Parenting, Pregnancy & Labour

Diet, Exercise & Mental Well-being During Pregnancy

Exercise

When I fell pregnant with Molly, I made a conscious effort to remain as healthy as possible. I’m going to be completely honest – I was concerned about the weight I was going to gain and how my body would change. I decided to try and do a little bit of exercise every day to keep myself healthy and reduce the chance of DVT and other pregnancy-related health complications.

I actually didn’t do much exercise before getting pregnant, I was probably fitter pregnant than I was before! I started doing 10-20 mins of pre-natal pilates at home. I absolutely loved the videos and it was free! I’ll pop a link here to the YouTube channel I used for the pre-natal exercise routines – the instructor is lovely too, not annoying like some I’ve seen before! There are different videos to suit everyone. I did a mixture of cardio and pilates to maintain good heart health and tone my body. None of the exercises I did were overly strenuous, I was very cautious of protecting my little bubba. I also felt pretty wiped out from being pregnant so I listened to my body – there were some days I did nothing because felt I needed to rest. It’s definitely key to focus on your own capabilities and sense of wellness.

Diet

I’ve always had a relatively healthy diet, but I did focus on getting in more vegetables. I also took a prenatal vitamin – when I remembered! For the first 16 weeks I felt really sick in the afternoons and the only thing that helped was ritz crackers, so I ate a lot of them! Not the healthiest, but it helped ease the nausea. I always had a healthy breakfast consisting of porridge, fruit, almonds and agave syrup. I ate this most days and it would keep me full up until about 11am. I’d usually have a snack at this time – a nakd bar or some oatcakes with honey on. I craved sugar so much throughout pregnancy. Agave Syrup was my go to item to satisfy my sweet cravings. It’s yummy on porridge, yogurt, smoothie bowls and in baking.

I’d always have an afternoon snack, this would often be lots of ritz crackers or some sunbites crisps! I tried to eat plenty of fruit too so I’d often chop up some fresh melon with kiwi and grapes. My dinners varied, but I always had a generous portion of whatever I was eating. I ate a lot of pasta, pesto and cheese! I tried to include lots of green vegetables at dinner time, particularly spinach and broccoli as I was low in iron. Other dinners I made included things like casseroles, omelettes, jacket potato with spicy chickpeas and homemade pasta bakes. I always ate carbs with every meal to make sure I was getting enough energy. Don’t skip carbs, your body relies on glucose to function efficiently.

I did eat quite a few cakes and biscuits etc, but I didn’t over-indulge. Eating for two is not required during pregnancy I’m afraid – it’s a myth we all love, but unfortunately it’ll just put you at risk of developing gestational diabetes and make the weight harder to lose post-partum. You do need extra calories, but according to the NHS it’s only the last three months in which you require an extra 200 calories a day. I definitely ate more calories than this from the second trimester, but I’m tall and fairly slim so I didn’t gain that much weight. Don’t get fixated on calories, just be conscious of how much you’re eating. Don’t diet because that can actually be harmful to you and the baby during pregnancy. If you would like to know more about diet and health during pregnancy then click here to view advice from the NHS.

Mental Well-being

It’s so important to look after your mental health during pregnancy. I’ve written in previous posts about how the hormones can affect your mood and well-being. It’s so true and a huge proportion of women experience mood changes throughout pregnancy. I think we often forget that mental health is something we need to look after and nourish. We all accept and practise positive habits to improve physical health – exercise, portion control, less sugar, taking vitamins etc. However, we are all guilty of neglecting our mental health. Exercise and good diet can actually help to improve mental health, but there’s so many other things that can help too. I made sure I got out for a walk every day when I was pregnant, even if it was just up the road and back – getting fresh air and being amongst nature really helped to clear my mind. I also did a pre-natal yoga video a few times a week. I honestly enjoyed doing this – the stretching and breathing techniques helped to release tension in my body and restore balance – mentally. It also made me feel more connected to my bump and baby as I felt more in tune with my body. Another thing that helped to nourish my mental well-being was listening to music. I’m such an advocate for music – a song can boost your mood better than any pill can. Of course, it’s subjective, so you have to find music that suits your taste and mood.

I hope these things have helped you and I look forward to hearing how you stayed fit and healthy during pregnancy.

Big love x

 

 

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