I am by no means an expert in pregnancy health or fitness, this article is more of an account of what I have done and learned throughout the duration of my pregnancy. By changing my diet and lifestyle (in a healthy manner) I have been able to lose 30lbs, fit into smaller clothes, and get more active!
Finding out I was pregnant was a pretty significant shock considering that I was told I would need fertility treatment just 4 months before finding out I was pregnant! However, after the initial shock wore off I immediately changed my lifestyle. I didn't consider myself unhealthy or overweight, but I did have a lot of habits that were not ideal for pregnancy. I drank with my friends on a fairly regular basis ( I am in my 20's after all), I smoked occasionally, drank a lot of caffeine, and ate a terrible diet around my busy work schedule. I had gained weight and was a mess- at least that is what I realized once I was thinking of baby too!
I was not very far along when I found out, only a few weeks, so fortunately for me I was able to change my behavior from very early in my pregnancy. I stopped drinking altogether, stopped smoking, cut all caffeine, and changed my diet. Normally all of these things would have been difficult for me to give up, but when you realize that you are affecting someone else- it becomes a very easy decision.
The most difficult change that I encountered was eating healthy, and eating enough. My "morning sickness" started around 4 weeks and stopped around 9 weeks. I never got physically sick, but I felt hungover all day for the duration of those 5 weeks. It made it very difficult to eat, and I became very picky. I knew that I had to keep SOME calories in me, so I kept making fruit and vegetable juice drinks. I drank milk whenever I could. I could eat some foods, but in very small amounts, so I started eating small meals every 3 hours.
Fortunately after 9 weeks the sickness I was feeling left almost as quickly as it came. But, I was already used to eating several small meals a day, so I have kept the same eating plan- it has worked out very well! While I wasn't picky with food before, I have certain things that I cannot eat now- so I have found ways to make sure I get all of my food groups accounted for each day.
My favorite breakfast meals are a large plate of fresh cut fruit (any kind) and two pieces of whole grain toast with natural peanut butter on them. It keeps me full until lunch, it settles well, and it tastes great! I also try to drink a glass of milk every morning as well.
For lunch I like to eat mesquite turkey on whole wheat bread with a slice of cheese, I like to add a little mayo and mustard as well. On the side I will have veggie chips or tortilla chips to munch on. If I think of it, I will also cut a little fruit too.
For dinner I normally eat some form of meat and a salad. I have struggled eating vegetables, so I found a great alternative in vege-noodles! They are made with various vegetables and spirulina. 4oz of noodles usually equals one serving of vegetables. I mix the vege-noodles with some sauce and sprinkle with cheese. Occasionally throughout the week I will use dinner time to eat "cheat foods" things that aren't the best for everyday like high-fat foods. I feel that if I deprive myself, it will just make me want the bad foods more and in higher quantities. Once cheat meal isn't going to hurt baby or you!
Lastly, I have been fortunate enough to lose my craving for sweets. I can't eat cake or cookies or pie like I used to, but I will have a few bites and feel satisfied now!
These choices are what have made me happy and content throughout the first and second trimester of my pregnancy, however everyone is different, so eat what makes you happy and what makes you feel great!
While changing my diet has been a fairly easy transition (lucky me), fitness has been a challenge. I have always been flexible and athletic, but after letting myself go a little, I realized I was not in good shape to be having a baby. Through trial and error I was able to keep active even when I felt my worst.
After first finding out I was pregnant, two simple goals for myself. I was going to eat healthier and I was going to stay active throughout this pregnancy no matter what. Going through all of these physical, mental, and emotional changes has been overwhelming at times, but I strongly believe that being active during this time has helped me in tremendous ways.
In the first trimester, it is easier to be a little more active. I was able to do everything that I could have done while I wasn't pregnant. I had started doing yoga, which I still do to this day because it has kept improving my flexibility and strength this entire time. I have heard from other moms that they highly recommend keeping your flexibility for the singular reason of giving birth. I wanted to incorporate cardio into my schedule while I was still able to get a pretty high-intensity workout in, so I started the T25 program. It is 25 minutes out of my day, and I stick with the modified version so I am not bouncing so much. When it is warm enough I go outside to walk or jog if I can. Unfortunately, I got pregnant at the beginning of November, and our Midwest winter was very cold- so I have had to exercise inside up until recently. The only time I struggled was the 5 weeks where I was a little sick, because I was also VERY tired. I tried to keep cardio up everyday, but mostly stuck with yoga while I watched TV. I will be the first one to say that sometimes it is just not realistic to get good fitness in everyday when you feel terrible. Once I got past the sickness, I have had no other issues though.
Now that I am well into my second trimester and my belly is making its appearance, I have modified my fitness just a little because my center of gravity is starting to shift to my weight obviously shifting in my body. I still get cardio in, and I still do yoga, but if I ever feel sick, lightheaded, or like I am doing to much physically (it will happen, and you will clearly know), I just dial back whatever I am doing! Just like your eating habits will be unique to you during pregnancy, so will your fitness level. The key is to simply stay active.
I hope that my experience will help other new moms navigate these two important factors through their own first and second trimesters of pregnancy!