Posted in pregnancy, Super Momma

Hemorrhoids: not a girly topic to talk about, Ha?

Unfortunately, hemorrhoids are very common to have during pregnancy due to increase intra-abdominal pressure. They are also likely to happen during labor, as you bear down to push the baby out, you can imagine that you’re very likely to get hemorrhoids. They are the most common reason of rectal bleeding.  Once they swell, they bulge even more and they can start bleeding especially after going for number 2.

I did not have hemorrhoids when I was pregnant but was blessed with them after labor 😦 After giving water birth, I felt very sore on my bottom that somewhat improved in about 2 weeks. As my soreness improved, hemorrhoids still caused pain, difficulty going for number 2, and decreased my sitting tolerance on the bed nursing my little one.

Being discharged home, I was given two packs of witch hazel pads and Dermaplast pain relieving spray. After using the bathroom, all you have to do is to dab the pad on your behind then discard it. Witch hazel pads helped with recovery by decreasing itching and swelling as they alleviated the pain.

I was also instructed to do potty baths in warm water to clean out my bottom. Since you cannot wipe yourself due to increased tenderness in the area, sitting in a potty in warm water will help you relax and allow any discharge to come out.

Using potty bath and witch hazel pads definitely helped with hemorrhoids but they returned after a month. Ouch! I realized that the diet is also very important because your stool needs to be loose so once it’s coming out, it’s not irritating the area even more. After your hospital stay, you are prescribed laxatives which is great until you run out. Eating fiber rich food and drinking lots of water is the key.

Even though hemorrhoids are not a girl’s best friend, there are ways to get rid of them. Be consistent and have patience. They sure do not go away as quickly as they appear, but sooner or later they will be gone.

 

Images retrieved from:

http://www.onhealth.com/content/1/hemorrhoid_treatment

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

What about the Vitamin K shot for your newborn?

http://www.spineuniverse.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gallery-large/wysiwyg_imageupload/3998/2015/09/01/syringe_14497301_M_0.jpgOne of the injections that your newborn is scheduled to get is Vitamin K shot. But why Vitamin K? The medical world’s reasoning is to assist your precious one with clotting abilities to prevent any bleeding in the brain post partum or if you happen to get into an accident during your drive from hospital to home.

You would not want your baby to bleed to death right? So, after hearing the purpose, many parents agree to get the Vitamin K shot since it seems to be no brainer. However, what is really in that Vitamin K shot? Is it all natural and harmless to the baby? Is it all necessary?

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/564x/1d/1c/e0/1d1ce043533a509665bcfec63b80a129.jpgVitamin K is found naturally in dark leafy greens such as kale, spinach, broccoli etc, however, a synthetic form of Vitamin K is administered in a shot. What is wrong with synthetic form? Well, the synthetic form is produced in the labs and is not natural for our body to process properly. In fact, any synthetic can actually cause more harm than good.

Is there only Vitamin K in that injection or is it a cocktail form of many substances? It is not a shocker that Vitamin K shot is actually composed of multiple ingredients that are used for different purposes in the medical industry. A shot of Vitamin K has about 4-6 ingredients including Propylene glycol, Polysorbate 80, Sodium acetate anhydrous and ŸBenzyl alcohol  are some of the other ingredients. The manufacturer includes the warning of severe reactions may happen. You are on your own risk pretty much..

Another question you need to ask as a parent is how much vitamin K is in the shot and how much does your baby’s body need? A full term baby has full organ function however what happens to large doses of Vitamin K in the body, no one truly knows. Where is it stored and how is it processed? Some claim that large doses of Vitamin K causes childhood leukemia and cancer but there is not sufficient research to prove that either.

What are your other options? If you were to decline Vitamin K shot in the hospital, there are couple things you need to keep in mind. The biggest challenge for us was we could not get our son circumcised during our hospital stay. We needed to wait 4-6 weeks for the circumcision until our baby had enough clotting abilities.

http://www.revital.co.uk/media/catalog/product/cache/1/image/9df78eab33525d08d6e5fb8d27136e95/b/i/bioticsresearchbio-k-mulsion-17829.jpgIf you plan on declining Vitamin K shot at the hospital, you can choose to provide oral vitamin K for your baby. You need to give a dose at birth then at 1 week and 6 weeks. You need to make the purchase and have it with you at your hospital admission. The research claims that it is not as effective as the shot however, do they really know how much is enough? Also how much of the dose does baby’s body really absorb and process?

Also, especially during the last month of your pregnancy, ensure you increase your vitamin K intake by eating dark leafy greens, also drinking nettle tea everyday can boost your system with Vitamin K which you will share with your baby. Some sources including CDC (Center for Disease Control) claim that breast milk does not supply enough Vitamin K. The truth is some medications can block Vitamin K absorption. If the mom is experiencing gastrointestinal disorders such as celian disease, cyctic fibrosis etc., then she may not absorb Vitamin K properly from her diet, therefore the baby may be Vitamin K deficient at birth.

We live in information age and the purpose of this blog is not to make you decide in a certain way. I truly believe each and every one of us need to be aware of what we are doing to our bodies. Start obtaining information and make informed decisions before you just follow “the protocol” because our doctor says so or that’s what others do. Please do your own research before you make a decision.

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

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:

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Posted in pregnancy

Choosing your doctor after you find out you are pregnant

You find out that you are pregnant and the next step is to find a doctor that you will work with for the next 9 months. How are you going to decide who to see, though?

http://www.npobgyn.com/assets/images/iStock_000016387993XSmall.jpgAsk your friends first: If you have any friends or family members who already has kids, ask them whether or not they would recommend their doctor to you. They will either say “yes, absolutely” then you will be done with your search or “ absolutely not, I am looking for a new provider as well.” Then you will eliminate that doctor from your list.

http://www.ohsu.edu/xd/health/services/women/services/pregnancy-and-childbirth/childbirth-at-OHSU-hospital/images/waterbirth-tub.jpgThink about our laboring options: If you want a natural home birth experience then an OBGYN will not do a home visit. If you want to do a home birth or water birth in the hospital, then you may want to work with midwives instead of an ONGYN. If you definitely want epidural and be in a hospital, or you need to have a C-section due to a medical condition then you will have to work with an OBGYN.

birth-expense_0Call your insurance and ask for a list of providers: Today, insurance does not cover your medical services 100%. Meeting your deductibles and paying for your co-pays can become very expensive very quickly. You can contact your insurance for a list of in-network providers that would cost less for you compared to out-of-network offices. I received a 13 page in-network providers list where I had the opportunity to choose the OBGYN that I wanted to work with.

Read reviews online: I found my OBGYN on the 6th page of a 13 page list that was given to my by my insurance. Luckily, Google has a lot of information including providers education, patient reviews and ratings, office hours/schedule and sometimes pictures. I found that the reviews were very helpful. The OBGYNs on the first 5 pages if my list had 2-3/5 starts due to varies different reasons. Some complaints included office staff being rude, doctor being more money than patient oriented, unpleasant smell in the office to more serious things like mismanagement on doctors end and patient getting hurt. Definitely do a little research!

https://www.tuftsmedicalcenter.org/-/media/Images/Slideshows/TuftsMC/640x357/Doctor_with_patient_6_640x357.ashxAsk to go in to the office to get a feel for the office, staff and the doctor before you make a commitment: It is okay to call the office and set a meeting with either the doctor him/herself or with the office manager to get your questions/concerns addressed and answered. Do not feel weird about it because you want to make sure you feel comfortable with what you are singing up for the next 9 months of your life.

Remember you can always change your provider if you want to: Life happens right? If you are not happy with your provider after couple of visits, you can always change your providers. Also in some cases, people have to relocate or even worse lose insurance benefits therefore have to choose another doctor. You will re-start your search.

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Images retrieved from:

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

http://www.ohsu.edu/xd/health/services/women/services/pregnancy-and-childbirth/childbirth-at-OHSU-hospital/images/waterbirth-tub.jpg

http://www.womenshealthmag.com/sites/womenshealthmag.com/files/images/birth-expense_0.jpg

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https://thumbs.dreamstime.com/z/back-to-square-one-conceptual-road-signs-indicating-u-turn-symbol-34364956.jpg

 

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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http://www.thepodiatrycentre.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/edema-preganancy-315×315.jpg

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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

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!

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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!

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