For many pregnant women, their famous last words are the well-known excuse, “I’m eating for two.” One of the joys of pregnancy is being able to enjoy an abundance of delicious foods because you need to nourish your growing child and yourself. However, excessive weight gain can lead to pregnancy complications down the line. Plus, no one wants to deal with seeing high numbers on the scale post pregnancy. For a healthy and balanced pregnancy, be mindful of your meal choices and lifestyle starting from the moment you find out you’re expecting.
Make a Meal Plan
Planning meals ahead of time eliminates the temptation to make a quick-fix frozen dinner or head to your favorite fast food joint. Include lean protein, whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables into each meal to ensure you’re getting all of the nutrients you and your growing baby need. The first few weeks of your pregnancy are critical to your baby’s development, according to FirstResponse.com. The earlier you begin meal planning, the more beneficial it will be for your baby’s health and your personal weight gain. Incorporate foods like sweet potatoes, bananas, avocado, salmon and yogurt into your diet.
Develop a Daily Exercise Routine
Pregnancy is no excuse to become a nine-month couch potato. In fact, moderate exercise will help you burn off the extra calories that you don’t need and will keep your weight gain in check, according to Web MD. Take a walk around your neighborhood or go for a swim. Join a prenatal exercise class or participate in a prenatal yoga session. Whatever you choose, consult your doctor before you start a new exercise routine.
Always Eat Your Breakfast
Start your day with a healthy breakfast, such as scrambled eggs and toast or a bowl of whole grain cereal. It kick-starts your metabolism and provide your body with the nutrients it needs to begin the day. You will probably eat five or six small meals each day, and you’ll want breakfast to be one of them. Remember, the average woman only needs to gain between 25 and 35 pounds during pregnancy, according to Web MD. You won’t want to indulge in pancakes, bacon and sausage every morning. Instead, pack extra protein and calories into your diet by spreading peanut butter on your toast.
Reduce Your Stress
When you’re stressed out, you’re more likely to grab that giant piece of chocolate cake and gobble it up in order to feel better. Lowering your stress level will help you curb the comfort eating habit. Managing your stress during pregnancy helps to protect your growing baby, according to Lamaze.org. If you find yourself feeling flustered or overwhelmed, practice deep breathing exercises. This will not only help you feel calm and relaxed, it also will help you prepare for the experience of childbirth.
Drink Plenty of Water
Carry a bottle of water with you wherever you go. When pregnant, you need to drink about 10 cups of fluids each day and most of those should be water. It keeps you hydrated and helps your body function the way it needs to in order to support the growing life inside of you, according to WomensHealth.gov. Drink a glass of water in between the small meals and snacks that you eat throughout the day to help curb your hunger and keep up your fluid intake. In addition to keeping your weight gain under control, water also will help prevent constipation, hemorrhoids and swelling.