Exercise and Healthy Eating During Pregnancy – 10 Quick Tips

Isaac K

Healthy Eating During Pregnancy

Experts have always recommended that healthy eating during pregnancy and exercise is good for your wellbeing, but did you know that the type of exercise a woman does and the lengths to which she does them may affect her ability to conceive?

Regular exercise affects your fertility. Weight is an important factor in conception and regular workouts may actually improve reproductive function.

In fact, an Obstetrics and Gynecology study pointed out that women who exercised 30 minutes or more daily had a reduced risk of infertility due to ovulation disorders.

On the other hand, too much vigorous exercise is associated with lowered fertility, as both a 2009 study in Human Reproduction and a Harvard study of elite athletes found.

Clearly, fitness activity plays a role in a woman’s chances of conceiving, yet “studies on which to base fitness advice are still difficult to find and often contradictory, so it’s been hard to give women definitive guidelines to follow,” noted Fitness Magazine.

Because exercise seems to be a cause to worry about for women looking to conceive, we ask, for a woman to stay healthy and at the same time conceive, how much exercise should they have and to what extent?

Exercise reduces the chances of hypertension and glucose metabolism in the body which in turn affects a woman’s fertility. On the other hand, it also limits the occurrence of preeclampsia – a pregnancy complication affecting about 5 percent of all women and is characterized by high blood pressure and damage of the linings of blood vessels of most organs in the body – and musculoskeletal pains during pregnancy.

As such, it is therefore recommended that women practice moderate exercises to elevate their chances of getting and keeping their pregnancies.

Why Exercise?

One of the rising causes of infertility in women globally is diabetes. It is a matter of great concern especially since some of the women suffering from diabetes can hardly get or even be able to keep their pregnancies.

Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM), a disorder characterized by unstable and stubborn high concentrations of sugar in the blood is one of the leading causes.

Moderate exercises designed to enhance cardiovascular fitness are one remedy that should not be shunned. Brisk walking is a very good example.

This is effective in that your body weight, chemistry, and insulin resistance are impacted positively leading to little or no risks of diabetes.

Many high blood pressure patients more often than not have been instructed by their physicians to make exercise a part of their healing process.

Studies also show that women suffering from endometriosis projected positive results after aerobics was included in their prescription. This means that by staying fit through enough exercise the risks of the condition were cut down to an extent.

Being physically active can be a powerful antidote to physical and emotional pain. There is no question that exercises benefit a woman’s overall health.

The time to start working out, wherever you are on your baby-planning agenda, is now. The desire to conceive and have a healthy child should be the perfect motivation to start a healthier lifestyle!

Healthy Eating and Fertility

Healthy eating, that is, upholding the correct diet is vital in any woman’s efforts to conceive. A proper diet here means the food you eat should be healthy and balanced, containing foods from every food group.

As is opposed to how women, some women, who are used to complex carbohydrates like chips on a daily basis, organic foods are highly recommended.

Whole grains, fruits, and vegetables are phenomenal in how they all help increase a woman’s chance of becoming pregnant.

Healthy eating also means maintaining the optimum levels of iron during pregnancy. However, don’t dwell on the habits of eating soil as is apparent in the cravings of many, protein sources, such as meat and poultry, should just about cater for that. By maintaining these iron levels, you stand a chance of not being vulnerable to postpartum anemia.

10 Foods for healthy eating during Pregnancy

When you are pregnant, your body needs all the nutrients it can get alongside vitamins and minerals. An inappropriate diet during this period may negatively affect the baby’s development.

Choosing healthy, nutritious foods will help ensure the baby’s health and it also helps in losing pregnancy weight after giving birth.

That said, here are 10 foods that should guide your healthy eating during pregnancy.

i) Legumes

Legumes include peanuts, peas, beans, soybeans, lentils, and chickpeas. They all make good plant-based sources of fiber, protein, iron, folate, and calcium, which are needed during pregnancy.

Folate is a variant of Vitamin B. It is highly beneficial for the mother and the baby, especially during the early stages of pregnancy.

Studies have shown that insufficient folate is associated with an increased risk of neural tube defects and low birth weight.

Legumes also contain lots of fiber, some iron, potassium, and magnesium.

ii) Leafy Greens

Dark green vegetables like spinach and kales are highly important to maintain the health of you and your baby.

Together with broccoli, these vegetables contain many of the nutrients needed during pregnancy including vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, fiber, calcium, iron, folate, and potassium.

Furthermore, broccoli and leafy greens are rich in antioxidants, which help boost the immune system. Because they contain lots of fiber, they help prevent constipation, which is a very common problem among pregnant women. These vegetables also decrease the risks of low birth weight.

iii) Sweet Potatoes

They contain a plant compound known as beta-carotene, which is converted into vitamin A in your body. Vitamin A helps in the growth and differentiation of the majority of cells and tissues and is recommended for the development of a healthy fetus.

Pregnant women should consume at least 10 to 40 percent of Vitamin A. However, the source shouldn’t be from animal-based sources. They are toxic when consumed in excess.

Sweet potatoes also contain fiber, which may reduce blood sugar spikes, increase satiation and at the same time enhance mobility and digestive health.

iv) Dairy Products

Healthy Eating During Pregnancy

During pregnancy, your body needs protein and calcium to meet the needs of the growing baby. Dairy products contain high-quality protein casein and whey, it should therefore be included in your healthy eating plan.

Dairy is also the best source of calcium and it offers high amounts of several types of Vitamin B, phosphorous, zinc, and magnesium.

Yogurt, for instance, contains all the named nutrients and some varieties contain probiotics ideal for the prevention of several complications like vaginal infections, allergies, and gestational diabetes.

v) Salmon

Salmon contains the essential omega-3 fatty acids, which help in building the brain and the eyes of the fetus. Sadly, many people are not getting enough Omega-3 fatty acids including pregnant women.

Seafood contains lots of essential Omega-3 fatty acids. Nevertheless, the intake for pregnant women is limited to two or three times a week. Omega-3 fatty acids help in increasing blood levels.

Salmons are also good sources of vitamin D which is suitable for bone development, the immune system as well as a myriad of other body processes.

vi) Berries

Healthy Eating During Pregnancy

Berries contain antioxidants, water, healthy carbs, vitamin C, and fiber. They contain high amounts of vitamin C, which is good for iron absorption, boosting the immune system, and enhancing skin health.

The good thing about berries is that you can consume them as snacks and with the low glycemic index value, you won’t have to worry about blood sugar spikes. You can use them to add flavor to your salads as well.

vii) Whole Grains

Whole grains help women to meet their need for increased calorie requirements. They contain fiber, vitamins, and plant compounds.

Additionally, whole grains are rich sources of vitamin B variants and magnesium. It has long been established that these nutrients are lacking in the diets of many pregnant women.

Examples of whole grains include oats and quinoa barley, brown rice, buckwheat, cracked wheat, millet, whole-wheat bread, pasta, or crackers.

viii) Eggs

Eggs are highly nutritious; they contain small amounts of almost every other nutrient the body needs. For one, eggs contain choline, which is also good for brain development.

A low intake of choline may lead to complications including neural tube defects and decreased brain function in the fetus.

ix) Lean Meat

Healthy Eating During Pregnancy

High-quality proteins can also be obtained from lean meat such as beef, pork, and chicken. Beef and pork contain choline, iron, and many types of vitamin B.

Iron is necessary for the transport of oxygen in the body and it comes in handy during pregnancy as a woman’s blood volume increases. Inadequate iron leads to cases of anemia, which may lead to risks of premature delivery and low birth weight.

While at it, eating foods rich in vitamin C, such as fruits, are commendable to ease the process of iron absorption.

x) Avocados

Healthy Eating During Pregnancy

Avocados contain a lot of monounsaturated fatty acids. They also contain fiber vitamin E, vitamin C, B vitamins, vitamin K, potassium, and copper. All these nutrients make this unusual fruit the best choice for pregnant women.

The monosaturated fats help in building healthy skin, brain, and tissues of the fetus, and the B vitamins, especially the folate, which avocados mainly carry may help prevent neural tube defects.

Potassium helps in relieving leg cramps. Surprisingly, avocados contain more potassium than bananas.

Bottom Line:

There are many more types of foods to include in your diet during pregnancy. Fish olive oil, dried fruit, bananas, cheese, nonfat milk, nuts, and red pepper among others. But most importantly, remember to drink lots of water to always stay hydrated.

Never forget that what you eat during pregnancy affects you, your energy, your health, and that of the baby. It is normal to gain weight during this period, but if you have to, ensure that it is the right way.

As usual, if you are allergic to some of the listed foods, consult with your doctor first. They will guide you on what foods to include for healthy eating during pregnancy. Also, remember to exercise, but do it moderately.

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