The Pregnancy Excuse

Key Lime Pie

As of yesterday, I’m halfway through my pregnancy. It hasn’t been the easiest or most comfortable few months of my life, but I realize how incredibly fortunate I am to have had a normal and uneventful experience thus far. All of the nausea, exhaustion, and the aches and pains of the first trimester feel completely worth it when I think of holding our perfect baby boy at the end of this summer. But as much as I’ve enjoyed carrying our baby, I realize too that I’ve been using my pregnancy as an excuse to give into overeating, caving to dessert multiple times a day, and being pretty sedentary. I find myself justifying every bad habit with, “Why not? I’m pregnant!”—as if it will be easier to get on track once our baby boy arrives.

soft serve

buffalo chicken pizza

Of course, being pregnant isn’t a nine month vacation from discipline and taking care of ourselves. The rational part of me knows that this is the time to eat healthfully and now is the time to work on building productive, sustainable habits that will carry me through baby’s birth. It’s also time to practice self-compassion, I know, without letting the idea of being kind to myself twist into meaning: letting go of my deeper desire to eat well and move my body. I notice that I’m getting a little impatient, telling Daniel, “I wish the baby was here,” once a day. But as long as he is still taking his time growing strong, I’m going to try to use to the next few months to strengthen my discipline and practice healthier and more productive routines.

Has anyone else struggled with this? The fatigue can make it so tough to flex that willpower muscle and to muster the energy to get things done. Do you mothers have any tips or experience that you think could help a first time pregnant lady?

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22 thoughts on “The Pregnancy Excuse

  1. Mindy

    Truthfully, I was so exhausted and ill the first time, I just did whatever worked. Lots of ice cream and naps. The subsequent times were easier, but then had littles to take care of in addition to being pregnant.

    My “baby” is now twelve, so looking back, I would say that I wish I had tried to exercise (just walking) more, and gotten in the habit of more whole foods once the nausea passed. Expanding on that, I wish I had been better at offering more whole foods once they were toddlers and feeding themselves. So easy to get caught in the “goldfish and easy snacks” mentality. Not that there is anything wrong with these on occasion, it’s just that their habits get set fairly early on.

    It’s always easy to look back on the other side of experience, so I would say that if you are trying your best most days, you are doing just fine. Pregnancy is one of those few times in life that you can put your feet up and nap or indulge a little without needing to feel any guilt :) Congrats – you’re already a great mom!

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  2. Hannah M.

    I think most people have this experience. Truthfully, it’s harder to get back on track after the baby arrives because as much as you think “ok, I have my body to myself again. I can do this,” you’re so much MORE tired when they arrive. I tried to think of staying on track more for the baby than for me. “ These veggies are helping the baby grow healthy lungs right now!” And the reasons for staying healthy from now on revolve around my kids not so much for myself. Mine are 4 and 2 so I need energy to chase, run, and play. It’s hard no matter what though.

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  3. Hillary

    I’m not sure if this helps your motivation at all, but according to my doctors, keeping up with physical activity during my pregnancy very likely (and very dramatically) helped with my labor and my c-section recovery (I needed the surgery after 11 hours of labor—WOOF). I did some form of exercise right up until my son was born (lots of very slow walking those last few weeks!), and it helped not only with my endurance during labor but definitely with my ability to be up and walking around and climbing stairs soon after surgery. However, I totally understand the exhaustion that comes with pregnancy, so just do your best, and that’s good enough. Definitely don’t push it—you are growing a little person, and that takes up lots of energy!

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  4. Ti Reed

    I didn’t have an issue with my son. With that pregnancy I only wanted fruits and veggies. I gained less than 20 lbs and lost all of it plus a few more once he was born. But with my daughter, I was so sick the entire time but craved very specific things like Slurpees with the horrible red food coloring, marshmallows, anything with buckets of sugar and because I could not keep anything down but these horrible, sugary foods, my doc went with it. I gained 75 lbs! And to this day, she is 14 years old, I am still carrying at least 25 of those same lbs around.

    Some people gain and lose without an issue once they have the baby and breastfeed… but others don’t and your body is different after a baby. If I could go back in time, I would not have eaten that food. I would have chosen better and hoped that my sickness would level out. I think a treat now and then is okay but having come this far with your weight loss journey, I can tell you that you won’t have the time to dedicate to exercise that you hope to once the baby is born. At least not for a little while.

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  5. Kathy

    You learned good habits. Keep them. If you want dessert have it once or twice a week. A dove chocolate (one piece) is 42 calories. Try to not gain too much because it is always hard to lose it. You learned the disciple it takes so go with it. Cottage cheese is good with additions too–add some fruit and redi whip if you need to. If you are craving something sweet have something small and push on to your good habits. They were hard won. Keep them. You are an awesome person and keep up the good work. At your best time of the day take a walk. It takes a lot of energy to make a baby,. YOU ARE MAKING A BABY…A PERSON…NOTHING MORE IMPORTANT THAN THAT. Also listen to your doctor they will tell you how you are doing weight wise. blessings on you and your family.

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  6. Marilyn

    Hopefully, your pregnancy will go like mine – the first trimester I was a hot mess, but for the remainder I felt great. Almost to the day, for 13 weeks I was nauseous and exhausted, and then suddenly a switch flipped and I was myself again.
    I ate a fair amount of crap during my pregnancy, but offset it with exercise. Up until the day I conceived, I was a casual athlete – I like to walk and keep moving, but exercise was always a necessary evil rather than a pleasure or choice. But with a deadline in mind, I went to pre-natal yoga classes, I went to pregnancy water aerobics, and most luxuriously, I cracked open the last of my discretionary cash for a trainer to help work on my core.
    After delivering twins via C-section, recovery was much easier than I thought it would be. I was back in most of my own clothes almost immediately (jeans were the last to submit). Getting to the gym post-babies is tough (and if/when you do this again, you’ll have a toddler at home during pregnancy, too).
    Long answer, but here’s the summary: enjoy your pregnancy and your last few months of husband-wife only time. Eat what you want, work out as if you need to be in a bikini immediately after delivering, and then after the blessed event, chill out and enjoy your child. When you are up three times a night nursing and going to the gym is the absolute furthest thing from your mind, you will know that your body is starting from a place of strength, not weakness.
    Best of luck to all three of you!

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  7. Belle

    Oh my goodness I totally relate to this, and unfortunately I’m still trying the shed the excess weight that I gained (unnecessarily) during my pregnancy 2.5 years ago!

    One tip – the lethargy is real, and it can be quite debilitating, so go to bed early. Don’t try to be exciting and energetic, don’t stay up late to keep your husband company, go to bed and get as much rest as you can. You’re growing a human, it’s tiring, and you’re much better off putting your feet up and taking it easy, than you are eating the wrong foods. I learnt the hard way, and I’m determined not to make the same mistake again for my next pregnancy :-)

    Good luck!

    http://www.thislifeisbelle.com/

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  8. Jennifer

    I had horrible nausea for the first 14 weeks, so I could not even think of exercising during that time. Once it magically disappeared the day I hit 14 weeks, i started power walking 4-5 niles daily. the walking, in combination with keeping my carbs at 125-150 grams per day (I had gestational diabetes—diet controlled, no meds), helped me keep the weight gain down to 22 lbs. i lost 15 immediately but the last 7 lbs will not budge (she is 5.5 months), probably because I am breastfeeding. I am one million times hungrier while breastfeeding than I ever was pregnant. I am so glad I continued to exercise and eat healthy because I truly believe it helped me recover from csection so quickly (she was breech). Get as much rest as you can now because the newborn phase is exhausting. I had absolutely zero desire to do any excercise for the first 8-10 weeks because I was so tired. With all this said, it was absolutely worth it! I love my baby girl more than anytthing in the world.

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  9. Christina

    Like a lot of the comments above I have to say exercise helped me so much. I stayed very active through out my entire pregnancy and my recovery from an unplanned c-section was so much faster because I had been so active. I did not always make the healthiest food choices but I am so glad I maintained a consistent exercise routine.

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  10. Candace benson

    Remember this: if you think you’re uncomfortable now, it’s twice as bad the last month of pregnancy. NOT TRYING TO BE DEBBIE DOWNER, but do whatever you can to have a healthy weight gain and keep those muscles strong. You are going to need energy that last month to keep you going And help with the delivery. YOU GOT THIS!!!!! And remember, the easiest parenting you’ll ever do is when that baby is still nestled inside you…. you and Daniel enjoy this “easy” parenting time together. That baby boy will be here soon enough and then you’ll wonder how you ever lived without him ❤️

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  11. Juliet

    My best advice is to try to do some exercise every day and make a plan of what to eat instead of winging it, not too different from how you might be without being pregnant. For my first baby I gained 60lbs with the mindset of ‘I’m pregnant! I can eat whatever I want’. I gained another 20 with baby #2 then another 20 with baby #3. Over the years I lost a few but but pretty much held onto close to 100 lbs. It’s been a real struggle as I’ve gotten older so looking back, I really wish I hadn’t gained so much and had worked harder to lose the baby weight

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  12. Stephanie Albers

    As a person in recovery from an eating disorder (bulimia), pregnancy was so hard. I had round the clock nausea and I ate whatever I could keep down, but in many ways I felt like I was in the throws of my eating disorder again (I was not). I worked with my therapist to really process the difference. My doctor knew my recovery history, so we had an agreement that if it looked like I was gained more than normal or expected, she would gently prod me to get more activity. She said that she herself had gained 60lbs with each of her 3 pregnancies, and that she wouldn’t recommend it. It did come to that point so I hauled my pregnancy self, in all of its glory, to the swimming pool to walk laps. It felt good and it didn’t take much more than 10-15 minutes to wear me out. Just moving my body helped me feel good, not being able to feel the weight helped my body image and helped me to make some better food choices. I did all the cooking in my house so I had to just start buying a lot of simple things that I could eat and keep down. The struggle is real mamma, take care of yourself, and figure out what will work for you. At the end of the day, you are growing a tiny human, be gentle with yourself.

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  13. Helen

    I hear you! My babies are 3 and 5 now. I was overweight to begin with when I got pregnant and I actually lost weight. I found a few self talk things that helped me. #1) the baby tastes what you eat, or at least part of it in the amniotic fluid. I wanted my kiddos to know what all kinds of veggies tasted like #2) drink a lot of fluids #3) there’s no such thing as a vitamin that’s as good as eating the nutrients. #4) stay healthy so you have enough energy to take care of an exhausting newborn #5) take a nap, you need more sleep when pregnant.

    That being said I found a trainer that I hired outside the gym for like 20.00 a session and worked out with her at least twice a week. My husband also hired our friend who was a massage therapist for pregnancy massages monthly. That was the best. I never limited sweets or restricted foods. I probably drank my weight in blue poweraid from the fountain (not bottled). Cravings are funny!! I also loved ranier cherries (which are really expensive in TX) But I did find that I wanted sweets most when exhausted and that’s not going to get better when the kids born. Trust me :)

    I was listening to a podcast about a lady who gained a bunch of weight when pregnant and then delivered a tiny 5 lb baby. Apparently the first words out of her mouth when they weighed her were, “she did not eat her share” lol. Either way it will be fine. You can gain and lose or be careful. Just enjoy the ride. There’s nothing like having a kid.

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  14. faith

    Two pregnancies with 8 years in between, and I did things so very different each time. The first: eat all the food, take all the naps. 80 lbs later, I delivered a beautiful, healthy baby…and spent 2 years trying to get rid of my “it’s ok to eat this, I’m pregnant!”. Additionally, I ate ice cream at least once a day…and according to my son’s pediatrician, this led to his lactose intolerance the first year. My labor and delivery was long and challenging. After my son, I made a significant lifestyle change, and with my daughter, I ran until I was 7 months pregnant and then walked until the day I delivered. I ate with less abandon…but I ate PLENTY of dessert. I gained 35 lbs, delivered another beautiful, healthy baby…with a MUCH shorter and FAR easier delivery. Personally, the difference was clear. Try to enjoy the time that you have left with Daniel before baby arrives, try to enjoy a bit of you time, try to enjoy the feeling (exhaustion and all) of this tiny human growing in you, try to enjoy the naps…and try to enjoy the desserts. You will never get these moments back…and you will miss them when they are gone. My favorite quote, over the last almost 18 years of being a mom: the nights are long, but the years are short. Best wishes to you…

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  15. Mackenzie

    These are all things I’m struggling with now 6 months post partum. With all the hard work and sleepless nights of an infant, it’s been very easy for me to indulge my unhealthy cravings very frequently and I’ve been pretty lethargic. If you plan to breastfeed/pump you’ll be amazed at your appetite, which I tend to use as an excuse for extra cookies and treats throughout the day. Currently sitting about 25 lbs heavier than normal. I do understand I need more discipline and to be more active, however, I also think it’s important to allow yourself grace as you enter motherhood. It’s tough! There are so many things to occupy your mind that a few extra pounds can probably take the back burner for a little while. Good luck! Wishing you the best.

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  16. Lisa

    Ha ha, I was hoping to get the recipe for that yummy looking key lime pie!
    But for the pregnancy & craving issue, I just focused on who I wanted to be for my child & the answer was a strong healthy, energetic Mom (I was 40 with my first) and I knew to achieve that I had to continue to eat right and I did only light exercise through my pregnancy, but I was consistent until I delivered. I struggled with weight issues until my mid 30s, so I do understand where you’re coming from. Remember what you’ve learned in your journey. You can do this. If you are consistent now, it will be easier to continue once you’ve delivered and are sleep deprived and hormonal after delivery. All the best for a safe, healthy pregnancy,delivery, and baby.
    Lisa

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  17. Tamsin

    I’m so excited and happy for you! During my pregnancy I was the most laid back and relaxed I had ever been in my life. I am an uptight routine, woman. I will get the chores done, the kids in line, whatever it is, whatever it takes personality. Not as a martyr, but because my personality. I want to do my best, and I am afraid of failure. Heaven forbid someone stop by, and there was something out of place. So why all the history? I am genuinely serious when I say during pregnancy I was the most laid back and relaxed I had ever been in my life. I wasn’t worried about my house, I relaxed with my kids and was a much softer Mom. I was educated about the importance of healthy nutritional eating, and exercise while pregnant. But yet, I was so relaxed and laid back I did the same exact thing, I’m pregnant, I’ll get back to it. Now looking back I realize that the reason I was so relaxed and laid back was because I was more in tune with my body than ever. There was not a second that went by that I was not aware of my body. …………………..

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  18. Tamsin

    I was so overjoyed with the miracle growing inside me, and my thoughts and direction were all about this. Normally i would have been in my head, planning organizing, doing, worried about life, my weight, if I was achieving and accomplishing all the things that made me a good person. That was all gone, and I was just enjoying the gift of being able to carry my child. So my thought is that, if I could have tuned in even more to my body and heart and let that guide me with my eating and exercising i would have been able to learn natural intuitive eating and nourishing. I would have been in tune more than ever with what my body needed. So this is way long and incredibly TMI…. but even though I have never met you, you are very dear to me and have helped me with my eating and weight management more than anyone on the whole wide world and world wide web. So Thank You for continuing to post and use your voice. I believe you will do just fine no matter if you eat the large ice cream or not, because you have proven to me that by being mindful there is still a place for ice cream in our life. Good Luck Lady, embrace that miracle growing inside of you. ♥️♥️

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  19. Naomi

    Dear Andie,
    Be gentle to yourself. You have some serious (and exhausting) work going on inside you. :) When I was pregnant, I was determined I would only gain a pound a week for each week of pregnancy. Well, that didn’t exactly play out, but I allowed myself to enjoy the treats along the way and REST in lieu of a workout (or housework) when I needed to. I often tell my daughter she is made of Haagen Dazs Strawberry ice cream and steak, which is essentially true. (I was a vegetarian prior to my pregnancy. ) As you already know, eating healthfully, getting regular exercise & rest, etc. is a delicate balance when you aren’t growing a human. Enjoy this Season of caring for baby and you, even if it means lots of naps and some ice cream here and there. A healthy baby and you are worth every calorie. Post baby, be patient with yourself. Getting back in tune with your body, diet, etc. is a process. You are one smart and sensible cookie who will find that balance once again and likely inspire a lot of other new Mamas in the process. Thank you Andie, for sharing your stories. Sending good energy to you and your baby.

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  20. Genine Short

    Andie,

    Pregnancy can be terrifying for those of us who are trying to maintain balance. My first pregnancy was stressful and I let it all go- I gained 75 pounds and the postpartum hormone shifts were a roller coaster. It was impossible for me to lose weight while nursing.
    The second pregnancy I was a little smarter- I moved more, ate better- but most of all moved! Yoga, squats- walking- water aerobics with senior citizens. Now a year post party, I am now tying hard to get that weight off and am still at 230 pounds, but the second time around I felt better.
    You won’t know until you are there- you may be one of those women that have balanced post partum hormones that take you where you need to go. Everything changes and you haven’t met you yet. :)
    Anyway- not trying to stress you. Be kind, honor those cravings, but love your body and move, move, move. After you have that sweet boy that’s when the real work begins. ♡

    -G

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  21. Katie

    I was super sick during both of my pregnancies and of course, so so tired. During my twin pregnancy, my hips and back were so sore that even walking were out of the question by month 6 or so. So exercise was out. But… if ever a time in life to eat intuitively, for nutrition, for fuel, for health, it’s during pregnancy. So I gained a lot of weight, but I also learned how to eat intuitively for the first time. Sometimes that was a lot of saltines and orange gatorade, but I also learned to follow the cravings for huge Greek salads, well cooked steaks, juicy oranges and icy green smoothies.

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  22. Danielle

    This is the time to relax and just listen to your body. I am 24 weeks into my second pregnancy now (feels like yesterday I was pregnant with my first… they’ll only be 18 months apart!) and generally am way less concerned with my weight gain and diet than I was with my first – and yet I’ve gained less than I had at this point the first time around. I say eat when you’re hungry and listen to what your body wants – for me, sometimes that means a kale salad for lunch and ice cream for dessert. It all works out. Don’t eat food you wouldn’t normally just because you can, but eat it if and when you want it. Drink water, get sleep, move your body when you can (even if that means stretching or a quick video – Bodyfit by Amy has great free ones) – just be good to yourself, whatever that means in the moment. Congrats mama!

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