Pregnancy is such a beautiful, miraculous experience. At the same time, as a mom-to-be that is into fitness, pregnancy is an interesting time that can require quite the lifestyle adjustment.
Not only is every woman different when it comes to pregnancy, each pregnancy for an individual can greatly vary as well. Thus, while so many women who have been pregnant before have great advice for other soon to be moms, because each woman is so different I can’t emphasize the importance enough of knowing and listening to your own body. At the end of the day only YOU know your body best; so when your body tells you to slow down, eat more, etc – do it. It’s easy to second-guess yourself, but when it comes to the health of you and your unborn babe, many times your body is already trying to tell you the answers you’re looking for if you pay close enough attention. Of course, listening to your body and getting specific workout recommendations from your OB is highly advised.
Working Out during Pregnancy
It is not recommended to start up any new workout methods when pregnant; but many times women are advised they can maintain whatever workouts they were doing pre-pregnancy.
For me personally, I continued both cardio and weight lifting, but I modified both intensity and weight as an added precaution, especially during the 1st trimester when risk of miscarriage is the highest. I opted for higher rep, lower weight exercises and slowed down on all my HIIT workouts because, for me, it helped my peace of mind when it came to the health of my unborn baby. Also I found it extremely important to give myself grace in the workout arena.
While pregnant, it is common to not feel as strong as normal, and to feel a bit unbalanced and clumsy. Also, since your body is changing and gaining weight, workouts can feel pointless at times (although that is definitely not true, as workouts can be beneficial for both mommy and baby). But for me, working out provided some stress relief – I just had to make sure my workout expectations were kept in check since my body required less intense workouts while carrying my baby.
Nutrition during Pregnancy
While “eating for 2” is the term often used when it comes to pregnancy “diet”, women really only need about 300 extra calories per day during pregnancy and 300-500 extra calories while nursing to ensure they get enough calories for both baby and mom. So while it may be tempting to eat what you’re craving in excessive portions, eating everything in moderation is still key, even while pregnant; truly paying attention to hunger and full cues from your body.
Alternatively, some women are on the complete opposite end of the spectrum and may restrict calories in order to avoid gaining “too much” weight. This is highly advised against as your body definitely requires additional calories to help babe grow healthy and strong and for mom to remain strong pre and post baby.
To circle black to my original point that you know your body best, one of the most important pieces of advice I feel like I need to give in pregnancy and in life in general is something simple we all know and hear often, but something that can be difficult to actually put into practice – DO NOT compare yourself to others. Every-BODY is different, not to mention every baby; so obviously no two pregnancies or post-partum recoveries are going to be alike.
So while you may look to others to see how it’s been done before, at the end of the day your situation is unique to you and your baby and thus your weight gain and capable level of activity will all vary. As long as you are eating/exercising and gaining weight under the supervision and guidance of your OB – you are doing exactly what needs to be done for your situation, regardless of how it compares to other women and pregnancies.