Diet, Exercise & Getting Pregnant

What's the Connection?

Is there a connection between being fit and getting pregnant?  Maybe not exactly, but being physically active and eating properly can definitely lead to improved health which, by extension leads to a healthier pregnancy.

Physical activity, the act of moving around and being less sedentary, can decrease the risk of developing certain conditions like heart disease and high blood pressure.  By becoming active before pregnancy, the tendency to stay active during and after pregnancy is increased.  The same goes for eating properly.  When healthy eating habits are established prior to becoming pregnant, they are much easier to maintain during and after the pregnancy - which goes a long way to getting back into shape afterward.

Exercise Benefits

Physical activity and exercise has many benefits, including the stamina to carry your baby both before and after it is born - not to mention the energy needed during labor.  Exercise is a great way to relieve emotional stress, anxiety and depression.  Better sleep and more energy along with the ability to fight colds, flu and viruses with a stronger immune system are additional benefits.  By incorporating 30 minutes a day of cardiovascular exercise, which can be broken down effectively into three 10 minute sessions, along with 20 minutes of strength training a couple of times a week, a woman can prepare her body with strength for the coming pregnancy and birth. 

Maintaining a Healthy Weight

Maintaining a healthy weight is very important as well.  Exercise can help with that, although, it is also necessary to ensure a proper diet to keep the body both healthy and strong.  A woman who is underweight or overweight usually has problems conceiving.  If weight loss is necessary, it's best to do so before getting pregnant as losing weight during pregnancy is not advised.

By eating healthy prior to pregnancy, proper stores of vitamins and minerals in the body is ensured.  The things that help constitute a healthy diet are the inclusion of plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables for fiber and vitamins, whole grain carbohydrates to help feed the brain and keep energy flowing, lean protein from meat, fish, poultry or legumes and dairy for calcium.  It is advisable to limit sugar, salt and fat intake.  Anemia is common in pregnant women, so be sure to include iron-rich foods such as red meats, legumes and fortified cereals and breads.  It is possible to create a very balanced vegetarian diet if meat is not preferred.  Be sure to check for foods which are not recommended during pregnancy, such as unpasteurized dairy products, certain seafood, animal liver and large doses of vitamin A.  The health care provider can supply a list of foods both advised and not recommended.

A Change for the Better

With some imagination and commitment, establishing healthy habits of eating and exercise can benefit a woman before, during and after her pregnancy.

Find out about some common food taboos and superstitions in pregnancy in our pregnancy forum.

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