Calling all mamas to be and mamas of littles! You have one of the most important jobs in the world, but oftentimes, your health isn’t the priority when you’re busy caring for others. Pregnancy is a miraculous event that can take a toll on your body if you’re not getting the right nutrition and care for yourself. The 40-week birth journey is one that should be treated in the same manner as preparing for a marathon. Being mindful about your nutrition, activity, and rest will make for a much more enjoyable pregnancy and quicker recovery. With common phrases like, “eating for two” being greatly overused, there is an overwhelming amount of misconceptions as to what is best for baby and mama! You are a powerful mama and capable of amazing things, so let’s make the most of it for you and your baby by prioritizing your well-being during this beautiful journey!
Pregnancy is an exciting time of waiting and anticipation, but let’s be real, you may not always feel your best. Nausea and fatigue can quickly join the party as you find yourself gagging on your toothbrush or pushing your favorite dish away. It may feel like a cruel joke when eating is the last thing you want to do, but getting extra protein and vitamins is exactly what your body needs to feel better. Getting the right amount of calories, about an extra 200-300 a day, with a goal of 100 grams of protein is ideal to maintaining your strength as your tiny baby grows.
Simple things like sipping on bone broth or protein smoothies can keep nausea at bay. Eat when you’re feeling good, sometimes that means first thing in the morning, if you’re one of the mamas that tends to get “evening sickness.” In addition to adding protein to your diet, increasing B vitamins can also keep nausea away. Snacking on things like bananas, sunflower seeds, whole grain toast with nut butter or avocado are delicious options for that added vitamin B. Keep things like ginger, lemon and mint handy to add to sparkling water - beneficial to your health and can help fight the nausea.
If indigestion is also an issue for you, avoid drinking while eating which can lead to heartburn. Papaya chews, a natural digestive enzyme, are also a great option to take after meals. Keep them in your purse when you’re on the go, especially if you eat out. Getting adequate protein and vitamins will strengthen your body as it works overtime growing new life inside of you!
In addition to proper nutrition, adequate hydration is a top priority during your 40-week journey! Staying hydrated gives you more energy and keeps your organs working properly. But let’s face it, the more frequent trips to the bathroom aren’t always the most convenient! Try front loading your day with water, electrolytes, or lemon water and avoid drinking a lot after dinner hours to prevent those middle of the night potty breaks. Electrolytes are an excellent option to keep you hydrated while also giving you a boost of potassium, magnesium, and sodium to prevent muscle cramps.
While coffee should be limited during pregnancy, there are great alternative options like an adrenal cocktail. This blend of coconut water, a splash of organic orange or lemon juice and sea salt can keep you focused and alert while giving you the added benefits of vitamin C, potassium and sodium. If you’re missing that evening cocktail or glass of wine, you can enjoy a mocktail of mint, lime slices, and sparkling water! Get creative with your hydration, especially in the summer heat, but be mindful to avoid sugary beverages as this can spike your glucose and add unnecessary calories. A watermelon refresher or adding a few orange and lemon slices can turn your glass of H20 into something a bit more exciting. Keep your energy up, your skin glowing and your body working properly by staying hydrated every day.
Another way to keep your energy up throughout your pregnancy is adding iron-rich foods to your daily nutrition. Pregnant women are more susceptible to anemia, so being mindful about what’s on your plate can help avoid low iron. Spinach smoothies, grass-fed beef sticks, (cooked) oysters, pumpkin seeds, steak, and my favorite – dark chocolate, are all excellent sources of iron. Being intentional about what’s on your plate will add so much benefit to you and baby.
While mindfully planning out meals and keeping your plates colorful, pregnant women should also focus on their physical activity, both active and resting. If you have an exercise routine that you loved before becoming pregnant, you can keep up with it as long as your midwife or OB/GYN agrees it’s safe for you. Daily walking, swimming, or weight training will keep you strong and your body prepared for the marathon ahead that is giving birth.
Staying active during the 9 months will also make your recovery easier and heal faster. Just listen to your body and only do what feels right for you. Allowing yourself to relax is just as important for both mama and baby as is staying active. Make sure you’re getting a minimum of 8 hours of sleep a night while also enjoying some downtime during the day. Whether it is a stretching routine, time getting a mani/pedi, or a prenatal massage, staying stress-free creates a peaceful environment for your baby to grow. A beautiful balance of rest and activity will create a smooth and enjoyable pregnancy.
Being pregnant is a wonderful journey, and while there may be days of feeling less like yourself than others, there are many ways for all mamas to make it a healthy and joyful stage of life. Maintaining a colorful plate of protein, vegetables and fruit at each meal will ensure you’re getting the proper vitamins and nutrition everyday. Staying on top of your daily nutrition, mindfully choosing foods, and being active but also enjoying moments of rest will make for a beautiful 9 months and birth. You will recover faster and feel like yourself sooner as you take ownership of each day of your pregnancy.