Staying in Shape During Pregnancy
Modern society has witnessed a profound change in domestic roles. For years, women have maintained full-time professional careers; many are have long since become equal partners in the financial support of their families. This is often the case for a surrogate mother. A woman who wishes to become a surrogate must be financially stable before she may be considered eligible to carry a child on behalf of intended parents.
These factors have contributed to an upsurge in public interest in regard to health and lifestyle concerns for pregnant women. A growing proportion of women who are pregnant or are looking to become pregnant wish to know how to eat right, what nutritional supplements to take, and how to exercise to help keep their bodies in excellent condition.
Here are a few tips for staying in optimum shape while pregnant. These will not only help to minimize the impact which pregnancy has on the human body, but will also help to speed up physical recovery after childbirth by maintaining optimum health during pregnancy.
Drinking plenty of water, at least 1 ½ to 2 liters per day, will have several beneficial effects. It will ensure hydration, which will help to reduce muscle fatigue and tiredness, and will also reduce morning sickness and other instances of nausea. There is also a demonstrable link between staying hydrated and reduced caloric intake. Drinking water won't affect hunger pangs, but keeping hydrated – even through the consumption of water-rich foods – will reduce caloric intake, by prolonging the length of time after a meal during which the body feels sated.
Eat Tasty Foods (That Are Also Healthy)
Protein and Omega-3 Fats
For a pregnant woman, as well as for her child, it is important to consume ample amounts of protein and Omega-3 fats. Given the impact that pregnancy has on the digestive system, an increase in fiber intake is strongly suggested, in order to avoid concerns such as constipation. It is strongly advised to avoid certain foods, where possible, such as those which include high amounts of artificial pesticides and seafood that is high in methylmercury.
One form of seafood that can be consumed is salmon. Wild-caught salmon is the best option, as it is extremely low in methylmercury (even when compared to farm-raised salmon, which is itself comparatively quite low in methylmercury). The FDA recommends no more than twelve ounces of salmon per week for pregnant women, but eating two or three 4 oz servings will provide significant quantities of both protein and Omega-3's.
Eating organic meat, poultry, and dairy products has little documented support in terms of its being healthier for a growing baby than the alternative – and it's an expensive way to go. It is possible to avoid artificial pesticides, however, by buying organic produce. If organic produce isn't an option, focus on leafy vegetables with an outer layer that can be removed – or fruits with thick outer peels, such as oranges and bananas. Be sure and rinse off any non-organically grown grapes, berries, beans, or tomatoes, as these tend to receive high amounts of synthetic pesticides.
Beans, and nuts – particularly walnuts – are excellent sources of protein and plant-based Omega-3's. The full amount of necessary Omega-3’s won’t be found in walnuts alone, but they're a useful and convenient supplement for an otherwise healthy diet – and they're high in fiber.
Pursue Fun and Enjoyable Activities
Many people make the mistake of taking up exercise because they think it's healthy. In reality, they adopt activities which don't meet their specific needs, and which they don't enjoy doing. Then, they abandon them shortly thereafter, the fate of countless millions of New Years' resolutions over the years.
Talk to your doctor about your particular needs during pregnancy, then weigh your options. If you don't enjoy Yoga, don't practice Yoga (although there is such a thing as prenatal Yoga, and its adherents swear by its effectiveness). Other effective options for women who are pregnant include the plie, the curl-and-lift, and even planking. Swimming is a safe and popular option for overall fitness, made possible year-round by public pools and inexpensive gym memberships.
There are many exercise programs available which cater to a variety of specific needs, ranging from maintaining general fitness to specifically preparing for childbirth.
Wear What Feels Right
Dress in workout clothes that are comfortable, but which also appeal to your sense of taste and style. A pregnant woman is beautiful; she is carrying the miracle of new life within her!
Wearing clothes that accentuate your baby bump, while emphasizing your overall level of fitness, can be helpful in motivating you to keep working out. Motivation is key, and is something that even the most dedicated of individuals have trouble with maintaining from time to time. Several other tips for maintaining your workout motivation include writing down your goals, rewarding yourself after a workout, and working out with a friend.
A better self-image is also helpful in maintaining posture, which is inherently important. Good posture is crucial for a pregnant woman, but it rarely receives the attention that it deserves. Not only will it reduce any pain or discomfort experienced during pregnancy, but it will also provide more room for a baby to grow, while helping to ensure that they maneuver into the proper position for childbirth.
For More Information
- Visit ConceiveAbilities.com for information about our Surrogate Sisterhood events, where surrogates who have worked with ConceiveAbilities in the past share their personal stories, offering helpful advice about what they did to eat healthy, stay in shape, and have fun!
- Click here for the Environmental Working Group’s well-sourced and informative 2016 guide to pesticide exposure. This site presents a detailed list of pesticide exposure by crop type, and can be extremely useful in putting together a set of personal produce buying guidelines.
- WebMD offers a variety of resources on how to manage pregnancy safely and effectively, including this section concerned with how to safely exercise while pregnant.
- Babycenter.com provides this useful guide for handling postpartum exercise, including when to start exercising after giving birth and how best to go about it safely.