Wednesday, July 8, 2015

The Prenatal F’s - Fitness and Food

If you ran a marathon would you train first? I’m guessing your answer was yes. You could view pregnancy as the preparation for the most physically challenging event of your life.

How would your body feel after 40 weeks of sitting all day and digging into every craving you had? Would you be ready for labor and birth? What about after birth, when you’re tired, would your body be ready to keep up with an infants demands?

Exercising during pregnancy keeps you active and healthy. When you keep moving, your muscles are staying strong and joints are remaining mobile. Plus the extra added bonus that exercise fights off cravings. You will enjoy being healthy and strong a few weeks postpartum more than your temporary pregnancy cravings. Exercise energizes your day (which is something you will want postpartum).

Here are some tips on how to get and keep fit during pregnancy:


If you were exercising before pregnancy you can continue to do what your body was use to if it is a safe form of exercise (for example roller blading probably isn’t right during pregnancy).

Walking is a friendly form of movement for every one and keeps you active. Running is not right for every body and not right for some while pregnant, listen to your body.

When you sit, choose an exercise ball or the floor. Sitting on the exercise ball will keep your pelvis aligned and baby in the optimal position. Cross legged sitting pushes the uterus forward, strengthens the legs, and opens the pelvis.


The Cat Cow Stretch keeps the pelvis loose and lower back flexible:

Butterfly Stretch helps open the pelvis and stretch the lower back:

Malasana Yoga Squat prepares your body for birth:

Prenatal yoga is one of the best forms of movement you can do while pregnant. There are tons of free videos online. For example, offers free prenatal and postpartum streaming of videos.

The types of yoga moves that are most appropriate change over the course of your pregnancy:

1st Trimester - you can lie on your back or your stomach and continue to perform core exercises.

2nd Trimester - you no longer want to lie flat on your back or on your stomach and need to start modifying core exercises. Start to listen to your body on deep twists exercises to not push to far.

3rd Trimester - continue to not lie on your back or stomach and modify deep twist.

Exercise Safety tips -

  • listen to your body. 
  • prevent yourself from getting overly heated, or too much out of breath. 
  • You can still challenge yourself and get a good workout. Just do so safely by noticing if your body is sending you cues. 
  • Always avoid any exercises where you could fall onto your stomach. 
  • Make sure to always warm up before your workout and stretch afterwards. 
  • Stretching is very important to help with the aches and pains that may develop as your baby grows.  


This is the big one. Let’s start by changing it from “you are eating for two” to you are filling your body with nutrients to grow a healthy baby.  The following are good foods to incorporate into your prenatal diet:

Lentils: Early on in pregnancy, folate is key since it's involved in many biological processes that occur during this time, making adequate intake so important. Fortunately, lentils are packed with it. In fact, a cup of cooked lentils contains more than half of your daily folate requirement (about 360 mcg; you need 600 per day). In addition, lentils are a good source of iron and contain fiber, phosphorus, protein, vitamin B6, potassium, zinc, and copper, among other nutrients. They're wonderful in soup, salad, or as a side dish.

Spinach: Another excellent source of folate. A cup of boiled spinach contains almost half your daily folate needs. Spinach is also rich in potassium, iron, vitamin A, phosphorus, and magnesium. An easy way to get your spinach is raw in a salad or cooked as a side dish.

Sweet potatoes: High in carbohydrates, potassium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and vitamins A, C, and K, sweet potatoes are a great source of nutrients during pregnancy. Because they contain plenty of carbohydrates and vitamin B6, sweet potatoes may be especially beneficial if you’re experiencing nausea and vomiting.

Walnuts: Another excellent source of nutrients for your baby’s growing brain. An ounce of raw walnuts (about 14 walnut halves) has more than the daily dose of essential omega-3 fats. They're also loaded with fiber, iron, and good-for-you polyunsaturated fatty acids. Just like all nuts, walnuts are high in calories, so remember to snack mindfully on this brain food. Walnuts can easily be incorporated into a trail mix, added to a salad, or simply eaten on their own.

Hiking the week Kai was born
Raspberries: High in fiber, vitamins C and K, and manganese, raw raspberries can not only help with constipation but also may provide some elasticity to your stretching skin due to their vitamin C content. A cup of fresh raspberries contains fiber, carbohydrates, iron, vitamin C, and has moderate amounts of vitamin K, folate, niacin, zinc, and potassium. Enjoy them on their own or as part of a fruit smoothie.

Kale: Even a small serving of kale is loaded with nutrients. Kale contains fiber, calcium, iron, potassium, vitamin C, folate, vitamin A, vitamin K, and moderate amounts of vitamins E and B6, niacin, zinc, phosphorus, and magnesium — a true nutritional powerhouse! Kale is great as the base of a salad, as part of a stir-fry, or in a smoothie. (Looking for a great kale salad recipe? Start here.)

Avocado: Rich in the “good” fats (mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acids) and numerous vitamins and minerals, avocado is an outstanding choice at this time. One avocado contains healthy fat, carbs, folate, iron, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin K, and moderate amounts of many other vitamins and minerals. Add to a salad or sandwich or enjoy guacamole with bell peppers.

Other good sources of folate - arugula, asparagus, beet greens, Brussels sprouts, papaya, spinach, sweet peppers.

Other good sources of folic acid - micro algae, sprouts, leafy greens, whole grains, nutritional yeast, dates, beans and legumes, mushrooms, oranges, beets

Additional pregnancy supporting foods:
  • Amaranth - cup for cup has more protein and calcium than milk.
  • Mochi - strengthens the kidneys, builds blood, and helps regulate blood sugar.
  • Poppy seeds - calm the nervous system
  • Raspberry leaf - eases childbirth by increasing muscle tone in the uterine walls
  • Yam - helps prevent miscarriages

Pregnancy is an optimal time to ditch the processed foods and fill your body and growing baby with nutrient dense foods. Your body is growing a baby and that baby will one day be observing everything you eat and want a bite. Make the changes you need to now for a healthy family.

The bonus - you can bounce back to pre-pregnancy fitness in no time


  1. This is a wonderful post for mothers-to-be you have certainly covered everything. Thanks for posting at #WednesdaysWisdom

    1. Thank you Sue :) I worked with pregnancy and postpartum clients a lot before I had my own. It was nice to experience it myself to be able to also share personal experience.

  2. Thanks for sharing- good post! I pinned on my healthy pregnancy board.

  3. Great tips here. I had a nurse caution me about eating avocados though. She told me, while sipping her diet soda, that avocados make people fat. ;) I thanked her for her concern and ignored her advice. ;)

  4. Thanks for sharing on the Healthy Living Link Party.

  5. What fabulous suggestions for pregnant women. Thank you for sharing your post at the #AnythingGoes Link Party.

  6. Great post. I love how you added to the nutrients not just taking things away form your food section. Visiting from Mommy Monday Blog Hop

  7. This is a great post for expecting mothers. I wish I had this 21 years! Visiting from the Sunday Social Linky.

  8. Awesome Post!! Thanks for sharing on My 2 Favorite Things on Thursday!! Hope to see you again!! I love having you!! Pinned!!

    1. Thank you Elaine, I appreciate the support :)

  9. Such great ideas to help you stay healthy and get your body ready for birth. Long past those days for me, but awesome post! Thanks for sharing with SYC.

  10. What a fantastic post! Great tips for staying healthy during pregnancy and after! Thanks for linking up with us on the Sunday Social!

  11. These tips are great for soon to be moms on staying fit and getting ready for the little one to come. Thanks for sharing this over at Feature Fridays. I hope to see you soon

  12. Where were you when I was pregnant? =) Great post!

    1. I know it's a little late for most but a good resource to pass on to anyone you know.

  13. I so wish there had been something like this to read when I was expecting my son 22 years ago! You've filled this post with good, practical, positive advice and I am so happy you shared it with us at the Hearth and Soul Hop. Pinning and sharing this post around :-)

  14. Excellent information on your blog, thank you for taking the time to share with us. Amazing insight you have on this, it's nice to find a website that details so much information about prenatal fitness and food. Visit at the best place of online shopping for pregnant moms in Singapore.