Eating Well and Keeping Fit and Healthy While Pregnant
During your pregnancy, ensuring you eat well and keep active is vital. Keep in mind that no single food can satisfy all of your nutritional needs and that nutritionists recommend a well-balanced diet. Here’s a guide to understanding the healthy eating and exercising recommendations while you’re pregnant:
Food variety is the key. Variety in your diet helps ensure that you receive enough of the essential nutrients, and people who eat a wide variety of foods are healthier, live longer and have protection from some diseases. Nutrition Australia recommends you aim to eat around 20 to 30 different nutritious foods each day. Choose foods from each food group, paying particular attention to the plant-based groups (fruits, vegetables and cereals).
You need an adequate intake of vitamins and minerals during pregnancy, particularly calcium, iodine, iron, sodium and Omega 3 fatty acids.
Fruits and vegetables aren’t just a good source of vitamins and minerals; they’re also high in dietary fibre, which is very important during pregnancy to help reduce constipation. Vegetables are high in vitamins A and C and folate, as well as iron. Fruits, too, contain healthy amounts of vitamins A and C, as well as potassium.
Breads and cereals provide complex carbohydrates, which are long-lasting energy sources. Grains are also a good source of vitamins, minerals and fibre. Choose whole grains when possible.
Foods rich in protein and calcium include meat, chicken, fish, eggs and milk products, such as cheese, yoghurt and, of course, milk. Eat moderate amounts of these foods.
Cut back on fats, oils and sugar. Foods containing these yummy but less nutritional substances include chocolate, lollies, many desserts, butter, mayonnaise and salad dressings. Look for low-fat varieties of these foods in your supermarket, but remember that even though they may be lower in fat, they often still contain lots of sugar.
If you’ve a moderate exercise routine, continue on. If you’ve been pretty sedentary, don’t suddenly plunge into a strenuous program — ease in slowly.
Forms of exercise that are usually safe to continue through pregnancy include pregnancy, low-impact or water aerobics, cycling, swimming and yoga. Avoid exercising flat on your back for long periods of time — doing so may reduce blood flow to your heart — and listen to your body. Modify your program according to what you can reasonably tolerate.
Try not to overheat or become dehydrated while exercising during pregnancy and, if you feel fatigued, dizzy, faint or nauseous, stop. If you experience contractions, vaginal bleeding or any significant pain, also stop exercising immediately and call your doctor or midwife.