Health and Nutrition

✔  All your baby’s nutrition comes from what you eat, so you need lots of fruit and vegetables, and also dairy and meat products.

✔  You will need almost two-times more protein than normal, so aim to eat five servings of meat (especially liver), fish, nuts, dairy products, eggs or beans.

✔  You will need almost two-times more iron than normal so eat things like spinach, red meat, nuts, dried apricots and beans. Also, ask your doctor about iron supplements if you are feeling tired.

✔  You will need 40% more calcium than normal so eat plenty of dairy foods and dark leafy vegetables like spinach.

✖   Moderate your salt intake by limiting processed foods like potato chips, not adding it to food and limiting how much you use when cooking.

✔  Aim to drink two liters of water or more. It will reduce bloating and help prevent things like constipation, bladder infections and most importantly preterm labor.

✖   Cut down on caffeine, like coffee and tea, and also sodas like Coke, which have high amounts of sugar, caffeine and chemicals. Limit to one cup per day.

✖   Do not use cigarettes, alcohol and other drugs as these are all harmful to your unborn baby and can cause birth defects, premature birth and infant death.

✔  Take a prenatal vitamin every day that has at least 400mcg of folic acid, which has been proven to reduce birth defects. Keep taking it after birth, especially if you are breastfeeding. 

✖   Some foods are very harmful to you and your baby, including raw/undercooked meat, fish and eggs, high mercury fish (like shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish), unpasteurized soft cheeses, raw sprouts and herbal products (like medicines and some teas).

Exercise

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Exercise is very good for pregnancy and medical evidence proves it is safe in most cases. It reduces pain in the back and legs, strengthens the muscles to better support the weight of the baby, reduces constipation and swelling in hands/feet, helps the mother maintain a healthy weight and helps the body during childbirth.

Browse our videos for quick and easy exercises to relieve neck, back and leg pain and to strengthen your body:

Relieving tension and gentle stretching (suitable in most cases for all stages of pregnancy)

Opening hips and pelvis I                   Opening hips and pelvis II  

Relieving neck tension                       Relieving back tension

Stretching lower back                         Stretching lower body

Strengthening legs/glutes I                 Strengthening legs/glutes II                                            

Try to exercise for at least 30 minutes per day. If you work in an office, for every hour you must sit, you should get up and move about for at least 5-10 minutes. Remember, there are some activities you should not do while pregnant, including jumping, sharp movements, high contact sports or ones where you might fall and cause yourself injury.

Healthy Weight Gain

On average, women gain 10-12kg during pregnancy; 0.5kg-2kg in trimester 1, about 5kg in trimesters 2, and about 5kg in trimester 3. Putting on weight slowly and steadily is best. Don't worry too much if you gain a little more or a little less than you think you should in any week. You may have a few growth spurts when you gain several pounds in a short time, and then level off. And while you don't want to gain too much weight, don’t ever try to lose weight during pregnancy.

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Most pregnant women need only about 300 extra calories per day. Use these tips when planning your meals to make sure they are healthy and help you gain the right amount of weight when pregnant:

  1. Eat foods from the five food groups at every meal.
  2. Choose whole-grain bread and pasta, low-fat or skim milk and lean meat, like chicken, fish and pork. Eat 8 to 12 ounces of fish that are low in mercury each week.
  3. Put as much color on your plate as you can, with all different kinds of fruits and vegetables. Make half of your plate fruits and vegetables.
  4. Plan on eating four to six smaller meals a day instead of three bigger ones. This can help relieve heartburn and discomfort you may feel as your baby gets bigger.
  5. Make sure your whole meal fits on one plate. Don’t make huge portions.
  6. Drink six to eight glasses of water each day.
  7. Take your prenatal vitamin each day. This is a multivitamin made just for pregnant women.
Category: Nutrition and exercise

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