All in all I have fortunately had a wonderful pregnancy experience. My nausea in the first trimester was no fun, but tolerable. My food aversions subsided after about 12 weeks, and I have been able to exercise, eat well, and rest, responding to my body and its changing needs. I have focused on healthy choices throughout my pregnancy, but have allowed myself occasional food treats that I usually would refrain from (planning out my splurges has been key!), and that has been enjoyable! Fortunately, I have been able to exercise throughout my entire pregnancy to date. Workouts have had to adapt to where I am at and how my body feels, but all in all it has been great to continue moving and training! The exercises that feel best are weight training, spinning (up until about 36 weeks), Barre, prenatal yoga, swimming, and walking.
The second trimester was fantastic! (As many people told me it would be!) I had great energy, continued about my life normally, slept like the dead, enjoyed my belly, and ate normally.
Good Habitudes in the Second Trimester:
Drinking TONS of water. A lot is not enough! Drink more!
Moving daily, and throughout the day.
Healthy eating: eating lots of fruits, veggies, and protein.
Getting a good night’s sleep.
Listening to my body and adjusting as needed.
Laughing at things that were out of my control!
My struggles at this point were mostly mental. It was hard to continue to feel my body slowing down and requiring more rest, and it was difficult to see my butt and thighs getting bigger by the week. I often would have moments of feeling incredibly scared and nervous about birth, raising a child, and how things in my life would change. Though these feelings were very real, I would never let them stay in my mind for long. I often give myself permission to not just take a rest, but to enjoy the rest! I do not obsess about the weight I have gained because I know I have taken good care of myself and realize that my body does what it needs to do to have a healthy baby-and that is the number one priority. I counter doubtful thoughts about parenting with positive thoughts and great conversations with those parents I love and admire. I also pray…A LOT!
One of my favorite parts of this whole thing is getting to see my husband so excited and supportive. He is going to be a great birth coach and the best dad! I can’t wait to see him in action.
I hit the third trimester and my pleasant experience started to shift. My appetite became funky again, my sleep a little restless, and my back aches. However, these things are hardly bad enough to complain about and I know they come with the territory. I do tire more easily, all while feeling bigger and more uncomfortable. I will say that eating and hydrating properly helps these symptoms a ton (as it does with most things, pregnant or not!). Warm baths at night help ease tired muscles and help me sleep more soundly. Also moving! Believe it or not, a leisurely walk or yoga stretch will give me more energy than a nap. The fresh air and spring like weather has been the best treatment for daytime tiredness.
Around 28 weeks I stopped jumping in my workouts. Although, miraculously I could still do it and feel good while I did, I didn’t feel too good after. My hips and back would have dull aches in the evening and I knew I overdid it- my body was saying no more. Because of the increase in the hormone relaxin surging through my body, (prepping me for child-birth) my body is truly relaxing and preparing for birth; that includes my joints and ligaments. This puts me at a risk for injury with things getting knocked around more easily. Since I have done HIIT workouts for years, it was ok to continue this into the pregnancy, but important to slow them down and modify them as the time went on.
Good Habitudes in the Third Trimester:
Drinking TONS of water.
Epsom Salt baths:
Helps to ease sore muscles and relax before bed.
Continuing to eat plenty of fruits and veggies:
Even if they don’t appeal to me, I will make a juice and can easily enjoy that. Also eating every couple of hours helps with energy and nausea.
I may plan to ride the spin bike, but yoga and a walk is what my body needs. However, the next day I may be up for a more intense workout. I just listen to my body and do what it needs! (It totally talks to us if we open our ears! Pregnant or not!)
Rest when needed:
Sometimes I just need a good rest. Upright reading in a chair, or lying on my side for some breathing and meditation can reboot my mind and body.
Hiring a birth coach:
We scheduled personalized private sessions with a birth coach who helped us to prepare for the type of experience we are hoping to have. She was such a wonderful teacher and respected all of our questions and desires to attempt a positive experience. We learned so much in our sessions and feel as prepared as we can be knowing full well that there is so much out of our control. There are many important things to do in preparing for labor like diet, exercise, meditation and even visualization to stay relaxed. I am practicing all of these!My Personal and Professional Advice:
Early in my pregnancy I took a perinatal workshop for fitness professionals. This educational course was very helpful in how I wanted/needed to exercise during this time, and how to help clients and readers in the future. This education does not take the place of my doctor’s advice, and it never should. Always check with your doctor to ensure they are on board with your thoughts/hopes for exercising during pregnancy.
Be healthy, but be flexible:
The first trimester the body is creating a life-sustaining system for the baby. This takes so much energy out of mom! Focus on eating healthy and movement, but also be flexible to slow down or have pancakes for dinner if you need to! Health for my baby is my first priority. I try to eat as consciously as possible, but many of the healthy rules fall by the wayside when you experience food aversions and fatigue. I found ways to work around these symptoms, but you can bet we ordered some Thai food and spent several weekends resting up watching Netflix!
Let is go!
I have no idea how much weight I have gained throughout my pregnancy as I turn my back to the scale at the doctor’s office. Reason being is that I don’t want a number on the scale to “mess” with me. As long as I am on track and my doctor is ok with things…so am I. You will read in many famous pregnancy resources that normal weight gain for a woman is somewhere between 20-30 pounds. However, I have read from many out there that they healthfully gained more or even less. What I have come to realize is that the body does what it needs to do. Every woman is different. Do not let some chart, number, doctor, mother, or scale tell you otherwise. We each gain what we need to support the life we are growing inside of us. Eating for two is where women run into problems. Yes, women need to increase their calorie intake, but a bite for me and a bite for you, or fatty, sugary, processed foods will give any pregnant woman problems!
Enjoy the journey and shut out the weird comments:
Those who have went before me warned me about people saying things to the pregnant woman. The comments that mean the most are when someone talks about the glow, the beauty, the bump…I have had a few weird comments about people worried about the baby when I am exercising, about looking, “whoa…ready to pop!” among a few others. People often don’t think before they speak, and everyone has an opinion. Be secure in your choices, and even when it’s hard, be confident in your body. Again, it’s your journey! Most people mean well.
I look forward to writing more posts on my experience in hopes to let you in more personally, motivate others, and trust the healthy habitudes mantra for post pregnancy weight loss, work-life balance, and motherhood.