When I was pregnant, one of the many things I would worry about was gaining weight. In the midst of morning sickness, baby scans, checking for normal growth and development and coming to terms with a baby growing inside of me, I couldn’t help but worry about weight gain. Prior to being pregnant I was leading a healthy lifestyle, attending the gym religiously at 4:30am every day, eating a balanced diet and had competed in my first body-building competition 6 months earlier, I was in the best shape of my life. Of course my first priority was to have a healthy baby, but I also didn’t want to de-rail all the hard work I had put in to my own health and well being. I was also aware that the healthier and fitter I was, the healthier my baby would be and the better the pregnancy.
Now the average pregnancy weight gain is between 11-16kg, but this is dependent on so many variables, including mothers starting weight, current exercise, eating habits, morning sickness and pregnancy complications. So try not to get caught up in the numbers and instead look at yourself as an individual, having an individual pregnancy and experience, doing the best you can.
Now before I continue let me say that I was lucky enough to have a pregnancy with no complications, low risk and had already lead an active lifestyle which involved lifting weights 6 days a week. The most important thing is to consult with your doctor and work on a plan together for the safest and healthiest thing to do for you and your baby. Unfortunately, even the healthiest women can have tough pregnancies, fraught with complications. With that in mind, I’ll share with you some of the things that help me stay healthy during my pregnancy…
1. Plan ahead
If you are thinking about trying for a baby in the future, now is a good time to work on your own health and fitness. Remember, the healthier you are, the more likely you are to have a healthy pregnancy. So now might be a good time to lower your alcohol intake, make sure your eating a nutritious diet and undertaking regular exercise.
2. Maintain your active lifestyle
As I mentioned, I was lucky enough to have a low risk, healthy pregnancy. Whilst I was very lucky, I also attribute it to the fact I was leading an active lifestyle prior to being pregnant. I exercised 5-6 days a week, mainly weight training, so my body was strong and capable of being out under the stress of having a baby. Except for a few weeks when I was experiencing morning sickness, I was able to continue my weight training until about 2 weeks before Odin was born. Yes I had to alter a few exercises to accommodate for the belly and ensure I didn’t over-heat, but I still trained for about an hour each morning to about a medium intensity.
My obstetrician gave me the o.k. to continue with my exercise routine because I had been doing it for several years, prior to becoming pregnant. Generally it’s ok to continue with your routine, as long as you don’t over-heat, however it’s something you should always discuss with your doctor before proceeding.
3. Your not eating for two!
How many times have we heard that, ‘your eating for 2 now…’ While technically yes, there is a person growing inside of you, that person is tiny and doesn’t require large amounts of food. Instead the baby requires you to maintain a nutritious diet, with lots of fruits, vegetables, wholegrains, legumes, lean meats, fish and diary. In the first trimester you probably wont need to consume any additional kilojoules, its generally in the 2nd and 3rd trimesters when your likely to increase your kilojoule intake to support your growing baby, however this should be done through healthy and nutritious foods.
4. Drink plenty of water
It’s more important than ever to stay hydrated. Your body needs water to form amniotic fluid, carry nutrients and produce extra blood volume. It also helps you to remain regular and remove toxins from the body.
Its important to remember, that whilst maintaining healthy weight gain during pregnancy is important, so is your maintaining mental health and well-being. You need to look after yourself inside and out, understanding the amazing thing your body is doing and being appreciative of it and embracing all of the changes that come with it.