Hey there mama, we know what you are going through!
You’ve forgotten what your body looked like before another person started to occupy it. That tinge of sadness as a new stretchmark started to creep on your skin, but then, the realization that this is all happening for a reason. And maybe a smile appears, accompanied by a little tear, because at the end of the day, this is all so wondrous.
Dealing with pregnancy is no easy feat, even more so, when so many hormones come into play. Pregnancy sees the body transform, growing in sync with your developing baby. From achy breasts which fail to fit in your favorite top, to jeans which suddenly feel too tight; stretchmarks mapping out your tummy and maybe new body hair that you feel should never see the light of day. The truth is, pregnancy pushes your body to its limits, and your emotions to new heights. But all this is for a reason. And that reason is your unborn baby.
Hormonal shifts may see you struggling to make sense of all your feelings. They may leave you sad and confused, wondering if you’ll ever have your body back. They’ll lead you to miss the body you had, the ease at which clothes fit and the lovely shoes you no longer get to wear.
Weight Gain in Pregnancy
Gaining weight is imperative in pregnancy and learning to accept this fact will make the process a whole lot easier. Try to leave the self-criticism aside and embrace the changes. Weight gain in pregnancy is nothing like weight gain outside of it. This one has purpose; it’s not something that should be fought. The Institute of Medicine lists the following weight gain as in the normal-ranges: for women of normal weight, 25 to 35 pounds; underweight women 28 to 40 pounds; and overweight women 15 to 25 pounds. As Helene Byrne, founder of BeFit-Mom notes, ‘the best strategy for managing prenatal gain is to eat a high-quality diet that matches your individual metabolism’. Once a bump is well visible in the second trimester, treat yourself and shop for some shape-fitting maternity wear. It’s time to proudly show your baby bump!
Exercise in Pregnancy
Whilst you may not be feeling up to it, gentle exercise approved by your ObGyn during pregnancy can help set you up for childbirth. Moms who stay fit have a lesser chance of experiencing a C-section, tearing or episiotomy. This means that going back to an active lifestyle after your baby’s birth is easier. There are more benefits too. ‘To prevent chronic urinary stress incontinence, women should build both strength and elasticity in their pelvic floor muscle during pregnancy, particularly in the 3rd trimester’, notes Helene Byrne. Read more about this here.
Trusting your body in Pregnancy
More than anything, pregnancy is a time to trust your body and be proud of all that it is achieving. Trust it to go back to its pre-pregnancy shape; most women are able to return to their pre-pregnancy weight if their gains are within those recommended by the Institute of Medicine Guidelines as outlined above. Most importantly though, give it time. It took your body nine months to create a new life; be kind and patient with it and do not expect too much. Remember to eat healthy, and stay active to the best of your ability and in consultation with your doctor. Not only will you feel better physically, but it will also give you a boost emotionally.
Pregnancy is a time to embrace your body’s achievements; having a positive outlook on the changes it brings about will make the experience a much more enjoyable one.