Firstly I would like to start by saying congratulations Mumma, how exciting! Now that you know you’re expecting taking care of yourself has never been so important, your baby is relying on you for its health and wellness so lets take a look at a few things you can do to make sure you have a happy, healthy pregnancy.
A Healthy Diet
A healthy diet should always play an important role in your lifestyle but it becomes especially important whilst you are pregnant to ensure you have a healthy pregnancy. You don’t have to go on a special diet during pregnancy but it is important to eat a varied diet with lots of healthy recipes to ensure you are getting all of the vitamins and minerals you need to ensure your baby grows nice and strong and that you are taking care of yourself also.
This means getting your 5-a-day, making sure a third of the foods you eat are wholemeal carbohydrates, eating foods high in protein and getting enough calcium.
You have probably heard of people saying that they are now eating for two, this is actually not necessary. You will, of course, experience an increase in your appetite, I found this to be especially true in the first trimester, but it is not recommended to up your calorie intake until the third trimester when you need to be consuming an extra 200 calories per day. Instead of snacking on biscuits or chocolate try to fulfil your snack cravings with healthy alternatives such as a piece of fresh fruit, yoghurt, hummus and vegetable sticks etc.
Eating a healthy, balanced diet will help you get most of the vitamins and minerals you need but it is recommended to take folic acid and vitamin D regardless of your diet.
Folate (the natural form of folic acid) can be found in leafy greens but it is hard to get the right amount from food alone which is why it is recommended that you take folic acid whilst you are trying for a baby and for the first 12 weeks of your pregnancy to help reduce the risk of birth defects such as spina biffida.
Vitamin D regulates the calcium in our bodies, it can be found in foods such as oily fish, eggs, red meats or mushrooms or our bodies produce it when our skin is exposed to the sun. If you live in England as I do then you will understand why it is recommended to take a supplement – because we don’t get much sunshine!
Regular exercise during pregnancy has many benefits to you and therefore your baby. It can help:
- Prevent excess weight gain
- Increase energy
- Improve sleep (definitely needed during the third trimester!)
- Boost your mood and decrease stress
- Increases your chance of straightforward labour and birth
- Makes it easier to get back into shape postpartum
Even though I was very active before becoming pregnant I really struggled in the first trimester to find the motivation and energy to do any kind of workout so I committed to, at least, a half-hour walk every day just to make sure I was still moving. Once I entered the second trimester I had more energy and was able to add yoga or pilates to my daily routine to help build strength and prepare my body for labour and birth. There are some excellent women on YouTube who do videos specifically for pregnant women such as Pregnancy and Postpartum TV or GlowBody PT for workouts that are a bit more strenuous.
Although gentle exercises such as yoga, walking and swimming are generally safe during pregnancy it is always good to check with your doctor first, especially if you did not do these exercises before becoming pregnant. It is also important to listen to your body, if something doesn’t feel right don’t do it, you know best!
Strengthen your pelvic floor
It’s a good idea to start kegal exercises when you find out you are pregnant to strengthen your pelvic floor muscle. These muscles support your bladder, vagina and back passage so strengthening them can help to make your delivery easier and reduce the risk of incontinence after birth.
Be kind to yourself
Your body is going through a heck of a lot of changes and the increase in hormones can lead to some not very nice side effects leaving you feeling exhausted and nauseous amongst other things. This is why it is so important to listen to your body and take a break when you need it – it’s not easy growing a tiny human! There will be days when you don’t want to workout out or go for a walk and your cravings are so strong you don’t fancy a healthy meal and that’s ok! Be kind to yourself, love yourself and remember you are doing a fantastic job!
I hope you have a happy, healthy pregnancy! You’ve got this Mumma!
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