Pregnancy Nutrition and Exercise

Published May 2, 2023

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Heart shaped plate with salmon and vegetables beside a cup of tea

Pregnancy is an exciting time, but it can also be overwhelming as you start to think about providing your growing baby with all the nutrients they need to stay healthy. Nutrition during pregnancy and exercise are two of the most important ways that pregnant women can take care of themselves and their babies. Prenatal nutrition involves picking the right vitamins, minerals, proteins, fats, carbohydrates, and other dietary factors for a balanced diet. Exercise not only helps keep mum-to-be fit — it supports mental health too.

If you are pregnant or trying to become pregnant, it’s important to consult with your doctor or other healthcare professional at all times regarding exercise, diet and post-natal care for mums and newborns. We hope this article can help provide some general information to keep you informed and help support your conversations with your doctor.

What to eat during pregnancy

Your choice of food during pregnancy should always be high quality, nutrient-dense options – think whole grains like brown rice and quinoa, fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes, and plenty of protein such as eggs, lean meats & poultry and protein-rich beans. Nuts and seeds are also great for providing vital minerals for growth. There has never been a better time to experiment in the kitchen than during pregnancy; try cooking with new spices and herbs for added vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and flavour. It’s vital to remember to practice safe food handling during pregnancy — everything from choosing fresh produce at the store to washing hands before meal preparation.

Nature’s Own Pregnancy & Breastfeeding Mini Caps contain folic acid, which can help to maintain and support healthy foetal brain development and help to prevent neural tube defects when taken at least four weeks before conception and during the first trimester of pregnancy. Always read the label and follow the directions for use.

Foods to avoid during pregnancy

There are certain things that pregnant women need to keep in mind when it comes to food. While most foods are safe for pregnant women, some should be avoided due to health risks for both mother and the baby. High-mercury fish like swordfish, king mackerel, shark, marlin, orange roughy and and tilefish should be avoided, as well as unpasteurized cheese or milk. Deli meats have a elevated risk of containing listeria, a bacteria which can cause serious illnesses. Avoiding these types of meat altogether is best. Additionally, leading healthcare providers suggest limiting caffeine and ceasing alcohol intake throughout pregnancy. Current Australian guidelines indicate that up to 200mg a day of caffeine is safe for pregnant women to consume, however, there is no safe level of alcohol consumption when you are pregnant. The Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) developed the ‘Every Moment Matters’ project, endorsed and funded by the Australian Government, emphasising that the moment you start trying, is the moment to stop drinking alcohol. With careful planning and mindful eating habits, pregnant women can support optimal health and a smooth pregnancy journey — starting with being aware of which foods to limit while you’re growing your family.

Healthy snack ideas

Having a healthy snack on-hand is essential for expectant mothers, as eating regularly helps maintain a consistent energy level and helps your body get the extra calories it requires during the second and third trimester. While it’s important to find snacks that provide all the nutrients your body needs, variety is key. Fruits, veggies, smoothies, nuts, seeds, protein-rich snacks like hard-boiled eggs or cheese sticks are all great choices for keeping your energy up. Incorporating some delicious treats like yogurt with granola, fruit salad with whipped cream or dark chocolate covered almonds can help keep cravings at bay. Healthy snacking while pregnant can help make this special journey even more enjoyable.

Benefits of exercise during pregnancy

When it comes to pregnancy, exercise can be one of the most beneficial activities for both mum and baby. Not only does a regular exercise routine help maintain overall physical health, but it can also ease the aches and pains from carrying the extra body weight associated with pregnancy. Furthermore, staying fit during pregnancy can help make labour easier thanks to improved muscle strength and better circulation throughout the body. With all these positives, there’s no reason why pregnant women should miss out on the wonderful benefits that come with regular exercise.

Tips for ensuring safety during exercises during pregnancy

It’s important to ensure that you are exercising in the safest way possible during pregnancy. Always follow the recommendations of your health practitioner, as they will be able to provide advice unique to your individual fitness level, pre-pregnancy exercise routine and help to mitigate any potential risks for your pregnancy journey. To ensure you exercise safely, make sure to warm up before engaging in any physical activity and cool down after each session. Also, remember to take frequent breaks, drink plenty of water, and avoid any activities that require sudden movements or too much stress on joints. With these tips for safety in mind, pregnant women can enjoy a safe and energising exercise routine throughout this special experience.

Pelvic floor and pregnancy

During pregnancy, the muscles in the lower back and pelvic floor endure increased stress as your baby grows. As a result, expecting mothers can suffer from back pain, discomfort, and weak abdominal muscles. It is important for pregnant women to take proactive steps to help strengthen their pelvic floors to avoid future health issues as a result of this increases strain on their bodies. A pelvic floor strengthening program also helps improve bladder control and prepares expecting mothers for an easier labour. Regular exercise, muscle awareness techniques and physical therapy are just some of the exercises that can be used to protect the pelvic floor while pregnant. Being aware of pelvic health during this time is key, allowing expecting mothers to enjoy their pregnancies more knowing that they have taken steps towards a better delivery process further down the road.

Post-natal care

Post-natal care is an essential and rewarding practice that can have a lasting positive impact on mental wellbeing for new mothers. It is important that mothers receive extra attention, support and guidance while they adjust to the newborn’s needs, and their changing role as a parent. Your health care practitioner can help to provide post-natal care services such as nutrition counselling, sleep routine planning, breastfeeding support, psychological consultations, and physical activity sessions for new mums. These activities and level of support can all be tailored according to the mother’s preferences and specific circumstances.

Taking the time to care for yourself both during and immediately following pregnancy has many positive benefits that ensure good health for mother and child both before and after birth. Exercise can help you stay strong and flexible, keeping your pelvic floor in shape even as your baby grows. Following delivery, post-natal care should be a priority to ensure longevity of comfort and wellbeing. The most important thing for mums-to-be is to feel empowers to make informed decisions about their diet, exercise routine, and post-natal care plan so they can enjoy this special time the right way.

Advise your doctor of any medicine you take during pregnancy, particularly in your first trimester.


Learn about which Nature's Own product may be appropriate for you.

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