As I’m nearing the end of my second pregnancy I can’t help but notice how much better I feel this time around!  With my first, Rollie, I wasn’t very active and I definitely could have been much healthier… I took to the ‘relaxation’ part of it all a little too much.  I practically slept the first three months due to nausea and fatigue (which my cat brain actually loved, it was a great excuse :).  I worked the next couple of months, which did keep me slightly active, but once I hit the 20 week mark and my zip lining days were done for the season, I did basically nothing.  I ate lots of cheeseburgers (with jalapenos) and jalapeno nachos (couldn’t get enough!) and tricked myself into thinking I was being active by walking to the mailbox and back four days out of the week.  It could have been worse, I did eat salads.  However, by the last two months things were pretty horrible (minus the fact that the lazy part of me loved not doing anything, and I was carrying this beautiful life).  I had gained over 60 pounds, my feet and hands were swollen to twice their normal size, it hurt to move, and there was so much fluid buildup in my belly Roland wasn’t able to engage and start labor; he just bobbed around.  I ended up having to get induced two weeks after my due date and it sucked!  Labor isn’t a walk in the park to begin with, but I feel like being crammed with hormones and forcing a labor to start really intensified things.  I was moaning … and if you know me … I don’t moan.  Well, my healthy beautiful baby boy was born (36 hours later) through Mother Nature’s canal and now it’s all a distant memory.  I had just gotten down to my pre-pregnancy weight a year and a half later when I got pregnant again.  And we were actually quite excited!  But this time, I was determined to make a better experience of it.

Like I said, this pregnancy has been great.  I feel great, I look great, I have more energy.  This may have been kickstarted by the fact that even though I was much more nauseous feeling in my first trimester this time around, the only thing that made me feel better was being active.  It really set the stage and I have remained active.  While I haven’t gone through labor just yet, I’ve felt the process starting and I have a much better outlook on how this one will turn out.  Yes, I do know what to expect now, and so does my body, but I also feel that my habits this time around have greatly affected my health and mentality.  Don’t get me wrong, even though I love being outdoors and ‘doing stuff’ (like climbing or easy hiking), I love sitting on the couch or creating art just the same.  I’m lazy at heart.  I’m not training for a 5k, nor will I ever.

Following are habits I will continue even after my pregnancy to maintain a healthy lifestyle.  So, without further ado, here’s my Mostly lazy person’s guide for maintaining a healthy pregnancy and lifestyle :

 

Honey Lemon Water

First thing upon waking in the morning I warm a mug of filtered water, squeeze half a fresh lemon, and drop a spoonful of honey into it.  There’s lots of hype about how lemon in warm water is good for you in the morning, and really how can you go wrong with fresh fruit, honey and water?  But honestly, I drink it because it immediately makes me feel better … even if I wake up feeling dehydrated.  Drinking plain (not cold) water is good for you too, though I like this method because it puts something a little more substantial into my body.  I treat it like a tea and relax for a few minutes in the morning before going about my day.  Some people like to put apple cider vinegar or ginger in their water too (which is also apparently excellent for you).  I tried it the other day and all I could taste was vinegar, I would rather use those flavors for dressings or food compliments but whatev.

Green Smoothies

Obviously eating a well balanced diet full of fruits, veggies, whole grains, beans, etc. is good for anyone … especially expecting mothers… so I’m not going to add the cliche ‘healthy diet’ to this list.  However, I’m going to let you in on a little secret: I hardly eat greens and I have to force myself to eat fruit.  It’s not that I don’t like the taste of fruits, it just never occurs (or appeals) to me to just grab a banana or some grapes or whatever and just eat them.  I’m lazy.  I love cooking, but the only meal I want to put a lot of effort into is dinner, and I don’t eat fruit for dinner.  I’ll make fruits for my sons no problem, but I hardly ever want to put any into my mouth.  Except maybe pineapple, which is also not very often… Regardless, green smoothies are great for getting in those daily servings of fruits and greens.  I get a big box of organic power greens (spinach and kale) from Kroger which lasts me all week, and a couple bags of frozen fruit, hardly any effort on my part.  Super easy to make!  Other than a blender, you just need some greens, fruit, some sort of liquid (for the most part I use unsweetened vanilla almond milk), and a lil something extra such as honey, yogurt, nuts, etc.  Here are a couple of my favorite combinations (about a cup of each ingredient for 2 servings):

Greens * bananas* almond milk* some type of nut

Greens*banana*blueberry*almond milk* yogurt*oats

Greens* oranges* orange juice* yogurt* tbs honey* tsp vanilla

Greens*frozen fruit medley (2 cups)*filtered water

But really try any combination your heart desires!  I will say this though … one day I used too many greens, some frozen mango, and water.  I wouldn’t recommend that combination unless you like the taste of freshly mowed grass.

Lots of Water

This also goes without saying but I want to give it a mention.  Everyone knows water is good for you but so many people have a hard time just drinking water.. and an even harder time drinking enough water.  I’ve never been a huge soda drinker so the transition wasn’t that hard for me, but I did have a problem with not drinking enough fluids in the first place .. except for sweet tea (not the homemade kind) which doesn’t help the cause.  But once I made the majority of my fluid intake ‘filtered’ water, I feel so much better and I don’t want to go back.  Now, drinking enough water is the hard part.  While its better than nothing to get in a couple glasses of water in the day, your body needs so much more.  We are water.  The recommended intake is at least 64 ounces of water daily.  So here’s what I do: one cup is eight ounces.  I take a big cup or water bottle (that I just reuse daily) and I see how many cups of water fit into it.  In my case, three.  So I just have to fill that cup up three times a day and drink it.  Not to mention my morning lemon water, milk, herbal tea, and sometimes juice that I drink throughout the day really keeps me hydrated.  I’ve not had any swelling in the hands or feet this time around unless I’m in the same position for too long.

I also want to add in the importance here of filtered water.  You know, if you trust your tap or bottled water, that’s great!  Here in West Virginia the corporate companies like to pollute our water with chemicals, and I feel so much better using our Berkey water filtration system.  They may be expensive – around $300 – but it is a healthy long-term investment and great for the environment! (Less plastic bottle waste … less depleting of the remaining water supplies).  The filters last , on average, four years so it’s really a reasonable price.  And if you’re poor like me, request it as a gift for your family to pull together!  It’s worth it, I’d drink pool water filtered through that sucka!

Yoga

Again, this shows up in most any list like this, but I’m here to give you the lazy version of yoga.  Now don’t go crazy here, Yoga can be very strenuous and really works and strengthens the body!  But, you don’t have to go anywhere and you can make it as relaxing as you want.  It’s my favorite winter activity by all accounts.  I strive to do Yoga every day but who am I kidding, sometimes it just doesn’t happen.  On days where I can’t fit in some Yoga time, or I’m just feeling extra lazy, I’ll be sure to do some mild stretches while I’m sitting around.  Stretching my arms, rolling my neck, sitting butterfly style, and flexing and pointing my toes with my legs straightened out are some things that I do.  If I’m sitting in the floor playing with my son, I’ll do a satisfying downward dog as I get up.  Simple things like that can keep your blood circulating and your muscles loose if a full 30 minutes of yoga just isn’t in the daily to-do.

I’m also going to mention kegels here: squeezing those pelvic muscles together!  It’s not always on my mind, but when I think about it I’ll do a few until I forget again.  Like right now… I’m doing them.  You know, this exercise isn’t only beneficial for pregnant ladies.  Anyone ever heard of the squeezebox?

When I am ready to do some real yoga, I turn on some handy dandy Youtube.  Up until I started gaining weight at 25 weeks pregnant, I was doing Yoga with Adriene.  She’s great for those new to the practice or those who don’t want to do the same routine every day or wing it.  I’ve learned a lot from her and she’s very watchable.  I started with her 30 Days of Yoga, and then with her Yoga Camp.  When I’m ready for more strenuous activity I will definitely be following her sessions again.  Once it got to the point that I couldn’t do a regular yoga routine anymore, I switched over to this routine with Tammy.  It hits all the yoga points you should hit in the third trimester without being too difficult.

Walking

Walk at least 30 minutes a day.  Well, it’s winter time and I’m lazy.  Actually, up until I was seven months pregnant I was going out for a walk every day.  Then winter happened, it got rainy, I got more lazy.  When it’s nice out I will take my boy out for a little hike or to the park and get my daily walk in; but for the most part, my weekly grocery run is the extent of my outside winter endeavors.  That doesn’t mean I’m sitting on my butt all day (except for today, and probably the following week since this baby’s due any minute and I’m having lots of irregular contractions…).  Generally after my 30 minutes of Yoga, I’ll spend another 20 minutes just moving: sidestepping, highstepping, dancing, marching, etc.  I’ve also incorporated ten minutes worth of ‘exercising and bouncing’ in my morning routine, and I’m up on my feet cleaning the house and whatnot throughout the day.  I use this Bodyfit by Amy cardio routine when I need some extra motivation.

Sex

Also a great thing to keep doing up until your water breaks.  And the best part about it?  You can’t get pregnant!  Aside from keeping you active, or at least your partner active, semen helps soften the cervix in preparation for delivery (among other benefits).  Oxytocin, which is released during orgasm, makes everyone happy and has major benefits during labor and delivery.

If nothing else, we both get a good laugh from me blubbering around like a whale trying to get into a comfortable enough position where I can still breathe.

Relax

My favorite part!  I’ve been fortunate enough to not have to work since I quit working at six months pregnant when I could no longer fit into a harness.  Rather, I’ve been fortunate enough to not care about being poor and to appreciate what I have and make the best of it 😉 But more on ‘frugal living’ later.  Needless to say, I have plenty of time to relax and boy do I!  Believe it or not, the most relaxing thing to me is sending my hubby off with the boy to go hang out with his friends and cleaning the house.  There’s nothing better to me than being in a spotless home, listening to music, lighting incense, and not feeling guilty about being deep in my own thoughts. I hardly ever get to be completely alone and it’s vital to my regeneration.  Even if you’ve got a full schedule, it’s important to take some time out of your day to relax and do something you want to do.  Leave your stress behind for a few minutes and be grateful for something.

Baby Love

Spend quality time with your babies, all of them!  Spend time with your partner!  You are in this together even if it feels like your doing most of the work.  If you have other kids don’t leave them out of the loop!  Spend time with them and make sure they can spend time with ‘the baby’ too.  Rollie may not quite understand what’s happening, but he’s always excited to be around my belly (the baby) and treats it with care.  Keep this in mind after the baby is born as well.  The new baby will take up the majority of your time, but don’t forget about the other ‘babies’ that need to be loved and taken care of!

Apps

There are two apps that have really helped me stay on the health track and keep a sense of focus during pregnancy (and after):

MyFitnessPal … This app is great for keeping track of what your eating and general caloric intake as well as nutritional value.  The interface is clean, easy, usable.  It has a large database for whatever food you’re eating, and it’s easy to enter in data for homemade meals.  I hardly ate out this time around, but when I went to Taco Bell (that, err, one time) and input my meal into the app. wowza!  I had two tacos and a small nacho and it was half my daily calories and way over my sodium levels.  That was the healthiest fast food option! (Burger King was even more erm, delicious…!)  It’s also super easy to input and keep track of your water intake and exercise activities.  If I do 30 minutes of Yoga, I burn enough calories to get an extra cookie!  There’s also great articles on health, wellness, exercise, and general tips for being healthy that show up on your daily feed.

Ovia Pregnancy … I love this app.  I’ve tried numerous pregnancy apps, this one has been my favorite.  The interface is very user friendly.  I look forward to opening it every day and seeing how my baby is developing in the womb.  Each week there’s a detailed description of “my baby at ’39’ weeks” for example.  My favorite feature is being able to see how big my baby is in relation to a french pastry.  This week, my baby’s as big as a baking sheet of meringues.  mmm.  You also get access to some great reading material and pregnancy info like articles on general pregnancy issues, delivery, recipes, wellness, etc. that show up on your daily feed.

Vitamins

Food-based prenatal vitamins, DHA, and vitamin D3, every day.  D3 and (b12, I believe) are the only vitamins you can’t get naturally from food.  So, if you’re eating a healthy diet you’re getting lots of vitamins.  But taking a D3 supplement is especially important in the winter months when you may not be in direct sunlight that much.  There are so many benefits to D3, like protection against depression, cancer, sickness, and many other ailments.  Google it if you don’t believe me.

Don’t Fret

Most importantly, don’t worry!  If you can’t do any of these things and you end up gaining 60 pounds like I did my first time and all you can eat are jalapeno nachos and cheeseburgers with jalapenos, don’t fret!  You may have to work a little harder at the end of it all to get back in shape, but what’s important is loving your baby.  Stress isn’t good for your baby either!  Pregnancy is a beautiful, amazing, crazy thing and it’s not often you get to experience this kind of life growing in your body, so enjoy it!