Pregnancy and fitness: myths and facts

There are many myths out there about pregnant women and fitness. Some people believe that when a pregnant woman works out they might hurt the baby, others say it’s not good for the mother as she will be tired and won’t be able to deliver a healthy baby.

All this is false, on the contrary working out is actually good for pregnant women and also helps make delivery an ‘easier’ process. Let me share some of the myths I know and have read about pregnancy and fitness. Some people believe that exercising when pregnant pull nutrients from your baby. In actual sense your baby takes what it needs from your body, regardless of whether you’re burning calories while exercising.

You should be eating enough to cover your own calorie needs as well as your baby’s.” I also hear a lot of people saying that running while pregnant is unsafe for the baby.

Studies show that it’s actually very okay to continue running, as long as it is at a moderate exertion, and you feel comfortable. Another thing I don’t understand how someone could come up with such a myth that if you didn’t exercise before you were pregnant, it’s not safe to start when pregnant.

Here’s what’s not safe: going from a sedentary pre-pregnancy workout to exercising at a high intensity for an hour a day. If you haven’t been working out before, start slow. Aim for five minutes of exercise to start, then add five minutes every day, until you can comfortably get through 30 minutes a day.

Another myth is that lifting weights while pregnant is too stressful on your joints. It’s totally safe to lift weights while pregnant, with a couple of modifications.

Make sure you’re not holding your breath, don’t exert yourself to fatigue, and avoid anything where you feel like you’re bearing down. After the first trimester, you should avoid laying flat on your back, so switch to an incline bench. Doing sit ups while pregnant will squish the baby is another myth.

Your baby is pretty secure in there, you don’t have to worry about bending at the waist. For the first trimester, sit ups are no problem, but by the second and third, you should avoid laying flat on your back, so it’s easier to skip them altogether.

It is a great idea to do exercises that strengthen your stabilization muscles in your abdomen throughout your pregnancy e.g planks, push ups, using cables or bands for chops, and pelvic tilt and also don’t forget to include your kegels!

Exercises that are beneficial for the pregnant woman  

Exercise is important not only for pregnant women but everyone in general, medical experts say “It boosts mood, improves sleep, and reduces pregnancy aches and pains. Also helps prevent and treat gestational diabetes and may keep pre-eclampsia at bay.” It also prepares you for childbirth by

strengthening muscles and building endurance, and makes it much easier to get back in shape after your baby is born. It is ideal for pregnant women to exercise at least 30 minutes a day most days of the week. T

he ideal workout gets your heart pumping, keeps you limber, manages weight gain, and prepares your muscles without causing undue physical stress for you or the baby. Some of the simple but very effective aerobic exercises that I would recommend for pregnant women are: Walking:

One of the best cardiovascular exercises for pregnant women, walking keeps you fit without jarring your knees and ankles. Doesn’t require any equipment beyond a good pair of supportive shoes, and is safe throughout all 9 months of pregnancy. Swimming: Swimming is deemed to be the best and safest exercise by healthcare providers and fitness experts globally.

Swimming is ideal because it exercises both arms and legs, provides cardiovascular benefits, and allows expectant women to feel weightless despite the extra kilos of pregnancy. Low impact aerobics: Aerobic exercise strengthens your heart and tones your body and also if you take part in a class for pregnant women you can feel reassured that each movement is safe for you and your baby. Dancing: This is simple and actually fun. Just stay away from routines that require leaps, jumps or twirls. You can get your heart pumping by dancing to your favorite tunes in the comfort of your own home or at a dance class.

Nutrition: super foods for you and your baby  

Eggs: Whether it’s fried, scrambled, hard-boiled or served as an omelette, eggs are the gold standard for prenatal protein. They also happen to be a great source of folate, iron and choline. Choline is critical to fetal brain development and reduces the risk of neural tube defects, such as spina bifida. Choline is contained in the yolk, this means that the whole egg needs to be eaten.

Sweet Potatoes: They are full of nutritious fiber, vitamin B6, potassium which is even more than bananas have, vitamin C and iron, as well as copper and beta-carotene. Vitamin A plays an important role in the development of baby’s eyes, bones and skin.

Nuts: are full of healthy fats including those brain-boosting omega-3s we mentioned earlier, protein, fiber and a variety of vitamins and minerals. Snacking on nuts will help make a dent in the 800 milligrams of magnesium you’re supposed to get now that you’re pregnant. Magnesium-rich foods helps reduce the risk of premature labor and aids in the development of your baby’s nervous system.

Beans and Lentils: are great sources of protein and iron, as well as folate, fiber and calcium. And beans (especially baked ones) are also bursting with zinc. Beans boast a bunch of minerals found in animal products, so they’re a great option for vegetarian and vegan mothers to be. Beans are also rich in zinc — an essential mineral that’s linked to a lower risk for preterm delivery, low birth weight and prolonged labor.

Lean Meat: It is a great source of protein, but lean beef and pork are also packed with iron and B vitamins. Proteins help the fetus grow and to ensure her muscles develop properly. Same goes for iron as not getting enough of this mineral can impair your baby’s growth and increase the risk for preterm delivery and low birth weight. Meat supplies a good dose of vitamins B6 which helps baby’s tissue and brain growth, while easing the mother’s morning sickness and B12 helps to maintain healthy nerves and red blood cells.

Orange Juice: Contains folate, potassium and, of course, vitamin C. Folate and folic acid are a beneficial nutrient for preventing certain birth defects early on in pregnancy and for ensuring a healthy pregnancy after that. Vitamin C, which, in addition to fighting colds, helps your body better absorb iron and keeps both your and baby’s teeth and bones healthy.

You can also get your vitamin C from broccoli, tomatoes, strawberries, red peppers and a variety of citrus fruits and mangoes.

Yoghurt: Plain yogurt actually contains even more calcium than milk, which is essential for keeping your bones and teeth healthy and helping baby to develop hers. Plus, it’s got essential bone-building nutrients, including protein, B vitamins and zinc.

Oatmeal: Oats are filled with fiber, protein and vitamin B6. I personally do not believe there is a better way to start off your morning than with a nice big bowl of oatmeal, and fruits. Whole grains are great for keeping your energy levels up. Plus, all that fiber will help with constipation.

Leafy Green veggies: they are filled with antioxidants and nutrients, dark-green veggies — including spinach, asparagus, broccoli and kale — should really be on everyone’s plates no questions asked. Leafy greens supply calcium, potassium, fiber and folate, plus another important nutrient I haven’t told you about yet, vitamin A;helps baby’s eyesight develop and aiding in bone and skin growth, it’s important for the mothers to eat a lot of vitamin A-filled foods too.

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