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Physical Activity

When, after giving birth, world-famous top model Gisele Bündchen said, “I think a lot of people get pregnant and decide they can turn into garbage disposals. I was mindful about what I ate and I gained only 30 pounds,” women around the world, and especial-ly in the US, went up in arms and claimed that Bündchen was insulting them. But what she said was quite simple and true. Words of encouragement, such as “You should eat more, you are eating for two now,” often lead to a misguided perception in women that causes overeating. When a pregnant woman gains too much weight, thus limiting her physical movement, ends up being unable to control her body both during and after birth. The pregnancy becomes much more difficult and challenging, not to mention the stretch marks and extra weight after giving birth.

It is actually possible to be careful and eat healthily as well as stay active during pregnancy. (Meditation and nature walks help with a balanced mind and a more com-fortable experience.)

In English, the word “labor” means exertion/work and, more specifically, physi-cal work. So, labor is a work when the woman will actively and physically exert herself and push out a baby. Accordingly, both the body and the mind should be prepared for it. If you don’t take care of yourself for 9 months and eat mindlessly, you’ll end up ex-pecting somebody else to go into labor for you. Keeping up with relatively light, physi-cal activities such as walking, dancing, yoga, tai chi, kung fu, pilates, and swimming is important for appetite management, hormonal balance as well as sleeping well.

The first few weeks of pregnancy usually go by without you realizing it. In the first three months, most women can’t eat the way they want because of nausea and vomiting. In this period, the hormones are all out of balance, therefore, it’s normal for you to eat whatever you can keep down without throwing up, and consume whatever you want by also practicing mindfulness.

Of course, I suggest you pick healthy, organic, and unrefined foods as much as possible. You should also make sure that fruits and vegetables are washed and cleaned very well because everything is grown using pesticides nowadays and those chemicals are really harmful.

A simple cleaning method you can use is adding 2-3 tablespoons of vinegar to 1,5 liters of water and submerging fruits in it for 15 minutes, which helps clean lots of harmful bacteria off the produce.

Note: The recommendations in this chapter are suitable for expectant mothers who are going through a normal, healthy pregnancy. Those who are experiencing health is-sues should definitely consult their doctors.

My first trimester was full of ups and downs, nausea, and constant sleeping. All I did was eat grilled cheese sandwiches, drink ayran, take deep breaths and sleep a lot. I soon began to get a little worried, as I wasn’t used to such an unvarying diet, so I talked to my doctor, who told me to eat whatever my body accepted at that period and that I would have the chance to make it up during the second trimester. That was a real relief to me. Indeed, I started following the most cautious and healthy diet of my life as soon as the nausea stopped.

There are certain things that women should be wary of consuming in each specific trimester, and I think it’s a good idea to avoid these right from the begin-ning:

Undercooked or raw eggs

Unpasteurized or moldy cheese

Rare or raw meat and, no matter how well-done, liver

Chips, greasy fried food

Shellfish

Alcohol

Certain types of herbal tea

Refined sugar

Soy

Coffee

Organ meats and raw fish

Unwashed fruits and vegetables

Any fish containing mercury

Packaged and refined foodsTobacco

Excess of salt

Instructor

Burcu Kutluk

Instructor

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