A phase that’s often unrecognized, and left on its own.
Pregnancy, a season of life that lasts up to 9 months and everyone makes sure you are well taken care of and have all the support you need. But honestly, the real test comes after baby. It becomes more about: how are you feeling, mama?
Postpartum can be scary, stressful, emotional, overwhelming, exhausting, terrifying, and an ongoing battle of blame and doubt in your mind. Yet I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be like this. Sure all these emotions are normal and do occur time to time, but postpartum can be just as beautiful. In fact, I had my third baby one month ago and the recovery this time has been incredible. I had absolutely no setbacks, and immediately bounced back. Of course everyone will have a different birth experience and that will play a factor in how quickly you recover.
However, are there steps you can take during pregnancy to guarantee a faster recovery period? Of course. And actually, most of what you do during pregnancy will result in how well you do after baby arrives. There were many days during my pregnancy when I had no urge to workout, but I went to the gym instead and even if that meant doing a quick 30 minute workout. I am now thankful I pushed myself because I kept most of my strength throughout.
DON’T Eat for Two
Also, being pregnant does not means you must eat for two. That’s a myth that needs to be debunked. Sure, you need to consume a few more calories, but not enough to sustain another human being. The baby isn’t that big (especially not for the first 3 months!). I see this too many times when the mother puts on a good amount of weight during the first trimester, and the baby isn’t even fully developed yet! Slow down, you still have 6 months of pregnancy. My advice, put weight on wisely. Of course don’t starve yourself, but also be mindful of your blood sugar and blood pressure, all vital to baby’s development.
Obviously everyone is different and your body will respond in ways mine didn’t, and vice versa. This is why pregnancy is beautiful and unique. However, certain discomforts can be avoided with a healthy lifestyle, and not overindulging in food and laziness (i.e. no moderate exercise).
Pregnancy Is NOT An Excuse
Besides, pregnancy should not be a season to give up on your body and let go. Yes, your body will change and you will go through many changes, some expected and some unexpected. However, its when you “give up” and let pregnancy overtake you. And by this I mean, indulging in sweets, salty, and fried foods. Basically high processed junk food. An occasional splurge is fine, but not every day and with every meal. Your body is creating a human being and it requires the proper minerals, vitamins, and other essentials to ensure healthy baby and healthy mama post pregnancy.
Baby isn’t craving a chocolate cake… mama is! Don’t blame it on the baby yet.
Cutting back on sugary treats will help with weight gain during pregnancy. With a healthy weight gain during pregnancy, you will have less weight to lose post pregnancy. Again, starvation and dieting is not the answer during pregnancy, but a healthy balance with plenty of fruits and vegetables, healthy carbs, and a balanced amount of protein. This also goes for high fatty foods and salty/fried foods. All of these cause weight gain, bloat, water retention (aka swelling in hands and feet), hormonal acne, aches and pains from weight gain, and much more.
If you just recently found out you’re pregnant, I encourage you to maintain a healthy lifestyle throughout the next nine months and well into the first six to twelve months postpartum. Not only will this benefit baby, but you as well! I can ensure you that balancing weight gain and steering away from most pregnancy related discomforts is a real treat. Plus, riding into postpartum with less weight to lose, is a win too!
What’s All This Talk About Weight?
Okay, as mentioned before, pregnancy isn’t the time to lose weight. But, it’s also not the time to gain a huge amount of weight. And I think it’s pretty typical for expectant moms to get overwhelmed with all the raging pregnancy hormones and all the new things happening to the body! I totally understand. Plus with the crazy hormones all over the place and the nausea and exhaustion, it’s easy to just grab a quick bite to satisfy the hunger pains or to ease the nausea. Unfortunately, these quick bites often lead to more quick bites and they aren’t usually healthy snacks. So the weight gain comes on and it’s not even from the baby/pregnancy!
Honestly, you don’t even have to add additional calories the first trimester (unless you’re underweight). The baby isn’t even big enough to consume 200-300 more calories. Include more fresh fruits/vegetables, healthy grains, and a good portion of protein and you’ll be fine.
So the question: should you diet during pregnancy? Nope.
But really, should you ever diet? Not really. Because dieting is only a short term goal. Longterm goals will last a lifetime if you jump into it with the idea of a lifestyle.
Pregnancy is the same. Sure, it’s a season but you’re raising a child for a lifetime and should implement lifetime eating habits!