Keeping healthy and fit during pregnancy is important for both mama and child. Safe, moderate exercise and a mindful, fulfilling diet might reduce the risk of excess weight gain, prevent pain, improve mood and energy, and help you get better sleep.
Remember to discuss the best exercise and diet plan with your healthcare provider if you’re not sure about your options! Then, check out our health and fitness tips for pregnancy below.
Get moving every day
Regular, low-impact exercise can help minimize discomfort you’re feeling while pregnant. Some exercises can even help your body get ready for labor and delivery by toning the muscles and building strength or endurance. And regular exercise can help you control your weight, boost your mood, and regulate blood pressure.
If you had low levels of activity pre-pregnancy, taking brisk walks around your neighborhood is a good place to start. Commit to walking for just 15 to 20 minutes if you feel too tired; you may find that you can walk for a longer period once you get moving. Once you start, your energy will pick up.
Most exercises, including those you did prior to pregnancy, are usually safe to continue: swimming, jogging, yoga, barre, and cycling, for example. Avoid workouts with a high risk of falling, getting injured with heavy objects or workouts that are done while lying flat on your back, which can be tricky in your third trimester. Always warm up and stretch before your workout, and cool down and stretch after your workout.
Eat before and after your workouts
You may already know that working out on an empty stomach isn’t the best practice, but you can push through it normally. When you’re pregnant, however, you really need that pre-workout fuel that comes from food. A quick snack will carry you and baby through your workout, and it’ll prevent your blood sugar levels from crashing.
Pre-workout, have a healthy meal like oats with dried fruit, a veggie omelet, greek yogurt topped with dried nuts, or grilled chicken and sweet potato or greens. Eat at least an hour or two before you exercise so you’ll have enough time to digest. If you can’t sneak in a full meal beforehand, grab something quick and filling like a banana or healthy trail mix at least 45 minutes before.
Post-workout, have a snack with protein and good carbs to help your muscles recover. Try a quinoa or pasta bowl with green vegetables, rice cakes, fresh fruit with cottage cheese, or pita bread and hummus.
Water helps form the placenta and amniotic sac. Plus, the placenta is what delivers oxygen and nutrients to your baby, and what carries waste and carbon dioxide away. Your blood volume increases to handle these extra duties, which means you need to drink more water to support everything your body is doing.
Drink plenty of water every day. Drink enough water each time to make you feel sated and prevent feelings of thirst. It’s especially important that you stay hydrated after exercising, or if you’re in hot and humid climates. Fill up a reusable water bottle and bring it with you everywhere to remind you to stay hydrated.
Now that we’ve covered the big health and fitness tips, don’t forget about the following:
- Take a prenatal vitamin
- Practice Kegel exercises and squats
- Avoid strenuous or risky household chores that put you in contact with harsh chemicals or bacteria
- Wear supportive, comfortable shoes, especially during exercise
- Limit your caffeine intake
- Wear sunscreen
- Get plenty of sleep
- Know what’s your “normal” and when to call your doctor with questions
Give yourself a break
It’s important to stay healthy and fit while pregnant, but that doesn’t mean you have to follow a diet and exercise regimen perfectly! Let yourself take a break when your body asks for it. Rest and put up your feet (which is a great way to reduce swelling and foot pain as your body changes.) Take a nap. Sleep as much as you can before your little one arrives. Sometimes giving yourself a break is the healthiest thing you can do for your mental and physical health.