Pregnancy is an exciting time. Your body goes through a lot of changes, and to get through those changes your body needs special care, including a health and fitness routine. Staying fit during pregnancy isn’t only beneficial for you, but it also helps your baby. It helps you in keeping yourself healthy and preventing low birth weight and other similar problems (Source)

How to stay healthy and fit during pregnancy?

There are several methods that you can follow to keep yourself fit and healthy while being pregnant. Try to be patient, consistent, and don’t give up on your fitness routine.

1. Eat Healthily

Eating a healthy and nutritious diet is vital for pregnant women. Your body and your baby need healthy food, low in sugar and fat. Your body needs extra nutrients for the healthy development and growth of the baby. Eat fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats. There’s a misleading myth of “eating for two” and doubling your intake; don’t get fooled into trying this out. Quality of food is massively essential. Food cravings can be a little hard to deal with but don’t give in. There are healthier ways of satisfying your desire for sugar or fat. Make sure that your food is healthy and has maximum nutritional value.

2. Exercise

Consult with your doctor and if allowed, keep yourself busy in vigorous activities. Exercise is healthy for both your body and mind. Keep exercising; it is the best way to stay in shape while pregnant. Here some workout tips:

If you have been doing high-intensity cardio pre-pregnancy
High-intensity cardio can be tough on your pregnant body. Now that your body is already working to nourish your baby and help him grow, intense cardio workouts can be exhausting. Especially if you are experiencing morning sickness.

Try to switch to a gentler and less intense cardio workout. Less severe and lower impact cardio exercises include swimming and walking. These exercises reduce the stress that your body is dealing with. Slow, steady jogging is a good alternative to running during pregnancy.

If you have been doing weight training pre-pregnancy
For such women, it is a good idea to switch to lighter weights and to increase the number of reps (such as doing 15 reps instead of 10). Avoid pushing any objects.

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A gentler workout routine

Go for a 30-minute walk regularly to keep your blood flowing. Prenatal Pilates and yoga are good, gentle workouts that including other pelvic floor exercises to strengthen the muscles that tend to weaken during pregnancy. 

Whatever exercise you decide to do, make sure to consult your medical professional first. Ask how much of the workout you need per day, and what style to opt for to make sure that you are making the best decision for both you and your baby’s well-being. 

1. Sleep as much as you want

Get plenty of sleep to keep your mind and body active and healthy. Try to sleep on your left side to improve the blood flow through your body. To get better sleep, relax your mind by meditating for 10 to 15 minutes. If anything is keeping you up, such as something that you need to do the next day, write it down on a notepad or in your phone so that it doesn’t distract you from sleep. 

2. Listen to your body

Women go through lots of changes during pregnancy, but it is important to listen to your body. Don’t overburden your body. Your body will tell you how much it can take. Make choices to stay fit according to your body. Such as, if you have to deal with morning sickness, take a break during that time and don’t push yourself to do anything. 

Stick to exercises that you enjoy and that make you feel good. Go outside to get fresh air. The first trimester of pregnancy you may experience extreme exhaustion and need to take it easy. Whereas the second trimester feels more energetic and you feel more active. Don’t do any exercise if you are not feeling up to it. Fitness routines should be fun, not hectic or tiring.

3. Don’t smoke

Smoking is extremely unhealthy for you and your baby. It increases the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) in infants, premature births, miscarriages, and several other complications and unhealthy outcomes. 

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4. Don’t drink

Alcohol before and during pregnancy and while breastfeeding isn’t healthy for the mummy and the baby. It increases the risk of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) in children. FASD can cause abnormal facial issues, severe defects in learning abilities, and behavioral issues in children.
Alcohol can affect the fetus’s health in the earliest stages of pregnancy, even before you’re aware of your pregnancy. Hence, women who know that they may become pregnant should avoid alcohol.

5. Avoid certain foods

There are certain foods that pregnant women should avoid at all costs. Foods that you need to avoid are raw or rare meat, sushi, liver, raw eggs, mayonnaise, soft cheese (like feta, brie), and unpasteurized milk. Poultry products that are raw or unpasteurized can cause food poisoning. Uncooked, or raw fish (swordfish, shark, and marlin) can be high in mercury. 

6. Prenatal care

Get regular prenatal care and stay in contact with your medical health professional. If you miss out on regular prenatal care, it may result in low birth weight of the child. If available, go for group prenatal care. 

7. Get your vitamins

Intake of folic acid and calcium is vital for pregnant women. You can get all the necessary vitamins and minerals from healthy foods and prenatal multivitamins. Foods that are rich in folic acid are oranges, spinach, broccoli, and kidney beans. Foods like milk, yogurt, and spinach are enriched with calcium. A regular prenatal multivitamin can ensure your daily intake of essential vitamins. Consult your doctor about it.

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8. Stay hydrated

Staying hydrated is just as important as eating healthy. Your pregnant body needs more water than usual. Aim for more than eight cups of water per day.

Myths…..not facts

When asked “how to keep fit during pregnancy”, or “how to stay in shape while pregnant”, everyone will have their own suggestions, recommendations, and advice. Be sure you can differentiate myths from facts.

Don’t eat seafood?

There’s nothing wrong with eating certain seafood during pregnancy as long as it is thoroughly cooked. According to the FDA, some fish have high levels of mercury, and it is recommended to avoid them. Whereas the following are completely safe for eating when consumed in moderation (Source)

  • Crab
  • Catfish
  • Canned tuna
  • Salmon
  • Sardine
  • Clam
  • Shrimp
  • Trout
  • Cod
  • Anchovy

Seafood has many health benefits. Keep your seafood intake to 340 grams a week. Avoid raw fish, and sushi to prevent the risk of food poisoning or exposure to certain bacteria.

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  • Avoid exercise and exertion?

If you are healthy and your doctor has recommended exercise, it is okay to continue exercise (Source). Exercises and activities like horseback riding, overly strenuous running, and contact sports should be avoided. Regular exercises are healthy for you and your baby as well, and they can alleviate pain points of pregnancy and strengthen your core and pelvic muscles.

  • Avoid hot baths?

Some people will tell you to avoid heat stress. However, according to new research, hot baths are completely safe during pregnancy as long as your body temperature doesn’t go above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Hot baths can be wonderful for alleviating pregnancy aches.

  • Don’t drink coffee?

It was a popular belief in the past that caffeine should be avoided during pregnancy as it causes a miscarriage. According to new research, one to two cups of coffee per day are completely fine. So, there is no need to skip your morning coffee.

  • Eat for two?

Don’t fall for the “eat for two” suggestion. It will only result in unnecessary weight gain. According to the recommended range for weight gain from your doctor will keep you energetic throughout pregnancy and make it easier to lose weight the extra lbs post-pregnancy.

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Every woman’s journey through her pregnancy is different. Keep things simple, stay active, eat healthily, and don’t forget to listen to your body. 

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