So I’m currently prepping for baby number 4.
Hold on. Calm down. I’m not pregnant.
So why am I preparing for another pregnancy? My question to you would be, “why do you train for a marathon?” They’re fairly similar, in all honesty. I’m pretty sure anyone who has had a baby and has run a marathon would say pregnancy is harder. Think about it. A marathon is completed in a day, but a pregnancy takes about 10 months, and the ramifications of not being prepared can last a lifetime.
If you are a man, you might want to stop reading at this point.
I have three kids. I never pee my pants when I laugh or sneeze, I don’t have hemorrhoids, and aside from a 4 inch scar at the base of my abdomen, I don’t really feel like I’ve had three kids. Why? Well, for one, I had young age on my side with the first two. I was newly 21 and freshly 23 when I had Ana and Mason. People say you bounce back when you’re young. Well I gained a whopping 55 pounds with Ana and it took me a solid 10 months to lose it, so I wouldn’t say you just “bounce back.” Getting your pre-baby body back is serious work. When I became pregnant with Mason, I had already learned that pregnancy is not a “eat free” card, so I was much healthier.
However at the age of 27, when I became pregnant with Addison, I challenged myself to actually exercise throughout my entire pregnancy. I had never exercised through either prior, so I had no idea how it would go or if all that hard work would pay off.
After three, I feel like I am qualified enough to give advice. (That doesn’t mean you have to listen, but it works for me and I hope it will work for you!)
Pre Pregnancy Prepping
- Get in the best shape of your life. Challenge yourself to do something totally different than you’ve done before, whether it’s running or weight lifting…get out of your comfort zone because pregnancy sure as heck will force you out of it! Before I had Addie I was obsessed with pilates and I think that having core strength that I never had in my life before really helped me carry a third child. If you are a planner and you have time, try to lose those few pounds so the weight gain of pregnancy doesn’t take such a toll on your body and prevent additional weight accumulation.
- Get healthy. You don’t have to be carrying another life inside you to start thinking about what you are consuming. If you eat and think about the causes and effects of what you put in our body on a daily basis, whether pregnant or not, you will have a healthy lifestyle. Beginning with a healthy lifestyle assures a healthier and easier pregnancy.
- Get focused. I don’t know about you, but I never was that woman smiling, while lying on a chaise in a field of wildflowers that you see on the cover of so many pregnancy books. Pregnancy is tough and at times you feel so emotional about real things, as well as ridiculous things. It’s easy to feel miserable at times. But you need to focus on your goal, as with any other challenge. Remember that you are going to be an amazing mother to a beautiful life that you are responsible for making. Remember that pregnancy is so temporary. For every part that is difficult, try to find something that is wonderful and try with all of your might to remember it. Someday, when you look back on your life, the length of time you were pregnant was just a drop in the bucket. Try to enjoy it!
And to those of you that are already blessed with a little bun in the oven, stay in shape, stay healthy, and stay focused! My best advice, physically, is this…it is a MUST for mama’s out there…maintain and strengthen your pelvic floor!!!!
Pregnancy can damage your muscles supporting your pelvic floor, a.k.a. the tissues supporting the pelvic organs. So I encourage you to do two things:
- Squats. Squats (read more here) are one of the greatest total body exercises and preps your pelvic floor for child birth.
- Kegels. Download an app to your phone! It will remind you at various times throughout your day to do your kegels. The exercises vary throughout the day, strengthening your vaginal muscles as well as the muscles that support your bladder, uterus, and bowels.
Remember, the repercussions of pregnancy can last a lifetime, so take care of yourself. Studies show that babies of mothers that exercise throughout their pregnancy experience less stress during labor. Mothers that exercise also have more energy and stamina for childbirth.