Your ultimate goal when expecting is to have a healthy pregnancy. According to Bonnie Berk, author of Motherwell Maternity Fitness Plan, a weight gain of 24 to 35 lbs can be expected during pregnancy due to baby, increased body fat, and increased weight of the uterus, among other things. Expectant mothers should follow a healthy diet and engage in regular cardiovascular exercise and strength training to lose fat and gain muscle.
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Count nutrients and not calories when expecting to monitor your eating. Eat nutritive foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean meats, nuts, and low or non-fat dairy when expecting.
Eat at least six small meals daily to fuel your metabolism, maintain blood sugar levels, and to provide energy for you and your growing baby.
Bring your hands together with your palms open. A small meal should fit into the palms of both hands.
Eat a light, low-fat snack at least one hour prior to exercise to avoid low blood sugar. Drink water before, during, and after your workouts to ensure proper hydration.
Begin all workouts with a five to 10 minute warm up.
Perform 20 to 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise, as tolerated, three times per week.
Perform strength training exercise utilizing fitness machines two to three times per week. Perform a strength training exercise for each major muscle group. To add variety to your strength training program perform circuit training exercises using six to eight pieces of strength training equipment.
Perform core-strengthening exercises using the exercise ball.
REFERENCES & RESOURCES
- “Motherwell Maternity Fitness Plan”; Bonnie Berk; 2005
- American Pregnancy Association: Exercise Guidelines during Pregnancy
- Mayo Clinic: Pregnancy and Exercise: Baby Let's Move