3 ways women who have struggled with unwanted weight gain can create a new experience for their baby while pregnant
Many of us struggle with staying the course when it comes to a healthy lifestyle. This could be because you believe that a diet and exercise are a punishment and isolating 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 new 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 our culture. Some of these ideas have perhaps served you well, while others have caused you pain. Body shaming and severe criticism never does anyone a favor, 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 2 for 1 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 9 and 10 months. Science has repeatedly demonstrated, through multiple studies, that the lifestyle of the pregnant woman can and usually does impact 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, exercise, etc.). The following 3 ways 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 if we are focused on avoiding something, such as putting on a few extra pounds, instead of the idea that your reality has infinite potential and can be shifted at any time in the direction you desire, then that is where your focus remains and is all you will see. A subtle, yet profound shift, as the way you think will be the driver in your actions.
2.) Make daily activity a part of your health plan (always but especially when pregnant). In other words, start moving and shaking regularly; it doesn't even 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. Women who have gestational diabetes and/or who are overweight during their pregnancy are more likely to birth babies who will experience those same conditions. 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. Not to mention, it can be a lot of fun when expectant moms come together, cheer each other on, and share experiences. It truly is heart warming and makes many aspects of pregnancy less scary and more exciting.
Additionally, remember fear is a part of life but often it is blown out of proportion when kept within the confines of our thinking. Challenging all scary thoughts and beliefs is part of evolving and doing so now sets a wonderful example for you and your new baby. Embrace your pregnancy by making it the most healthy through gently challenging yourself. You are in charge and you deserve to feel amazing and know that you are a great mom who is taking wonderful care of your little bundle of love.
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, especially because they understand how doing so expedites the recovery period after delivery. With practice and guidance, you can arrange small, yet profound ways of ensuring your baby will be happy and healthy.
Julia Broome is passionate about health, nutrition and exercise. She is most excited about educating women on the short and long term impact of exercise and proper nutrition on pregnant women and their baby.