Pregnancy is an exciting time, but with all that excitement comes a lot of uncertainty and questions. As a dietitian and pre/postnatal fitness specialist I help empower women throughout their pregnancies to feel their best through food and movement.
Here are my top 3 nutrition and fitness considerations during pregnancy
- Make sure you are taking a prenatal supplement. Your body is undergoing so many changes at a rapid pace, it needs all the additional nutrient support it can get. In addition, those extra nutrients are needed to help support the growth and development of your baby.
What I look for in a prenatal supplement:
- The dosage of the ingredients and the forms the nutrients are in. For example, beta-carotene is always preferred over vitamin A.
- The overall quality of the supplement. For example, is it third party tested?
- The non-medicinal ingredient list. What else is in that supplement?
- How often do you have to take it and will that work for you?
There is a ton to consider when it comes to supplements and food, but don’t worry I share more in my prenatal health webinar. See more on that below.
2. Keep Hydrated
During pregnancy you have an increase in both blood volume and supply to help support your growing baby’s needs. This also means your body has increased needs for fluid.
Be sure to drink plenty of water (at least 8 cups per day).
3. Get your protein in, especially during the second and third trimester.
Protein plays an important role in uterine line health, fetal growth, and supporting blood volume and supply. My general recommendation is to aim for 75 – 100 grams of protein each day. One way to help ensure you get enough protein is trying to include it in most meals and/or snacks throughout your day.
You can find protein in fish, meat, eggs, legumes, Greek yogurt, tofu, edamame beans, etc.
There can be a lot of questions when it comes to exercise during pregnancy. One thing I was reminded of while pregnant that stuck was that pregnant does not mean broken. Sure, modifications may be needed as the pregnancy progresses but it doesn’t mean you can’t move your body. With that being said, it is always a good idea to check with your healthcare provider and ensure there are no reasons why you shouldn’t participate in movement.
- The Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP) came out with new guidelines for physical activity in 2019. These new guidelines suggest that all women without contraindication should be physically active throughout pregnancy (for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intense physical activity each week). Exercise should include both aerobic and resistance training activities.
Bottom line: activity during pregnancy is a really good thing! For more information visit, https://csepguidelines.ca/guidelines-for-pregnancy/
- Along with the CSEP guidelines (and my own personal opinion), women should focus on pelvic floor muscle training during pregnancy to help support labour, delivery, and reduce risk of postpartum pelvic floor issues like urinary incontinence. Pelvic floor training involves learning more about core breath, activating your transverse abdominal muscles (that deep inner layer) and learning how to strengthen and release your pelvic floor muscles. When you think pelvic floor, think of all the muscles from your tail bone all the way to your pubic bone.
Jessica Doig (pelvic floor physio expert) and I run a program all about this called Core Connection (we have both a prenatal and postpartum series). Our next prenatal series starts January 11th. You can learn more about the program here, https://www.eatrightfeelright.ca/core-connection
- Avoid exercises (especially in your second and third trimester) that increase intra abdominal pressure. Core exercises like plank, sit ups, and crunches. During pregnancy we want to focus on strengthening the transverse abdominals (your deep abdominal layer) to help support your core throughout pregnancy in a safe way. You can read more about this and diastasis recti in a previous blog post I wrote, https://www.eatrightfeelright.ca/single-post/2020/01/12/what-the-heck-is-diastasis-recti
Bottom line: strengthening your pelvic floor is important and movement is so good for you and your growing baby.
Also, movement outside is always grounding and feels great!
To learn more about nutrition and exercise during pregnancy, please join me in my upcoming FREE webinar, your guide to prenatal nutrition and exercise.
- Nutrients that are key to supporting your baby’s growth
- What supplements to consider taking (prenatally and during the 4th trimester)
- How to best support you and your baby through food and nutrition
- Exercise during pregnancy: what to do, what to avoid and all the ways you can stay active (even during a pandemic).
Angela Wallace is a registered dietitian nutritionist, family food expert, certified personal trainer and is a valued member of the Lifetime of Love Doula team. She specializes in women’s health, with a focus on weight loss and digestive conditions. She uses a ‘non-dieting approach’ with her ultimate goals being to help people create healthy routines that work for them and create a healthy relationship with food. www.eatrightfeelright.ca