Maintaining a healthy weight can be challenging even day to day. During pregnancy, it can become a precarious balance between the weight gain needed to support a healthy baby (and mom) and too many extra pounds. A qualified pre and postnatal nutritionist can help with food strategies, such as whole food smoothies, portion control, healthy snack ideas, etc. A prenatal trainer can help you with exercise.
Nutrition and exercise are two sides of the same coin. Weight management is simple input and output: burn more calories than you put in. As a personal trainer, it is my primary job to help you with the output of that equation. Here are some tips, considerations and anecdotes that I share with my clients during pregnancy:
1. Input-output is simple math and you are 300 calories up
It is recommended that you consume an additional 300 calories daily during pregnancy. I suggest every person engage in moderate dedicated exercise of some form each day, which I estimate burns about 300 calories. That results in a big old zero, so you are justified in eating more without any concern of overdoing it. While ideally I always recommend nutrient dense food, during pregnancy this caloric bonus can make your craving indulgence “free” as long as you portion control the choice accordingly.
2. Prepare for your gestational diabetes test by not spiking your blood sugar
It is likely you will be tested for gestational diabetes around weeks 27-28. I had a client who failed both her GD tests and was subsequently prescribed prenatal insulin. Her blood sugar was micromanaged through daily tests and dictated food selection. It seemed a grueling tedious process. Let this intimidate and motivate you to prepare from the get-go.
Because exercise raises your resting metabolic rate, you burn calories steadily and your body is ready for food when it comes in. Coupled with low glycemic index food choices, exercise will help you maintain more consistent blood sugar levels. Your metabolism is better equipped to manage input.
3. The homestretch! Don’t give up in the third trimester
Keep input reigned in and output consistent. Walk, walk and then walk some more. Exercise intensity is slowing down so be sure that the frequency stays up! Think “long and slow” to get through those final weeks. The baby is gaining a pound a week during this time and it is easier to mess up the input-output equation. I gained six lbs in week 37 of my first pregnancy! When I did the math, I was scared “sober” from the thought of packing on an additional 18 lbs in three weeks, of which only three pounds was baby growth.
Do the math. It is elementary addition and subtraction. If you approach pregnancy with this sensible strategy you can avoid calorie counting, obsessing, unnecessary abstinence, over indulgence, and potentially gestational diabetes. Balancing nutrition and exercise is the formula for keeping the weight gain healthy and the process organic.
Kate Rita is the mother of two and a pre & postnatal exercise specialist with a passion for running! With five half marathons under her belt, she is a master at showing you how you can get a full body workout with just a stability ball and a mat. You can read more about Kate here .