Staying Healthy During Pregnancy

I originally had this titled “Staying Fit”. I realized later into this pregnancy it’s really about mindset, staying healthy, adjusting movements, the power of sleep, etc.

We won’t talk about muscle tone and abs. The weights are much lighter. There’s a ton of breathing. Everything you’ve worked so hard for previously is pretty much nonexistent.

So, please remember, everyone and every pregnancy is different. I’m no expert, a first time mama-to-be, but sharing a few tips I’ve learned along the way.

1- Oral Health. Okay, I’m a Registered Dental Hygienist. This one, I cannot stress enough, how healthy it is to floss and brush for two. It is so important and good for you and baby to go get your teeth cleaned regularly as part of your routine preventive care. Why? Studies have shown pregnant women are more prone to pregnancy gingivitis due to heightened hormonal changes. Symptoms of this include swelling, tenderness, bleeding, and redness of the gum tissue. I know that routine preventive care may seem like the last thing on your mind. If you’re experiencing morning sickness, avoid brushing your teeth. Simply rinse with water. Give your enamel at least 30 mins to recover from the acid in the vomit. I even experienced sensitive gums (still do) even though I practice what I preach. And you know what I did? I got a waterpik and switched my toothpaste to a stannous fluoride ingredient such as Gum Detoxify, Paradontax or Crest Prohealth. Either will do the trick. My other tools I use to attack this issue are thread floss (Cocofloss is the best), Waterpik, and Philips Sonicare Diamondclean toothbrush. I cannot stress enough to go to your regular dental cleanings. Your baby will thank you later. Yes, fluoride is fine.

2-Exercise. I had been doing CrossFit as my workout regimen before I got pregnant and got the okay from my doctor to continue it with modifications. In fact, they WANT you to continue to workout. It’s so good for labor. Whether you’ve been doing CrossFit, marathon running or another workout regimen, please continue to do so. If you’re not a workout junkie like me, it’s okay. Daily 30 minute walks are great. Remember, there are definitely days where you may prioritize more sleep over exercise. Girl, please sleep if that’s what your body is telling you. Some of my modifications include: biking more often and has been comfortable so far, rowing has stopped after 18 weeks, running got harder after 25 weeks, step ups for box jumps, modified core work that help keep it strong and won’t cause as much abdominal separations, and lighter weights for lifts. As my belly grew, I’ve had to stop certain lifts such as snatching and cleans because of the direction of the bar path and that’s totally okay. I pretty much stopped these lifts around 8 weeks. My workout regimen is may not be for you. Factors that can affect yours is previous intensity level reached, cardio endurance, strengths, but really it’s highly dependent on the fitness level prior to becoming pregnant. I love the benefits of what it’s doing for my body during the pregnancy. It’s done a lot such as relieving pregnancy symptoms and discomfort, improve sleep, reduce swelling, reduce pregnancy complication risks, control weight and boost mood, but seriously the list could go on and on. Not to mention postpartum benefits such as speeding up recovery and what it can do for your child’s academic and athletic future and reduce her/his risks of chronic diseases later in life! As always, listen to your doctors regarding exercise, rest, when to get back to your workouts, and what you can do.

3-Nutrition. I’ll be extremely honest here. I have not been the best at nutrition and I decided very early on not to beat myself up for it. I was strictly primal/paleo before getting pregnant and noticed my body felt so deprived. When your blood sugar is low, you tend to get more nauseous. If you asked my husband about it, I probably scared him with the dark circles, looking like I never slept. Truth is, the baby was sucking everything out of me. I added oatmeal, rice and gluten-free staples to my diet and started feeling better. Early on, I even learned I craved beef, potatoes and could only handle smoothie bowls and drinks. I couldn’t stand smelling chicken or turkey. It was very odd. And now I hate Brussels sprouts, a previous staple. Even eggs made my skin so inflamed with cystic acne. I avoided it for so long and have now added it back towards then end of my 2nd trimester. Nowadays, I’m completely content with soup! My body went through different stages with food and continues to do so. All you can do is listen to your body, try your best, but don’t kill yourself over a candy bar, a donut, or ice cream. Enjoy the process while it lasts. As long as you’re gaining a healthy weight per your doctor, you’re doing great.

4-Sleep. I was napping a ton in my first trimester and have started to prioritize more sleep towards the end of my second. Working out came last. You may be different but as someone who is on her feet all day, seeing multiple patients, holding a demanding full time job, I’m worn out. Napping during lunch is also became my new normal towards the end of 2nd trimester. So I decided to do a quick workout after coming home, before making dinner, that way I can take my bath or shower before bed for better sleep. However, sleeping at night gets very uncomfortable towards your third trimester but more sleep is better than none.

5-Mental Health. Postpartum depression is probably not talked about enough. I know several women who have struggled with this and I know I’ll never be prepared for what’s about to come in the beginning of next year. No matter how much family support we will have, it won’t justify the feelings you can’t ignore. What I can do is talk to someone about it. Before pregnancy, during, and after. It’s totally okay to have empty feelings such as guilt or blame, anxiety of growing a life, the uncertainty of what’s to come, especially when you know your baby may be in the hospital for a long time. Take care of yourself mentally and know you’re not alone in this. Mamas, we’ve got this.

6-Chiropractic. This was probably one of the things I cannot thank myself enough for. The same week I found out I was pregnant, my back suffered so much. I was in agnozing pain. It hurt to sit any way shape or form. I was performing stand up dentistry most of my 1st trimister. Until I found a prenatal chiropractor, my back was saved. It’s actually common for your body to expand to make room for the baby. My body took a big beating from it. Getting regular care for your pelvis/back can help you recover from giving birth faster. Be sure to find a Webster Certified chiropractor. It’s non-invasive and safe throughout your pregnancy.

What are some tips you have?! Comment below.

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