My Experience Through Pregnancy

My experience through pregnancy, overall, was wonderful! Looking back, I think a lot of it had to do with my mindset. I went into pregnancy with the expectations that my body would do what it needed to do for the health of my child, and I trusted in the processes. I am continually amazed at how the human body is able to adapt and create a life – it knows exactly what to do and with no assistance from me.

Prior to pregnancy I was training under a watchful coach, 6 days a week for 2+ hours most days – I never anticipated growing a human would be so much harder!  Once I found out I was pregnant, I backed off my training because having a healthy baby was my primary goal; however, both my doctor and I agreed that it was important to remain active as it would probably be harder on my body to stop all together. She recommended I keep training but be mindful of hydration, body temperature, and to not push myself too hard – and believe me, that was not a difficult request! From the moment I found out I was pregnant, I had this overwhelming urge to protect my baby.

 

First Trimester

  • Biggest craving: Carbs
  • Most valuable: Switched my morning snack and breakfast, and moved as much as I could
  • Favourite meal/snack: Toasted ciabatta with tomato, Bocconcini cheese, fresh basil, balsamic reduction served on the side of a big salad with lean protein (had it about 2-3x per week)

I found a physiotherapist that specializes in pelvic floor health, pre- and postnatal, who has worked with many crossfitters and Olympic lifters. She was extremely helpful in giving me a set timeline of when stop each movement/exercise. I often stopped movements not because it was dangerous for baby (anything that was I wouldn’t even do), but because it might prolong my recovery or cause my abdominals to separate excessively. I always found that no matter how terrible I felt, I always felt better after I exercised – even something as simple as a walk, or a quick 10 minute yoga video was extremely helpful.

My biggest craving this trimester was carbohydrates and hot meals. I always make sure to have a healthy amount (not too much and not too little) of carbohydrates in my diet, and although I didn’t really increase the amount I was eating, I noticed I craved more processed grain products like breads, muffins, pasta and bagels – which makes sense because the body needs energy to help support a developing baby, and I was likely craving folic acid (which is added to our flour in Canada). I did my best to make what I could at home like muffins, and went for high quality breads and pasta. I also made sure to buy mini bagels or only have half of a full-sized bagel as part of a balanced meal.

Although I knew energy intake needs do not increase during the first trimester, I would track my food 1-2 days a month just to double check I was eating enough and getting the right nutrients. I noticed that I often wanted a nice hot meal at the end of a long day, but I was tired and didn’t want to cook. I found that having pre-cooked meals (prepared by myself or a chef) in the freezer was incredibly helpful in combating the urge to pick something up on the way home.

I also found that breakfast foods were not appealing. My daily eating regime often went something like this:

  • 7 A.M. – Morning snack
  • 10 A.M. – First lunch (in place of breakfast)
  • 12:30 P.M. – Second lunch
  • 3:30 P.M. – Afternoon snack
  • 5 P.M. – Breakfast for dinner

The afternoon snack allowed me to have a light dinner where I would usually have breakfast foods. A veggie and cheese omelet with some roasted sweet potato or whole wheat toast was just so easy!

 

Second Trimester

  • Biggest craving: Steak and kale
  • Most valuable: Adding ¼ cup of mixed nuts to my day (mixes with Brazil nuts) and prenatal Pilates
  • Favourite meal/snack: Hearty tomato meat sauce over fresh pasta with steamed broccoli

For some reason I thought that your energy levels would pick up around the 12 week mark. I have since learned that it’s more like the 16 or 18 week mark. I continued to start my day with a morning snack instead of breakfast, as my nausea got worse during this trimester. I found that eating every 2-3 hours was a big help in countering the nausea. I made sure to listen to my body and eat more when I needed to – during the second trimester, your calorie needs increase by 350 calories, but I found it was best to listen to my body, and eat more than that when I felt I needed a little more. I rarely had cravings for ice cream, pickles, chocolate or chips, and if I did, it was usually because I had missed a meal or snack, or ate unbalanced throughout the day. For some reason junk food didn’t really appeal to me… Don’t get me wrong, I allowed myself a treat per day if I wanted one, but it was often a homemade pumpkin oatmeal cookie with milk, some dark chocolate, a latte with a little sugar in it, or homemade banana or zucchini bread. I mostly craved protein – especially seafood and steak! Which lead me to believe my body was craving iron, as my blood volume was increasing and most of the baby’s tissues and structure was being created; therefore, it made sense that I was craving the building blocks provided by protein. I will admit, re-heated chicken was a definite food aversion for me, and dairy for some reason.

Around month 4 or 5 I started to experience sacrum pain with deadlifting and squatting. My physiotherapist had highlighted previously that if I started to feel that pain, I was to back off and reduce the weights. (I cannot express how valuable it was to have the support of her during the pregnancy. If you are already active going into pregnancy, I highly recommend getting in touch with a physiotherapist that specializes in pelvic floor health, pre- and postnatal.) It was not until this point that I needed to modify workouts, but it was helpful for the clarification and specific recommendations for my training.

One of the most beneficial things I did during my pregnancy is prenatal Pilates. Of all my training, this made me feel especially strong and connected to my body. Prenatal Pilates focuses on developing the supporting muscles of the glutes, pelvis, shoulder and rotator cuff to help support the body during pregnancy, during recovery and while taking care of your newborn. It was a weekly treat I looked forward too.

 

Third Trimester

  • Biggest craving: Fats (avocado, nut butters, nuts, etc.)
  • Most valuable: Batch cooking
  • Favorite meal: Avocado with fresh lime juice, grilled steak, roasted potatoes, with sautéed asparagus and peppers

My third trimester was not so different from my second – minus one of my ribs on my right side continually coming out of place… I continued to move as much as I could, still working out 5 days a week (usually 3 strength sessions, 2 metabolic conditioning (after strength), 1 yoga, 1 Pilates and tried to get a long walk in on the weekend). I continued to find that activity always made me feel better so I consciously made sure to fit it in! I also found stretching each night before bed helped me to have a better sleep.

I’m not surprise that this trimester I craved more fats. I believe part of it is because the baby’s goal is to put on some chub; however, as my belly got bigger, it became more difficult to have larger meals. Fats are a great way to meet extra caloric needs without taking any extra bites.

 

The Next Chapter

EmmaMy husband and I are proud to announce that our little girl arrived last month. We were about as ready as can be: our freezer was fully stocked and the house was spotless. There is a part of me that misses the journey of pregnancy as it was such a unique experience to share with just me and my baby, but I am so happy we finally got to meet her. She is even more wonderful than I could have imagined!

As I reflect on my final days at Revive before taking maternity leave (don’t worry I’ll be back), I want to express how eternally thankful I am for the team at Revive for making sure my clients will be well taken care of in my absences. The people I work with are incredible and I am honoured for having the privilege to see them each and every day. Although I am still around the office from time-to-time for meetings and to touch base, I truly miss the day-to-day routine with my colleagues and meetings with my clients.  My professional career is better than I could dream of! I truly look forward to going to work each and every day. Working for Revive has not only helped me to be a strong dietitian, but a better more rounded person, which has helped prepare me for this next chapter. Thank you to each of my colleagues, and every single one of the clients that has come through our doors!

 

 

Please note: The experiences shared in this blog are personal thoughts and experiences to the writer and should not be taken as medical advice. Please consult a doctor regarding prenatal advice, or a dietitian for specific dietary recommendations based on your own individual needs. 

 

If you are pregnant or thinking about getting pregnant, check out our wellness package for expecting or soon-to-be expecting mamas!

March 11, 2016
Revive Wellness