Welcome, friend! I’m so glad you stopped by today. As of right now (April 2021), I am finishing up my second trimester of pregnancy! I am due with my first child, a boy, in July 2021! While I am over the moon excited and cannot wait to meet my baby, pregnancy has been a strange and interesting time for me. Coming into my first pregnancy, I had no idea how little I knew about what becoming a mom entails and just about pregnancy in general.
All throughout this time so far, one thing that I have focused on and spent a lot of time prioritizing is my health. Not only am I taking care of my own health, but I am at the same time taking care of my unborn baby’s health, too. I have been paying close attention to my health this whole time, but I was ESPECIALLY cognizant of it while in my first trimester and into my second while experiencing fatigue, sleep of lesser quality, food cravings, and aversions, and nausea. This new season of life has brought with it some new understandings of what it means to be well, as well as some reminders of what I’ve already known – just in a new light.
I would love to share with you 5 wellness lessons that I’ve been learning thus far in my pregnancy. I think even if you aren’t, never have been, or never plan to be pregnant, you can still draw some meaning out of these lessons, too. Let’s get started…
1. Routines can (and should) change
Regardless, routines can get stale. Also, you need to switch up what you’re doing in order to get better results. Changing areas of focus and different moves challenges your body and muscles in new ways. But, workouts can and should change through different seasons of your life, too. My workouts have definitely changed since getting pregnant and even throughout different phases of pregnancy. When I first found out I was pregnant, I was doing prenatal barre from home and going for a walk every morning. A few weeks into pregnancy, I not only started experiencing ALL DAY nausea (which usually involved getting sick first thing in the morning, unfortunately), but I also needed a lot more sleep. Morning workouts weren’t an option for me, anymore. I also re-started going to a studio near me that I really enjoy called Spenga (spin and strength and yoga). So, I pivoted to attending classes there in the afternoons knowing that there was a smaller chance I’d be feeling unwell, and also be able to sleep in. Now, I am continuing Spenga in the morning or afternoon depending on the day, and prenatal yoga from home when I can remember and make time for it. Later, as I near the end of my pregnancy, I plan to go back to pre-natal third-trimester barre and yoga. As I’ve felt differently and gone in and out of phases during this pregnancy, my body has told me when what I was doing is no longer working. And each time I pivot, my body thanks me for it!
2. “Listen to your body” isn’t just a feel-good saying
You should actually do it! And respond accordingly. Recognizing what your body is telling you is a great first step, but we need to follow through on what we’re hearing in order to best serve ourselves. You can be better attuned to your body and what it’s telling you by noticing how you are physically, mentally, and emotionally feeling each day. Notice how you are feeling on days when you are moving your body and days that you aren’t. If you feel better on days when you’re not exercising or getting in a certain type of movement, your current exercise of choice probably isn’t serving you well. Of course, rest days are still necessary, but movement should make your body feel good! Personally, especially at the beginning of my pregnancy, my body was telling me no to morning workouts and telling me I needed sleep. So I listened. I went to afternoon workouts, and then eased back into the morning when I wasn’t nauseous anymore and was getting better sleep. Now, I notice many moves becoming uncomfortable and my heart rate raising more easily, so I’ve started dialing back the intensity of my workouts. Since doing this, I have already felt so much better and less fatigued! Pregnant or not, give yourself time to notice how you’re feeling. Take note. Try different adjustments. Keep up what feels good.
3. Tastes change
I have not gotten through pregnancy so far unscathed by cravings and aversions. Coffee is a big aversion I have had. I used to love it in all forms, but now I can only tolerate certain sweet frozen coffees. Because I was already drinking caffeine consistently before pregnancy and had a tolerance for it, I found that I feel good when I still have it every so often in small amounts now (consult your doctor for your personal needs). Without coffee, I began looking into pre-workouts that were safe for pregnancy. I found Red Leaf Pre-workout to help since it has low doses of caffeine and clean ingredients. This is also great if you have low caffeine tolerance or if you have anxiety and caffeine is triggering it! You can use the code annika10 for 10% off if you want to try it, too! In addition to aversions, I’ve also experienced cravings. I believe, pregnant or not, you should listen to your cravings. Sometimes that may look like having a serving of what you are craving, and sometimes it may take evaluating why you’re having that craving if it’s not typical for you. Sometimes that’s our body telling us we’re low on something it needs (for example, chocolate cravings can often mean we are low in magnesium). Life should not be about deprivation, but balance. Have that chocolate. But also make sure to get in some fruits and veggies, too! And if your tastes or what you’re in the mood for doesn’t allow for the healthy meals you wanted for the week, give yourself permission to try something new. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing!
4. Body image is a constant journey
Having a positive body image is a lot easier said than done. It’s hard to jump from having a negative body image to singing praises about your body and what it can do for you. It’s easier to move from negative thoughts about your body to neutral ones. For example, someone may think, “My legs are too big.” It is more reasonable to move from that to “My legs help me walk,” rather than to “My legs are beautiful and perfect the way they are.” But, even with all the strategies in the world, shifting your perception of your body is HARD work. Society and the media consistently berate us with diet culture and “ideal” body types, even subconsciously. Unlearning takes a lot of work. And even when you have done this hard work for yourself, there is potentially always something else that will come up that will cause you to need to pivot and unlearn some more. For me, that has been getting pregnant and watching my body change into a form that it hasn’t before in order to grow another human being. My body is simultaneously mine but also my child’s. For other people, there may be changes still happening to their bodies as they are coming out of high school, during young adulthood when the body is finishing up coming into its own, and then again during other life stages (as far as age goes), or other life changes (marriage, having kids, moving, big and small transitions). Just know you are not alone in having a complicated relationship with the skin you live in. Don’t be afraid to ask for help in processing through this, whether it be opening up to a loved one, or seeking help from a qualified professional.
5. Comparison is unfruitful
Yet again, pregnancy has re-surfaced something that I thought I already had a good hold on. After consciously working on trying to not compare myself to others and starting to do well with that, a new life transition has opened up new opportunities for comparison. Is my stomach (and baby) growing quickly enough? Is it growing too quickly? Am I gaining enough weight? Too much? Am I behind on purchasing baby and post-natal things? Am I behind on setting up my nursery? Have I thought enough about what should go in it? Am I actually prepared enough for childbirth? Is my baby kicking and moving enough? All of these things have crossed my mind. Seeing other moms (mainly on social media and discussion boards since few people I know personally, around my age, have children) have made me question these things and more. But each mom and pregnancy and situation is so unique that I really shouldn’t be comparing myself this much to other moms and pregnancies! However, that doesn’t make it any easier to not do so. You may struggle with this as well. A few things I know help me to move away from the negative comparison is unplugging more, not connecting with sources I find that I compare myself to, and recognizing my positive qualities and that I am just where I need to be.
While having many things constantly running through my head and learning many lessons has been overwhelming, I am so grateful for all of it. I know that as long as I’m allowing myself to think and notice what I’m feeling, I am constantly learning.
I hope that you can find the lessons and opportunities for growth in whatever season you’re in as well. The above lessons are all wellness-focused, but there are always opportunities in many other areas of life as well. Digging in takes some vulnerability. But when we allow ourselves to be vulnerable and we can lean into each other, whether with loved ones or even just people we know virtually, I think we can do so much growing together.
Thanks for stopping by! Let me know below if any of this resonated with you! My personal blog is linked here and I look forward to seeing you again soon! Use code Annika10 at checkout on Red Leaf’s website for 10% off your order. Follow us both on Instagram @RedLeafNutrition and @Annika.brea.