First, I want to start off by saying that I am no health professional by any means, and If you’re uncertain about what you should do (in terms of exercising while pregnant)… I recommend talking to a health care professional for some clarity. These are things that I do, because they personally work for me and hopefully motivate you too 🙂
Yes, there’s a cap as to what women can do when they’re pregnant, but there’s also no “one size fits all.” This is my very first pregnancy, and I’ve always been an active girl. Especially in the last five to six years of my life when my now husband introduced me to mountain biking.
Throughout my pregnancy journey, I’ve learned to really listen to my body, and take it easy as needed for me and baby. I’ve vowed to stick to the trainer and walking if I ever feel like I’m unbalanced on my bike but that hasn’t happened at all yet. I really think this is because I ride every week and the adjustment is gradual. Staying active and healthy has been crucial for my mental and physical well being. I feel like it’s something that a lot of pregnant women can benefit from during and after labor/ postpartum. Here are a couple of things I feel have helped (because I know that ‘will power’ and motivation can be a little hard when you’re pregnant). And some of these can also apply to you even if you’re not pregnant ;).
Drinking lots of water and stay hydrated:
I love starting my day with a big glass of cold water. It’s no news that drinking water upon waking up is super beneficial! Think about it, you’ve spent all night without hydrating your body…it’s THIRSTY. So the first thing I do when I wake up is drink a big mason jar full of cold water and pair it with my prenatal vitamins. I want to keep me and baby as hydrated as possible. I use a large mason jar throughout the day and refill it so that I’m constantly drinking it. I aim to drink as close to a gallon a day, and sometimes it’s more (especially while exercising).
I tend to stay away from artificial sweeteners. Water is my main source of hydration. Pre-pregnancy (In my early 20’s) I used to drink cranberry juice, orange juice with a ton of sugar, soda, or pre-made smoothies. I was pretty overweight. Once I stopped depending on sugary drinks, I noticed a HUGE difference In my body. I also stopped craving it, and now it’s too sweet for me. Small steps go a very long way!
I cut caffeine cold turkey during my first trimester. I just didn’t think it was worth the ‘miscarriage risk’. I noticed that I was super tired all throughout my day. I would take two hour naps constantly, and really struggle to get anything done. My energy was little to none, and that’s so not like me! During the second trimester, I reintroduced a cup a day and I was feeling much much better, actually energized to move around and motivated to get a bike ride in. I really really miss my two to three cups a day but I find that one cup is better than none. I also drink tea if I feel like I want something to sip on slowly and It also seems to help.
Pregnancy really changes your taste buds though…it’s WILD so I don’t crave my old favorite teas unfortunately. I’ve really liked orange, and ginger teas though!
Staying active every day:
I touched up a little bit on this topic above but whether it’s walking two to three miles, walking my dog, a light jog, or riding my bike. I like to keep my body moving. It really helps me sleep at night, helps my mental and physical health, and helps keep things regular. Staying active everyday also helps during labor, and in recovery after baby is born.
My weight gain is gradual so far, and In the normal range. I really think that staying active is a huge part of it. Food aversions suck…one day you wake up and hate what you used to LOVE. It does fade away though, at least for the most part. I still can’t do the smell of cooked chicken, eggplant hummus is still meh, and I don’t eat salads everyday like I used to.
Spending some time outside
Studies show that adding a little sunshine to your life by getting outside can relieve anxiety, and reduce depression along with other benefits! I’ve worked from home for the past year, and it’s easy enough for me to just stay in all day…but I really make it a point to enjoy the outdoors at least once a day. If I’m not riding my bike that morning, I’m taking a long walk and listening to a podcast, chillin’ in my backyard eating my lunch or bathing in the sun for a few minutes, or walking my dog.
My point is, for you to try to get some time outside everyday…it will help boost your mood 🙂
Incorporating vegetables into every meal
I’m not eating salads everyday (like I used to) throughout my pregnancy. It’s way harder than I thought because my idea of a tasty salad is not what it used to be….now, in order to eat a “good” salad…it needs cheese and tons of dressing. However, I still try to incorporate my old favorites into my diet like my Creamy Spinach Salad, my Harvest Salad or my Kale Salad with a twist by creating “healthier dressings.”
If I’m not eating a salad- I eat a scramble with tons of spinach and light mozzarella on top, or a wrap with tons of fresh veggies and spinach, soup with veggies, or pasta with veggies like broccoli, green beans, spinach etc. I also enjoy adding veggies to my enchiladas, or buddha bowls! Yum!
I even like to incorporate veggies when I’m having a snack. For instance, after a quick morning bike ride I’ll refuel with my scramble with veggies and a carb like toast with peanut butter. I am a huge fan of avocado muffins, spinach pancakes or spinach muffins as well. I also love smoothies when it’s super hot outside or a snack plate with apples, peanut butter, celery, and crackers for a savory sweet combo. You can also add cucumbers, hummus, or carrots too!
Listening to positive podcasts
I admit, I’m not reading as much as I used to. I think it’s partly because I haven’t made it as part of my routine. I’ve found that a great alternative is listening to podcasts. I find them super convenient when I’m going for a long walk in the morning, or getting some work done around the house. Some podcasts are super informative and I feel like I’m learning something new every week. I highly recommend listening to something that maybe feels relevant for you. Nowadays, there are so many topics you can choose from.
As of lately, I’ve been listening to Sonya Looney’s motherhood series because it kind of resonates with my pregnancy and fitness journey. I find her podcasts inspiring, and motivating as a pregnant cyclist. She also touches up on other things like mindset for athletes, nutritional tips, boosting confidence, training the pelvic floor, training in general and so much more!
I hope you really enjoyed this blog about keeping things healthy! I highly encourage you to check out other healthy recipes, and my meal prepping blog post.