Physical activity for Pregnancy FitnessKeeping physically fit and active during pregnancy offers many health benefits such as improving physical and mental wellbeing while helping you to maintain a healthy weight range. Healthy pregnant women should participate in some form of aerobic and muscle strengthening exercises to a point where they can still carry on a conversation without being breathless. Make sure you warm up, cool down and only exercise within your comfort zone; just make sure you don’t overdo it. Depending on your level of fitness, physical activities to enjoy include yoga, swimming, walking, jogging, aqua aerobics, cycling or specialised pregnancy exercise classes.
Nutritional SupportDuring pregnancy your dietary requirements increase to support not only your health, but that of your developing baby. Eating a wide variety of unprocessed foods is a good place to start while taking a specialised pregnancy multivitamin provides a broad-spectrum of important nutrients. In theory, a healthy nutritious diet should provide you with all the nutrients you need while pregnant, but there are some vitamins and minerals that are especially important:
- Folic acid and Vitamin B12 Folic acid helps prevent neural tube birth defects such as spina bifida, while a vitamin B12 deficiency increases the risk of neural tube defects, even in women taking folic acid. Folic acid and vitamin B12 are required for DNA replication, cell division and growth.
- Iodine In Australia, iodine deficiency is common and may result in lowered intelligence and hearing problems with an increase in the prevalence of (ADHD) attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Your developing baby relies on your thyroid hormone production for healthy brain and nervous system development.
- Choline Healthy nervous system development is particularly sensitive to choline and low levels of choline are a risk factor for neural tube birth defects.
- Omega-3 essential fatty acids The omega-3 essential fatty acids EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) may be beneficial during pregnancy for brain and eye development and are considered ‘good’ essential fats; essential because your body cannot produce them so they must be obtained through your diet.