tiistai 26. lokakuuta 2010

Exercises for Pregnant Women

During pregnancy, women need to take special care of themselves. You may already know about the importance of eating well and taking your prenatal vitamins, but have you thought about your exercise routine while pregnant? Many women feel uncomfortable with the idea of working out during pregnancy. However, there are many exercises that pregnant women can safely do. By being in good shape during pregnancy, you're likely to have an easier labor and get back into shape more quickly after giving birth.

Walking is an excellent form of cardiovascular exercise. Try to walk for 20 minutes at least three times a week. Strength and flexibility training are perfectly fine during pregnancy, pending you follow a few basic precautions.
Never perform exercises that are done on your back, because this puts excessive and potentially dangerous strain on your body and your baby. Also, never do squats during pregnancy, because they can cause separation of the placenta. Abdominal exercises should be avoided because they can lead to strain or injury.
Be sure to hydrate before, during and after working out. Your body, and your baby, need plenty of water. Gatorade or a comparable sports drink can also be good to replenish electrolytes lost through perspiration.
The best type of exercises for pregnant women are any that can be performed in a sitting position. For strong arms, try raises and curls with 3 lb. dumbbells. Leg extensions and lifts are fantastic for toned legs. For a strong back, try lat pull downs on a weight machine.
Yoga is great for pregnant women as well. Just make sure the yoga routine you choose is safe for pregnant women. There are many workout videos and programs including yoga that are especially designed for mothers to be. One top pick: Leisa Hart's Fit Mama Prenatal Workout. Check with your local YMCA or gym for more information about their pregnancy exercise classes. Working out with a class is fun and allows you the opportunity to socialize with other moms-to-be.
Make sure to check with your doctor before beginning an exercise program. Most pregnant women can safely work out, but your doctor needs to give you the OK following a thorough physical examination. This will ensure you and your baby stay safe and healthy. Exercise during pregnancy can be a great way to get in shape or stay in shape. Plus, you'll find that you're happier and less stressed if you take some time to exercise!

sunnuntai 24. lokakuuta 2010

Preparing for Pregnancy

Preparing for Pregnancy:

What can you do to prepare yourself and your body for pregnancy ahead of time? The key is to live a healthy lifestyle. Evaluate your daily habits and take some time to make the necessary changes for you and your future baby. Emotionally, you should be ready to commit to a lifetime of parenthood.
If you have ongoing medical conditions, it is important for those conditions to be stable before getting pregnant. If you have any of the following medical problems, plan to see your doctor or midwife before you conceive:
  • Arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Cancer
  • Deep vein thrombosis
  • Diabetes
  • Epilepsy
  • Heart disease
  • Hepatitis
  • Herpes
  • High blood pressure
  • Hypo- or hyperthyroidism
  • Kidney disease
  • Lupus
  • Sickle cell trait or disease
  • Urinary tract infections
Obviously, you should report any other medical condition that might have an impact on you and the baby.
You will also be asked about your family history because some medical conditions are inherited, such as sickle cell anemia, cystic fibrosis, and muscular dystrophy. If these conditions, or any other medical problems, run in your family, you may be referred to a genetic counselor.
Your doctor will also discuss your current medications and health history, including you and your partner's history of any sexually transmitted diseases.

Stop Smoking:

Smoking is bad for unborn babies. Studies have shown that women who smoke during pregnancy are more likely to have babies with lower birth weights. Smoking also increases the risk of miscarriage, premature birth, stillbirths, cleft lip or palate, asthma, preterm labor, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
It is best to stop smoking before you get pregnant, rather than waiting to quit once you become pregnant.

Alcohol Abuse:

Alcohol can have damaging effects on a developing fetus, even in small quantities. When you have a drink, the alcohol rapidly reaches your baby through your bloodstream and across the placenta. Women who have two or more drinks a day are at greater risk for giving birth to a baby with severe long-term effects, such as mental retardation, behavioral problems, learning disabilities, and facial and heart defects. Finally, alcohol may decrease your ability to get pregnant. We don’t know what amount of alcohol is safe in pregnancy, so it’s best to avoid drinking altogether.

What to Eat:

A balanced diet is always important and you should try to make the appropriate changes to your diet before you get pregnant. Consider reducing your intake of empty calories, artificial sweeteners, and caffeine. Balancing your diet with foods high in protein, fruits and vegetables, grains, and dairy products will make you healthier before you get pregnant. It is not a good idea to try to lose weight during pregnancy; however, being overweight during pregnancy may increase your chances of having complications such as high blood pressure or diabetes during pregnancy. If you are underweight or overweight, it is best to try to reach your ideal weight before you get pregnant.

Vitamins and Folic Acid:

Most doctors recommend that women begin taking a multi-vitamin supplement and at least 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid a day before getting pregnant. Taking folic acid is thought to reduce a baby's risk of developing birth defects of the spine, such as spina bifida. Ideally, you should start taking a multivitamin with 400-800 mcg of folic acid two months before you get pregnant.

Exercise Before Getting Pregnant:

Exercising before you get pregnant may help your body deal with all of the changes that you will go through during the pregnancy and labor. The amount of exercise you are able to do during pregnancy will be determined by your overall health and how active you were before you got pregnant.

Stress, Rest, and Relaxation:

While you are trying to get pregnant, it is important to try to relax and be as stress-free as possible. Practicing stress reduction techniques and getting plenty of rest and relaxation may make it easier for you to become pregnant.

Stopping Birth Control Pills:

Women who are planning pregnancy may stop taking birth control pills just before they are planning to try to get pregnant. When stopping the pill, you may have irregular periods for a while and this can make it hard to tell when you are fertile or ovulating. It might take longer to become pregnant, but the pill has no impact on fertility. The use of birth control pills before you get pregnant does not cause birth defects, no matter how close you use them to the time you get pregnant.

10 Reasons to Work Out While Pregnant

Top 10 benefits of pregnancy exercise:
  • Mood lifting. Exercise increases levels of seratonin, a brain chemical linked to (happier) moods.
  • Birth prep. Labor requires stamina and focus, so the fitter you are the more endurance you’ll have when you’ll need it most.
  • Reduce constipation. One of those unfortunate side affects of pregnancy, constipation can be eased with exercise, which accelerates movement in your intestines.
  • Weight control. It’ll be easier for you to return to your pre-pregnancy weight after your baby is born since you’ll gain less body fat from exercising.

    More from Babble: 15 Summer Veggie Recipes to Try Before It's Too Late
  • Maintain fitness. If you were a regular exerciser before pregnancy, you’ll have an easier time staying in shape if you continue to exercise throughout your pregnancy (even though it’s less strenuous).
  • Reduce stress. Pregnancy is a joyful and a stressful time — exercise helps keep those mood dips in check.
  • Pain reducer. Pregnancy brings many aches and pains with it. Exercise helps alleviate back pain and strain as your belly grows.
  • Self-image booster. Exercise increases the blood flow to your skin, so that pregnancy glow of yours will be even more radiant.
  • Me-time. Savor this time for yourself — it’s the last time you’ll enjoy an hour to yourself before your baby is born.
  • Easier recovery. Exercise is a good way to prepare your body for the physical strain of labor so your post-labor recovery time could be shorter.

What to Eat While Pregnant.

check this!
It is very important for you and your baby that you maintain a healthy and balanced diet. While pregnant you should consume about 300 more calories per day than you normally do (about 2,300 calories total). Nausea and vomiting can make this difficult but it is important to have good nutrition, and plenty of it, to help your baby develop fully and correctly.
Things to Include in Your Diet
• You should eat a variety of foods everyday while pregnant to keep a balanced diet. Be sure to have six to eleven servings of breads and grains, two to four servings of fruit, four or more servings of vegetables, four servings of dairy and three servings of protein sources (meat, eggs, fish, poultry, or nuts).
• Eat plenty of high fiber foods like cereals, whole-grain bread, pastas, rice, fruits and vegetables.
• Take your prenatal vitamins! You should make sure that you are getting enough of vitamins and minerals in your diet as well.
• Eat at least three servings of iron-rich foods per day to ensure you are getting 27 mg of iron daily.
• Eat or drink at least four serving of dairy or calcium products to ensure that you are getting at least 1000-1300 mg of your necessary calcium while pregnant.
• It is also important to get at least one good source of Vitamin C because pregnant women should get about 70 mg of it in their bodies per day. God sources of Vitamin C include grapefruit, oranges, strawberries, cauliflower, broccoli, honey dew and papaya.
• Eat one source of Vitamin A every OTHER day. If you absorb too much of this vitamin it can cause fetal malformations. Good sources of Vitamin A include carrots, cantaloupe, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, spinach, and turnip and beet greens.
• Each pregnant woman should have 0.4mg of folic acid per day to help protect their baby from developing neural tube defects such as spina bifida. Good sources of folic acid are dark green leafy vegetables and legumes (lima beans, black beans, black-eyed peas and chickpeas).
Things to Avoid Eating While Pregnant
• It is imperative that you avoid drinking alcohol during pregnancy. Alcohol has been proven to cause, premature births, low birth weights, mental retardation and other birth defects.
• You should also limit your caffeine intact while you are pregnant to no more than 300 mg a day. Remember that chocolate contains caffeine and you be careful how much at of that as well as monitoring your coffee, tea an soda intake.
• You should decrease your total fat intake by about 30% as well. So if you are have a regular calorie in take of about 2000 calories, you shout limit yourself to maybe about 65 mg of fat.
• Avoid raw fish, especially shellfish like oysters or clams.
• Avoid soft cheeses such as feta, Brie, Camembert, blue-veined, and Mexican-style cheese. Because these cheeses are often unpasteurized and can cause a bacterial disease. You don’t have to avoid hard cheese, processed cheeses, yogurt, cream cheese or cottage cheese.
• Do not eat foods with high levels of mercury like shark or swordfish.
• You should also limit your cholesterol intake to about 300 mg per day.
• It is highly discouraged for pregnant women to use saccharin because it can cross the placenta and remain in the fetal tissue. However the use of other FDA-approved non-nutritive or artificial sweeteners is okay. These include Equal, Splenda, NutraSweet, or Sunett.
What to Eat When You Don’t Feel Well
Common times when you are pregnant you will feel nauseous, have diarrhea, be constipated, or have severe heartburn. Here are some things you can intake that will help you keep a healthy and balanced diet while you are not feeling your best.
• Nausea- Eat crackers, cereals, breads or pretzels before you get out of bed or when you feel nauseous. Eat smaller meals more frequently during the day. Avoid greasy, fried foods.
• Diarrhea- Eat foods that contain dietary fibers such as pectin and gums which can absorb extra water in the body. Foods that contain these include applesauce, white rice and oatmeal.
• Constipation- Eat more fresh fruit an d vegetables and drink at least eight glasses of water daily.
• Heartburn- Try drinking milk before meals and avoiding caffeinated beverages.
Dieting While Pregnant
You should avoid going on diets while pregnant, you might be cutting out necessary food groups that are necessary for your baby to develop fully and healthily. High-protein diets (Atkins) while not showing any adverse effects are also not always recommended because again, you might be depriving your baby of some of the nutrients they need from a variety of different foods. While you are pregnant you should eat a balanced diet from a variety of different food groups.
Pregnant Vegetarians
You can remain a vegetarian and be pregnant and have a completely healthy and developed baby. It is just very important to make sure that all the foods that are eating are providing the entire nutrients that your baby needs. Make sure you are getting enough protein to make up for the protein you are not receiving from meat products.
Importance of Calcium Intake While Pregnant
Calcium is a necessary nutrient that helps to build strong bones and teeth, allows muscles to form and function properly, blood to clot and the heart to beat correctly. Most of it is stored in your bones. So you can see that is it vital in the development of your baby, who absorbs what nutrients they need to develop from the food you eat, but also from where you store them in your body. If you do not consume enough calcium, your baby will take it from your bones which can lead to you developing osteoporosis later in life.
• You should consume at least four servings of dairy or calcium products a day while you are pregnant. Dairy Products including milk, cheese, costtage cheese, yogurt, cream soups and pudding, are the best sources of calcium. Other foods with calcium include green vegetables, beans, dried peas and seafood.
• If you are lactose intolerant is best to see your doctor bout ways you can make sure you and your baby are getting enough calcium. You should eat the non-dairy foods above that contain calcium and try to have a little milk with food, because you might be able to tolerate the lactose better with food. You should also use lactaid milk that is fortified with calcium and see your dietitian or doctor about other substitute products.
• If you are experiencing difficulties absorbing calcium your doctor may suggest taking calcium supplements to help make you are getting enough calcium. Certain calcium supplements and some antacids with calcium, like Tums, can complement an already balanced diet by giving them just a little more calcium.
Importance of Iron Intake during Pregnancy
Iron is a mineral that makes up part of the hemoglobin in your blood, which helps transport the oxygen throughout your body, including to your muscles and helps them function properly. Iron also helps your body resist disease and helps keep you stress level in check. Your body uses more iron when you are pregnant therefore, it is important for you to increase your intake while pregnant. Doing so will help you and your baby receive enough oxygen and can also lessen your susceptibility to becoming depressed, excessively tired or irritable, or feeling weak while you are pregnant.
• The best sources of iron include enriched grain products, lean meat, poultry, fish, and leafy green vegetables.
• Your doctor may suggest that you take an iron supplement if you are not absorbing enough iron in your daily diet. This will be especially necessary if you are or become anemic (when your red blood cells grow smaller in size and number).
• Vitamin C helps your body use iron so you should make sure that you get enough of this Vitamin as well as enough iron.
• Caffeine makes it more difficult for you baby to adsorb iron so you should decrease the amount of it you drink during pregnancy.
• When cooking certain foods, you should remember that doing so might cause there to be less iron in the foods. To retain the most iron while still cooking your food, cook for the shortest possible time and in a minimal amount of water.
• Constipation may be an effect of taking iron supplements, to deal with this you should increase your fiber intact gradually and remember to drink plenty of water each day.

Food Cravings

Having food cravings while pregnant is completely normal, in fact about two-thirds of pregnant women have them. If you are having food cravings, go ahead and indulge in them. Just remember to keep a balanced diet and not partake in too much of this craved item if it means that you are cutting out other necessary nutrients. Some women also find that they have cravings for non-food items such as ice, dirt, clay, paint chips, ashes, chalk or laundry starch. Do not give into these cravings and consult your doctor or dietitian because these cravings can sometimes mean that you are iron deficient or anemic.
Problems With Your Diet?

If you are experiencing any problems with gaining weight or keeping a balanced diet you should consult you doctor or dietitian to ensure the health of you and your baby. Remember good nutrition and plenty of it, is necessary for you and your baby to remain safe and healthy while you are pregnant.

pregnancy and you.

Pregnancy is the carrying of one or more offspring, known as a fetus or embryo, inside the womb of a female. In a pregnancy, there can be multiple gestations, as in the case of twins or triplets. Human pregnancy is the most studied of all mammalian pregnancies. Childbirth usually occurs about 38 weeks after conception; i.e., approximately 40 weeks from the last normal menstrual period (LNMP) in humans. The World Health Organization defines normal term for delivery as between 37 weeks and 42 weeks.