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Friday, February 20th, 2015
You’ve probably heard of kegel exercises — movements meant to help strengthen your pelvic floor. Tone up those muscles that support the uterus, bladder, and bowels, and you can likely improve some of the discomforts of late pregnancy, like leaking urine and hemorrhoids.
These exercises aren’t new — but one new high-tech system in the marketplace suggests they’re important enough that it’s time we took them more seriously. Basically, it wants to be a personal trainer for our vaginas. Are you paying attention yet?
The sexual health and wellness product company Minna Life recently released kGoal, an interactive training device and app for pelvic floor exercise. The goal is to get all women to recognize the importance of doing the exercises — including the 17 percent who didn’t know what kegels were, according to a survey that the brand conducted. The survey also showed more than half of women don’t really know how to do a kegel.
What sets the new product apart from other stuff already out there? Well, Minna Life says kGoal has a customizable shape to fit all kinds of women, and it was designed in collaboration with pelvic floor physical therapists. It also says the product’s squeeze pillow is super sensitive to contractions, and provides feedback through the app as well as gentle vibrations.
Whether or not we actually need all that high-tech stuff to hone our pelvic floor strength, kegel exercises can be beneficial for all kinds of women. In addition to the pregnancy benefits mentioned above, kegels are known to enhance sexual responsiveness. (So yay to that!) Plus, they improve core strength in general, which is key for posture and balance.
So you tell me: Would a high-tech tool encourage you to do kegels?
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Alesandra Dubin is a new twin mom. She’s also a Los Angeles-based writer and the founder of home and travel blog Homebody in Motion. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Google+ and Twitter.
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock
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Everything Pregnancy, Healthy Pregnancy
Friday, April 18th, 2014
Proud second-time mama-to-be Christina Aguilera posted her first pregnancy photo on Instagram and Twitter—an adorable snapshot of herself with fiancé Matt Rutler’s hand lovingly resting on her bump. The caption? “Baby loves NYC.” So cute!
Christina—who is expecting a girl—is reportedly nearing the five-month mark soon, and I remember those early months of pregnancy, where you’re showing, but your belly hasn’t fully popped, so you’re wondering, “Can people tell I’m pregnant, or do I just look like I scarfed down a dozen Dunkin’ Donuts?” Don’t worry, Christina, your beautiful glow gives it away. Pregnancy suits you!
Maternity fashion can be tough. As your breasts, belly and butt expand, you’re suddenly dressing this body you don’t even recognize. Some women embrace their bumps and wear very fitted clothes; others start stealing their hubby’s oversized sweatshirts and call it a day (No judgements!). I love that The Voice’s pop diva is still staying true to her style—only comfier—with her glam signature peep-toe pumps and ruby-red lips paired with a cotton tee shirt and leggings (a pregnant woman’s BFF).
We’ll probably be catching Christina—who is already mom to son, Max, 6—in workout gear during her pregnancy as well. Before getting pregnant, Christina went through a pretty dramatic weight loss, and got into a healthy routine, putting her on the right track to be a warm and cozy nest for her little one. So I can’t imagine she’d be dropping that routine now, knowing that diet and exercise are über-important to a baby’s development.
Regardless of what she wears, we can’t wait for the next cute bump pic!
Shop: Find fabulous, fashionable maternity wear!
TELL US: What wardrobe pieces are part of your signature maternity style?
Image of Matthew Rutler and Christina Aguilera via Instagram.
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Monday, April 7th, 2014
The internet is buzzing that the usually flat-stomached RiRi is sporting what appears to be a small baby bump in photos shot on April 4. While the hip-hop star is taking a break from touring, she seems to have suddenly changed her partying ways—which has people wondering, Is she really pregnant? And if so, whose baby is it?
Most likely Drake, who she may have been secretly dating for some time, although they didn’t publicly reunite till February? They’ve even reportedly spoken about moving in together. So could baby make three? Or could the dad be Drake’s arch nemesis, Chris Brown, who Rihanna seems to have an eternal flame for?
I don’t really care who the baby’s daddy is! If the news is true, I’m just glad that Rihanna is getting healthy for the baby. MediaTakeOut.com claims that Rihanna no longer smokes cigarettes or weed, has turned down alcohol on several occasions at events (where she normally wouldn’t), and that she even order decaffeinated tea during a recent Starbucks run with her dad.
I certainly know how it feels to have those mama bear instincts kick in. Suddenly you have this amazing little being inside you and you want to make sure you’re making his or her home as safe as possible. I wanted to eat right (minus those pesky donut cravings!), get some exercise in (when I wasn’t completely exhausted!), and rest as much as possible (even though I had a really hard time changing from sleeping on my back to my side), trying not to let things that would normally stress me out get to me, because I didn’t want my son still in the womb to feel anxious like I did. I also remember being hyper-aware of anyone smoking remotely around me—even outside on the city street, which I really had no control over. I’d practically sprint, so I wouldn’t be downwind of a cigarette. When you’re pregnant, it ceases to be about you. It’s all about the baby (as it should be!).
TELL US: What health changes did you make when you found out you were pregnant? Which things were the hardest to give up?
Image of Rihanna courtesy of Landmark Media/Shutterstock.
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Must Read, Who Is Pregnant
Tuesday, April 1st, 2014
Hip-hop artist Ciara has always been gorgeous, but she seems to be even more glowing now that she’s pregnant. A big part of her secret? Exercise! The super-fit singer—who recently celebrated her baby shower with besties Kim Kardashian and La La Anthony—hasn’t revealed her due date, but she is reportedly 8 months along with her first child with fiancé rapper-producer Future, and is still doing hour-long workouts with trainer-to-the-stars Gunnar Peterson (as evidenced in a recent Instagram post, which shows her on the Gazelle Glider, pulling ropes, lifting weights and medicine-ball moves).
Ciara does a mix of plyometric movements and weight training to get a good balance of cardio, while still maintaining her muscle tone. But she has had to do some training modifications since becoming pregnant.
“I can’t do crunches or lay on my stomach anymore, but we still do things that are close to what I would do if I wasn’t pregnant,” she told Fitness magazine. “It’s all about still keeping that energy up, still keeping the cardio strong and just having balance in your body overall.”
While doctors do advise against scuba diving, horseback riding, or any contact sport that could cause blunt-force trauma to the abdomen, if you’re having a healthy pregnancy, exercise isn’t going to harm your baby (though you should always ask your doctor before starting a new routine). Exercise will tire you out more quickly than it did pre-pregnancy, though. The amount of blood a woman has increases during pregnancy by about 50 percent, and her heart needs to work harder to push all that blood around—including circulating it through the placenta, an extra organ. So you can work just as hard doing less than you did before you were pregnant and be twice as exhausted!
Exercising through out your pregnancy not only gets you in a better place to drop the pregnancy weight faster post-birth, but it helps with your ability to breathe during labor and gives you the strength to push when you’re body is telling you it’s completely tapped out. Research has also shown that working out while pregnant can help prevent gestational diabetes and C-section births.
Oh, and working out also helps with those sometimes-nasty pregnancy mood swings. Once your endorphins kick in, it’s a natural high that can balance those Debbie Downer feelings that might occasionally creep up thanks to hormone overload. And bonus: according to a recent study, Canadian researchers have found that just 20-minute workouts three times a week while pregnant, leads to excelled brain development in your baby. Yep, a little physical activity for you could make your baby smarter!
Check here for signs you should stop exercising and consult your doctor.
TELL US: What’s your pregnancy workout routine? Do you feel better after exercising?
Plus: Take our quiz to find out what your ideal pregnancy weight is.
Image of Ciara courtesy of S_Bukley/Shutterstock.
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Monday, November 11th, 2013
Getting motivated to workout can be tough when you’re pregnant and have morning sickness, hot flashes or swollen feet; feel exhausted; or are just so big you don’t feel comfortable sitting or standing, let alone exercising. Well, here’s a really good reason to get off the couch and start moving: Canadian researchers have found that just 20-minute workouts three times a week while pregnant, leads to excelled brain development in your baby.
Researchers from the University of Montreal had 10 pregnant women exercise enough to leave them slightly short of breath at least three times a week. Some women ran, others walked, cycled or swam. Meanwhile, a second group of moms-to-be were only moderately active for around 10 minutes a week. When the babies were born, researchers measured their brain activity, and it was found that the babies whose moms worked out more had more mature brain functions than those born to moms who didn’t exercise as much.
While it’s not clear why exercise helps the unborn child’s brain, according to the Daily Mail, “it may be because it increases the oxygen supply to the baby, or it may increase production of the brain-boosting protein called BDNF.”
As a mom-to-be, of course you want to do anything you can to ensure your baby is happy and healthy. So giving your child a leg up intellectually is a huge bonus. But don’t forget that exercising while pregnant is also great for you. Physical activity will get your body in shape to take on the strenuous workout that is childbirth! It helps with your ability to breathe during labor and gives you the strength to push when you’re body is telling you it’s completely tapped out. Research has also shown that working out while pregnant can help prevent Gestational Diabetes and C-Section births. Plus, the more fit you are before you have the baby, the easier it is for your body to bounce back post-pregnancy.
So as tempting as it is to let yourself go during pregnancy, and eat whatever you want, and not workout, both you and your baby will be better after just a few light workouts a week. Push yourself—it’s worth it!
Keep all your pregnancy details organized with our free pregnancy charts and checklists. Then, browse through stylish maternity wear here.
To find out which exercises can help you have an easier childbirth, read this.
Image of pregnant woman exercising courtesy of Shutterstock.
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