Starting a family is an exciting time for the expectant mother as well as her loved ones. Sometimes nine months doesn’t seem like enough time to do all the preparation for a new baby.
With getting the nursery ready, buying clothes, furniture and car seats, and all the other tasks leading up to the big day, it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle and lose sight of two really important facts: 1) you’re going to be a mother, and 2) your health and the health of your baby are all that really matters.
Staying fit is part of a healthy pregnancy, and is something you can start even before you conceive. So take a deep breath, enjoy this time, and start thinking about what you can do to get your body in shape for your pregnancy.
Take to heart these five tips for staying fit during your pregnancy offered to you by our OB/GYN, Brandon M. Lingenfelter, DO, PhD.
#1 Eat healthy
While it’s a fun (and somewhat liberating) idea to think you can eat all the greasy, sugary, and salty food you’ve ever wanted during your pregnancy, it’s really not a good idea. And while we’re dashing your fantasies about eating unlimited ice cream and French fries, we hate to break it to you, but you really aren’t eating for two. What you are doing is sharing your nutrition and health with your baby.
Eating a diet chock full of protein, calcium, iron, fiber, and foods with folic acid is important for your health as well as your baby’s health. That means lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, dairy, and healthy fats. Occasional treats are OK, too, just don’t overdo it.
During your prenatal care, Dr. Lingenfelter and your medical team can guide you to your weight-gain goals. Shoot for average weight gain, and you’ll not only benefit from increased energy during your pregnancy, but you won’t have to worry about losing excess baby fat afterwards.
#2 Find an emotional outlet to de-stress
Whether you’re a first-timer or are already a mom, anxiety and worry are common companions during pregnancy. Worrying about the health of your baby, labor and delivery, being a good parent, and how you’re going to juggle all the responsibilities of parenthood are all worthy subjects deserving thoughtful consideration, but stress is not healthy for anyone.
The anxious thoughts will come, so develop a plan now before you suffer your first sleepless night. Meditation, massage, stretching exercises, regular yoga (not hot) or simply talking with your partner, family members, or friends can provide effective outlets for your stress. Can you say Namaste?
#3 Exercise regularly
Although there may be times during your pregnancy when you really don’t want to get off your sofa or get out of bed, consistent, gentle exercise is a great way to stay fit. Like yoga, exercise is a great de-stressor, but it can also affect how you feel about yourself. Another plus is that you’ll probably experience fewer aches and pains during pregnancy and less constipation. And as if that weren’t enough it can even help make labor and delivery easier.
If you’re an avid athlete or someone who consistently exercised pre-pregnancy, you can continue your activities, but you may need to take the intensity level down a little. Consult with Dr. Lingenfelter prior to resuming your normal exercise routine. If you’ve never exercised before, this isn’t the time to train for that half marathon or pursue your dream to skydive. However, brisk walking, swimming or aqua sports, or any low-impact exercise will help keep you fit and healthy.
#4 Stay hydrated
Proper hydration is important for everyone, but even more so during pregnancy. Water plays a crucial role in the development of two very important lifelines for your baby – the placenta and the amniotic sac.
If you’ve never been good at drinking lots of water, create a strategy. Adding slices of lemon, lime, or strawberries, and even cucumbers can provide just enough refreshment to make drinking water less of a chore. While you’re experimenting with flavor options, you’re providing a healthy environment for your baby, plus you’re staving off the likelihood of dehydration and constipation for you.
#5 Listen to your body
Perhaps the best tip for staying fit during pregnancy is to listen to your body. No one knows your body better than you do. If you’re exercising and feel a twinge or ache or if something just doesn’t feel right, trust your instincts.
Whether this is your first pregnancy or your fourth, every pregnancy is different. If you think something may be wrong, give us a call. Dr. Lingenfelter and your medical team are here to help you and your baby.
To learn more about staying fit during pregnancy or to book a prenatal appointment, contact our practice in Princeton, West Virginia. Make your appointment online or call our office today.