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!

 

 

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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 pregnancy

How to prepare for traveling during pregnancy 

l_101360929When I was 7 months pregnant, I was traveling to Antalya, Turkey which is a 10 hours flight to Istanbul, following an hour flight connecting flight to Antalya. Meeting my family in Antalya, we were going to travel by car for several hours over 2 weeks period. Even though my doctor was not worried about my travel, my father’s cardiologist strongly advised against the amount of traveling I was getting ready to do. His concern was I was more likely to develop blood cloths in my calves due to increased blood volume, swelling in my legs and upcoming inactivity.

Since I had made all the arrangements previously and my doctor cleared me for traveling, I did not cancel my travel plans. At the same time, I was not going to ignore a cardiologists concerns so I started thinking how to tackle possible problems and better prepare for my travels.

http://www.thepodiatrycentre.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/edema-preganancy-315x315.jpgCalf muscles play a vital role in returning blood back to the heart. When you are sitting a long time, since your knees are bent, your calves will not be able to pump the blood back towards your heart efficiently to provide full return. That’s why everyone experiences some amount of swelling during long travels. When you are pregnant, your blood volume also increases so more blood volume also means more residual blood in your calves. That’s why pregnant women are at a greater risk for developing blood clots after prolonged traveling .

There are 5 ways that you can tackle these problems and minimize any risk to your baby and your body.

e64cc62a2a20a84d7ad6404bdb80b7601- Drink adequate water: the blood has two parts two parts: plasma and particles. Drinking more water is always important since a more viscous blood will flow better and will not clot as easily.

2- Limit salt intake to prevent swelling: salt also attracts water at all cell levels. Once you increase your salt intake, your body will also retain more water to maintain osmosis. You will experience more swelling in your legs and hands. Limiting your salt intake will also decrease your chance to experience increased swelling.

3- Move as much as you can: the best way to reverse adverse effects of sitting is standing and walking. If you are traveling by air, you can stand up or walk up and down in the aisle but if you are traveling by car, then you are more restricted. What you can do is exercising in your seat. You can curl your toes, pump your ankles or draw alphabet with your feet, and march in place.

http://www.healthy-heart-guide.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/fish-oil-heart-benefits.jpg4- Omega 3 fats such as fish oil has many great benefits and one of them is they act as blood thinners. Taking fish oil regularly will also be helpful.

5- Compression stockings: you can find compression stocking almost anywhere. Most stockings offer mild compression which is adequate in decreasing swelling in your legs.

Ensure you are making these changes couple days before and during your travels.

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

Drinking alcohol while pregnant

pregnant-women-red-wine-avoid-new-survey-514778Once of the most discussed topic of pregnancy is whether or not you can drink while pregnant. I think most people agree on the harms of excessive drinking, however the amount remains unsettling for many. But what is excessive? Is one cup a day excessive? Is one cup a month okay? Should you not risk anything and not drink at all?

Here is my take on this topic…

Whatever you put in your body, you are also sharing it with your baby. Even with the advancements in the medicine today, we still do not know how much alcohol your baby would be exposed to and the affects of the alcohol on your baby’s development when you drink. Also, each drink has a different amount of alcohol in it. A glass of long island tea contains way more alcohol than a bottle of miller light. So, I have a little conservative take on this topic but I am not for banning alcohol fully either.

During my pregnancy, I stayed away from hard alcohol. I was not a big drinker to start with so giving up on hard alcohol such as vodka, tequila, whiskey, rum etc, was not a big deal. I only craved for beer and/or wine occasionally. Whenever we went out to get burgers and fries, I would also crave for beer. Since I did not want to have an alcoholic beer, I would ask the bartender for a non alcoholic beer. I have to admit it did not taste the same but hey! I was still having a beer with my burger.

Some non-alcoholic beer options are

 

The list goes on and on and you got the point. There are non alcoholic beer options available if you like. On occasion, I also craved for wine. We all know that drinking one cup of red wine is actually healthy for your heart. Since it was good for your health, I did not bother with non-alcoholic version, which would be sparkling wine. Instead I consumed in very very little amounts. I had wine in three or four occasions during my pregnancy and each time I took 2-3 sips only, not gulps ,which was less than ¼ of a cup. Since my alcohol tolerance was already lowered, I got buzzed after I took two sips so I stopped.

When it comes to making a decision on how much drinking is too much, it is all up to you. You will hear a lot of opinions on this matter and some will be conservative, while some will be more courageous for you to drink. Listen to all, do your research, then come to a conclusion.

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

Nutrition and pregnancy

We all agree that not only during pregnancy but also in our everyday lives, we need to eat right and/or make better food choices. What does eating right mean? I think it is such a general concept or intention that when it comes to application, majority of the time we fail to do so.

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I am not a big fan of going extreme and being super strict with your diet, start measuring the amount of food per meal or day, being super picky with food choices. I believe that you are more likely to get off of track when you follow a strict diet. I believe in being good 80% of the time, and being more lenient 20% of the time. That means, 80% of the time eating right and choosing healthy food, while cheating and being more lenient towards not-so-good-for-me food groups 20% of the time. Once you give yourself a bit more wiggle room, you are less likely to get disappointed and give up. Lets take a closer look at different food groups and how they can affect your body and baby.

The first trimester is the toughest when it comes to eating. You all know what I am talking about. Feeling sick all the time, not being able to eat, having a heightened sense of smell, and not being able to tolerate even sight of some food groups are some challenges of the first trimester. Controlling your diet in the first trimester is very hard since you are lucky if you can eat some food and actually keep it in.

My advise to you is eat whatever you can and do not worry about what it is. For example, during my first trimester I could only eat bagel with cream cheese, pizza, pasta with cheese and any citrus. I could not stand garlic, hummus or anything green including salad spinach etc. I knew I needed my strength to get out of the bed and go to work so I had a bagel in the morning, some fruit in the afternoon, then pizza and some soup in the evening followed by a magnum double chocolate caramel ice cream bar right before bed. It was the ideal diet, however that’s what I managed to eat at that time. I was also taking my prenatal vitamins that provided vitamins for my body so I did not stress over it too much.

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What your growing baby needs is protein for your baby’s developing muscles and internal organs, fat for neurological system including the brain and the spinal column, minerals and vitamins for bone health. All these elements play an important role in your baby’s development since they all work together as the building blocks of your baby. Did you realize that I did not include carbohydrates? Your baby does not really need many carbohydrates, so carbs really end up on the bottom of the list.

When broken down, carbohydrates eventually turn into sugar and we all know sugar actually feeds into inflammation, causes weight gain and is usually used in our body as a quick access energy source so it is not meant to be storage, it is meant to be used so you can get rid of it. I am 5” 4’ 120 lb (pre pregnancy) and gained 8 lbs just in a month due to my increased carbohydrate intake. I was determined to change my diet when I started feeling better which started happening around 14 weeks of my pregnancy. I stuck with a high fat protein diet and tried my best to stay away from carbohydrates.

I will give you two examples of what I ate once I no longer experienced morning sickness,

  • Breakfast: omelet with 2-3 eggs, onions, peppers, olive oil and cheese
  • Lunch: mixed nuts, salad, chicken
  • Afternoon snack: Green apple
  • Dinner: yogurt.

The next day,

  • Breakfast: Panini
  • Lunch: stuffed pepper
  • Afternoon snack: a banana
  • Dinner: fish with salad, Avocado

Pre-pregnancy I did not have dinner, instead I would eat a lot more for the first half of the day. During my second trimester, my body went back to my old habit of eating more during the day and eating less at night. I am not saying that is what you need to do, just figure out what works best for your body.

Even though my goal was to stick with a high protein high fat diet, I was still eating carbs too. For example, Panini has bread that is carbs. Fruits such as apple and banana also have some amount of carbs in them since they have sugar. I was not too concerned because I was not eating a ton of fruit. Remember if you are good 80% of the time, you will be ok- at least that’s my philosophy.

food_pyramid_flat_2011sm-1Some great sources of protein are: of course all the meats, fish, poultry, eggs, yogurt, green peas, quinoa, nuts (minus peanuts) and nut butters (I advise you to grind your own nut butter from whole foods that has no additive), tofu, edemame, leafy greens such as broccoli and spinach, chia sesame sunflower seeds and the list goes on.

Some great resources of fat: nuts (minus peanuts), avocado, natural oils such as olive oil, coconut oil, organic butter (stay away from corn oil, margarine, vegetable oil, sunflower oil etc)

For your vitamins and minerals stick with eating lots of vegetables and control your fruit intake since you do not want to spike up your sugar levels.

51T4YZfJGTL._UY250_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

Does your morning sickness stop you from taking your prenatals?

morning_sicknessI do not know why it is called morning sickness since you feel queasy all day long. In my case, I did not have too bad of a sickness when I compare myself to others where women could not get out of bed, could not eat anything, lost weight and even had to get an IV put in due to risk of malnutrition. I never threw up, nausea would cause me to gag, I would go to the bathroom just incase and It would stop. I guess I was lucky.

I did not have any pregnancy symptoms until 6 weeks 3 days. It all started with onset of mild sickness, followed by bathroom visits every two hours. I had to continue to take my vitamins especially prenatal and folic acid tablets but they were also making me nauseous. Doctor prescribed me an increased dose of folic acid for my first trimester due to my sister being born with a cleft lip. He had to make sure we were preventing any genetic problems. Prenatal vitamins plus the folic acid added to about 8 pills a day. If you have difficulty taking one, taking 8 of them can be a huge challenge. Luckily, I was taking capsules where I could open them up and mix them with a median such as juice. I chose to purchase vitamin code prenatals and Bluebonnet Folic acid from wholefoods store.

Increasing my vegetable and fruit intake was not easy since I could not stand the sight of anything green. Therefore, I decided to make smoothies in the morning. I would put more fruit than vegetable to make the smoothie sweeter so it would be easier to drink. When you are pregnant, your heightened sense of smell and taste do not allow you to eat certain food groups. The best strategy is to trick yourself into eating them by mixing in the food that you like to eat.

healthy-fruit-smoothieMy favorite recipe was:

  • ½ banana
  • couple strawberries- whatever you have at home
  • ¼ of blueberries
  • Spinach (eating spinach was impossible otherwise
  • Chia seeds (great source of nutrition)
  • Yogurt (most of the time strawberry yogurt)
  • Milk
  • Then open 8 capsules of supplements

Blend it then take it to the car with me, and I would finish it before I got to work.

Just like any other expecting mother, I started searching all questions or concerns that I had online. I also started reading the book,what to expect when you expecting. All the sources said eat small meals frequently throughout the day so I decided to follow the advice. Surprisingly, I started getting light headed when I got up too fast, it would get dark and start spinning. I suspected it was my blood pressure. My normal is 100/60. I started taking my blood pressure 3-4 times a day and realized that it was fluctuating between my normal and 125/ 80. At first, I thought it was just pregnancy, then I figured I was not eating enough. I used my fitness pal to track my calories and I was taking about 1300 calories instead of 2000/2200 calories a day. I decided to heck with online advice and started eating my regular portions, which immediately resolved my blood pressure problem. Interesting huh? I guess your body is much more sensitive when you get pregnant.

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

Images retrieved from:

http://www.newhealthadvisor.com/images/1HT03416/morning_sickness.jp

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