A fitter pregnancy
Three simple steps to keep you healthy.

1. Feed your foetus

A well-balanced diet should include the following foods:

  • Fresh fruit and vegetables, especially dark green and yellow ones, to boost beta-carotene or vitamin A intake and those that are good sources of vitamin C.
    Examples: Vitamin A or beta-carotene: carrots, pumpkin, sweet potato, butternut, broccoli, yellow peaches, paw-paw, and mangoes Vitamin C: oranges, grapefruit, naartjies, lemons, guavas, strawberries, kiwi fruit, paw-paw, mangoes, the cabbage family, sweet green peppers
  • Unprocessed bread, cereals and grains to ensure that you get sufficient B-vitamins and dietary fibre to keep you regular
    Examples: high-fibre breakfast cereals, brown or wholewheat bread and rolls, maize meal or oats porridge, brown rice, pasta
  • Milk and dairy products to provide you with the large amount of calcium you need to build the baby’s bones and teeth, plus protein and riboflavin
    Examples: whole or low-fat or skimmed milk, yoghurt, cottage cheese, other cheeses - use the low-fat varieties if you are scared of gaining weight
  • Lean meat, poultry, fish and eggs to provide body-building protein, iron and vitamin B12 for a healthy blood supply and essential fatty acids (found in fish and omega-3 enriched eggs)
  • Fats and oils for energy and essential fatty acids - use sparingly if you are trying to control weight gain, and remember that soft tub margarines, which are rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, and olive oil which is one of the richest sources of monounsaturated fatty acids, are your best options.

2. Stretch your muscles

Unless you're a superfit athlete, you might not feel up to running or your usual aerobics class once your tummy gets bigger. Here are some few types of exercise that can be comfortable and useful during pregnancy:

  • Walking,
  • Swimming
  • Water aerobics,
  • Prenatal yoga,
  • Callisthenics specifically designed for pregnancy, relaxation techniques and Kegel exercises.

While exercise is beneficial for most women during pregnancy, it is not the time to break a personal record or take up a full-contact sport. If you exercised regularly before becoming pregnant, continue your program with modifications as you need them. But if you were sedentary, begin slowly and build gradually as you become stronger, and always check with your doctor or midwife before starting or changing an exercise regimen.

Try to exercise at least 30 minutes a day unless your doctor has advised against it. Exercise can actually boost your energy level and help you cope with the pregnancy fatigue.

3. Recharge your batteries

Your normal 8 hour working day, now feels like 16 hours as fatigue is kicking in and all you can think about is to curl up and take a nap under your desk. Some tips to fight that terrible fatigue at work:

  • Take frequent breaks.
  • If you have been standing, sit down and put your feet up. If you've been sitting, stand up and walk around.
  • Stretch frequently to ease back pain.
  • Wear comfortable shoes and loose clothing.
  • To prevent varicose veins and swelling, wear maternity tights or support hose.
  • Turn down overtime, especially in jobs requiring physical activity.
  • Get plenty of rest. Go to bed at a reasonable hour and get up early enough to get ready for work without rushing.
Do follow these options? Do you believe in eating for two?

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