Not really, as I was already exercising and felt pretty healthy, so the only things I changed when trying for a baby was to lower my exercise intensity and avoid alcohol. Fortunately for us, it happened straight away so I didn’t require any other modifications to my lifestyle.
2) Were there any experiences leading up to or during your pregnancy where these practices or lifestyle helped?Well avoiding alcohol was definitely something I continued obviously!! Also the mindset around reducing exercise intensity was handy, as once I was pregnant this became really important. Being someone who is used to working up a real sweat and working out pretty hard, it’s quite different working out at a lower intensity with a new-found respect for your body. For this reason I explored other exercise methods and switched from running to yoga and Pilates for a more suitable exercise approach during pregnancy.3) During your pregnancy how did your diet or exercise routine change?With my recent (3rd) pregnancy, I made the biggest changes to my diet in my adult life to date. I cut down the amount of bread, pasta and hot chips that I ate and consumed more grains and salads. I still enjoyed pasta every now and then as I don’t believe in extremes (and I LOVE it!!), but it was definitely less frequent. I also became way more conscious of the snacks that I ate – opting for fruit or green smoothies as an afternoon energy boost rather than chocolate or junk. Mind you, I still gave in to numerous chocolate cravings in the evening – especially in my third trimester. In general, I simply became more interested in healthy food and started experimenting with recipes. I previously disliked cooking, but with a new-found commitment to fueling my body with healthy options, I started to enjoy cooking more. My exercise changed once pregnant by reducing the amount of running I was doing and taking up clinical Pilates and yoga. As my ability to do cardio reduced with the progression of my pregnancy, I focused more on my weight training and continued to enjoy this right to the end (even after my due date!). My focus throughout was on remaining strong and energetic for my two toddlers and being able to avoid things like back pain during pregnancy.
4) How did your diet or exercise practice assist you leading up to & during labor & delivery?
I definitely benefited from healthy eating and exercise during my pregnancy, as I didn’t suffer from any back pain, hemorrhoids or heartburn and I had plenty of energy right up until delivery. This was very important to me as I had two toddlers to care for. I wish I could say that my healthy practices helped me with a quick and pain-free labor – but that just never seems to be the case for me! However perhaps without being that fit, it would have been an even longer and more painful delivery – who knows! I managed to deliver drug free and believe my healthy lifestyle approach during pregnancy assisted in giving me the strength to achieve this.
5) Looking at the so-called 4th trimester – how did these practices affect your transition from pregnancy to motherhood?
This is where the benefits of a healthy lifestyle really kick in. My recovery from pregnancy and labor was so quick this time. I still suffered from lots of the usual things in the early days, but I was able to get active fairly quickly and lost all of my baby weight by 9 weeks (and was back into my skinny jeans at 2 weeks postpartum!)without much effort at all – just a bit of walking and a few light gym sessions. I still very much have a ‘post baby’ body and need to do lots of toning around my mid section, but there is no rush for this and I know that I can achieve it all in good time. Being fit and healthy and having an easier recovery definitely helps with energy levels as a new mum. My new baby is not much of a sleeper though, so at 11 weeks postpartum I am generally really fatigued, but still manage to have good energy levels throughout the day.
6) How have your practices shaped your parenting style?
I’m really proud of the awareness my kids have of being ‘fit’ and ‘healthy’. They know what foods are healthy and why its important to eat them (not that they always do!!). They drink loads of water every day as they copy me with my drink bottle, and they are really tolerant and understanding of my need to exercise. It’s normal for them to be out and about with me as we walk or do exercises at the beach or park and as a consequence, they love being active little people themselves. I think as parents its important we lead by example as children are little imitators and being someone who had children later in life, if I didn’t live a healthy lifestyle I would really struggle with having enough energy for my kids. With three kids in four years, its hard enough – I can’t imagine having this busy lifestyle if I was unhealthy and unfit.
7) How do you find balance in your business, family & personal life?
Ahh, this is a tough one! I like to think that I’ve mastered it at times, but as someone who tends to take on too much, this can be really difficult. It’s a constant juggling act and one that is a work in progress for me. I know that for me to be content as a person I need to have mental stimulation as well as being a mum and dealing with all of the domestic tasks, and this is why I continue to work, but I have to continually remind myself not to let this work take priority over my family or children’s needs. Fortunately I have a great husband who respects my need for all of these things and shares really similar philosophies in life, so together we just make it work! Plus we have a great babysitter, so we get some alone time when needed!
8) Please share any other examples, tips, advice on being a yoga mama with our readers here!
Ahh, where to begin?? With children in your life, your time is just not your own anymore, so my tips are:
~plan ahead (meal plan and exercise sessions)
~just get active – even if it’s in your loungeroom
~always combine some sort of strength work with your cardio (ie via yoga or weight training)
~drink loads of water
~eat well for lots of energy
~be kind to yourself and be patient with your physical recovery and ensure you get some ‘me time’ every now and then
~if you feel like you’re going slightly crazy – that’s totally normal!!!
More about Fiona: Fiona Trewhitt is a mother of three young children (in four years…yikes!) and is passionate about inspiring women to live healthier, happier lives, particularly during and post pregnancy. Fiona is a Wellness Coach and has developed the Mumafit iPhone app designed to assist women be active and healthy during these exciting phases of their lives. You can catch more of Fiona’s ramblings on her blog www.mumafit.com.au or daily on Instagram @mumafit and her facebook page ‘Mumafit App’.