Pregnancy Birth

Gemma McCaw opens up about her first 12 weeks of pregnancy and offers advice to other expectant mums

'I’m learning as I go that there are plenty of ways to ensure nutrition and fitness aren’t compromised while growing a little human.'

By Gemma McCaw

Being pregnant is such an exciting time, but staying on track with a healthy lifestyle can feel harder, especially in those early months.

I count myself lucky that I haven't had terrible morning sickness, but I was surprised by the level of exhaustion in those first 12 weeks.

Suddenly I didn't feel like getting up at 6am for my morning run and my healthy diet wasn't quite so appealing either, with regular cravings for dense carbohydrates!

But I'm learning as I go that there are plenty of ways to ensure nutrition and fitness aren't compromised while growing a little human.

Keep active

We might feel like putting our feet up when pregnant, but it's essential to keep up some level of physical activity.

I've been given the all-clear to continue going for gentle runs, but if that's not your thing, regular walks are just as good.

Swimming and aqua aerobics are also great low-impact options as your bump grows. Pregnancy yoga and Pilates are safe exercise options right until your due date.

The key with exercise is to listen to your body.

Make sure you’re eating and drinking properly

Pregnancy can take a major toll on your iron levels, so load up on iron-rich foods like red meat and leafy greens to help absorption. Talk to your midwife or doctor about supplements – folic acid and iodine are also important in helping prevent birth defects.

Hydration is more important than ever when you're pregnant – it helps the baby grow and keeps your digestive system working well.

The concept of eating for two has been debunked, so try not to load up on junk and treats just because you have a baby on board. Remember that everything we put into our bodies is being shared with that growing baby, so make healthy choices as much as you can.

The nausea that many women face in the early months of pregnancy can make food choices hard, but good nutrition is one of the best gifts you can give your growing baby.

I found that avocado and tomato on toast with plenty of salt hit the spot for warding off that sick feeling. But if you can't face a salad or vegetables, try whizzing up a healthy smoothie to drink each morning for an instant hit of nutrients.

Do your Kegels

During pregnancy, there is increased pressure on the pelvic floor. As a weak pelvic floor can lead to incontinence, it's important to do Kegel exercises every day.

Sit with a straight back and squeeze the muscles around your front and back passages – almost as though you're trying not to pee. Hold for eight seconds, then release. Do this exercise as many times as you can several times a day.

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