Diet And Exercise While Pregnant

How Much Should I Eat And Drink

Diet and Exercise During Pregnancy

Consuming healthy foods and low-calorie beverages, particularly water, and the appropriate number of calories may help you and your baby gain the proper amount of weight.

How much food and how many calories you need depends on things such as your weight before pregnancy, your age, and how quickly you gain weight. If youre at a healthy weight, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says you need no extra calories in your first trimester, about 340 extra calories a day in your second trimester, and about 450 extra calories a day in your third trimester.1 You also may not need extra calories during the final weeks of pregnancy.

Check with your health care professional about your weight gain. If youre not gaining the weight you need, he or she may advise you to take in more calories. If youre gaining too much weight, you may need to cut down on calories. Each womans needs are different. Your needs also depend on whether you were underweight, overweight, or had obesity before you became pregnant, or if youre having more than one baby.

Any Amount Of Time Is Fine

We know 150 minutes each week sounds like a lot of time, but you dont have to do it all at once. Not only is it best to spread your physical activity out during the week, but you can break it up into smaller chunks of time during the day. As long as your aerobic physical activity is a moderate or vigorous effort, any amount of time counts toward meeting the aerobic guideline.

Kegel Exercises During Pregnancy

Kegel exercises help strengthen the muscles that support the bladder, uterus, and bowels. By strengthening these muscles during your pregnancy, you can develop the ability to relax and control the muscles in preparation for labor and birth. Kegel exercises are also highly recommended during the postpartum period to promote the healing of perineal tissues, increase the strength of the pelvic floor muscles, help these muscles return to a healthy state, and increase urinary control.

To do Kegels, imagine you are trying to stop the flow of urine or trying not to pass gas. When you do this, you are contracting the muscles of the pelvic floor and are doing Kegel exercises. Try not to move your leg, buttock, or abdominal muscles. In fact, no one should be able to tell that you are doing Kegel exercises. You can do them anywhere!

Try to do five sets of Kegel exercises a day. Each time you contract the muscles of the pelvic floor, hold for a slow count of five and then relax. Repeat this 10 times for one set of Kegels.


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Ease Your Mind For Better Sleep

From worrying about something going wrong to wondering if youll be a good parent, pregnancy can be an emotional rollercoaster. During my third trimester, Id lay awake in bed at night praying my baby would kick so I knew they were okay.

To give my mind rest and, ultimately, my body I tried a few different techniques.

Sometimes Id meditate for 10 to 15 minutes before bed to calm my mind. Other times I would reach out to new and expectant mamas for encouragement and to share my anxieties.

If I had a list of to-dos spinning in my head, Id jot them down in my phone so they werent distracting me from drifting off to sleep.

Above all, establishing a relaxing routine before bed allowed me to find mental and emotional peace ensuring both baby and I got the recharge we needed.

What Happens After Finding Out You’re Pregnant

Pin on Healthy Pregnancy Plan

Aim to eat a healthy diet . This should include a variety of foods including:

  • Starch-based foods .
  • Fruit and vegetables.
  • Plenty of fibre, which can be found in wholegrain breads as well as fruit and vegetables.
  • Protein foods such as meat, fish, pulses, chicken, etc, every day. Choose lean meat, cut the fat off red meat and the skin off chicken.
  • Dairy foods, such as yoghurt, milk and cheese.

Try to avoid adding fat – for example, by not frying food where possible.

Include foods with plenty of iron, calcium and folic acid – a growing baby needs these nutrients right from the start of the pregnancy:

  • Iron is mainly in red meat, pulses, dried fruit, green vegetables and fortified cereals.
  • Calcium is mainly in dairy products such as milk, cheese and yoghurt.
  • Folic acid is mainly in green vegetables, brown rice, and fortified cereals.

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Stretching Exercises For Pregnancy

Stretching exercises make the muscles limber and warm, which can be especially helpful when you’re pregnant. Here are some simple stretches you can do before or after exercise:

  • Neck rotation. Relax your neck and shoulders. Drop your head forward. Slowly rotate your head to your right shoulder, back to the middle, and over the left shoulder. Complete four slow rotations in each direction.
  • Shoulder rotation. Bring your shoulders forward and then rotate them up toward your ears and back down. Do four rotations in each direction.
  • Swim. Place your arms at your sides. Bring your right arm up and extend your body forward and twist to the side, as if swimming the crawl stroke. Follow with your left arm. Do the sequence 10 times.
  • Thigh shift. Stand with one foot about 2 feet in front of the other, toes pointed in the same direction. Lean forward, supporting your weight on the forward thigh. Change sides and repeat. Do four on each side.
  • Leg shake. Sit with your legs and feet extended. Move the legs up and down in a gentle shaking motion.
  • Ankle rotation. Sit with your legs extended and keep your toes relaxed. Rotate your feet, making large circles. Use your whole foot and ankle. Rotate four times on the right and four times on the left.

Tailor Exercises For Pregnancy

Tailor exercises strengthen the pelvic, hip, and thigh muscles and can help relieve low back pain.

  • Tailor sit. Sit on the floor with your knees bent and ankles crossed. Lean slightly forward, and keep your back straight but relaxed. Use this position whenever possible throughout the day.
  • Tailor press. Sit on the floor with your knees bent and the bottoms of your feet together. Grasp your ankles and pull your feet gently toward your body. Place your hands under your knees. Inhale. While pressing your knees down against your hands, press your hands up against your knees . Hold for a count of five.

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Ideal Foods To Eat During Pregnancy

The following foods are beneficial to your health and fetal development during pregnancy:

  • Vegetables: carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, spinach, cooked greens, tomatoes and red sweet peppers

  • Fruits: cantaloupe, honeydew, mangoes, prunes, bananas, apricots, oranges, and red or pink grapefruit

  • Dairy: fat-free or low-fat yogurt, skim or 1% milk, soymilk

  • Grains: ready-to-eat cereals/cooked cereals

  • Proteins: beans and peas nuts and seeds lean beef, lamb and pork salmon, trout, herring, sardines and pollock

Body Changes That Affect Exercise During Pregnancy

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There are many changes happening in your body during pregnancy. First, joints are more flexible from the hormones which cause certain muscles to relax during pregnancy. Your center of gravity or equilibrium is shifted from the extra weight in the front, as well as, your shifting hips.

This can affect your balance as you near your due date. The extra weight will also cause your body to work harder than before you were pregnant.

All of these factors may affect how you exercise and what exercises you choose to do. Remember, it is always recommended you consult your healthcare provider about exercises for your specific situation.

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The Importance Of Folic Acid

The U.S. Public Health Service recommends that all women of childbearing age consume 400 micrograms of folic acid each day. Folic acid is a nutrient found in:

  • Some green leafy vegetables

  • Most berries, nuts, beans, citrus fruits and fortified breakfast cereals

  • Some vitamin supplements.

Folic acid can help reduce the risk of neural tube defects, which are birth defects of the brain and spinal cord. Neural tube defects can lead to varying degrees of paralysis, incontinence and sometimes intellectual disability.

Folic acid is the most helpful during the first 28 days after conception, when most neural tube defects occur. Unfortunately, you may not realize that you are pregnant before 28 days. Therefore, your intake of folic acid should begin before conception and continue throughout your pregnancy. Your health care provider or midwife will recommend the appropriate amount of folic acid to meet your individual needs.

For example, women who take anti-epileptic drugs may need to take higher doses of folic acid to prevent neural tube defects. They should consult with their health care provider when considering trying to conceive.

Is Losing Weight While Pregnant Safe

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists encourages women to reach a healthy weight before getting pregnant. According to the organization, even a small amount of weight loss can make a difference.

Losing weight before you become pregnant is the best way to decrease the risk of problems caused by obesity. Losing even a small amount of weight can improve your overall health and pave the way for a healthier pregnancy.

But what if you get pregnant unexpectedly and your body mass index falls into the overweight or obese categories? Or what if you are following a healthy diet and exercise program for weight loss and you get pregnant before you reach your goal?

Dr. Dr. Julie Rhee is a reproductive endocrinologist and infertility specialist and Director of the Preimplantation Genetic Screening Program at Vios Fertility Institute in St. Louis. She is double board-certified in obstetrics and gynecology as well as reproductive endocrinology and infertility .

According to Dr. Rhee, if you are overweight or obese, there is no need to discontinue a healthy diet and exercise program once you get pregnant. She adds a few cautions, however, for weight loss during pregnancy.

“Drastic weight loss would be discouraged in pregnancy, but a healthy diet consisting of exercise and portion control with well-balanced meals can be started during pregnancy.”

Julie Rhee, M.D.

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Make Yourself Move Every Day

Even though I exercised regularly before becoming pregnant, I had trouble finding the energy and motivation during pregnancy. So I committed to moving at least once per day, and it was the best decision I made.

It could be a walk at lunchtime, a morning swim, or a stretch on my yoga mat while I caught up on episodes of This Is Us. Sometimes if I was short on time, Id drop down for 20 lunges while I cooked dinner.

And there were days I skipped exercising. I tried not to beat myself up and would start again the next day.

I found that when I pushed myself onto my yoga mat or down the street for a stroll, I felt more energized and slept better. I also felt more prepared for the athletic event that is labor.

While most exercises are safe, especially those you did prior to becoming pregnant, there are a few types of workouts you should steer clear of. Any activity where you risk falling, like rock climbing or skiing, should be avoided. You should also be cautious of high altitudes and any exercises that are done while lying flat on your back.

As a general exercise rule, listen to your body and remember youre working out to stay healthy not break any records.

When Can You Start Exercising Again After Giving Birth

Exercise To Avoid During Pregnancy

Talk with your health provider to find out when its OK for you to be active again. If you have a vaginal birth without any complications, its usually safe to start exercising a few days after you give birth or as soon as youre ready. During vaginal birth, the uterus contracts to help push your baby out of the vagina .

If you have a c-section or a complications during birth, you may need to wait longer to start exercising after birth. Your provider can help you determine when your body is ready for exercise.

If you were active during pregnancy, its easier to get back into exercise after your baby is born. Just start slowly. If you feel pain or have other problems during exercise, stop doing the activity and talk to your provider.

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How May Breastfeeding Help

Breastfeeding may or may not make it easier for you to lose weight because your body uses extra calories to produce milk. Even if breastfeeding does not help you lose weight, its linked to many other benefits for mother and child.

For mothers who breastfeed, experts advise feeding their babies only breast milk for the first 6 monthsno other foods or drinks during this time. Experts suggest that those women continue breastfeeding at least until their baby reaches 12 months.

Calorie needs when youre breastfeeding depend on how much body fat you have and how active you are. Talk with your health care professional about your calorie needs while you are breastfeeding.

Benefits of breastfeeding. Breastfeeding your baby

  • likely gives him or her an appropriate mix of vitamins, minerals, and other important nutrients in a liquid that is easy to digest
  • helps boost his or her immune system
  • helps protect your baby from common problems, like ear infections and diarrhea

Tips For Healthy Eating

“Dieting during pregnancy can be difficult to assess,” says Dr. Rhee, “as it is important to eat a balanced diet while pregnant.” But she adds that watching portion control can be a healthy practice to continue in pregnancy if your weight is a concern.

She also stresses that if you are on medications or supplements to aid weight loss, you should speak to your health care provider to make sure that they are safe during pregnancy. Lastly, Dr. Rhee advises that diets in which one eliminates certain food groups altogether should be avoided.

Dr. Gersh advises that overweight pregnant women continue to eat wisely and eat large amounts of vegetables while adding some additional protein. “Stop trying to lose weight but dont abandon your overall plan to be healthy,” she says. “Dont focus on weight gain or weight loss. Rather, focus on getting lots of high quality, nutrient-dense foods into your diet and nature will take care of things naturally.”

Deborah Malkoff-Cohen, MS, RD, CDN, CDE adds that eating for two is an outdated recommendation, especially during the first trimester when the baby is very small. She suggests these tips to create the most healthy diet during pregnancy if you are overweight or obese:

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When Should You Stop Exercising What Are The Warning Signs You Should Watch For When Exercising

When youre being physically active, drink lots of water and pay attention to your body and how you feel. Stop your activity and call your provider if you have any of these signs or symptoms:

  • Bleeding from the vagina or fluid leaking from the vagina
  • Chest pain, fast heartbeat or trouble breathing
  • Feeling dizzy or faint
  • Headache
  • Muscle weakness, trouble walking, or pain or swelling in your lower legs. Pain or swelling in your lower legs may be signs of deep vein thrombosis . DVT happens when a blood clot forms in a vein deep in the body, usually in the lower leg or thigh. If untreated, it can cause serious health problems and even death.
  • Regular, painful contractions. A contraction is when the muscles of your uterus get tight and then relax. Contractions help push your baby out of your uterus.
  • Your baby stops moving. This may be a symptom of stillbirth .

Create A Plan For Gradual Weight Loss During Pregnancy

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Even before theyre born, your future baby relies on you in numerous ways. Your body nourishes and carries them for about 40 weeks, helping them grow and develop. Having excess weight can cause problems during pregnancy because it can get in the way of these processes.

Despite such dangers, your best approach to weight loss is through a consistent, yet gradual plan with a focus on healthier lifestyle changes. Gradual weight loss is best for your body and your baby.

If your doctor recommends that you lose weight, heres how to do so safely during pregnancy.

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Staying Active In Pregnancy

Exercise during pregnancy has many benefits for you and your baby so you should continue to stay active while you are pregnant.

As you have diabetes, exercise will have an extra effect on your blood glucose levels. When you work your muscles, they use up more of the glucose in your blood and will lower your blood glucose levels. So if you treat your diabetes with insulin, you need to make sure you take the necessary precautions to avoid having a hypo:

  • Discuss your plans for exercise with your healthcare team.
  • Monitor your blood levels before and after exercise until you become familiar with how exercise affects your blood glucose levels.
  • Take particular care to eat regularly, and carry snacks or glucose with you in case your blood sugar drops.
  • Keep exercise moderate, with rest periods so that you do not become too hot or exhausted.
  • You may need to have extra snacks before you exercise if you take insulin ask your team for advice.
  • Stay hydrated.
  • If you are finding it hard to reduce your blood glucose levels, look at your activity levels to find ways to introduce more exercise into your daily routine.

Your healthcare team will be able to advise you on what to do, how often and for how long. If you dont usually exercise, start with 10-15 minutes of continuous exercise three times a week. Over time, you can build this up to 30 minutes of exercise four times a week or more.

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