Since beginning pregnancy it seems two things have become true, I either can’t eat or even throw up or I want to eat a lot. It is interesting growing the little bit, but it is already doing a number on my body.
I’m fortunate here in the self-esteem department because my guy likes to tell me often how he likes the look and is glad he has a little one on the way. He even got a little bothered when we were going out to see him friends as he wanted me to wear something that showed off the “bump” better. He likes all this and to him he is proud of me and “bump” and wants to show it off a bit.
I interact with a lot of new mothers and women who report the opposite. I feel for them as I also have the odd body changes, though they aren’t always getting the same support. They also have the unwanted weight gain and feel weird about how their body looks. The partner they are with is either supportive or doing things to make the new mother feel worse.
Whatever you have going on don’t view your body in a negative way if possible. All those changes are so you can help a new life come into this world and no woman should feel bad about that.
A challenge I have been having is making sure my weight gain is optimal. It is normal to gain weight during pregnancy though doubly hard as I’m with someone who is a foodie and keeps pressuring me to eat because of course the baby needs nutrients and so do I.
The issue is my last doctor visit they point blank asked me why I’m gaining so much weight. I had a talk with my partner and have had to fight back when he pressures me to eat so much. Yes, I want the baby healthy. I also need to control how much weight I put on.
After talking with other mothers, they have informed me that what I desire is called a “belly only” pregnancy.
Many women seem to be curious about such things as mom fitness has been a trending topic of interest.
Belly Only Pregnancy?
The general goal of a belly-only pregnancy is to minimize the weight that collects on your body so the only body changes should typically be the size of your belly as the baby grows.
So far I’ve been pretty fortunate there as I’ve had minimal appearance changes in terms of fat deposition.
I’m thinking that with my dietary changes, it might end up a belly only pregnancy!
On top of changing my diet I’ve shifted to trying to maintain good health and incorporating more of the easy yoga ball exercises that came with my doctor visits. They also keep trying to stress it minimizes a lot of the pregnancy pains and helps the body maintain health during and after pregnancy.
There is also the belief that labor and delivery will be easier though who knows if that is true. Seems logical in any case.
There isn’t really any all-solving magical advice to have a belly-only pregnancy, but there are ways to help it become more of a reality.
Tips to Have a Belly Only Pregnancy
Eat Nutrition Dense Foods
The thing when pregnant is you need enough caloric intake for your body and for the growing baby, the thing to keep in mind is these calories should not grow to some excessive number.
Early on I made an attempt to curb too many sweets and limit “fluff food” or food that isn’t dense in nutrition while being caloric dense.
The goal has been to eat the most beneficial foods I can and try to ignore all the weird pregnancy cravings as I don’t need a whole chocolate cake every day.
This isn’t to say you can’t give in to the cravings, just try to control the portions.
I’ve been trying to focus on these food groups:
- Fruits as I crave them all the time anyway
- Vegetables that don’t have strong smells that make me sick
- Protein like chicken or fish
- Dairy because I keep craving milk
It has been a struggle to avoid buying the specialty cookies and stop everyone trying to feed me cake. It hurts to say no to those empty calories, though I can tell it is really helping the body.
Clean Eating Habits
Something I struggled with early on was nausea and for me one of the ways that seemed to help was potato chips. I developed a habit of eating them all the time even when I wasn’t feeling sick.
Something to lockdown early is to stop eating when you feel full and feed the cravings a bit though call it quits when you get up to a point.
Something that helped for me was also feeding myself more meals per day where I’d eat smaller portions and have a glass of tea. Doing things this way helped me gauge my fullness and minimized either the nausea or the excessive chip eating.
I’m also trying to avoid eating before bed and in my case it is to minimize acid reflux issues and uncomfortable stomach gas things that can come about when pregnant. Other people recommend it to help avoid eating empty calorie snack stuff before bed.
Drink Your Liquids
Being pregnant can make you thirsty. I’ve been craving so much water and tea since starting this process and tend to drink and indulge every time my body signals I need to drink something.
Water or teas help keep the body hydrated and of course, helps with the baby growing process. It also helps with the normal stuff of flushing toxins and helps you feel less hungry.
Some people also say proper hydration helps with energy levels, though I’ve personally noticed less headaches and less sour tummy issues. I’m still pretty tired all the time though started iron supplements as it was suspected my iron was a bit low.
Some women prefer downing water, broths, teas, fruit smoothies, or tomato juice in particular.
Before I was pregnant I spent many months where I would walk about 30 minutes to work and this was my main exercise.
That particular job was a pandemic risk and meant to be a temporary thing anyhow. I’ve been switching to work from home.
Many women might be finding it hard to stay active though it is important to prioritize. You want to walk around and get a little heart rate rising activities done during the day. You don’t want to overdo it, but definitely don’t become a couch hermit.
Some people do their regular exercise they were doing before pregnancy, and some have to figure out some sort of routine during pregnancy.
The main thing is to pick an activity your body can handle. For my own case, I’ve been using small weights and workout on my couch and yoga ball. My partner also prioritizes walking me around the mall more for getting me active, though we also do light shopping.
Pick some form of exercise that works for you and try to keep up that muscle tone and some flexibility.
Get Your Sleep
Something I’ve struggled with since the first trimester is getting enough sleep. My first major symptom was extreme fatigue so I had to explain to my partner to leave me alone and let me sleep.
Sleep is something you want to prioritize so you can give your body some needed rest and keep stress down and all body systems working well.
It is said that lack of sleep is directly relate to weight gain and always feeling fatigued. Such a result makes it hard to keep weight off.
You also want to be sure to keep yourself as well-rested as possible around your due date as you don’t want to go into labor already feeling exhausted.
I’ve picked up some tips for sleeping better when pregnant:
- Getting your regular exercise in is going to help with both a belly-only pregnancy and sleeping better.
- Sleep Routine. It helps to keep up a regular sleeping schedule to maintain regular sleeping hours. Nap when needed just don’t allow your hours to roll around the clock.
- Don’t drink a lot before bed or snack Many pregnant women end up getting out of bed all through the night because urination urges increase when pregnant. I’ve found for myself that snacking too disrupts my sleep because it seems to directly lead to acid and heartburn problems. Night snacking can also lead to empty calories you don’t need.
- Use More Pillows. They make some special pillows specifically designed for pregnant women to give them more support in key pain or discomfort areas. I was gifted such a pillow and it works pretty well. If you don’t purchase a pregnancy pillow, try sleeping with 3 or 4 more pillows. Maybe have one for your head, one for your knees, and one to snuggle. You may also opt for one behind you for more back support.
- Nap During the Day as Needed. Naps can mess up your schedule if you allow them, but being pregnant can make you feel exhausted. Indeed my first and most obnoxious symptom was that I couldn’t keep my eyes open and was sleeping a lot. A week later I was throwing up violently and knew something was off. You want to try to avoid naps longer than 30 minutes though you also don’t want to have it where you are so exhausted you can’t function. You need to figure out the sweet spot there.
Pregnancy Belly Band
Other pregnant moms will swear by their belly bands. The general idea is they give more abdomen and back support and you don’t hurt as much so you get slowed down less. It is easier to walk and workout if your body isn’t aching.
They gently compress the belly and help give so much relief as the uterus is supported better and the pressure and weight feels different.
It is important to not compress the belly too much as it leads to unhealthy outcomes like poor circulation or even indigestion. The band is meant to be worn for about an hour or two which gives plenty of time to try walking more or doing light yoga.
Weight Gain During Pregnancy is Normal
Even with writing all of the above, it is important to stress that gaining weight while pregnant is to be expected and to ignore people who might criticize your body changes as it is nonsense. Mom bodies are not ugly or gross and weight is to be expected.
You are supposed to be gaining some level of weight anyway because it helps with all the processes that keep the baby growing healthy. I think the main point of interest should be what is good for the baby and what keeps down health risks for the mother.
Gestational diabetes is something to avoid as well as blood pressure that shifts into a dangerous state. Some of this is controlled by your diet and activity.
Though the more healthy habits picked up during pregnancy will help carry over into how the rest of the mothering process goes. You will have better nutrition, lose weight faster, and probably have better energy for the hard nights.
It is also important not to be underweight during pregnancy because it can cause dangers for the baby.
Be a healthy Mom!
The tips above will help you keep the weight to a minimum so most of the body change will be belly-only. It will also help ensure you are happier, healthier, and have less discomfort as you go through this process.
Pregnancy is a rough time for a lot of women. All of these changes are happening to your body and it seems like everyone has an opinion. Some women also get told rude comments. You are not fat, you are pregnant. Your body is adjusting to help bring in new life and don’t let anyone make you feel shame for this. Mom bodies are beautiful.