Healthy pregnancy: 5 steps to staying fit

Get simple strategies to stay fit, so you’ll be in the best of health to enjoy your pregnancy.


You want to be in good shape to enjoy your pregnancy as it’s one of life’s most thrilling adventures. Yet, many of us end up feeling the opposite. If you’re succumbing to coughs and colds, it’s because your immune system’s intentionally become more vulnerable to protect your baby.

GP Dr Catti Moss explains, “Your natural immunity is suppressed, so that your spouse’s sperm and your growing baby are accepted by your body, rather than being attacked by your immune cells. These cells lose some of their ability to fight your body’s enemies, making you susceptible to bugs.”

But there’s lots you can do to stay fit through pregnancy and beyond.

1) Get your eight a day

You may think five daily portions of fruit and veg is enough. But to truly stay in top form, experts suggest eating eight to pack in your fibre and vitamins. This lowers your risk of dying from heart disease by 22 per cent, compared to those who eat only three portions a day. Go for variety, too.

“Chop a banana into your oats, eat an apple after lunch, and add a selection of veggies to your dinner,” Dr Moss says. “The more colourful the plate, the better.” If eight seems unrealistic, make a fruit-and-veg smoothie.

Garlic is the one super-veg you might not want to add to your drink, though you could pop it into your dishes. Nutritional therapist Ali Lawrence points out, “Garlic has antiviral and antibacterial properties that can prevent colds and flu.”

“Add a selection of veggies to your dinner. The more colourful the plate, the better.”

2) Pack in protein

While too much meat will challenge your digestive system, you do need protein to boost the production of antibodies that will help you fight off disease. Opt for a high-protein diet, including one palm-sized portion of red or white meat, like chicken or beef, at least once a day. “If you’re vegetarian, eggs and cottage cheese can also boost levels,” Lawrence says.

3) Vitamins are vital

Vitamins that pack a punch for your immune system include zinc, B vitamins — particularly B6, which helps form blood cells and antibodies — and vitamin D. These should all be provided by your pregnancy supplement, but don’t forget that sunshine is the most efficient way to absorb vitamin D — you’ll only need about 15 minutes of morning sunlight (before 9am) every day.

Keep reading for more ways to stay fighting fit in pregnancy…