The First Trimester
I am sharing my journey with you not to serve as a handbook of how you should handle your pregnancy but in an effort to help you navigate what will work best for you in terms of exercise and nutrition for your pregnancy. I also want to give you some comfort if you don’t fit into the “norm” of what doctors say should happen to your body.
Two myths I have found to be true for me in both pregnancies during the first trimester:
“Experts” say don’t need more calories until you hit trimester 3. I say BULLSHIT! Especially bullshit if you workout and are below 15% bodyfat going into pregnancy.
You shouldn’t gain more than 3-5lbs during the first trimester. At 12 weeks I had gained 11lbs this pregnancy and last pregnancy had gained 15lbs by this point. I ate healthy the first pregnancy and worked out also daily as well as this pregnancy. I feel my body needed more nutrients and I didn’t want to ignore what it was telling me.
The first 5 weeks I really had no idea I was pregnant (except the fact my boobs felt really big) but it was over the holidays and I thought I might have just picked up a little extra body fat. When I hit week 6 I also felt like I had been hit by a bus. I actually told my husband right before I took the test that “I was either pregnant or getting sick” because I felt so tired I just wanted to lay in bed all day.
Week 6- Week 10: The Hungry Weeks
Immediately more of your carb sources go toward your growing fetus so that puts mom at a carb deficit especially if you are working out intensely. Both pregnancies I felt I needed a consistent 500-600 extra calories a day or I felt shaky and lightheaded. Again I have spoke with mothers who feel fine on their normal nutrition routine but I am not one of them. Oh yea and Saturdays are for very little veggies and lots of pizza and ice cream:):):)
Protein sources I used to like grossed me out so I had to switch things up a bit. For example chicken thighs, protein powder, and Greek yogurt all grossed me out. I traded them for cottage cheese, turkey or ham deli meat (my doctor says its fine for me), and lean ground beef.
From week 6 on I feel my body telling me not to hit my extreme high end heart rate and intensity. Normally in an intense workout I would hit a max HR of 175-180 but pregnant my norm max now is 155-165bpm. I still sweat, get in a good workout, but lets face it I’m not breaking records anyway so why jeopardize my health and my baby’s health by extremes? I do CrossFit approximately 2-3x per week, run and lift 2-3x per week and yoga 1-2x per week. I usually take 1 day or rest but if I don’t its on a week where I do yoga 2x per week and the rest of my workouts are not that intense.
The hunger has calmed down for me and I return to a more “normal” macro intake but still stay a little higher because I feel I need it. I find I don’t hit the same energy deficit post workout that I did just a few weeks ago. Now I’m approx 100-200 cal +/day from my norm. I’m still following the Saturday pizza and ice cream fun though!
I am up 12lbs and my goal is to keep gaining consistently throughout my pregnancy. I gained a total of my 48lbs last pregnancy which may seem excessive to some of you but I worked out, ate healthy, and listened to my body for the entire pregnancy so I feel good about that!
Oh and it didn’t take me years to get that weight off. I had lost every last pound by 4.5 months post pregnancy following moderate macros and breast feeding.