Baby On Board

Congratulations, you’re pregnant! Or maybe you’re just planning for it. Either way, you’ll probably have some questions about fitness and nutrition, and what you can do during pregnancy. Yes, things will have to change, but what, how much, and when? Let’s look at some of the more important things.


Nutrition. First thing’s first, always consult with your physician, or at least a qualified nutritionist. There will be some considerations with regards to Vitamin and mineral intake. Chances are, you’re going to have to supplement, possibly the likes of folic acid and iron, and maybe including calcium and Vitamin D. But, like I said, that’s for your primary care physician to advise on. You’ll probably also need to up your fluid intake, especially during lactation. Remember, you need to make growing and developing as easy as possible on the fetus, but you also need to consider yourself.


And do you also remember the saying, “Eating for two”? Yeah, well that’s nonsense. You are not eating for two, at all. At best, you’re eating for about one and a quarter. During the second trimester, you’re going to want to eat roughly 350 more calories a day. And in the third trimester, that only increases to around 450. If you’re particularly active, it might be a bit more, but again, think of it as 25% more than what you’re usually eating every day. And that increase in calories should mostly come from carbohydrates, because of an increase in your metabolic rate and energy consumption. You’ll still need adequate protein though, surprise, especially during lactation.


So, what about physical considerations? Well, there are a few, and they tend to come more into play as your pregnancy moves on, mainly as you head into the second and third trimesters. During those two trimesters, you are going to want to reduce the intensity of your workouts. If you haven’t really been that active before, then you should only be doing light exercise. Stop thinking about trying to progress during this period, and think more about just keeping your muscles active and a moderate calorie burn. This is not the time to be hitting personal bests!


Some other things to consider are changes in your hormone secretion, specifically an increase in the hormone relaxin. This causes your ligaments to become more flexible in preparation for birth, however, it can also lead to you over-extending them and damaging them. So, know your limits, or err on the side of caution, and use a smaller range of motion during exercise. And no explosive or high impact activities. Contact is a big no too. You’re also going to want to avoid supine and prone positions. So, lying on your back and your stomach, as these can either cause potential problems for your baby, or your spine and blood flow. Give yourself about six to eight weeks after the birth to heal, and I’d probably get your abs checked out before getting back into fitness. And please remember to breathe steadily!


Honestly though, pregnancy isn’t really a time to be overly concerned with all this. You’re growing another human inside yourself! You’re going to put on weight, and that’s fine. You’re not going to be able to exercise at a high intensity, and that’s fine. There’s plenty of time afterwards to get back into the swing of things, just be sensible. Your primary concern during your pregnancy should be the health of yourself and your baby. That is what’s most important. I’ll see you again next week.


Dan Miller

Body Fuel Personal Fitness Trainer