Planning a health pregnancy starts months before becoming pregnant. Making time to meet with your physician to assess any health risks can maximize the time it takes to recover.
With her fourth child on the way, Julie Nowers said she's doing things differently this time around.
“When I was younger I just tried to always maintain the perfect house and keep everything in order and get everything done and now I think I can really feel that my body really needs that rest," she said.
Women with a healthy Body Mass Index between 19 to 25 will average about a 25- to 35-pound weight gain. Underweight women with a BMI less than 19 are expected to gain 40 pounds, overweight women, 15-25 pounds and obese women, 10-15 pounds for a total weight gain.
“Gaining too much weight during pregnancy can put you at risk for conditions such as gestational diabetes, high blood pressure towards the end of pregnancy or preeclampsia," said Dr. Cassandra Foss. "It can also increase your risk of having a C-section. If a woman wasn’t gaining appropriate weight during pregnancy, we may need to watch the growth of the baby closer.”
When it comes to the classic notion of eating for two, Foss says it’s an old wives tale: “You’d be surprised you actually need only 300 calories more per day,” she said.
Nowers said to choose those calories wisely.
“One thing I realized with pregnancy is that the calories, they just stick," she said. "So it’s kind of important to eat the good calories and not the bad calories so that you’re getting the nourishment you need and the baby is getting the nourishment they need.”
Regular exercise will make for an easier delivery and quicker recovery time. Foss recommends exercising 30 minutes of moderate activity on most days, if not every day. Avoid exercises that pose a risk for falling such as cycling on wet roads, mountain biking or skiing.
When it comes to bouncing back, keep a realistic perspective instead of a Hollywood perspective, Foss said.
“Your body is going to need that time to recover," she said. "You should really take that time to really bond with your baby and focus on baby and not worry so much about your body for 4-6 weeks postpartum.”
Foss said women still may experience limitations after those 4-6 weeks and suggests easing back into your regular physical routine. Advice Nowers can get behind.
“You’ll always hear that there’s a certain way you need to do things and I think you kind of need to learn what works best for you and your baby and realize it’s OK that you have your own way and that’s gonna be just fine," Nowers said.