Top 10 Tips For a Fit Pregnancy and Postnatal Period
For most women, the changes that our bodies undergo as a part of bringing new life into the world can be devastating to our self-esteem.
Brand new stretch marks, the extra poochy mummy flab that just won’t go away, weight gain, nausea, farting, spitting, vomiting, sleeplessness, hospital stays, back pain, mood swings,etc. can be difficult to deal with.
Pregnancy can be a trying time no matter how strong you think you are. That’s why we are here to help.
We have put together a list of ten things you should do while pregnant that will not only ease the stress of pregnancy but also help you snap back to “normal-ish” when the baby dust fades.
Keep up regular exercise
Try as much as possible to maintain the same exercise patterns that you had established pre-pregnancy.
Exercise will not only help you manage weight gain but also improve your mood. It will also help when you go into labor and delivery.
The rule of thumb for exercise in pregnancy is that you should not start any new routines or increase intensity. Just keep doing the routines that your body is already accustomed to within reason.
Try to get a fitness device that can monitor your heart rate while working out and make sure you do not exceed 110 beats per minute.
Exercising while pregnant will also help ease feelings of nausea and cravings and is completely safe for your baby.
If you are worried that any exercises you do could harm your child, please speak to your doctor about it.
Contrary to popular belief, you do not need to eat for two during your pregnancy.
In the first trimester of pregnancy, you do not need to eat any extra calories more than your daily recommended allowance. You should make sure your diet is balanced and contains all essential vitamins, mineral and macronutrients in the right proportion.
In the second trimester, you will need to eat an additional 250 to 300 calories each day. This is just about an extra side of salad with dressing or a bowl of oatmeal with a glass of milk. While you may experience cravings, don’t go overboard in fulfilling them.
By your third trimester, you will need an additional 400 calories a day. These calories should come from healthy food as much as possible.
Eating healthy in pregnancy is essential to the health and well-being of our child. If you suffer from gestational diabetes, preeclampsia or a host of other conditions, you may be given some dietary restrictions to ensure a healthy pregnancy.
Try as much as possible to abide by your doctor’s guidelines.
When in doubt, always ask questions.
Walk some more
One of the safest forms of exercise to engage in while pregnant is walking. Walk as much as you can. It is a low impact exercise and will not affect your pregnancy.
Other good forms of exercise include yoga and light aerobics.
One of the causes of excessive water retention is not drinking enough water. To keep your body cleansed and in optimum condition, you should drink at least a gallon of water a day while pregnant.
Remember that whatever you eat, drink and put in your body will get to your baby through your blood stream as well.
Water retention is one of the major culprits for weight gain in pregnancy. Keep your water consumption at a healthy level and your body will thank you for it.
Maintaining proper posture is especially important while pregnant.
The weight of a growing child can cause many women to slouch, bend over or remain tilted at an odd angle for most of the day. This will not only result in pain but can also led to injuries to the back and joints.
Maintaining a proper posture can help reduce the strain pregnancy places on your waist and back and will also help burn some extra calories.
If you are maintaining proper posture already and you are still experiencing pain or you have an especially pendulous pregnancy, you might need some support in the form of a belly band to reduce the strain.
Changing positions often can also help minimize the strain on each part of the body.
Resume Harder Exercise after Childbirth
As soon as you get clearance from your doctor, usually at 6 weeks postpartum (varies by case), you should be able to resume working out fully.
Keep in mind that you have been on break for a while and start slowly to prevent injuries. Within a few months, you should be back at normal intensity and able to start training harder and longer.
A few physical workouts you can start with include weight lifting, press ups, etc.
Ask your doctor at your post natal visit if there are any exercises you should avoid. E.g. People with diastasis recti or very traumatic deliveries should consult a trainer to start a program suited to their conditions.
Get Enough Sleep
The power of sleep and its effects on well-being are underrated in our society.
Always get enough sleep. If you can’t sleep for long at a stretch because of the discomfort of pregnancy, you can set out times to take naps throughout the day.
You will feel better, more focused, and less hungry and have fewer cravings for the bad stuff.
Avoid Junk Food and Meal Prep
Just about every meal you buy at a fast food or eat from a plastic bag has something in it that isn’t good for you.
While pregnancy isn’t the time to detox or cleanse, it is important that you do not keep loading your body with toxins. These compounds may cause fat gain, water retention and upset your health in the long term.
The best solution to this is to prepare your meals in bulk and then freeze them until you need to eat them. This way, you know just what you are putting in your body.
The most important consideration in keeping fit and healthy is your diet. You cannot outrun a bad diet. While the occasional craving may happen, you should not use it as an excuse to derail from living a healthy lifestyle. Eat clean and you will see the results.
Listen To Your Body
In the same vein, always listen to your body. If you listen, you will now when you need rest, food, water, medicine or even emergency visits to the hospital.
Do not write off your intuition. If you suspect that something is wrong, it likely is. Always ask when in doubt.
Ask for Help
Finally, do not try to be a superwoman. Keeping fit and healthy and growing a baby while working and managing a home is more than a lot of people can handle.
Ask for help when you need it and say thank you! Save yourself the headache of trying to be the perfect woman with the perfect body (which is not possible after a baby), be realistic about your goals and just do the best you can.
Remember to have fun with your baby and make memories for a lifetime.