January 27, 2017
My first pregnancy was much different than my second. It was pretty unexpected, and I had no idea what I was in for. The day that I found out I had a little bun in the oven, I quit everything. All raise-your-heartrate activities–this was my first BIG mistake.
I assumed, since I hadn’t done my research, that it was probably better for the baby if I just sat and let her cook. Nope! In fact, the opposite is true. After a long, sick, light working-out-only, 32-hours-of-labor pregnancy, I was determined to stay fit the next time around.
Before I found out I was expecting for a second time, I had been working my tail off in the gym to get lean and build muscle. I worked out at least an hour and a half a day, about 2 months out. The reason I “prepped” my body before pregnancy this way is because doctors suggest maintaining exercise activity levels after finding out you’re pregnant, but not working out more than before.
Before I go into my workout and eating plan, let’s first look at the benefits that exercise has on your growing babe.
1. It helps your baby’s brain develop in the womb.
Research shows higher scores on intelligence tests for children whose mother worked out throughout her pregnancy.
2. It helps your body prepare for labor.
Stronger cardiovascular system + stronger abdominal muscles = more efficient pushing!
3. It give you more energy.
I stand by this,100%. On the days that I skipped my workout, I literally just wanted to lay around all day. When you work out, you are strengthening the muscles in your heart, which in turn gives you more energy. We all know pregnant women need some serious help in the energy department!
4. It helps strengthen your body so carrying a 9-month fetus hurts less.
Back pain is a real thing in pregnancy! You’re lugging around an extra 20+ pounds by the 9th month, so aches and pains will visit…and linger. My back pain was little to none my second pregnancy (but was very bad my first pregnancy). I attribute that to lifting weights, not just doing cardio.
5. You’ll look pretty darn good.
People will notice, and it will make you feel amazing to get a compliment. Even for someone else to notice your effort in the gym and comment on it makes you feel great.
6. You increase the chances of having an athletic child.
There has been a lot of research regarding this, and studies show that moms who workout while they are pregnant are significantly more likely to birth a little athlete.
Now that we’ve covered all of that, let’s jump on in to the fun stuff, eating & exercise.
Working out is extremely important when pregnant, but eating, even more so. I ate clean about 95% of the time, with the occasional bowl of ice cream because it’s just what every preggo needs after those extra-long days. I met with a nutritionist to find out just how much of everything I needed while pregnant. She went over caloric intake, protein, carbs and veggies. I loved her conservatism with in the calorie consumption area. Here is what she recommended:
Calories: You don’t need to increase your calorie consumption until the third trimester, and then only increase by 100-200 calories a day (an apple). With my body weight, height and activity level, she found that I was to consume about 1800-1900 calories a day.
Protein: Protein is SO good for your developing fetus. It helps your body do what it needs to do when while you’re cooking that little bun. I ate at least 60 grams of protein a day. Minimum. I ate greek yogurt with strawberries every morning for breakfast (my pregnancy craving). I always mixed in a little stevia, but just bought PLAIN non-fat greek yogurt (because the flavored yogurts are loaded with sugar and if you are trying to stay fit, you don’t want to eat sugar regularly). I also ate tons of salmon and chicken breast. Very rarely did I consume meat other than that. The reason I chose salmon for my fish is because it is packed with omegas, super lean, and low in mercury (mercury is a no-no when you’re preggo).
Click here for some a high protein, EASY salmon recipe.
Carbohydrates: I am not a big carb person. I am in a love-hate relationship with them because when I think of carbs, I think of bread. My nutritionist recommended getting in at least 75 grams of carbs a day. I didn’t love this number at first, but I learned how to get them in without ever consuming bread. I got 100% of my daily carb count from vegetables & fruits– squash, zucchini, sweet potatoes (this is a good one), carrots, apples, strawberries & blueberries.
Fruits & Vegetables: I ate at least two-three servings a day of fruit, and about 6 servings of veggies, sometimes closer to 10. My nutritionist said to eat as many veggies as I wanted–many are high in fiber, so they help to keep you full and you’re less likely to open that pantry back up at 3am.
Update: CLICK HERE for part two of this article with a free eating and workout plan!