PS: This post was originally authored and published on www.theladysroom.ng, a female lifestyle website I contribute biweekly to…
There is a need for widespread awareness of the importance of working out and maintaining a healthy diet while pregnant. I say this because it is possible for pregnant women to say no to overindulging in cravings and say yes to more a more disciplined healthy lifestyle.
Beyond the aesthetic, research has shown an increase in obesity for women resulting from excess weight gain in pregnancy. For many women, the weight gain was subsequently hard to lose after delivery making it easy for them to accept the new size as normal.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not saying weight gain at some level becomes impossible to lose. I for one gained a whopping 40kg and lost 30kg about 4months post-partum, but my sister, it was HARD. In a world where we are not ready to put in even half the work required for the quick results we desire, more and more women are giving up, and accepting their new but unhealthy ‘normal’
Ladies, obesity is a dangerous health concern. The fight against obesity is a global one and all hands must be on deck. So let’s play our part and see how we can fight it by encouraging pregnant women to work hard to stay within the recommended weight gain range of 12 to 15kg for singleton pregnancies.
To get things rolling, I decided to answer a few questions about prenatal pregnancy. Here they are:
I crave a lot of Eba and Semo and can eat it all day. I hope that is ok?
No, Sis, it is not. There is no food we should eat all day, every day. Discipline is necessary and even more so in pregnancy. Although the jury is still out on whether cravings are as real and powerful as we make them in pregnancy, we all agree that we have control over these desires. Eba and semo are not the enemies in themselves. It is the frequency and portion with which they are consumed that causes wahala. Such high-calorie meals are best taken in the first half of the day, ideally at lunch and no more than a portion with lots of soup filled with green leafy veggies to not just nourish, but also fill that pregnant belly up. If the portion is not controlled and we indulge every craving, we will gain more weight than we need to gain and may find it hard to lose.
Here is what to do instead: Make a timetable of various meal options, then put these meals you love in say 3 to 4 times a week while making fruits and vegetables an everyday part of your diet. Now that is something to ‘crave’
What kind of exercise is safe and unsafe while pregnant?
Great!! I love this question because it shows a desire to exercise in pregnancy. So, as a rule, high floor impact workouts (like skipping and jumping jacks). Also, workouts that challenge stability (like cycling or horse/animal riding) and general high-intensity workouts that do not allow you to carry out a coherent conversation should be avoided in pregnancy. Same with any workout that has you lying flat on your back after the first trimester. If you lift weights regularly, experts say you should aim for no more than 7-10kg of weights in pregnancy. Except for professional athletes.
Conversely, walking is considered safe for pregnant women as you can always modify the intensity per time. Swimming is one of the most effective prenatal workouts for previous swimmers. The stationary bicycle is another great one as it works all the muscle around the pelvic region while toning the thighs. You may also use your body weight as your bump increases and do workouts like squats. Especially sumo squats, lunges (both static and forward lunges) while holding on to the wall or a chair for support, and turn up some music and dance dance dance
Aim for 30 to 45 minutes of moderate intensity workouts (as defined by your body) 5 times a week and girl, you are good to go.
I hate taking fruits and vegetables are a No-No for me. I hope it won’t affect my baby adversely
Well, the real question would be why would anyone hate taking foods that provide the body with minerals and vitamins to nourish it anti-oxidants to protect it, and fibre and good calories to fill it up, right?
Now, if all of these are beneficial to the body, imagine how doubly beneficial they would be to the baby within? Your baby gets everything from you, so you must act responsibly. If you are not taking all this good stuff, what then are you taking? That leaves junk and empty calories as options, which not only provide low-quality nutrients. (if we may even call then that) to your body but are higher in calories and will make unnecessary weight gain easy to happen.
When you are pregnant, you don’t just eat for taste. Or even to pacify hunger or satisfy cravings. We eat for health, for nutrients and for optimum nutrition for mother and baby. This means that we have to make unselfish and healthy choices for mommy and baby. That’s the good stuff Sister, and except you are deathly allergic, the good stuff is to be embraced and eaten.
One more thing. Your personal doctor probably knows best so take everything s/he says seriously. Also, feel free to run the comments and ideas shared here with he/she.
We will do more Q & A’s in the coming weeks, so if you have any specific questions you want answered, please email us on firstname.lastname@example.org