Staying Healthy During Pregnacy


Putting on weight during pregnancy is part and parcel of growing a healthy baby. But it’s equally important to stay healthy as you progress through your pregnancy

To calculate how much weight you should gain during pregnancy, you first need to look at what your weight was before conception. Calculate your pre-conception body mass index (BMI), by dividing your weight by your height squared.

During the first trimester you don’t need to increase your calorie intake, but during the second trimester you would need an additional 340-360 calories per day. In the third trimester you would need an additional 112 calories above that. Each pregnancy is different, just as every person is, so the best way to know if you’re within the normal range for weight gain is to check with your doctor or clinic sister, as they’ll have access to your medical history.

Statistics when it comes to weight can be daunting. Measuring up against BMI statistics, a recent survey conducted through the medical journal The Lancet revealed that 0 percent of South African women could be considered overweight. That means, for many of us, we’re considered overweight before we even put on the baby weight.

There’s an upside to this, of course. Putting on too little weight during your pregnancy is concerning as this could mean your baby has a low birth weight. Also, if you take a look around, you’ll see that the majority of women who are carrying a little more on the hips go on to have healthy, successful pregnancies with very few concerns.

Blood pressure is a critical health indicator, which tells your doctor a lot about how your body is responding and adapting to your pregnancy. he average human blood pressure reading falls between 110/70 and 120/80, but during pregnancy this can fluctuate. Your doctor will check your blood pressure at every appointment to ensure you don’t have high blood pressure, also known as gestational hypertension. High blood pressure could be indicative of pre-eclampsia, which affects
around five percent of all pregnant women, but only the most severe of cases can have detrimental effects on mothers and babies.

Gestational diabetes occurs when you have an abnormally high level of sugar in your blood. It’s very common and can happen to any pregnant mom, although the risk for it is slightly elevated when a mother’s BMI reading is above normal.

The key to diabetes management is education, and once one is educated it all boils down to one thing: controlling your intake of carbohydrates. Diabetes, at its core, can be thought of as a
disease caused by the body’s inability to properly process carbs.

Doctors dispel the myth that pregnant mothers need to “eat for two”. They explain: “Eating for two is most definitely a myth. The problem with thinking that you need to eat for two is that you’re going to have to lose all of those excess kilograms afterwards. You only need an extra 200-300 calories per day, generally in the second trimester, and a bit more in the last trimester, but some people don’t need as much as others. These extra calories can equate to a slice of rye bread and 100 millilitres of yoghurt. So rather than eating sugary foods to get your energy levels up, focus on eating many small healthy meals throughout the day, as this will keep your blood sugar levels at a normal rate.

It’s also a myth that moms shouldn’t exercise when pregnant. Firstly, you need to make sure you don’t have any underlying issues. If your gynaecologist gives you the all-clear, then you can carry on. If you exercised before your pregnancy then you can carry on as usual. If you haven’t exercised for more than six months, then wait until you’re through your first trimester, and then you can train.


Keep your heart rate below 140 beats per minute (BPM). Wear cool and comfortable clothing. Never hold your breath when you push weights overhead. Weight training is great for keeping your muscle tone. It also helps you with strength, which you’ll need plenty of when baby comes.

Cardiovascular exercise is great for endurance and giving you the fitness needed for the birth. You can walk, cycle and do the cross trainer at the gym. If you’re a runner, you can continue with your running until discomfort occurs. Swimming is also great if you’re feeling joint discomfort as it takes the stress off your joints. Aim for 30-45 minute exercise sessions, three times per week, when you’re starting out. If you’ve been exercising already you can push that up to five times per week, under the supervision of your

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