In this series, Fit To Be Pregnant is highlighting inspirational mamas from around the globe and how they made their pregnancies fit, comfortable, and healthy. If you’d like to be be featured, get in touch! We’d love to have you!
Today’s Fit Pregnancy Profile features Gwen, who has stayed active with Crossfit through the end of her pregnancy with her baby girl, due in just a few weeks!
Describe your food choices during your healthy pregnancy.
From week 5 to week 18 I was throwing up a few times a day so I honestly went with whatever food choice was going to make me feel “better”. Some weeks it was salad, some weeks it was leftovers but I had a hard time with meats and acidic fruits. I found at that time that bread or a sandwich was helpful in keeping things down. After week 18 I could successfully return to my 80/20 paleo lifestyle. I eat eggs and farm bacon every morning, sometimes adding in an almond milk smoothie. I eat a lot of beef, chicken and pork as well as sweet potatoes, spinach and brussel sprouts. My husband and I have been paleo for about 3 years now and really feel great. I wanted to be able to provide that same nourishment to my baby.
Describe your exercise routine during your healthy pregnancy.
I have been a Crossfitter for 3 years but before that I was a competitive gymnast for 14 years. Before getting pregnant I had visions of continuing my workout routine and staying physically healthy throughout pregnancy. That constant state of nausea week 5 through 18 really put a damper on a good workout routine but I did manage to make it to the gym occasionally, even if it was only once or twice a week at that point! Now I’m able to get to the gym at least 3 times a week and continue with regular Crossfit workouts, modifying weights or movements as necessary. It has helped that everyone at our gym has been supportive and encouraging along the way.
What was your greatest obstacle to staying healthy during your pregnancy, and how did you overcome it?
My greatest obstacle was just getting myself to the gym. I knew in my head that if I stayed active I would feel better and usually after leaving the gym even if I wasn’t feeling my best going in, I felt better after working out.
Did you experience morning sickness? How did you manage it?
Yes! All day sickness week 5 to week 18 of my pregnancy. It became pretty consistent in that I could sort of plan ahead for it. Most importantly, I had to eat something for breakfast. Keeping crackers next to my bed never helped me like everyone said it would but breakfast was important. I made sure to have many different types of snacks with me throughout the day never knowing what my food preference was going to be. I napped on my lunches at work and kept plastic bags in my car/purse for that emergency. I was often in bed at 8pm because any later than that I knew I would start to get nauseous again.
What motivated you to exercise and eat healthy food during your pregnancy? How did you manage when you didn’t feel motivated?
I am an exercise junkie. If I didn’t get to the gym to workout at least 4 times/week I would feel badly about it pre-pregnancy. Once pregnancy came along, it was a different story and I found that I really had to listen to my body and know my limits. I read so many articles and books about working out while pregnant and found that exercise was great for pregnant woman as long as they listened to their body. I repeated this to myself (and still do)! Knowing how healthy food and exercise make me feel, it’s easier to make these healthy decisions for my baby so she can reap the benefits too!
Have you allowed yourself to give in to any cravings?
Of course! What’s the fall fair without cotton candy? Or a late summer night without an ice cream?
What is your birth plan? How does your healthy lifestyle factor in to your hopes for birth?
My birth plan is to provide the most natural introduction into the world for my baby girl without medical intervention unless absolutely necessary which is essentially how I live my life now. Of course I know that a birth plan is just a plan and change can happen but I feel more comfortable knowing I have positive thoughts that will help me through birth.
Were you leading a healthy lifestyle before pregnancy, or did pregnancy inspire you to become healthier?
My mother belonged to a co-op of organic foods when I was younger. She has influenced my healthy eating and lifestyle since then. I had just found the paleo lifestyle 3 years ago after being misdiagnosed with Celiac disease and feel great. I feel that pregnancy has reaffirmed my belief in paleo eating and Crossfitting to stay healthy.
What was your favorite thing to eat during pregnancy?
Italian food (eggplant parm, lasagna) anything with tomato sauce.
What is your proudest accomplishment of your pregnancy?
My first would be making it through week 18 haha. My proudest accomplishment would honestly be continuing my Crossfit journey, opening the eyes of so many who are afraid of exercise during pregnancy and in turn teaching myself a few things about the human body during pregnancy 🙂
What advice do you have for other moms who want to have a fit and healthy pregnancy?
Be your own best advocate. Don’t let other people tell you what you should be or shouldn’t be doing during your pregnancy (unless of course your doctor has strict rules for the health of you and your baby of course). Do your research and listen to your body. Fortunately and unfortunately, there is a lot out there about pregnancy and working out/eating healthy, however; most of it is hearsay and opinion. Check your references 🙂
What book, website, person inspired you to stay fit and healthy during pregnancy, or did you find useful?
Obviously I read a lot on Fit To Be Pregnant or I wouldn’t be here answering your questions 🙂 I also found crossfitmom.com to be helpful and then just getting out there and reading random blogs to compare notes. My husband and doula have been two of the most helpful people during this pregnancy. They are 100% positive and that positive energy plays a big role!
What was your favorite product that helped you stay fit and healthy during your pregnancy?
Chewy prenatal vitamins helped me stay on top of taking my vitamins. Without them I’m not sure I could have stomached swallowing pills.
Did anyone judge you or say anything negative about your exercise routine during pregnancy?
Many people commented “you do that crazy stuff while pregnant?!?” Or “you shouldn’t be lifting that/running/jumping etc”. Most of the people that have commented have been people who don’t typically exercise and are usually of older generations who were taught to believe that working out while pregnant was dangerous.
How did you feel about your body during pregnancy? Were you excited about the changes, or was it difficult for you to deal with? How did you deal with those feelings?
I have always wanted children and couldn’t wait to be pregnant. Pregnant women are beautiful! However, I have weighed the same since high school (15 years ago!) and although I don’t own a scale at home and I’ve never really been one to obsess about numbers, seeing the numbers go up at the doctor has been something I am not used to. We have been taking weekly photos and it is both exciting and fascinating to see the changes over time. My husband thinks I’m beautiful and he tells me every day, this has been a huge confidence boost and I think something that has made the changes that much easier to accept. Knowing that my body is changing to provide for our little girl makes everything worth it! I do have to say though, I can’t wait to climb a few flights of stairs without being completely winded!
What was the one thing you did for yourself during pregnancy that you would recommend to anyone else who is expecting?
NAP if you can! I was not a napper pre-pregnancy, just never had the desire but napping when I can has been a blessing. Once you get into that tired feeling thinking you can’t make it through the rest of the day, a nap will revive you!