Fit Pregnancy Challenges
Let me start by saying this pregnancy journey is not a small thing at all. Some women go through pregnancy symptom-less from day 1. The majority of us however go he whole 9 yards when it comes to pregnancy symptoms- ranging from mood swings to constipation to packing on the pounds. The list of symptoms are endless and they vary from one person to another.
Now, having experienced two pregnancy journeys so far, because I took very different approaches with each one, I can confidently say that committing to exercising during pregnancy, staying fit and eating clean most of the time can ameliorate these symptoms.
In my first pregnancy, instead of following what I know to be true, I listened a lot to other voices. While on the one hand they say information is key, you must also remember that experience is the best teacher. Since I had information without a prior experience of pregnancy, I listened and blindly followed the experiences of others.
In the context of our African culture, once you say you are pregnant, you are advised to stay off any “strenuous” activity and to start eating for two. I believe that is one of the main reasons most women put on so much weight in pregnancy. Imagine eating 2 people’s ration but not expending it out. Ah! Myth buster: that theory is not accurate because your baby gets whatever s/he wants from you- whether you eat or not! That is why it is essential you eat nourishing meals. The idea of sitting down with little or no activity and eating N150 akara and fried yam alone in the name of eating for both you and baby……. did the baby tell you s/he likes akara already? :/
Most of the time, it is “long-a-throat” that sets us down that line of finishing N500 worth of amala and ewedu with plenty ‘roundabout’ inside.
Haba! Fear God nah!
I fell for this “fabu” in my first pregnancy. Sometimes even if I am not hungry I force myself to eat. And you know what happens when you stuff up with loads of carbs; it makes you hungry over and over again. So….. I kept eating and eating, and of course I kept blowing up till I came down with preeclampsia. Not surprisingly, I was overweight. Before week24, my feet where so swollen, and the rest of the body followed suit.
After shedding off the excess weight from the first pregnancy (it was not easy trust me!), I maintained a regular exercise regimen and soon as I realized I was pregnant a second time, I made a commitment to myself that I would stay active throughout. Working out for 15mins a day 3 times a week was all I needed. Sometimes I would increase the intensity and duration of the workout depending on my energy level. Surprisingly, I realized that this actually helped curb my so-called pregnancy cravings. It also improved my moods; I had less mood swings, and I was able to monitor my weight gain closely ensuring I stayed within limits.
Instead of eating more, I ate richer- more proteins, more vegetables and more fruits. Note that I didn’t exclude my carbs and fats completely; I just ate them in controlled portions.
To be honest, I gave in to my cravings sometimes after a long (and lost) battle of fighting them off. Say I craved cake, I would fight it off by telling myself to be disciplined and then about three weeks later, I would treat myself to a slice of cake. Not a whole cake (which is what I would have likely eaten if I gave in to my craving)!
When I have a craving, I go for really small sized portions and make sure I do not have any more around me so I don’t put my “long-a-throat” to test.
The truth is that this takes a lot of discipline especially as the bump gets bigger and fatigue sets in more frequently. Just try and drag yourself for a 30 minute walk. You will be surprised at how much of a difference that will make.
Have a healthy pregnancy journey and please share your experiences in the comments section.
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