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4 REASONS TO COUNT MACROS DURING YOUR PREGNANCY
Counting macros while you’re pregnant can have a lot of benefits. As a pre and postnatal specialist, I work with pregnant women all the time, and they tell me how much better they feel when they're eating a balanced diet and are working out regularly. If you’re looking to learn more about counting macros through pregnancy, this post is for you!
I recently gave birth to my fourth child. I've had pregnancies where I was a little more health conscious, and then I’ve had pregnancies where I just did not care. When I tried to be healthy during pregnancy, and I was conscious of what I was eating, and I kept working out, my pregnancy and recovery were easier in so many ways. My labors were faster, and I retained my muscle mass a lot better. Ultimately, it was quicker for me to feel like myself again. I didn't gain as much weight and I was able to drop the weight faster after birth.
I'm here to tell you, just because you're pregnant does not mean that you have to just throw in the towel with all of your goals. You can stay on track while you're pregnant and you can really take care of yourself to feel your best.
Getting to understand macros and their benefits helps you eat intuitively so that when you're sick you can eat the best you can and know what you need to balance your body. Do you want to incorporate counting macros as part of your health and wellness routine? I can help!
1. MANAGE HEALTHY WEIGHT GAIN
Counting your macros is an awesome way to nourish your body throughout pregnancy. When you track the main macronutrients your body needs to thrive, you can more easily ensure that you are getting enough protein, carbs, and fats to nourish you and your baby while maintaining a healthy weight gain.
If you've never counted macros before, I don't want you to feel overwhelmed. You can always just try to eat healthy or maybe focus on getting enough protein, but know that there are a ton of benefits to counting macros if you want to learn.
Counting macros throughout pregnancy helps you:
- Keep a balanced diet.
- Know exactly where you stand with your food intake
- Have a good idea of what you should be eating to nourish your body
- Know when you are overindulging
- Bonus - it actually helps to lower your risk for gestational diabetes because you're not eating an excess of carbs.
Related: Macros 101
2. PREVENT SWELLING DURING PREGNANCY
Swelling can be one of the most uncomfortable parts of pregnancy. Many women experience edema, which is the gathering of excess fluids in the cavities of the body leading to swelling. You might find that your feet and hands in particular feel swollen at the beginning or end of the day. Counting macros and watching your food intake also helps prevent water retention and swelling. High protein diets help to thicken the blood. This means your blood will hold salt and water inside the blood vessels and the fluids won’t leak out and contribute to swelling.
Eating plenty of healthy fruits and veggies that are natural diuretics, like celery, bell peppers, onions, cucumbers, watermelon, eggplant, cabbage etc., help to rid the body of excess water and sodium. I know this is hugely helpful, especially if you’re experiencing swelling in your hands, feet, and legs.
3. IMPROVE YOUR SLEEP AND MOOD
For me, a big bonus of being aware of my macros is improved sleep. Portion size control means you’ll feel less full when you lay down at night, which can be a big help when things are moving around thanks to the baby. Heartburn affects many pregnant women, and eating healthy foods can keep this at bay, making it much easier to fall asleep. Studies show that balanced diets (appropriate intake of carbs, protein, and fats) promote longer sleep times with less time awake during the night.
Also, when you’re sleeping well, your mood and general attitude will be so much more positive. You are empowered knowing that you're fueling yourself and caring for your baby. Counting macros means you’re actively taking in the foods that your body and your baby need. You’re making conscious choices and your body will thank you!
4. BUILD BACK FASTER AFTER BABY
Counting macros is going to help you get back into better shape after you give birth. Keeping track of your food intake means that you won't completely let yourself eat whatever you want and give into all your cravings. If you're able to really be aware of what you're eating throughout pregnancy, then it's not such an undertaking to try to lose the weight after birth.
Related: Reasonable Expectations for Recovery
HOW TO GET STARTED
A couple things to keep in mind when tracking macros while pregnant is that your macros will increase depending on where you're at in your pregnancy journey. When you first find out that you are pregnant, you will want to keep your protein intake the same.
In the beginning, you should not increase your protein. I recommend eating your body weight in grams of protein before you become pregnant, not after. I also know that eating that much protein when you're pregnant can be tough, especially if you are in your first trimester or maybe you're feeling more full than usual. Keep your protein intake the same, but you will slowly increase your carbs and fat to an additional 100 calories per trimester if you’re already at a healthy weight.
My Customized Pregnancy Training Program includes adjusting your macro counts throughout your pregnancy so you know just what you should be adding when!
2. USE MACROS AS YOUR GUIDE, DON'T FOCUS ON PERFECTION
It’s important to know that you don't have to be perfect at tracking your macros. This is totally okay! You might have a really hard time hitting your protein goals because you may feel nauseous and can't eat anything but carbs. I want you to give yourself grace and remember that you do not have to be perfect. Just do your best and try to get nutrients in when you can. If you do feel good, then track your macros so that you can make sure you're eating a balance of fats, carbs, and proteins.
3. PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR BODY
Stay in tune with how you feel. My favorite part about staying active while pregnant and counting macros is that I just have more energy and more self-confidence. This is in large part due to the fact that I'm eating enough. I know that if I wasn't counting my macros then I probably wouldn't be fueling my body and my baby properly. It’s really important to know how much you should be eating.
If you need help with this, it can be useful to work with a macro coach who will help calculate your macros to your specific body depending on what trimester you're in and what your goals are. Here at BodyByBree, I am here to help!
4. DON'T FOCUS ON THE SCALE
Keep your focus on how you feel, and don’t worry about the scale or the pounds gained.
Medical providers will suggest a weight gain of between 25 and 35 pounds during pregnancy. However, as long as you stay active and you're eating well balanced meals, you should not pay too much attention to the scale because it can really mess with you mentally.
Some women will retain a lot more water than others and that will obviously impact your weight. Just focus more on fueling your body and staying active, and then you'll feel great. Remember, the scale is not the end all, be all.
5. EAT HIGH QUALITY FOODS
Most importantly, the quality of your food matters. You can certainly fit treats into your diet when you count macros, but you do want to make sure that the majority of your food is coming from healthy sources. If you've had gestational diabetes before, then chances of you getting it again are very high. So be proactive now to stay ahead of it.
Even though I'm a personal trainer, I still struggle sometimes too. I can't tell you how many Chick-fil-A Oreo shakes I ate throughout my last pregnancy. It's okay to indulge every once in a while, but keep in mind the fact that you're growing a baby and this baby is literally made from the cells that are in your body. Your cells are made from the food you're eating. So right now is actually the most important time to be as healthy as you can.
I know it can be difficult, but during pregnancy you can keep working toward your goal of living a healthy lifestyle! I’m here to help you create balance and learn how to track macros throughout each trimester so that you do feel your best. For more on macro coaching, check out this page.
I’m here to help all the way through your pregnancy journey, so check out my video, "What's Happening to Your Body Throughout Each Trimester."
I'm a mom of 4 and have been a certified personal trainer with specialties in pre- and postnatal fitness for 13 years. I'm also a certified nutrition specialist and certified meditation and mindfulness coach.
I am passionate about helping women change their lifestyles to be the healthiest, happiest versions of themselves and I've seen it happen for thousands of women.
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