Get fit for baby

If this is your first baby, or you’re here because you are planning to get pregnant, then the idea of taking the first steps into motherhood are no doubt filling you with excitement. But these feelings may also be going hand-in-hand with some trepidation and anxiety. Having a child is one of the biggest life decisions you will ever make, and it’s vital that you give yourself the best chance of giving birth to a healthy, happy baby.

This means being aware of certain health precautions and giving yourself the best chance of a problem-free pregnancy. Here is a rundown of some of the most important things you should consider when preparing your body for carrying a child.

Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight

It will be more beneficial for you and your future baby if you manage to reach a healthy weight before becoming pregnant.

Whether or not you are a healthy weight is ruled by your Body Mass Index (BMI), which is the measure of your body fat based on your weight and height. To find out your BMI, you can use an online BMI calculator. A BMI that is considered healthy is in the range of 18.5 to 24.9.

If you have a BMI that is either too low or too high, then this can affect your chances of conception. You’re also more likely to encounter complications during your pregnancy, such as high blood pressure, blood clots, and gestational diabetes.

Being overweight can heighten the chances of experiencing miscarriage. So it’s far better to get into shape as early as possible. While it might be challenging for you to achieve a healthy BMI, it will be beneficial in many ways for you to try to get as close to your recommended weight as possible.

A word of note though – once you are officially pregnant it’s not recommended to lose weight. If you are overweight when you find out you’re pregnant you should then concentrate on trying to eat a really healthy, balanced diet.

Getting fit for your foetus

So, if you think you might be pregnant or you are planning to try for a baby, now is the time to start thinking about achieving and maintaining a healthy weight and to start working on your fitness, strength, and stamina (all very useful for when your baby begins to develop inside you).

You might decide to draw up an exercise plan which provides various healthy activities each week. These sessions don’t have to be too long – try for about 20-30 minutes a time if you’re a beginner – because whatever you do now will be better than waiting until you’re midway through your second trimester before trying to lose weight.

Getting into the habit of working out regularly (and it doesn’t have to be hours and hours of sweaty, muscle-pumping exercise either) will mean you’ll find it much easier to stay fit during the whole of your pregnancy and don’t forget that exercise releases endorphins which can help trigger really positive feelings in your body.

Devising an exercise plan made up of various suitable exercises for pregnant women (swimming, walking, yoga – just to name a few) should mean that you’re able to continue throughout your whole pregnancy without too many adjustments (although be prepared to make a few changes as the developing foetus causes you to change shape).

Helping you during pregnancy and beyond

Exercise isn’t the only key to reaching the optimum weight, what you eat is just as important, but it is an essential part of being fit. It will take a lot of effort, for sure, but once you get into a healthy eating and fitness routine, it will become a lot easier and maybe even a little bit fun (remember those endorphins).

The fact that you’re starting now before conception will put you strides ahead of other expectant mothers who may only make the effort once they’ve found out they’re pregnant. Achieving a healthy weight and getting fitter now will not only make conception and the ensuing nine months a lot less likely to be problematic, but it will also help your body recover faster after giving birth.

For more suggestions about what exercise you can do in pregnancy, click through to the My BabyManual fitness pages – there’s lots of information and maybe even some exercise activities you wouldn’t have thought of.

Important – If you or your child are unwell you should seek medical advice from a professional – contact your GP or visit an A&E department in an emergency. While My BabyManual strives to provide dependable and trusted information on pregnancy and childcare 24/7 via our website pages, we cannot provide individual answers to specific healthcare questions.