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Nutrition During the Pregnancy of a Heavy Exerciser

Although your waist may be expanding, expecting a new arrival doesn't have to keep you from hitting the weights and climbing those stairs. Daily trips to the gym can still top your priority list as long as you take precautions and increase your intake of much-needed nutrients. If your exercise routine was intense before pregnancy, no need to slow down. Just a few adjustments to your diet and schedule will keep you fit, healthy and in perfect shape for motherhood.

Stock Up on Needed Nutrients

During pregnancy, it's crucial that you increase your calories, especially if your exercise routine is rigorous. At a minimum, you need at least 300 extra calories a day in the second and third trimesters, says Rania Batayneh, a San Francisco-based nutritionist and author of "The 1:1:1 Diet." Make those calories count by loading up on protein, iron, folate, calcium, vitamin D and essential fatty acids. The extra calories should come from healthy, nutrient-rich foods, says Batayneh, and quality proteins and carbs are essential with a daily exercise routine.

Between workouts, snack on Greek yogurt, green leafy vegetables, lean meats, and a rainbow of fruits and vegetables. Whole-grain snacks also provide the tasty nutrients you need during pregnancy.

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Consume Body-Building Meals

Consuming quality proteins and carbohydrates is important during pregnancy, but if you are stair-stepping and grooving to an aerobic beat each day, it's essential that you replenish your body with these nutrients. Batayneh suggests making the task even more tasty by serving up chili made with lean ground beef and beans or chicken and broccoli stir-fry over brown rice.

Increase Iron Intake

When lifting weights safely and walking a few miles during pregnancy, you'll experience an increased demand for oxygen. An increased supply of iron is needed for hemoglobin, the substance in red blood cells that binds oxygen for delivery to the tissues explains Sharon Richter, a registered dietitian in New York City. "Iron is absorbed more easily when combined with foods high in acid, such as yogurt, and those with high amounts of vitamin C, like orange juice," she says. Your physician may also recommend an iron supplement.

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Soak Up Liquids

Offer your body and your baby a refresher during and after each workout by rehydrating. Water, in its purest form, helps regulate your body's temperature, lubricates your joints and helps the flow of perspiration and urination. Cleanse your system while replenishing much-needed nutrients by soaking up additional liquids all day long.

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