Exercise is very important to the well-being of women. It provides benefits such as improving cardio, respiratory, and muscular fitness; lowers risks of depression, breast cancer, colon cancer, type 2 diabetes, unhealthy cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease and obesity. Performing 2 and a half hours of moderate exercise or 1 hour and 15 minutes of vigorous exercise each week is very beneficial to a woman’s overall health.
Exercise is essential before, during, and after pregnancy. During pregnancy, low level aerobics are encouraged instead of high impact exercise. Your heart beat should not exceed 140 beats per minute. If you had a specific workout routine before you got pregnant, it is important to discuss with your health care provider whether continuing your exercise routine at the same rate is safe. To read about the importance of exercise during pregnancy and the effect it has on brain development please visit:
Getting enough physical rest is just as important as getting enough exercise. Sleep helps to rejuvenate body energy, repair muscle tissue, and set off the release of hormones that effect appetite and growth. If you consistently deny yourself from a quality amount of sleep, your risk will increase for conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, depression, headaches, and obesity will increase. For pregnant women it is easy to get tired during pregnancy; thus, you should try to get as much rest as possible and go to bed early at least once a week. Read a book or listen to music to unwind and enjoy a break from work and any other activities during the day.
Achieving and maintaining a healthy body weight includes:
- Eating more whole grain, fruits, and vegetables
- Consuming less greasy food, sweets, and meat high in fat
- Replacing sweet drinks such as sodas and unnatural drinks, with natural juices and water.
A pregnant woman should include the following in her daily diet:
- 8 glasses of water
- 2-3 servings of lean meat, fish, chicken without the skin, cooked dried peas and beans.
- 6 servings of whole grain breads and cereals.
- 3 servings of low fat milk or non fat milk products.
- 5 servings of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Seeking Uplifting Guidance
Knowing what to expect during and after pregnancy can alleviate uncertainties and high stress levels during pregnancy. Seeking guidance whether from God, an influential person, or a great book can help you spiritually and mentally prepare you for your journey with your new baby. Others can get guidance from their parents, significant other, pastors, church members, counselors, or an uplifting friend. Receiving inspiration and encouragement from someone other than your health care provider can improve your outlook on being pregnant. Many hospitals and fitness centers offer prenatal classes in breathing, stretching, and relaxation techniques. These classes can be a great aid to a woman’s birthing experience.