Nutrition and Exercise: A Guide for Expectant Mothers

Nutrition and Exercise: A Guide for Expectant Mothers

Now that you’re pregnant, it’s time to understand what you can do to keep your baby healthy.  Many women quickly become overwhelmed when they try to change their lifestyle to meet the needs of the child growing inside of them.  By following these simple nutrition and exercise tips, you can make sure that your pregnancy is less stressful on you and your baby.

Whether you enjoy eating fish or not, it is important to know that certain types of fish can help your baby’s motor skills and cognitive development once they are born.  Though most types are fine to eat, shark, swordfish, and marlin should be avoided as they contain high levels of mercury and can seriously harm your baby.

As an expectant mother, folic acid is an important vitamin in your arsenal.  When the recommended amount is taken during pregnancy, it can decrease the risk of brain and spinal defects in your newborn.  Folic acid should be taken three months prior to conception and be continued into the first three months of your pregnancy.  It can be found naturally in orange juice, beans, and leafy green vegetables, or in its synthetic form as a vitamin supplement.

Now is the time to make sure that you are getting enough iron in your diet.  Iron deficiencies during pregnancy are common because your body will produce up to fifty percent more blood during this time.  In addition to supporting the extra blood produced by your body, a sufficient amount of iron will help the placenta develop properly.  As many women have low levels of iron before they become pregnant, it is very important to maintain a healthy blood iron level when you are expecting a child.

Physical activity is recommended for normal pregnancies and can help make labor easier.  Swimming and low impact aerobics are safe ways to gain endurance and strength, while other activities, such as biking, jogging, tennis, and cross country skiing should be discussed with a doctor beforehand.  Activities involving physical contact, falling, or bouncing should be avoided as it may put stress on your baby.  As long as you are careful, physical activity can have many benefits in pregnancy.

Proper diet and exercise can greatly contribute to your baby’s health.  A balanced diet that includes folic acid and iron will help your baby develop properly while they are in the womb.  Moderate physical activity can also make labor easier.  By following these simple suggestions, you can have a healthier and less stressful pregnancy.