The past ten weeks have brought their share of worries our side. During his 20-week morphology scan we were told that Noisette had a cleft lip, and that his brain might not be developing properly.
I decided to travel home to get a second opinion. Having to debate whether you should terminate a pregnancy at this stage, dealing with the guilt that any mother-to-be experiences when told a child has a facial deformity (or any other developmental issue for that matter), and coping with some people’s inconsiderate reactions (yes, we always think we know what other people are going through) did not make for the smoothest ten weeks of our life.
I can only assume such trying moments impact one’s eating patterns because when I went to see my doctor for a routine check-up at week 29, almost two months after my trip to France, I found out I had only gained +0.8kg (about two pounds) since week 20. My belly was even deemed ‘too small’ by my doctor.
Had I not stayed active, and implemented a food strategy that I felt was right for me and Noisette I am convinced I would have gained more though. If you were to follow the 5 tips listed below, without the worrying component, I am sure they could only prove beneficial to a healthy but controlled weight gain.
Have a (healthy) snack after dinner
If you are going to have a snack after dinner, make it a healthy one! A yoghurt, a green apple, a smoothie, a few crackers with some cheese are better options than ice cream, candies, and chocolate bars. The former help your body produce all the hormones you need, and sleep more deeply. The latter lead to heartburns, disturbed sleep, and weight gain.
I go to bed rather late as I finish work at the studio at 9pm. This means that I don’t have dinner before 10pm. We like to watch series to wind down and that’s when the cravings usually rush in. It is easy to give in and I have to admit that I often finish a pack of Peaches (the Haribo kind unfortunately) before my husband can even lay eyes on them!
Yet I noticed how I could turn those cravings into a healthy routine when I went to Lille to run some tests for Noisette. I had to behave: The fridge was not mine and my hosts had been kind enough to let me stay with them on top of organizing my prenatal appointments 🙂 Not only did I fight the habit of having snacks every single night, but when I did give in because I felt like I wouldn’t fall asleep unless I had something, I had a vanilla yoghurt. I came back fit as a fiddle!
Eat small portions
My friend’s family in Lille was keen on small portions. A renowned pediatrician and geneticist, the mum also happened to be a fantastic cook (some people do have it all!).
Here is how it helped…
Again I was not home and followed my host’s routine: we had small portions of really tasty food -tailored to excellent conversation. Following these 3-4 days I made a point of maintaining the habit for a good 4 weeks. It worked! The only thing that changed is that I was back to having small portions every couple of hours instead of three times a day!
From time to time, when I have a rather long break in between classes, and when my back does not hurt from 8 hours of standing and teaching, I bring my iPod along (yes I still use one), walk through JLT, cross the DAMAC metro station and wrap up my walk home with some sunrays along the Marina promenade.
When I say I eat small portions, it does not cover the whole truth. I have a smoothie in the morning, followed by a light lunch, and snack throughout the afternoon in between classes, so I often end up having a 200g portion of pasta in the evening…
On occasions like everyone else I am presented with a buffet and make the most of it. For a long time the words of one of my coworkers a few years back in Paris frightened me: The issue when pregnant was that you could not compensate after a heavy meal, and that’s why you were destined to put on unnecessary pounds.
Follow your body’s lead, it is the best pregnancy guide you will find.
I could not disagree more. Unless you starve yourself, your baby will take what he/she needs. At my husband’s birthday brunch I had 2 massive plates of food. You cannot go to brunch and completely stay away from both alcohol and food! When I went out that evening, I had Korean soup with a friend who kept worrying that I was not eating more. The truth is it felt heavenly to have something light and gentle on the stomach!
I did not have more, not because I wanted to compensate, but because it felt right.
Stay active: new activities, old favorites
In between week 20 and 30, you are bound to experience ups and downs, energy wise, as well as emotionally. Whenever you feel like your energy levels are up, try something new or go back to an old activity you used to love. The second trimester is the right time to do so. I tried aquaspinning and aerial pilates (though I had to stop pretty quickly because of the heartburn being upside down entailed). And I went back to the gym for a few treadmill and cycling sessions. Don’t forget though that your strength and respiratory capacities are not the same as they were 20-30 weeks prior, and adjust resistance and speed accordingly.
If you are looking for more guidance through these ten weeks, contact me to organize a suited and fun programme or to attend one of our prenatal workshops.