Guest Blogger: Health and Fitness During Pregnancy
Health and fitness during pregnancy
During a woman’s pregnancy, it is no wonder a lot of fuss is made about a woman’s health and well being when she is expecting a baby – this is a very important time for mother and child, and maternal levels of fitness, and chosen lifestyle, have a direct effect on the baby’s future.
Options for a good diet
During pregnancy, the body is adapting every day to the growth and development of the baby. This remarkable process means that the nutrients gained from whatever mommy eats and drinks are passed directly to the fetus.
For this reason, it’s really important for pregnant women to look after their diet, getting a good balance of carbohydrate, protein, vitamin and minerals, as well as essential fats. It’s useful to focus on lean meat and fish, salad and fresh vegetables, rather than too many French fries and potato chips.
It is equally important to avoid smoking, drinking alcohol and very spicy foods, as well as items that may contain bacteria harmful to the baby, such as shellfish. Healthcare providers often offer diet sheets and lists of foodstuffs it is best to leave off the menu while pregnant.
Options for keeping fit
Fitness is also key at this time; pregnancy is tiring so a moderate level of exercise can help alleviate fatigue and maintaining a good posture can help women to avoid aching legs and back. Also, it’s generally thought keeping fit during pregnancy can result in an easier delivery, with fewer complications.
Gentler exercise regimes are better than vigorous aerobics, although low-impact aerobics are a good option. Brisk walking is good as this provides a moderately intense activity using gentle movement. Swimming is a useful way to tone muscles without strain, as the water takes the weight. Practicing Yoga and Pilates are also great options, as long as particular positions are not likely to be harmful – always check with a qualified instructor before designing a personalized practice routine.
Most women do not give up work until towards the end of their pregnancy, and as long as their job does not involve excessive manual labor, for example heavy lifting, staying at work is usually fine. Many people like to prepare for the arrival of a new family member, and this might mean creating a new nursery or buying baby equipment. A house move is not normally recommended during pregnancy, for the simple reason that this is a major disruption and may prove very stressful.
It is sensible for women to discuss any health concerns with their healthcare provider, particularly if this centers on a genetic issue in the family history. One of the breakthroughs and advantages in treatment options today is the possibility of authorizing the collection of umbilical cord blood, after the birth, for umbilical cord banking. Cord blood produces unique stem cells that have the capacity to replicate other types of cells in the body, and are valuable in the treatment of an increasing number of diseases and conditions, including several types of cancer. Putting cord blood into storage provides a type of insurance against future childhood or adult illnesses.
Written by Sarah Parker, a graduate of journalism in the UK, specializing in health & fitness.”