Exercise and Nutrition During Pregnancy

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Women who are pregnant naturally have increased concern over the right diet and exercise regimen that will keep both mom and baby as healthy as possible for the next nine months. Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation about what food or exercise women should continue or avoid.

Generally, nutrition during pregnancy is very similar to the recommended guidelines throughout a woman’s life, and many exercises are also safe during pregnancy. But here are some common rules of thumb OBGYNs at Women's Health Associates provide pregnant women.

Nutrition guidelines include:
Eat a diet rich in lean proteins, fresh vegetables and some fresh fruit
Limit fish intake to twice a week
Limit caffeine intake to twice a day
Lunch meat or hot dogs should be hot or steaming when eaten.
Avoid unpasteurized cheeses such as feta cheese, but any cheese at the grocery store that is pasteurized is safe.

Exercise guidelines include:
If you had a regular exercise routine before pregnancy, you can continue with that routine as long as you feel comfortable doing it. The only exception is body contact sports.

Note that when pregnant, especially early in the pregnancy, your tolerance for exercise may decrease. Listen to your body and slow down if necessary. Take more frequent breaks during the exercise routine, and drink plenty of water.

If you did not exercise before pregnancy, but want to start a routine now that you are pregnant, start with a low impact cardiovascular exercise, yoga designed specifically for pregnant women or Pilates programs that have been altered for pregnant women.

Last but not least, in terms of relaxing after exercise, note that it is fine to sleep on your back. A common belief is that women should not sleep on their back if they are pregnant, or that they should only sleep on their left side. Late in your pregnancy, you may feel light-headed when lying on your back. That is a protective mechanism that is built in to get you to turn over when necessary. Until that point, lying on your back is fine. In short, do what feels comfortable. You both need and deserve your rest.

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