I could not believe how fast my body was changing. Not only was I getting a tiny bump, the rest of me was transforming. My waist, hips, and chest were all beginning to expand. I was quickly growing out of my clothes, piece by piece. This was clearly evident when packing for the beach one morning.
Early in the summer I had bought a beautiful royal blue silk chiffon strapless dress that had a fitted bodice, higher waist, and fuller A-line skirt. I slipped it on no problem, but when I went to zip it up, I couldn’t get the zipper past my rib cage! My ribs!?!? I had not thought about that part of me expanding.
Then there were my favorite shorts: I have a few pairs of the same style because they (used to) fit so great. Well, at that time, the only ones I could comfortably zip up was a blue linen pair, which, I guess, for some reason, were more stretched out than the others. As for jeans, they just were not happening, which was fine because it was so HOT out that I was happy to be sporting flowing dresses and my one pair of shorts. I did have two looser fitting dresses that I attempted to wear. The problem was that they both had more of a cinched waistband. When I wore each of them to dinner, on two separate evenings, I got a stomach ache at the table and couldn’t wait to get home and take them off.
Lesson learned: It is best to be comfortable! I stuck with the dresses I had pre-pregnancy that seemed to work, the couple elastic-waist ones I bought early on in my pregnancy, and I took a trip to Bloomingdales to purchase a few more items. I did tell the sales associate that I was pregnant in order for him to best assist me. We actually did well that day: I was able to wear the stretchy, loose dresses and tops that I bought that trip throughout the rest of the summer.
Then we come to gym clothes. They are all made of Lycra so should stretch and be no problem, right? SO wrong. I LIVE in Lululemon and Nike gear between being a Personal Trainer and working out myself. There were definitely a few of my more fitted tops that I stopped wearing: no need to draw attention to my stomach. I was a bit surprised when one Saturday morning at Soul Cycle I couldn’t seem to get comfortable on my bike. I kept adjusting my pants and moving around in my seat to the point that my husband tapped me on the shoulder to make sure I was okay. The problem was one of my favorite pairs of Lululemon pants: the waist band was too tight, uncomfortable, and constricting.
I gladly retired some of my workout items, favoring the more baggy tops and my Nike pants, which sit a bit lower on my waist than the Lululemon ones. BUT, it didn’t even occur to me that I would need bigger sizes yet until one day I went into the Lululemon store to buy another color of one of my baggy tops. It just so happened that they didn’t have my OLD size, so I went ahead and tried a size up…..and it fit perfect. I hadn’t quite accepted that I went up a size until the next week when I went to gym and had forgotten a top. Good thing Equinox has a shop in their gyms. I went right for the larger size: yep, it fit just right. When I told my husband I was officially larger, he came home with a Lululemon gift card for me, which was so sweet. And he keeps telling me that I am PREGNANT, not large or fat. I know this, but it is still nice to hear.
As for my workouts, they have definitely changed some, and I have dialed them down quite a notch. I am only spinning at Soul Cycle once a week and wearing my heart rate monitor during class. I am trying to get in two strength workouts (45 -60 minutes), two cardio workouts (30-45 minutes), and a yoga class each week. This is my goal, but honestly, it just hasn’t been happening every week, and my intensity has decreased. I am no longer doing intervals and trying to get my heart rate up higher. In fact, I take longer rests between sets to keep my heart rate down. I am listening to my body. If I feel exhausted, I take a nap. If that means there is not enough time in my day for a workout, then I am ok with that. I understand that my body is not the same right now. Proof of this is in getting up to my apartment. Walking up the two flights of stairs carrying groceries is enough to make me breathe heavier, elevate my heart rate, and render my legs temporarily fatigued!
I was so happy that this third month was the last month attempting to “hide” my pregnancy. It was just getting too hard covering my body, and the glances and comments started to increase. One of my husband’s friends asked him, “Is your wife pregnant? We noticed she wasn’t drinking and she doesn’t have her 6-pack anymore.” Ok, so I obviously was not drinking, but I WAS keeping my body covered. I have to admit it did hurt a tiny bit to know that my body was being studied that hard by others, and they were clearly noting my expanding and morphing body. As I mentioned earlier, my husband and I had decided that we were not sharing our news during the first three months. I told him to tell anyone who asked that I was just getting fat. He’s not a good liar, and didn’t feel anybody would believe that anyhow with my profession. Here is my opinion of a good rule to follow: If you suspect someone is pregnant and they are NOT telling you, then they do not want to tell you, so keep your mouth shut, mind your own business, and wait patiently to be told!
When I went to visit one of my friends this summer I was wearing one of my belly-hiding wrap dresses, but as we hugged hello, I saw her eyes give me the once over. She then told me my chest looked huge. I replied by saying, “I know, isn’t this a great dress?”, knowing full well that she had a clue on the true story. Then there was my husband’s best friend who just wouldn’t leave me alone, and felt the need to comment any time we shared a meal with him. I heard: “Bob, what are your eating tonight?”; “Bob, I got my eye on you!”; “Bob, are you drinking your wine?”; “Bob, BREAD? PASTA? That’s not like you!” I just started ignoring him and telling him to shut up! Of COURSE it wasn’t like me….I have never been pregnant before and had anything but my head dictating my food choices.
I was eating and craving more carbohydrates. Menus were definitely limiting. When faced with the options of beef, fried/breaded chicken, or high-mercury fish, I chose pasta a couple of times this summer. Many people have asked me if I have had any weird cravings while being pregnant. The only thing that I have craved a bit more has been carbohydrates. Why do we pregnant women have these cravings? Is there a biological or scientific explanation? The answer is only a maybe. About half of all pregnant women report cravings. These cravings run the gamut from non-food items to salty or sweet foods. Hormones may play a role, as they do affect our senses of taste and smell, which in turn, can affect which foods appeal more or less to us. Hormones can also influence emotions which may lead some of us to turn to food for comfort.
Certain cravings may be related to dietary deficiencies. For example, a condition called pica is when one craves non-food items such as ice, toothpaste, paint chips, dirt, chalk, clay, or coffee grounds. Although none of these foods contain iron, pica often occurs when iron deficiency or iron-deficiency anemia is diagnosed. Low magnesium levels may lead to chocolate cravings. Those who have low levels of essential fatty acids may experience decreased cravings once they begin taking an Omega 3 supplement. A desire for red meat may indicate a deficiency in protein or iron. On the same note as cravings, aversions may be correlated to foods that can be harmful to pregnancies, for example: coffee, alcohol, soda, or animal proteins, such as chicken, which are at risk of carrying food-borne illnesses.
The evidence for biological or scientific causes behind food cravings or aversions is more anecdotal than research-based. For this reason, it is safe to give into any food cravings in moderation. An occasional piece of chocolate or cup of ice creams is just fine, as long as these items are part of a mostly balanced diet. Avoid skipping meals, make sure to keep snacks handy, try smaller, more frequent meals to avoid drops in blood sugar, and keep up with a regular exercise routine that works for you. All of these will help decrease intense cravings! Of course, if you are concerned about cravings, meal planning, or deficiencies, consult your doctor, or make an appointment with a Registered Dietitian to review your eating habits.