During my first pregnancy, I ate a full meal every time I felt the slightest twinge of hunger and gained more than 50 pounds. And it was scary! I felt like my body was completely out of control. I knew that my job was to nurture the new life inside of me, but the changes outside terrified me. During my second and third pregnancies, I learned a few healthy tips that helped me feel better in my body; here are a few.
EAT LESS, MORE OFTEN
Try not to panic when you get hungry. Pregnancy hunger is different than regular hunger. First of all, it’s pretty much a constant. But you can ease the feeling with a small amount of food, unlike when you’re not pregnant when you need to eat a full meal to feel full (okay, maybe that’s just me).
During my second and third pregnancies, every few hours I would eat fruit, a handful of nuts or a small piece of cheese—I gained about a third less and felt a whole lot better. (Did you know organic string cheese and a protein bar can fit in a clutch? I didn’t, either, until I went through two holiday party seasons pregnant.)
EXERCISE IS YOUR FRIEND
It’s so important to exercise regularly when you’re pregnant—as much for your body as for your brain. (Oh, and for your baby, who also benefits from the increased blood flow and oxygen.) This was a hard one for me—I never was a very consistent exerciser—until I started walking and doing prenatal yoga when I was pregnant the first time. It’s weird to have your body change shape, especially when you don’t have a very comfortable relationship with it. I was totally freaked out and exercise helped me feel more in control.
What’s the best form of exercise? It’s totally up to you. The main thing is to get your heart rate going, keep the blood pumping, give yourself a little boost of energy. I exercised in so many different ways during my three pregnancies—at gyms, in pools, and at yoga studios—but I found that the most constant thing was walking, especially if I added a few hills. Swimming was great but it was a hassle to get to a pool, while a sidewalk is always there!
PRENATAL YOGA IS YOUR BFF
You can find prenatal classes online or through private sessions—but if you can get to a studio where it’s offered, a prenatal yoga class is just an amazing experience. Women are there in all stages of pregnancy. You go around the room and say your name and when you’re due, and there’s bound to be someone else who’s in the same stage of the parenting journey. The exercise is wonderful, but more than that it builds a little community, like a very early mommy group. I’ve seen so many friendships forged by prenatal yoga!
HONOR THE MAGIC
Yes, it’s scary to have the shape of your body be completely outside of your control. But it is also really profound. Being pregnant was the first time that I truly understood what my body was for. It was the first time that I valued my body not for what it looked like, but for what it could do: nurture a life, give birth, breastfeed. It’s awe-inspiring, really. And you can’t understand it until you live through it. So try to love those changes for what they are: magic.
by Rachel Lincoln Sarnoff, MommyGreenest.com
Featured on “TODAY” and “CNN Headline News,” among others, Rachel Lincoln Sarnoff is a journalist, consultant and sustainability advocate. The former CEO of Healthy Child Healthy World, Rachel was the co-founder of the online magazine EcoStiletto and authored a spinoff book, The Big List of Things That Suck. Today, she publishes MommyGreenest.com and is a partner at Give + Take Swap Boutique in Santa Monica, CA. This piece is adapted from her forthcoming eBook, The Mommy Greenest Guide to Pregnancy, Birth & Beyond.
DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed by Rachel Sarnoff, Mommy Greenest, and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of Pregnancy Awareness Month (PAM) or any employee thereof. PAM is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by Rachel Sarnoff or Mommy Greenest. Consult with your own medical provider regarding your individual health questions or concerns.
eating while pregnant, mommy greenest, Pregnancy Awareness Month, pregnancy weight gain, prenatal exercise, rachel sarnoff