While I think there is no way to flat out guarantee feeling great during pregnancy, I do think we can increase our chances significantly by what we do and eat while pregnant. Because we are all so different and our bodies react differently to growing a little one, I can't say if a woman eats right and exercises regularly she will feel great throughout, but I do think doing those things has the potential to help immensely, and I use my own experience as proof (while recognizing I am not a doctor and can't speak for all women).
In regards to pregnancy and exercise it has been very important to me to stay active, and I believe I have been reaping countless benefits from this. Of course, I'm not sure what it would be like had I not been exercising like I have due to genetics and how my body works, but I really think exercise has played a key role in staying healthy and feeling great during this pregnancy.
Here's a list of the common pregnancy symptoms I have not had so far (and I say so far because I have a month to go!):
1. No swelling. Not even when we flew to and from Idaho last week.
2. Very little back pain. I only have it when I sit still too long and sometimes when I lie down.
3. No constipation. TMI maybe, but my book promised me I would and I have not (whew!). I think that is due to drinking plenty of water, eating right, and exercise (but that is only my opinion).
4. Most of the time I sleep well. I do have to get up and use the bathroom 2-3 times a night, but with exercise each day, I am pleasantly tired and can fall asleep easily most nights.
5. Low blood pressure. Every 4 weeks then every 2 weeks my blood pressure has been taken at the doc and it is almost exactly what it was before pregnancy.
6. Energy! I'm not saying I'm as energetic as I was before pregnancy, but I really believe a regular exercise routine has helped me hold on to a little bit more than I would have otherwise. My pregnancy books and websites agree with this theory, stating that even a little exercise gives energy.
7. Very little heartburn. I've had it a few times, but I can count them on my fingers. I'm not sure, however, how much of this one can control other than eating foods that don't lend themselves to this symptom.
8. Reasonable weight gain. Again, this is strictly supposition on my part because I'm not sure how much of this one can control during pregnancy. I do find it odd when women say pregnancy gives them an "excuse to get fat" (and yes, I've heard this multiple times)! I have never in my life heard of anyone wanting that excuse...especially with all the pills, diet plans, exercise fads, etc. that are so popular these days. I also believe the whole "eating for two" thing is a misnomer because pregnant women really only need 300 more calories in the beginning of their pregnancies and 500 more in later months. That is not another person's worth of food. What I'm trying to say is that even though weight gain IS going to happen, it may be possible to keep it reasonable and at least FEEL good in the process. And feeling good based on what you eat and do each day also applies to those who are not pregnant.
I'm not trying to pat myself on the back here or get a pat from anyone else. What I am trying to do is tell you IT IS SO WORTH IT!
The temperature has been in the triple digits here this summer and I am almost 35 weeks pregnant. People shake their heads and look at me with pity when they realize the state of things, but I can honestly say they have NOT been bad. Sure, I think I could do more outside if it were cooler and maybe run a bit more too. BUT, I can go for walks, I can swim at the Y, I can do light weights, pilates, and yoga at home... the options are there if I will take them. I can do an hour all at once or 30 minutes twice a day, and I LOVE the results!
So, fellow moms-to-be, give that some thought. Feeling good. What is it worth to you? Thirty minutes of exercise a day? Passing up those french fries for a side of fruit instead? Having energy to make it through a long work day? Possibly a better labor experience and recovery? I know we can't choose everything about our pregnancies, but we can choose what we put in our bodies and how much exercise we get. So what will it be?