Quite frankly, I do not enjoy being pregnant.
This is my second pregnancy and it only took a matter of weeks into my first trimester to utter the words to my husband, “I remember now why I dislike being pregnant.” You really do black it all out. Between the pure exhaustion, horrible sleep, hormonal fluctuations, acne, vivid dreams, itchy skin, skin tags, weight gain among the myriad of other strange things that transpire during pregnancy, it’s just not fun for me.
I know I’m not alone after working with women around the world who have similar feelings. I’ve realized how important it is to open up this discussion around the highs and lows of pregnancy, which can still feel extremely taboo. While I also know women who love pregnancy, I find the physical limitations, especially as a lover of daily movement and a prenatal trainer, to be extremely challenging. And the feelings of anxiety and guilt feel turbo-charged for me during this time (more so than during postpartum). To add insult to injury, the second pregnancy has been much harder on me both mentally and physically — something I wish someone had warned me about.
Don’t get me wrong — I’m so grateful to be pregnant and am very excited to have another baby. (Call me crazy, but I actually love the newborn phase.) While pregnancy is tough, I know that it is all worth it in the end once I have my baby in my arms and that euphoric feeling of love unlike any other washing over me.
So, how am I coping while this sweet, little soul grows inside me? As a nutrition and fitness coach, I know the importance of using holistic wellness tools like eating nutrient dense foods, moving my body, sleeping, and managing my stress can facilitate a positive daily mindset and help me to feel my best. This is why I incorporate what I like to call “little adapts”, or small, positive changes, to make this a more enjoyable experience. Here are my top 3 “little adapts” for a healthier, happier you during pregnancy:
Reframing pregnancy cravings
Pregnancy cravings are REAL and typically it’s an indicator that your body needs certain nutrients. Your body is smart so if you are craving something, lean into it and try to satisfy it with nutrient dense foods so that you can satisfy it without feeling guilty. For example, if you’re craving red meat, you may be low in iron, which is an extremely important nutrient during pregnancy. If you are going to eat red meat, make sure that it’s organic and grass-fed. (This is coming from a girl who eats mostly plant based and has eaten red meat during both of my pregnancies due to low iron levels.)
Another major pregnancy craving is sweets. Trust me – I get it and mine lasted all the way through 12 months of postpartum. With treats, “little adapt” them so they are packed with healthy fat, fiber, and protein so they won’t spike your blood sugar levels. Here are some of my favorite recipes to curb your pregnancy sweet tooth:
5 Minute Pregnancy Gratitude Journal
Your mental health during pregnancy should not be taken lightly, which is why having tools to help manage your stress and anxiety is key. This journaling practice has allowed me to change my perspective on the negative symptoms and emotions that I am feeling. Here is what my 5 minute journaling session consists of writing down:
· Gratitude: 3 things I’m grateful for
· Setting your intention: 3 things that would make today great
· Daily affirmation: I am…
· Anything that I’m thinking or feeling to get it out of my head and onto paper
I also love a 5 minute meditation and pulling positive affirmation cards to further ensure I’m putting as much positive energy into my day as possible. While using these tools daily is most effective, don’t be hard on yourself if you can only squeeze them in when you have time or you desperately need them.
Lastly, moving your body in a pregnancy safe, effective way daily will keep you sane and help you to have an empowering and strong birth. This could be as simple as a walk outside or a 10 minute workout. I’m not going to lie that showing up on my mat during this first trimester was extremely difficult. While I made sure to listen to my body and rest when I needed, most of the time I would feel so much better after I moved. It was also imperative to truly resting those first 6 weeks of postpartum and aided in a quicker recovery my first pregnancy because I chose to do the work.
Remember, there is no right or wrong way to feel about pregnancy because every woman and every pregnancy is different, but always know that you are NOT alone.
Looking for more support and guidance to feel empowered and stress-free during pregnancy? I built my Prenatal Program “Movement for Mamas-to-be: A Holistic Prenatal Fitness + Nutrition Program” during my pregnancies so that you can feel this way too and know that I’m right there with you. It has made my second pregnancy so much easier having this wellness program at my fingertips knowing pregnant Jax has my best interest at heart. You are welcome to try this FREE 19 Minute Prenatal Sculpt or join my FREE weekly prenatal workouts on Tuesdays at 12:30 pm CST/1:30 pm EST by registering here.
Jacquie Smith is a certified integrative nutrition health coach from IIN and a fitness instructor specializing in barre, yoga, and pre/postnatal workouts. Her philosophy of “little adapts” allows clients to gradually instill small, positive changes to create a sustainable lifestyle through a mostly plant-based diet, daily movement and mental wellness. Her clients include PWC, NBA, Women’s Health, Core Club, and the 1 Hotel. You can learn more about her “little adapts” on her app, Little Adapts By Jax.