This is a topic that I can’t imagine I’ll ever experience first hand, however as it’s an issue I see and hear about regularly I thought it would be a good idea to address it.
When you’re going to have a baby, you’re going to grow, its simply inevitable. Some women seem to grow faster and bigger than others, some stay pretty petit until they’re nearly ready to pop. It’s no secret that many women have to put extreme effort into staying in good shape when they aren’t pregnant, exercising regularly and being constantly mindful of good nutrition. It’s going to be an upsetting experience seeing your body expanding and clothes starting to get tighter by the day.
So what can you do about it?
1. Embrace it
Pregnancy is a special thing and the start of a wonderful journey. This might sound a bit hypocritical coming from someone who has no desire to spend any more than 5 minutes with a child in any one day, but hopefully that’ll change at some point. Don’t fight it, because you can’t do anything about it. Stressing and getting down won’t make your body change less, it’ll just make 9 months seem more like 9 years.
I can safely say that anecdotally, exercising through pregnancy is beneficial. There are guidelines about how to reduce intensity as the weeks go on and what exercises are safe to do. Getting ahead of the game with pelvic floor and core building exercises will likely reduce your recovery time post natally. However, the main benefit of the exercise will probably be a mental one. Whether it be a gentle walk, yoga, a low intensity gym session or a swim, you’ll definitely feel better after you do it.
3. Talk to others who have been through it
Asking someone for a few comforting words, a bit of advice or simply sharing fears and experiences can be highly beneficial and comforting. Knowing you aren’t alone can make all the difference. Even within our members group, I can think of 5 women who I’m sure would be happy to sit down for a chin wag about it. Always remember you aren’t alone.
4. Eat well
Filling your body full of good stuff and lots of nutrients will also be physically and mentally beneficial. You do not need to eat for 2, this myth is nonsense and certainly won’t help prevent gaining excess body fat through your pregnancy. A couple of hundred calories extra in the latter stages would be closer to the mark. However, this post isn’t about the nutritional aspect of what you should get when you’re pregnant, but common sense dictates that fresh food, lots of variety, cooking from scratch, fruit, veg, protein, healthy fat in moderation and non processed carbohydrate sources will give you the best fuel and amount of energy. There’s a good chance you’ll have weeks where you boke it all back up anyway from what I hear, but you can only give yourself the best chance.
In conclusion, I’m no expert on this but I’ve spent plenty of time talking to women in this situation and learning about pre and post natal exercise/nutrition at uni and through various courses. It can be a massive struggle, there’s no doubt about it. But an hour or two in the gym, time spent preparing food, being sociable, being mindful and trying to stay positive might be the difference between 9 months of torture or doing your best to enjoy the process and preparing yourself for getting back to your pre baby body in the months after your new addition comes along!