Congratulations on your pregnancy! This is an exciting time in your life as you spend those nine months waiting as your little one grows.
Pregnancy can also be an uncertain time, when you feel like you cannot control what is happening to your body or how you feel or what you crave!
However, it should be a comfort to know that despite these major changes, you CAN be healthy, sexy, and fit during your pregnancy. Studies have show that women who exercise and eat healthy during their pregnancies had less pregnancy symptoms and complications, a shorter delivery, fewer cesarean sections, faster recovery time, and an easier time getting back into pre-pregnancy clothes! With that, here’s some great, simple tips to get you started.
Healthy Tips For The First Trimester
Pregnancy symptoms are usually at their worst during first three months of the pregnancy. The time where most pregnant women experience some form of morning sickness (and maybe afternoon and evening as well), you’re feeling like you could sleep for days, and you have no baby bump but feel bloated beyond relief. These factors can make you feel miserable. The good news is that you are only in a temporary state, however miserable, and you will soon feel better. For some women, these symptoms disappear by weeks 13-14, though some experience it much longer while others don’t experience any symptoms! Every pregnancy is different, so here’s some tried-and-true tips to help you feel better and stay healthy for you and your baby:
1. Keeping Nausea And Morning Sickness At Bay
Squeeze some lemon juice in your ice water, which helps with morning sickness and the bloating, throughout the day for relief and to stay hydrated. Try some ground ginger supplements, enjoy crystalized ginger candies, or suck on Preggie Pops (one of my favorites during pregnancy when I felt absolutely miserable. With the OK from your doctor, try vitamin B6 supplements – no more than 100mg per capsule. These help take the edge off the worst kinds of morning sickness. Acupressure bands also help with taking the edge off. Keep taking your prenatal vitamins, and remember that if something doesn’t sound or smell good to you, your body will most likely reject it as well. Choose bland foods that sound decent and rely on that until your morning sickness subsides.
Another Note: add Omega-3 fish oils to your diet to help with emotional changes that are going on with these hormones in your body. If you can’t stand the smell, put the capsules in the fridge. You can also choose smaller sizes as well. For vegan preggies (and those who can’t stand fish oil), try flaxseed oil capsules or add some nut butters or avocado to your diet. These provide plant omega-3s that will provide your baby with excellent brain and heart development, as well as keep yours strong and healthy, as well as help keep your emotions leveled so you’ll feel happy even during these hormonal changes.
2. Get Your Rest
I know this is a big one since most moms either have full-time jobs and/or are already moms and can’t take a nap any time of day, but even when you can find ten minutes in your car to take a snooze, do so. The first three months are the hardest, and the time when your baby is just developing, so your body is pretty worn out! While you may have been the three hour workout queen before pregnancy, you’ll be quick to realize that you’ll need to skip a few workouts to get some extra rest for you and your baby. There’s no shame in that. You’ll have your life to get plenty of workouts in, so get to bed early and get in those naps when you need them the most!
3. Get Your Body Moving Any Way You Can
You may discover quickly that you are too nauseous and too tired to get your usual regular running workouts in, so don’t be afraid to slow it down for the first 10 weeks. Who wants to do jump training when you feel exhausted and queasy? Not me, and I’m sure you don’t either! Listen to your body. Make sure to keep up your regular workouts days you were doing before you were pregnant, but take it at a different level with how you’re feeling. By your second trimester, you should be feeling much more energized and “back to normal”, so remember that’s when you can do more again. For now, choose this time to do some walking, Pilates, or prenatal yoga instead of boot camp, aerobics, and biking. You can bring up the intensity – per your doctor’s orders – when you start to feel better. Again, no shame in slowing down, as long as you continue to exercise your body!
Healthy Tips For The Second Trimester
This trimester is also known as the Honeymoon Stage in pregnancy because you start to feel more energized again, the cravings take over, and with hormones at their alltime high, you’re probably feeling extra frisky as well! Not to mention – you’ve got a cute little baby bump now! Here’s your tips to get through your second trimester while staying sexy, healthy, and fit.
1. Take Advantage Of Your High Level Of Hormones!
Now that most of your morning sickness is gone, use this time to indulge in your favorite exercises. What did you do before you were pregnant? As long as the activities are not contact sports or possibly the option of falling down (such as rollerblading, biking, horseback riding, parasailing… you get the idea), you have no complications, and are ok’d by your doctor, you should be able to continue the workouts you did before you were pregnant. If you haven’t started anything yet, now is the time to slowly build a plan. Try a few laps in the pool, walk a few laps around your neighborhood, maybe even try a class!
Also, use this time to enjoy some intimate time with your significant other. This is when you have the most energy in your pregnancy, you may be feeling a little extra frisky, AND you won’t have to worry about birth control! While some women may feel unattractive while pregnant, think of it this way: you are carrying his baby. Not only that, but you were able to become pregnant, which is sexy in its own way. You are one hot fertile mama, my dear! Go celebrate that!
2. Follow The 80/20 Rule
Staying healthy and being pregnant should be integrated with each other! However, pickles and ice cream aren’t too far off from including in your diet either. Go by the 80/20 rule just as you would before pregnancy: choose healthier options 80% of the time and enjoy your cravings 20% of the time. This means that having that ice cream cone on Tuesday isn’t going to wreck your healthy eating habits if you had a piece of chocolate cake or a small order of french fries on Saturday. Choose moderation and you will have control over your weight gain, less weight to lose after baby, provide the baby with healthy foods for development, and keep you from losing your mind when those cravings strike!
3. Stick To Light Exercises And Aerobic Activity For Looking Lean
Stick to a schedule of 30-40 minutes of any aerobic activity of your choice 3-5 times a week for excellent cardiovascular health for you and your baby during pregnancy. This could be walking, light jogging, swimming, or whatever makes you feel alive and gets your heart pumping! While your belly is getting bigger, make sure not to ignore it or other areas of your body for conditioning. Here’s a breakdown for keeping your body toned and sexy during pregnancy:
- Focus on contracting your abdominal – “hugging your baby” – throughout the day to keep your muscles strong for both labor and bouncing back after baby. AVOID situps and crunches once you reach the second trimester because this encourages separation of abdominal muscle tissue! You can also do oblique twists, which keep the ab muscles pressed closer to making a nice waistline. This just requires a 3-5 pound weight, standing a little wider than hip-width apart. Holding the dumb bell with both hands on each side, twist your torso left to right, keeping forearms close to the body. Nothing should move but your upper body as one unit and the twist of your torso.
- Rely on ballet barre routines and prenatal Pilates for keeping your body fit and trim. Despite your widening hips, you can keep them looking sexy using ballet and Pilates techniques. Some of the best prenatal workout DVDs that I recommend are:
- Light weight workouts are great to keep your arms toned – I recommend sticking to 3-5 pound weights for best results.
- Your pelvic floor muscles need conditioning too! These muscles are under pressure with the baby gravitating near them, which can cause you to use the bathroom more often. One of the most embarrassing “side effects” during pregnancy and after pregnancy is incontinence. I’m sure not many moms will tell you that if you are a first time mother! To avoid this, especially after more pregnancies, is to consistently do Kegels. You may have heard of these, but these excellent little exercises not only help you avoid incontinence issues during and after pregnancy, but also actually contribute to building a strong core, prevent you from tearing during childbirth, and help you feel “tighter” during sex. Simply contract the pelvic floor muscles as you would when you want to stop the flow of urine. Do these contractions 10-15 times for one set and repeat throughout the day. No one knows when you’re doing them! You can immediately strengthen these muscles after childbirth as well.
Healthy Tips For The Third Trimester
You’re in the home stretch now! Continue doing your Kegels, eating healthy meals and snacks each day, and exercising your body with what feels comfortable to you. You may be really feeling the weight of the baby now and not up to doing what you could do in your second trimester. However, you can continue at your own pace, just like you did in the first trimester and continue from there until your baby’s birth day!
1. The Best Exercises To Keep You Motivated And Healthy
Swimming, walking, prenatal Pilates or yoga, and light weight lifting during your third trimester. Especially when you are in your eighth month of pregnancy, things can get really rough as far as where your balance is and where you feel comfortable with movement. Swimming can allow you to feel weightless when you’re carrying that baby everywhere. Brisk walking can feel as tiring as a boot camp class, and proves to be a great aerobic workout in itself at this stage in your pregnancy as well. Be sure to keep up with your abdominal contractions throughout the day to maintain a strong core.
2. Listen To Music To Make You Feel Calm And Energized
Never underestimate the effects of a great song! If you are feeling a little extra exhausted during this stage or maybe even nervous about childbirth, put some great songs on a playlist and go along with the chores of the day. You may be getting the baby’s nursery ready, making dinner, on a walk, or just needing a “dance break” when no one is watching. You’ll feel refreshed, energized, and happy.
3. Combine The First And Second Trimester Tips For This Stage
You’ll probably be feeling exhausted like you did in the first trimester and still be experiencing strong cravings. On your easier days, indulge in a great workout and healthy menu, and on your harder days, enjoy a good nap and maybe an order of cheesecake. Pamper yourself with a spa day. Be good to yourself before this baby arrives, but keep that healthy mentality for both you and your baby!
Remember that pregnancy only lasts nine months. You will never be pregnant with this little one again, which is bittersweet in its own way. While this is a fact, remember that morning sickness does not last forever, neither will your insane taste for sardines and pickles, so use this time to treasure every moment. Never give up on knowing that you can achieve a sexy body during pregnancy – which will mean you’ll have an easier time bouncing back into your skinny jeans sooner – and that pregnancy should be a time of kindness. You realize that you are eating for another little one and your food choices are healthier. You walk more because your little one receives the same benefits as well. You also enjoy a piece of chocolate and a nap because your little one needs the energy and probably loves a treat too. Take this time to enjoy and care for yourself, and become the sexy mama you always deserved to be!
Congratulations and good luck!