Having a healthy and fit pregnancy is really important to me because I am overweight. I am already a high risk with a previous c-section and having a high BMI restricts me and means I have extra monitoring throughout to check the growth of the baby. I was really worried at my booking in appointment as I felt my midwife might be critical of my weight but she was in fact really nice. Her advice was that it’s totally possible to have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby without gaining lots of weight. I am, of course, expecting some weight gain during pregnancy but the way I see it the less I gain the less I have to lose.
My weight has fluctuated up and down since I found out I was pregnant back in January. I was actually 19 stone 7lbs but by the time I had my booking in appointment at 9 Weeks I was actually 19 stone. My last update talked about a total gain of about 8lbs but actually, that isn’t true at all! I have just weighed in this morning, almost at 23 weeks pregnant and I’m now 19 stone 2lbs. Whilst my eating has been far from perfect, I do believe I have lost fat and hopefully will continue to do so with pregnancy safe workouts. This will hopefully mean that any future weight gain is baby, fluid, placenta and uterus growth rather than actual fat. To make sure of this I plan to have a much healthier diet over the summer as I am very conscious we are approaching the third trimester at a fast pace where a lot more weight gain is bound to happen.
Ideally, I would like to maintain my weight from now on throughout the rest of my pregnancy with minimal fat gain. I think that’s key, I don’t want to put on anymore fat myself and instead focus on eating tasty, nutritious food and completing safe exercises in pregnancy. I wanted to share with you some of my top tips to avoid gaining fat when pregnant. It is important to note, however, that I am not a medical expert and your first point of contact should be your Midwife, GP or a nutritionist that specialises in pregnancy based food choices.
A Healthy and Fit Pregnancy
There are lots of things you can do to ensure you have a fit and healthy pregnancy. Just because you are pregnant does not mean you should eat for two. That’s actually a common myth and no extra calories are needed until the last trimester, even then, it’s not a huge amount per day. Keeping up with healthy habits during pregnancy will make post natal weight loss and nutrition much easier. There are a lot of positives about being active in pregnancy, exercising regularly and not only do these ensure you have a fit pregnancy but also helps you to cope during labour. I am all for trying anything that will help me have a positive birth experience. If you are already pretty active there is no need to stop exercising in pregnancy and you can continue for as long as it is comfortable for you. There are, of course, some things you might want to change as it’s recommended that you avoid twisting, laying on your back and overstretching muscles. Whilst you may want to try new exercises during pregnancy, you should take these at your own pace and perhaps speak to a personal trainer or fitness instructor as well as your Midwife before trying anything new. A great place to start with a fit pregnancy is walking every day for around 30 minutes. You might already get this on the school or nursery run with older children so if you can push yourself to do a little extra, walk the longer way or ditch the car you will feel benefits from it.
Pregnancy Safe Exercises
The most important thing to think when working out is you should still be able to hold a conversation during exercise. There is no need to do strenuous, hard and painful exercises but instead focus on gently increasing your ability and strength. If you start anything new when pregnant, you might want to start with 15 minutes continuous exercise a few times a week, then building up to four 30 minute sessions a week. These might include:
- Fitness Classes – always inform your instructor you are pregnant
- Pelvic Tilts
- Pelvic Floor exercises
Maternity Fitness and Exercise Classes
You might find that your local leisure centre or gym does specific fitness classes for pregnant women. My swimming pool has an Aqua Natal class once a week that I really want to start attending. It’s a great chance to meet other expectant mums. You should ensure the class is taught by a qualified individual. The Aqua Natal in my town is run by my Midwife so I know she will have my safety and health as a priority.
Post Natal Exercise
After you have had your post natal health check, providing all is well, you can start picking up exercise classes again. I have been finding out a few that allow mums to bring their babies along and include a social session afterwards which is amazing. It’s worth checking your leisure centre, children’s centres, speaking to your GP or health visitor to find out if there is something similar in your area.
Postpartum edema, or postpartum swelling, which typically occurs in the extremities (e.g., hands, ankles, and feet) can get in the way of exercising after childbirth. This condition is caused by leftover fluid after giving birth, but swelling can go down over time. You can also manage the discomfort by massaging the area and applying a topical relief gel. Make sure to consult your doctor first about using pain-relief products or medication to ensure that it doesn’t interfere with your recovery or with breastfeeding.