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17 Ways to Stay Healthy During Pregnancy

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Looking for ways to stay healthy during pregnancy so that you can have an easier delivery and faster recovery time? Here are my best tips on how to stay healthy and fit during pregnancy!

tips on how to stay healthy and fit during pregnancy

Hello there and welcome to Ironwild Fitness. 🙂

I’m Chantal.

If you’re looking for ways to stay healthy during pregnancy, you’re in the right place!

Did you know that this blog started out as my very own postpartum fitness journal?

Yep, I started this website when I was pregnant with my second child.

My first pregnancy and postpartum recovery were such a struggle, that I really wanted to do better the second time around.

I wanted to chronicle my journey of getting healthy again after having kids using this blog as my personal accountability journal!

how to stay healthy and fit while pregnant
Here I am in the last stretch of my second pregnancy!

Pretty cool, huh?

Since starting this blog seven years ago, I’ve become a mom of two, a certified personal trainer, and a certified nutrition coach.

Time flies!

Anyhow, I could give you a TON of backstory about me, but that’s probably not what you’re here for.

(You can read more about me here.)

You’re here because you want to know how to stay healthy and fit during pregnancy, right?

I struggled with staying healthy during pregnancy and postpartum fitness with both of my kids, so I totally understand where you’re coming from, Mama!

In this post, I want to share all of the many things I wish I’d known back when I was having kids.

My goal is to use the combination of what I learned during those experiences with what I’ve learned as a nutrition coach and personal trainer to give you the best possible tips on how to have a healthy pregnancy.

Related Reading: 7 Tips On Losing Weight After Pregnancy

Some Things to Keep In Mind When it Comes to Staying Healthy During Pregnancy

I’m going to share my absolute best tips on how to have a healthy pregnancy but keep in mind that not everyone has an “easy” pregnancy.

I want to remind you (or inform you if you’re a first-time mom) that there are some times in your life that you just have to get by and do your best.

Pregnancy is one of those times.

(And if you ask me, the postpartum period is the same way.)

If you have a high-risk pregnancy or you have something like hyperemesis gravidarum as I did, you may not be able to keep up with all of the diet and exercise tips I’m going to provide here.

There are some instances in which you will need to focus on rest and getting in whatever foods you can rather than anything else.

And that’s okay!

I remember being a first-time mom and being so disappointed in my inability to stay healthy due to the extreme morning sickness that I experienced.

I was so weak and depleted some days, that I was lucky if I could eat a popsicle and walk to the bathroom without vomiting.

If you have any complications whatsoever, trust your Mama intuition and listen to your body.

Do NOT overdo it!

I am obviously not a doctor but I do have some experience in this department, and let me tell you that putting super high expectations on yourself during pregnancy is NOT IT.

For me, this resulted in a whole bunch of disappointment, because as you will surely learn, motherhood is full of unexpected twists and turns.

Psst! I recently created an online nutrition course jam-packed with information on food mindset, exercise science, and nutrition education so that I could pass that knowledge on to you. Check it out!

Don’t overplan it.

Just do the best you can to stay healthy during pregnancy, and learn to pivot whenever necessary.

Trust me, this is a great skill to learn now. 🙂

The tips I plan to share with you today are based on my personal experiences and what I’ve learned as a nutrition coach and personal trainer but keep in mind that every woman and each pregnancy may require different things.

(I don’t know if I can say it enough!)

Okay – now that I’ve beat that idea to death, let’s get to my tips on how to stay healthy during pregnancy.

ways to stay healthy during pregnancy

17 Ways to Stay Healthy During Pregnancy

Staying healthy and fit during pregnancy is crucial for both the mother and the baby.

However, it’s essential to consult with your healthcare provider before starting any new exercise or making significant lifestyle changes during pregnancy.

Here’s a general list of ways to promote health and fitness during pregnancy:

1. Regular Prenatal Check-ups

Schedule regular prenatal appointments with your healthcare provider to monitor your health and the baby’s development.

Most of you will have already done this (pretty much as soon as you find out you’re pregnant) but it is super important to actually GO to your check-up.

It’s also important that you find a doctor that you trust and are comfortable with, because you’ll be with them for about a year and they will be doing some invasive things (i.e. checking your cervix and assisting at the birth).

Most people won’t have a problem with making it to their prenatal visits because for most people, it’s one of the few times in life that you get to go to the doctor without there being something wrong!

For many people, it’s even a little bit exciting.

(At least it was for me.)

2. Balanced Nutrition & Whole Foods

This is possibly one of the most important ways to have a healthy pregnancy.

For both you and your baby, it’s important to consume a well-balanced diet rich in nutrients such as folic acid, iron, calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids.

(Among many other vitamins and minerals!)

During pregnancy, you’re sharing the nutrients you put in your body with another human, so you need to make sure you’re doing your best when it comes to nutrition.

Assuming you’re not on a specialty diet, be sure to eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, proteins, and dairy products.

Here’s a helpful article about clean macronutrients that are great for healthy eating during pregnancy.

If you’re starting your pregnancy at a healthy weight, now is not really the time to cut back on anything other than sweets and processed food.

To stay at a healthy weight during pregnancy, you shouldn’t need to add more than 500 calories per day to your daily food intake.

Your body will require more calories, but a slight increase is all you need.

Then, if you decide to breastfeed, be sure to keep eating healthy to support both your recovery and your growing baby.

Here are 31 healthy snacks for breastfeeding moms if you need ideas!

3. Take a Prenatal Vitamin

On the same note of nutrition, most women should be taking a prenatal vitamin throughout their entire pregnancy.

This is especially important if you are experiencing morning sickness, health complications, are anemic or are underweight.

While vitamins and supplements can never replace a healthy diet (the absorption of nutrients is much smaller), taking a vitamin will help to fill in any nutritional gaps you may have.

This is one of those really important tips to stay healthy during pregnancy if you have trouble keeping food down.

Pro Tip: If you experience nausea after taking your vitamins (or if you have morning sickness), take your prenatal about half an hour before bed.

4. Stay Hydrated

how to have a healthy pregnancy

This is a really important part of staying healthy during pregnancy, due in part to the massive increase in blood production you will experience.

During pregnancy, your body starts to increase the amount of blood it produces over time.

(This is part of why you need a multivitamin with iron in it.)

Blood is over 50% water, so in order to keep up with production, you’ll need to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day.

It’s also important for digestion and staying regular (pregnancy constipation is the worst), so don’t take this tip lightly.

In case you’re not a big water fan, here are some simple ways to drink more water every day.

5. Regular Exercise

how to stay a healthy weight during pregnancy

Engage in low-impact exercises suitable for pregnant women, such as walking, swimming, stationary cycling, and prenatal yoga.

If you weren’t exercising regularly before your pregnancy, now is not the time to start getting into running or other high-impact sports.

Generally, most women should avoid high-impact activities or activities with a risk of falling or abdominal trauma.

However, if you were exercising regularly before your pregnancy, it is usually safe to continue doing so.

Keep in mind that there are some exercise types and moves that should be avoided in the second and third trimesters.

With my pregnancies, anything other than walking was out of the question after the first few weeks.

Do whatever you feel comfortable with, and don’t push yourself too far.

Click here to learn about postpartum fitness safety for your recovery period.

6. Pelvic Floor Exercises

Contrary to popular belief, there are some deep core and pelvic floor exercises that you can do safely during your pregnancy.

Perform pelvic floor exercises (such as Kegel exercises) can be used to strengthen the muscles that support the bladder, uterus, and bowels.

However, if you weren’t already strengthening your core prior to your pregnancy, you need to be careful about which exercises you do.

Need a step-by-step plan for your pelvic floor?

Here are some core exercises from a physical therapist!

7. Practice Proper Posture

Back pain is common in pregnancy, and it’s important that you protect your back to avoid major setbacks in your ability to keep moving.

During pregnancy and the postpartum period, your body releases a hormone called relaxin at an accelerated rate.

It causes your muscles to be a little bit more limber and flexible in preparation for childbirth.

However, this can make it easier to pull a muscle or have an injury.

Add a growing baby belly into the mix, and it can affect your center of gravity and put quite a bit of strain on your muscles.

So be careful not to overdo it!

You should aim to maintain good posture to alleviate back pain and reduce strain on your muscles and joints.

If you need a little help with this, there are some great belly support products that can be extremely helpful in the 2nd and 3rd trimesters.

8. Get Adequate Rest

how to stay healthy and fit during pregnancy

You’re growing a whole human during pregnancy, and it’s a lot of work for your body!

Getting enough rest is important for keeping stress levels low, too!

So ensure you get enough sleep and rest to support your body’s physical changes and the baby’s growth.

(It’s totally normal to feel REALLY tired when pregnant!)

Here are some helpful ways to get better quality sleep each night.

9. Avoid Harmful Substances

I shouldn’t have to say this, but it’s 2024 and it seems like I have to.

If you’re pregnant, PLEASE avoid smoking, alcohol, and illicit drugs, as they can negatively impact fetal development.

If you’re struggling with any of those, please talk to your doctor. They have lots of ways to help with each of those issues these days.

10. Manage Your Stress

Stress doesn’t always seem like it’s a big deal, but it can actually wreak havoc on your health and compromise a healthy, full-term pregnancy.

(In fact, stress can have physical and mental health implications for all humans, regardless of whether or not they are pregnant.)

Pregnant mothers need to keep stress low so that their blood pressure stays in a healthy range and they can make it to at least 37 weeks gestation.

Practice stress-reducing techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or prenatal massage to promote emotional well-being.

Be sure to practice some self-care, Mama.

Here are some simple ways to practice self-care if you’re a mom or mom-to-be!

11. Educate Yourself

When you become pregnant, it’s important to understand each phase of your pregnancy and what’s best for you and the baby’s health.

It can be helpful to attend prenatal classes to learn about childbirth, breastfeeding, and postpartum care.

Alternatively, there are a ton of books about how to have a healthy pregnancy out there.

It can also be helpful to learn from the experiences of other moms to gain new perspectives on pregnancy and the postpartum period.

For example, you can learn about how to manage the Baby Blues by reading my article on natural ways to fight postpartum depression.

Whatever you choose, understand that gaining knowledge on how to have a healthy pregnancy will only empower you to make the best decisions you can for both yourself and your new baby.

12. Weight Management

The older I get, the more I hate talking about weight, but it can be an important measure of health during pregnancy.

You should monitor weight gain under the guidance of your healthcare provider to ensure it stays within a healthy range.

If you begin your pregnancy underweight, it is likely that your doctor will want you to increase your food intake and gain more weight.

If you begin your pregnancy overweight, your doctor may encourage you to try not to increase your daily caloric intake.

It all just depends on what you started with and your personal health concerns.

However, as a general rule of thumb, most people shouldn’t gain more than about 30 pounds by the end of their pregnancy.

13. Wear Comfortable Clothing

The body does some weird things during pregnancy, and as your uterus and baby grow, blood flow can become a bit restricted in some areas.

You don’t want to restrict any blood flow anywhere during pregnancy.

(It’s also a bit uncomfortable to wear restrictive clothing in your second and third trimesters.)

So, wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing and supportive shoes to accommodate your changing body.

Your comfort is worth investing in so that you can continue to take walks, move freely, and not hate your pregnancy (lol).

If you plan to have more babies, it’s easy to justify some good-quality maternity clothes.

P.S. If you’re exercising regularly throughout your pregnancy, it can be difficult to adjust to your changing body. Here are some cute maternity activewear ideas to try out.

14. Stay Cool

Did you know that babies in the womb can be harmed in extreme temperatures?

(Anything over 102 is dangerous!)

When you’re pregnant, you should avoid overheating, especially during exercise.

You should also avoid super-hot baths, saunas, hot springs, and other places you might experience extreme heat.

Not only can it make you dizzy, it can overheat the baby and cause complications.

So, stay in well-ventilated areas, wear breathable clothing, and stay hydrated.

15. Listen to Your Body

Still looking for ways to stay healthy during pregnancy?

This is super simple but super important.

If you aren’t already in tune with your body, pregnancy is the time to slow down and start paying attention to it.

Seriously, pay attention to your body’s signals and modify or stop any activity that causes discomfort, pain, or dizziness.

If you feel anything out of the ordinary, it’s always best to call your doctor and at the very least, speak to an advice nurse to see what you should do.

Better safe than sorry, right?

16. Stay Informed

It’s helpful to stay informed about any changes in exercise recommendations or health guidelines during pregnancy.

However, remember that many things are just suggestions for the general population, and not everything will be right for you.

If you’re not sure about something or don’t find yourself comfortable with everything your doctor is asking you to do, it’s always okay to ask for a second opinion!

In some cases, not everything that your doctor says will be right for YOU.

17. Keep A Pregnancy Journal

If you’re serious about having a healthy pregnancy, you may want to consider keeping a journal throughout your pregnancy.

Use it to write down your symptoms and other experiences both for personal memory and as a future reference for subsequent pregnancies.

You can also use it to track health concerns and share them with your doctor.

For example, I had a wildly nauseous and fatigued pregnancy with my firstborn (a girl).

My second pregnancy was “easy” in comparison, and I knew by the stark difference in morning sickness and energy levels that I was probably having a boy.

I was right!

However, I used my experience from the first pregnancy to anticipate what *might* happen in my second.

This helped me be more at ease about every little thing that happened to me the second time around.

Tracking my symptoms helped me so much with stress the second time around, that it felt way better to be pregnant that time.

(Even with the large amount of sickness I experienced.)

So – if you’re looking for ways to have a healthy pregnancy, journaling might just be one great way to do so!

I hope this post gave you plenty of ideas on ways to stay healthy during pregnancy!

Remember, every pregnancy is unique, and it’s crucial to consult with your healthcare provider to create a personalized plan that meets your specific needs and circumstances.

Here are some other articles you might find helpful:

Until next time,

Chantal

(Click here to find me on Instagram and here to find me on Pinterest!)

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