Ginger Zee Shares Her Secret to a Heart-Healthy Pregnancy During American Heart Month

Heart health is a priority for ABC News Chief Meteorologist Ginger Zee, who's due with her second son next week. She shares how she prevents premature heart disease. 
Photo by Donna Ward/Getty Images

The night before ABC News Chief Meteorologist Ginger Zee expects to give birth to her second son, you won’t find her resting on the couch at home. Instead, she’ll be walking in the Red Dress Collection 2018 runway show during New York Fashion Week to support Go Red for Women, a movement created by the American Heart Association to empower women to take charge of their heart health.

Zee decided to walk in this show, which will take place just hours before she will head to the hospital for a scheduled C-Section, because she wanted to embrace the final moments of her pregnancy. “I did Soul Cycle the night before Adrian was born,” Zee told Parents.com. “Walking on the runway is a big achievement, and I feel settled with who I am and how I look.”

Plus, heart health, the focus of the fashion show, has been important to Zee even before her pregnancies. “My mother is a neonatal nurse practitioner and my step-mother was an occupational therapist whose job was to tell people they could not go back to work if their blood pressure was too high, so I grew up knowing heart disease and cardiovascular disease is the number one killer in women,” she said. “It gets overlooked because people don’t think of heart disease when they think of women. It needs to be reinforced for everyone growing up now.”

And it’s especially important for women to focus on their heart health during pregnancy. “Pregnancy stresses your heart and circulatory system," according to The Mayo Clinic. "During pregnancy, your blood volume increases by 30 to 50 percent to nourish your growing baby, your heart pumps more blood each minute and your heart rate increases."

Zee started monitoring her heart health with her doctor while she and her husband Ben were planning to get pregnant for the first time. “We did checkups, and once I knew I was in good health it was about monitoring,” she told Parents.com. “It was something that I didn’t take lightly.” Which is good, because 80 percent of premature heart disease is preventable, according to the World Health Organization.

To maintain her own health during her second pregnancy, Zee says she practices yoga once a week, does cardio exercises three days a week, and strength training two days a week. She also eats even healthier than she did during her first pregnancy. “I really stuck to 200 to 300 extra calories in my third trimester and any indulgences have to be good for my heart,” she said.

This means Zee chooses a handful of almonds over cookies and milk. “It’s not that I don’t indulge here or there, but in the middle of night when I have weird hunger that overtakes me, I’ve told myself ‘you’re going to have some almonds.’” She adds that her husband hates to go grocery shopping with her since she says she is obsessive over where her food comes from and what it does to her body.

Zee’s focus on a heart-healthy lifestyle will likely get passed down to her two-year-old son Adrian, who is excited to meet his baby brother. “He kisses my belly and says ‘I love you little brother,’” Zee says. “But when I read him a book about how he would have to share with his little brother, he lost it.” Looks like the sibling rivalry is starting young.

We can’t wait to see Ginger Zee walk the runway on Thursday, February 8, and wish her and Ben the best of luck with their growing family.  

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