Want to have a happy and healthy pregnancy?! You’ve come to the right place. I’ve done the hard work for you and consolidated the top resources that I attribute to helping me have such an awesome and healthy pregnancy experience. You deserve to feel good throughout this time (minus some of that first trimester unavoidable nausea) and I sincerely hope this post helps.
Side note, I’m coming to you live today as a MOM. That’s just crazy to say (or type) out loud.
Baby Rosie has now been with us for three weeks and she’s absolutely crushing it. She has already grown more than a pound over her birth weight and the doctor’s tell us that she’s doing amazing! We’re so proud of our little one.
Many of you have asked about what helped me have such a great pregnancy, so today I’m sharing my top resources and tips based on my both my personal experience and my training as a pre- and post natal women’s health coach. I hope that you find these resources helpful as you navigate this wonderful time in your life.
Disclaimer – be sure to consult with YOUR care provider on what’s best for you and your pregnancy before implementing anything new.
Be proactive and schedule an appointment with a lactation consultant (~5 days post birth for a weighed feeding session).
General Tips from My Pregnancy Experience
Smart exercise will greatly benefit your pregnancy. It will prepare you for labor, help your body manage the extra weight, reduce back and pelvic pain, help you recover quicker from delivery, and more! We also know that exercise can help us reduce stress, give us more energy, and even improve our sleep. With that being said, it’s important to listen to your body especially during pregnancy and be sure to exercise in a way that respects this chapter of your life.
I recommend participating in intelligently programmed strength building or maintenance exercises – focusing on the foundational movement patterns: squats, deadlifts, presses, pulls, and carries. Completing these exercises with proper rest and not overly pushing the intensity is also important. There is a time and place for high intensity exercise, and pregnancy might not be that time. Instead, I recommend slowing down and focusing on your breathing patterns during your movement. You shouldn’t be out of breath while exercising during pregnancy as this can limit oxygen flow to your baby. Focus on quality over quantity and intensity.
It’s important to balance strength & suppleness during pregnancy. You want to be physically strong, while also being supple enough to make room for your baby and get them into an optimal position
Example: I came into pregnancy with a lot of muscle and strength already built up, so I worked to balance this by limiting strength training to 2-3 days/week, while doing daily yoga, stretching, and baby positioning movements (Spinning Babies). The farther along I got into pregnancy, the less I strength trained and focused more on walking, swimming, yoga, and stretching to open up my body and promote optimal positioning. I encourage you to think about what your body is currently like and find the right balance for you and your baby. A coach (like myself) can help you determine the right balance for YOU.
Sample strength workout (from my prenatal program):
Sample week of workouts from my third trimester:
2-3 days of easy, slow swimming
1-2 days of strength training (see workout above)
daily 30-60 minute walk (slow AF)
20-30 minutes of restorative yoga via Down Down Prenatal App, every day or every other day ish
10 minutes of Spinning Babies Daily Activities – daily
weekend walk in the woods
Take time every day to nourish your mind during pregnancy. I did this using a variety of mindful apps and journaling practice throughout my pregnancy.
I recommend keeping a morning routine and doing this BEFORE anything else in your day to make it a priority.
Here’s what my routine looked like:
Wake up, drink a glass of water
Complete Spinning Babies Daily Essentials stretching routine (plus any other stretches that felt good to me) 10 mins
Complete 10 minute meditation using one of the apps listed above
Start coffee pot
Read Daily Stoic entry and complete Daily Stoic journal prompt
Pour coffee and smile
Free write in my journal while drinking coffee and reading a mindfulness or pregnancy book (during pregnancy I really enjoyedWherever You Go There You Are – Jon Kabat- Zinn)
This morning routine really set me up for a great day in terms of pregnancy mindset
Do not compare your pregnancy to anyone else’s or even your own previous pregnancy. Honor and respect the current path you are on and trust that your body is doing the right thing to grow your baby.
Take a walk daily without your phone or technology. Even better if you and your partner can find time to do so together to connect during pregnancy.
Just like before pregnancy, I based the majority of my diet on real food – nutrient dense, minimally processed foods. I like to eat what’s in season and local when I can and then fill in the rest with what’s available at the regular grocery store. For example, we stock our freezer with meats from local farms – usually Evans Family Farm and Windy Hill (here in Charlotte). We also subscribe to ButcherBox, which isn’t local but is grass-fed and pasture raised meat products. In terms of produce, we use Freshlist or hit up the farmers markets for the seasonal and local stuff. Then, we also shop at the regular Harris Teeter and Trader Joe’s for things that aren’t available in NC. It’s never all or nothing, and we certainly don’t stress about it – but we enjoy eating this way for both flavor and nutrient density.
When I build a meal, I start by choosing a protein, then adding 2+ veggies, some healthy carbs, and lots of healthy fats especially during pregnancy. My go-tos for fat during pregnancy (and all the time): ½ avocado, grass-fed butter, olive oil, and/or fatty high-quality meats or salmon.
The plate method linked here is a great starting point.
I always kept a big water bottle filled to make sure I was getting at least 100 oz of water/day and also used LMNT electrolyte packets.
My “SUPER FOODS:”
Pasture eggs – daily
Beef/chicken liver if you’re up for it (incredible source of iron)
Meat on the bone/slow cooked meat
Grass fed beef, pastured pork, and free range chicken (if you have access to these, if not just eat the best quality meat that’s available and affordable for you!)
Veggies, especially leafy greens
Salmon & other wild-caught fish – I tried to eat wild-caught salmon at least once/week
Fermented foods like kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, yogurt
Full fat, grass fed dairy
Salt for electrolyte balance
Foods I avoided completely:
Processed soy products, which I don’t eat anyways (not including soy sauce – I eat that)
Vegetable oils to the extent I can control it (I use grass-fed butter, olive oil, or avocado oil when I cook at home, but when eating out I don’t stress about it)
Artificial sweeteners (except Stevia which is in the electrolyte drink)
Trans fats – I don’t eat food with that anyways
Excess refined carbs and sugar (but let’s be honest, I enjoyed homemade cookies and treats in moderation)
What about caffeine? I limited myself to mostly decaf or half caf, occasionally full caff and kept it under 200mg/day (about 12 ounces of dark roast). I did go caffeine free for a little while in the first trimester but I love coffee and my morning routine, so I added it back in and feel great about my decision and overall caffeine intake.
Other tips –
A great way to think about prenatal nutrition is to ask yourself: would this help build a healthy baby? I used this framework most of the time, which leads to a majority of healthy food choices for me and baby. Remember though, it’s about what you do MOST of the time and it’s OKAY to not have every meal be “perfect!” Some meals are just going to be for pure enjoyment and that is A-OKAY! Give yourself grace and know that’s it’s totally okay to eat a double bacon cheeseburger and fries; I definitely did. 🙂
Supplements/prenatal vitamins – Supplements are an insurance policy and you want to prioritize real food and nutrient intake. I took Full Circle Prenatal. It doesn’t have iron, so be sure to have your iron levels checked to see if you need to add that in. I ate a lot of quality red meat, liver, oysters, and sardines so I didn’t need to supplement with any. Seeking Health is another great option for a top prenatal.
If you don’t eat fatty fish like salmon or sardines, 1-2 times/week, consider taking a quality fish oil or a prenatal that has it.
And I think I covered it all! Let me know if there is anything else you’d like to hear about in terms of optimizing your pregnancy! I hope it’s a beautiful and magical time for you as you await the arrival of your baby!