thought of exercise during pregnancy is as appealing as a root canal without novocaine.  In their minds, they have a nine-month pass to keep up with their gym routine.  The first three months they are battling morning sickness and exhaustion.  The next three months they are beginning to show.  The last three months are so uncomfortable that walking ten feet to the bathroom is pure torture, so there is no way they will be able to walk on a treadmill for ten minutes.

On the other side of the coin, there are some women who do not let something as little as creating a life stand in their way of exercise.  These are the women we might see actually teaching a class at the gym, or speed walking throughout our neighborhood with their protruding bellies.

Most of us, however, fall somewhere in the middle and that is just how their doctors like it.  Exercise comes highly recommended when pregnant.  Not only does it help control weight gain, but some women swear it helps with delivery also.  There are some things to keep in mind in order to protect yourself and your growing little one.

For starters, you need to keep an eye on your heart rate as you are working out.  Letting your heart rate rise to high could be dangerous to your little one especially in your first trimester.  You want to maintain a steady heart rate and should do the talk test throughout your workout to make sure you are at a safe level.  The talk test is when you talk during your workout.  If you are having a hard time talking and wind up huffy and puffing more than getting out actual words, then you are working too hard and need to take it down.  Most doctors recommend that you work at a pace where talking is challenging but still doable.

Pregnancy is not the time to try out new exercise routines.  This means that you should not try the new spinning class that your gym offers.  Stick with the routine you have already been doing and that your body is used to.  You may find that you have to make some modifications to some of your exercises as your pregnancy progresses.   If you are a runner, a modified low impact jog throughout your first trimester is fine but once you enter your second trimester and begin to show, your jog has to be brought down to a walk.  For those of you who love sit-ups, crunches and floor pushups, you can continue to do these up until you hit about 14 weeks or so. After that time period, no floor exercises are recommending.

If you do not have any sort of exercise routine in place before you get pregnant, this still does not give you a free pass.  Almost every doctor will tell you that walking is a great exercise for any pregnant women who are not high risk.  Walking at least thirty minutes, three times a week is a safe way for a pregnant woman to stay active.

Walking is something you can do throughout all three trimesters though you might find yourself moving at a slower pace by your third trimester.   Another great plus to walking, especially as you approach your due date, is that walking can actually bring on labor.  Many doctors will advise their patients to walk, walk and walk some more in the weeks leading up to their due dates to get things rolling.   Some women who have walked throughout their entire pregnancy have an easier delivery and recovery period.

The days of pregnant women kicking their feet up and not moving from the couch for nine months are days of the past.  While strenuous exercise is a no-no, pregnancy is no longer a good excuse to stop moving.

Home Workouts During Pregnancy

Along with proper nutrition and a healthy lifestyle, one of the most important things you can do to benefit yourself and your baby during pregnancy is exercise. Women who exercise regularly while pregnant have easier labor, deliveries, and recovery time. The majority of pregnant women are able to exercise at a level appropriate to their stage of pregnancy, but you should always check with your doctor to make sure you have no risks or conditions that would prevent you from exercising safely.

Working out at home during pregnancy is fun and convenient when you use pregnancy workout videos as a part of your routine.

Through the use of one of the many excellent exercise videos that are available to you, you can exercise during all stages of your pregnancy in the comfort of your own home. The videos are fun and effective and you are sure to love the challenging yet pregnancy-oriented routines that will help keep you toned and fit throughout your pregnancy. Included in the many benefits of exercising during pregnancy are less fatigue, reduced lower back pain, stress relief, weight management, and a quicker return to your pre-pregnancy weight after delivery. Some forms of exercise are better than others for moms-to-be. Low-impact, low-risk exercises include walking, stretching, yoga, swimming, specialized prenatal aerobics, and Pilates.

Exercise during pregnancy is beneficial to both you and your baby. The wrong exercises, however, can cause actually cause harm so it is important to do only those exercises that are known to be safe for both mom and baby. Pregnancy exercise videos will give you a safe, manageable workout routine that is appropriate for your stage of pregnancy. You can order pregnancy exercise videos featuring well-known exercise personalities or your favorite celebrities.

By exercising throughout your pregnancy you will help avoid many of the discomforts associated with pregnancy including constant feelings of exhaustion and lower back pain. An added bonus of regular exercise during your pregnancy is a faster recovery time after delivery and a quicker return to your pre-pregnancy weight.

Pregnancy exercise videos are a great way to keep fit and healthy during your pregnancy. Fun, easy to follow exercise routines designed especially for expectant mothers will give you an opportunity to keep your mind and body fit during your pregnancy and make it much easier for you to regain your pre-pregnancy shape after the birth of your child. You can be healthy and experience significantly less discomfort when you take the time to exercise regularly throughout your entire pregnancy. Pregnancy exercise videos can help you stay fit and will allow you to perform your workout in your own home at your convenience.

If you are an expectant mother or are planning to become pregnant, the importance of regular exercise cannot be overstated. You will make labor and delivery easier for both you and your baby and the benefits will extend after the birth of your child. You will lose that extra pregnancy weight faster and your body will be considerably more resilient if you have a regular workout routine that you continue throughout your entire pregnancy.

Healthy Pregnancy: Pilates Helps Expecting Mothers

Most people think of Pilates as a new form of exercise because of its recent surge of popularity in the fitness and healthcare industry. In reality, Joseph Pilates invented about 80 years ago by.

Pilates was a sickly child with asthma. To help fight his illness and build his strength, he experimented with various mind-body disciplines and later became an accomplished skier, diver, gymnast, and boxer. While in internment during WWI in England, he taught fellow interns his concepts and exercises that he developed over 20 years of self-study and apprenticeship in yoga, Zen, and ancient Greek and Roman physical regimens. During this time, Pilates began devising the system of original floor exercises known today as Pilates mat work”. Within a few years, he became a nurse to the many internees under care with wartime disease and physical injury. Here, he began devising exercise apparatuses to rehabilitate the patients by taking springs from the beds and rigging them to create spring resistance and “movement” for the bedridden. This ìsystemî formed the foundation for his style of body conditioning used today.

In many ways, Pilates equipment today is not much different than it was back then. The use of spring tension, straps, supports for back, neck and shoulders are the same uses for the equipment today. The nature of the equipment is to both challenge and support the body as it learns to move more efficiently.

With the determination to help others achieve better health, Pilates opened his first studio in New York in 1926 where he used his exercise apparatuses and more than 500 movement therapy exercises to help rehabilitate athletes and dancers. For over 60 years this form of exercise was a well-kept secret – but dancers, athletes, physical therapy patients, and fitness enthusiasts have relied on this Pilates method to attain and stay in top physical form.

The benefit of Pilatesí movement therapy exercises for women thru pregnancy and post-partum is mostly misunderstood. Simply put, Pilates is a safe and effective approach to exercise for pregnant women to assist with breathing, body alignment and to recover body shape and tone after birth.

Pilates focuses on breathing, which promotes relaxation and helps activate the transversus abdominus. The transversus abdominus is the deepest of the abdominal muscles and is responsible for supporting the lumbar spine and pelvic area at a time when ligaments are lax due to the natural hormone relaxin excreted by the body during the pregnancy and nursing stages. Lateral breathing also inherent in Pilates fitness, which improves rib cage mobility when the range of motion in the diaphragm is limited due to the high position of the baby in the third trimester.

Back pain is a common side effect of pregnancy. Unless the abdominal muscles, pelvis, and spine are strengthened, problems with the back can occur. Strengthening the transversus abdominus (ìabs) through guided Pilates movements will not only improve back pain and postural alignment but will aid women during labor for a much quicker & safer delivery. Research has shown that activation of the transverses abdominus also activates the pelvic floor, keeping these muscles strong and supple for the birthing process. This can also help with any incontinence that you may experience during and after pregnancy.

The nature of movement in Pilates exercise is low impact and allows pregnant women to exercise effectively without experiencing any undue stress on the now lax joints, or an increased heart rate. Pilates also involves many stretching and toning exercises that help to maintain hip flexibility and stamina, which is essential for well-being and preparation for childbirth.  These exercises are aided and supported by Pilates apparatuses such as the reformer: a moving carriage on a bed; the wunda chair with springs to create resistance and the trapeze table to hang from. Pilates exercises also can be performed on a mat with small props such as pillows or cushions which supports the head, the magic circle, foam rollers and therabands for extra resistance.

Most exercise modifications happen during the second and third trimester due to the ever-increasing belly. All Pilates movements, at this point, are best done seated upright or side lying. However, you can work supine as long as the head is elevated with pillows at 30 degrees above the heart for no longer than 5 minutes, turning to the side for a break.  This ensures natural blood flow and oxygen to the A popular exercise among pregnant Pilates enthusiasts is legwork on the wunda chair. It involves sitting on a small stool with springs attached to a lever and pushing the lever down with your feet. This Pilates movement provides conditioning for the legs and activation of the abdominal muscles, which stabilize the pelvis.

Remember it is very important that your Pilates instructor is certified and has experience in working with pregnant women.

Marilyn Foster

Marilyn Foster

Marilyn Foster is a health editor and has worked on the academic and clinical side of integrative medicine for many years. Originally from Sedona, Arizona, she has a B.S. in biology and earned her master’s degree in physiology with a concentration in complementary and alternative medicine from Georgetown University.

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