Mother’s Day was yesterday and it was a day where we got to celebrate the women who gave us life (ok, dad helped out a bit). The list of all the things were thankful for is endless. In turn, I would like to provide a snap shot for how expecting moms can help can stay fit and healthy in order to give birth to fit and healthy children.
Numerous studies show women who are overweight during pregnancy not only threaten their own health but the health of their child years after giving birth. What you consume, and how much you consume, during pregnancy will carry on into your child’s DNA. If that isn’t enough of an incentive I don’t know what is. So let’s make one thing perfectly clear; you only need to consume, on average, 300 extra calories a day while pregnant. Basically, eat an extra avocado a day and you’re all set. Anyone who’s been pregnant will tell you you’re going to be hungrier than normal but don’t overindulge too much.
Increasing your fiber intake will help with any spikes in hunger as fiber helps fill us up. In addition, more fiber in your diet will help prevent gas and cramping. You may take a supplement high in fiber but you should consult with your primary care doctor before taking any supplements. When in doubt go for real foods high in fiber (not fiber infused foods). Examples would be avocadoes, berries, pears, figs, artichokes, peas, okra, acorn squash, and Brussels sprouts.
Don’t forget that calcium! You’re going to be breast feeding in 9 months so you better prep your body with roughly 4 servings a day. Shoot for 1300mg a day to ensure you’re not slacking in your calcium consumption. Some of these calcium sources will also have high amounts of iodine, which is extremely important for the development of a fetus’ brain and nervous system. Cottage cheese, yogurt, beans, and some seafood (be careful with levels of mercury) are some great sources of both calcium and iodine.
While you’re at it make sure you consume over 27 mg of iron every day. Good sources of iron include lean meats, bran (breakfast cereals), beans, and spinach. Don’t forget your Vitamin C. You’ll only need one serving of Vitamin C each day. Go for the sweet stuff such as organs, papaya, strawberries, and honey dew. Not a sweet person? Try tomatoes, mustard greens, cauliflower, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts. Finally, finish off with at least one type of Vitamin A (cantaloupe, spinach, sweet potatoes, carrots, turnip greens, and pumpkins).
Now that we’ve nailed down nutrition, there are a few rules when it comes to your fitness training. If you’ve been training for months (preferably years) leading up to your pregnancy then congrats! You’re allowed to continue training! Depending on how intense you style of training has been you may continue it to certain degrees for the first trimester. However, as get further into your pregnancy there are a few exercises or movement patterns you should remove from your training.
- Anything in a prone position (face down) is off limits, for obvious reasons. If you wish to continue doing pushups then you may do them elevated so your belly doesn’t press into the ground or you may perform any form of bench-pressing you desire.
- Anything plyometric (i.e. jumping or explosive) will also be removed. This includes broad jumps, box jumps, jump roping, and Olympic lifts. The only exception (that I am aware of) is the Russian kettlebell swing. I’ve seen this with my own eyes and you can do this well into your third trimester.
- Anything upside down. So, that means no handstands or headstands or any other exercise that gets you into an inverted/vertical position where your head is below your waist (sorry Yogis!)
For those of you who are not in the ideal shape you’d like to be in when your pregnancy begins, you still have several options. First, you may perform as many low impact exercises as you wish. Powerwalking, swimming, cycling, water aerobics, and very light resistance training. Not to be the bearer of bad news but you cannot begin any strenuous training program, whether it is aerobic or anaerobic. Your body is not used to it and it could lead to unnecessary stress on your child and put your pregnancy at risk. Once you’ve given birth, you may begin exercising 6 weeks later and get that mom bod you’ve always wanted.
STAY FIT MY FRIENDS!