Get Moving, Stay consistent, and Eat Well (but not for two)
Get Moving: According to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists, pregnant women should exercise a minimum of 30 minutes a day, 6 or 7 days a week, unless they have medical reasons not to do so. Regular stretching and Pilates can relieve back aches, constipation and morning sickness. The problem is one day you feel like exercising and the next day you don’t. What then, you ask? Sick is just sick, not much you can do if your feeling nauseous and low on energy. Deep breathing still takes work but can calm the nerves and sooth the soul. Try sitting up straight and closing your eyes to help you concentrate. Breathe in and out only through your nose to the count of 4 or 5 without holding your breath in between. This type of breathing is said to “fool” your nervous system into calming down even if it thinks a bear is chasing you (lets hope not) and can be used in the labor room. Oxygenating your baby with big deep breaths helps to energize both you and your baby which can make you feel like you are doing good even if you are not out there getting your heart rate up.
That said, having a strong heart and lungs will help you get through your upcoming marathon: giving birth. So try to get in your walks and cardio exercise regularly. Walking has a profound way of soothing the stomach as well, FYI, so why not try it? Ask a friend or partner to “walk you” that way if you are having trouble motivating you can get some support. Commit to 10 minutes and see how you feel – you can alway turn back or keep going!
Stay consistent: How do you stay consistent when everyday it feels like something is changing on you? Be adaptable and adopt the “change with the change” mantra! Just wait until your little one goes from a blob, to a crawl, to a walk – better pull up those adaptability boot straps! Lets face it, pregnancy is enhanced life lessons being thrown at you faster than ever and we are supposed to show some maturity and #?&*% grace? Take a deep breath, try to approach the change (aches, issues, & challenges) with welcoming humor. What is that? I heard once that things are either gifts or lessons, so either way…something to gain, right? Ask a friend to help you see what you might be missing here, journal, or just wait, sometimes the humor is right behind the tears!
So, book your exercise classes with a trained professional and stay consistent. When you are part of a group, people begin to care about you being there. It’s a great way to make friends and hopefully have a safe place to explore your changes and get some support too! Prenatal Pilatesclasses at Agility Studio are famous for creating life long friendships still to this day. More often than not, women show up with similar due dates! (thanks to the stork in the sky) Currently I have 7 clients due between January and February – Quite a coincidence!
Eating well (just not for two): Weight can be a heavy issue (no pun intended) and no doubt we have all wondered how what we eat will affect our desired outcome of a healthy baby and mom. Current guidelines call for women of normal weight to gain 25 to 35 pounds, and underweight women sometimes up to 40 pounds. Because of the obesity epidemic, overweight women are suggested to gain 15 to 25 pounds, however, some experts are questioning the latter recommendation. Being over weight during pregnancy can put moms at greater risks for pregnancy complications including preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, and high blood pressure. Below is a weight gain infographic guideline from the Institute of Medicine for those of you interested.
The best advice I have heard is make calories count. Empty calories sometime make you feel better in the moment but don’t do better for you in the end. Eating macro nutrients that are loaded with nutrition like protein, good fates, and healthy carbs will nourish you and your baby. High fiber foods can help prevent constipation and help you to feel full. Drinking plenty of water is key to not only hydration, but to help prevent muscle cramping and to support your increased blood volume. Eating smaller meals more often can help prevent heartburn, keep your blood sugar balanced, and keep you feeling more energized. It’s also a good plan for your metabolism to not skip meals. Although watching your excess weight gain is important, this is not the time to diet, so keep in mind, maintenance is key.