Meet Courtney Hughes! I’ve known her since elementary school. She and my older sister starred in a number of musical productions together while I was playing, you know, a tree or something (reference to Wizard of Oz circa 2003). It has been a long time since we’ve crossed paths through musical theatre, but we’ve reconnected through our love for health and fitness – even better! When Charmed Wellness readers asked me how to stay healthy during pregnancy (something I know nothing about), she came to the rescue. It has been a joy keeping up with her on social media in her new life as a mother, wife, Floridian and more!
Being pregnant and staying healthy isn’t always easy. Between morning sickness, general fatigue, inexplicable hormonal rage/happiness/anxiety and food cravings, maintaining a balanced lifestyle can seem impossible.
My OB gave me this advice:
Just do your best every day, and know that every day is different.
Below, I’ve listed some of the ways I balance pregnancy, nutrition and fitness. I think it should go without saying that, in the end, you need to do what is best for you and Baby. If that means drinking Slurpees and eating nachos non-stop because they are the only things that will stay down, do it! But, for the vast majority of us, this isn’t the case.
Find something healthy that you enjoy to eat and can keep down.
Green smoothies have been a lifesaver for me. Some days, the thought of eating leafy vegetables makes me want to vomit. Literally. I’ve found that making a simple green smoothie as a snack goes a long way in making me feel better, both physically and mentally.
I make my smoothies using the following ingredients:
- 8-12 oz. almond milk
- Several ice cubes
- 1 banana
- 2 tbsp. nut butter
- 2-3 handfuls of raw baby spinach
- 1 tbsp. chia seeds (optional)
Blend everything together and enjoy!
If you were active before pregnancy, keep doing it.
I swear (I have no scientific proof) that working out consistently until I was 36 weeks pregnant was the best decision I made during my pregnancy. Prior to pregnancy, I was running and working out through Orange Theory Fitness 4-5 times per week. When I got pregnant, I dealt with some major dizzy spells that forced me to take a few weeks off from exercising. However, soon after I felt better, my doctor encouraged me to pick up where I left off and to “listen to my body.”
Following her advice, I began working out again and even walked a 5k five days before my due date. I feel strongly that this made my pregnancy, labor (especially) and post-delivery experiences significantly better. Currently pregnant, and with the support of my doctor, I’m planning on completing a half marathon (slowly) in February at 20 weeks. Run, baby run!
Find a good support system, and use it.
My husband is awesome; he’s an exceptional partner and dad. But, when I was pregnant with our first child, he couldn’t understand 90 percent of what I was experiencing, and that was difficult for both of us. I was fortunate that my best friend was also pregnant and together, we navigated the minefield of gestation.
Moms out there, you know what I’m saying. Your husband/partner can only sympathize so much, but when your back is killing you and you have raging heart burn, the “just think of how cute the baby will be” statement is a viable assault defense. If you can add other moms-to-be in your social circle, do it! Once the baby arrives, you’ll all need each other anyway. It definitely takes a village!
Now, pregnant with our second child, I know that eating healthily and staying active will make me, my baby, my now-toddler and my husband happier in the long run. Thanks to the tips above, I only gained 25 pounds with my first baby and was back on my feet (and feeling good!) one week post-baby. Nine months later, I was back to my pre-pregnancy weight and workout routine. Still, my pre-baby pants will probably never fit again, but post-baby hips don’t lie, or shrink apparently, and I’m OK with that.
Learn more about Courtney and her family by checking out their family blog, which has documented both of her pregnancies!