Pregnancy – a time heavily concentrated for mum, with seismic changes that women (and men) make in practically all areas in their what seemed like normal life before. It’s one life changing journey to experience, albeit 42 weeks of mums life, a whole 9 months of hormonal ups and downs, the emotional rollercoaster, plus the double dose of physical implications on the female form. All before bubs arrives (that’s a whole other level to complete).
Let’s set a scene: pre-baby, you’re in a routine, you know exactly what that routine is, you know where you’re going and why. Your day starts and ends with familiarity and consistency, you’re on a roll, an unstoppable woman. Cue, the two little blue lines, (which at that point in time are the cutest lines you’ve ever seen). The excitement, the epic euphoria that enthralls the new you, mama-to-be, into a state of oblivion, that instant high from the surge of endorphins that hits you right between the eyes – little do you know what’s to come. Cue the frantic google searches from day one to figure what and which milestone to note by when, followed by “what to expect at scans”, “this is my first baby”, “cravings” and the especially eager may even start searching for names. (The born to be mothers however, already got the names covered). You prepare, read and revise for everything that’s potentially on the way. The pregnancy yoga/pilates, the pregnancy wardrobe, and let’s not forget the baby shopping! Oh the wonderful baby shopping at the weekends, browsing over the little things that you may need, ticking off each item off the “baby list” – it’s exciting to say the least.
With all the incredibly cute, and ridiculously small things to organise, it’s easy to forget about the fact that you are actually growing a little human inside of you. You are this miraculous power house, for which will inhabit a new life. You are responsible and the sole life force of energy for your baby’s growth and development. A grand task in itself, to look after yourself, and your little human. Baby is already dependent upon you… A daunting aspect and stark realisation suddenly now looms over you and your bump.
It’s hit you. What to do now? Well, we start from the inside out.
For many centuries, it’s been adopted that with pregnancy comes the concept of “eating for two”. Although, nowadays it’s been realised that this has no truth in it, and women are advised to only increase calories by an additional 500 calories. However, this can still seem a lot to consume, and of course with this addition comes the dreaded weight gain.
With a huge and explosive increase of the “yummy mummy” era, many women are going into pregnancy with a mindset focused on the actual weight gain over the 9 months, and how to shed it off post baby. This is not helped by the picture perfect, glossy magazine articles featuring celeb mums back in their jeans at pre-pregnancy weight within the first 4/6 weeks. Or the hard to believe au-naturale glow that some seem to just generate. It’s enough for any mama to roll out her yoga mat, blend up some berries, chia seeds, spinach and half a banana in coconut water, sipping it from a bright, colourful mason jar. Not forgetting the in between snacks of almonds, half an avocado or the infamous apple slices with peanut butter! (Yum)
Yes, a healthy diet is essential for both you and baby, but this is not the time to start something completely new and different. Instead, it’s an opportunity to embark on a positive change in your current lifestyle. Start slow and make small, and relevant changes here and there. Look to maybe increasing your water intake, infuse it with some lemons, limes and oranges, or a fruit burst of grapefruit and strawberries. Likewise, include a pot of yogurt for some protein, or the humble beans on toast makes a great snack too! For 500 calories there are many healthy options available and that can be easily incorporated into the everyday. With the added benefit of supplementing the extra calories with some kind of pregnancy movement exercise, it’s essential to feed the muscles, nourish and repair from the workout.
After all, healthy mama = healthy bubs. You are feeding yourself to feed your baby. Let’s not forget, it does take 9 months to grow a baby with optimal healthy weight gain, so it’s only natural to expect it to take 9 months to shed it all off. (This should be the least of your concerns) You will be putting a lot of your minds anxious whispers at rest if you know you’re looking after yourself and baby first. In conclusion, take it easy with good food and enough exercise that’s reasonable for you, with the odd treat here and there. Listen to your body, and remember to always seek advice from a medical professional prior to starting anything new.