Staying healthy and fit while pregnant seems to be a taboo topic these days. A lot of moms either get slack for exercising too much while pregnant, or for not staying healthy enough.
I am currently 24 weeks along in my 3rd pregnancy. I also happen to be expecting twins this time!
Over the course of these three pregnancies, I have learned a lot about the differences between a healthy versus non-healthy pregnancy, the benefits of staying active while pregnant, and the great personal growth and advantages that come from healthy living whether pregnant or not.
There are numerous benefits to exercise and a healthy lifestyle, that I have found through personal experience with being pregnant.These are all my personal opinions, and I have no other health issues while pregnant that prevent me from staying healthy and exercising normally.
Advantages of Remaining Healthy While Pregnant
You feel so much better during and right after your pregnancy
When I was pregnant with my first, I was young and in decent shape. I didn’t think that I needed to pay attention to what I ate or what I did in terms of activity while I was pregnant because it never occurred to me that it would make a difference. I felt so sluggish throughout my pregnancy, I had a lot of pain in my back and legs, and I gained much more weight than I should have. It was extremely hard time getting it off again after the fact. I weighed more than I ever had in my life and the weight wasn’t a normal pregnancy gain. It was just from my lack of taking care of myself. My labor was also very long and strenuous (Whose isn’t right?), but I was not in the shape to make it any easier either.
With my second pregnancy, I was determined for it to be different. I practiced yoga 5-6 days a week in combination with things like hiking and long walks, remained on my clean eating path, and I was overall much healthier than I was in the first pregnancy. Not only did I maintain a normal weight gain during that pregnancy, I had so much more energy, I didn’t have nearly the amount of stiffness and sore areas like I did before, and my labor was a thousand times easier on my body. The labor was much shorter, I felt a lot more prepared for it physically, and although they were both completely natural and unassisted birth experiences, the second left me feeling more energized and ready to go.
With this third, twin pregnancy, I went into it knowing that I wanted to try to remain as healthy as possible. I have the “okay” from my midwife and doctor to continue normal exercise for the time being and while I am still getting the extra caloric intake I need on a daily basis without getting it from junk food and things that just aren’t good for me or the babies. I haven’t gained any unnecessary weight in other areas of my body and I still have a good amount of energy to chase after my two toddlers.
Staying healthy can also help your self-esteem after pregnancy
It seems that a lot of women go through a period right after they have their baby or babies where they feel really down about their bodies and just themselves. I really struggled with it right after I had my first. Looking back at pictures, I still struggle with the point that I had let myself get to but I am thankful now that I was able to turn it around and get healthy again for myself and my family.
I don’t have a low self-esteem now, even though I am carrying two babies and I know that there will be a lot of major body changes to deal with. But, if you are staying active and eating as well as you can, then it will give you the self-esteem boost that you have made the effort to remain healthy. I went on a pretty intense hike with my husband a few weeks ago at 21 weeks pregnant, and got a lot of looks that made me feel as though people don’t expect pregnant women to be out hiking and participating in activities like that. Forget those people! If it makes you feel good to do it, safely of course, then by all means go for it!
Exercise can be a good motivator throughout pregnancy
If you know you’ve everything possible to stay healthy for you and your little ones, you will have that extra motivation not only to complete the pregnancy with strength and courage, but also continue the journey of getting back to a pre-pregnancy exercise routine after those precious gifts are born. You won’t only want to do this for the physical benefits, but also because you will want to feel better and more energized to keep up with all of the needs that being a mom brings!
No matter what your body type, or what your stance has been on healthy living before, make it a point to either remain healthy or begin a regimen of safe exercise and good eating while pregnant. It can make all the difference in the world for so many reasons!
*Here’s to healthy mommas and healthy babies*