Healthy-pregnancy

Throwback Thursday: Can You Drink Coffee When Pregnant?

Can’t imagine the day without your morning cup of coffee? You won’t have to give it up altogether, but you may have to change some of your coffee habits now that you’re pregnant.

What are the risks?

Small doses of caffeine are considered safe in pregnancy. However, excessive consumption has been linked to increased risk of miscarriage. Too much caffeine also impacts your fetus growth and may result in lower birth weight, which can cause health problems when the baby is born.

RELATED: Is Coffee Sucking The Life Out Of You?

How much is too much?

Current recommended limit in Australia is a maximum of 200 mg of caffeine a day. According to NSW Health, this limit can be obtained from 1 cup of strong espresso style coffee, 3 cups of instant coffee, 4 cups of medium strength tea, 4 cups of cocoa or hot chocolate or 4 cans of cola. Keep in mind that this is an estimation only. Caffeine content in drinks vary widely and it’s always better to err on the side of caution.

Something else to consider is when you have your drink. Caffeine makes it more difficult for your body to absorb iron and calcium. You need your iron and calcium more than ever when you’re pregnant, so it’s best to have your meals and your coffee separately.

Why do you crave caffeine?

This is a good question to ask when you’re making changes to your coffee routine. Do you need your coffee to wake you up? In that case, you’re probably not getting enough rest or you lack important nutrients. Instead of reaching for your cup, carve out time for more sleep, drink plenty of water and choose healthy energy boosting foods like nuts, cooked eggs or spinach.

Do you love the taste of coffee? Make it decaf. It’ll only give you a fraction of the caffeine that regular coffee has and you’ll still give your taste buds a treat.

Sometimes, you’d crave a caffeine drink (not necessarily coffee) because it makes you feel better. For me, black tea was an effective relief for morning sickness. If you find yourself drinking cup after cup just so that you can get through the day, look for a decaffeinated option. In my experience, decaffeinated black tea was just as effective as the real thing. Clearly, it wasn’t the caffeine that was making me feel good.

As you can see, there’s no need to panic that you’ll have to do without coffee for the next 9 months. You can still enjoy your favourite drink and meet your needs, while keeping your baby safe.

Image by Bellezza87 via pixabay.com

August 6, 2015

Preparing Your Body For Pregnancy

Preconception care prepares your body for a successful, healthy pregnancy and is one of the most responsible choices you can make for you and your baby’s health. It helps eliminate harmful substances from your diet known to affect reproductive and general health and foetal development and should be considered by everyone looking to start a family.

“You need a healthy body to make a healthy baby,” explained naturopath and author, Lisa Guy. “It takes three months for female eggs to mature and four months for sperm to mature which is why it is so important to consider preconception care as early as possible, at least four months in advance, to increase your chances of a successful, healthy pregnancy.”

“Being healthy while trying to conceive is vital for both you and your baby. The preconception period is the time to make life changes for you and your partner that can help boost fertility, reduce problems during pregnancy and assist in recovery from birth,” added Lisa.

Here, Lisa outlines her essential tips for preconception care;

1. Examine your diet

At no other time in your life is your diet more important than before, during and straight after pregnancy. Eating a wholesome, well-balanced diet is vital and will increase your chances of a successful pregnancy. Try to include at least five portions of fruit or vegetables, protein, fish and some iron-rich food in your diet and make fast food and sweets an occasional treat.

2. Take essential supplements

Although nothing takes away from the significance of a healthy, well-balanced pre-pregnancy diet, nutritional supplementation is extremely important and is known to help prevent congenital defects and malformations often caused by nutritional deficiencies. Taking a supplement every day is a small change that will pay big rewards. When planning pregnancy, there are three essential vitamins and minerals your body needs:

  • Folic Acid: Essential for healthy foetal development and reducing the risk of neural tube defects such as spina bifida, folic acid is crucial in pre-pregnancy. You should consider taking folic acid three months prior to conception. Each FABFOL tablet contains 500mcg of folic acid which is the recommended daily intake for the Australian diet.
  • Zinc: Zinc works to support and strengthen the immune system and is important for hormone balance and to boost fertility.
  • Omega 3: Increasing the intake of omega 3 fats helps support reproductive health.pregnancy

3. Kick unhealthy habits

Making some important lifestyle changes is a great way to prepare for pregnancy and will help ensure a healthy conception. Avoid anything that poses a health risk to you and your baby such as alcohol, cigarettes and some prescription medication.

4. Visit your GP

A trip to your GP for a preconception consult is also important when you begin thinking about starting a family. Your GP will provide you with expert advice on planning your pregnancy, discuss any health problems or concerns, lifestyle issues, diet and organise any essential pre-pregnancy immunisations.

FABFOL has all your nutritional needs covered pre, during and post pregnancy, so all you need to focus on is your growing baby and is available from pharmacies nationally. FABFOL 56 tablets RRP $24.95.

November 17, 2014

Folate – An Essential Part Of A Pregnancy Diet

Everybody needs folate but if you are pregnant or are of a child bearing age and there is the possibility that you may fall pregnant (whether you are planning it or not), then it’s especially important that your everyday diet is rich in folate. Because our bodies don’t store folate for long periods of time, we need to ensure that we are continuously supplying our bodies with this important vitamin.

What is folate and how is it different to folic acid?

Folate is a B vitamin that is found naturally in foods such as leafy green vegetables, beans, legumes and fruits. Folic acid is the synthetic form of the vitamin that is created in a laboratory and added to certain foods and supplements.

What does folate do?

Folate is used to make our DNA. It helps to produce and maintain new cells which is especially important during times of rapid cell growth such as pregnancy. In the early stages of pregnancy folate is essential for the healthy development of a foetus, especially the neural tube which is the structure that eventually forms the brain and spinal cord. The neural tube closes and fuses very early in life and if this doesn’t happen the result is a neural tube defect such as spina bifida. Folate helps to reduce the risk of this happening.

Where can I find folate?

Folate can be found naturally in some vegetables including broccoli, spinach, asparagus, avocado and lettuce. Certain types of beans such as mung beans, chickpeas and kidney beans are also a rich source of folate as well as legumes, citrus fruits, seeds and nuts. Folic acid can be found in many fortified foods including some breads, cereal, pasta and rice.

During pregnancy our bodies need more vitamins than usual to keep us and our babies healthy, so as well as ensuring our diets are rich in folate it is recommended that we take a folic acid supplement. Start taking the supplement as soon as you start trying to fall pregnant because if you wait until you realise you’re pregnant then it could already be too late.

Image via topinspired.com

By Karyn Miller

July 2, 2014

Healthy Foods To Snack On During Pregnancy

Nourish yourself and your growing baby with these hunger-crushing, pregnancy diet-approved snacks that are both delicious and healthy.

Sliced vegetables and Greek yoghurt dip
Keep a container of chopped vegetables ready in your refrigerator for whenever you need a snack with some crunch. Pair your crudités with plain Greek yoghurt seasoned with spices, like cumin or simple salt and pepper, stirred in to add much-needed protein and calcium.

Trail mix
Trail mix is an ideal snack to have when you are on the go. Slightly sweet and very filling, keep a ziplock bag in your purse or desk drawer. Choose a trail mix that is low in added sugars and full of natural ingredients. Better yet, make your own by lightly toasting some oats, adding in your favorite nuts, and finishing with some dried fruit. The carbs in this snack will give you an energy boost for the remainder of your afternoon and the protein in the nuts will keep you feeling full longer. The healthy fats in nuts like walnuts and almonds are great for baby’s brain (and yours as well!).

Half-sandwiches
You don’t have to save sandwiches just for lunch. Make yourself a healthy half-sandwich to get you from breakfast to lunch. The combination of carbohydrates, veggies and protein makes for a healthy snack that beats a greasy bag of chips or sugary candy bar any day.

Apple and nut butter
It’s hard to beat the classic combination of apples and peanut butter, but surprise your taste buds and load on the omega-3s with almond butter or cashew butter. The sweetness of the apple combined with the creaminess of the nut butter can help your late-night sweet-salty cravings.

Sweet potato fries
We always need antioxidants and vitamins, but never quite as much as when we are expecting a new little one. You are your baby’s sole source of nutrition while you’re carrying them inside you, so be sure to look for vitamin-packed, antioxidant rich foods like sweet potatoes. Make them snack friendly by cutting them into small wedges. Toss with olive oil and the seasonings of your choice. Roast until crispy.

Avocado and red pepper
This snack is a nutritional powerhouse. Omega-3s, antioxidants, vitamins and fibre – this one packs in a multitude of nutritional benefits for moms-to-be. Plus, it’s delicious and easy to throw together when hunger strikes.

April 12, 2014

Pregnancy Diet Meal Planner

When you’re pregnant, it can be difficult to follow a healthy eating plan. The cravings can be quite intense and you can easily find yourself giving in to temptation. Plus, it’s hard to keep track of which foods you need to avoid.

Most medical experts recommend that pregnant women add about 300 to 400 calories to their normal daily intake. These pregnancy diet meal plans take the guesswork out of eating healthy while pregnant, and can help you plan delicious breakfasts, lunch, dinners and snacks while consuming the right amount of calories and essential nutrients for your baby.

Pregnancy meal plan #1
This meal plan will provide you with about 2200 calories per day. It also allows you the freedom of choosing from a variety of snacks and meals during the week. This level of variety will prevent you from feeling bored or deprived. It is recommended that women who are underweight should eat about 2400 calories per day, while overweight women should stick to around 2000 calories and cut down to only one snack per day. Here is a sample day on this meal plan:

Breakfast: Porridge with walnuts, cinnamon and an apple. This meal is great because it gives you plenty of complex carbohydrates, protein, fibre and calcium. You also get about 1.5 grams of Omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for fetal brain development.

Lunch: Pita pocket with eggs, vegetables and hummus. This meal is packed with fibre, protein, calcium and folate. It also contains healthy fats that will satisfy your appetite. You can also include a cup of grapes with this meal as an added treat.

Dinner: Stuffed butternut pumpkin with wild rice, beans and mushrooms. This meal will provide you with a plethora of nutrients that you and your growing baby need. It also provides more than 16 grams of fibre and plenty of iron, vitamin C and folate.

Snacks: On this diet, you can treat yourself to snacks like whole-grain crackers topped with light cheese and dried fruit like cranberries or apricots. You could also choose to snack on air-popped popcorn or a fruit smoothie.

Pregnancy Meal Plan #2
This pregnancy diet meal plan takes into account which trimester you are in. The meals are designed to provide your baby with the nutrients he or she needs the most for optimal development in each trimester. For example, meals for the first trimester will include foods that are high in folate and vitamin B6. Second trimester meals will focus more on increasing your calcium and vitamin D intake, as well as omega-3 fatty acids for fetal brain development. Third trimester meals are designed to give you extra energy and prepare you for childbirth and breastfeeding.

Here is an example of a first trimester meal plan:

Breakfast: Scrambled eggs served on top of a toasted bagel, plus a serving of yogurt. It contains lots of B-vitamins and protein that will help you to avoid nausea.

Lunch: Roasted chicken with broccoli, potatoes and carrots. Along with a pear and apple crumble, this nutritious meal is quite filling.

Dinner: Beef and black bean casserole. The beans in this dish provide you with lots of folate, fibre and iron. The beef contains plenty of protein and fat to make you feel full.

Snacks: You can choose to snack on dried apricots, nuts and seeds on this meal plan.

What were your favourite things to eat when you were pregnant? Tell us in the comments!

February 5, 2014

Your Best Pregnancy Diet

When you are expecting, it’s important to establish a healthy pregnancy diet so you and your baby receive the best nutrition. Remember, everything you consume is also consumed by your baby.

The more you know about prenatal food choices, the easier it is to maintain a healthy pregnancy diet. Incorporating a better diet and understanding nutrition more in-depth allows you to take complete control of your body and baby’s development throughout your pregnancy. Follow these guidelines to ensure you’re eating the right foods.

Your daily diet
Make sure you are enjoying at least three servings of dairy products each day to support your baby’s bone structure and keep your strong throughout your pregnancy. Eat at least three servings of food with a high iron content, allowing you to reach 27mg of iron each day. Foods high in iron include beef, lamb, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, spinach and berries.

It is also important to get at least 70mg of vitamin C each day. Skip the bottled OJ which is high in sugar and opt for a glass of freshly-squeeze juice, and top it up by eating papaya, broccoli, grapefruit and strawberries. Get your daily dose of vitamin A by eating pumpkin, carrots, turnip greens and apricots.

Folic acid is essential for baby’s development, helping to deter against any potential neural tube defects. Load up on leafy green vegetables, chickpeas, black beans and humanely-raised veal.

Foods to avoid
Throughout your pregnancy, there are a few foods you should stay away from to avoid potential health risks to your immune system or to your baby. Do not eat raw fish, soft cheeses and deli meats during your pregnancy, as this can lead to bacterial infections. It is also highly advisable to stay away from seafood during pregnancy to avoid a high mercury level in your blood as well as food poisoning.

Also limit your caffeine intake, as it increases your blood pressure and heart rate and can lead to dehydration. Remember that caffeine is found not just in your morning latte, but tea, soft drinks and chocolate.

Vitamins
Eating a variety of foods throughout your pregnancy is highly recommended, but may still not be enough to give you all the vitamins and minerals you need. Speak to your doctor about any multivitamins and prenatal vitamins that you may be lacking.

Increasing your weight
If you are a healthy weight during your first trimester of pregnancy, it is not always necessary to eat more to increase your caloric intake, unless you are underweight. Your doctor will be able to tell you how many calories you should be eating to get to a healthy pregnancy weight.

During your second trimester, it is important to increase your overall caloric intake by about an extra 300 calories to help with gaining weight and providing enough nutrients for your baby.

By the third trimester, increasing your caloric intake by an extra 450 calories is quite common as the baby reaches its final stages of development before birth.

Make sure you discuss your pregnancy diet with your doctor.

What foods did you love (and love less) during your pregnancy? Share them in the comments!

January 31, 2014

5 Easy Pregnancy Exercises For the First Trimester

The first trimester of pregnancy can be exhausting, thanks to all the changes happening in your body. Regular exercise will help you to stay limber and flexible and help you to return to your pre-pregnancy shape and weight faster.

Women who are already in shape should continue their exercise routine to stay strong and healthy. Women who aren’t in shape should begin working out with simple pregnancy exercises. It’s the ideal time to begin preparing your body for the changes it’s going to undergo and to stay fit and healthy.

Exercise #1: Cat Squats
This warm-up pregnancy exercise is ideal for strengthening the body to prepare you to give birth. Stand up straight with your hands on your head. Legs should be slightly more than shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees and lower your body as slowly as you can at a 90 degree angle. Push yourself back into the starting position. While perfect for strengthening the body in the first trimester, it’s also good later in pregnancy and can help get the baby into the correct position to push.

Modify this exercise by leaning against a wall and lowering into the squat position.

Exercise #2: Prenatal Yoga
Yoga is a low-impact full-body exercise. Although it can be done at any time during pregnancy, it’s best to start during the first trimester, before your growing belly throws off your balance. Although most forms of yoga are safe for the developing baby, the movements in prenatal yoga are specifically designed for pregnant women and their changing abilities. Yoga also has the added benefit of teaching you how to breathe, which can help during labour.

Exercise #3: Pliés
This ballet move works out the quads, hamstrings and bottom, which prepares the body for labour and delivery. It also helps improve balance. Standing beside a sturdy chair, spread feet out so they’re more than shoulder width apart and turn out your feet and knees about 45 degrees. Slowly bend your knees and lower your torso without leaning forward. Keep one hand on the chair to maintain balance.

Exercise #4: The Clamshell
To complete this move, a popular Pilates thigh firming exercise, lie on the ground on your side, with your knees bent on a 45 degree angle. One leg should lie flat against the ground. Slowly separate your top leg, raising the knee as you leave your ankles together. Try not to move your pelvis and don’t lift your lower leg off of the floor. Do one set of 15 repetitions, then switch sides.

Exercise #5: Modified Push-up
Strength training is also important, particularly for the arms, because once the baby arrives, you’ll be carrying him or her all the time! The modified push-up involves bending your knees and crossing your ankles behind you, then bending your arms to lower your chest until it nearly reaches the floor, then pushing back up. As you get better, pause with your arms bent.

Remember to include a warm-up and a cool down every time you exercise. Walking is another excellent cardio activity because it works out the whole body in a low-impact manner. Stretching is a great cool down because the muscles are already warmed up and less likely to be unintentionally injured.

What pregnancy exercises do you recommend for women in their first trimester?

January 16, 2014

6 Tips on What to Eat When Pregnant

Choosing to eat nutritious foods during pregnancy is important to your welfare and that of your baby, so we’ve put together 6 easy-to-follow recommendations to help you on your way.

The ideal diet for keeping you and your baby healthy changes over the course of pregnancy, but sticking to these recommendations is a simple way to ensure you’re keeping a healthy pregnancy diet and cutting out those harmful foods.

1. Increase your intake of certain minerals and vitamins

These include folic acid and vitamin D, as these are necessary for the development of the foetus and your health.

This is particularly important in your first trimester, which is the most critical time in your pregnancy.

You need vitamin D to maintain proper levels of calcium and phosphorous, which help build your baby’s bones and teeth. A deficiency of the vitamin during pregnancy can cause growth retardation and skeletal deformities.

Good pregnancy foods that are high in vitamin D include salmon, mackerel, canned tuna fish in oil, and products fortified with vitamin D.

Folic acid is a man-made form of folate, a B vitamin that occurs naturally in food. It’s unlikely that you’ll get enough folate to protect your baby just from the food you eat, which is why folic acid supplements are recommended.

However, folate-rich foods that can also help you to achieve a healthy pregnancy include whole grain bread, beans, pulses, and green vegetables such as broccoli and spinach.

2. Keep your consumption of vitamin A down

An excessive build-up of vitamin A can be harmful to your baby. Foods that contain high levels of vitamin A include liver and fish liver oils.

3. Your consumption of certain types of fish should be monitored or avoided.

When it comes to fish, it’s difficult to know what to eat when pregnant.

It’s best to avoid shark, swordfish and marlin completely as they can contain high levels of mercury, which can affect your baby’s neural development. Fresh tuna can also contain high levels of mercury, but rather than cutting tuna out of your diet completely, limit yourself to two tinned tuna steaks per week.

The following fish can contain low levels of pollutants that accumulate in their bodies over time, so you should have no more than two portions of them per week: oily fish, such as salmon, fresh tuna, mackerel, sardines, and  trout; some white fish, such as sea bass, sea bream, turbot, halibut, and rock salmon; and brown crab meat.

4. Avoid soft unpasteurised rind cheeses and pâté

These can contain the bacteria listeria. It’s unlikely for listeriosis to seriously affect your health, but the infection can have grave consequences for your developing baby.

5. Abstain from alcohol

Studies have shown that alcohol consumption in pregnancy could cause damage to the unborn child.

In addition to considering what to eat when pregnant, it’s important to be wary of what you consume after having had your baby. Even after giving birth, when breast feeding, it’s best to limit your consumption of alcohol and caffeine, as small amounts of what you consume can be present in your breast milk and may be passed to your baby.

 6. Avoid raw or undercooked eggs

They can carry harmful organisms, such as E.Coli and Salmonella, which can lead to gastrointestinal infection in pregnant women. Infection can be passed through the placenta to the baby.

This can be life threatening for your baby, so as a precaution it’s best to avoid eggs in their raw form, including in sauces, batter and egg nog.

Well cooked eggs, however, can be safely eaten, but make sure you check the best before date and keep them well refrigerated.

Eggs impart several key nutrients in the form of protein, fats, minerals (such as zinc and selenium) and vitamins A, D and some B, which make them a healthy food during pregnancy.

What are your best nutrition tips for what to eat when pregnant?

September 4, 2013

Safe And Healthy Pregnancy Exercises

Staying active and fit during your pregnancy is very important not only to the welfare of your baby, but also to you, as it will help you with the labour process and to get back into shape after birth. Starting an exercise program early on will help facilitate a healthy pregnancy.

Safe pregnancy exercises

Not all forms of exercise are safe, but these guidelines should give you an indication on how to get going:

* To avoid any abdominal discomfort, exercise a minimum of two hours after eating
* Warm up before and cool down afterwards so that your muscles are supple
* Be sure to drink lots of water before, during, and after your workout so that you are constantly hydrated
* Exercise regularly – try to do something three times a week, even if it just walking for half an hour
* Don’t ever overdo it! Remember that you are pregnant, and therefore should not be doing anything that is too strenuous. You should be able to have a conversation during your pregnancy exercises – if talking makes you breathless then it’s time to take it down a notch

The safest forms of exercise for a healthy pregnant mother are swimming and walking, so you don’t have to go lift weights or jump on the step machine – you can simply walk around the block if you don’t have access to a pool. Yoga is also a great form of stretching and exercise, just make sure that your instructor knows how far along you are.

There are, of course, some exercises that you should avoid altogether. Pregnancy affects your body in a number of ways, so with your centre of balance being shifted, strain on your lower back and thinner abdominal muscles, stay away from the following:

* Double leg raises
* Full sit-ups
* Hopping, jumping, skipping
* Any exercises that cause or require you to arch your back
* Any exercise or movement which requires fast action or moves and a good balance – this will be difficult for you to do anyway

Very importantly, do not do any exercises where you are on your back for longer than one minute. The weight of your baby bump will put pressure on the main blood vessel that brings blood back to your heart, and ultimately, cause you to faint.

You will very quickly discover what you can and can not do, so be sure to listen to your body. This is not the time for you to take on a whole new sport, so take it slow. If in any doubt, speak to your doctor first to get further advice.

What were your favourite pregnancy exercises when you were expecting?

August 27, 2013

How to Pamper Yourself During The 3 Stages Of Pregnancy

Each of the three stages of pregnancy comes with its own set of problems that can stress you out. Stress is the last thing you need when you’re expecting, both for your sake and that of the baby, so this overview of your pregnancy timeline can give you a few hints on what to expect, as well as ways to pamper yourself each step of the way.

First trimester

The first trimester begins with conception and lasts through week 12. The best way to sum up the first trimester is hormones gone wild! From the moment you first get pregnant, those hormones will start raging through your body, causing a myriad of changes.

The ones you’ll notice right way include tender breasts, morning sickness, headaches, constipation and frequent urination. You’re also likely to experience extreme tiredness, mood swings and cravings for certain foods. You’ll begin to put on weight as your uterus expands to accommodate the growing baby.

If some foods aren’t agreeing with you, try to eat lightly but well. Shop farmers’ markets for the freshest and most delicious produce. Treat yourself to a variety of green vegetables like rocket and kale for salads that will tempt your appetite as well as being great for the health of both you and the baby.

Second trimester

The second trimester is the period from week 13 through week 28, and is likely to be easiest of the three stages of pregnancy. The nausea and fatigue of early pregnancy may dissipate, but as your body grows, you’ll experience more, and different, changes.

Your body adapting to the growing baby inside can lead to aches in your back, groin, abdomen and thighs. You may notice stretch marks on your tummy, breasts and buttocks. Your ankles, fingers and face may show swelling. Darker patches of skin called the mask of pregnancy can appear on your face.

One very serious condition to watch for is a problem with the liver. If you have nausea, loss of appetite, fatigue or jaundice combined with itching of the abdomen, palms or soles of the feet, consult your doctor immediately.

If you hate the way your ankles are swelling, remember the bad example set by Kim Kardashian and stash those high heels for the duration. Walk barefoot whenever possible or wear comfortable flats and sandals. Treat yourself to regular mani-pedis and gentle foot massages so your feet look so fabulous that no one will notice they’re a bit swollen!

Third trimester

The third trimester lasts from week 29 until week 40 (or until you give birth). By now, the size of the baby is putting pressure on your organs, leading to frequent trips to the bathroom as well as problems sleeping. You may also be experiencing swollen ankles, shortness of breath and tender breasts.

On the positive side, a look at your due date timeline serves as a reminder that you’ll be giving birth very soon. On the negative side, you may feel huge, heavy and clumsy. To cheer yourself up, indulge in sensual delights.

Splurge on your favourite candles, oils, creams, lotions and potions. Fill your home with deliciously fragrant flowers. Try relaxation methods like yoga or meditation, and treat yourself to a gentle, prenatal massage. If you feel calm and content in your final days of pregnancy, you’re more likely to have a stress-free birth and a healthy baby!

Which stage of pregnancy was your favourite – and least favourite?

August 13, 2013

How to Exercise During Pregnancy

Maintaining fitness is important to improving health, improving your mood and self-image, but when pregnant there are also additional benefits.

Exercise during pregnancy can help prevent problems such a pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, as well as many other physical and mental demands of being pregnant, though choosing the best activities is a foremost concern.

Regular exercise can help you deal with many uncomfortable side effects of pregnancy, including back ache, fatigue and constipation. Staying fit and healthy will also prepare you for the demands of labour and help to keep mother and baby well.

Exercises to avoid during pregnancy

When pregnant, it’s best to avoid activities where you might be thrown off-balance or have a hard fall on your belly. Sports to steer clear of include horse-riding, cycling, skiing, gymnastics and water skiing.

Diving is also unsafe during pregnancy. Scuba divers must decompress as they return to the surface of the water, and developing babies may have difficulty decompressing.

Ball sports are also risky as you may be hit in the stomach.

Exercises for a healthy pregnancy

Don’t overdo it when you’re pregnant, but aim to exercise for about 30 minutes, 3 times a week. As a rule, you should be able to hold a normal conversation while you’re exercising.

Exercising too often may make you more likely to give birth to a small baby, while high-impact workouts may put too much stress on your joints and pelvic floor muscles.

Great pregnancy exercises include yoga, walking, spinning and going to the gym. Water based sports such as swimming and water aerobics are also suitable and enjoyable.

Getting out in the countryside to go some activities in the fresh air is also beneficial for pregnancy, so if you fancy some adventure, go for a short hike or enjoy some kayaking.

Running during pregnancy tends to lead to leaner babies and shorter labour. Although jogging is fine for part of your pregnancy, your health care provider will probably advise you to stop jogging if you are experiencing any pregnancy complications.

If there is anything you’re unsure about, check with your health care provider for specific recommendations.

Keeping to an exercise regime and maintaining a healthy pregnancy will make it easier to control weight gain, so that reaching your ideal figure after giving birth is not as tough as you might think.

What are your favourite pregnancy exercises?

August 4, 2013

Top Ten Tips for Pre-Pregnancy Diet

Spent the last 15 years trying not to get pregnant? Now you want all that to change overnight don?t you? We all know our biological clock can tick louder than Big Ben sometimes, but if you are contemplating getting pregnant any time soon, you should get your body in training for the big event. As it is almost impossible to predict when one will fall pregnant, it is best to start your training or Pre-Pregnancy Diet as soon as you can. Here are some simple steps that will ensure both you and your baby have a happy and healthy pregnancy and beyond?
-Eat a healthy diet that includes fruits, vegetables, grains, and calcium-rich foods. Choose foods low in saturated fat. Recent research has shown that women with high fat pre-pregnancy diets are more likely to suffer severe nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy.

– Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, try to do some physical activity for at least 30 minutes, most days of the week. If you are pressed for time, you can get your activity by at least walking to the bus stop or taking the stairs instead of the lift. Swimming is a great exercise for both before and during pregnancy as it doesn?t put any direct force on your body yet strengthens your muscles and improves overall fitness.

– Medications – Review all your medications with your doctor, including any over-the-counter and prescription medications and ask if it is safe to keep taking them while you are trying to conceive and during pregnancy.

– If you have a cat, do not handle the cat litter. It can carry toxoplasmosis, a parasitic infection that can cause birth defects. Wear gloves while gardening in areas where cats may visit.

– Don’t eat uncooked or undercooked meats or fish.

– If you smoke, drink alcohol, or use drugs, STOP. These can cause long-term damage to your baby. Talk with your doctor about steps to take to stop smoking. Talk with a member of a counselor, a trusted friend, or your doctor if you are concerned about your alcohol or drug use.

– Stay away from toxic chemicals like insecticides, solvents (like some cleaners or paint thinners), lead, and mercury. Most dangerous household products will have pregnancy warnings on their labels.

– Avoid spas, saunas, and x-rays. (Most medical officers will ask you if you are pregnant before commencing any x-rays)

– Limit or eliminate your caffeine intake from coffee, tea, sodas, medications, and chocolate.

– Get informed – read books, watch videos, and talk with experienced mums.

April 27, 2004