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HOW TO HAVE A FIT PREGNANCY
How you eat and act during your pregnancy may have deeper implications than just the post-partum weight loss struggle. Researchers now suggests that there is a strong link between the foods a woman eats during her pregnancy and the foods the child eats for the rest of his or her life. Healthy mom really does equal healthy baby. But if you aren’t the model of fitness, your new baby is the perfect excuse to kick start healthy habits that can become part of your new life.
And there is good news. You don’t have to run marathons to stay fit and healthy. Here are some simple and easy things you can do to have a fit pregnancy and a fast recovery (because no one wants to shove their post-partum body into spans).
It’s tempting to quench your constant-pregnancy thirst with sports drinks, sodas and sugar-laden juices, but sticking to water can help you and baby stay healthy and avoid unnecessary weight gain. Try flavoring your water with lemon, lime or berries for some extra zip. But imbibing isn’t the only way water can help you stay fit. Nicole Palacios, personal trainer, fitness pro and mother of three notes, “Later on in your pregnancy, you may not feel quite as mobile. Water is a great medium for prenatal women as you feel buoyant and can do things like water weights, water walking, a and even deep water running with a buoyancy belt. And of course, there is always plain old swimming as well.”
2. Don’t eat for two
You might feel hungry enough to eat an elephant dipped in chocolate with a side of Doritos, but despite what your cravings say, you are not eating for two. Personal trainer and mom Lauren Lorenzo advises, “You are not eating for two, you are eating for yourself and a person 1/20th of your size. So you require the proper calories to maintain your healthy weight and then 300-500 additional calories in the second and third trimester in induce fetal growth. To put that into perspective you only need and extra two slices of bread and a glass of skim per day to get 300 additional calories.”
Pregnancy is no time to start a new fitness routine. But it’s not too late to start healthy habits. Walk as often as you can. Park farther away in the parking lot. Choose to walk your kids to the park instead of drive and set aside time everyday to take a brisk walk around your neighborhood. Lorenzo recommends walking an hour each day. “Whether you walk by yourself, with a friend or with another little one in a stroller, get out and walk as much as you can and commit to at least an hour per day. Good circulation is key to preventing swelling in the extremities and reducing the risk of pregnancy induced hypertension. The more you move the better the circulation – resist the temptation to sit around!”
4. Stay motivated
It’s easy to get tired and give up. But stay strong, mama. Staying healthy now, will help you get back to your pre-pregnancy body faster. Tara Gidus, RD, author of Pregnancy Cooking & Nutrition for Dummies, encourages women to stay consistent with their workouts throughout pregnancy. “Don’t miss a workout. Pregnancy is a great time to commit or recommit to a regular fitness routine! Check with your doctor about limitations, but walking, jogging, and standard gym machines like elliptical trainers can all provide excellent workouts.”
The overwhelming exhaustion of pregnancy is often compounded by uncomfortable sleepless nights. And chronic sleep deprivation leads to over eating from stress. Make sure you are getting at least 7.5 hours of good sleep at night and if you are able, take cat naps over your lunch break if you’re feeling exhausted. Listen to your body, it knows what it needs.
I chose to walk and do yoga while I was pregnant and while I still gained more weight than was recommended (due to my love of all things crispy chicken), the weight came off in less than 16 weeks and I’m training for my next half marathon.