Pregnancy is such a miraculous journey. That our bodies are capable of growing another human being is just purely incredible and it still blows my mind every time I think about it! I’m currently 31 weeks into my second pregnancy and I’ve learned a few things on how to support my body and mind during this season. In this post I’m sharing how I’m looking after myself to stay as healthy & fit during pregnancy as I can!
Let’s start by saying this: pregnancies are SO different & individual! Some women feel amazing with little symptoms, others could only dream of a pregnancy like that as they are sick in bed (or even hospital) for most of it. Because no pregnancy or person is the same, it’s important to do what works for you! I just find these things below really helpful for myself, and I hope they will inspire and help some of you too. Above all, listen to your body and look after your own wellbeing.
Having said so, being pregnant can be a beautiful and empowering journey. Our female bodies are made to carry new life (even though there can be so many struggles around it) and are capable of more than we think! Pregnancy is not a ‘sickness’ that we have to suffer through. I think the most common mistake, if I may say so in my humble opinion, is when women go wild on all their cravings and sit those last weeks on the couch ‘waiting for baby to arrive’. I can tell you that those last few weeks will be long, very long.
Instead, actively looking after ourselves will help tremendously, especially during those last few weeks when our bellies seem to grow unending and can get pretty heavy. After all, we have a pretty intense workout waiting for us (aka labour) and a newborn season to follow…I want to be prepared for that as best I can!
So, let’s dive into the things that help me to stay healthy & fit during pregnancy!
Disclaimer: I’m no healthcare professional and don’t pretend to be one either. These following points are all things that I found helpful during my own pregnancies. Always check with your own healthcare provider like your doctor or midwife before starting something new.
How I Stay Healthy & Fit During Pregnancy
1. A Positive Mindset
Starting with this because I think it’s the most important one! You are growing a tiny human being inside of you and that is such a miraculous and wondrous journey! The sometimes rough symptoms that can be part of pregnancy fade in comparison when you think about that life forming in your belly. If you can keep your focus on that miracle rather than on the discomfort and pains, you will be stronger for it. Your mind is very powerful!
A few things you can do to help yourself: skip the horror stories and feed your mind with real but positive pregnancy & birthing stories. Address any fears by talking through them with friends, family, your partner or midwife. And realise that the discomfort is only temporary and you are capable of dealing with it. Positive affirmations can really help with that too.
2. Keep Moving & Stay Active
It has been key for me to stay active and to keep moving – especially when my body gets sore! During the last few months your baby & belly grow in top speed, and the only way to stay strong when that belly gets heavier is to build up those muscles. Personally, sitting for long stretches makes me feel awful and stiff – moving loosens those tight muscles and helps me to stay pain free for the most part.
I always try to get some regular activity in like biking (that how we Dutchies get around), outside play with my toddler and gardening (our allotment is pretty much a work out in itself). But there’s also times when I need to specifically strengthen & stretch certain parts of my body – and I usually feel te difference straight away! Gentle exercises like walking are amongst my favourite and I find it especially helpful to keep my back free from pain and strain. Squats are also really great for multiple reasons (I try to do those everyday) and gentle stretches will help in the last few months too. There’s many prenatal workout videos on Youtube so you can do a little workout if you aren’t able to join a class.
Yet also – make sure to rest when needed! Do not force things when your body is screaming for rest, this can be especially the case in the first & last trimester. Adjust or skip workouts according to what your body is telling you and always check with your health care professional before starting something new.
3. Chiropractic care
Something that has really helped me pre, during and after pregnancy is to regularly see a chiropractor. When your body is properly aligned, it will function at its best – allowing your body to stay strong and giving your baby space to grow! It has been a little more challenging during this second pregnancy due to Covid and having moved away from our family chiropractor, but I’m still hoping to get a few adjustments in, especially in this last trimester. Try to find a practitioner who’s specialised or experienced in the area of family & pregnancy so you can be fully confident in their treatment.
That baby inside of us will take from our bodies what they’ll need. So in order for ourselves to stay strong (and also ready to handle newborn season), we need to make sure we are eating a wholesome diet. Now, I personally are okay with giving in to some of my cravings (especially during that first trimester when exhaustion is also very real), but I try to generally stick to fresh, wholesome foods that are home cooked. You don’t need to eat for two people either, as you will end up with lots of extra weight if you do (and that generally won’t make you feel so great!). I try to listen to my body and eat accordingly – some trimesters and weeks that’s more than others – but generally it’s a snack or two extra a day. At the moment I love a little bowl of cereal with some fruit before bed so I won’t wake up hungry in the middle of the night!
A few things I specifically do during pregnancy:
Prenatal vitamins – I have been taken these from Solgar during both my pregnancies as well as postpartum when breastfeeding. I have found them of really good quality but there’s lots of options out there to suit your needs.
Herbal infusions – during my second trimester until labour I start drinking daily infusions of Red Raspberry Leaf Tea & Nettle Tea. These are naturally caffeine free and are loaded with important minerals and vitamins that are especially helpful during pregnancy. I brew mine in a big glass jar for a couple of hours and drink it either hot or iced (depending on the weather).
Eating dates – during the last six weeks of pregnancy, I’m aiming to eat about 6 dates everyday. Dates are healthy & nutritious to start with, but they also have a oxytocin like effect on the body. There have been a few studies that shown a real beneficial effect during labour, like stronger contractions and a shorter first stage of labour! Pretty amazing right? Mamanatural has a great article on her website explaining this in more detail. I often make a huge batch of these date balls and store them in the fridge or freezer for an easy grab. They are also really great to have on hand for postpartum (especially for those breastfeeding hunger pangs in the middle of the night!)
What are some things that you have been implementing during pregnancy to be your best? Let me know in a comment down below!
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