Q: How do I stay fit while pregnant? -Stephanie
A: If you want to be fit while you’re pregnant, you need to be fit before you get pregnant. That way you’ll be able to maintain a much higher level of fitness throughout your pregnancy, even though you will have to decrease the intensity of your exercise program.
If you have not been participating in a workout program, you will want to start out with the basics and increase your intensity slowly as you start to get more comfortable with the exercises. Always consult your doctor before starting a workout program while pregnant.
From a fitness coach’s perspective, exercise is absolutely vital during pregnancy. If you can, do a complete fitness program that includes both strength training and cardio. Sometimes it may be difficult to work out because you’re nauseous, but be patient and do what you can. Working out during your pregnancy will give you more energy and allow you to maintain your fitness level. That means you’ll recover and get back to your pre-pregnancy fitness level more quickly.
Weight gain is a major issue with pregnancy and these are the most current guidelines for pregnancy weight gain from the Institute of Medicine (IOM):
If your pre-pregnancy weight was in the healthy range for your height (a BMI of 18.5 to 24.9), you should gain between 25 and 35 pounds – gaining 1 to 5 pounds in the first trimester, and about 1 pound per week for the rest of your pregnancy, for the optimal growth of your baby.
If you were underweight for your height at conception (a BMI below 18.5), you should gain 28 to 40 pounds. If overweight for your height (a BMI of 25 to 29.9), you should gain 15 to 25 pounds. If you were obese (a BMI of 30 or higher), you should gain between 11 and 20 pounds.
In order to stay within these recommendations, it is essential to not only exercise but to be on a healthy eating plan. Generally, women are only recommended to increase their caloric intake by 300 calories a day to provide for the growth and development of the baby. Pregnancy should not be a break from participating in a healthy eating program. It’s actually more important to be eating foods that provide the nutrients your body needs.
An important point to remember is that weight gain can come from many different sources: baby, body fat, muscle or swelling. The healthy weight gain should primarily be everything associated with the baby and your body trying to support the baby. If you are swelling you should definitely be working with your doctor. Many of the prescriptions used for nausea can cause swelling and water retention. For example, Zophran decreases urination, which in turn would cause water retention and weight gain.
Pregnancy is very challenging on your body, but don’t get discouraged. Make healthy choices and realize that it will take some effort to stay fit while pregnant.