When I first found out I was pregnant I was shocked, then excited, then petrified, and then selfishly worried I may turn into a blimp and become the potato chip-eating housewife I see all too often. I assumed I would be bed ridden. Unable to do the things I love, like running for example. My mind immediately went into plan of action mode. I tried to determine how many calories I should be eating to gain just enough weight that it was safe for the baby, but not too much that it would be hard to get off after my son is here (yes, it’s a boy!). How much could I exercise? What was safe? I looked at so many websites my head started to spin. I’m a prenatal trainer… shouldn’t I already know this stuff? I was so confused. Focus, Katie, focus.
I started by using my personal weight, body fat, etc., and I figured if I ate around 2,300 Calories I could maintain my weight and gain about a half a pound per week in my first trimester (I believe it is recommended to gain only 4-6 pounds your entire first trimester, but I was working out, too.). If I was hungry I ate a little more. If I wasn’t, a little less. This was fine and dandy until those days filled with nausea and the others filled with ravenous hunger. I found some days I would eat only 700 Calories and others I’d eat closer to 3,000…. and I’m not talking junk food either, but most of what I wanted was carbs! I was so frustrated and felt so fat that I was starting to hate myself. I had gained 10 lbs, looked like I was already 6 months pregnant, and I was only 13 weeks! Ladies, I was pissed. So I threw away the calorie counting altogether. It obviously wasn’t helping, and the obsessing day after day about what I was eating was driving me nuts. I started to resent my body when I’ve always found pregnant women to be so beautiful. I wanted this to be a time of acceptance for my body, and I’ve realized that throwing away the calorie counting was the best thing I’ve done for myself and this little boy. In an effort to help other pregnant women out there, I wanted to let you know you are NOT alone!
Here are some tips to all you beautiful Mommies out there that want to stay beautiful while you have that bump:
-Sleep while you can. A clean house, late nights on the town, and extra hours at work are overrated. When the baby comes you will not have a choice about when and how much sleep you get, so take advantage pronto!
-Let someone else do the work. I know it’s hard to admit you either can’t do something or don’t have the energy to do something, but admit it. Start asking for help now because once baby is here, you’ll only have one hand to do anything. And if you already have other children, they are going to have to learn that you can’t be everything to them at every moment of the day. Mommy needs time to herself, too.
-A craving is only a craving. People get cravings every day, whether they are pregnant or not. It’s up to you how you handle that craving. The story still applies, whether you are growing a child or not… Do you really need that package of Oreos? If you do, have a couple. If you don’t and it just sounds good, maybe wait on it. Reality check: You are not really eating for two, but more like 1.13 of you ; ) And remember, whatever goes in your mouth is what your child gets for nourishment. Be a good role model from the start!
-Exercise! Working out gives you energy, reduces anxiety and stress, makes for an easier labor, reduces blood pressure, and creates a healthy baby. My favorite thing about this whole pregnancy so far has been exercising, knowing my little man is in there with me. He’s got a sweatband on, I just know it! Whether you are a jogger, walker, weight lifter, pilates junkie, or whatever, just do something. There are a ton of classes out there geared towards pregnant women so look something up and get in the action! The best music I ever heard was my doctor telling me my son had a beautiful, strong heart beat and feeling as though I had some control over that. Atta boy!
Follow your doctor’s advice on what’s a healthy exercise plan for you. Most women that have been exercising can continue their current routine well into their pregnancies. I, personally, am still able to jog a few miles at a time without any problems at all and I can lift lighter weights with higher reps. Just be sure you don’t exercise if you’re overly tired, feel dizzy and/or out of breath, or have any other complications. Also, while you exercise be sure your core body temperature doesn’t get too high and your heart rate is also within a normal range…. no sprinting, heavy lifting, or anything that may shunt oxygen from the baby. You’ll know if you do to much. STOP immediately if you get dizzy, tired, sore, or start bleeding (call your doc on this one if it’s heavier than spotting or if it continues). Ask your doctor if you have questions.
-Listen to your body and use common sense. Hungry? Eat. Not hungry? Don’t eat. Full? Stop eating. Energy? Exercise. No energy? Don’t exercise, take a nap. Get the picture?! It’s really not hard to tune in and realize what your body needs. If everyone could be pregnant just once they would probably learn to regulate their food and exercise properly. You’ll probably find that your body ends up really wanting fruits, veggies, proteins, and healthy foods that give you natural energy instead of junk food that makes you lethargic and tired. I, personally, have found that I don’t want to eat the junk because I already feel big and tired and eating those things only makes that feeling worse. And the bigger I get, the more I can tell when I’m full. There’s just no room in there! With exercise, I want to do it because it gives me more energy. Sometimes it’s hard because I’m tired to start, but even going for a quick walk will wake me up. If not, I cut it short and sleep when I get home. If you listen to your body, weigh the pros and cons, and realize who you’re really doing this for, you’ll do right by your baby.
-Go with the flow and slow down. Us crazy women have overcomplicated everything in life. At least we can multitask, right?! Well this is one time where I say slow down and do one thing at a time. Everything will get done. However, if you’re having a surge of energy one day you should definitely use it to your advantage. Just remember that tomorrow you may be overly tired. Just go with the flow.
It’s funny how most advice during pregnancy is the same as I’d give to someone just trying to be healthy in general. It’s really not that hard. Skip the calorie counting, enjoy your new body (boobs and all, hey-o!), let your man enjoy your new body (double hey-o!), listen to yourself, and be pampered. Women are caregivers, but we often forget about ourselves. Make yourself a priority, at least for these 9 months, and enjoy the transformation. Being a Mommy is one of the best things life can bless you with so don’t waste your time worrying. You’ll be back in tip-top shape before you know it and you’ll probably miss that belly!
*Disclaimer: Please speak with your physician regarding your specific dietary needs. I am not a doctor, and this information is not intended to take the place of your doctor’s advice. This is simply my personal experience and has helped me through my pregnancy thus far.
All the best,
Katie Kottmann, VP, CFT, SPN, Certified Pre-/Post-Natal Trainer
Goal Fitness & Nutrition, LLC
What have YOU got to lose?