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The Role of Diet and Exercise When Pregnant or Trying to Conceive

The Role of Diet and Exercise When Pregnant or Trying to Conceive

Eating right and exercising are pillars of good health for everyone, but they’re even more important when you’re expecting or trying to conceive. Diet and exercise play a crucial role during this period, not only for your own benefit but also for the healthy development of your baby. 

During both our prenatal counseling and routine prenatal appointments here on the Upper West Side of New York City, our team at OBGYN Westside, PLLC, provides you with specific diet and exercise recommendations to meet your unique needs.

In the meantime, let’s explore the significance of diet and exercise during pregnancy and when you’re trying to conceive. 

When you are trying to conceive 

Whether you’re thinking about starting your family in six months or next month, it’s never too early to start thinking about new dietary and exercise habits. 

Dietary considerations

Maintaining a well-balanced diet is essential when you’re trying to conceive, because proper nutrition prepares your body to support a growing baby. 

Focus on consuming a variety of whole foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Ensure you're getting sufficient vitamins and minerals such as folic acid, iron, calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids. 

Folic acid is so crucial for early fetal development — it can help prevent neural tube defects — that you can start taking a prenatal vitamin containing folic acid in the months leading up to trying to conceive. In addition to taking your prenatal supplement, include folate-rich foods like leafy greens, citrus fruits, legumes, and fortified cereals in your diet. 

What you eat isn’t the only thing that matters. What you drink also matters! Staying hydrated is vital for overall health and fertility. Aim to drink an adequate amount of water each day, as it helps support healthy reproductive function and maintain optimal cervical mucus production, which sperm uses to navigate through to reach your egg.

Exercise guidelines

Engage in regular physical activity to maintain a healthy weight and promote overall well-being. Moderate-intensity exercises such as brisk walking, jogging, cycling, and swimming are generally safe for most women trying to conceive.

Chronic stress can negatively impact fertility, so finding healthy ways to cope is important during the pre-conception phase. Exercise can be a great way to manage stress, especially stress about conceiving. Other good stress management techniques include deep breathing, listening to music, and spending time in nature.

When you are pregnant

Once you become pregnant, your diet and exercise routines become even more important, but you’ll never have to navigate this alone. We provide tailored guidance depending on what trimester you’re in and if you have any underlying conditions, such as morning sickness or gestational diabetes. 

Dietary considerations

A healthy diet promotes a good mood, healthy weight gain, and gives your body the nutrition it needs. Just as when you’re trying to conceive, pregnancy nutrition should include plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats in your meals. However, you’ll have a few additional foods to avoid

Continue to take a prenatal vitamin supplement to ensure you're meeting your increased nutrient needs during pregnancy. 

Staying hydrated is important during pregnancy to support the increased blood volume, amniotic fluid levels, and overall well-being. Drink an adequate amount of water each day and limit caffeine intake. 

Exercise guidelines

Walking, swimming, stationary cycling, and prenatal yoga are excellent exercise options when you’re pregnant. These activities help maintain cardiovascular fitness, strengthen muscles, improve circulation, and promote a sense of well-being. Pelvic floor exercises, such as Kegels, can aid in bladder control, support your pelvic organs, and facilitate the birthing process. 

Exercising during pregnancy can also contribute to less exhaustion during labor, shorter labor, and fewer interventions. Keep in mind, though, that you should talk with our team first before continuing or starting an exercise regimen during pregnancy.

When exercising, pay attention to your body's signals. It's normal for your energy levels to fluctuate during pregnancy, so don't push yourself beyond your comfort zone. Modify or reduce the intensity of your workouts as needed and ensure proper warm-up and cool-down periods.

Diet and exercise are the keys to a healthy pregnancy

Diet and exercise are vital components when trying to conceive and during pregnancy. Maintaining a well-balanced diet, staying hydrated, avoiding harmful substances, and engaging in safe physical activities can optimize fertility, support a healthy pregnancy, and contribute to the overall well-being of both you and your baby. 

By prioritizing your health, you're taking important steps toward a positive and healthy journey to motherhood.

If you need to schedule a fertility counseling session or your next prenatal appointment, call us or book online today.

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