One of my clients just got the wonderful news that she is pregnant! Does she have to eat or exercise differently compared to before? Because she is a new client with weight loss goals, it is important that she focus more on eating healthy than dieting, at this point. She can continue doing the same exercises in the gym, for now, however, as she and her baby grows, we will have to modify her exercise choices and perhaps her intensity, too.
Some of the changes in her nutrition will include; increasing her folate, iron, and iodine, eating less processed and refined foods and eating more foods from “Mother Nature”. Alcohol will no longer be part of her lifestyle, even though she was a very occasional drinker. Caffeine intake will be limited to less than 200 mg. Both caffeine and alcohol cross the placenta and can effect the fetus.
Because of the risk of foodborne illness, she should avoid a few specific foods. These include; unpasteurized milk, raw or partially cooked eggs, raw or under-cooked meats, fish (sushi), or poultry, unpasteurized juices and raw sprouts. Certain types of fish, that are high in mercury (tile fish, swordfish) should be avoided, as well.
Exercise can help her stay physically fit during pregnancy, however, there are other benefits. Exercise is a great mood booster, can help excessive weight gain if a ravenous appetite kicks in, can reduce the risk of gestational diabetes and preeclampsia, can shorten the duration of labor and makes it easier to resume exercise and lose the baby weight, after delivery.
Healthy weight gain is about 25-35 lbs., however, since my new client is a little overweight, as she begins this awesome journey, she will be encouraged to gain less, approximately 15-25 lbs., according to the doctor and the guidelines.
Resource: Nutrition For Life, 3rd. edition – by Thompson and Manore