3 Things I’ve Learned from Pregnancy

IMG_1604This Tuesday marks 28 weeks of growing a little human inside of me and what an experience it’s been!  For starters, the time flies and with all the busy-ness of preparation required, I feel like the little one is going to be here before we know it!
I’ve been pretty fortunate in how I’ve been feeling thus far, I managed to evade morning sickness which was a relief.  The only symptom I can really complain about is fatigue and some joint stiffness. I know this isn’t the case for everyone, my hat goes off to women who experience the whole spectrum of symptoms!  Many of you can probably can relate to the increased awareness of your body while you’re pregnant – it’s almost impossible not to with the weekly, sometimes daily changes.  But as I’m going through this, I’m realizing how the awareness of your body when you are pregnant, really shouldn’t be much different from your awareness of your non-pregnant body!  Allow me to explain through these 3 things I’ve learned while being pregnant….

1) I’m very aware of when my body is in need of food or water
There are a few reasons for this, one of them being the obvious physical signs: almost instant thirst, hunger, fatigue, nausea, light-headedness, the second of these being my growing belly and the desire to feed the little one growing inside…I want to give her the best start possible!  But when I got to thinking, why is that until we have someone or something else in our care that we become more aware of our OWN physical needs, or even worse, we become overly concerned about their needs over our own?
Whether or not you are carrying a baby, staying properly hydrated and nourished is a huge part of living a healthy and vibrant life.  This is how we sustain energy during a busy day, stave off sicknesses and disease.  Rather than waiting for a physical sign of hunger or thirst, we should be prepared and anticipating those needs the same way we would if we were caring for a child or significant other!  This means keeping healthy snacks on hand, carrying a water bottle with you, and preparing balanced meals with lean protein, colorful veggies and savory grains!  Not only that, it also means listening to our body and paying attention to the subtle and not-so-subtle signs that it’s in need of a top-up!

Here are a few subtle signs that your body may not be getting what it needs to perform at it’s best:
– Feeling thirsty – you are already dehydrated at this point!
– Feeling sluggish or lightheaded during a workout your pre-workout meal may not have been close enough to your workout, or substantial enough
– Feeling an energy slump in the middle of the day – you may not be consuming enough protein at breakfast and lunch
– Going more than a day without a bowel movement – increase your fiber and water intake, things are getting backed up!
– Going several hours without a pee-break – you’re not drinking enough fluids and your body is hanging onto the little fluid it has received
These are subtle signs, things you may suspect are “normal” for you, but really could be related to what you might be depriving yourself of!  So challenge yourself this week to listen to the little signs your body is showing…they are little cries for help 🙂

2) Our body’s are designed to move
Yes, pregnancy, age, injury, none of these are excuses for laying on the couch…though some days this seems like the most satisfying option (guilty!).   Over the past few months I’ve experienced all kinds of aches and pains, especially throughout my hips and pelvis.  But the one pattern I’ve noticed, is it’s always worse after a period of inactivity.  Last week I did a body weight circuit after having not done anything other than walking for 2 whole weeks.  Prior to the workout it hurt to roll over and get out of bed, I felt like an 80 year old woman some mornings!  So despite feeling off my game and crappy, I put together a little 20 minute ditty and plugged away at it…my body felt the best it had in those two weeks.  You see, it doesn’t matter what you do, or what pace you do it at, or how much weight you lift, so long as your body is challenged, you’re going to see SOME benefit from it.
The secret is doing the workout that works best for you at whatever stage of life you are in.  For me, right now it’s workouts that are short, moderate intensity with multi-joint movements (using more than one muscle group in a movement) I feel a boost of energy when I’m done but I don’t feel like I’ve overdone it.

Movement does so many things for us:
– Moving our joints helps to draw synovial fluid to those areas which provide additional cushioning and nutrients required for safe and comfortable joint movement
– Moving our muscles draws blood flow to them causing them to contract and relax, allowing them to fire better and keep our metabolism fired up when we go about our daily activities.
– Exercising with proper form on a regular basis helps to activate our postural muscles helping us to better stabilize our joints in daily activities, this reduces your risk of overuse injuries.

3) Rest is critical…period.
One thing I’ve been almost forced to do is make rest more of a priority. I simply can’t get through the long days the way I was prior to pregnancy. At this point, I would compare the day after a long day to a bad hangover…not worth it!  So when I’m working, I’m working, but when I have down time, I’m having down time.  Again, what I’m realizing is that I wish I didn’t wait until pregnancy to figure this one out!  I realize that most people don’t have time to take random naps throughout the day, but there are so many other things you can do to allow your body to rest!
Part of rest and relaxation is quieting your mind and getting away from the hustle and bustle.  Taking time to be alone with your thoughts without regard for what you need to be doing next.  I find it really helpful to schedule these times in so you can be fully present, not worrying about the remaining events of the day. This does need to be hours of your time.  Even incorporating 20-30 minutes a day of something rejuvenating can help to lower your stress levels and reduce your risk of sickness and injury!  You won’t fully understand this until you try it, so I challenge you to incorporate at least 2 rejuvenation sessions this week.

These are a few examples of rejuvenating activities you can do to quiet your mind and lower your stress levels:
– Take a leisure walk(this should be a relaxing pace, not a workout) outside and leave your phone or music at home
– Spend time reading a fiction novel, something that allows you to escape your current reality
– Find a quiet space to meditate or pray
– Find a dimly lit, quiet area to do a mobility (stretching) session, I find in the quiet spaces it’s easiest to be aware of the areas of your body that are holding tension

In addition to these things, you will see significant results in your energy levels and the quality of rest you have at night if you do the following:
– Go to bed before 10pm
– Avoid alcohol or caffeine in the evening (‘m continually amazed at how well I sleep when I don’t consume either of these…who knew?😊)
– Turn off all screens before bed, have a warm bath or shower
– Read insightful books (rather than fiction) that have a positive and uplifting message but still require some thought, focus on only a chapter at a time, not a marathon read in one night!

Remember, the next episode on Netflix can always wait for another night, one load of laundry can wait until the morning.  Sometimes you just need to set other things aside to make a little bit of time for yourself.  When your body is under stress, whether it’s physical or emotional, it’s constantly in a state of fight or flight making it very difficult to ward off sicknesses, heal injuries or lose weight.  Take some time for yourself and see if you note any difference.  What’s the harm in trying just a few sessions over the next few weeks?  If all fails, you can always go back to how you were doing things before, but my guess is that you won’t!!  You’re going to find yourself more energetic and productive than ever before when you start to listen to what your body is telling you and take action on it!!!!
Get at it ladies, let’s work at being the best versions of ourselves by taking a little ‘me’ time 🙂

 

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