Staying healthy and fit while pregnant seems to be a taboo topic these days. A lot of mom’s either get slack for exercising too much while pregnant, or for not staying healthy enough. I did a post all about my thoughts on this a few months ago.
I am currently 37 weeks along in my 3rd pregnancy (they may even be here by now!). I also happen to be expecting twins this time (you can read more updates on my twin pregnancy here)!
Over the course of these three pregnancies, I have learned a lot about the differences between a healthy versus non-healthy pregnancy, the benefits of staying active while pregnant, and the great personal growth and advantages that come from healthy living whether pregnant or not.
There are numerous benefits to exercise and a healthy lifestyle, that I have found through personal experience with being pregnant.These are all my personal opinions, and I have no other health issues while pregnant that prevent me from staying healthy and exercising normally.
Advantages of Remaining Healthy While Pregnant
First of all, you feel so much better during and right after your pregnancy. When I was pregnant with my first, I was young and in decent shape. I didn’t think that I needed to pay attention to what I ate or what I did in terms of activity while I was pregnant because it never occurred to me that it would make a difference. I felt so sluggish throughout my pregnancy, I had a lot of pain in my back and legs, and I gained much more weight than I should have. It was extremely hard time getting it off again after the fact. I weighed more than I ever had in my life and the weight wasn’t a normal pregnancy gain. It was just from my lack of taking care of myself. My labor was also very long and strenuous (Whose isn’t right?), but I was not in the shape to make it any easier either.
With my second pregnancy, I was determined for it to be different. I practiced yoga 5-6 days a week in combination with things like hiking and long walks, remained on my clean eating path, and I was overall much healthier than I was in the first pregnancy. Not only did I maintain a normal weight gain during that pregnancy, I had so much more energy, I didn’t have nearly the amount of stiffness and sore areas like I did before, and my labor was a thousand times easier on my body. The labor was much shorter, I felt a lot more prepared for it physically, and although they were both completely natural and unassisted birth experiences, the second left me feeling more energized and ready to go.
With this third, twin pregnancy, I went into it knowing that I wanted to try to remain as healthy as possible. I have had the “okay” from my midwife and doctor to continue normal exercise for this entire pregnancy and I haven’t gained any unnecessary weight in other areas of my body, plus I still have a good amount of energy to chase after my two toddlers even being so far along.
Staying healthy can also help your self-esteem after pregnancy. It seems that a lot of women go through a period right after they have their baby or babies where they feel really down about their bodies and just themselves. I really struggled with it right after I had my first. Looking back at pictures, I still struggle with the point that I had let myself get to but I am thankful now that I was able to turn it around and get healthy again for myself and my family.
I don’t have a low self-esteem now, even though I am carrying two babies and I know that there will be a lot of major body changes to deal with. But, if you are staying active and eating as well as you can, then it will give you the self-esteem boost that you have made the effort to remain healthy.
I went on hike with my husband, one of our favorite things to do, at about 35 weeks pregnant. There were a lot of looks that made me feel as though people don’t expect pregnant women to be out hiking and participating in activities like that. Forget those people! If it makes you feel good to do it, safely of course, then by all means go for it! It could also be because I have a slight pregnancy waddle too… I guess we will never know:)
Exercise can be a good motivator throughout pregnancy. If you know that you have done everything possible to stay healthy and to keep the little one(s) that you are carrying healthy, you will have that extra motivation to not only complete the pregnancy with strength and courage, but also continue the journey of getting back to a pre-pregnancy exercise routine after those precious gifts are born. You won’t only want to do this for the physical benefits, but also because you will want to feel better and more energized to keep up with all of the needs that being a mom brings!
Exercise can help calm anxieties and worries you may have. Just like when you aren’t pregnant, exercise can help to ease negative emotions, release stress, and ease the mind. I have had a lot of anxiety during pregnancy this time around and I am thankful to have had yoga because it has helped so much with keeping me calm.
No matter what your body type, or what your stance has been on healthy living before, make it a point to either remain healthy or begin a regimen of safe exercise and good eating while pregnant. It can make all the difference in the world for so many reasons!
*Here’s to healthy mommas and healthy babies*