Newport Hospital Obstetrician Tips for Staying Healthy During Pregnancy
Emily G. Blosser, MD, PhD
Many women have questions about diet and exercise during pregnancy. It is important to understand your changing needs in order to optimize your energy and your baby’s development.
Let’s start with nutrition and the role of vitamins. A daily prenatal vitamin is the first step to making sure you have the vitamins and minerals your baby needs. These are sold without a prescription, but your doctor may also prescribe them.
There are a few things to consider. One is when you should start taking a prenatal vitamin. It may actually be beneficial to start before you even get pregnant. This is because some critical fetal development occurs in the weeks leading up to pregnancy. Starting with prenatal vitamins as soon as you start trying to conceive is a good idea. Otherwise, start after your first positive pregnancy test.
Should Your Prenatal Vitamin Include Iron? The answer may be yes, especially if you have a history of anemia. Around 300mg is an appropriate amount to take daily. If you suffer from constipation when taking oral iron, it is best to consult your doctor. Folate (the natural form of vitamin B9) is also important. Most prenatal vitamins include this supplement.
Prenatal vitamins can sometimes make nausea and vomiting worse, especially in the first trimester. Here are some helpful tips:
· Starting before you become pregnant can help improve your tolerance.
· Chewing gum or gum may be easier to digest.
· Take your prenatal after lunch or dinner instead of first thing in the morning.
· Your doctor may be able to prescribe medicine to treat nausea.
Nutrition, calories and dietary recommendations during pregnancy
Your caloric needs increase each trimester. During the first trimester, you need about 2,000 calories a day, about the same as when you’re not pregnant. In the second trimester, you need about 2,350 a day. This increases to 2,450 in the third quarter.
Focus your diet on protein (lean meats like chicken, fish, pork, or tofu) rather than carbohydrates. This helps control blood sugar and reduces the risk of gestational diabetes. Complex carbs like quinoa, brown rice, lentils, beans, peas, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and corn are also good options. And don’t forget the fruits and vegetables!
Healthy weight gain during pregnancy depends on a healthy diet and exercise. Estimated weight gain during pregnancy varies depending on your pre-pregnancy weight, but everyone is expected to gain weight faster during the third trimester. Remember that pregnancy is not a good time to try to lose weight.
Exercising during pregnancy
Exercise can help promote and maintain healthy weight gain during pregnancy. It is also important for maintaining good cardiovascular and circulatory function, while decreasing the risk of pregnancy complications such as blood clots.
If you exercised before pregnancy, it’s generally safe to continue your routine during pregnancy. It is best not to do exercises with a high risk of falling, colliding, or direct abdominal trauma. Weightlifting and Crossfit are also not recommended due to the risk of injury. Running, walking, swimming, water aerobics and stationary cycling are good exercises during pregnancy. Pregnancy yoga, pilates, and stretching are all great for maintaining a strong core and lower back. Light weight-bearing exercises can help maintain muscle tone.
These are just general guidelines for staying healthy during pregnancy. It is best to discuss specific issues with your supplier.
Emily G. Blosser, MD, PhD, is an obstetrician-gynecologist at Newport Women’s Health, a Lifespan Physician Group practice. Health Matters appears monthly on newportri.com and in The Daily News.