Let’s pretend that you just found out you were pregnant. And you weren’t all that into exercising to begin with. And then you proceeded to not exercise and eat a lot of Dairy Queen for 9 months. And then you stepped on the scale after your baby was born and BAM! you’ve realized you probably should have cut back on the Blizzards.
That was me after having Max. I definitely used pregnancy (and a move, and lots of visitors, and good Key West restaurants…) as an excuse to eat whatever I wanted and not exercise. Luckily, I’ve learned from that experience and I’m willing to share the differences between that pregnancy and this one. Which, ironically, also has included a move, lots of visitors, and yummy New Orleans restaurants!
Now, I know that pregnancy affects everyone differently and am no way saying that you should be on a diet or strictly watching your weight at all! I definitely have had days where I was feeling too bad to exercise and I also indulge in some cravings. I’m simply encouraging you not to use your newly acquired state to lose sight of your long term fitness goals.
Tip One // You aren’t really eating for 2
You know that whole cliche about eating for 2? Not true. You are definitely making a human, so there is a need for extra calories, just not double! You need about 300 extra calories per day, which is basically one cookie. Even though I knew this when pregnant with Max, I think the “one cookie” equivalent helped me keep it in perspective this time around. Ideally you won’t just eat an extra cookie everyday and instead you’ll add a healthier 300 calorie equivalent. But sometimes you just need that cookie. : )
Tip Two // Keep moving!
Sometimes pregnant women (including me!) freak out when we find out and think we need to stop working out to protect the baby. I completely understand the feeling and did exactly that with Max. However, when I found out I was pregnant with this little one, I was kickboxing, running, and playing tennis regularly. And I kept playing tennis until about 16 weeks, when my doctor recommended I stop. I kept running until about 6 months, when I felt uncomfortable. And kickboxing until we moved (minus some of the more intense jumping!). At 37 weeks, I have tapered down considerably because I’m just uncomfortable in general, but I try to do a prenatal toning video a couple times a week and Max and I walk to the pool (1 mile round trip) 2-3 times a week. Oh, and the pool? BEST. WORKOUT. EVER. And by workout, I mean the ability to float around weightless!
Tip Three // Listen to your body
If this is your first pregnancy, you may have a plan for it. Or not. But you can read all the books and have your pregnancy exercise plan laid out and still have issues. Talk to your doctor about your exercise and, most importantly, listen to your body. If you have terrible morning sickness for the first 3 months and are losing weight, don’t waste calories on working out. If you just feel off one day, take a break. If you are tired, take a nap. Your body and your baby need you to pay attention to how you are feeling. No one knows better than you!
Keep in mind that it is possible to go the complete opposite direction and be too worried about your fitness level when pregnant. Your body is going to change and adapt to pregnancy differently than anyone else, so be sure to consult with your doctor before starting anything new.
If you’ve been through a pregnancy, what kinds of exercise were your favorite???