Posted on Jan 13, 2022, 4 p.m.
Staying healthy and fit during pregnancy is often easier said than done. Between the morning sickness and fatigue of the first trimester and the back pain later on, working out and eating right can be tough.
But of course, you’ll want to maintain your health and fitness as much as possible throughout your pregnancy because that’s what’s best for you and your developing baby. Staying active can help relieve pregnancy discomforts, make for easier labor, and help you get back into shape more quickly after your baby is born.
But knowing these facts doesn’t make it easier to find the energy and motivation to work out and eat a wholesome diet. If you’re like many moms-to-be, most days you’ll crave ice cream over a salad and you’ll feel way too exhausted to drive to the gym, much less work out when you get there.
Here’s what you need to know about staying healthy and fit throughout the long months of pregnancy so you can prioritize what’s really important and let the rest go.
It All Starts with Your Diet
Pregnancy cravings are no joke. Don’t be surprised if you long for steak, even though you’ve been a vegetarian for years. While no one really knows what causes these cravings, it’s a good time to assess your diet and see what you might be missing.
Focus on preparing nutritious, protein-dense meals with plenty of healthy fats to help you feel full and satisfied. Fresh fruits and veggies are essential for giving your body the vitamins and minerals it needs to grow a healthy baby.
According to Functional Medicine experts, Rahav Wellness the key to good nutrition during pregnancy is to eat a wide variety of whole foods each day. Be sure to take a high-quality prenatal vitamin to ensure that you’re getting enough folate and to fill in any other nutritional gaps in your diet.
Omega-3 fatty acids are crucial for your baby’s development, so if you don’t eat a lot of fatty fish, you’ll want to take an omega-3 supplement as well.
Make Sure You’re Getting Enough Sleep
If there’s one thing you can count on, it’s that pregnancy will be full of emotional ups and downs. This increased stress, along with all the hard work of creating a new life, can take a real toll on your body.
You absolutely do need more rest during pregnancy, so make sure you’re getting a good night’s sleep every night, and don’t hesitate to take a nap during the day if you need one.
If you find it difficult to fall asleep, try doing some prenatal yoga before bedtime to help you wind down.
Be Active Every Day
Many women struggle to find the energy and motivation to be active during pregnancy, but it really can make a huge difference in how you feel. Staying active will boost your energy levels, improve your mood, and relieve many of the common aches and pains of pregnancy.
You don’t have to head to the gym if that’s not something you enjoy. Swimming, walking, yoga, and light strength training are all great ways to stay active during pregnancy, as long as your doctor gives the okay. As a general rule of thumb, listen to what your body is telling you and lower the intensity and length of your workouts as your pregnancy progresses.
Cut Back on the Sugar
Sugar will probably be one of your main cravings, but a recent study shows that consuming too much sugar during pregnancy can affect your growing baby’s cognitive development. You don’t have to avoid sweets entirely, but you should make an effort to cut back.
Try quenching your craving for sweets with fresh and dried fruits instead. They’re full of vital nutrients and lower in calories, so they’re a great snacking option throughout your pregnancy.
Hydration is Key
Hydration is so important for a healthy pregnancy. Not only is it necessary for your baby’s development, but it’s important for the health of the uterus, placenta, and amniotic sac. It also keeps your energy levels up and reduces pregnancy discomforts like nausea and constipation.
On the other hand, dehydration can lead to preterm contractions and labor, so it’s definitely something you’ll want to avoid. Carry a water bottle with you wherever you go and sip from it often. If you get tired of drinking plain water, add some lemon or other fruits to give it some flavor.
Listen to Your Body
Don’t try to be a superwoman during your pregnancy. That’s not going to do you or your baby any good. Instead, listen to your body. On days when you have lots of energy, take a longer walk or do some light strength training.
On days when you’re tired, it’s perfectly ok to go to bed a little earlier and stick to a short walk or some relaxing prenatal yoga poses. Reserve your energy for that little life growing inside you.
One Final Piece of Advice
There’s no question that weight gain is healthy and necessary during pregnancy. That being said, gaining too much weight will sap away your energy and increase pregnancy discomforts.
Try to focus on eating a whole food diet and remaining active throughout your pregnancy to maintain a healthy weight. But don’t let it be a source of stress; your doctor will let you know if you are staying with the recommended range for weight gain during pregnancy.
This article was written by Melissa Waltz, an experienced content creator, blogger, and health advocate who can be found gardening, traveling, reading, and enjoying music in her free time.
As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before making any changes to your wellness routine.
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