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JODY HOLTON — Fitness For Two During Pregnancy

Establishing and maintaining a healthy lifestyle during pregnancy is vital, both for the mom and her growing baby. Of course, before beginning or continuing any fitness routine, talk with your doctor and follow their advice.

There are definitely some things you should (and shouldn’t) do to prepare your body for this journey and to produce a healthy baby.

Eating healthy food — and enough of it — during pregnancy is very important for your baby. However, do not fall into that old wives tale trap of “eating for two.”

You should consume about 300 more calories per day than you did before you became pregnant. Nutrition is most important; make sure what you are taking in is the best fuel for your body. Don’t overindulge in high carb/sugar/fat snacks, adding pounds that will be hard to take off after the baby arrives.

Your doctor will advise you on the foods you will need for healthy fetal development. Although nausea and vomiting during the first few months of pregnancy can make this difficult, try to eat a well-balanced diet and take prenatal vitamins.

Your intake should include lots of fresh vegetables, fruits, whole grains and lean meats.

Also, very important in your pregnancy is fitness, keep moving. Not only will you be preparing your body for the birth process, but also conditioning yourself for the non-stop activity once your baby arrives.

Pregnancy doesn’t mean giving up your active lifestyle. Regular exercise during pregnancy can improve your posture and decrease some common discomforts such as backaches and fatigue. There is evidence that physical activity may prevent gestational diabetes (diabetes that develops during pregnancy), relieve stress and build more stamina needed for labor and delivery.

If you were physically active before your pregnancy, you should be able to continue your activity in moderation. You may find your balance to be a bit off.

Don’t try to exercise at your former level; instead, do what’s most comfortable for you now. Low impact aerobics are encouraged versus high impact. The pregnant competitive athlete’s activity should be closely followed by her obstetrician.

If you have never exercised regularly before, you can safely begin an exercise program during pregnancy after consulting with your health care provider, but do not try new, strenuous activity. Walking is considered safe to start when pregnant.

The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommends 30 minutes or more of moderate exercise per day on most, if not all, days of the week, unless you have a medical or pregnancy complication. Talk with your health care provider before beginning an exercise program.

Your health care provider can also give you personal exercise guidelines, based on your medical history. Most exercises are safe to perform during pregnancy, as long as you exercise with caution and do not overdo it.

You will certainly find, especially in the first trimester, that you are more tired than usual. Take a nap! Put your feet up and get a short nap a couple of times a day as needed.

What an exciting time for you! In the whirlwind of preparing your family and your home for the anticipated arrival, make sure you take good care of yourself. Stay healthy, mommies.

Jody Holton writes about health for Port Arthur Newsmedia. She can be reached at jholton3@gt.rr.com.