Exercising and Eating Right During Pregnancy

Author: Shannon Miller Lifestyle

Shannon Miller doing plank while pregnant, with Jackie Culver.

by Valerie Johnson

Now that you know you’re pregnant, you have a million questions:

  • When am I due?
  • When can I learn the gender?
  • What vitamins should I take?

Some of the most important answers will have to do with diet and exercise. Every woman wants her pregnancy to be as healthy as humanly possible, and the right eating and exercise regimen are a big part of that picture. Here are a few tips that should help guide you in setting up the right meal plans and workout routines.

The Basics of Prenatal Nutrition

As they say ad nauseam, you’ll be eating for two now (an extra 300 or so calories a day), and the little one has critical nutritional needs. First, you’ll want to eat more often in smaller portions: three small meals plus two or three healthy snacks every day. Next, drink lots of water, eight to 10 glasses each day. Eat vegetables, fruits and whole grains. Get lots of iron through foods such as liver, poultry, fish and leafy green vegetables. Cut back on caffeine or better yet, get rid of it entirely. And eat every meal, even if you’re not hungry; your baby is!

Foods to Avoid

Stay away from all raw meats and seafood, including sushi. These things can carry parasites that pose a danger to your growing baby. Avoid soft cheeses and drink only bottled water, at least during the first three months of your pregnancy. It shouldn’t have to be said that alcohol is a no-no at any point during pregnancy, as are tobacco and illicit chemicals. Fish can contain high levels of mercury, even when cooked, so don’t eat a lot of it. And stay healthy, avoiding junk food and empty calories.

If You’re a Vegetarian

You don’t have to change all your eating preferences because you’re pregnant. If you’re a vegan or vegetarian, the key is maintaining the right balance of nutrients in the absence of meat or animal products. This means ensuring the proper intake of protein and certain vitamins. If you’re a vegetarian, you can find extra protein in eggs, tofu, legumes, whole grains, dairy, soy products, fruits and vegetables, and other sources. If you’re a vegan, your choices are more limited, but tofu, legumes and fruits and vegetables, peanut butter, and some other items can provide what you need. It’s also important to supplement your vitamin B12, zinc, iron, omega-3 fatty acid and vitamin D intake.

Keeping Your Workout Routine

Experts highly recommend exercise during pregnancy. It’s usually fine to stick to your current workout routine, assuming it’s not overly aggressive. Weights, aerobics, yoga, Pilates, all are generally safe for pregnant women. That said, it’s best to get your doctor’s opinion first.

Unhealthy or Dangerous Exercise

The same basic rule applies to pregnancy exercising that applies to exercising at any other time: Don’t overdo it. Don’t do it at all if you have a heart or lung condition or other health problem that makes vigorous exercise dangerous or unhealthy. Never exhaust yourself, don’t exercise on your back during the last six months of your pregnancy, don’t overheat, and don’t do exercises that could lead to your falling on your stomach, such as racquetball or basketball.

What You Should Do to Exercise Safely

Drink lots of water. Wear comfortable clothing. Take breaks. Exercise within your comfort level. And stay in contact with your doctor so she or he is aware of your workout plan.

Eating and exercising right are not just important to you during your pregnancy, they’re important to your baby. These steps should make it easier to keep both these things on track while you’re expecting.

To help you eat healthy and balanced, and help you have a fit pregnancy and then restore your body after baby, take a look at our SML Pregnancy Bundle Pack.

Valerie Johnston is a health and fitness writer located in East Texas. With ambitions of one day running a marathon, writing for Healthline.com ensures she keeps up-to-date on all of the latest health and fitness news.

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