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Chelsea at Crunch Gym

Forty Weeks of Fitness!

Chelsea, our pregnancy fitness expert, is a certified personal trainer at Crunch gym in San Francisco, California. She gave birth to her daughter, Madeira Re, in July 2006. Read more

Eating for Two


Your sodium requirements increase during pregnancy; however, the sodium provided by the average diet is probably adequate for expectant mothers and consumption of additional salt is rarely warranted. Americans typically consume 4,000 to 8,000 mg of sodium each day, well above their daily needs of 2,400 mg. Excessive sodium intake does contribute to high blood pressure in some people, so women who have been advised to limit sodium before becoming pregnant should continue this practice until they discuss it with their doctors.


Experts at the American Diabetes Association believe that hormones secreted during pregnancy may make it hard for your body to use insulin (a condition called insulin resistance), which allows more glucose to stay in your bloodstream. When glucose remains in the bloodstream instead of being converted to energy, it can lead to a condition called gestational diabetes which affects approximately 2 to 5 percent of pregnant women. Women with gestational diabetes should be closely monitored to make sure their blood sugar levels remain steady. If blood sugar rises too high, the increased sugar crossing the placenta can result in an abnormally large fetus, which can complicate labor and delivery and cause additional problems for the baby after birth.


Nutrition and eating habits can even relieve some womenís nausea during early pregnancy. To help alleviate morning sickness, try the following:

  • Keep meals small, and avoid long periods without food.
  • Drink fluids between, but not with, meals.
  • Avoid foods that are greasy, fried or highly spiced.

Improvements in the ability to diagnose birth defects early in pregnancy have focused attention on ways to correct certain fetal defects by manipulating the mother's diet. For example, researchers are investigating the use of vitamin and mineral supplements to prevent neural tube defects. Other research is being conducted on the ways maternal nutrition can help fetuses with inherited birth defects, usually inborn errors of metabolism, in which certain nutrients are not processed normally.

Scientists are also analyzing the extent to which pregnancy affects a woman long-term. Jean Pennington, Ph.D. of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, says it is known that a woman who has a large number of children may have depleted calcium stores. Walter H. Glinsmann, M.D., Past Associate Director for Clinical Nutrition, FDA Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, counsels that having babies should be considered a major life effort that begins long before conception, "Getting pregnant is like running a race. You have to get yourself in condition."

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