Nutrition & Fitness during Your Pregnancy
This section will breakdown the nutrition and exercise depending on each trimester.
By now, you should be aware of what foods to consume and you should realize that it helps to stay active during your pregnancy.
So, this section will be more about taking action and implementing the nutrition information provided earlier. You’ll also be told what exercises to do to help you.
The First Trimester – Nutrition & Exercise Tips
During your first trimester, your calorie intake does not have to significantly increase. However, you must ensure that you’re getting all the right vitamins, minerals, etc. This is especially true for folic acid.
You should NOT be dieting or trying to keep your weight down. It is normal to gain some weight during your first trimester. Enjoy the pregnancy process.
Do not fight it for vanity reasons.
Your strength and stamina prior to getting pregnant will determine how much exercise you can do during your first trimester.
There is a fallacy that pregnant women should not exercise for fear of injuring their baby. This is not true. Pregnancy is not an excuse to become a couch potato.
In fact, your pregnancy will be easier if you’re moderately active. The key word here is moderate.
Avoid all high impact training regimens such as HIIT, Crossfit or Tabata during your first trimester.
One of the best forms of exercise that you can do is brisk walking. In fact, just going for a daily 30 minute walk can be highly beneficial. Ask your partner to follow you too so that you have company and there is some bonding time.
If you were highly active before your pregnancy, you may miss your cardio sessions.
You may still engage in cardio sessions as long as they are low impact. A stationary bike is a good way to break a sweat.
Swimming is also excellent. It is low impact and yet, very effective.
High impact exercises such as kickboxing, skipping, full body workouts, etc. should be avoided.
Do not workout to the point where you are breathless and gasping for air. Your goal is to be active… You’re not training for the Olympics.
You want to exercise to get your blood circulation and your heart pumping. It’s more about activity than achievement. Avoid strenuous workouts.
The Second Trimester – Nutrition & Exercise Tips
As far as what you’re supposed to eat, the food choices will be the same for all 3 trimesters. The only difference is that the calories will vary.
As you go into your second and third trimester you should increase your daily caloric intake by 300 calories.
This will help to compensate for the increasing rate of your baby’s growth. If your pre-pregnancy caloric intake was 1800 calories you should consume 2100 calories a day.
If it was 1400 calories you should consume 1700 calories, and so on and so forth.
Will you gain weight? Yes, definitely.
Is that ok? You bet it is. Now is not the time to worry about losing weight.
In fact, it is healthy to gain some weight during pregnancy. Eat the correct foods and eat more so that there are sufficient calories and nutrients in your body for both you and your baby.
Unlike the first trimester, most women do not experience morning sickness or fatigue. The body has adapted to the pregnancy and usually, that means more energy.
You should probably feel like you have more energy in your second trimester.
That will mean that you can be more active. Of course, the same rule applies about low impact exercises. However, now you should aim to incorporate strength training exercises in your regimen.
Pay more attention to exercises that tone your back muscles, neck muscles and legs. Pregnancy will place some strain on all these muscles. You often hear of pregnant women complaining that their backs, necks and legs ache or feel tired. Now you know why.
These are some of the best strength exercises that you can do during your second trimester. If you do not know how to do them, you can always Google them or look them up on YouTube.
⦁ Step ups
⦁ Modified side planks (knees at 90 degrees on ground)
⦁ Bird dog
⦁ Bicep/triceps curls
⦁ Straight Leg calf stretch
⦁ Hip flexor stretch
As far as cardio goes, you may carry on with your walking or stationary bike workouts sessions.
The thing about exercise is that it really depends on the individual.
There are women who are extremely sporty before pregnancy and can go running or even play sports during pregnancy.
Is this advisable? It depends. Only you will know your own capabilities.
Ideally, contact sports should be avoided.
The best person to speak to, will be your doctor. He/she will be able to advise you on the best types of exercises that are best suited for you.
Generally, most women will do just fine walking or doing a stationary bike. There is really no need to overdo it or try and prove that pregnancy is not holding you back.
Also, do not exercise more than you have to just because you’re consuming more calories during your second trimester and you want to burn them off and stay slim.
This is counter-productive and will affect both you and the baby adversely.
Enjoy your pregnancy. You will have the happy glow of a pregnant woman. There is no need to worry about looking like a Swimsuit Illustrated model.
The Third Trimester – Nutrition & Exercise Tips Nutrition
By now, you should have had several appointments with your doctor and he/she should be monitoring your progress.
What your calorie requirement should be in the third trimester will be determined by your condition. Your doctor will advise you if you need to eat more or less. Just follow the doctor’s advice.
By now, the baby bump should be showing significantly. It may hinder most of the exercise movements that you’re accustomed too. However, you will still be able to go walking or use the stationary bike.
The goal is just to be moving. Don’t focus on sweating or getting your heart pumping. It’s not about intensity. It’s about movement.
You can follow the same strength training exercises mentioned during the second trimester.
Alternatively, you may wish to go for a few classes of yoga specifically designed for pregnant women. These classes often focus on stretching and also relieving the tension in the back, legs and neck area.
In the last trimester, every movement might be an effort. If you feel like you’re not in the mood to exercise or it’s just too much effort, you may take a break.
Being happy also matters because if you’re happy, the baby will be happy too.
You may also wish to meditate and relax to clear your mind and de-stress. There is immense power in mediation.