If you’re reading this article it’s more than likely you have recently found out that you are pregnant, so I guess the first thing I want to say is—congratulations! The next few months are going to bring an exciting rollercoaster of changes to your body, your outlook on life, and your lifestyle.
You’ll need to think about a pregnancy diet, your exercise during pregnancy routine, your working hours, sleep patterns, your social life. In fact, there are so many things to think about when it comes to pregnancy health and fitness; it can be hard to know where to start!
So to make it a little easier for you, this series of articles is going to break it all down into the top ten of everything you need to know to make your pregnancy fitness a breeze!
One of the first things you will need to do is look at what you can and cannot eat for great pregnancy nutrition:
1. Stop ALL caffeine. Yes there are loads of sites that tell you a couple of cups of coffee a day won’t kill you, but that doesn’t mean that it will do you any good. Caffeine overstresses the adrenal glands and sends LOTS of stress hormones into your bloodstream, which keeps you in permanent fight or flight mode. This is exhausting for your poor body which is already dealing with extreme fatigue from all the changes happening with your pregnancy and can have a big impact on the welfare of you and your baby.
Some studies show that caffeine can lead to miscarriage, so play it safe and stay well clear!
2. Say goodbye to runny eggs! You MUST cook your eggs all the way through so that the yolk is solid to prevent salmonella.
3. Avoid peanuts and go careful with other nuts if you or your partner have allergies including asthma, eczema, or hay fever. It is also thought that peanuts can lead to your baby developing a peanut allergy. So my advice—if in doubt, leave it out! It’s really not worth the risk for the sake of a bag of nuts—surely!
4. Load up on leafy green vegetables like spinach which contain lots of folic acid. You should also be taking a folic acid supplement as this is essential in the first trimester of pregnancy to prevent neural tube defects. Taken daily whilst trying to get pregnant and in the 1st trimester of pregnancy folic acid can reduce the risks of neural tube defects by up to 70 percent.
5. Drink MORE WATER! This may seem like a contradiction in terms when you’re running to the loo every two minutes, but most pregnant women don’t drink enough BECAUSE of this! Hydration is essential for pregnancy health.
6. Don’t eat undercooked meat. You may love a tender cut of rib eye steak that is pink in the middle, but you won’t love the coli form bacteria, salmonella, or toxoplasmosis that may be hiding in it.
7. Try to eat a different colored vegetable with every meal. Each vegetable contains different macronutrients so by eating from the whole spectrum, you can be certain that you are getting everything you need to grow a healthy baby and stay in great shape through your pregnancy!
8. Stay well clear of raw shellfish as it could well cause food poisoning. Cooking shellfish will eradicate some infection, but it won’t destroy the algae related infection associated with red tides.
9. Give tuna, swordfish, shark, and king mackerel a miss as the contain high levels of mercury.
10. Eat protein with EVERY meal. Protein is the building blocks of life and your baby needs a LOT of this to grow, so never skip out on your protein!
Protein also takes longer to digest so making you feel fuller for longer—great news for those of you suffering morning sickness!
So that’s it! This list is by no means exhaustive but it gives you a great place to start. As always, with any major change in your diet you should consult with your pregnancy health care team before starting a new program or radically changing your diet.