You don’t have to save getting in shape for after pregnancy. You can do it from the day you find out or in your last trimester!
*A disclaimer to start: I am not a doctor or your personal trainer. All information found on this page should be discussed with you’re doctor/midwife to see if it’s right for you in your own personal circumstance*
The Building Blocks for Getting In shape
Just like with any stage of life, there are a few key components to getting or staying in shape while pregnant. They are as follows:
- Eating adequate protein, carbs, and fat while staying in a macro range suitable for you!
- Moving enough during the day (ie 10,000 daily step goal) & Resistance training with weights
1. Eating Adequate Macros
Pregnancy is not the time to be “eating for two” as they say. Though you will need more calories towards the end of pregnancy the increase is only about 300-500 extra calories!
What are macros?
Macro is short for macronutrients which are comprised of protein, carbs, and fat. For every 1g of a macro, it has a certain amount of calories. For every 1g of protein, there are 4 calories, and every 1g of carbs, there are 4 calories. And for every 1g of fat, there are 9 calories.
Counting macros is more than just counting calories. When you just count calories it’s pretty easy to eat excess fat and carbs while getting very little protein and we all know things high in fat and carbs are not neccassarily the best for us.
That’s how macro goals are different. It forces you to choose a variety of foods and especially forces you to load up on protein-rich foods like meat and legumes. Naturally, you’ll be fueling your body with mostly whole nutrient-dense foods. But there’s still room for chocolate cake or a bowl of ice cream every night if you so desire.
I am not the type to advise depriving yourself for long periods of time. If you love you’re morning coffee cake from the local coffee shop it can fit in your goals. You certainly don’t have to give up food you love to get in shape while pregnant (or postpartum).
Is counting macros safe while pregnant?
You must discuss specifics with your healthcare provider before starting any kind of new way of eating. Generally, macro counting is very safe and even beneficial for pregnancy! If you are eating adequate amounts of protein, carbs and fat by filling your plate with lean meats, dairy, whole grains, and veggies + fruit you will simultaneously being meeting adequate micronutrient intake which is super important during pregnancy (and all of the time really).
What if it’s my last trimester? It’s too late!
While of course, it would have been best to be eating healthfully throughout pregnancy, it’s not too late to start today. Don’t put it off! Right now, in this moment, is the best time to try again! Even if you have a few weeks left, you will reap the reward of starting the habit of healthy eating from here on out.
2. Moving enough throughout the day
I know it’s easy to lay around all day. Especially in the first trimester when you may feel nauseuas and in the last trimester when you…well, feel like you’re waddling!
Unfortunately, I put myself on self proclaimed bed-rest due to severe pain. I later found out it was SI joint dysfunction and Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction. Basically it felt like my pelvis was tearing apart with each step.
Do yourself a favor and find a great physical therapist if you are having any serious trouble moving during pregnancy. I could have saved myself many pounds and lots of tears if I had been able to move throughout my pregnancy.
In the physical therapy/personal training world, there is saying “Strong fixes wrong”.
Our culture doesn’t move enough. Sometimes I wonder if women of the ancient world had so many pregnancy problems. I think some probably did, but for the most part they probably didn’t.
Women of the past used to move! I imagine they probably didn’t sit and relax the way we do. They had to walk everywhere. They had to cook everything from scratch. Have you ever kneaded bread? That stuff takes MUSCLE!
My apologies about this little tangent.
Strong fixes wrong
Many pregnancy pains could be alleviate with proper strength training and movement patterns throughout the day.
Lifting weights is associated with:
more bone density, strengthens tendons + ligaments, and strengthens the core for kinetic chain stability.
It’s a win-win for all the things!
I talk all about drinking water in this post here. But during pregnancy drinking water is even more important.
During pregnancy your blood volume nearly doubles and your digestion often slows from your growing uterus pushing your organs out of the way. See picture below:
Can we just take a moment to appreciate how God designed our bodies to grow and birth these wonderful little people! He created us to be so adaptable to the changes that happen throughout womanhood. Thank you Yahweh!
As you can see, there isn’t much room for the digestive organs. Being well hydrated will keep you regular throughout your pregnancy.
Not forgetting about increased blood volume here. The increase can cause overheating in mothers who are not well hydrated. If you are active in the slightest you will want to make sure you are even more hydrated, especially in hot summer months.