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?
Pop star Christina Aguilera went through a very public weight gain and weight loss last season on The Voice—recently dropping a whopping 35 pounds. While she is thrilled to be pregnant with a sibling for son, Max, 6, Life & Style is reporting that newly engaged Christina’s not so happy about gaining pregnancy weight after working so hard on her diet and exercise to shed her unwanted pounds. But whether she likes it or not, her newly svelte body is about to get curvy. It’s nature, baby!
Christina has always maintained that she loves her body at every size (as does fiancé Matt Rutler!), and that it’s important for women to be comfortable in their own skin—no matter what. Amen! But the media often makes that hard on women in general, and especially on pregnant women (Remember just weeks ago when Chris Hemsworth’s actress wife Elsa Pataky was fat-shamed on the Oscars red carpet?).
When you suddenly have a new body you don’t recognize in the mirror, it can be a shock, and you may even need an adjustment period to get used to the woman who is looking back at you. Your favorite clothes suddenly don’t fit, and as Kristin Cavallari recently admitted, when you’re pregnant “you can just feel gross.” On the flip side, though, you can feel the most beautiful and feminine you ever have with glowing skin and flowing locks. You are a baby-making goddess after all!
No woman can predict how she’s going to feel—or look—while pregnant. While one mama-to-be may be psyched to suddenly have a top-shelf rack, another may hate her pregnancy breasts (like Jamie-Lynn Sigler did). And the same goes for your butt. You may love the bodacious curves you get, or you may feel like you aren’t ready for that jelly. And that’s ok. There is an end to it all, and you will get your pre-pregnancy body back at some point (though it may forever look a tiny bit different).
When pregnant with son Max back in 2007, Christina gained 40 pounds while pregnant (that’s a little more than the recommended 25 to 35-pound pregnancy weight gain—but, hey, Beyoncé gained 65 pounds and look at her now!). So to insure she doesn’t gain too much this time around, Christina has reportedly hired a team of nutritionists and trainers to keep her on a super-healthy pregnancy path. Um, must be nice!
Have you seen Beyoncé’s scantily-clad video for her new song “Partition“? The sultry singer strips down to pretty much nothing—just a G-string and an itty-bitty bikini top, shaking what her mama gave her, and looking incredible while doing it! Her motivation to flash so much skin? Mrs. Jay Z had finally lost the 65 pounds she put on while pregnant with daughter Blue Ivy, and she was ready to celebrate. Can you blame her? If I looked like that after having a baby–or ever, really–I’d probably never wear clothes! I think we can all relate to being a new mom, wanting to shed our pregnancy pounds, and to look and feel sexy (not to say you can’t be sexy while pregnant—I loved my newfound cleavage, but I could have done without the stretch marks on my lower belly!).
In part four of her self-titled digital documentary called Liberation, Beyoncé reveals, ”I was very aware of the fact that I was showing my body. I was 195 pounds when I gave birth, I lost 65 pounds, I worked crazily to get my body back. I wanted to show my body,” she said. ”I wanted to show that you can have a child and you can work hard and you can get your body back. I know finding my sensuality, getting back into my body…it was important to me that I expressed that in my music because there are so many women that feel the same thing after they give birth.”
“You can have your child and still have fun and still be sexy and still have dreams and still have yourself,” she continued. “I don’t at all have any shame in being sexual and I’m not embarrassed about it…I don’t feel like I have to protect that side of me because I do believe that sexuality is a power that we all have.” Agreed! And there really is nothing sexier than fitting back into your pre-pregnancy jeans. Am I right?
TELL US: Will you/did you do like Beyoncé and wear a bikini or something sexy to celebrate losing your baby weight?
Image of Beyoncé courtesy of J. Stone/Shutterstock. If you’re a mom to be, find great workout gear that fits your body in our shop.
Let’s face it—while some women wear their stretch marks as a badge of honor, which is awesome (check out Jade Beall’s book, A Beautiful Body!), not all of us are secure enough to be able to embrace them, even though we love what they represent—the ability to bring life into this world!
“Women love being moms, but no woman wants stretch marks!” exclaims Ali Landry, 39, who just gave birth to her third child, son Valentine Francesco. As an actress, TV host and model, Ali’s job pretty much depends on looking amazing all the time, so she totally gets the fear of stretch marks that most women have.
That said? In the nearly seven years of motherhood and three pregnancies, Ali hasn’t had a single stretch mark. It’s okay to hate her just a little bit for that (if only we could all be that blessed!), but she’s way too sweet to hate her a lot! And even though there is sadly no miracle cream that can stop you from getting stretch marks (it’s mostly hereditary and about 90 percent of women will get them during one of their pregnancies), Ali swears by Palmer’s Cocoa Butter, which she used while pregnant with Estela (now six), before she became a Spokesbelly for Palmer’s products with Marcelo (now 21 months), and Valentine (born yesterday!).
Ali took time out of her insane schedule to share how pregnancy has affected her self-esteem, how she told daughter Estela she was going to be a big sister again, and why you won’t be seeing her in a bikini on a magazine cover anytime soon.
How did you tell Estela about the new baby? Andre and I told her on Christmas. We had a video camera going as we told her together because we wanted to capture this big, exciting moment, and she acted like she already knew! She was like, “OK, another one’s coming.”
Was she disappointed she wasn’t getting a baby sister? At first she really wanted another brother, but now that Marcelo’s bigger and getting more aggressive she’s realizing two brothers mean double the trouble!
Not to scare you, but there was a recent study that said women with three kids are more stressed out than women with any other number of children. My friend with four kids told me that three was really hard, but that four was really great. So I told my husband, maybe we should hurry up and have a fourth!
What advice would you give a mom who’s pregnant with another baby? The same advice I’d give first-time moms: When the baby sleeps, you sleep! Otherwise, you’ll never get any rest.
Did you go on a babymoon with this pregnancy? We did! We did a double babymoon, actually. We had a trip to Rome, where we had a private meeting with the pope and he blessed the baby. That was really special! Then we went to Mexico to relax on the beach. I think it’s important to take time as a couple to stay connected.
Did any of the old wives’ tales ring true for you in predicting whether you were having a boy or girl? I hadn’t thought about it until now, but both of my sons did sit much lower than my daughter. Wow, what they say is actually true!
You’re such a sex symbol. Do you feel sexy when you’re pregnant? I don’t ever see myself as sexy, but hopefully my husband does! I will say I feel feminine and confident when I’m pregnant. You really just have no choice but to release any sort of insecurities you have about your body because it is what it is. So you either go with it, embrace it, and love it, like I do, or you’ll be miserable.
So much has been made about how big (Kim Kardashian) or small (Kate Middleton) women are when they’re pregnant. How do you feel about all of that body scrutiny? I think it’s horrible. Both myself, Kate Middleton and Kim Kardashian were all due at the same time (before Kim went into labor early!). I felt like I was going through that with them and it would frustrate me so much to see the media rip them apart because this really is a beautiful time in a woman’s life and everybody is trying to figure it out. I really wish people would have given Kim a break and let her enjoy her pregnancy.
Are you worried about losing the baby weight? I do feel the pressure, but it’s more for myself than the pressures from the industry. I feel better when I’m in shape, and I really love to exercise. Plus, working out gives me energy, and I’m going to need a lot of it since I have three children to run around after! That said, it really frustrates me when I see someone in a swimsuit on the cover of a magazine three weeks after giving birth. That’s impossible to live up to! I look at it this way—it took nine months to put the weight on, it’s going to take nine months to take it off. It’s a process. Give yourself a break and really enjoy that gorgeous baby of yours!
TELL US: Are you worried about getting stretch marks? If you already have them, do you cherish or hate them?
Image of Ali Landry and her kids courtesy of Palmer’s.
Ok, so it’s not exactly on the market, but Huggies has developed a “pregnancy belt” that has given some dads-to-be the ultimate Father’s Day present: the ability to feel his baby kick—not by putting his hands on his baby mama’s bump, but in the dad’s own belly! It took four months to create the belt that “replicates in real time the movements and the baby’s kicks, from mom’s belly to dad’s belly.” (If this thing were at Brookstone, I’m sure it would sell out way faster than those massage chairs!)
As you can see from the video, the dads are overcome with emotion when they feel their babies kick—as was I. I wish my husband had been able to experience that overwhelming love I felt each time our son kicked. After of course I realized that’s what was happening—it took a few times before I knew what I was actually feeling. Early on the sensation felt like butterflies in my stomach, but as my son got bigger and stronger his kicks and elbow jabs were unmistakable. I’m pretty sure he was dancing nonstop—kind of like his mom and dad. While it wasn’t always the most comfortable feeling, every tap brought a smile to my face, knowing that my little one was somehow communicating with me as if to say, “Hi, mom!”
As much as we moms say we wish our guys knew all that we had to go through while pregnant, I was really surprised when my hubby came down with a bad case of sympathy pains. I had morning sickness for months, and there were days when my husband felt nauseous too without any real explanation. His back and knees were also hurting right along with me—and I admit I was not sympathetic at all. Puh-lease! There’s no way what he was feeling could ever compare to my sharp-as-glass pains. Or so I thought.
And while I gained 20 pounds of baby weight with my pregnancy, my husband gained 15. Who could blame him, if he was going on a donut run for me, why not get one—or two, or three—for himself? But getting the post-baby pounds off has proven to be just as hard for him as for me.
So it’s fair to say that my pregnancy wasn’t easy on him either (and I didn’t even mention my emotional mood swings he had to endure!). If he had to suffer right alongside me with pains and belly fat, I wish he had experienced the good stuff too, and nothing beats the warm-and-cozy feeling you get when you feel your baby inside you. All men should feel what these lucky few got to. Come on Huggies, get this belt in stores stat!