Date Written August 2021:
36 weeks pregnant with my first. The past 8 months has been a rollercoaster and I quite literally mean that. From a health and fitness perspective I of course was required to make a few changes to both the way I eat and the training I do.
As it is a passion of mine to continuously study health and nutrition in particular gut health and foods which prevent illness and diseases as well as increase longevity, I was already aware of the importance of certain foods during pregnancy. I always say though “you can never stop learning.”
Having eaten for the past few years a diet mostly and when I say mostly I mean overall not every day 365 days of the year, of high fats (healthy fats) low to moderate carbohydrates and moderate protein I found myself in the first trimester naturally having to change how I was eating.
First Trimester – Nutrition:
The first trimester up until approximately 16 weeks I felt quite ill most days. I had a lot of nausea and although I wasn’t vomiting a lot I wasn’t able to eat most of the foods I once enjoyed as the smell and taste made me gag. CRAVINGS…. Did I have any? Only oranges, orange juice, cheese and crackers.
I am not a big dairy eater and go into the reasons why in my nutrition plans. I was eating almost a block of cheese 500gram or so over less than 5 days! My skin started to get congested and I knew it was from the cheese as mine does that when I am not pregnant, as it does to many.
So! I was eating what I could and of course started taking my antenatal tablets, additional zinc, folate, iron and magnesium as soon as I found out I was pregnant. I couldn’t have coffee that also made me ill and I couldn’t eat or even smell meat. What did I mostly eat? Fruit, Vegetables, cheese and crackers, yoghurt (which I never normally eat) and tuna and cooked fish. Occasionally some chicken.
I stopped intermittent fasting as I knew I needed to ensure I had something in my stomach in the morning even if it was peanut butter on toast. This was to ensure I was getting enough fuel and nutrients as well as reducing the nausea. Lots of green leafy vegetables for folate.
I couldn’t eat salmon like I usually would so tuna was the closest thing which I could stomach. I also started to drink more almond and oat milk supplementing my protein with vegan protein powder. I couldn’t eat a lot of meat products and because I don’t eat beans and legumes I had to supplement my protein.
I kept my meals smaller and more regular rather than 3 larger meals a day which I was used to doing, sometimes even 2.
I had blood tests performed to ensure all of my levels were a healthy range. All of my levels were healthy however my iron was very low. Most likely due to such a decrease in the consumption of red meat. I was previously eating 1-2 servings a week which dropped to none at all.
Babies take all they can to ensure they survive and grow and you as a mother can be left with very little. I went on stronger iron supplements immediately. Overall I appeared to have lost some weight and muscle until I reached approximately 15 weeks.
First Trimester Fitness
Going into pregnancy I wasn’t in a routine as much as I was in 2020. I continued to go to the gym 3 times a week for 30 minutes and did light weight training and Cardio. At 20 weeks I started to feel quite awkward about jumping around, doing plyometric exercises and skipping. I could have continued however, I really didn’t feel like it, I wasn’t interested in the gym at all so it slowly fizzled out and it didn’t bother me (at this stage.) I continued my walks however I even stopped running, it all just felt strange for me. I also continued booty bands.
Second and Third Trimester – Nutrition
My appetite started to increase and less nausea. I was able to start eating salmon and red meats again. I did start to get more cravings for sugary food towards the end of the second trimester and third trimester. Ice cream and Lollies, a little chocolate. I usually very rarely eat chocolate. I was also buying bakery goods occasionally such as custard tarts :p. Although I may have been eating foods without as much nutritional value, I wasn’t over eating them and certainly not binging on them.
Overall foods like that dont make me feel very good and I also know what they do for your happy hormones” Being healthy for any years prior really helped here. I didnt have cravings strong enough to sit and binge eat. “Mind over matter”. I was guzzling orange juice though which contains a lot of sugar, although its natural sugar its still not ideal.
At 30 weeks I got tested for Gestational Diabetes which came back negative. I also did another blood test which checked included my iron levels. All levels were again within a healthy range however my iron was now basically non existent and the doctor was very concerned. We did an iron infusion x2 – a week later.
Reflux and indigestion really effected me in the second and third trimester. It was so uncomfortable that I didnt want to eat as much. I was eating the heartburn chewables every day (Quick-Eze) and then Gaviscon, even tried bi carb soda in some water. They all helped most of the time. I then reduced my portion sizes again and increased the amount of times I ate in the day to combat this. Avoiding acidic food – still eating my oranges and orange juice :P.
I Increased my red meat intake to 3 times a week and started eating a lot more green leafy vegetables such as broccoli and spinach.
Third Trimester – Fitness
I kept it simple! Walking approximately 8000 steps per day, Stretching and some days booty band exercises laying down.
I also every second day used a 3kg weight to train my triceps and shoulders.
I have still retained some muscle mass due to years of training and sports since high school. My body is definitely holding fluid and I have some cellulite on the back of my legs and ass which honestly does not bother me as I know a month pp it will be gone.
As I’ve said previously I am very in tune with my body and very grateful for what it has achieved. Unsure of what I weigh at 37 weeks pregnant as I don’t own scales but I’m guessing based on the last weigh in 65kg (originally 50kg pre pregnancy.
I hope you enjoyed reading and if you would like to ask me any questions don’t hesitate to reach out.