Pregnant mothers usually consult physicians during pregnancy. During this time, they ask about the different measures in order to keep a healthy pregnancy. Obstetricians usually indicate that proper nutrition and exercise is essential during pregnancy. However, exercise may seem negative during pregnancy when mothers should maintain adequate rest.
Nevertheless, a right amount of exercise is essential in producing best pregnancy and delivery outcomes. In addition, nutrition is also very important because the fetus feeds on what the mother eats. Most of the nutrient intake of mothers passes the placental circulation; thereby mother’s nutrition should be carefully selected so as to provide the best development for the fetus. The following summarizes the role of nutrition and exercise in pregnancy.
The Role of Nutrition
Certain nutrients are very essential in the development of the fetus. These include:Iron helps in the formation of hemoglobin, which is responsible for the oxygen carrying capacity of the blood. Iron intake prevent anemia to the mother and the fetus.
Folic acid is also essential in the development of the fetus, specifically the central nervous system. Folic acid or folate should be taken especially during the first trimester when organ development in the fetus occurs.Iodine is also important to the mother and to the fetus during pregnancy. Iodine prevents goiter to the mother as well as congenital hypothyroidism in the fetus.
Calcium is as important as the other nutrients because it is essential to replace the depleted calcium stores of the mother due to the development of the skeletal system of the fetus.
The Role of Exercise
The right amount of exercise during pregnancy helps in the relief of muscle pain such as back pains of mothers. It also improves the respiratory functioning to prevent breathing problems due to compression of the diaphragm by the growing fetus. In addition, the right amount of muscle contraction during exercise help the mothers to have easier and uncomplicated labor and delivery.
The following exercises are the most common activities that may be performed by pregnant mothers:
- Walking is a good exercise that can be employed. Pregnant women can have brisk walking 15 to 30 minutes a day. Walking is especially beneficial during the third trimester because it aids in the descent of the fetus to be ready for delivery.
- Swimming is also a good exercise for pregnant women. It aids in better lung expansion and breathing to pregnant women. In addition, it prevents tension on the feet, which relieves leg edema.
- Pelvic rocking is a stretching exercise that involves the lower back muscles. Pelvic exercises reduces back ache as a result of heavy load on the back by the growing fetus. Pelvic rocking is done by arching the back forward and backward to relieve muscle pains.
- Kegel’s exercise strengthens the muscles on the pelvic floor to prevent laceration during delivery. Kegel’s exercise is done by contracting the muscles on the pelvic floor and the perineum for ten seconds and releasing it.
Nutrition and exercise are both important in preventing complications such as congenital anomalies in the form of Pfeiffer syndrome, cleft palate, congenital heart diseases and other disorders. They also promote maternal health to help the mother prepare for mothering role.