You know the way everyone keeps telling you that labour is like running a marathon? Well it is! So, think of it like this: if you were actually going to run a marathon you’d have to train for it, exercise, eat well and really prepare yourself for it beforehand. So you should do the same when it comes to labour!
Here are some tips for getting fit and healthy during pregnancy:
1. Go Walking
Exercise* is so important. I’m not suggesting you suddenly join a gym or take up running but going for a walk in the evening is a good place to start.
Top Tip: You should be able to talk during exercise. If you can’t, you may be doing too much!
2. Just Keep Swimming
Swimming is another wonderful low-impact aerobic activity. You can take it at your own pace and it’s also great for strengthening core muscles (which will be important when bump gets bigger). Swimming can be extremely relaxing too, and as baby gets heavier the “weightlessness” could be a godsend! Again, take it nice and easy – you might even want to check with your doctor or midwife before you start anything new.
3. Drink Water
You’re probably thinking “no thank you, I already pee a million times a day”. When you are pregnant, your body needs even more water to stay hydrated and to support little baby.! You’ll be thankful in the long run as it can also help prevent some of the ‘lovely’ side effects of pregnancy – constipation, piles and urinary tract or bladder infections!
Top Tip: A good way to know you’re drinking enough fluids is when your pee is almost clear!
4. Eat for Two
Okay so the whole eating for two thing doesn’t actually mean you’re allowed eat a whole tub of Ben & Jerry’s. Sorry! What it really means, is that you can no longer be selfish with your diet – it’s not just you that you’re looking after now. That means you will have to give up certain things – sushi, some cheeses, pâté etc. You can also no longer be lazy with your diet.
Make sure you’re getting grains, vegetables and proteins and that you eat little and often. Balancing your diet in this way will help you to maintain your energy and curb any cravings for a quick fix (usually foods with empty calories!)
It’s also doubly important that you make sure you’re getting the right vitamins and minerals when you’re pregnant. During pregnancy, our bodies need more of certain nutrients, like iron, to perform its daily duties. If you’re not able to get enough from your diet, talk to your doctor about vitamin and mineral supplementation during pregnancy.
Top Tip: I found that eating easy peel oranges once or twice a day stopped me from wanting chocolate or sweets, I was getting the sugar I needed from them!
Some people take Yoga classes, or buy a Pregnancy Yoga DVD. One thing that is very good about Yoga is the breathing techniques you will learn. Learning breathing techniques can help you in a couple of ways.
First of all, it’s so important to be able to relax while you are pregnant. You are doing an amazing job right now and you should be rewarding yourself with some down time! One thing my midwife kept saying to me during my pregnancy was “if you’re happy, the baby’s happy” so with that in mind – don’t let yourself get stressed – relax. You’ll need to be rested before that marathon!
The other thing breathing will help you with is the labour. Breathing properly during labour actually does wonders – you “breathe through” your contractions. If you can get your hands on a pregnancy yoga DVD or you can go to a class – it’s highly recommended.
If you follow these tips, you can’t go wrong! Mix and match to what suits you best – we all have different schedules and no two women are the same. The most important thing now is that you look after yourself and have a happy, healthy pregnancy.
*Note: You should stop exercising and call your doctor as soon as possible if you have any of the following:
- Chest Pain/Difficulty Breathing
- Abdominal pain
- Problems with your vision
- Unusual/bloody discharge
- Baby stops moving