Tips to Stay Healthy During Pregnancy

Pregnancy & Exercise

In terms of exercise, the general rule is that you can continue doing what you were doing prior to pregnancy with some exceptions. Contact sports, exercises requiring more stability and balance, and lying on your back are all examples of contraindications with pregnancy from around the second trimester. It is my recommendation that high impact activities be limited more during the third trimester. With the weight gain that occurs week to week, you are giving your joints quite a bit of extra work to carry your body around. When you add in things like plyometric jumps or many hours of running, you are putting that much more stress on the joints.

If you were not previously very active before your pregnancy, now is not a time to start doing all kinds of new things your body is not used to. Nevertheless, it is important to keep your body moving and get your heart pumping. Low impact activities such as going on brisk walks, swimming, and certain types of yoga are all great options for most pregnancies. Before you begin any exercise program, or if you are unsure if something is right for you to do in your pregnancy, please seek the advice of a professional you trust.

Pregnancy & Nutrition

If you ask me, now more than ever it is important to be loading your body with nutritious foods! Nothing makes me cringe more than seeing moms-to-be doubling their caloric intake with processed foods and saying they’re “eating for two”. First of all, you should be eating a lot less than accounting for another adult person. Eating foods that are nutritionally deficient and loaded with sugar, processed fats and toxic chemicals are not only going to make the mother and baby gain too much weight and increase risk of gestational diabetes, but they are going to make you feel fatigued, sluggish, decrease digestion (already slowed with pregnancy, as I’m sure we moms-to-be know) and can decrease immunity.

So what should you eat? One of the most important things for pregnant women to keep in mind is blood sugar control. My rule is to have protein, fat and fiber with each meal. Breakfast is the most important – you want to kick start your day with a blood sugar balancing meal. Choose something higher in healthy fats and protein, such as an omelet using whole free-run eggs (no boxed egg whites). You can add protein, fat and fiber to many meals throughout your day using nuts or nut butters – and they are also a great snack on their own! Another all important rule: always eat whole and unprocessed foods as much as possible. Fresh fruits and vegetables are a pregnant girl’s best friend, and they can also be very hydrating, which is great for keeping things moving.    

That brings me to my next point. As I mentioned, digestion is slowed with pregnancy (blame the hormones) and constipation can occur. Some tips for keeping things moving are to chew your food slowly and mindfully. Don’t go on your phone or computer while eating, just sit and focus on your meal. In my personal experience, eating raw fruit is heavenly – it is very hydrating and easy to digest. This is a great natural snack to have on hand. Finally, don’t forget water! Stay hydrated throughout the day, but try not to sip too close to meals to avoid diluting your digestive juices. Herbal tea is also great for hydration.

Pregnancy is such an exciting time. For first time moms, it is also when you will only have so much time left being childless before mommy duties take over. Take care of yourself as much as you can before the baby comes. This means through exercise, nutrition, and also with sleep and rest. It is okay to modify your naturally active and very on-the-go lifestyle (something I struggled with changing!). After all, you are growing a little human, and that is pretty amazing.

No matter how far you are with your current or post pregnancy, I would love to hear from you. You can reach me at our company website for a fitness assessment on how to be guided on your path to optimal wellness.

Tijana Cosovic is a Your House Fitness personal trainer based in Toronto, ON. To view his profile click on his name.