Not having kids was never an option for me. The one thing I feared the most, though, was pregnancy weight gain and never ever being able to return back to my pre-pregnancy state. We’ve all heard these stories from women about how much weight they gained and what a toll carrying a baby inside of them had left on their bodies.
Now at 23 weeks pregnant and in my second trimester, I have to say that none of these horror stories have proven right for me. And when taking a closer look at my friends or even at my mom, neither did they struggle with any weight issues postpartum. Of course, this depends on each individual body type. But I think it also depends on how you approach your pregnancy and treat your body throughout.
I’ve always been a really active person who enjoys food but sticks to a healthy, well-balanced diet. Yes, I also had a junk food phase in my teenage years but once I realized how much better I felt on a mostly plant-based diet, I seriously never looked back. It took some time and practice but now that I’m so finely in tune with my body, I know exactly what it needs to feel its best.
I also started out at a healthy weight. So, if you go into pregnancy being underweight, you naturally will gain a few pounds more as your body needs extra weight to grow this little bundle of joy inside of you. Similarly, if you start out being a little bit overweight, you won’t gain as much as your body is already well prepared.
You don’t need to eat for two to have a healthy baby
What causes many women to gain unreasonable amounts of weight during pregnancy is that they use it as an excuse to eat uncontrollably. Thich may be more of a mental (or stress-related) issue than actually because they are pregnant. How many times have I heard the phrase: ‘You have to eat for two now.’ This couldn’t be further from the truth! Yes, you need a little bit more as your body does its magic but nowhere near double the amount. Your body is incredibly smart (way smarter than your brain is) and it will tell you when and how much you need to eat. This may look different for everyone, of course. Closely listen to your hunger cues and you will always be on the right side.
During the first three months of pregnancy, I barely ate or drank anything because the mere thought of food or even water made me gag. I thought something was wrong with me and I was tempted to force myself to eat and drink because of all the outside voices telling me that my body needed energy to create the life inside of me. But then I thought, why would my body give me these signals when it actually wanted me to do the opposite? It didn’t made sense at all to me. So for the first time, I put myself before all the well-meant advice. And you know what? It did neither me nor my baby any harm. Actually it was quite the opposite. During one of the first ultrasounds my baby jumped happily around in my belly, showing no signs of being underfed whatsoever.
Hunger and appetite reappeared just by the time I hit the second trimester. Since then, it has come and gone in waves. I continued to like I did pre-pregnancy up until around Christmas. That’s when I experienced some crazy hunger pains for the first time and literally ate the entire day. Funnily enough, that was also the time my bump started growing. This passed after a week or so and hasn’t really come back since (besides the occasional day or two).
Cut the outside noise and listen to your intuition
When it comes to body changes, the only part of my body that has grown (and thus changed) so far are my belly and breasts. My breasts were the first part to grow (at least a size up) which took some getting used to on my end as I’ve always being rather flat chested. Everything else has stayed the same. My boyfriend even joked the other day that my big belly in comparison to my otherwise slender figure looks rather hilarious. And all of that without me being overly active. I mean nowhere near the way I was before!
I try to go on a walk 3-5 times a week depending on the weather. During the first trimester, that was actually all I was able to do. Now that I’m feeling better and have more energy, I started incorporating yoga and some strength exercises into my routine. Nothing too crazy, though, and always in alignment with how my body feels that day. Some days, light stretching or foam rolling is just what momma needs.
Pregnancy is a great time to reconnect to your body
You see being pregnant is actually something really wonderful and nothing to be scared of at all. The less you worry and the more you tap into your intuition, the better you will look and feel. If you have a hard time feeling your body and the signals it sends you because you’ve been disconnect for so long then pregnancy is actually a great time to reconnect again.
Start by laying on your back or your side (depending on what’s comfortable for you right now), put one hand on your belly and one hand on your heart and breathe. You can also listen to some relaxing music or a soundbath. Close your eyes and listen closely. Try to distinguish between your ego talking in your head and all the programming around diet culture and weight gain you’ve picked up along the years, and the cues coming from your subconscious deep inside of you. This may feel a little bit weird in the beginning. But I promise you, it will get easier over time. Soon, you will be back in tune with your body. Something not only you, but also your newborn will tremendously benefit from.
What are your experiences with pregnancy weight gain or any other pregnancy-related changes in your body? Let me know in the comments below!