Posts Tagged ‘ Fit Pregnancy ’

Pregnancy Workouts: How to Train the Right Way

Thursday, May 15th, 2014

Whether it’s the woman who says she was kicked out of Planet Fitness for showing off her baby bump or the six-and-a-half month pregnant woman who shocked people when she completed the Boston Marathon, or even the pregnant weight lifter that caused people to gasp, it seems that pregnant women exercising are causing some controversy these days.

In fact, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, working out while pregnant (if signed off on by your physician) is very important for yourself and your baby. Regular exercise can help reduce many maternal aches and pains, increase energy during pregnancy, and may speed up the labor, delivery, and recovery process.

“I think about pregnant workouts as training for a marathon—but you’re training for labor,” says Lisa Druxman, M.A., creator of Fit4Mom and its Fit4Baby class, an interval-based exercise routine for pregnant women that combines strength training, cardio, stretching, and balance. “You want to make sure you’re as fit as possible, especially if you’re thinking of having natural childbirth. Let the core work and squats start now!”

Here, Lisa—author of Lean Mommy—shares her tips for working out the right amount and doing it in a way that’s safe for you and your little munchkin.

It’s never too late to start working out
“You can begin exercising at any trimester, you just have to take it slowly. For the woman who wasn’t working out pre-pregnancy: Start walking and every day walk a little longer. I believe what is measured, gets done. Keep a journal of your workouts and each day add another few minutes of exercise, add another rep. The best workouts to begin with are walking, swimming, and strength training with squats and lunges and core exercises.”

Always fuel up before a workout
“I recommend a snack 30 minutes before working out because it gives you energy and helps you burn more fat. You want to snack on things that are high in nutrients—no empty-calorie foods. Nuts, protein shakes, fresh fruits, and vegetables are your best options. “

Exercise to feel good, not to feel pain
“Your baby feels everything you feel. So if when you’re exercising, you’re feeling good and energized, your baby will too. But you never want to push yourself to the point of exhaustion. Doctors used to say don’t go over 140 heart beats per minute, but that is so out of date. We now go by a talk test. If you’re able to talk easily while exercising, you’re probably not working hard enough. But if you are so out-of-breath, exhausted you’re probably working out too hard. We want you to be a little out of breath, working your heart, working your lungs, getting stronger—but not to the point of exhaustion or pain. If it hurts, stop!”

Core exercises really are the core of pregnancy workouts
“ACOG doesn’t want you exercising on your back after the first trimester because of hypertensive syndrome. They are worried that you could cut off oxygen to the baby. So many women think that means no core exercises—but it doesn’t. Core exercises (like planks) are really the most important thing to do to prepare for childbirth.”

Posture is key
“So much of being pregnant is about being pulled forward. As your uterus and baby start to grow, your hips are going to start to tilt forward, hip flexers are going to start to shorten. As your breasts grow, your shoulders start to come forward. Your scapula and upper back are going to get all stretched out and your pectoral chest muscles are going to start to shorten. Then it’s a domino effect and the head comes forward with rounded shoulders and swayed back. To counterbalance all of that, you need to focus on back-strengthening and chest-stretching exercises. The funny thing is that post-baby, we always focus on losing the baby weight, but if you have good posture, it looks like you’ve already lost five pounds!”

Check out these four safe and easy workouts for pregnancy! But always make sure to speak to your OB or midwife before starting a new exercise routine.

TELL US: What’s your pregnancy workout routine?

What is a healthy amount of weight gain for  your pregnancy? Use our calculator to find out!

Pregnancy Workouts: Best 10 Minute Workout
Pregnancy Workouts: Best 10 Minute Workout
Pregnancy Workouts: Best 10 Minute Workout

Image of pregnant woman working out courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Is Your Unborn Child Already a Junk Food Junkie?

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

Put down those Doritos and read this! The foods you’re eating during pregnancy and while breast feeding are shaping the way that your unborn child will eat for years to come, according to a new study. That’s right—bad eating habits form in utero.

Researchers at the Monell Chemical Senses Center, a nonprofit research organization in Philadelphia, found that babies’ taste buds are directly linked to what their moms ate while pregnant with them. So if you’re eating a diverse and varied diet, your child will eventually be a less picky eater, who is open to trying new things. Your good habits are being passed down to them, and that will show in how they eat as toddlers and later on as adults.

But your bad habits are being passed down as well. A study conducted at the University of Adelaide in South Australia found that if you are eating sugary or fatty foods, your child will actually have cravings for those foods and form an emotional attachment to them. Moms who ate Froot Loops, Cheetos and Nutella during pregnancy had children that built up a tolerance for those foods, so that they needed more of them to get the same gratification from eating them. That is how researchers believe the US’ obesity epidemic all started (70 percent of Americans are either overweight or obese).

According to the New York Times, “researchers believe that the taste preferences that develop at crucial periods during infancy have lasting effects for life. In fact, changing food preferences beyond toddlerhood appears to be extremely difficult.” So when you tell people you’re “eating for two,” you really are—not the amount of calories for two people, but you are choosing what your baby will be eating for the rest of his or her life. Just think about that the next time you have a craving! Of course it’s fine to indulge every now and again (here are some ideas for doing that the smart way), but know that your eating habits do have long-term effects on your little one, so choose your meals wisely!

Test your Pregnancy Nutrition IQ here.

TELL US: What foods have you cut out while you’re pregnant? What are your healthy indulgences?

Image of pregnant woman eating a salad courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Pregnancy Foods: Top 5 Fertility Boosters and Drainers

Monday, November 25th, 2013

Food is such a hot topic when it comes to pregnancy—what to eat, what not to eat, how much to eat, what’s a healthy amount of weight to gain while pregnant…the list is endless! The amount of information out there can be overwhelming! So I spoke to Elizabeth Ward, a registered dietician and author of Expect the Best, Your Guide to Healthy Eating Before, During, & After Pregnancy, to give you a quick and easy rundown of what to eat and what to steer clear of. Here are her recommendations.

The five best foods for fertility and pregnancies:

Eggland’s Best Eggs: “EB eggs contain four times more vitamin D than ordinary eggs and they provide a lean source of protein,” says Ward. “In addition, they contain no trans fats and nearly all the fat in EB eggs is unsaturated. Eggs are also a source of choline. In observational studies, choline has helped reduce the risk for birth defects in the first month of life. During pregnancy a child’s brain is developing at a very rapid pace. It needs the omega-3 fats found in seafood and in Eggland’s Best Eggs, which provide twice the amount of omega-3s in ordinary eggs. Healthy women can have 2 EB eggs a day.”

Canned light tuna and salmon: “They are excellent sources of vitamin D and lean protein. They are also relatively low-risk fish in terms of mercury. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends eating at least two fish meals a week.”

Legumes: “Chickpeas, black beans, and other beans are free of trans fat, are low-glycemic carbohdyrate sources and are full of filling fiber. Start with 1/4 cup to your daily diet, and you can eat up to a cup of beans daily.”

Fortified whole grains: “Whole grains have fiber and are low-glycemic carbohydrate sources. Women should eat at least three servings of whole grains daily.”

Full-fat vitamin-D fortified milk: “According to the research, full-fat dairy is associated with fertility. A total of three servings from the dairy group daily is the goal.” Also, according to some research, drinking milk while pregnant can cause your children to be taller!

Trying to Conceive: 5 Ways to Get Pregnant Faster
Trying to Conceive: 5 Ways to Get Pregnant Faster
Trying to Conceive: 5 Ways to Get Pregnant Faster

Five things to steer clear of if you want to get pregnant or are pregnant:

Alcohol: “Alcohol is of course bad for pregnancies, but what all women don’t know is that drinking can also put a damper on fertility.”

Caffeine: “It may also be surprising to know that there is a lot of conflicting research about caffeine. Some studies say it causes miscarriage and small babies and others say no.  I err on the side of caution and go with the March of Dimes suggestion to limit caffeine during pregnancy to 200 milligrams a day or less. When you’re trying to conceive, excess coffee may be crowding out other more nutritious beverages but may not actually be limiting fertility.”

Red meats: Lean red meat is one of the best sources of iron, “but fatty meats should be avoided.”

Trans fats: “Things like French fries, donuts and pastries, and margarine may sabotage fertility.”

Refined carbs: “Excessive amounts of refined carbs (white bread, white rice, white pasta, etc) and added (not naturally occuring) sugar are also problematic.”

According to Ward, “Women should take their preconception diet and lifestyle very seriously.” Weighing too much delays time to conception (being underweight can, too) and starting your pregnancy overweight may mean a bigger baby who goes on to be overweight later in life. “The number one issue for women,” says Ward, “is achieving and maintaining a healthy body weight (based on BMI) on a balanced diet to encourage fertility and to help insure a healthy pregnancy for mom and baby.”

Always try to start pregnancy in the best shape possible. “Manage any underlying health conditions, including body weight, high blood pressure, and anemia before conception occurs,” advises Ward. “There’s no way to figure how much of a change women will see in their fertility based on healthy eating but it is known that they will begin pregnancy in a much healthier state that will reduce complications for them and their child.”

TELL US: Did you make any dietary changes before getting pregnant or during your pregnancy? 

NEXT: Your personal pregnancy calendar (It’s free!)

Image of woman drinking milk courtesy of Shutterstock.

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