The List You Are Missing in Your Prenatal Journey
By Christy Campbell
When you find out you’re pregnant, you get bombarded with endless lists. “Don’t eat this” list, “Don’t do that” list. You get the “What to pack for birth” and “What you need for baby” list. You get the “Top 5 prenatal workout tips”, and even the “Top 5 relationship tips” list. But amid the seemingly helpful advice, we are missing something. And perhaps, it is the most important list of all because it directly impacts your day-to-day mental wellness, and likely your everyday choices… 5 Mindset Tips for a Fit Pregnancy.
1. Pregnancy is not a disease. Honestly, it’s not surprising that most women feel this way. Women find out they are pregnant, make a doctor’s appointment, experience a series of tests and procedures and ultimately give birth in a hospital with various medical interventions. The experience of pregnancy from a medical standpoint can feel like something is wrong with your body. Here’s the good news. Pregnancy and birth are natural and normal. Unless you have a complication, you should feel confident that your body has the ability to conceive, carry and birth a baby. Embracing that natural superpower is important for our mindset and vital for controlling anxieties.
Your action step: Remind yourself daily how your body’s physical changes are essential to grow a healthy baby. For example, “I am so grateful my body knows to relax my joints to make birth possible.”
2. Every day is different. Undeniably this is true for all people. But particularly in pregnancy this mindset will help transform your expectations about what you SHOULD do. Remember, a woman’s body changes in so many ways during pregnancy. Just because you felt great yesterday, doesn’t mean you will today. Maybe your energy was crummy over the weekend, but you feel fantastic this morning. Do not attach judgement to each day. Instead, recognize that, especially in pregnancy, you should take one day at a time.
Your action step: Start a journal where you observe how each day is different. Just a paragraph or two will help you reflect on each day and find assurance in the rhythm.
3. You and your baby deserve REAL food. Food aversions during pregnancy impact many women. On top of that, morning sickness and blood sugar regulation can make your typical nutrition choices less appealing. Despite the chorus of “eat whatever tastes good,” approach your nutritional choices with the mindset that you and your baby deserve real food. According to Lily Nichols, author of Real Food For Pregnancy, “Research has found that women who get their carbohydrates primarily from real foods with a low glycemic index (like vegetables, nuts/siids, berries and legumes/beans) have significantly higher micronutrient intake.” Translation: crackers and ginger ale aren’t morally bad choices, but they are devoid of nutrients and vitamins your body needs. Instead of approaching pregnancy nutrition with a weight goal, consider a quality food goal and acknowledge that real food choices almost always trump processed food.
Your Action Step: Stock your house with healthy choices you like. Grapes, cashews, eggs, and crunchy vegetables can be excellent options for a touchy stomach.
4. Exercise can feel good. Exercise during pregnancy is not only ok, it is recommended. But why you exercise may impact whether or not you stick with it as your body transforms and you become less comfortable. Instead of considering exercise as a mandatory chore, consider that exercise may actually help your body feel better. According to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists, exercise can decrease back pain, ease constipation and will strengthen your heart and blood vessels. Exercise also releases endorphins which can help balance mood. Lastly, building and maintaining a body that can move will help you through delivery because you will literally be in better shape.
Your Action Step: Commit to moving every day. Whether it is a walk or a fitness class or a gentle swim, build it into your schedule and enjoy the benefits.
5. You are still you. It is a wonderful feeling to embrace the new life growing inside of you, but in regards to identity, it can be confusing. As you adjust and transform into a mom, remember that you are still you. Things you like to do, places you like to go, and relationships you value can be a part of your new reality as a mom. You don’t have to give up everything you love about you to be an amazing parent.
Your Action Step: Set aside time for dates with yourself. Take a painting class or go to your favorite park and relax. These tiny choices signal your “inner you” that you are still important and worth prioritizing.
Developing a strong mindset in pregnancy is accessible to everyone. By embracing these small mindset changes, you will likely make different decisions on a daily basis that will ultimately result in both a fit body, a calm mind and a happy mamma.
Christy Campbell is a NCI Certified Nutrition Coach, CrossFit Level 2 Trainer and a USAW Advanced Sports Performance Coach. She is a Navy veteran, Navy spouse and mom of 2 boys. She is currently in her third trimester of pregnancy with a baby girl. Read about Christy’s personal fitness journey, her nutrition coaching options and her pregnancy program at www.fitmenutrition.com.