4 Pregnancy Tips For First Time Moms:
Let’s be blunt, Being pregnant is hard.
It is rewarding, but there are very few women who will tell you it is easy.
When you are pregnant for the first time, you will quickly discover that your body isn’t your own. It is crazy how quickly your body seems to revolt against you.
My first trimester was hard, I felt like I had low-grade nausea all the time. It probably wasn’t that bad, but it definitely wasn’t fun. As I moved into the second and then the third trimester my body seemed to start accepting my new bundle of joy.
It still wasn’t easy, but overall I felt significantly better.
At this point, I’m 33 weeks and ready to be done with pregnancy. Unfortunately, I still have some of the hardest weeks to go.
I’m definitely not perfect but have noticed that as I’ve prioritized my health, my pregnancy has gotten easier.
Obviously, every pregnancy is different, but here are the four steps I’ve taken to stay healthy. I know that if you follow these steps you’ll feel better. They are simple basic steps that will make a huge difference in your pregnancy.
Simple Pregnancy Tips for First Time Moms That Anyone Can Follow:
Pregnancy Tip #1 – It Is All About Your Mental Attitude
Pregnancy health begins with your attitude. As I mentioned earlier my first trimester was rough. I faked it really well, but overall I felt nauseous all the time.
Getting out of bed and going to work was hard, eating was hard, exercising was pretty much non-existent.
During my first trimester, I had two business trips scheduled, a seven-hour road trip (each way) to visit my family and a 9 day trip to Bonaire to go scuba diving (not that I could dive – Doh).
Traveling with nausea is absolutely miserable.
I realized really quickly I could feel sorry for myself or suck it up and make the best of the experience.
I’m not saying I was always in the best of moods, but once I made a conscious decision to focus on the great aspects of pregnancy I had an easier time dealing with all the negative junk that happens during pregnancy.
Once I decided it was time to stop feeling sorry for myself, I found that the easiest way to be positive was to stay busy.
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I focused on work, I reconnected with friends, I started exercising again. I started blogging again (yes, this is my hobby).
I made a conscious effort to keep myself busy enough to mostly ignore the nausea and craziness happening to my body.
I also gave myself permission to complain a little bit.
Originally I kept it all in and just tried to put on a brave face to the world. Once I started sharing some of my struggles I realized very quickly that shockingly enough, other women understood and gave me helpful suggestions.
Reaching out and asking for help was one of the best things I did for my mental health.
I struggled with feelings of inadequacy throughout my pregnancy.
I just didn’t feel like I looked good and was super self-conscious. If this is something you are struggling with you may want to check out this post. How to Feel Good About The Way You Look While Pregnant.
Another major issue during pregnancy is anxiety and depression. As women we hear a lot about postpartum depression (which I struggled with), but did you know that 20% of women struggle with mental health issues while pregnant.
That is a huge number!
If you are struggling with mental health issues please reach out and get help. Don’t suffer alone and expect it to just go away. It rarely does and in most cases can lead to worse cases of postpartum depression.
Pregnancy Tip #2 – You Have To Exercise
I’ve always exercised fairly consistently. Aaron and I lead a pretty active lifestyle and spent a lot of time outdoors.
I didn’t I understood what an impact exercising had on my mental and physical health until suddenly I wasn’t exercising.
I think everyone would agree, that even though at times exercising sucks in the moment, the benefits are always worth the hassle.
According to the American Pregnancy Association, “Exercise during pregnancy helps to alleviate many of the common problems of pregnancy. It improves circulation, which helps prevent constipation, hemorrhoids, varicose veins, leg cramps, and swelling of the ankles. It also prevents back pain by strengthening the muscles that support the back.”
Once I got beyond my 1st trimester and I didn’t feel like I was going to throw up every single evening I started exercising again.
I’ve kept it very simple. I listen to my body and I don’t overdo it.
My simple goal is to get 30 minutes of exercise every day. It doesn’t always happen, but just making the effort has made a huge difference for me.
Walking and lunges have become my main exercise routine these days. I’m lucky enough to have an elliptical in my home, so I can easily hop on it in the evenings if I haven’t had time to do an outside walk.
I focus on making little steps. When I’m on conference calls I pull out my exercise ball and do knee balances or lunges. I always take the stairs. At my home office, I have two-pound weights that I use periodically throughout the day. I do calf raises when I’m standing around.
Recently I’ve started to set my timer when I start a project that I know will suck me in. My goal is to stand up and walk around for a few minutes every 45-60 minutes.
It doesn’t matter what you do, the important thing is that you are constantly moving and keeping your body active. Based on everything I’ve read, the more active you are the healthier you and your baby will be.
3. Healthy Eating
I thought I was a healthy eater until I got gestational diabetes. After tracking my food for a few days I realized very quickly that I wasn’t eating enough protein or veggies.
Was I horrible, no? Getting gestational diabetes has been a blessing in disguise. It has really made me rethink how and what I eat.
Obviously, everyone is different and I know that being pregnant is the hardest time to make dietary changes.
However, I strongly recommend focusing on your food weaknesses. You know exactly what I’m talking about. For me, it was decreasing my sugar consumption and incorporating additional protein and veggies in my diet.
Keeping a food journal is critical.
Knowing what you are eating and when you are eating will help you locate your problem issues. I’ve been using myfitnesspal to track my food. It is kind of a hassle to enter the food you make from scratch. However, the reports make it worth the effort.
The biggest surprise for me was the vitamin deficiencies I have. I thought my prenatal vitamins were enough, but have quickly learned I’m short in a few other areas.
The easiest way to eat healthily is to avoid fast food and eating out.
Fortunately, I hate fast food, so this one is relatively easy for me. My goal is to always have healthy snacks around my house.
I keep a lot of fruits, veggies around for snacking purposes.
To increase my protein consumption I’ve also incorporated nuts, hard-boiled eggs, cheese sticks and jerky into my snacking rotation. When I’m desperate I do the premium protein shakes. They are high in protein, but low in carbs.
I do keep a few cheater items in my house, but overall, I’ve really tried to get rid of the sugary temptations in my life.
I still have my moments of weakness, but finally found a few low carb options that have helped me immensely.
If you are like me and struggle with cooking you may want to consider signing up for meal planning services like the $5 Dollar Meal Plan. I seriously love using meals plans. They save me time, money and most importantly lots and lots of frustration.
I’ll never love cooking, but meal planning has made cooking at least semi-tolerable for me. Check out this post on how meal planning has saved me money.
4. Personal development
This area goes back to mental health for me. If I’m not reading and growing and working towards something I end up wasting a lot of time. I need goals and lists to keep myself on track.
Being pregnant means the start of a whole new world for most people.
Kids are wonderful, but they are definitely a shock to the system no matter how excited you are to be a parent. One of the best things I did for myself during this time was focus on my parenting skills.
I read, and I read, and I read. My goal was to be ultra-prepared. I talked to my parents and friends and asked for advice.
I knew my life was about to drastically change and I wanted to know that I had the skills to be a loving, firm and kind parent. A parent who would lead by example and always show loving and patience.
Being pregnant was a wonderful time of learning for me. I’m so thankful for the time I took to prepare myself and strongly encourage you to do the same.
Why Being Healthy During Your First Pregnancy Is So Important
Staying healthy during your first pregnancy can be really hard. The extra hormones in your body seem to leach out every last bit of self-control. I haven’t had any major food craving, but my food consumption has drastically increased.
Food makes me very happy right now.
However, I’m 39 years old and over the last few years, I’ve noticed it is getting harder and harder to lose the extra pounds. My metabolism is slowing down and my body doesn’t respond to exercise as quickly.
I knew going into this pregnancy that if I wasn’t careful I’d regret it later. It has taken a lot of self-control and discipline, but at 33 weeks I’ve gained 20 pounds. My goal when I got pregnant was to gain a maximum of 30 pounds. If I go full term, I should be right on track.
My weight gain has been very slow and gradual. I don’t want to sound cocky, but I’m really proud of myself. It is really hard to stay on track when pregnant.
However, a healthy pregnancy is more than just the weight gain. To me, the mental health behind a healthy pregnancy is the most critical part of pregnancy.
I can look healthy on the outside, but if I’m not healthy on the inside then I’m not really ready to parent my baby. Only by combining the mental and physical aspect of overall health will you truly have a healthy pregnancy.
PS. I know it is stupid, but I am better at exercising when I like my exercising clothing. I thought you guys might love some of these maternity exercise clothing: