I have fond memories of my pregnancy. I spent lots of nights snuggled up in my bed with my arms wrapped tightly around my tummy, because it felt like there were little arms wrapped around me on the inside. Probably wrapped around my bladder, which would explain that constant “Gotta go, gotta go, gotta go right now!” feeling I had.

I gained a LOT – A LOT – of weight during my pregnancy. Something like 80lbs, I believe. Mentally, I fudged the numbers because they’re kind of hard to swallow. I was already something like 240lbs… another 80lbs put me out of this world.

And yes, all of that belly birthed one 9lb, 1oz baby girl.

After giving birth, I had to get several exams and ultrasounds to see what was going on with my legs. I was experiencing a seriously insane amount of pain and numbness. What I was dealing with, really, was pitting edema. Considering my other issues, they feared that I had developed diabetes.

Now that I’m in a better place mentally when it comes to understanding my health, I see all of the things that I did wrong. I see the things that I wish I had done, the tidbits of my doctor’s advice that I had taken seriously, and the opportunities I wish I had taken advantage of. So, allow me to offer some very important bits of information to my pregnant beauties out there that you should bring up with your doctors on your next visit. Confirm that these are good ideas for YOU, and do your best to stick to it – we want you around to see your baby’s babies!

  • You are not eating for two. I’own care what Nana says. Nana might’ve been able to “be greedy” when she was pregnant back in the day, but I can assure you Nana’s food was way more filling, way higher quality, and much less processed. The prevailing sentiment right now is that a pregnant mommy only needs about 300 calories extra… so try not to go beyond that.
  • Try to avoid the magic elixir foods. If it involves a powder that turns into a liquid – you know what I mean… rice-a-roni, hamburger helper, drink mixes – it’s probably in your best interest to limit your intake of it. You want to get as many whole foods and nutrients from natural resources for you and your baby as often and as much as possible. You’re already tired, trust me – you want to make sure you’re getting nutrients that will keep you energetic – not make you more tired.
  • Having said that, the more vegetables and fruits and whole grains (brown rice, whole wheat breads, etc – consult your doctor in the event that you may have allergies to be concerned about) you eat, the better off – not to mention more full and healthy – you and baby will be. Processed foods have a tendency to contain HIGH levels of salt in them so while they may feel good to the Mommy with the salt cravings, you might not love how you feel post-pregnancy… or even later on IN your pregnancy.
  • Stay busy! Pick up several hobbies, and keep BUSY! You don’t want to feel compelled to eat simply out of boredom. Go take a stroll, go run some errands, anything that can keep your hands and mind busy.
  • Pregnant Mommy Yoga! I know Mommies-to-be who have enjoyed modified Yoga poses while pregnant, and say that the muscles they were able to develop actually helped them in delivering the child. It is a mild-intensity, light activity that can allow you to relieve a little stress (always good!) and be a little more active.
  • Go for a walk. If it’s pacing up and down the stairs a few times, if it’s walking around the neighborhood a little bit, or if you’re only walking a lap or two around the office during your lunch break? Walk. This helps in the long run. Trust me.
  • Don’t overindulge! I know when those cravings hit, it feels like you don’t know how to act! Here’s a method to trying to control those cravings and how you attack them. Get a big glass of water to go with whatever it is (for my best friend, it was popcorn and strawberry ice cream… for me, it was dill pickles cut up in rice-a-roni) and be sure to take a sip inbetween bites. This way, you’re enjoying your craving (if you must,) and limiting how much of it you indulge in all while still getting that “full” feeling.

Now, some women will chastise me for posting about “self” when one is pregnant and should be focusing on feeding the child. As someone who spent 42 weeks “feeding the child,” coming out of pregnancy with a slew of health concerns… there needs to be a safe and sane plan of attack. There needs to be strong consideration for the health of both the mother and the child because the baby needs his or her parents, right? So let’s not take this that route.

All of us are different. My pregnancy was high-risk because of a lot of what I was doing to myself. Yours may not be. My suggestion – the most important of all – would be to talk to your doctor. Try to create a daily nutrition schedule. “For breakfast, I will have a grapefruit. For a snack, I’ll have an apple, a pear, or an orange. For lunch…” talk about healthy options to swap out, so that you have variety. This is important. Why? Because habits that you develop during the pregnancy will undoubtedly carry on with you beyond your pregnancy. Trust me, you don’t want those habits to be ones that will cause you to gain even more after the baby.

In closing, be mindful. Focus on staying stress free and relaxed, and everything will come into place.

Oh, and the most important thing of all? Congratulations! Here’s to a happy and healthy pregnancy! Do you have any tips for eating and living healthily during pregnancy? What struggles did you face? How was your pregnancy? Let’s chat!