Physical activity linked to pregnancy and childbirth can be compared with the effort of an athlete who takes part in the marathon and prepares for it for the whole year. A pregnant woman should in this period take exceptional care of all aspects of her physical condition – both through the use of a proper diet and drinking plenty of water, and giving the body a daily dose of exercise of adequate intensity. Agnieszka Bajer-Ciszewska, experienced fitness trainer and nutritional specialist, talks about how to properly undertake this prenatal workout.
Drinking appropriate amounts of water and exercise are the necessary conditions to maintain the appropriate physical condition. Pregnant women should, however, pay particular attention to it – because they take care of not just their own health but also about how the unborn baby will develop.
Healthy mother-to be means healthy child
The scientists calculated that the body of a child growing in a belly consists of almost 90% water. Water, and more precisely: amniotic fluids, is also its natural environment for the entire duration of pregnancy. It is therefore necessary to take care of its proper replenishment throughout the day. – Pregnant women need about 3 litres of water a day. In addition to the needs of the foetus and its environment, water is also necessary to improve the work of more than usually burdened organs such as kidneys, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal and muscle systems, and to improve the skin condition, which at that time tends to lose the appropriate moisture – said Dr Agnieszka Bajer-Ciszewska. Fluid replacement can relieve the unpleasant symptoms of pregnancy such as nausea or constipation. It improves mood and contains no calories, and thus helps maintain the body weight, which is particularly important in the period one is exceptionally at risk of excessive weight gain.
Water not equal to water
What kind of water is recommended to a future mum to drink? – Pregnant women should avoid coffee, tea and fizzy drinks. The type of water itself is important, as well as its amount consumed during the day – says expert. – Minerals are one of the most important nutrients in that period, but the standard is also taking supplements; therefore, we can drink water with low or medium content of minerals – she adds. Definitely more important than that aspect is the low content of sodium in the consumed water, as it is the main culprit responsible for keeping the fluids in the body. This effect of excess of sodium may cause hazardous to health blood pressure. The best solution is to provide oneself during that period with water of a special purpose, such as, for example, Mammy and me.
Active pregnancy – better start
The second important aspect of a healthy pregnancy is the appropriate dose of exercise – the need for physical activity during pregnancy does not disappear, and only requires small changes in terms of its form or intensity. Mums-to-be, regardless of their special state, take pleasure from exercise, and thanks to it undergo pregnancy and labour much better, hence ensuring a better start for their baby. – Exercise is extremely important in this period, mainly due to the condition of a skeleton, and primarily – the spine. It is subjected to more and more overload, and hence the risk of its damage increases; it will bother the woman for the rest of her life – emphasises Agnieszka Bajer Ciszewska. But not only the spine suffers – also our cardiovascular and muscle systems have to keep adapting to bearing an increasing load, which, not equally distributed, changes the centre of gravity of the body. The pelvic floor muscles must be strengthened; their weakening in that period may cause extremely bothersome problems with incontinence. One cannot also forget about legs – in order to avoid swelling and unsightly varicose veins one need to systematically train.
If exercise, then what kind?
– There is no point to lie to oneself – while pregnant we are significantly heavier and therefore more sluggish; we also bear the unique and fragile treasure, whose safety should be our priority. Before undertaking the physical activity, it is necessary to use the specialist’s advice, who will adjust its program to our health condition and individual aspects connected to it – advises Agnieszka Bajer Ciszewska. However, there are activities one should give up at the start, such as extreme sports (for obvious reasons), sport in which we may be exposed to losing one’s balance, such as horse riding or cycling, and also gym exercises and jogging – also in the initial period, when the belly doesn’t yet show. – We can easily swap running for Nordic walking or dancing, and other activities can be undertaken during yoga classes or gentle aerobic exercises – our expert recommends. It is worth to making the swimming the quintessence of physical activity during pregnancy, most of all – it allows strengthening the muscles, make circulatory system more flexible, oxygenate the brain, and most importantly – raise your physical condition without having to invest a very big effort.
To sum up – water, water and once more: water. It is the main drink during pregnancy, both during the standard and increased activity. Its quality and quantity has an essential meaning for both life that’s only starting and one that will bring it to the world.