Introduction to perinatal nutrition recommendations Pregnancy is often described simultaneously as the most magical and most difficult time of a woman’s life. Thanks to the hormonal fluctuations and physical changes that occur over the typical 9 months of infant gestation, discomfort, mood swings and pain can be very common. While this is all stressful for the expectant mother and her family, another concern which often crops up surrounds the nutrition and exercise protocols that are appropriate, safe and indeed beneficial for both mother and baby. This is one area where misinformation is more common than good quality advice. Thanks to the twin fallacies of appeals to tradition (women have always done this so it’s right) and appeals to false authority (I’m a mother so I just know) various practices which are ineffective and in some cases counterproductive are considered common sense – with the main two being the idea of ‘eating for two’ and also the idea that expectant mothers should not engage in any strenuous activity at all lest they hurt their unborn child. During this module we will explore both of these ideas along with the more complex notions of perinatal nutrient requirements and the less well-known epigenetic impact of maternal diet and exercise habits. We will also touch upon the controversial topic of post-baby weight loss and ‘getting my pre baby body back’, because this idea is relatively common amongst both trainers and clients, in part due to celebrity ‘transformations’, but the health ramifications of doing it incorrectly (mentally and physically) are far reaching. By the end of this module it is our hope that you will be able to safely and effectively help pre- and postnatal clients make the right nutritional choices both for their own and their baby’s health, while also being aware of some key exercise-related factors that you need to take into consideration when planning training sessions. Before we begin, however, a brief overview is useful because those of you who are not parents will likely be unaware of the basics – so what exactly happens during pregnancy?
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— Chennae Swinerd
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