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I have never exercised regularly before or only done very limited exercise. Is it safe to start while I am pregnant?

While it may not be smart to start an aggressive exercise program during pregnancy, it is never too late to begin a low impact daily exercise routine. Even a brisk walk can have significant health benefits for mom and baby, including preventing excess weight gain, lowering your risk of gestational diabetes and reducing back pain. In addition, regular exercise can boost your energy levels and help you sleep better. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends at least 20-30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise on most or all days of the week.

I am an avid exerciser. Is it still safe to continue to exercise now that I am pregnant?

A general rule is that it is safe to continue with what you were doing prior to pregnancy. Experts used to recommend a maximum heart rate of no more than 150 beats per minute during pregnancy. Today, these restrictions are rarely imposed. Exercise of a moderate level is not only safe, but is also encouraged throughout pregnancy. There are reasonable precautions that one should take, including avoiding any type of exercise where there is a fall risk, like mountain biking or horseback riding, and contact sports. As always, get the approval of your provider, but barring any complications of pregnancy, stay active and stay fit.

How much weight should I gain during pregnancy?

The first thing to do is dispel the myth that you are eating for two. The amount of weight that you should gain is dependent on your pre-pregnancy BMI (which is calculated using your height and weight). For the average woman the goal is to gain approximately 1-4 lbs. in the first trimester and a pound/week during the remainder of the pregnancy. The average person should gain a total of 25-35 lbs. These recommendations change for the underweight and overweight patients. Consult your provider for your specific weight goals.

Are there any foods that I should avoid during pregnancy?

Eating a well-balanced meal is essential when you are pregnant. There are many vitamins, nutrients and minerals that help your baby grow. Most foods are safe, but there are some that should be avoided or minimized. One is raw meat, which includes uncooked seafood and rare or undercooked beef/poultry. Fish that contain high levels of mercury should be avoided, such as shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish. Certain fish used in sushi should be avoided. Deli meats should be reheated prior to eating. Soft cheeses, unpasteurized milk and raw eggs should also be avoided.

Can I have any caffeine during pregnancy?

Moderate caffeine consumption has not been proven to be harmful during pregnancy. Most experts agree that consuming fewer than 200 mg of caffeine a day is safe, which is equivalent to one, 12-ounce cup of coffee.

Board-certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology, Dr. Marshall joined the team at First State Women’s Care in 2005. Dr. Marshall graduated from the University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey in 2001. She completed her residency at Christiana Hospital, where she was chief resident. Dr. Marshall is trained in all the newest surgical techniques, including DaVinci Robotic surgery.

First State Women’s Care
4745 Ogletown Stanton Road, Suite 106
Newark, Del., 19713