Many of us struggle with staying the course when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle. This could be because you believe that a diet and exercise are a punishment or because you soothe with food when life throws fireball triggers at you. No matter what you grew up thinking and believing, could you now consider that your pregnancy is an opportunity for you to question the beliefs you have and subsequently bring your baby into a completely different and healthy way of existing?
As women, we have all been conditioned to believe certain things about our bodies and how we should act and look by our families, friends, and culture. Some of these ideas have perhaps served you well, while others have caused you pain. Body shaming and severe criticism are damaging, so if you experienced that growing up, there is no doubt that you want to raise your child differently. One of the most exciting parts about becoming a new mom is implementing new ideas and practices that directly and positively impact your unborn baby, you, and perhaps your entire family unit. I like to call it the two for one deal, meaning that when you are healthy and happy as a pregnant woman, your baby is sharing that same experience.
As we all know, the human gestation period lasts usually between nine and ten months. Science has demonstrated, through multiple studies, that the lifestyle of the pregnant woman impacts her baby’s health for the long term. The best part about this is that your actions don’t have to be extreme (e.g., extreme dieting). The following three actions can gently steer you and your baby toward lasting healthy changes:
1.) Hold your mind in healthy possibility (as opposed to fear that your child will struggle with weight related issues). The mind influences the body so focus on something you want (e.g., being toned, fit, and healthy) rather than what you don’t. Thoughts direct actions so pick good thoughts.
2.) Make daily activity a part of your health plan (always but especially when pregnant). Start moving; it doesn’t have to be traditional exercise (although traditional exercise is wonderful for pregnant women). If you love to dance, do it. If swimming is you thing, jump in the pool. If you love nature, take a scenic hike. Although there are some exercises that pregnant women should avoid (e.g., boxing) because of greater risk of injury, most exercises are complementary and encouraged.
3.) Get involved with a like-minded/health conscious group with a leader who is reputable. Staying the course, especially when you have limited information, is difficult and a coach or group can offer support and information that you need in order to expand your health and that of your child. It can be a lot of fun when expectant moms come together, cheer each other on, and share experiences. It truly is heartwarming and makes many aspects of pregnancy less scary and more exciting.
Fear is a part of life but often it’s blown out of proportion when kept within the confines of the mind. Challenging all scary thoughts and beliefs is part of evolving. You are in charge, deserve to feel amazing, and know that you are a great mom who is taking wonderful care of her baby. Many moms who practice healthy eating and regular exercise while pregnant find that they want to maintain those habits because of how it made them feel. With practice and guidance, you can arrange small, yet profound ways of ensuring your baby will be happy and healthy.