Welcome to the journey of bringing a child into this world. If you are reading this it is likely that you are a woman who cares about the health of her body and baby. You, like most every woman I know may have concerns over a changing body and weight gain. Questions come to mind such as:
Will my body ever be the same?
How much weight should I gain?
Do people think I am getting fat?
Let me start by reminding you that you are not getting fat. You are having a baby which looks and feels very different than an increase in body size due to dietary weight gain and inactivity.
When you are pregnant friends, family, and even perfect strangers seem to think it is now open season to comment on your size. This can be uncomfortable for a healthy, fit, body-aware woman. When this happens (and it will!) boost your confidence with this mantra: My body and health are perfect, beautiful, and amazing.
Trust your body’s innate ability to grow and support you in a way that is natural for only you and your pregnancy. Listen to your body when it tells you it needs rest, a walk, a stretch, or eat.
And when your trust wanes,check-in with your doctor or mid-wife and ask all the questions you need to so you can feel at ease in your changing body.
For the first time maybe ever, you have no control over the changes in your body. This is an entirely different mentality from non-pregnancy when over time, results of your diet and exercise habits show up in your body. In the first trimester it takes a mind-shift. If there was ever a time to set yourself free from from unnecessary and rigid dietary rules, it is now.
Don’t get me wrong. Good nutrition is important to ensure you and your baby get more of what you need and less of what you don’t, but think of it like this: Instead of holding tight fisted to a strict nutrition regimen, ease your grip and let nutrition flow, adapt, and change with your changing body.
At this point you may be saying to yourself, “Sounds nice but how do I do that?”
Here are few pieces of nutrition advice that I hope help you embrace your changing body confidently and increase the trust of your own nutrition intuition when it comes to eating in way that nourishes both you and baby.
1. Ditch dieting: Stop counting calories. Eat when you are hungry and stop before you’re too full.
2. Snack regularly: Changes it blood sugar have a more dramatic effect on energy and feeling of nausea during pregnancy. Keep nutritious snacks on hand (like LUNA Bars) when you are on the go so you can eat more nutritiously, even when you have little time.
3. Honor your cravings intelligently: If a burger and fries is calling you answer it. Just keep in check by eating it slowly and not eating it every day.
4. If it makes you sick, skip it: Fluctuating hormones have a big affect on your appetite and tolerance to foods. One day veggies may make you sick but a week later a salad tops your list of what you want to eat.
5.Toss the scale: Weight gain guidelines are just that, guidelines. You may gain more than what you have read is recommended or less, it will all balance out. Let your healthcare professionals tell you if it is too much or too little.
You may find it hard to adjust to your changing body, but fill yourself with gratitude for the opportunity and go with the flow as much as possible.
Tara Dellolocano-Thies, RD LUNA Bar