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Staying Fit and Healthy During Pregnancy

February 3, 2012

When you first discover that you’re pregnant, you’re confronted with a long list of do’s and dont’s. Along with the counsel of your doctor, you’re probably getting a lot of advice, sometimes unsolicited, from friends and family. Some of the biggest changes you’ll need to make during pregnancy are regarding fitness and nutrition. Your exercise routine and your diet are a big part of your life, and you’ll need to make some adjustments now that you’re expecting!

Exercise during pregnancy is not only safe, but it is recommended. It can help with your mood, your energy level, and your sleep. If you currently have a regular exercise routine, you can continue it through your pregnancy, but in moderation. Scale your workouts down to a level that is comfortable for you, by monitoring your heartrate to make sure it doesn’t exceed 140 bpm. Pay attention to your breathing; if you find yourself becoming completely out of breath, slow down. Some enjoyable and safe activities are walking, swimming and yoga. These low-impact exercises can keep your fitness level up without putting too much stress on your body.

If you don’t currently exercise on a regular basis, now is not the time to hit the stair-master or take a kick-boxing class. Don’t push yourself. However, light exercise can be safe and healthy, and can improve your energy and stress levels. Take a relaxing walk or try prenatal yoga classes. But don’t commit to a new routine and risk over-exerting yourself.

As always, nutrition goes hand-in-hand with exercise in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. You’ve probably heard of all of the things you can’t consume, including (but not limited to) alcohol and soft cheeses. But did you know about all of the foods that are beneficial during pregnancy? Walnuts, salmon, and eggs contain omega-3 fatty acid, which is important for brain and vision development. All three also contain high amounts of protein, and salmon is one of the types of seafood that is low in harmful mercury. Dark, leafy salad greens and greens like kale and swiss chard, which can be sauteed in olive oil as a side dish, are high in folic acid. And greek yogurt mixed with fruit can make a healthy snack or dessert; it’s high in protein and calcium.

Ask your doctor about the kind of exercise routine and diet that will work for you during pregnancy. But most of all, pay attention to your body. Choose a workout and a diet that make you feel great and monitor your body for signs of stress and exertion. These healthy habits will contribute to a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby!

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