Throughout my pregnancy, I’ve received numerous comments from friends and strangers that if it weren’t for my belly, they wouldn’t even know I was pregnant. Even my husband, who knows me better than anyone else, has said that I’ve really only had a belly-only pregnancy. Everyone hopes to have that cute belly bump without gaining weight in other parts of their body. In this post, I wanted to share some of the key things I have found in keeping the weight gain in my bump.
First and foremost – do not compare your bump or your pregnancy to anyone else’s. Every pregnancy is different, and this includes how you gain weight during your pregnancy. What is truly important is that you are doing your best to stay healthy for you and your baby during this time. And the best way to know this is to maintain your prenatal appointments with your HCP. They will help guide you about what is best for you and your pregnancy.
1. Start at a healthy weight for a belly-only pregnancy
Lifestyle changes are HARD!
Lifestyle changes are even harder once you are pregnant. Your body will be going through a multitude of changes, and soaring hormone levels will make it harder to stick to any changes you want to make once you find out you are pregnant.
This doesn’t mean that it can’t be done, but I found it much easier to maintain a healthy lifestyle versus trying to implement any new changes during this time. If you are planning on becoming pregnant, it is a great idea to have a workout plan in place and make changes to your diet to put yourself in a healthy weight range.
Fortunately for me, I have always been active, so when it came time for thinking about having a baby, I continued the workout schedule that I had been doing previously. If you are someone who is not very active or struggles to maintain a consistent workout routine, one of my best pieces of advice is to start small. Going for a 30-minute walk, 5 days a week, is a great place to start. Another great option to start a more consistent workout routine is to take classes through an app – yoga is great before and during pregnancy. Check out my post here about some of my favorite at-home workout apps.
Before you become pregnant, it is a great idea to start the diet you will want to maintain throughout pregnancy. For me, this included cooking more at home and starting to avoid some of the foods that are big no-no’s while you are pregnant. This helps with two things.
(1)If you make these changes prior to becoming pregnant, it is easier to maintain the healthy habits when you are struggling with morning sickness or food aversions.
(2) By taking out some of the foods you are not supposed to eat while pregnant before you actually become pregnant, it will not make you feel like you are denying yourself during pregnancy. The list isn’t overly long of foods you should avoid, and I found I didn’t miss any of these foods during my pregnancy.
2. You do not need to eat for two
We’ve all heard the phrase “eating for two” while pregnant. For the average mom-to-be, there is certainly no need to be truly eating for two. Even during the third trimester, an extra 500 calories from your normal daily need is about all of the extra calories that you need for the day.
The larger my baby bump got, the more difficult it was for me to eat normal-sized meals. I found a great way to maintain the number of calories I needed was to eat 6 small meals per day. Now, some of these small meals definitely looked more like snacks, such as an apple with peanut butter or crackers and cheese. Other times, I’d split a larger meal I made into two different portions to eat at different times.
During pregnancy, we are no stranger to having the occasional craving for something indulgent. For me, DQ Blizzards have been the one thing that I sometimes just need to have. And there is nothing wrong with occasionally giving in to these cravings. What I try to think of is that this extra treat replaces some of my extra calories that are usually given to other meals or snacks throughout the day. And since there is not a ton of nutritional value to these treats, I always focus then on making sure the rest of my meals for the day are packed full of healthy options.
3. Stay active throughout your pregnancy
There are different modifications to make to your workout routine during each different trimester. But the biggest key is to just stay active during your entire pregnancy. I know this is easier said than done when dealing with fatigue during your first trimester or an extra 25 lbs. during your third trimester, but it makes a huge difference in maintaining a healthy weight gain.
Keeping your core strength in your obliques and back muscles can also help maintain that belly-only pregnancy look. This core strength helps balance the extra weight that you gain as your baby continues to grow. Another benefit of keeping these muscles strong is that I’ve found that I’ve had much less lower back pain throughout my pregnancy.
The simplest way I’ve found to stay active is to go for a walk every day. If you have a dog at home, this is the perfect bonding experience for the two of you before welcoming home a new member of the family by taking a dog for a walk every day. I’m ensuring that I get a minimum of a mile’s worth of exercise every day. I love being able to spend this quality time with my dog. And now that we are in July, dealing with Texas heat and humidity, it also helps get me up and moving for the day since we want to get out before its wayy too hot.
During my first trimester, I was still going to daily crossfit classes. I planned on continuing them throughout my pregnancy (with modifications as my pregnancy progressed). However, once the coronavirus closed down the gyms, my original workout plans had to change. The two things I found that worked really well to continue staying active while at home was to take online classes from apps and to continue some Crossfit/HIIT style workouts at a home gym.
Medical Disclaimer: This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.