There is a school of thought that once you become pregnant, your body is no longer your own. Mother Nature herself is (quite rightly) biased towards caring for your baby from that point on; taking all the nutrients it needs to grow, even if that leaves you short. and then there’s childbirth itself, which really cares little for the damage it leaves in its wake…
But some people will tell you that the minute you see a positive pregnancy test, you should stop focusing on you and selflessly devote yourself to the baby. Caring for your body, worrying about stretch marks, varicose veins and pregnancy weight, is a bit of a taboo in some camps, where the visible remnants of pregnancy are seen as a necessary and inevitable sacrifice.
My view is a little different. Caring for the baby is of course the priority — eating well, and exercising to do all you can to make pregnancy and birth easier on your body and less traumatic (hopefully!) for the baby – is the least we can do to give that little bean the best chance of survival and the eventual baby a healthy start in life.
Caring for your body by eating a nutrient-packed diet, rather than one that’s stacked with empty calories, to help avoiding excessive pregnancy weight gain, is a no-brainer. I’m not saying that you should ever diet during pregnancy (which you absolutely shouldn’t), but that it makes sense to fill your body (and your little one’s) with goodness, rather than simply ‘eating for two’.
That’s good for baby – and it’s good for you. And, yes, as an extra bonus it will help you avoid layering on fat that’s hard to shift after baby arrives.
Exercising in pregnancy to keep your muscles toned and strong can only be a positive thing. Conception is not a cue to wrap yourself in a Slanket and forsake all activity!* Thinking about maintaining your abs and core throughout pregnancy is not whacky or selfish… It is sensible if you want a stronger body for childbirth and you want to make the repair work afterwards easier.
It’s not vain or silly to strive for a strong, healthy body during and after childbirth! Wanting to rediscover the woman you were before is healthy – achieving that goal is good for your body and for your mind.
*Unless your personal medical circumstances mean that your doctor has told you to do exactly that. In which case you should. Do exactly that. Obviously. :))