Article written by:
Ms. Lauren Grech,
B.Sc. (Hons.) (Melit.) Midwifery
There is no need to say that pregnancy brings major changes to your body; but what about your life style? That’s right; in everything you do, you are bound to think about your life habits and how it affects the human life growing inside you; be it what you eat, drink or do on a regular day. It’s a sacrifice to make until you adjust to the new life style, but you’ll be more heartened to do it when you think about who you’re doing it for.
Being pregnant is no reason for sitting around all day. It’s good to keep on the move, whilst avoiding strenuous activity, of course. Before you continue with your old exercise routine, it is advisable to talk to your doctor about exercising while you’re pregnant. If you were not exercising before pregnancy, you can still do some light exercises. For example, regular walking and gradually increasing your time frame as you go along is very beneficial. If you don’t want to work out alone, you will also find fitness classes around that you can sign up to, specifically designed for pregnant mothers, including aqua natal exercises and Pilates. Exercise has major benefits on the body on a general level and the resultant flexibility will also be found useful during labour.
Exercise is important but so is a well-balanced diet, especially if you are pregnant. Taking multivitamins and supplements is no excuse to avoid consuming vitamins the natural way. It is important to include a good portion of carbohydrates, protein and also some fats in your daily nutrition, alongside fruit and vegetables; especially greens. These are rich in iron which is needed to strengthen your hemoglobin and to support your growing baby.
However, there are certain matters that need to be taken into consideration. Make sure that everything is cooked well. You should avoid raw or processed food such as sushi, cured meats, mayonnaise, meringues, soft cheeses and unpasteurized dairy products. Be cautious when including fish in your diet. Seafood, swordfish and shark meat amongst others should be avoided, whilst canned tuna should be limited to two cans per week. Salmon is a healthier alternative whose oil is rich in omega-3, essential for baby development. It goes without saying that high salt and sugar intake, alcohol and smoking should be avoided at all times during pregnancy. These increase the risk of a number of conditions, such as diabetes and hypertension, affecting the growth and well being of the unborn child. Above all, cut down on caffeine and keep hydrated with plenty of water.
If there are any concerns, always consult with your midwife or doctor. Additionally, make sure you are up to date with your health checks and antenatal visits. It’s a tough challenge but all your effort will be rewarded in the end – healthy mummy, healthy baby, healthy family 🙂
© Lauren Marie Grech