The No-Nonsense Guide to Pregnancy Nutrition

If I were only passionate about fitness because of the way it made my body look, then I’d have to seriously reevaluate my motives. For me, getting pregnant and watching my body change has been a humbling and exciting (yes, exciting) experience. Right now I’m not worried about losing all my progress, gaining weight, or being imperfect. I’m worried about creating a healthy happy little human and if you’re pregnant, you should be too! One of the easiest ways to accomplish this is through your nutrition so let’s get started!

What is Reverse Dieting?
If you haven’t heard of reverse dieting, it’s pretty much the best thing ever… at least for nutrition nerds like me. Reverse Dieting is a period of time after a low calorie diet where you slowly work to increase your calories back to a maintenance level (or above). It helps you to recover your metabolisms and increase calorie intake with little body fat gain. However, you don’t HAVE to be pregnant or on a low calorie diet to begin a reverse diet. The slow and steady increase in calories will set up your metabolism for long term success. In the fitness community we often see women who restrict calories or eat clean, only to find themselves binging on junk food. When your body has been in “starvation mode” for so long, it is going to want to hold on to all of the calories it consumes during that junk food binge. That leads to fat gain. So instead, reverse dieting allows a slow steady increase and gives your metabolism enough time to adapt to the changes without gaining too much body fat. It will also decrease the urge to binge on junk food because you are supplying your body with the calories and nutrients it needs to thrive.

What Do You Need?
I like to start with calories. Caloric needs are going to be different for every person which is why cookie cutter diets don’t work! You can use this calculator to find what your daily calorie intake should be. Remember that calculators are just estimates and that this number should be a baseline or a starting point, not something written in stone.

Once a daily calorie intake has been established, I like to move on to macronutrients. Macronutrients are the the main nutrients you receive from the food you eat. They are carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. You’ll keep protein constant, around 1.0 g/lb of body weight. Keep fat around 0.4 g /lb of body weight. You will then fill the rest of your calories up with carbs. Throughout your Reverse Diet, you will manipulate (increase) the amount of carbs and fats you consume on a daily basis.

Vitamins and Minerals
Moving down the nutrition pyramid, you’ll need additional vitamins during your pregnancy. First and foremost a prenatal vitamin. This will ensure you get enough folic acid, iron, and calcium. Most likely we don’t receive enough from our food alone. Taking a prenatal vitamin will help prevent any deficiencies in you and any birth defects in your baby. Remember, supplements do not replace a nutritious diet, they only fill in the gaps and prevent deficiencies.

Lots and lots of water! This will help your body absorb and transport those essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals to the blood cells that we talked about earlier. Not to mention it will help prevent UTIs and constipation! You should aim to drink about 96 ounces (about ¾ a gallon) of water everyday during your pregnancy.

Weight Gain Expectations
Let me start by saying every pregnancy is different! Some women will need to gain more weight, some women may need to gain less weight. These are simply guidelines for what you can expect during each trimester.

First Trimester
Expect to gain about 3 to 5 pounds. If you gain nothing, that’s ok too!
Second Trimester
Expect to gain 12 to 18 pounds, about 1 pound per week.
Third Trimester
Expect to gain another 12 to 18 pounds, again about 1 pound per week.

Sample Pregnancy Nutrition Plan
First Trimester
No changes in calories
Second Trimester
Slowly add in 300 calories
Keep protein intake the same. This will increase naturally as your calories and weight increase.
Increase carbs/fats by 0.2-0.5%
Third Trimester
Gradually add in another 200 calories
Keep protein intake the same
Continue to increase carbs/fats by 0.2-0.5%

Food to Avoid
Raw meat, deli meat, fish high in mercury, raw shellfish, raw eggs, soft cheese, unpasteurized milk, unwashed vegetables, caffeine, and alcohol.

Getting pregnant doesn’t mark the end of your fitness journey. It marks the start of a new journey! If you would like help creating a personalized reverse diet, send me an email and we can get you started on the right path!

*Every pregnancy is unique and different. I just want yours to be a healthy and happy one! I am not a doctor and you should always consult your physician before participating in any kind of physical activity or nutrition program.

The Go-Getter’s Guide to a Fit Pregnancy

BP_PHOTO-48There’s a lot of women out there who preach that “there’s no difference between how a man should work out and how a woman should work out!” and I agree with them… to a certain extent. There are physiological differences between men and women due to body structure, muscle mass, and even body chemistry. Those differences increase even more when you’re pregnant! Whether you’re pregnant right now or planning to be in the future, this article will outline the health benefits, training precautions, exercise guidelines, and exercises to avoid for a healthy happy pregnancy.

Health Benefits:

A lot of research has been done to show the benefits of exercise for both Mom and baby! Exercise strengthens your heart to pump all that extra blood around and keep your body going strong. Exercise can also improve mood, help you sleep better, and strengthen your body for labor. Exercise is vital during pregnancy for many reasons, including managing and preventing symptoms, pacing your weight gain,and keeping baby as healthy as possible. A recent study out of the University of Montreal indicates that exercise during pregnancy may boost baby’s brain activity. Other studies have shown that it helps babies sleep through the night sooner, and become better eaters!

Training Precautions:

When exercising you want to make sure blood flow regulation, body temperature, and oxygen supply all stay in safe ranges. This can be done by taking a few precautions during training.
To make sure blood flow stays at a steady rate, avoid any exercises that require you to lay on your back. This position can affect blood flow to your uterus. You can use a heart rate monitor to keep track of this during your workouts.
To regulate your body temperature, make sure you’re not overexerting yourself and that you’re drinking enough water. I’ve doubled and maybe tripled the amount of water I used to drink since I became pregnant!
To keep an eye on your oxygen supply stay at a low to moderate intensity during cardio. You can use the talk test to determine your intensity, if you can’t hold a conversation while exercising then you need to scale it back a bit. The treadmill, elliptical, and stationary bike are all perfectly fine to complete cardio during pregnancy.
If you start to feel nausea, dizziness, or faint, stop immediately and scale back from that point forward. There is good news though! If you’re already exercising regularly before pregnancy then you can pretty much stick to your normal routine until the third trimester! After that, it’s recommended to start slowing down.

Exercise Guidelines:

Stick to low impact exercises that avoid quick motions. Instead of plyometrics, aerobics, or kickboxing… think more along the lines of treadmill walking, stationary cycling, and even swimming!
You’ll be able to complete cardio exercises between 3 and 5 days a week at a moderate intensity for about 15 to 30 minutes. You’ll be able to resistance train 2-3 days per week at a light intensity with higher reps (between 12 and 15). Make sure you are getting in a good stretch either before or after your workout. Maintaining your flexibility will become more important as you go through pregnancy!

Exercises to Avoid:

After First Trimester
Any Exercises in the Prone Position (on stomach)
Any Exercises in the Supine Position (on back)
High-Impact Exercises

After Second Trimester
Twisting of Your Torso
Abdominal Exercises

After Third Trimester
Hip Abduction Machines
Hip Adduction Machines

Every pregnancy is unique and different. I just want yours to be a healthy and happy one! As stated above, if you were previously working out before becoming pregnant then this guide might apply differently to you.

*I am not a doctor and you should always consult your physician before participating in any kind of physical activity.