**I wrote this post earlier this week before being admitted to the hospital for my contractions, lol. Funny how quickly things can change up. I want it made really clear: Pre-term contractions do not get induced from “overdoing it” or anything wrong on the mom’s end. So, before you judge me or even go there with my routine or living life like I have been, that’s zero to do with why I am currently writing from a hospital bed. I asked every single doctor I saw yesterday if this was ANYTHING I could have prevented. The answer was “no” over and over again. But, whatever our plan of action is to keep bubba cooking, I will be doing it. Bottom line, pre-term contractions are simply the way your uterus responds to pregnancy. Any woman susceptible to them will likely start having them between 20-25 weeks- which is exactly where I am at being almost 23 weeks along.***
Phew, pregnancy y’all… it’s an adventure! I feel like I have something new every day to learn, experience, feel, extend/in need of receiving loads of grace for (ha)… it’s a wild ride. But such a stinking cool one. One of my biggest fears, which I have openly talked about, pre-pregnancy and in the beginning stages was (just being honest) how much weight I would gain, how will my body respond to growing a human, will I be able to workout still, how will I emotionally respond to a growing belly? Sure, maybe they sound a little superficial, but they’re real concerns when you’re volunteering to give up your body all of a sudden to a foreign object that you’ve never met before for almost 10 months. You become a walking sacrifice, and your body is no longer yours.
So, what’s a “healthy pregnancy” to me? A lot of it is all in the head.
When I found out I was pregnant, I quickly decided I was going to make the lifestyle changes necessary (i.e. taking my pre-natals, how much fish I eat, no alcohol, a lot less coffee, how much water I am drinking, etc.), but generally keep living my life as I have been. I just… happen to be growing a human inside of me. This way of thinking was shared with me by a few close friends who just had babies before I got pregnant, and is also 100% how they have beautifully transitioned into motherhood. We don’t change our lives and who we are because we are pregnant or a new mom… we are still us… and we happen to have the awesome title “mom” (or “mom to be”) now, too. I didn’t think this was possible for the longest time, being Hannah AND a mom, which was why I was so anti having babies for so long. I just genuinely didn’t know you could have both. But hear me: you are still you. New season, same you. I can speak that into pregnancy from personal experience, and although I am not with a baby out of the womb yet, I have great friends I trust and love deeply that will tell you the same for motherhood. So, PLEASE hear me say that- from one formerly skeptical and fearful woman to whoever needs to hear it, receive it. A healthy transition into motherhood and pregnancy is all about your mindset.
With that all said, I have also kept up with my Pure Barre routine as close to pre-pregnancy as possible. I give myself grace and there are definitely days I am just like, “No.” But, most days, I feel my best because I did my normal routine and took care of my body. I feel particularly strong conquering my workouts in pregnancy. I did start having to be more cautious and intentional about how long I am on my feet/what I am doing, because of Braxton Hicks contractions. These are normal, so don’t flip out if you start experiencing them around 20 weeks, but talk with your OB or Midwife about the frequency because they can be a helpful sign you’re doing too much if you start having them too much.
Something I have talked a lot about since pregnancy is the line “eating for two.” If you have said this to me, I have probably explained to you as kindly as possible that is not real life (and that just because I am eating a sandwich at lunch… because it’s lunch… doesn’t mean I am eating for two). There are so many things I didn’t know would bother me -and I have ABSOLUTELY said to pregnant women before I was pregnant myself -that I will never say to a pregnant woman ever again, and this is one of them. A pregnant woman is already going through a million changes and having to accept them as they come. It’s a constant battle of the psyche. Obviously, her growing and changing body is at the top of that list. The last thing we need is any and everyone commenting on what we are eating every single time we are putting something in our mouth. I literally could be eating nuts and fruit for a snack, and someone will comment “Eating for two, I see.” As someone who suffered from an eating disorder for a huge part of my young adult life, this is actually really destructive. I am not telling you this to make anybody feel guilty, I truly have said this innocently before to pregnant women. I am just letting you know what I have learned going through pregnancy myself.
Anyways, what I learned early on after talking with my doctor about what and how much you are actually supposed to increase, I can very confidently say… you’re not eating for two when you’re pregnant. It’s really easy to justify eating anything during pregnancy because you’re pregnant and you DO deserve to treat yoself. Like, come on, you’re growing a HUMAN INSIDE OF YOU. Eat the ice cream cone- or, in my case the last 4 nights, that slice of cheesecake from the personal gluten free cheesecake a friend from church made just for me haha. But, like all things, splurge in moderation. I studied up early on how much I am actually supposed to eat during pregnancy, and it’s 300-500 extra calories a day depending on your daily routine. So, since I am very active, I eat close to 500 more calories a day in pregnancy, resulting in about 1700 calories daily. For perspective, this means eating what’s equivalent to a PB&J sandwich every day in addition to your healthy eating throughout the day. I eat Lara Bars, popcorn, veggies and dressing, nuts, yogurt… I have a long list of go-to snacks that have helped me hit those calories every day. I also recognize I am pregnant and have room for some grace. Eating the proper amount really is important, though, and I strongly encourage you to watch that when you’re pregnant. I really do credit this and staying active to me having such an amazing pregnancy (minus my nausea early on). I forget I am pregnant most days, at least until the end of the day when my back hurts or I have a bloody nose haha. But for the most part, 95% of the time I am just Hannah who happens to be pregnant.
Modifications for Pure Barre:
In my Pure Barre classes I am really lucky to have such close attention, as all Pure Barre classes give, because of the smaller environment and hands on correction by my teachers. I know what moves I can and can’t do anymore, and my teacher is always watching me to make sure I am not straining any muscles or doing anything that could hurt me. It doesn’t hurt that half the teachers at my Pure Barre seem to be pregnant and having babies left and right, too, so they are very in tune with me and my needs. As of now, at 22 weeks, I have started to put a ball behind my back during abs and going to my knees for push-ups. Everything else, I have been able to stay in true form thus far.
I hope this helps you and encourages you in your pregnancy journey. You can have both a physically and mentally healthy pregnancy, and keep doing life as normal as possible. I truly believe the more normal you keep things, the healthier your pregnancy will be. So much of it is all about your mindset, the people you surround yourself with, and keeping active. Just keep calm and carry on. 😉 Also, remind yourself daily how much of a rockstar you are for growing a human being inside of you. My sister reminds me this often, and it makes me feel awesome haha.
Love you guys so much. And, truly, from the bottom of my heart- thank you for your sweet words over the last day as we have tried to chill out this uterus and keep baby boy from entering into the world prematurely. He is just REALLY ready to play! God help me, he has proven himself to be rather stubborn and strong-willed while cookin’ him up. 😉