Promises Promises | Fit Pregnancy

Promises Promises

Right now, you’re super-motivated to make positive, lasting changes in your life. Meeting those goals (and sticking with them) is the tricky part. Here’s how to keep your vows—for your whole family’s sake.

Goal #2 Start Eating Better

Why it’s important:

“If you don’t eat well, and eat enough, during pregnancy, the fetus is undernourished and your baby could be born with low birth weight,” says Eileen Behan, R.D., author of 2008’s The Baby Food Bible and 2007’s Eat Well, Lose Weight While Breastfeeding. This can cause health problems at birth and later in life. “If you’re already overweight, gaining too much can be dangerous, too, because it can increase your child’s future risk of being overweight or having diabetes,” Behan says. It can also lead to pregnancy

complications, a too-large baby and the need for a Cesarean section.

Make it happen:

The key is to establish an eating schedule, Behan says. “If you don’t have a plan and you’re stressed, tired or hungry, you’ll make bad decisions,” she explains. Schedule three healthy meals and two snacks a day, and include a fruit or vegetable every time you eat.

Keep it going:

Make sure there’s plenty of “easy stuff ” in your eating plan, suggests Behan. For example, “It’s really nice to look back and say, ‘Hey, I always took my prenatals.’ ” Keep making small changes—phasing out empty calories and replacing them with healthy choices—and soon you won’t even be tempted by the vending machine (unless it sells carrot sticks).

Goal #3 Exercise Regularly

Why it’s important: 

The reasons it’s essential for pregnant women to exercise could fill a book—one like 2005’s Fit to Deliver, written by University of British Columbia clinical associate instructor Karen Nordahl, M.D. “Exercising reduces some common pregnancy complaints, including nausea, constipation and back pain, and it can help with some postpartum issues, such as incontinence,” Nordahl says. “It can even help reduce the chance of certain pregnancy complications, including hypertension and gestational diabetes.” Regular exercise can also help you avoid excess weight gain and build strength for labor and your life with a new baby.

Make it happen:

For many women, no matter how motivated, the hardest part of exercising is often simply getting started. The secret is not to go it alone. “Join a pre-natal exercise class or make exercise dates with a friend,” says Nordahl. Spending money or making a commitment to others makes you more likely to take the first step.

Keep it going:

Join an exercise group that lets you work out with your baby, whether it’s mom-and-baby yoga or a stroller exercise program. “You’ll get your exercise in and also create a social network of people you can get advice from,” Nordahl says.

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