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Fit and Pregnant: How to Stay on Track

Dianna Graveman |27, October 2011


Fit and Pregnant: How to Stay on Track

Pregnancy is a thrilling time for both you and your partner. But the early joy of watching your body change and develop with your growing baby can turn into a struggle to stay healthy and fit in the second and third trimester, if you don't plan ahead.

Medical professionals usually suggest a pregnant woman gain about 25-35 pounds during the pregnancy, unless she is carrying more than one child. Of course, some new mothers are naturally thin and have no trouble staying within that range. But for most, a little bit of thought has to go into planning for a healthy and fit pregnancy and a reasonably quick return to pre-pregnancy weight after the birth.

Tips for staying fit during pregnancy

1. Eat a little bit of breakfast every day to jump start your metabolism, even if you're not a "morning person" and have to rise a little earlier to make time.

2. The amount of calories an average woman should consume each day to maintain her weight varies from person to person. During pregnancy, your doctor will probably suggest you increase your daily caloric intake by about 300 to 500 calories so your baby gets all the nutrition he needs. Try to add those extra calories through fruits and vegetables instead of through fatty or sugary foods.

3. Drink a lot of water. Experts suggest about 8 glasses of healthy fluids like water or juices each day.

4. Include a salad or steamed vegetable with every meal to help limit the amount of starches or other fats in your diet.

5. Don't go hungry! Eat small, healthy snacks to keep you from binge eating at mealtime or right before bed.

6. Don't assume because you are pregnant that you are "eating for two" and that you can and should eat anything you want whenever you want. A healthy pregnancy includes a healthy diet.

7. Walk at a moderate pace for about 30-minutes per day, based on a recommendation from The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. If the weather prohibits a walk outdoors, consider using a treadmill set to a comfortable pace. For any exercise more strenuous than a moderate walk, or if you have additional health concerns, consult your healthcare provider first. However, many activities like swimming and stationary cycling are usually considered safe during pregnancy.

8. Remember! You are supposed to gain weight during pregnancy. It may not be healthy for you to stay below the recommended pregnancy weight gain. Work with your healthcare provider to monitor your weight and stay within a range that is healthiest for you.

After the pregnancy

1. If possible, breastfeed your infant, which can burn up to 500 extra calories each day. Most healthcare providers recommend you do not, however, let your own calorie intake dip below 1,800—especially if you're breastfeeding—no matter how fast you want to lose weight.

2. Don't crash diet! Caring for a newborn can be stressful, and you don't need the additional stress of feeling hungry and deprived. Follow the same healthy tips you used during pregnancy—like drinking water and snacking on fresh fruit and vegetables—to keep your energy level high.

3. Keep on walking. Hopefully, you maintained a healthy daily routine of walking about 30 minutes per day during pregnancy. Don't stop now! If you can't find time to exercise for 30 minutes at once, or if you tire too easily, consider breaking your walk into three 10-minute increments. If the weather is pleasant, dress your baby appropriately and take him or her for a daily stroll. Regular exercise will help with mood swings, too.

4. Be patient! Keep in mind that the postpartum moms in TV land are not the norm. In fact, most of the time, the super slim and toned physiques displayed by brand new television moms aren't realistic at all—or even possible. Don't be too hard on yourself. A new mother will typically lose much of her pre-pregnancy weight within the first two weeks after birth as her body sheds extra fluids. However, it can take four weeks or more for the mother to really begin to feel like her body is beginning its return to a normal state. Eat well, exercise regularly, and enjoy your new baby. You'll be back to your old self in no time.

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Glitterrocks May 13, 2012 04:51:20 PM ET

Please give me at home excercises that i can do to keep fit. I am 11 weeks and gained 12 pounds, partially due to my pre- pregnancy state where I was no longer eating due to severe stress. I know, it was horrible, but it seems now my weight has climbed drastically. Help!!!

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