I remember it like it was yesterday, being pregnant with my first baby. And wondering what in the world are all the right things to do? How do you have a healthy pregnancy? I already try to be healthy(ish) but when it’s only our own body we’re worrying about we can be a little more careless. Because, well it’s just our own body.
But when you get pregnant it is no longer about your own self anymore. And that can be overwhelming as a first-time mom. Or a pregnant mom in general.
What do I eat? What do I not eat? Am I doing this right? Or wrong? Am I getting enough of whatever I need? And then you have a million expert moms giving advice on what to do and not all of the advice is the same.
Been there? Maybe you’re in that boat now.
But how do you stay healthy but also realistic when it comes to being pregnant? And in no way am I a doctor or giving professional advice.
But I am a mom who has had two babies and even though my two pregnancies were very similar they were also very different when it came to how I looked and felt.
So with being pregnant with my daughter, I was waiting tables so I had to stay moving which is the best thing you can do while you’re pregnant. But I was also more swollen and puffy looking. Being that I am already one of those people who try to be healthy I thought I was okay. And by healthy(ish) that I mean no fast food or no sodas. I read labels sometimes.
I gave my soda addiction up in high school when I was playing soccer and being the nonsports player that I was I knew I did not need anything to make me worse. So I did not have to give up sodas while I was pregnant because I already did not drink them.
I still ate what I wanted. All the cravings. A little good and some not so great. I did my best to try to do my best. Oh, and my idea of cooking was spaghetti or tacos. Past that I did not really know how to cook or I didn’t really try. So there were a good bit of takeout foods to satisfy my cravings and restaurant foods because I was a waitress.. remember?
So my salt intake was not the best. It’s hard to know how much salt you are consuming when you’re not the one cooking.
But then being pregnant with my son I was a stay-at-home mom to my daughter who was not quite one when we found out we were pregnant.
I was working out when I got pregnant with him (and I had no idea I was pregnant) but then kind of stopped because I was so worn out all the time. Remember I was also chasing a baby around also.
Once I got more energy I started to do small workouts or walk around my neighborhood to make sure I stayed moving. And I honestly did not always want to but I knew it would be best.
And also by this time I had also started to branch out in cooking. I would cook healthier yummy meals. I have a dairy allergy so I would flip recipes to be able to cook the foods I wanted to be able to eat but could not normally eat because they contained dairy. And I knew how much salt was going into my meals.
I also learned to balance my meals out with healthy carbs, plenty of vegetables and good proteins. You need all three but you also need to be balancing them well. Making sure you are getting plenty of real vegetables – and I say real because some “vegetables” are just carbs – corn, peas, beans, potatoes etc. (insert sad face) I loveeeee starches. But I had to make sure I was getting enough actual vegetables. Green beans, cauliflower, broccoli, squash, zucchini… just to name a few.
And there were days I did not feel like being active well more than chasing a baby around. But I did love to do different smaller pregnancy workouts. By searching on Pinterest “pregnancy workouts” and finding an easy looking workout with easy steps to follow.
Just something to stay moving.
I ate what I craved but I made sure to balance it out. If I could make what I craved at home and in a healthier version I would do so. But I also ate the restaurant (or what I could buy from a store) cravings that I wanted. Because that is pregnancy.
Now if you want to be strictly healthy while pregnant that is great. But I am talking to the overwhelmed moms who want to have a healthier pregnancy but know they will also enjoy their pregnancy cravings because if not we would go crazy. And no one wants a crazy pregnant lady… right? I didn’t.
So what are the easy things I did to have a healthier pregnancy the second go around?
1. Eat your cravings
I ate my cravings. Yep. If I wanted it and could get it then I was most likely going to eat it. If not my soul would hurt because pregnancy is THAT dramatic. But I also balanced things out. I would eat really healthy meals and I would treat myself with what I craved. Or I would make a healthier version of what I was craving and I would watch how much salt or sugar went into whatever it may have been that I wanted.
2. Balance your meals
I balanced my meals out. I made sure (for the most part) to have a good protein, a good carb (sweet potatoes for example) and also plenty of vegetables. Like I said above – I recently learned that corn, peas, beans, potatoes etc. are just starches and do not count as the real “vegetables” I needed. So I made sure to eat green beans, cauliflower, squash, zucchini, spinach, cucumbers (and the list goes on).
Oh and fruit of course.
3. Cook more
I was cooking. Unlike with my first pregnancy and rarely cooked real food or ate too much takeout. It is so easy to eat boxed foods or takeout and not pay attention to the salt you’re taking in. Salt is fine in moderation but it can make a world of difference in your body swelling. Watch your salt intake and you will be very glad you did. There are so many seasoning to make food flavored deliciously without salt.
When you’re cooking yourself you know what you are putting into your body. You are able to make healthier substitutions or cook in extra vegetables. You can swap out wholewheat pasta or bread. Use brown rice. And the list of healthier options goes on.
4. Move around
Pregnancy can be so tiring but if you can get some sort of exercise in for 15-30 minutes (start at 10 minutes if you need to) a day you will be SO glad you did! Nothing hard. Just making sure to get a walk in every day or find a simple pregnancy workout – I did this by searching on Pinterest “pregnancy workouts” and a picture with a list of workouts (and how to do them) popped up. I saved it to my phone and would do them almost daily.
Swimming is also a great one.
5. Drink water
Pregnancy is tiring but I promise if you follow these 5 simple tips – eat your cravings (within reason), balance your meals, cook more, move around daily, and make sure you’re drinking plenty of water – you will be so glad you did!
From my first pregnancy to my second it made a world of difference! And that’s from a mom who likes to do things the easy way.