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:

http://cdnpix.com/show/imgs/794674b4a789e9679bedc38af7a50f39.jpg

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Posted in pregnancy

How to battle back pain during pregnancy

Hello everyone!

In my previous post I talked about why we develop back pain during pregnancy and in this post, we will talk about how to tackle the pain. Pre-pregnancy, I worked out 3 times a week  that consisted of cardio and lifting. When I stopped working out in my first trimester, I lost some of my muscle mass. That was not a good outcome for my body since I started developing some back, neck and pelvic pain. Four factors that can create back pain during pregnancy are losing muscle mass, postural changes, developing baby and hormones. Here are four ways how you can tackle back pain during pregnancy.

#1 Avoid standing or sitting for too long 

use-support-pillows-while-sitting-during-pregnancyAs you move along your pregnancy, your activity tolerance will change. As nausea and fatigue slow you down in your first trimester,  your growing belly will limit your activity tolerance in your last trimester.  Today, we all are used multi tasking where we go non-stop all day long. My advice to you is take it easy and take breaks to make it more manageable and less painful for your body. Avoid prolonged activity such as sitting or standing for too long. Being in a position for an extended period of time will increase the stiffness in your back. If you are sitting for an hour, getting up may be harder. If you are standing for an hour, you may start getting radiating pains from your back to your legs. Remember to give yourself adequate rest breaks.

mh5m455i7it6hzhj_oxn-wqA low back pillow such as OPTP lumbar support can also prolong your sitting tolerance. You can purchase it on Ebay or Amazon for under $20. This hot dog shaped pillow fits in the curvature of your back and supports your spine during sitting in front of TV, while you are at the dinner table or even while driving. You can take it with you anywhere. A little support for your back, will make it also complain less.

#2 Stick to your exercise program

Following an exercise program that consists of both stretching and strengthening is very important. Stretching will prevent over tightening of your muscles, while strengthening will keep your muscles active and engaged that will give the support for your growing baby and changing body.  20-30 minutes of daily exercising will be helpful during your pregnancy, labor as well as postpartum. When it comes to your upper back, the key is to stretch the front of your chest and strengthen your upper back. When it comes to your lower back, the key is to stretching your hamstrings, calves and hip flexors, while you strengthen you gluteals and deep core stabilizers.

Pilates and yoga are also 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.

 

#3 Use a belt of support

If your back pain is hard to manage, then it is ok to get a little external support. I have a small frame and during my second trimester, I started getting some back and pelvic pain where I could not stand more than 10 minutes. When I was registering for my registry, I came across Medela Maternity support. Thinking to myself, “it is under $20 so can’t hurt to try”, I am glad I made the purchase. This belt provided gentle support for my low back which eased my pain. I was able to stand for longer periods of time which allowed me to attend some house chores. It is made of stretchy material so it did not dig into my belly as it gently lifted and supported my stomach. This belt attaches in the front via velcro system so it was easy to put on, adjust and take off. Hassle free! Definitely recommended!

 

#4 See a professional

pregnant-ptSeeing a health care professional throughout your pregnancy is a great idea. Even though, your ongoing aches and pains will stop once you give birth, alleviating those symptoms can be as simple as seeing a physical therapist or chiropractor as little as once a week, regularly. A health care professional can address any misalignments in your body, can use manual techniques to decrease muscle spasms, correct misalignments, and unlock aching joints. They can use tape to support your growing belly to alleviate your pelvic and back pain, give you tips on which exercises to perform to keep your musculoskeletal system as strong and efficient as possible.

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

Do not miss my next post on essential exercises of your second trimester!

Stay tuned in, stay awesome!

Images retrieved from

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Posted in pregnancy

Myth of eating for two while pregnant

0404mathsIn this case, 1+2 is not equal 2. In many cultures, pregnant women are encouraged to eat more since there is a baby growing inside of them. 1+1= 2 right? So many people believe when you are pregnant, you need to be eating twice as much since you need to gain weight and also supply for your baby.

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The 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.

The truth is eating for two means your baby also gets some of whatever you eat, it does not mean you need to uptake twice as much calories. Your baby needs about 300 calories a day. If you count your calories or into reading food labels, then you know 300 calories can be a small portion meal or just a snack. Refrain from overeating and packing up extra weight.

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

Is my baby kicking?

During first trimester, morning sickness onsets due to change in hormone levels in your blood which is super important for babies growth and placenta formation. Sensitive stomach and heightened sense of smell is a primitive tool to keep you away from bad food. Majority of the women experience some sort of morning sickness and the duration varies.

2d792aea0f016e7f0aa3824450ac078eMany people gave me a positive perspective on being sick; my hormones were working, and my body was doing what it supposed to do so it was a good thing. Around 3.5 months, when the nausea stopped and I was pretty much back to feeling normal; I did not feel pregnant at all. First, you tell yourself not to be crazy, and you are ok. At the time, one of family friends had to go for a surgical abortion at 3 months because her baby’s heart stopped. You can imagine then I started fearing what if something happened to my baby? Early in the pregnancy, my plan was to not get ultrasound at every doctor visit. Once I entered second trimester, I could not wait for the ultrasound just to see my baby. When we went for our 4 months follow up visit, I was relieved to know he was ok.

11055916_843521119074265_2014033821_nFeeling the first kick or move is very exciting for both parents. I did not start feeling him kick or move until 4.5 months. It is different for every mother. Also feeling your baby move has to do with the position of your baby in relationship to the placenta. If your baby is lying on top the placenta then your baby is directly under your belly, making the barrier between you two less. If placenta is between your stomach and the baby, it will be harder for you to feel all the punching and the kicking that may be going on.

77308d530b3a2b7dc9507d21a1d56cdeThe period between the nausea stopping and baby starting to kick, maybe a little unnerving but do not worry. I was not thrilled at all regarding ongoing sickness during my first trimester, however when the nausea stopped and fatigue subsided, I started feeling not pregnant. Do not worry and panic! Your little one is probably safe and just hanging out which will be confirmed at your next follow up visit.

 

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

 

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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!

Images retrieved from:

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