MLH - Main Line Health Inc.

07/08/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 07/08/2021 10:20

What you need to know to stay healthy during pregnancy

While maintaining a healthy pregnancy is important to help ensure the health of your baby, it's sometimes easier said than done. Tara McCann Davis, DO, with Axia Women's Health, part of the Main Line Health Women's Specialty Center, is here to cut through the noise and share her guidance on nutrition and exercise, and what you need to know to stay healthy during pregnancy.

Healthy eating during pregnancy

'Believe it or not, you're not eating for two during your pregnancy. You're nourishing for two, which is very different,' explains Dr. Davis. 'There's the belief that as an expecting mom, you have a free pass to eat twice the amount of food, but in reality you only need an extra 300 calories per day. If you truly eat for two, you could be putting yourself at risk for conditions like gestational diabetes, hypertensionand preeclampsia. Focus, instead, on eating healthfully and powering your body to do its amazing work of creating new life.'

Dr. Davis recommends eating nutrient-dense foods, such as those high in protein and healthy fats, like peanut butter, hard-boiled eggs and avocados. In addition to being good for you, foods like these will help you feel fuller longer.

She also highlights the importance of staying hydrated. Drinking water throughout the day will help reduce some of the pain and cramping you may experience as your muscles and ligaments grow and stretch throughout pregnancy.

Exercise during pregnancy

Keeping your body moving will help to maintain your range of motion and strength throughout your pregnancy. 'Walking is great, especially if you might not be an avid athlete,' Dr. Davis shares. 'But if you routinely exercise or are a frequent runner, there's no need to stop. As long as you're feeling well, feel free to exercise.'

She also points out that there are simple ways to modify your routine for low-impact options. 'If you're into yoga, you can check out prenatal yoga or gentle yoga. These can help you avoid stretches or positions that might be difficult in pregnancy as well as focus on those that can help build the strength you will need as your body changes.'

Another important tip? Dr. Davis suggests avoiding exercises that focus on the tightening of abdominal muscles-so no planks, full sit-ups or leg lifts. As for your heart rate, 'There's no need to monitor it too closely,' she says. 'It's perfectly fine for your heart rate to increase, and it can go over 140, despite what women have been told, as long as you are listening to your body. I always tell my patients: if something doesn't feel right, avoid it. Listen to your body at all times.'

Main Line Health serves patients at hospitals and health centers throughout the western suburbs of Philadelphia. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Davis at the Women's Specialty Center by calling 484.685.1257.