Staying fit and healthy during pregnancy is always a challenging journey. You have to optimize your health before, during, and even after pregnancy to avoid birth and related complications.
The fatigue especially in the first trimester, morning sickness, alongside other ailments makes pregnancy even more difficult. Even before you plan on getting pregnant, you should be well informed on everything circulating pregnancy and childhood.
How to stay fit before pregnancy should be a serious question as it may reciprocate how fit you will be during pregnancy.
Visiting the local clinic when pregnant is important as the health professionals will help you realize a personalized fitness routine.
Here are several ways that will help you stay fit during pregnancy. Let’s jump right in!
Tips to Stay Fit During Pregnancy
Examine Your Diet and Understand Your Cravings
You must have heard people talk of cravings. Yes, pregnancy cravings are real! During the first two pregnancy trimesters, one tends to long for ‘unusual’ things.
Is whatever you are craving for really having the nutrients which are in line with the diet the doctor prescribed?
You should be real. If you are to take foods rich in protein, fat, or iron, but you are craving a cheeseburger, you really have to make a personal effort to go for alternative recipes such as chicken or fish.
Ensure that your diet is balanced and it includes minerals and nutrients.
Be On The Move
You need energy and motivation during pregnancy. How to stay fit during pregnancy definitely calls for exercises.
However, not all exercises are fit for the pregnant. You must first check with your doctor to find out how much physical exercise will be right for you.
There are plenty of exercises to do. From as simple as walking to even instructed yoga. There is a whole topic later on in this article about exercising and its benefits.
Most importantly, remember you are working out to stay fit- not to break any record!
Limit Your Sugar
Research conducted by Harvard Medical School revealed that increased sugar consumption has a negative effect on the intelligence and memory of the unborn baby, and equally not fit for the expectant mother.
Avoid sweets and sugary cookies. Go for natural sugars found in foods such as apples, oranges, and other fruits.
Take A Break
First, listen to your body and take a rest when you need it. Do you really have to report to work even in the late last pregnancy trimester?
Overworking may render you psychologically unfit during pregnancy. You don’t have to do all the chores at home, take a break, and relax.
If you have health complications, it is good you understand how to stay fit during a high-risk pregnancy.
Ease Your Mind
The question of how to stay fit while pregnant is never on the physical only. Try to be relaxed and open-minded.
There are usually a lot of worries when one is pregnant. Will the delivery be fine? Will I be a good mom?
Try not to think of all this to give your mind a rest. A relaxed mind translates to a relaxed body. Don’t let anxiety wrap you up. Reach out to new or expectant mothers and share a word to get encouraged.
You may have all the tips for staying fit but lack the goodwill to actualize that in your lifestyle. The doctor might recommend specific exercises or restrict the consumption of certain foods.
Maybe you hate workouts, but you have to respect the doctor’s word. If your favorite snack does more harm than good to your pregnancy, why go for it?
Stay positive about all the pregnancy fitness tips we are talking about.
Don’t Do Drugs
Pregnant women should avoid as much as possible to shy away from drugs. Drinking alcohol during pregnancy and breastfeeding increases the risk of the baby developing Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD).
FASD causes learning disabilities, behavioral issues, and abnormal facial features. Smoking is equally dangerous.
It increases miscarriages, premature births, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), and other complications.
Go for Regular Health Check-Ups for Prenatal Care
Think of getting prenatal care from professional healthcare. Mothers who fail to get regular prenatal attention are more likely to have health and childbirth complications.
Going for regular medical check-ups will ensure that you are fit throughout your pregnancy.
EXERCISES TO AVOID DURING PREGNANCY
The best way to stay fit during pregnancy is by exercising. It is important to improve or maintain physical fitness levels during pregnancy as there are many benefits attached to this.
While it is important to exercise during pregnancy, it is equally important to know the kind of exercises you should run away from. Here are several exercises that are unsafe for pregnant mothers.
Contact sports include football, hockey, handball, rugby basketball among others. Basically, this category comprises of game activities where physical body contacts are involved.
Because of the nature of how they are played, there is always a risk of the belly being hit, and this might bring complications to your pregnancy.
Heavy Weight Lifting
Scientific research warns against an expectant mother lifting weights above 20lbs (around 9kg).
Heavy weight lifting strains muscles- something which should not be happening to a pregnant woman. The muscles need to be relaxed in preparation for labor.
Exercises Which Have High Risks of Falling
Skiing, horse riding, and cycling are examples of these exercises we are talking about.
The growing bump alters your center of gravity and this may make it hard to maintain your natural balance. Why not go for substitute exercises?
Avoid Exercises Involving Your Back
Lying or exercising on your back for long periods can cause the weight of the enlarging uterus to compress major blood vessels.
In this case, the circulation of blood will be cut short and you end up feeling dizzy and short of breath.
Avoid Exercise Classes That Are Not Meant For The Pregnant
In most cases, classes at the local gyms are general. You should ensure that your teacher is trained to instruct expectant women.
Holding Your Breath
Staying fit during pregnancy requires a constant flow of oxygen. This is essential for the mother and the baby. Motionless standing might limit the blood flow too.
HOW TO LOSE WEIGHT DURING PREGNANCY
Stuck trying to google the best way to stay fit and not gain weight during pregnancy?
Listen to this. According to research conducted by The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, pregnant women should not lose their weight during pregnancy and that they need to gain weight irrespective of their BMI.
However, the amount of weight gain differs depending on whether the woman is normal weight or overweight.
If you are obese, you should control the weight gain as per the medical requirements. The UK’s National Health Services statistics reveal that being overweight increases high blood pressure, risk of miscarriage, and diabetes to the expectant mother.
Have a look at these ways of losing weight safely during pregnancy.
We have already mentioned that exercising is one of the tips for staying fit during pregnancy.
Doing soft and moderate exercises will lead to the burning of excess calories in your body and this will relieve you from unnecessary weight gains.
Cut Down On The Calories
How many calories does your body need every day for your baby to stay safe?
You need to know this. 1700 calories are enough for a day. Failing to keep a track of what you are eating might lead to excessive weight gain.
Address Weight Concerns Early Enough
Researchers have found that pregnant women who receive weight advice before 21 weeks of pregnancy are less likely to gain excess weight during pregnancy.
You cannot control the weight attributed to the baby so it is better to address your weight issues. Have a doctor who will guide you in this whole issue of weight loss.
Eat Healthy Food
Simply because you want to lose your weight, it does not mean you starve yourself. Here are some foods that are recommended for you.
- Fruits and vegetables.
- Low-fat dairy products.
- Cereals with whole grain.
- Unsaturated fats like olive and peanut oil.
HOW TO GAIN WEIGHT DURING PREGNANCY
First of all, have a look at this table.
|WEIGHT CATEGORY||BODY MASS INDEX||RECOMMENDED WEIGHT GAIN|
|Underweight||Less than 18||13-18kg (28-40lb)|
|Overweight||25- 29||6-11kg (15-25lb)|
|obese||30 and above||5-9 kg (11-20lb)|
Check the category that you fall into. Gaining healthy weight during pregnancy is vital for the growth and development of the baby.
Pregnant women gain weight naturally. However, due to some complications, some women may not be able to gain weight.
If that is your case, worry no more! The following tips will help you add some weight.
Have Increased Meals Per Day
Instead of the normal three meals per day, go for five or six small meals. Your body will get more nutrients and this will improve your metabolism and promote weight gain.
Go for healthy foods such as vegetables and plant-rich protein foods. Organic protein-rich foods are also recommended.
Unless your doctor has advised otherwise, have some regular exercises as per the pregnancy stage. Light exercises such as walking are the best.
Ensure you have an exercise trainer to help you on how to stay physically fit during pregnancy.
Eat Calorie-Rich Foods and Snacks
Make sure you hit the daily calorie requirement level. When you are packing the snacks, make sure the calories count. Yogurt, cheese, and hard-boiled eggs can do.
If eating the calories is a challenge, drink them! Go for the drinks that are nourished with calories.
Go For Supplements
There are powdered supplements that are rich in calories. You can add the supplements to your food while cooking.
Supplements are not only powdered, they come in several forms. Some are designed in a slew of bars. Go for the type that you prefer
Consult A Nutritionist
Don’t listen to everyone about what you should eat. Some people might be wrong! Have a word with the nutritionist or dietician on the foods that will help you achieve a healthy weight gain.
HOW TO GET TONED WHILE PREGNANT
Toning your body during pregnancy will help stay healthy and prepared for labor. It is always advised that pregnant women do workouts for at least 150 minutes a week.
How to stay fit and toned during pregnancy might be a challenge as you wonder which workouts are safe for you as you do not want to put the unborn baby at risk.
Whether you are still working or wondering how to stay fit during pregnancy at home, here are several ways to tone your body.
Toning Arms and Legs
Do Bicep Curls:
Bicep curls tone biceps and make arm muscles strong. Do this exercise while seated on a sturdy exercise ball or in a comfortable straight-backed chair.
Before that remember to keep your feet flat on the floor. Do not go for heavy dumbbells. A 2-4 kg (5-10 pounds) weight dumbbell is enough.
Triceps Extension Exercises
This will perfectly tone your triceps. Sit on an exercise ball or alternatively on a chair, ensuring that the feet remained grounded on the floor.
Hold the dumbbell vertically between your thumbs and forefingers. Straighten your arms vertically and slowly lift the dumbbell towards the ceiling then lower to the starting position. A dumbbell weighing (8-10 pounds) is recommended.
Squat exercises are great for toning thigh muscles. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart making sure that the feet are facing forward.
Only bend at the knee ensuring that your back stays straight. Hold the squat for 15- 30 seconds. You can do several sets of squats but have rest intervals in between.
This exercise will strengthen the back muscles and help you maintain the right posture while pregnant. Stand on your feet with the legs apart and the knees slightly bent.
Let the arms hang by your sides as you lift the dumbbell. Squeeze the shoulder blades up and down.
Leg lifts tone the thigh muscles. Lye on your side while supporting yourself by holding the head with one arm and placing the other right in front of you. Align the hips, knees, and shoulders.
Lift the top leg as high as you can and slowly lower it down. Repeat this 10 times on each leg.
Strengthening The Abdominal Areas
Try Pelvic Tilts
This type of exercise strengthens the abdominal muscles and improves pregnancy posture. Doing this exercise is so easy. Stand with your back flat against the wall. Do not be nervous- just keep your spine relaxed.
Press your lower back against the wall as you inhale. Then, exhale and release. You can repeat this exercise as many times as you want as it is not so much involving.
Try Your Stability
Sit on the exercise ball with the back straight and the feet on the floor. Put your hands on either side of the ball for balance.
Lift one the foot off the floor and raise the opposite arm over the head. Hold for 4 seconds. Return to the starting position and try the same with the other leg. This exercise will be great for strengthening your core and the pelvis muscles.
Do Side Planks
Lye down on one side with your elbow directly under the shoulder. Bend your knees and stack them one on top of the other.
As you inhale, squeeze your butt gently and bring the hips forward until the body comes off the floor. Hold for 30 seconds, breathing in and out throughout.
Don’t forget to repeat the process with the other side.
HOW TO STAYING SAFE WHILE EXERCISING
We have already mentioned that one way on how to stay super fit while pregnant is by exercising. However, precautions must be taken to avoid pregnancy complications attributed to exercises. Have a look at the following ways of staying safe.
Take Rest Breaks
This is not a competition! You don’t have to overexercise while pregnant. Develop a habit of taking a 3 to 5 minutes break whenever you are doing some exercises.
Maintain A Healthy Diet
Eating well will give you enough energy to exercise. Go for fresh fruits, vegetables, and healthy proteins. Eat at least one hour before exercising to avoid digestive issues.
Wear Supportive Clothing
Wear breathable and loose-fitting sports clothes when exercising. This will make you comfortable and you won’t get too hot while exercising. Also, make sure that your breasts are well supported by wearing a fitting bra.
Do Some Warm-Ups Before and After Exercising
It is good to stretch the muscles for the body to be physically ready. A 5 -10 minutes warm-up is enough.
EXERCISE DURING PREGNANCY BENEFITS
We have already looked at the exercises to do during pregnancy, but what are their long-term benefits?
Exercises Boost Your Energy
Exercises strengthen your cardiovascular system such that you don’t get tired easily and gives you the energy to stay strong throughout the pregnancy.
Lowers The Risks Attributed to Pregnancy Complications
Research has revealed that exercising during pregnancy reduces the risk of developing diabetes and preeclampsia.
Reduces Pregnancy Discomforts
The muscles will be strong and this helps you cope with the aches and pains of pregnancy.
Gets Your Body Back Faster After Childbirth
How to stay fit after pregnancy is usually a big worry to many women. Doing exercises while pregnant is one of the remedies to this.
Pregnancy is a challenge.it can make you stressed and vulnerable to mood swings. Research has it that exercising boosts the levels of serotonin, a brain chemical closely linked to moods. Doing exercises will put you in better spirits.
Finding a comfortable sleeping position can be a real challenge especially in the late stages of pregnancy. Exercises can tire you enough to lure you into a peaceful slumber.
MYTHS AND MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT KEEPING FIT DURING PREGNANCY
There are a lot of stories and believes about pregnancy fitness. Something wrong might be said so many times that you tend to believe that it is the truth.
Pregnancy is a sensitive topic and every detail said about it should be verified.
There are so many myths and misconceptions about all this. Let’s look at a few.
You Should Quit Your Fitness Routine After Getting Pregnant
This is a lie. Rule number one regarding prenatal fitness is about exercising. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology encourages women to continue with the fitness activities they were doing even before pregnancy but in a moderate manner.
If You Never Had Workouts Before Pregnancy, You Should Not Have Them Once You Are Pregnant
How to stay fit during pregnancy should be the central idea, not what you never did in the past.
Do Not Lift Any Weights During Pregnancy
In this very article, we talked about the kind of dumbbells you should lift while pregnant. You are not excluded from lifting lightweights!
Eat for Two
Many people believe that whenever you eat you are ‘feeding two human beings.’ Don’t be fooled by this and start overeating- you may end up gaining unnecessary weight.
Keep The Heart Rate Below 140 BPM
This is an old school belief that was so popular in the ’90s. new research shows that the heart rate is not a good indicator of the pregnancy intensity.
The amount of blood your heart is pumping keeps on changing hence affecting the heart rate.
Rate Per Exertion (PRE) scale is the best gauge to check your intensity based on how you feel.
Your Baby Will Be Born Unhealthy If You Work Out During Pregnancy
We have talked about exercises and their benefits a million times in this article!
Children who develop in a workout womb are less likely to develop type 2 diabetes, learning disorders among other complications which we have already mentioned in this article.
Staying fit during pregnancy is inevitable. Nobody wants to get it wrong on this sensitive topic.
Put in mind all the ways of staying fit we have talked about. Be keen on where you are sourcing pregnancy information. Some sites are misleading.
One last thing. If you are pregnant, all the best from us!