I’ve been into my fitness for a while now and this interest started long before I fell pregnant. In saying that, pregnancy is a great time to start taking better care of yourself and your body by eating right and exercising as you are growing a precious little human inside of you. It’s amazing that you care so much about this being before it even comes to this world and you naturally want to do all the right things for its sake. And believe me, it is so worth it.
I can happily say that I had a textbook pregnancy – I was lucky enough to have it quite breezy all the way through. However, I don’t completely believe in luck and I do believe my diet and fitness routine helped big time (especially with my labour – watch this space). I gained a total of 12kg during my pregnancy which falls in the healthy weight gain range for someone my height and weight (you can check your’s here). Here’s a couple of things I did that helped me stay fit and healthy and also bounce back quickly.
1. Mind over matter
I never had the mentality that I should be eating for two – this is a total myth. In fact, you should only be consuming an extra 300 calories in trimester two and an extra 500 in trimester three for healthy weight gain and growth of your baby (that means no extra calories are actually needed in trimester 1). Considering a cheese and tomato sandwich has about 300 calories this isn’t a whole heap more.
2. Regular exercise routine
Up until 15 weeks of gestation I did reformer pilates once a week (I used to do this prior to pregnancy, so I just continued). After 15 weeks it is was no longer recommended so I joined the pregnancy pilates group at KX Pilates Studios – which is also the same place I did reformer pilates. The pre-natal ‘barre’ classes were basically pilates on the mat designed specifically for the needs of pregnant women. Exercises emphasised on pelvic floor muscles and building core strength (man I am glad I did this) which are really important and get you really prepared for labour and post-pregnancy. This is because after giving birth, the pelvic floor muscles can really weaken and cause issues with incontinence which is not fun (basically means peeing in your pants). Strengthening the core also immensely helps with labour and recovery.
Additionally, I walked walked and walked. I actually jogged up until 5 months and then just stuck to walking because I felt like the baby was jumping up and down in my tummy when I was running. But I literally walked whenever I had an opportunity but would average at least 3 times a week. Walking is known to have amazing benefits during and after pregnancy but the one’s that resonated most with me were the decreased risk of gestational diabetes, stress relief and increased likelihood of a shorter and normal delivery (maybe one of the reasons why my labour was only 7 hours long – again, watch this space).
And finally, towards the end of my pregnancy – week 35+ I stopped pilates and started swimming alongside my regular walks. I actually remember being carless one day (service) and that didn’t even stop me – I jumped on the bus, went to the pools, did my thing and caught a bus back home. There’s no excuses and you are responsible for your own body.
3. Healthy food choices
I can’t say I ate healthy 100% of the time because you do get cravings when you’re pregnant and I did give in at times. I felt like if I didn’t eat what I craved I was denying my baby of what she wanted so I would go for it. In saying this, I managed my cravings for hot chips and chocolate by having small portions each time I felt like it. Additionally, I would generally eat quite healthy by consuming lots of fruit, veggies, protein, nuts and dairy. I aimed to have a well-balanced diet but I also took it day-by-day. If I felt like I had a naughty day I would try to counteract that by having ‘healthier’ days in those that followed.
4. Prenatal vitamins
These are important too. Sometimes we can’t eat a great variety and hence are unable to get all the vitamins and minerals our bodies need. Therefore, to make sure my baby was getting all the sufficient nutrients I would take certain vitamins everyday. Firstly, Elevit – this is a really good one because it contains a good amount of necessary ingredients. To name a few these include – iron, iodine, folic acid, calcium and vitamin D. Iron and folic acid intake reduce the risk of iron deficiency and also neural tube defects so are crucial. Additionally, the baby takes a lot out of you so additional supplementation is generally required. This is why I also took Iron with Vitamin C separately to meet my own and my baby’s requirements. The Vitamin C helps absorb the iron better so was just an added bonus (my pharmaceutical background came in quite handy here).
Here is what I’m doing now to get back into shape..
Well I’m only 2 months postpartum but I’m slowly finding my feet as bubs gets into a routine. I am still taking my prenatal vitamins as I am breastfeeding and still need the extra supplementation (breastfeeding helps with the weight loss too which is bloody awesome). The day after my delivery I wore my SRC recovery tights for a few weeks which helped with any abdominal separation medically known as ‘diastase recti.‘ This is very common in pregnancy due to the abdominal muscles stretching so much. Without correct gear and exercise it can be hard to close the gap and basically prevent you from having a flat stomach or go back to pre-pregnancy shape (as vain as that sounds). Also, just last week I managed to pick myself up and started exercising again – yay go me!! I am doing the Kayla Itsines 12 week Bikini Body Guide 1 (BBG1) and walking/running. The BBG1 consists of a combination of resistance and cardio training which work great together (I’ve done the program before). It allows you to lose weight and tone up at the same time – 2 birds with one stone I say.
All in all, I think a female’s body is absolutely amazing. We can do incredible things like grow a human and give birth to it with Gods help. Even if my body never goes back to pre-baby I don’t mind – I’ll just aim to be the best ‘new-me.’ At the end of the day, when I look at my gorgeous little angel I thank God for giving me this blessing and know it was worth it all.
Hope you enjoyed these tips – let me know how you stayed fit and bounced back after pregnancy