From the moment I saw my positive pregnancy test, I knew that nothing would ever be the same. I was thrilled to find out my husband and I were expecting a baby, and suddenly I was daydreaming of all of the ways I’d prepare for this pregnancy. Prenatal yoga, new books, lots of rest, thoughtful meal preparation … life as I knew it would change in every way imaginable, right?
Reality check for us Made Mommies: Life as we know it in the workplace isn’t going to change. Pregnant or not, my company expects me to perform well right up until I sign off for maternity leave. But when I found out I was pregnant, it was ALL I could think about. I was a basketcase of emotions (thank you to first trimester hormones), and it was really hard for me to stay motivated at the office.
I have a hunch that most Made Mommies-to-be have (or had) a tough time keeping focused at work upon news of a little miracle. Here are a few ideas to help us keep up:
Talk to your HR Department
This is a big one. In the beginning of my pregnancy I was a nervous wreck as I wondered about how my career would change because of my little bundle of joy, and it was affecting my performance at work. But the moment I told my HR rep, my feelings changed completely. HR departments are built to deal with this stuff. They have the answers to your questions, and they can help you problem solve or plan ahead to make sure everything works out. Talking to HR can help ease your fears so you can focus on the work in front of you instead of stressing about what will happen to your job.
Limit your Google Searches
Particularly for those of us at desk jobs, a quick Google search in the middle of a work day seems harmless. But it’s a slippery slope from reading a Baby Center email to researching baby names, looking up your latest symptom and reading mommy blogs. Before you know it, an entire hour of the workday could be gone. This certainly isn’t helping us deliver a star performance pre-maternity leave. My solution? I spend a few minutes on my morning commute reading or Googling baby-related info, and I also give myself 15 minutes at lunchtime. Once I’m at my desk for work, my mind is less likely to wander.
Listen to your Body
Between nausea, exhaustion, weight gain, frequent bathroom breaks and a plethora of other lovely symptoms, pregnancy doesn’t exactly lend itself to sitting comfortably at the office all day. I’m trying to make it a habit to listen to my body -- I get up to stretch or walk around the office, or I take a few minutes away from my computer if I feel a headache coming on. I also keep snacks and a water bottle around at all times to prevent hunger and dehydration. Taking care of myself physically helps me stay on task rather than losing motivation because I am uncomfortable or I don’t feel well.
Although most women work through their pregnancies, sometimes it’s really hard to stay motivated. Pregnancy is a big deal, so take care of your body throughout the day, find your support system at work and try to keep those daydreams to a minimum to maintain career success during this time. And after work, indulge yourself in naps, bubble baths, long walks, good meals, and as much Pinterest or Baby Center as you want!
You've got the glow of a soon-to-be mommy, or so people are telling you. You may not feel very different -- or your pregnancy may send you running to the restroom all morning. Either way, you are noticing your belly starting to protrude; and it wasn't from the extra toppings at Yogurtland. It's the new life that is growing inside of you. That's when it hits you: your skinny jeans may not be very comfortable in a few more weeks. But the thought of buying a whole new wardrobe for just a few months is making you feel contractions in your wallet.
Let me tell you, there are a few maternity essentials that you may want to drop a few dollars on, but there are also few tricks you can use to extend your pre-pregnancy wardrobe through the last few months of your pregnancy. And you'll still look like the hot mama that you are.
With this list as my guideline, I never felt like a frumpy mama, nor did I go broke on my pregnancy wardrobe. I was left with plenty of extra cash to build my Made Baby's wardrobe.
So, you’ve heard that you can’t exercise anymore once you’re pregnant? Well, that’s a big, fat myth. In fact, if you have a healthy pregnancy (one without complications such as a “compromised” cervix, or previous difficulty carrying to full term, etc.), you are encouraged to stay active. Of course before you start running laps or going for bike rides, you must consult with your OB regarding how active you can be since the doc is one of the few people who can determine the state of your pregnancy.
If your pregnancy is without issue, you are encouraged to exercise whether or not you did so prior to the positive-resulting test. You may have heard differently -- that if you didn’t exercise before, you shouldn’t start. That, too, is old news. The new news is that exercise will benefit your baby post-partum, with a stronger heart, lean body mass, and lower body fat (meaning a lowered likelihood of childhood obesity). What does an active pregnancy mean for you? Read: shorter labor time, fewer fat pounds gained, faster return to your pre-pregnancy size, and sound mental health. Exercise benefits both you and your miniature human.
Now, if you didn’t exercise prior to your pregnancy, I’m not sayin’ you ought to start training for a marathon. Walks (let your body tell you at what pace and how much you feel like you ought to push yourself, if at all), modified yoga (no twists or inversions and be sure to find an instructor with experience working with pregnant clientele), swimming and/or aqua aerobics (you’re virtually weightless, for crying out loud!), recumbent bike or elliptical machines at the gym, and light strength training are all great get-fit options for the mommy-to-be.
For those of you workout queens, continuing your training routine will likely be fine, if you have a healthy pregnancy. Your growing baby will get the oxygen he or she needs. But be mindful and listen to your body. If you start to feel nauseous, reduce your intensity (stop if it persists, and contact your physician). With any pregnancy, you will experience a loosening of the joints due to an increase in a hormone called relaxin, which is most prevalent in the third trimester and is responsible for making ligaments more flexible. That said, you are more prone to injury during this time, so be particularly mindful of the activities that you choose to participate in, as you don’t want to get hurt before labor (that will hurt enough…).
Now you’ve got the low-down on the exercise part of a fit pregnancy. And, if you are more active during your pregnancy, you will need a few extra good quality calories (calm down, hungry tigress, that means an extra 100-500 calories, which equates to a large apple--100 calories--or a chicken and cheese on whole wheat toast--500 calories), depending on the level of your activity. Read up on the diet part of a fit pregnancy if you haven’t done so already. Lastly, work that Made Mommy glow!
The stick you just peed on confirms that you are pregnant. Congratulations!!! Now, you can eat just as much as you want because you are eating for two, right? Ummm…guess again…
The + on that stick does not give you a hall pass in the kitchen, at the takeout window, or at the froyo-by-weight counter. Now, more than ever, you have to think about what you are eating. You are actually eating for 1.1, not 2. Your growing baby is highly unlikely to exceed 10% of your body weight. I’ll bet that the little person will weigh much less than that at the due date.
So, doubling your daily calories does not make sense. Did you know that during your first trimester, you actually don’t need to eat any more than what you do non-preggers? In your third trimester, which is when you will need to eat more, you won’t need much more than 300-500 extra calories per day.
The quality of the food you eat is far more important than the quantity of food that you eat. This is true all the time but especially now that you are pregnant. The body growing inside of you will extract all the nutrients that it needs from your body if you are not getting enough. For example, if you don’t have enough calcium in your diet, your body will “donate” calcium from your bones (where it is stored) to help develop the skeletal system of the baby you are growing inside of you. And, nobody wants to be at a greater risk for osteoporosis after a pregnancy.
Having just gone through a pregnancy and relatively uneventful labor, I am sharing with you my “power meal go-to menu” that kept my baby and me healthy, lean, strong, and happy (yes, I enjoyed my pregnancy!). Often I was still on-the-go, so these meals were pretty quick to prepare:
1. Quick-cook oats and frozen berries cooked and drizzled with ½ cup plain almond milk, fortified with calcium and vitamin D
2. Low-fat Greek yogurt (or dairy-free yogurt made with coconut milk) with a tablespoon of raw honey and slivered almonds
3. Scrambled eggs (scrambled with fortified milk or milk substitute) topped with sliced tomatoes and/or avocado and whole grain toast with a smear of organic unsalted butter
4. Sliced apple or banana with organic peanut butter or almond butter with sea salt
5. Fresh veggies with yogurt dip or white bean hummus
1. Grilled salmon (fish once per week), chicken, or 4 ounces of lean steak over bed of fresh and colorful salad
2. Chicken teriyaki bowl with lots of steamed veggies over brown rice
3. Stir-fried firm tofu (or other lean protein) with tri-color bell peppers and snap peas over egg noodles or brown rice
4. Spicy minestrone soup with a side salad
5. Roasted turkey with sides of sweet potato hash and steamed veggies
!. Berries and/or banana slices with dark chocolate drizzle
2. ½ cup of frozen yogurt with fresh fruit and honey drizzle
3. Baked green apple with caramelized brown sugar (a small scoop of vanilla bean ice cream is optional)
Sounds good, right? Well, you don’t have to be pregnant to enjoy these easy go-to meals. They are healthy and energy-boosting for you regardless of whether or not you are growing a “mini-me” inside of you.