One of the most joyous times in a women’s life is finding out she has a little bun in the oven. After taking countless pregnancy tests to confirm that, indeed, a little miracle is on the way, many women will go through a plethora of emotions, ranging from excitement and happiness, to worry and anxiety. While these emotions are all very common and real, one frequent concern is what will happen to your pre-pregnancy body. Luckily, making your health and fitness a priority during pregnancy will aid you in maintaining a normal weight gain during pregnancy and in delivering a healthy baby. Not to mention, it makes rocking a sexy post-baby bod much easier!
Dealing with nutrition woes and pesty pregnancy cravings can leave any pregnant woman in dire straights. I don’t care if you were a supermodel before pregnancy, almost every pregnant woman at some point will fall victim to the carton of cookie dough ice cream screaming to them from the fridge, or the deliciously resistible bag of Cheetos that stares out at them from the cupboard. Ladies, pregnancy cravings are not an urban myth, and they are not something to mess with.
That said, succumbing to the entire carton of ice cream isn’t always the best way to handle a craving. First things first, enjoy food. Setting ridiculous standards and goals to eat perfect every day will only lead to a binging disaster and possible food-induced coma later. Even more important, dieting is not encouraged when pregnant. Your body needs the best possible nutrients to get the job done and grow that little pea in the pod into an adorable little nugget…or baby.
While a one-way ticket to food paradise for nine months straight is not in the cards for you, setting realistic nutrition goals and allowing yourself treats once in a while will help you feel strong about your decisions, but not restricted. After all, nothing is worse than a pregnant lady denied her chocolate!
My best advice is to focus on an 80/20 approach. Be conscious eighty percent of the time with the food you are putting into your body. Try and compose your meals of lots of lean proteins, fresh veggies and fruit, and complex carbs, like whole grains. This will ensure that you and your baby are getting the best nutrients possible. Still, allow yourself some freedom. If the ice cream is really screaming your name, have a half a cup of it before bed, then shut the lights down in the kitchen and hit the hay. Moderation is everything in pregnancy and extreme dieting is NEVER the answer.
Beyond eating healthy, some women wonder what fitness routines are still safe during pregnancy and how they will ever manage to work out when carrying around all that extra weight. Lucky for you, most of the extra weight won’t pile on until after at least five months. While I strongly suggest you talk with your physician before doing any exercise program when pregnant, I can tell you from personal experience that working out during pregnancy has made things much easier. Not to mention, it has helped me maintain a normal weight gain.
Some of the best and most suffiencient pregnancy cardio workouts are swimming and walking. Swimming is wonderful because no matter how much you weigh, being in the pool makes you feel light and airy. It is especially helpful for those suffering from pregnancy induced back or leg pain. Swimming three times a week is a great workout that will get your heart pumping without having any aches and pains after.
Walking is another great exercise when pregnant. It is low impact on those very fragile joints of yours, with a much lower risk of falling. This is highly important since many pregnant women often feel much more off balance carrying around extra weight.
Light weight-lifting is another great option for pregnancy fitness. Focusing mainly on your arms, back, and legs with each routine, and lifting no more than thirty pounds, will help keep you in top shape with a baby on board. Again, while I would highly advise you to talk with your own doctor about specific workouts and programs, maintaining muscle during pregnancy is essential in bouncing back to your pre-pregnancy body.
Above and beyond eating healthy and working out, one of the most important things to remember when pregnant is the miracle you and your body are making. Enjoy every second. While it can be hard to think positively when the scale is jumping each week, focus on the end product (the baby in this case) and how amazing it is that you are blessed with the chance to bring life into the world. Do this, and I can promise that those extra pounds will be quickly forgotten each time you look at your sweet new baby boy or girl.
Erin Christ is not a licensed physician. She recommends speaking with your physician prior to starting any fitness routine or healthy eating plan, especially during pregnancy.