Posted in Super Momma

Toning up after giving birth: When &How?

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5 ft 4 inc 115lbs pre pregnancy
Most pregnant moms (99%!!!) cannot wait to get back to pre-pregnancy size; a smaller waist and firmer butt & thighs after giving birth. We lose a lot of strength in our core due to the over stretching of our abdominals and we lose core stability. Even though a new mom loses about 10- 15 pounds after delivery, the million dollar question remains to be “when can I start working out again?”

Once you are discharged home, the first week you will be very busy with your newborn especially if you’re a first-time mom. Healing time frames differ for vaginal delivery versus cesarean section. If you had a vaginal delivery, you feel very sore on your bottom for about 3 weeks. If you had a C-section, you feel pain on your incision site. I am sorry to say this but after a C-section, most activities will be achy. Every time you try to sit up, get in/out of bed, reach for something etc., you will have some aches/pain that will last for about 4-6 weeks.A vaginal delivery helping time is 6 weeks where a C-section is 8 weeks. Since many women experience abdominal separation, it is advised to wait out 6-8 weeks before you start any abdominal exercises. Best exercises to focus on initially are the ones that are going to keep you up right first.

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Still 5 ft 4 inc 155 lbs at 32 weeks
You can first start working on your mid back, shoulder stabilizers and your gluteals. These muscle groups will help you with proximal strengthening. What does that mean? These muscles will keep you upright, resist the pull of gravity and reverse the adverse effects of bad posture(s). Some shoulder exercises to perform are shoulders squeezes, wall slides, airplanes, angels and horizontal adductions. Some gluteal strengthening exercises you can do at home are clamshells, side lying straight leg kicks, squats (form is important for proper activation), butt busters and fire hydrants.

You can start in your core stabilization exercises with transversus abdominus activation(TrA). Very important ladies!! TrA is a deep stabilizer in your core that needs to be active to support a healthy good posture and protect your spine from any injury or simply prevent back pain. Waiting about six weeks on average after vaginal delivery is optimal before you start with any aggressive abdominal training that can include sit ups, crunches, reverse crunches, straight leg lowering etc. If you had a C-section, that time frame stretches to eight weeks to ensure soft tissue healing.

What exercises helped you the most to recover and get fit? Which exercises you liked? Which exercises you hated? Please comment below and let me know!

Stay awesome!

 

 

Posted in Super Momma

Lactation circle: how is it important?

Why join a lactation Circle? Thats what I asked myself since I did not see the value in it in the beginning. Later on my views totally changed. Once awhile, it is good to be wrong!

Before being discharged home, I had the nurse as well as a lactation counselor teach me to how to express milk, educate me on how to position the baby, latching him on and the feeding schedule. The following morning, I had one more nurse and lactation counselor go over the same information. A breast feeding booklet was included with my discharge paper in case I needed to review the information. So, I felt pretty okay going home, even though, I didn’t know exactly what I was doing. They made it seem somewhat simple, my baby seemed to be latching on and feeding. It also had to come naturally, right? Yeah, right!!!

Shortly after we got home, things didn’t go as planned. My newborn was not latching properly and he was crying all night long because he was hungry. I was afraid I was gonna lose my milk supply so I kept on pumping to spoon feed him. Even then, he kept losing weight. It was on our second pediatrician visit when she realized he had a tongue tie and, he had to have the release when he was 10 days old. Our pediatrician wanted us to do lactation sessions with her right after tongue-tie procedure. She also said she didn’t accept insurance for one hour lactation service fee of $295. We were ready to do everything in our power to get him to feed properly but the money was a bit of an issue. I was on my maternity leave so we were trying to survive on one persons’s salary for over a month already. Our budget was tight and we were going to have to do multiple lactation sessions.

img_7042-jpgI decided to work with someone that I trusted if I was going to pay that much cash. What did I do? I turned to my midwives. During my first postpartum visit, I recalled my midwife telling me about their lactation circle that run twice a week. Giving their office a call, I found out it was a free service and no appointments were necessary. So, I started lactation circle an hour after his tongue tie release. Not the midwives, but a doula- Britt Sando- was running the circle. She welcomed me to the group right away. Not only she helped me with latching my baby on, we also weigh him before and after breastfeeding to see how many ounces he gained. She kept in touch with my pediatrician giving her updates on baby’s weight gain. It was not too long before I realized our lactation circle was more than just showing moms how to latch their babies on.

We met in person on Tuesdays but we could reach out to one another all the time. I was added to private Facebook lactation circle that already had 40+ moms sharing experiences, talking about good products to purchase, posting questions and helping one another. Whoever could make it to Tuesday sessions showed up, on average four to six people, but rest of the group met online. Many times I thought I was the only one going through a struggle, or when I was not sure what I was going was right or wrong, I would post on our Facebook group. Other moms would come to my help, comforting me by letting me know that their little ones experienced similar symptoms, behaved same way and what to do about it, how to resolve the problem. It was all OKAY, our struggles would pass. My lactation circle became my support group.

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When ege was born, 7 lb 15 oz
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Right after tongue tie procedure, he was about 6 lb 9 oz
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After extensive breastfeeding, he was almost 13 lbs in this picture

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Having my son go through tongue-tied release was very hard; there was no anesthesia given since he was too young, I was asked to hold his head still as I watched the doctor approach him with a pair of scissors following his mouth filling with blood. As my mom says, every crisis has a blessing in it and this one led me to our lactation group. My advice to all the new moms is to find your local lactation circle which, is most likely to be a free service, and to join. You have nothing to lose but a lot to gain. When women support one another, incredible things happen!

I want to hear about your experiences. Please comment below and let me know what your thoughts and feelings are!

Posted in Super Momma

Don’t be a “I can do it” mom

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This is for all the super moms out there!

In this century, as women, we are so used to multitasking and getting everything done! We work hard and we have high standards, we are determined and we are high achievers. Falling short or not living up to our own standard is not what we can tolerate. We know what we want, how we want to it and we work hard to get it.

After giving birth, you are tired both emotionally and deprived of sleep, your body is exhausted. You also go through all different types of emotional challenges due to hormonal changes. As you are getting used to taking care of your little one,  your body is trying to heal, so let others help you. I know you’re very used to doing it all on your own and you do have a strategy on how to tackle each task but this is the time YOU need some support.

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Let others help you. Let your family help you. Let your friends help you. Do not feel bad. Do not think less of yourself. If someone asks, “what can I do?” give them a task as little as putting groceries away, taking garbage out, emptying or filling up the dishwasher or even starting a load of laundry. Each and every little help will add up at the end of the day and you will find yourself less frustrated, feeling more accomplished. We all know that you can do it all on your own! You know that you can do it all! Your husband knows you can do it all! This is one time that you don’t have to prove yourself so just relax, sit back and enjoy the moment. Remember this is not a marathon, it is the time to enjoy being with the family and bonding with your little bundle of joy. It is the time to get some rest and recover back to 100%. Remember it’s not just you any more and right now you have a little one that depends on you 100% of the time!

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let me know what you think! I want to hear about your experience, feelings and thoughts 🙂

Posted in Super Momma

$140K for being a stay home mom?! Yea, right!

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Treat being a stay home mom as a full-time job

Going from working full-time to staying home full time is a big transition for all moms. Some of us look forward to it and some of us do it because we have to. Once I hit 39th week, I was excited for my maternity leave because I was physically exhausted. I thought to myself how bad can can staying be? I don’t have a location or time commitment, I am on my own time schedule so I can go to bed whenever I want and sleep until noon! yayy! 3 days later I figured that was not the case.

I stayed home for three months for my maternity leave it was a big emotional/psychological transition because I was used to being surrounded by people, being busy with different tasks and multitasking for the majority of the time (planning non-stop- you know what I am talking about!) Being home with my son was amazing but doing the same chores over and over again, started getting very repetitive and frustrating. I would clean the dishes, and after 10 minutes, there were new dishes in the sink. I would change the baby, half an hour later, he would poop again. I would tidy the house, it would not last half a day and would get messy. In a 24 hour timeframe, I found myself attending same chores with an increasing levels of anxiety and decreasing sense of accomplishment due to lack of visual progress.

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Today the researchers estimate that the salary of a stay home mom is about $140,000 because it is a lot of work. Being rewarded by money or a desirable something is positive enforcement. In the work force, we put time and energy in, and get a pay check, build our career and sometimes our success is recognized by our colleagues in exchange. We put time and effort in to doing something and we get something in the end. But once you’re in a stay home mom, you do the same chores over and over again, and in the and you are still stuck with the same exact chores the very next day. So this lack of progress is what made it so frustrating for me.

For instance, whenever my son napped for an hour, I would try to tackle as many chores as I could. That included hell of a multi- tasking: going to basement first to put the laundry in, then putting away all pumping equipment then washing baby dishes then washing our dishes, then tidying home then having breakfast if I had time left. In the end, I was restless, couldn’t take care of myself, I was angry and tired. I knew I had to change this asap. I always say that the perspective is everything in life. So I decided to treat staying home as a full-time job. When you go back to work you have hours, right? Some of us we work 9-to-5, some work 10 to 6, whatever it is but you have limited commitment. Therefore, I decided that I would attend house chores just during certain hours of the day. I strictly said no overtime, loll! If they was still work left, I would do it the next day. I decided to use the reminder of the time to take care of myself.

img_7444How did that help? I had to self-assure that it was OK to leave some work for the next day. It took some discipline and deep breathing not washing the dishes that were piling in the sink. I realized taking care of myself emotionally made me feel better. Putting a little make up on or getting our nails done are important for us since it changes our demeanor and makes us feel better about ourselves. Changing my perspective on running house errands, changed my attitude and gave me a more positive outlook, and I tackle my frustration in a more efficient way. I even picked less on my husband too, lol!

I would like to hear about your perspective. How do you feel about being a stay-at-home mom? And how do you tackle the daily frustration? Please comment and let me know!

Posted in pregnancy, Super Momma

Switching providers during your prenatal care

https://www.tuftsmedicalcenter.org/-/media/Images/Slideshows/TuftsMC/640x357/Doctor_with_patient_6_640x357.ashxDuring the first 5 months of my pregnancy I was under the care of an OBGYN. When I found out that I was pregnant, I called my insurance company and inquired about a list of in-network providers in my area. After some research, I chose an OBGYN due to his 22 five out of five stars reviews online so I made my first appointment. The staff was great, he was a great doctor but I decided to switch to midwifery care when I was 5 months pregnant. Let me explain to you why…

My doctor was great; he had great credentials, great reviews and he was very professional with an awesome demeanor. He was also a medicine man. What does that mean? He wanted to rule out any possible disease or condition by ordering bunch of tests every time I had an appointment. His approach was “lets find out whats is wrong with your pregnancy” instead of “Everything appears to be normal and there is no reason why we need to predict otherwise.” His suspicion may be due to just to be on the safe side, that may be just the way he practices or just in case something went wrong, he would be covered since he would have the test results in my file.

http://www.npobgyn.com/assets/images/iStock_000016387993XSmall.jpgOur first two appointments went great. During later visits, he did not seem to engage in much conversation other than telling me what tests we needed to run next. He was very professional but I feel like I was another patient for him, I did not feel a connection. This loss of connection may be due to males do not like to talk too much and/or I was having a normal pregnancy so there was not much to discuss.

The biggest reason why I switched to midwifery care was when I told him that I wanted to do a natural birth, he was certain that I would need an epidural and a possible C-section. His argument was that since the medicine has come far, why was I going to suffer from pain while I could be pain-free?

850d12e2ff165f05135772cda1bbc8d4I wanted to be in more control of my labor experience and I did not 100% agree with hospital regulations. As females, we know what we want, we are strong headed and independent until it comes to giving birth. We give up all control and let someone else be in charge of our birthing experience. I wanted to give my best shot by trusting my body that it is capable of doing what it is supposed to do, and not let anyone tell me that I could not move and had to lie down and stay still, or I needed pitocin because I was taking too long to dilate or I needed some epidural for pain because I was screaming too much. Do not get me wrong, there are situation where medication is indicated due to dangers of complications however I did not want to expect the worst going into labor.

Every woman is different; everyone’s goals are different, every female’s medical history and health status is different. I am not telling you what you need to do or who to trust. My advise to you is interview your provider before you finalize your decision. Do your research, there is a ton of information on the internet, on the books and talk to other mothers to learn from their experiences. Be in charge of your own care and make educated decisions.

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I would like to hear about your perspective. What do you think? Please comment and let me know!

 

Images retrieved from:

https://www.tuftsmedicalcenter.org/-/media/Images/Slideshows/TuftsMC/640×357/Doctor_with_patient_6_640x357.ashx

http://www.npobgyn.com/assets/images/iStock_000016387993XSmall.jpg

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Posted in pregnancy, Super Momma

Travel regulations for pregnant women

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Do you have a trip coming up and are you aware of the regulations that you need to meet?

If you are traveling with a car or train, there is no clearance needed. However, if you are traveling with a plane, then there are some flying restrictions you need to be mindful of. You can always check with your airline when you purchase your ticket. I traveled when I was 29 weeks pregnant, and here are the regulations I had to meet during my travel:

  • No health report is necessary until the end of the 27th week of pregnancy.
  • Pregnant women expecting one baby can fly with a doctors report that states that they are for to fly by air carriage between 28-35 weeks. Past 35 weeks, you cannot fly even with medical clearance.
  • Pregnant women expecting twins or more can fly with a doctors report that states that they are for to fly by air carriage between 28-31 weeks. Past 31 weeks, they cannot fly even with medical clearance.
  • Medical clearance must be dated maximum 7 days prior to the flight.
  • Report must include doctors full name, license number and signature.

I would like to hear about your perspective. What do you think? Please comment and let me know!

Images retrieved from:

http://az616578.vo.msecnd.net/files/2016/05/11/635986020673165225-265259556_global-travel-destinations.jpg

Posted in pregnancy, Super Momma

Weight gain during pregnancy

The first trimester is the toughest when it comes to eating and controlling your weight. You all know what I am talking about. You feel sick all day long, you cannot eat, even if you eat you may not be able to keep it in, and heightened sense of smell does not even let you look at some food groups. Controlling yourself in the first trimester is very hard and you are likely if you can eat some food then keep it actually in.

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During my first trimester I could only eat bagel with cream cheese, pizza, pasta with cheese and any citrus fruit. I could not stand garlic, hummus or anything green including salad spinach etc. I knew not eating would make me weaker and also I had to go to work so I would have a bagel in the morning, some fruit in the afternoon, then pizza and some soup in the evening. I knew I was not in taking nutritious food, but that’s what I managed to eat at that time. I was not too concerned either because I knew this period was transient and I was going to get some supplementation from prenatal vitamins. I was able to take control of my food intake, make healthier food choices and control my cravings as well as portion sizes better once my nausea settled.

http://www.babyyourbaby.org/images/pregweightdiagram.gifThe recommended amount of weight gain is 11-33 lb during pregnancy. If you are gaining less than 11lbs then your baby may be underweight and premature. If you gain more than 33 lbs, it will be harder for you to move around with all that extra weight, you may set yourself for gestational diabetes and/or high blood pressure, and it will be harder to lose all that extra weight post pregnancy. I know people who gained 50-70 lbs during pregnancy and unfortunately, it was really hard for them to get back to their pre-pregnancy weight since it took months and a big commitment and lots of sacrifice.

Tips to avoid excessive weight gain during pregnancy

woman-eating-two-burgersPeople will try to convince to eat whatever you want in large amounts because you are eating for two.

Learn to say no. Remember your baby only needs 300 calories on average a day so there is no need to double up your portions. All the extra calories are unnecessary and will be stored in your body.

P-portionControl-enHD-AR1Stop eating once you get full.

As your uterus keeps expanding into your abdominal cavity, there is will be less and less room so overeating will create a lot more discomfort for you. Pace your self and remember portion control.

fresh-produceAdd more fresh produce to your diet; keep them available in your fridge.

If you like to snack, have fresh produce and healthy snack ready in your kitchen. If you have good food choices such as hummus, yogurt, edemame, veggies or fruit in your fridge you are more likely to snack on those before you open a package of cookies.

e64cc62a2a20a84d7ad6404bdb80b760Drink water, keep hydrated!

Remember you may not be hungry, you may be thirsty. There is not really a recommended amount of water intake you need to reach. However, still ensure that you are drinking water not soda, coffee or all other zero calorie carbonated drinks. Remember nothing will replace water. If you do not like the taste of plain water, then try adding some fresh cucumber, lemon, mint, and/or strawberries for some flavor. You know what works best to make yourself drink more water.

Sweet tooth challenge 

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If you have a sweet tooth and it is hard for you to give up on cookies, cake, ice cream then definitely try portion control. During my first trimester, magnum brand double chocolate caramel ice cream bar would relieve my nausea. Weird right?! I would crave for it right before bed between 9-10 pm. After I put on 8lbs during my second month of being pregnant, I knew that habit had to stop. I started eating only half and saving the other half for the following night. Cut your portion size in half, eat slower for a prolonged satisfaction period and avoid from eating in front of TV since you can indulge a lot more without realizing.

Avoid packaged products and baked goods and take control of your cravings.

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Sugar is the #1 substance that 99% of the population is addicted to. There is sugar in everything especially in packaged products. More sugar you eat, more you will crave for it. During my pregnancy, I would crave for dates right before bed after I had my ice cream bar. I would tend to eat about 12-14 of them in one sitting and I know it a big sugar load for my system. I would try to hold off on that to have it when I wake up in the morning. More you expose yourself to late night snacking, more your body will store. If you can hold off on your cravings and eat in the morning, you are more likely to burn that off throughout the day.

If you are struggling with nutrition and weight gain, see a professional.

I am not a nutritionist or a dietitian and all the information that I offer on my website is drawn from my personal experience as a new mother. If you are really struggling with what to eat, want to learn more about different food groups and how they affect your body, also has weight issues, I advise you to see a professional who can guide and help you. You can definitely talk to your OBGYN, see a nutritionist or dietitian.

During my pregnancy, I really enjoyed reading and learning more from Mark Sisson’s Primal Blue Print book, and Primal Blue Print Cookbook as well as Quick and Easy recipe book. If you want to learn more about nutrition, making better food choices and how to make healthy food in seconds, these books are treasures that are definitely worth checking out.

I would like to hear about your perspective. What do you think? Please comment and let me know!

Images retrieved from:

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Posted in pregnancy, Super Momma

Essential exercises of the second trimester

good-pregnant-posture-Due to your growing baby and increased amount of relaxin in your system, your posture, your laxity and the way you move will start changing. You all have heard of Newtons third law: for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. When you are carrying a baby in your belly, the weight of the baby will change the way your spine is. You arch will get exaggerated, your core stabilizers will be inhibited, then your hamstrings will tighen up to put the “breaks on” to stop that forward pull. These are just some of the changes in your lower half.

Even though, we refer to our spine as neck, mid back and low back, in reality, our spine is made up of 33 bones that are interconnected via ligaments, muscles, and fascia. The point is if your curvature in your low back changes, it will eventually change your alignment in your neck. That is one of the reasons why pregnant women tend to suffer a forward head posture that also accompanies rounded shoulders and tight chest. As the weight you are carrying in the front increases, you can imagine the increased stress on your joints and muscles.

Following a program that consists of both stretching and strengthening is essential especially during your second trimester since your body is going under more stress as your baby keeps growing inside of you. If you have not started with a workout routine, this is the time for it! Do it asap.

If you can spare 20-30 minutes daily, performing couple stretches and strengthening exercises will be helpful during your pregnancy, labor as well as postpartum. You can either alternate your days as upper and lower half, or you can dedicate stretches to one day and leave strengthening exercises for the next day.

Upper half

Some stretches to focus on should be for your neck and chest. Doorway stretches are really good for your neck while seated stretches for both right and the left side of your neck will alleviate muscle tightness and spasms. After stretching what is tight, the next step is to strengthen what is weak. My favorite muscle groups to focus on are your triceps and upper back. You can either use weights or an elastic band for both exercises. Another choice is simply using your body weight. Tricep dips on the edge of a couch, modified push ups or regular push ups if you are able to, and/or planks will help you strengthen your upper back.

 

Lower half

When it comes to stretching, keeping your hips mobile and unrestricted will aid your low back pain and prepare you for labor. Hip flexors, adductors, hamstrings and calves are the muscle groups that need to be stretched. Holding 30-60 seconds shall be adequate hence it will allow muscle to start relaxing. Strengthening your abs is out of the question and crunches make it to the top of the exercises that you need to avoid while pregnant. Whet you can do instead is focusing on your deep pelvic muscles and gluteals. Kegel exercises, double leg bridges that you can advance to single leg later on, clamshells and again planks are great exercises. As the exercises get easier, you can also add 5-10 seconds holds for each rep.

deep-breath.jpgAn important tip to keep in mind to avoid holding your breath during exercising since it can also affect your blood pressure. You cannot vocalize, without taking a breath so  easiest trick is to count out loud while you are exercising.

I would like to hear about your perspective. What do you think? Please comment and let me know!

Tune in for more information and instructions on detailed exercise programs, until then stay awesome!

 

 

Images retrieved from:

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Posted in pregnancy, Super Momma

Exercising during pregnancy

how-to-exercise-during-pregnancyMany women continue to run, lift, do sports such as crossfit while they are pregnant. There is 15% chance of miscarriage until baby’s heartbeat is present. Genetic problems, drug or alcohol abuse, hormonal imbalances can cause or contribute to miscarriage vs. exercising does not. I think the myth is that if you jump up and down too much or if you lift heavy, you may experience a miscarriage. The fact is that your baby is protected very well in your womb and is not going anywhere.

I am a practicing doctor and due to the nature of my job, I do not get to sit down. I also tried to work out for about an hour 2-3 times a week. At least, that was my pre-pregnancy routine. During my pregnancy, I went to the gym twice and in both instances, after 15 minutes of light workout, I was so out of breath that I had to leave. When I got home, I was wiped out for 2 hours. Due to the extreme fatigue and not feeling well, I could not make it to the gym so I ended up cancelling my membership.

Even after cancelling my gym membership, thanks to my job, I was able to stay active by moving around whenever I was at work. Then when I was home, I would keep active with gardening, cooking, light cleaning etc. I stayed away from prolonged sitting and bending over too much to pick something up from the floor, or getting something from the cabinet/ fridge since those would give me back pain. I also got a piece of elastic band to work out some muscle groups for two main reasons: 1- I was losing my muscle mass since I was no longer lifting weights. 2- I was getting a forward head posture and wanted to oppose the forward pull by getting my back stronger. I did couple exercises periodically to keep my upper back, shoulders and hips in check. I would also take walks around my neighborhood to stay active and de-stress from daily drama.

832b6b14-7d48-4fd6-9b96-94751736f15d.crop_1000x525_0106.resize_1200x630.format_jpeg.inline_yesWhen it comes to what kind of exercise in what amounts is right for you, it is mainly up to you and how you feel. There are really no recommended guidelines. First trimester, due to fatigue and nausea, I do not think any soon-to-be mom can stick with a strict exercise program. Second trimester is the time that you start feeling better, however your blood volume is already 50% increased, baby is getting bigger and placenta is fully developed so you are carrying around some extra weight. You may find out that your exercise capacity is not the same. Third trimester is the time that everything starts getting tight that you start waddling even when you are walking so moving around definitely gets restricted.

494389547_XSIf you already have a routine and able to go on with some adjustments, and then do it. If you are a crossfit athlete, I advise you to use less weight during lifts. If you like to run, I advise you to either slow down your speed or cut down on your distance. If you cannot run anymore but like to stay active, you can use the elliptical, which is a great alternative to running or simply walk.

Pilates and yoga are great tools to use while pregnant. Pilates focus on core stabilization and hip strengthening while yoga focuses on improving overall flexibility, and strength by using your own body weight.

6 Don’t’s of exercise

  • Refrain from hot yoga since high temperatures may affect your and your baby’s health
  • Make sure you are not holding your breath. If you are holding your breath, you may increase your blood pressure during exercising
  • Ensure you are drinking enough water before and after exercise to avoid dehydration
  • Do not push yourself beyond your limits- this is not the time for that
  • Your tolerance differs everyday – your body is changing daily so what you could tolerate will be different so stick with a program that has variety of exercises
  • If exercising is new to you then tut more emphasis on stretching since keeping more flexible and mobile can aid during labor

I would like to hear about your perspective. What do you think? Please comment and let me know!

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