Ladies, let’s face it, having a baby is not an easy task.
My first pregnancy has been anything but easy. As someone who loves all things health and fitness, it has been quite a challenge to figure out how to stay on my A game during this new phase of my life. Despite the challenges, I have found my way and I want to share my top tips for staying fit during pregnancy.
Staying Fit During Pregnancy Tip #1: Drink Your Water
We all know that we are supposed to drink water and that there are many benefits to consuming your recommended allotment of the clear drink each day. So, it should come as no surprise that there are major health benefits to drinking water during your pregnancy, too.
Studies show that when you’re pregnant, you actually need more water than the average person since it is such a vital part of our composition. According to What To Expect, water helps your body absorb essential nutrients into the cells and transports vitamins, minerals and hormones to the blood cells.
Yes, I know, sometimes it is easier said than done to drink the recommended amount of water, 8-12 glasses or 2.3 liters, each day. While drinking water may not always be exciting, keep in mind that you can switch it up and drink sparkling or flavored water versus the plain stuff—just stay away from artificial sweeteners!
Staying Fit During Pregnancy Tip #2: Move Your Bump
Get out there and move! We all know that we should be moving our bodies, and pregnancy is not an excuse to stay still. If your doctor clears you to work out, you should, even though it can be difficult at times.
In my case, I was heartbroken when I found out that I have partial placenta previa and that doing much more than a light bike ride could have major consequences to both my and my baby’s health. However, I have not allowed this complication to keep me from moving in a doctor-approved manner.
My solutions? I find time in the morning to lightly row on my rower at home, go for walks during my daily calls at the office and even play with my rescue dog, Stella, in my backyard. When it comes to being active and moving, get creative! Just remember to follow the guidelines that your doctor has given you to protect you and your child’s health.
According to the American Pregnancy Association, exercise during pregnancy helps to alleviate many of the common problems of pregnancy. It improves circulation, allows you to get better sleep, improve your mood and prepare you for childbirth.
Staying Fit During Pregnancy Tip #3: Sleep It Off
Bedtime: the best time of the day, in my opinion. I love sleep and it seems that my enjoyment of getting proper rest has increased since finding out that I am expecting.
As you progress in your pregnancy, you might find getting sleep to be challenging. Why? Well, because you are getting bigger, you have pressure on your bladder and you may start to stress about labor. As difficult as it can be, I highly recommend trying to find time to get your seven hours of sleep a night.
Published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine, researchers from the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Medicine found that poor sleep quality and quantity during pregnancy can disrupt normal immune processes and lead to lower birth weights as well as a host of other birth complications in baby.
Test out potential solutions to make sleep easier for you! I invested in a pregnancy body pillow and it has helped me get better sleep at night. Try a few options like ditching your late night snacks, propping your body up on a pillow, turning the temperature down and unplugging from your smartphone, tv and computer before bed!
Staying Fit During Pregnancy Tip #4: Prioritize Your Time
As women and mothers, we have a tendency to not put ourselves first. During pregnancy, and just life in general, I think this should change. Women wear so many different hats, and it is important for us to find the time to take a step back, take a deep breath and take time for ourselves. A break isn’t going to keep you from becoming that boss woman at work, reaching all of your goals and being the best mother you can be.
Each night, I find 30 minutes to take a bubble bath and get through a few chapters of the latest book I am reading. (I am addicted to Reese Witherspoon’s book club—so many good recommendations!)
While sometimes it can be hard to find time for yourself, it needs to be a priority. I know that my husband can handle 30 minutes without me, and it’s important to me to have that time to detox from my day and all of the stress that comes with it.
During pregnancy, and outside of pregnancy, find some time for yourself to read, set goals and re-energize. You only live once, so I always think you deserve to be a little selfish at times!
Staying Fit During Pregnancy Tip #5: Eat the Cake
Pregnancy has given me so much perspective on nutrition. I used to be obsessed with what I ate, how I ate and when I ate. Pregnancy has taught me that you cannot ignore your body and what it wants, when it wants it.
While I don’t recommend going out and devouring a whole cake, I do recommend that you take time to listen to your body and what it desires. I recommend that you learn to enjoy food without guilt—something that I used to struggle with.
Whether you’re pregnant or not, your body will usually tell you what it wants and needs. So, if you’re feeling a piece of cake, I think you should eat it. Just make sure you aren’t eating a piece of cake every day.