Brighid Moret, writing about “pregnancy pitfalls” for the Washington Times, says, with the clarity of hindsight, that during her pregnancy she wishes she would have:
1. Exercised more
2. Eaten healthier food
3. Asked for more support
Moret writes that exercise was derailed by bad weather and first trimester exhaustion. By the time the sun was out her back was aching with the weight of the third trimester and it felt too late. Eating out a lot added too many calories and not enough fresh food. People told her to ask for support but even when she hit a wall at 30 weeks, she couldn’t muster the courage to ask for help. I have heard all of these regrets before. Losing “baby weight” can be a real struggle–exercising on the flip-side can be just… so… hard.
I completely understand why these pitfalls are so common, and I have a few ideas about how you might avoid them…
1. Make exercise a pleasurable part of your day. Splurge if you have to.
Often exercise plans are made when you first discover you’re pregnant which is possibly the worst time to consider getting on a treadmill or going into downward dog. If you’re queasy and exhausted (as most are), drop this topic till that you pass 13 weeks. Then, consider splurging to make exercise not just easy, but actually appealing. Maybe spend the money on a membership to the really nice gym with the pampering fluffy towels and massive indoor pool and the free personal training session and the prenatal yoga and the….Or find the yoga studio with the really awesomely lovely prenatal yoga teacher who makes your day whenever you go. Or buy some good shoes for walking. Swimming can be divine when you’re pregnant as it’s the one time during the day when you’re weightless. You’re working out but you’re also floating. Keep in mind: Exercise now is good for weight management which is good for pregnancy health. It’s also good for stress-relief, childbirth, recovery from pregnancy and birth, the health of your baby. It’s worth making it easy.
2. Go with your cravings, when you can.
Eating well can be hard when you factor in endless food recommendations, and strong food aversions and cravings. So once you realize what you can generally tolerate and what you can’t, go with the flow as best you can. Make a list of all the healthy foods you like and then think about how you can eat them all the time. Healthy pregnancy eating often means learning new tricks. If you always loved meat but now prefer beans– learn where to get the healthy burritos near your office. If this means some foresight for lunch– like making sandwiches at home so you don’t end up eating processed junk, give it a shot.
3. Get support during pregnancy, it’s good practice for parenthood.
Asking for help is a right of passage for new parents. It can feel really, really hard for a lot of women and men. It’s like admitting defeat. But the fact is, a community effort is more “natural” when it comes to having and caring for babies than the isolated model we’ve come to know. Getting good at asking for help during pregnancy is excellent practice! It’s a sign of strength to know when to ask for help.
Be aware of the transitions: 10 Ways Pregnancy Changes Your Skin!