It is said that when a woman is expecting a baby, she has to eat for two. Yet the actual proportion is 1.2 – that’s 300 more calories a day. To keep your baby healthy, avoid artificial sweeteners, large fish (because of the concentration of mercury in their flesh), raw sprouts, most soft cheeses, and bleeding meat, to prevent food poisoning that can lead to miscarriage. During pregnancy, 7% of women have gestational diabetes; so it’s good to eat whole grains and fruits, both high in fiber. Eat a wide variety of foods because they will bring you a variety of nutrients. Your baby’s brain needsomega-3 fatty acids : try sardines, herring and mackerel. If you’re disgusted with fish during your pregnancy, add lemon-scented fish oil by molecular distillation to your smoothies and salads – you’ll enjoy the health benefits of fish without the taste! (By contrast, avoid cod liver oil for the first three months, because it is rich in vitamin A and retinol, which can be dangerous for the baby.)
Certified nutritionist in Toronto, Julie Daniluk co-hosts the Healthy Gourmet cooking reality show on the Oprah Winfrey television network. She is the author of a book on foods that calm inflammation: Meals That Heal Inflammation .
Exercise, but in moderation
Amanda Vogel, Fitness Instructor
Most women can exercise during pregnancy without any complications. Always check with your doctor or midwife. You can usually continue to exercise moderately unless you are in pain or do not feel well, but avoid contact sports and high-risk activities. The goal is to maintain your fitness, not to increase it; however, if you did not exercise before pregnancy, you can start doing it right now. Start with 15 minutes of continuous activity, such as walking or swimming, three times per week. Then go to 30 minutes four times a week. Add some light resistance training to prepare for the demands of motherhood, such as carrying a baby who is gaining weight or carrying it in the car seat. Know that elastin, a hormone released during pregnancy, makes the joints less stable and more fragile. Stop exercising on your back after 16 weeks: this can reduce blood flow to the heart and cause dizziness. That’s why you need to adjust your abdominal exercises by standing, on all fours or on an incline.
Amanda Vogel has a master’s degree in human kinetics. She lives in Vancouver where she is a certified fitness instructor. She is also the author of many books, including Baby Boot Camp: The New Mom’s 9-Minute Fitness Solution .
Every medical situation is unique. Ask your doctor for advice on what is right for you.