When I got pregnant, I wasn't quite prepared for the queasy stomach, the first-trimester tiredness, or the weird mood fluctuations. But once I got beyond those challenges, I realized that being pregnant offered some pretty cool benefits. We often focus on the negative aspects of pregnancy, forgetting all the ways in which these nine months can be downright good for you.
You munch with meaning
"For the first time in your life, what you eat affects another human being," says Melinda Johnson, RD, spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. Indeed, being pregnant may motivate you to make smarter decisions. "Pregnancy can be a wake-up call -- you're more likely to eat healthfully," says Marjorie Greenfield MD, author of The Working Woman's Pregnancy Book. She says that most pregnant women in her practice begin to pay closer attention to their nutrition once they understand how it affects the baby. And the really great thing is that your body helps you out in this endeavor. For example, you feel awful in the morning if you don't eat, so you're more likely to start your day right by having breakfast. As your pregnancy progresses, you tend to be hungry often yet fill up quickly, so you get in the habit of eating small, frequent meals. This is ideal, nutritionists say, for keeping your blood sugar stable and your metabolism stoked. Pregnancy is also one of the few occasions when it's OK (actually, vital) to gain weight -- a foreign concept for many women! While it's not a free pass to wolf down a whole bag of doughnuts, it is a time when you can get away with some minor indulgences.