Have the food cravings hit you hard? ‘Eating for two’ your new catchphrase? Are you spending all your free time on the couch stuffing Cheeto’s into your mouth because, to heck with it, you’re pregnant, you can whatever you want!
If you answered yes to all of the above, we need to have a little chat.
While expectant mothers may be tempted to use pregnancy as the ultimate excuse to binge eat and fast from exercising, this behavior isn’t exactly healthy for you or your baby. Your first responsibility as a mother is to ensure your baby comes into this world healthy. Here’s a few key tips to keeping yourself and your little one in good shape.
It’s important to maintain a balanced ‘diet for two’. Although the fact is, you don’t need to be consuming any extra calories in the first six months of your pregnancy. And in your final three months, you only need to increase your calorie intact by 200 a day.
Proper nutrition is vital. Experts recommend plenty of good carbohydrates, five servings of fruit and vegetables daily, and plenty of protein from lean meets, beans, nuts or dairy products.
Many pregnant women develop food cravings and aversions during their first four months. If your aversions are making you gag at the sight of fish, for example, then you can supplement with fish oil capsules. Supplements and prenatal vitamins are not substitutes for a proper diet, but they can certainly help when you’re feeling too sick to eat.
It’s okay to give into food cravings. In fact, giving in might be the only way to keep your sanity. But you can’t go overboard. Perhaps a miniature candy bar as opposed to the king size? Or try soothing your desire for ice cream with low fat frozen yogurt.
Cut out caffeine and alcohol altogether. If you’re one of the lucky ones, you may develop an aversion to it anyway.
You’re pregnant, not disabled. You can certainly get up and move around a bit. Regular exercise either at home or joining a training centre has been proven to build up strength and endurance in moms-to-be; which will be helpful in coping with the weight gained during pregnancy and the physical stress of labor.
Many doctors recommend taking up a routine of pelvic floor exercises. A sling of muscles at the base of your pelvis is your pelvic floor. It supports your bladder and vagina. The pressure pregnancy puts on these muscles weakens them, which can put you at risk of developing stress incontinence. Maintaining strong pelvic floor muscles through pelvic squeezes will help to reduce your risk for this, as well as assist in smoother birth.
Plus, keeping up a regular exercise routine— of possibly swimming, yoga, or brisk walking— will help you get back into shape later.
Maintain Contact with Your Doctors
Ladies, this is number one. As soon as you find out you’re pregnant, contact your OBGYN or a midwife. Make sure to discuss organizing your antenatal care. Keep up regular visits, and please, do what the doctor tells you to.