The following is a post written by a guest author, and may not represent the views of Personal Best Pilates and the Daily Teaser. The advice given should not be taken as medical advice, and as always, you should consult a doctor before making any significant changes in exercise or diet habits, or before taking any herbal remedies – particularly during pregnancy.
How much weight should you gain during pregnancy, and what should you eat? Is prenatal exercise really safe? What are the things that are best avoided during pregnancy – and how will your stress levels influence your baby while in the womb and later in life? Pregnancy, for many expectant mothers, signifies the start of something that is all too familiar to parents around the globe: worry. While there are many things we have no control over, there are also lots of proactive steps that we can take to promote a healthy pregnancy. What are the top tips for a healthy pregnancy?
When deciding which prenatal exercises are safe, common sense and listening to our bodies is all most women need. Of course, extreme sports that are never safe regardless of whether you have a baby on board are best avoided while you are expecting. You could include bungee jumping and white water rafting on that list. In addition, sports for which you need to keep your balance are tricky in pregnancy, as your center of gravity shifts in the second and third trimesters. Horseback riding, mountain biking, or rock climbing may not be the best of ideas in pregnancy. So, what prenatal work outs are safe? Yoga, pilates, swimming, walking and even jogging are perfectly good matches for moms to-be.
Eating and Weight Gain
Many women are concerned about eating the right amount of food while they are expecting. Early on, morning sickness may mean you are getting less nutrients than you would like. When your baby bump starts growing, you may be worried that you are gaining too much weight… and you may be challenged by all kinds of pregnancy cravings! Needless to say, overeating is not recommended. But the quality of foods you choose is much more important than your overall calorie intake. Eating well and staying in shape will help with weight loss after pregnancy, but during those nine months it is essential to focus on a healthy diet that includes all major food groups. A good pregnancy diet includes grains, fruits and vegetables, milk and dairy products, and meat or foods with similar nutrients (like beans and tofu).
Listen to Your Body
Listening to your body (and responding appropriately!) covers a whole host of concerns that may come up during your pregnancy. If something hurts you while you exercise, it is prudent to pause for a while. If you have constant pregnancy headaches, talk to your healthcare provider about them and make sure you are heard. And if you find yourself stressed, like nearly everyone will, try to find a way to wind down. For some pregnant women, relieving stress can be as simple as talking to your partner about your fears for the future, or writing in a journal. For others, taking maternity leave a littler earlier may be a possibility that solves a lot. Sometimes, the most effective way to combat stress is acknowledging why is causing it. Pilates and meditation help many women on this path.
Stay Away From Harmful Things
Again, this is a rather large category. Staying away from things that can harm you and your baby includes not drinking alcohol and smoking, and not consuming a lot of coffee. If heavy lifting or working with chemicals is part of your job description, your employer is legally obliged to make adjustments for you so you can keep your baby safe during pregnancy.
Most people look for medical remedies as soon as they come across an ailment, and pregnancy offers plenty of chance for those. Many pregnancy complaints can be remedies with herbs and other natural medications, which can be just as effective and have fewer or no side effects. If you are suffering from morning sickness, peppermint tea or fresh ginger might help. Nettle leaf tea boosts your vitamin and mineral levels, and heartburn can be cured with baking soda dissolved in water.
Would you like to read more about pregnancy signs and maintaining a healthy pregnancy? Olivia writes about everything from fertility to babies at Trying To Conceive.
Image courtesy of Flickr.