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Let’s start out by agreeing that weight gain and pregnancy go hand in hand. HOWEVER, this is under the assumption that it is a healthy amount of weight gain (currently defined as 25-35lbs). I understand that it can be difficult to keep the weight gain under control, especially as you near your due date. I’m just about to enter the third trimester and have been surprised at how much my body has changed already. I already see how hard it is to keep weight gain under control. Here are a few things that are helping me stay fit during my pregnancy and avoid excess weight gain:
Going to the gym: Yes! You can work out while pregnant, as long as you have the ok from your physician or midwife. I have found this is the most essential thing for me. While I was an avid gym-goer before my pregnancy, my first trimester was so awful that I couldn’t even think about going to the gym until I hit about 14 weeks. Since then I have tried to make it to the gym at least 3 times a week. I walk a mile on the treadmill, do a mile on the elliptical, and then I do light (25lbs or less) weight lifting and body weight exercises to keep from losing all my muscle.
Walking: I also spend four hours a day helping my grandmother, much of which is walking around the house and doing light housework. I’ve found that just the walking and staying active during the day help to keep me from just sitting around and eating all the time (which is definitely what I feel like doing sometimes).
Drinking water: This has been the hardest one for me! I have never been a soda drinker and usually just drink water, but I’ve always struggled with drinking ENOUGH water. I would recommend keeping a large bottle of it with you at all times because you don’t want to drink a lot at meals (it dilutes your stomach acid, making it harder to digest food).
Eating the right amount: This is essential. I hear all the time how I have to “eat for two”. This is definitely not the right way to think about it. In the first trimester you should eat the same amount of calories you have been eating prior to pregnancy! Experts say by the second trimester you only need to increase caloric intake by 300 calories a day and by the third trimester you only need an extra 500 calories a day. Try to keep this in mind and remember to make those HEALTHY calories – not empty calories. Nutrition is everything when we are growing a human being! My favorite snacks since I’ve been pregnant are almonds, avocados, yogurt, and fruit, although I’ll be honest that I definitely give into the chocolate cravings on occasion!
Most importantly, we need to be supportive and encouraging of every mom-to-be, knowing we are all doing the best we can.