Diet and Exercise For Pregnant Women

When women find out that they are pregnant, they experience a wide range of emotions.  Joy, excitement and to be honest, quite a bit of nervousness.  Many pregnant women worry that their poor diet choices before becoming pregnant may cause complications for their pregnancy.  Pregnancy is often the greatest motivating factor for women to take control of their health by following a balanced and healthy diet.

As women progress through each week of their pregnancy, they will start to see changes to their body.  These changes are also affected by the foods that they are eating.  Having a good understanding of what their nutritional needs are as well as what foods to avoid during pregnancy will greatly help them get their old body back after delivery.

Recent studies have shown that women who are physically active and following a healthy diet plan before getting pregnant have a much easier time getting back into shape after they have delivered their baby.  Whether you are pregnant or not at this time, be sure to consult your doctor before starting a new exercise or diet routine.  But getting sufficient exercise and nutrients are crucial to your health and will also minimize the chances of other pregnancy related health issues for you and your baby.

Most women realize that getting proper exercise and nutrition during pregnancy will benefit their baby’s health and make their pregnancy and delivery easier. What many women do not realize is that their fitness and diet during pregnancy also directly contributes to the long term health of their child and how quickly they can regain their old pre-baby body.

Gestational diabetes is a real risk for many women and occurs in approximately 3% – 10% of all pregnancies.  The number of women with gestational diabetes has roughly doubled within the past six years.  Women who were at an elevated risk of diabetes before pregnancy are much more likely to develop gestational diabetes during their pregnancy.  Women who are sedentary, have unhealthy diets, are over 35 years of age or who smoke are also at an increased risk.

Gestational diabetes is a serious risk to the health of both mother and baby.  Although it is treatable, women who develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy are at risk to develop type 2 diabetes later in life.  Children whose mothers had this condition during pregnancy are also at risk to develop type 2 diabetes later in life.  The good news is that women can follow a healthy diet plan and get moderate exercise to minimize the risk of developing this condition during or after pregnancy.

Pregnant women should gain approximately 25 – 35 pounds during their pregnancy.  Ideally, they should gain 2-4 pounds during the first trimester and then about a pound per week for the rest of their term.  She should eat about 300 additional calories of healthy nutritious food each day and make sure she is getting moderate exercise to maintain a healthy pregnancy.

Many women who were less active and ate an unhealthy diet before and during their pregnancy end up gaining too much weight.  It is not uncommon for women in this category to gain more than twice the recommended amount of weight.  They will have a much harder time losing the extra weight after they given birth and women who are obese or become obese during pregnancy are much more likely to have obese babies who grow up to be obese children and adults.  This leads to other significant health problems down the road.

Making good choices when it comes to fitness and diet before and during pregnancy is one of the very best things a mother can do to ensure the immediate and long term health of not only herself, but also of her baby.

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