Keeping fit during pregnancy
PUBLISHED: 16:43 07 November 2016 | UPDATED: 16:43 07 November 2016
Being pregnant doesn't mean you have to give up on fitness. You just need to tailor your exercise to cater for your body's needs.
‘What if I told you, you had a hand in creating a vegetable loving child? Yes, it’s true. We know now that our flavour preferences develop in the womb. At just 21 weeks, according to Julie Mennellla of the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia, foetuses can utilise their sense of smell and taste to determine flavours. Babies’ flavour preferences continue to be influenced between two to five months, as their tastebuds are developing – thus influencing their future food preferences into adulthood.
Mums, let’s use this newfound information to influence our children and give them the best foot forward in living a healthy life. Equally important, you too must enjoy each bite. Not sure where to start? Try one new vegetable and preparation method each week – organic whenever possible. This will also help get you towards the NHS’ 5-a-day goal.
Choosing foods during pregnancy can be confusing. However, the placenta isn’t selective in which foods pass through, so therefore your calories should come from the purest, organic and most nutrient-dense sources available to you. Toxins like trans fats (from processed foods), mercury (from fish), pesticides, sugar, and all chemical food additives all make their way across the placenta. Following the Eatwell Guide, aim for a balanced diet to curb cravings and prevent excess weight gain both during and after baby.
During pregnancy leafy greens are a win-win. They’re packed full of calcium and perfect tossed in a salad or sautéed with garlic for a delicious side. Take advantage of your body’s ability to improve bone density during pregnancy to prevent osteoporosis later on.
Lastly, after baby reach for quick balanced snacks like non-fat/low-fat yoghurts topped with muesli, toasted nuts, and seasonal fruit. Hummus, pepper strips and low-fat cheese is another great grab-n-go meal. Look for lean, protein-rich meals that satisfy your hunger and are packed with vitamins and minerals to keep you going. It’s simple, just think of it as one bite at a time.’
A fitness review by Emma Castle
I was a very keen gym goer before my pregnancy but when my morning sickness hit and lasted for my first trimester the last thing I wanted to was step foot in a gym! So as my sickness passed and I moved into my second trimester my energy levels started to increase I knew I needed to get my body moving again. I felt confident knowing that Chess at Loughton Movement Clinic specialises in pre and post natal training so would understand my low energy levels. Although I was still quite nervous stepping back into a gym after 3 months out (and with a new bump), Chess made me feel comfortable and reassured me these were all normal feelings.
After she asked me questions about my activity, pregnancy and health we got started on some slow controlled moves that pushed me just the right amount without putting any strain on my body. It felt good to get my body moving again and made me realise I need to persevere as Chess pointed out that I am not training to improve my fitness at the moment I am training to strengthen my body for my pregnancy and to prepare it for the birth!
Exercise well for baby and you
Chris Richardson, co-founder of Zero Gravity Pilates in Loughton explains how Pilates is great for mums-to-be both pre and post birth I recommend to my pre-natal clients exercising two to three times a week on our Pilates Reformers as we look to strengthen the body in the correct way so it is ready before, during and after the pregnancy.
One of the major misconceptions out there is that women should not work their abdominals during pregnancy. This is the old-school way of thinking, and it is just a matter of how you work your abdominals. Women should focus in on the transverse abdominis during pregnancy and not on the rectus or what people see as the six pack muscles. Avoid any crunches or roll backs and focus on isometric abdominal contractions of the tranverse which helps to lace up the internal corset. This will help prevent diastasis recti which all pregnant ladies should be aware off!
We have all heard of pelvic floor before but not many of us understand what it is? We focus a lot of work in our classes on your pelvic floor as one of the main functions of the pelvic floor is to support the organs in the lower abdominal cavity. As the uterus grows it relies on the pelvic floor more and more for support, which is why it needs to be strengthened. A strong pelvic floor will also help the body return to its pre-pregnancy state quicker.
As your baby grows, muscle imbalances will also incur, working on postural alignment and the stabilising muscles around the hips and pelvis ensures less discomfort. The stronger the body is going in to pregnancy and throughout, the stronger it will be after. If women lose the connection to their abdominals as they stretch during pregnancy, it will be that much harder to reconnect once the baby is out. Being strong for your little baby is also important. As a mum, you are lifting a lot throughout the first six months of your little one being here therefore having strong arms and back is very important to avoid any injuries.
When it comes to post natal you have to be careful with how you work your abdominal, again you have you work towards the external portion of the abdominals by hitting the internal and external obliques. At ZeroGravity we use this technique with great success to get the abdominals pulling back in. Join us for pre natal sessions at Zero Gravity Pilates.
A skin peel review by Emma Castle
If ever I needed a beauty boost being 4 months pregnant is definitely the time I did. Throughout my pregnancy so far I have found my skin to be dry and have been constantly exfoliating it with a face cloth in the hope of removing dead skin cells and making my skin smoother. But the first thing I learnt from Dr Somji is this is the worst thing you can do.
A face peel will help do this though and each peel is completely customised to each individuals needs. Dr Somji took one look at my skin and told me exactly where my sensitivity lies.
He ran through everything in such clear detail, it filled me with confidence and also wanting to learn more…
Even though the sound of a peel for me was quite scary at first it was actually quite a relaxing treatment. I felt a slight tingling sensation but was told if I felt any discomfort they would remove it straight away. They carefully applied the peel onto my cheeks and then removed it quite quickly after and then applied another peel onto my less sensitve areas which tingled a tiny bit more but the overall treatment / skin peel was over in a matter of minutes
The Dr then moved onto my Dermotological Skin Analysis – he pressed a sensor onto my skin and it showed my pore size / wrinkle percentage / sun damage / acne and percentage of bacteria on the skin and how hydrated it was. This process really opened my eyes to how I’ve been treating my skin the last 32 years and how I really need to do something about it!
After the treatment which took no longer than 10 minutes my face had completely transformed. My cheeks were a little flush which was my most sensitve area but everywhere else my skin was brighter and tighter and I felt like I had had a mini face lift.
I have always wanted a professional to help me with a skincare routine and when a Dr is advising you its even more reassuring. I plan to return soon to keep up the good work.
Five pregnancy superfoods
Baby will thank you for consuming these nutrient-rich options
Boasting with omega-3 fats, these delicious green fruits will aid baby’s brain development.
2 Chia seeds
Just two tablespoons of these little seeds pack a big nutritional punch, providing 138 calories, about 8.5 grams of fat (primarily omega-3 fatty acids), 4.5 grams of protein, 11 grams of carbohydrates and 9 grams of fiber.
3 Dried apricots
Tasty and a great snack option, plus they’re great for topping up iron stores: one handful gives you 10% of your daily iron requirement. They also help to keep you regular which you’ll be thankful for during the later stages of pregnancy.
Rich in potassium, bananas are good for reducing fluid retention and maintaining a healthy fluid balance. They also contain tryptophan which helps to promote sleep.
5 Sweet potato
A good source of energy, and packed with calcium, vitamin C and betacarotene - a vegetable source of vitamin A, vital for skin and eye development – try the latest instagram craze of sweet potato toast and thank us later!
Mind Body Kitchens
Zero Gravity Pilates
Loughton Studio, Unit 10 Church Hill, Enterprise House (rear building), Loughton, IG10 1LA
Loughton Movement Clinic
2 Old Station Road
Dr Medi Spa
8 Forest Road,
020 8418 0362