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If you have recently found out you are expecting, congratulations! Pregnancy is one of the most beautiful journeys one can be a part of, not only for mothers who are growing and carrying life, but for fathers as well. While the whole experience is undeniably magical, it is tough on the body, and can be overwhelming and daunting for many, especially new mums. At Ballsbridge Physiotherapy Clinic we want you to feel as comfortable as possible throughout your pregnancy and have as much knowledge as possible about the journey your body is about to embark on. We have put together a four-part “Preparing for Pregnancy” series for the month of May. Each week we will focus on a different aspect of pregnancy and how to prepare for it, providing useful information and tips compiled by myself and the rest of the team here at the clinic. The four-part series will address:
Preparing for Pregnancy Part 1: The Importance of a Healthy Diet and Lifestyle
Preparing for Pregnancy Part 2: Strengthening the Pelvic Floor
Preparing for Pregnancy Part 3: 5 Tips on How to Stay Fit While Pregnant
Preparing for Pregnancy Part 4: Common Discomforts During Pregnancy
As pregnancy is one of the most sensitive periods in a women’s life, eating a healthy diet is essential not only for the women, but for the developing baby. Expecting mothers should pay close attention to what they eat, and make sure to avoid any foods or beverages that could be harmful to the baby. Foods to avoid include raw fish, shellfish, raw eggs, raw sprouts, unpasteurised dairy, soft cheese with a white rind (such as brie and cambered) and blue cheese. Foods to reduce intake of include high mercury fish, processed meats, organ meats and undercooked meats.
Eating a healthy, balanced diet, high in fruits, vegetables and wholegrains is recommended to ensure the body is getting the sufficient amounts of vitamins and minerals needed. It is particularly important for pregnant women to eat foods rich in iron and calcium as there is an increased risk of developing anemia while pregnant. Additionally, a diet high in folic acid during pregnancy is critical to reduce the risk of neural-tube defects such as spina bifida in babies. The daily recommended dose is 400 mcg minimum, so if you are not consuming that amount, look into taking a supplement. Foods high in folic acid include, dark green leafy vegetables, citrus fruits such as oranges, beans, brown rice, breads and cereals.
If you already have a regular exercise regime, by all means continue it as long as your body feels good doing so and your doctor agrees it is safe. It is advised however, to ease up on strenuous exercise or engaging in extreme sports. If you don’t have a regular fitness regime, perhaps now is the time to start some light exercise. Pilates is a great activity to do while pregnant, not only will it help improve your fitness, but it also can help relive any pregnancy related back or pelvic pain you may experience. Additionally, Pilates is a great way of strengthening your pelvic floor muscles in preparation for delivery. Next week we will have a blog specifically on how to strengthen the pelvic floor so make sure to check back with us then!
Smoking increases the risk of miscarriage, stillbirth, preterm delivery and having a low-birth-weight baby. Additionally, babies of mothers who smoke are at higher risk of being born with certain birth defects (such a cleft palate), and many other health issues including sudden infant death syndrome. Mothers-to-be are not the only ones who need to quit smoking, recent studies have shown how being exposed to second hand smoke within the home is equally as negative for the developing baby.
As no science has been able to determine a safe level of alcohol consumption, it is recommended to stop drinking alcohol entirely during pregnancy. Similar to mothers who smoke, mothers who drink face the same increased risk of miscarriage, stillbirth, preterm delivery and having a low-birth-weight baby.
While you don’t need to cut caffeine out entirely, it is recommended to limit your intake to no more than 200mg daily. Switch to decaffeinated tea and coffee if you tend to drink a lot to ensure your daily dose of caffeine is within the recommended limits.
If you are pregnant, and have any questions or concerns, or are suffering from any pregnancy related pain, please feel free to get in contact with us here to make an appointment. Additionally if you want to join the Pilates class we offer, please fill out the contact form here.