The choices you make in your daily life affect your fetus. Your daily activities– exercise, rest and work — as well as the things you don’t do such as expose your fetus to drugs, alcohol, cigarettes or other hazardous chemicals, have an impact on the well being of you and your baby. Making healthy choices or changing your current lifestyle to include regular exercise and eating the proper nutrients will benefit you and your baby.
Here are some general guidelines for a safe and healthy exercise program during pregnancy
- Exercise regularly at least three times per week
- Do not perform brisk exercise in hot, humid weather or if you have an illness with a fever, such as cold or flu
- Avoid high impact motions or activities that require jumping, jarring motions or rapid changes in direction that may cause pain
- Wear a good fitting supportive bra to help protect your breasts
- AVOID: deep knee bends, full sit-ups, double leg raises and straight leg toe touches
Certain types of food are better sources for specific nutrients than others. Selecting a variety of foods from each of the four major food groups on a daily basis is a reliable way to ensure that you are eating a balanced, wholesome, healthy diet for you and your growing baby.
The Four Food Groups
- Fruits and Vegetables– 4 or more servings daily
- Whole-Grain or Enriched Bread and Cereal– 4 or more servings daily
- Milk and Milk Products– 4 or more servings daily
- Meat, Poultry, Fish, Eggs, Nuts and Beans– 3 or more servings daily
Every diet should include proteins, carbohydrates (sugars and starches), fats, vitamins and minerals. All of these are necessary for you body to use for growth and repair. During pregnancy and while breastfeeding a women’s body needs additional nutrients daily to maintain her health as well as that of her growing baby.
Protein provides nutrients needed to grow, maintain and repair body tissues such as muscles. It is also needed to make hemoglobin, which carries oxygen in the blood; antibodies, which fight infection; and other chemicals the body must produce. High quality protein comes form animals- meat, fish, poultry, milk and other dairy products. Plants such as grains and legumes can also be a good source of protein.
Sugars provide the body with its main source of energy. Simple sugars, like glucose are the quickest form of energy. Table sugar, honey, syrup and hard candies possess this type of sugar. Starches are a type of long-lasting energy as they are a storage form of simple sugars. Grains, fruits, vegetables, bread, rice, pasta and starchy vegetables such as potatoes or corn are examples of starchy foods.
Fats provide a concentrated source of energy, but are also high in calories. Fats should make up no more than 30% of the average diet. Saturated fats should make up no more than one-third of your total fat consumption, or no more than 10% of your total calories. Sources of fat are butter, margarine, lard shortening and cooking oil. but many other foods contain fats as well; meats, baked goods, even nondairy coffee creamer.
Vitamins & Minerals
Vitamins and minerals are essential for the body’s health. The best way to get all the vitamins and minerals you need is through a balanced diet. If you are unable to get all the nutrients you need from your diet you can get the vitamins and minerals you need through supplements.
Pregnant women especially need additional: Iron, Folic Acid, Calcium and Phosphorus
Life cannot exist without water. It is used to build new tissue, carry nutrients and waste products, aid in digestion, and help chemical reactions. To be sure your body is getting enough water, you should drink six to eight glasses of water each day. Make wise choices and drink water, fruit juices and milk more often and caffeinated drinks like coffee tea and sodas less often.
During Pregnancy most women should gain about 30 pounds. Depending on your individual needs you may need to gain more or less weight during your pregnancy. Women who are underweight prior to pregnancy or women carrying twins may need to gain an additional 5-10 pounds. To support pregnancy, your body must store nutrients and increase the volume of blood and other fluids. Extra fat stored is to prepare your body to produce milk for breastfeeding.
Where Does the Weight Go?
7 pounds Maternal stores (fat, protein, and other nutrients)
4 pounds Increased fluid volume
4 pounds Increased blood volume
2 pounds Breast enlargement
2 pounds Uterus
7 1/2 pounds Baby
2 pounds Amniotic fluid
1 1/2 pounds Placenta (tissue connecting mother and baby that brings nourishment and takes away waste)
TOTAL 30 POUNDS