Do you want to stay healthy and fit during your pregnancy? Many women fear gaining too much weight and getting out of shape when they are pregnant, and with good reason! Gaining weight during pregnancy is inevitable and necessary for a healthy baby, but if you gain too much, it can be incredibly hard to lose it after your baby is born. Just like any other time in your life, it all starts with eating the right foods, getting proper rest, and staying active. Here are ten guidelines to help you stay healthy and fit during pregnancy.
1. Cut Out the Junk Carbs and Sugar
You probably saw this coming, but it really is good advice. Junk carbs and sugar are just going to increase your weight gain without providing any valuable nutrition for you or your baby. They have no place in a healthy diet, whether you are pregnant or not! Avoid processed carbohydrates like those found in pasta, baked goods, cereal, and white bread.
These refined carbohydrates are broken down into sugar by your body and then converted into fat unless you burn it off with intense exercise. When you don’t burn off this excess sugar, your body responds by turning it into fat which then gets stored in your adipose tissue, which for most women, collects around your belly, breasts, hips, and arms. Even worse, sugar and junk carbs actually stop your body from using that extra fat as fuel.
Many people don’t realize it, but most fruit is very high in fructose, which is a type of sugar that can also lead to increased fat stores with over indulgence. Your liver converts fructose into triglycerides, which then get deposited into your adipose tissue. You don’t have to cut fruit entirely out of your diet but try to limit yourself to no more than two servings per day and focus on eating healthy, nutrient-dense, leafy green vegetables instead.
2. Eat Plenty of Healthy Protein and Fat
Not all fat is created equal! Don’t be afraid to eat plenty of healthy saturated and mono fats like those found in grass-fed butter, coconut oil, avocado, and olive oil. These fats help essential fat-soluble vitamins like K, E, D, and A to be better absorbed by your body, which is crucial for your baby’s proper development and for your own health.
High-quality proteins from eggs, full-fat dairy, and grass-fed organic meats will also provide essential protein and mono and saturated fats that you and your baby need. They will also help you feel fuller, longer while stabilizing blood glucose levels to help control cravings and unnecessary snacking.
3. Stay Hydrated
Water is essential for life, and during pregnancy, staying hydrated is especially important for keeping nausea and fatigue at bay. Try to drink at least two liters of water each day and even more if you are doing any kind of exercise.
4. Relax and Get Plenty of Rest
This can be a hard one for today’s busy lifestyle, but it’s necessary for the health of you and your baby. One of the most important things you can do is learn to relax and get plenty of rest during pregnancy. Keep your stress levels low with things like yoga, meditation, and prenatal massage.
It’s true that your body heals during sleep, so it is crucial to get extra sleep during pregnancy to help your body recover from all the hard work it’s doing. Do your best to get at least eight hours of sleep every night, and more like 10 if possible, especially in the last trimester. Your body needs a lot more rest than usual when it is growing a baby.
5. Keep Exercising
Find a form of exercise that you love so that you will feel motivated to continue doing it right up through the birth of your child. Obviously, you may need to dial down the length and intensity of your workouts as your pregnancy progresses but staying active throughout your pregnancy is vital for controlling weight gain and improving the flow of blood and oxygen to your baby. It can help make your delivery easier, too. Yoga, swimming, and walking all make great options for pregnancy exercise, but there are lots of great options, so be sure to find something you enjoy doing.
6. Avoid Muscle Loss
Maintaining your muscle and tone during pregnancy will help you bounce back more quickly after delivery, and possibly even make your delivery easier. Strength training with light weights during pregnancy can also help with those pregnancy aches and pains in your muscles and joints.
7. Invest in Some Cute Work Out Clothes
It may sound silly, but if you invest in some cute workout clothes that make you feel great when you put them on, you will be a lot more likely to stick to your fitness goals. There are lots of brands that make stylish and comfortable workout wear for pregnancy and beyond!
8. Stand Up Straight
Good posture is essential during pregnancy. When stand with your back hunched and your shoulders rolled forward, you’re going to have more pain in your hips, back, and knees. Good posture also helps get your baby into the right position for birth and strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. Remember to stand straight and tall.
9. Stop Weighing Yourself
There’s no doubt that you are going to gain weight during your pregnancy. There’s no need to add extra stress to your life by weighing yourself constantly. When you eat right and get plenty of exercise, you can be sure that you are gaining weight at a healthy pace so stop worrying about it.
10. Don’t Overdo It
Pay attention to what your body is telling you. Pregnancy affects every woman differently, so do what’s best for you! If your body feels tired and run down, you should rest. If you have heaps of energy, take advantage of it. If you experience pain or discomfort during exercise, stop! Never push yourself when you’re pregnant. That’s not good for your baby or your own health!
Follow these 10 guidelines to ensure a healthy and fit pregnancy. As an added bonus, you will likely have fewer aches and pains, an easier labor, and a faster recovery, too.