Prenatal Care: Healthy Diet and Exercise Tips

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Guest blogger: Lindsay V., Communications Coordinator

Everyone knows that a combination of diet and exercise is the key to a healthy lifestyle. When you are pregnant, it becomes even more important. Everything you do now also affects the health of your baby.

Diet

Depending on the trimester you are in, you could be experiencing pregnancy side effects ranging from constant nausea to extreme cravings. No matter what your appetite is like, it is important to make healthy choices. During pregnancy, you should be cautious of certain foods that can compromise development, while also ensuring that you eat nutrient-rich foods your baby needs. Here are some dos and don’ts to remember:

DO:

  • Do load up on nutrients. The five nutrients to remember are folate, calcium, iron, zinc and fiber.
  • Do eat a rainbow of foods. Not all fruits and vegetables are green. Items such as blueberries, carrots and spinach are the richest in antioxidants.
  • Do limit your exposure to pesticides by choosing organic and locally grown foods when possible.
  • Do get your omega-3 fatty acids through flaxseed oil and walnuts, which are the safest sources during pregnancy. Fish is typically a reliable source, but it can be high in mercury that is harmful during pregnancy.
  • Do multitask by choosing foods that are rich in several nutrients. Yogurt, peanut butter, chicken, beef, and eggs are all high in protein, calcium and iron.

DON’T:

  • Don’t “EAT FOR TWO.” Gaining weight during pregnancy is healthy, but gaining too much is not. Talk to your doctor to determine what is considered a healthy weight for you.
  • Don’t overdose on refined carbs. White bread, white rice, sweets and sodas spike your glucose levels. Unrefined grains such as whole-wheat, brown rice and oatmeal are healthier choices.
  • Don’t overlook food safety. Don’t eat raw or undercooked food, or anything that has been sitting out for more than two hours.
  • Don’t go more than 2-3 hours without eating.
  • Don’t forget to stay hydrated.

Exercise

Even though you may not feel like doing much at all as your belly grows week after week, it is important to keep moving throughout pregnancy to exercise the muscles you will be using during childbirth.

For most women, exercise during pregnancy is not only safe but encouraged—labor and delivery can be easier if you are in good shape. However, your first trimester is not the time to jump into a new exercise regimen. If you have not been hitting the gym much lately you will want to ease into it.

The best place to start is by walking and stretching on a daily basis. Swimming, riding a stationary bike, using an elliptical and low-impact aerobics are other cardio options you can do as your pregnancy progresses. You might also want to explore prenatal yoga.

It is important not push yourself as hard as you normally might and overdo it. If you are feeling over-exerted be sure to rest. Discuss with your doctor before beginning or continuing with any type of exercise, as some pregnancy conditions can put you at risk.

There are so many things to consider when you are prepping for a baby it could make your head spin.

Compass Rose Health Plan members who visit their doctor within the first trimester are eligible for our free Prenatal Care Program. Enjoy an eBook that outlines prenatal self-care, or download our prenatal app using your smart phone to help guide you through your pregnancy. To sign-up and/or view additional tips and resources, please visit the Prenatal Care section on our website.

Your baby’s future is just as important as their health. Imagine what would happen if something tragic unexpectedly took you. Would your savings be enough to help cover the mortgage and college tuition when the time comes? Provide your child with the financial protection they need. Consider our Group Term Life Insurance Plan, underwritten by New York Life Insurance Company*. Visit our website to learn more**.

*NY, NY 10010 on policy form GMR-ER-P
**includes details about features, costs, exclusions, limitations, eligibility and renewability

SOURCES: http://www.fitpregnancy.com/nutrition/prenatal-nutrition/10-safe-and-healthy-foods-pregnancy and http://www.thebump.com

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