1. Be as active as possible
A combination of aerobic fitness and strength exercise is vital – you need to be fit for birth. If you’re unaccustomed to exercise there’s even more benefit to getting active – you don’t really want to lose weight when you’re pregnant, but if you’re pre-conception then that’s a great time to start working towards a healthy weight. During pregnancy, fitness levels can be boosted to prepare you for the demands of birthing and motherhood. Good activities to continue throughout pregnancy are brisk walking, running if you’re used to it, swimming and weight training. In addition, guided training on pelvic floor exercises and core engagement is essential and could help you reduce labour time and have a better birth.
2. Get in tune with your pelvic floor
There’s more to this than just doing traditional kegel exercises. Your pelvic floor is put under increasing strain as the foetus grows in size and weight so having strong muscles down there, and being able to contract and relax them fully will help to prepare you for a much more comfortable birth. The Royal College of Obstetrician and Gynaecologists say that “Pelvic floor exercises during pregnancy and immediately after birth may reduce the risk of urinary and faecal incontinence in the future.” (Recreational Exercise and pregnancy information leaflet, Sept 2006). Also read our article on the Pelvic Floor for more information.
3. Stay hydrated
Your body will have a higher demand for fluids required during pregnancy. This is because of the increase in blood volume and amniotic fluid which protects the foetus. Any fluids lost due to vomiting/morning sickness will need to be replenished as well. The best way to check you are properly hydrated is to check the colour of your urine – light is good whereas a dark colour means you need more water.
4. Eat healthy
Nourish yourself and your growing baby with good foods. The saying ‘we are what we eat‘ is a good phrase to keep in mind as you select your food, prepare your menus, and when shopping. A good tip is to keep ingredients fresh and in season – and have plates full of wonderfully colourful foods. Avoid processed foods as much as possible so you know exactly what you are eating.
5. Trust your instincts
If something feels odd or wrong, it likely is, so question it. Seek out advice from professionals and don’t rely on advice from friends or groups on social media channels. You and your circumstances are completely unique. You and your baby deserve the best possible care you can get. Professionals have the correct training and knowledge, and know the right questions to ask to ensure you and your baby are kept safe.
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Reference: RCOG leaflet: https://www.rcog.org.uk/globalassets/documents/patients/patient-information-leaflets/pregnancy/recreational-exercise-and-pregnancy.pdf
Read this other article: 4 Key Issues to Avoid during Pregnancy