This article is about how to stay fit during pregnancy. It is important to understand that you need to stay in shape during pregnancy rather than either getting fit or losing weight, which I believe is a very important distinction.
Only 1 in 5 of us exercises, so the chances are you will have done little. Ideally you will be reasonably fit before getting pregnant but if not, don't worry as there are still ways of improving things.
It's important that you discuss with your midwife what is safe and reasonable for you to do, but in general it should be safe to exercise regularly for the full nine months. But remember you are exercising to stay in shape or improve your fitness slightly, not exercising to lose weight or get super fit.
Why would you want to stay in shape? Firstly, there are studies that have shown exercise can reduce the chance of your child becoming obese in later life. Your health should stay good, you should feel better emotionally, be happy with your body, and have that general fitness glow.
As your baby gets bigger and you get heavier, bear in mind the constraints your body will put on you exercising. There will be additional stress on your muscles and joints, ligaments that support joints may become more relaxed, and your balance may be affected given the extra weight. So do not push your body at all. Exercise should be comfortable. Also remember to drink lots of water, it's for two of you remember, as you will probably sweat more.
So if you are reasonably fit; running, swimming, cycling etc can all be continued, just ensure you keep your midwife updated on your exercises and don't exercise if you have any complications and do not push your body. If you do go running, ladies make sure your wear a strong support bra, as your breasts may be larger than usual.
If you haven't exercised much and you want to, consider walking. Walking is excellent for you. Also, doing exercises that strengthen the muscles supporting the uterus, should help to counteract ankle swelling and backaches. Your midwife will also be able to advise good exercises.
With your diet, choose foods where possible that have a low GI, (Glycemic Index). Avoid foods that give quick bursts of energy, like chocolate, but focus on foods that release energy slowly, an example being oatmeal. GI is a measure of how slowly or quickly carbohydrates in the food you are eating, break down to glucose in your body. That glucose acts as your fuel. High GI foods break down quickly, so concentrate on low GI. Low GI foods include all green vegetables, salad, etc. You may want to consider purchasing a book and focus on low GI based recipes. As the energy is released slowly, it should reduce your need for snacking, getting dips in energy and will help you stay slimmer.
So eat good regular meals, and try to avoid unhealthy snacking. Snacking is generally the biggest reason for weight gain. Do not consider dieting whilst pregnant, it is not the time to do that.
Focus on exercise and healthy eating, and have a very happy pregnancy. In turn once you have had your baby, getting your body back in shape afterwards will be so much simpler.