This month, our special guest bloggers, Lilah Al-Masri, MS, RD, CSSD, LD, and Simon Bartlett, PhD, CSCS, ATC, authors of 100 Questions and Answers about Sports Nutrition & Exercise, offer expert insights on the benefits of exercise during pregnancy.
When you’re struggling to keep a meal down during the first trimester, adapting to a changing body in the second, or huffing and puffing to make it to the bathroom as you near your due date then hitting the gym might be the last thing on your mind. But a growing body of research suggests that exercise has big benefits for both you and your baby. Even a simple walk around the block or a session of stretching can lead to an improved mood, better sleep, an easier labor and a quicker recovery.
Nutritional needs during pregnancy change as the pregnancy progresses. The first trimester of pregnancy not much changes in the way of calorie intake, but this is the time women often experience nausea and its side effects. As the pregnancy moves into the second and third trimesters, the effects of nausea tend to disappear and the calorie needs increase. Although no two pregnancies are the same, most women find that they tend to experience many of the same symptoms from one pregnancy to the next.
Women considering becoming pregnant can benefit greatly by engaging in regular cardiorespiratory and strength training exercise. The following provides an effective pre- pregnancy aerobic and strength training routine for women that is easy to administer, requires minimal time and equipment, and confers important mental and physical benefits for the mother-to-be. In order to maximize the benefits from the workouts, the program should begin at least three months prior to pregnancy and be done consistently with good technique. This sample workout is not all-inclusive; women, who are already engaged in a regular workout routine, should continue their workouts with modifications as the pregnancy progresses. However, for women who are not engaged in a regular workout program, the sample provided below is an excellent place to start and will offer numerous benefits to both mother and fetus. *Note – Before beginning a workout program, discuss the plan with your health care provider.
Pregnancy from conception to birth and beyond is a long journey. While most would describe it as an amazing experience, it is not free of few challenges along the way. This article is the first of a six-part series on nutrition and exercise recommendations for the cycle of pregnancy and its focus is on nutritionally preparing for pregnancy.