Exercising with Baby

Bemusings of a Baby Life

– 32 weeks pregnant

Just as it is important to eat right and eat well while pregnant it is important to not get lazy.  Let me tell you why…

Sure, there will be times when you feel downright terrible and it is acceptable to be a little lazy.  However, form too much of a habit with this and you’re not doing yourself or your baby any favors.  If you’re not taking care of yourself you will get heavier than you need to be which will make everything less comfortable and may make labor more difficult.  I tend to think of the 9+ months I’m pregnant as my time to train for the marathon of birth.

Since decided to start a family, note this is even before I found out I was actually pregnant, I have never been so motivated to intentionally “work out.”  I have never trained for a marathon nor do I have any desire to run in a race like that, but I am partaking in the marathon of birth; I intend to be as strong and conditioned for the big event as I can for the safety of me and my baby and for as speedy of a recovery postpartum as I can manage.  Here is what I’ve been working at…

  1. Conditioning

    This has changed forms throughout the pregnancy.  I started out with running and eventually that got frustrating because baby bounced on my bladder.  I would tinkle before my run and still feel the urge to pee throughout the entire trip.  So I switched to the elliptical machines at the gym and now that it’s getting warmer out I take my dogs for long walks outside.  The elliptical is great because it’s easier on my knees and the bouncing is less jarring so my bladder can rest in peace.  Walks are ideal because I get fresh air, the dogs get some exercise, and its nice and easy on all my ligaments and joints.

  2. Stretching

    Besides stretching for a while after I work on cardio I go to a yoga class at least once a week.  Yoga is incredible because I am getting body weight strength training (see below) and a good long stretch at the same time.  This stretching will not only aid me in delivery but it has significantly helped me move around without pregnancy aches and pains.  Before I started the class my back pain sat consistently at an 8 out of 10. I felt like an old person with all my muscles and bones shifting uncomfortably around trying to figure out how to carry the concentrated weight gain building at my midsection.

  3. Strength Training

    Up until recently I was able to do sit ups with every work out.  But now I am officially at a stage of pregnancy when my abdominal muscles have migrated too far from their regular location to actually aid me in siting up at all.  I could still do sit ups, but they were no longer good for me because in order to achieve that movement it was other muscles that had to compensate for my out-of-place abs.  So now I stick to the body weight strength training I get with my yoga.  Body weight training is awesome because it tones your body according to your body’s needs.  If you’re into lifting weights, that’s always an option too.  I highly recommend yoga because you’re doing body weight strength training and stretching at the same time, two very important things for labor and delivery, but it’s not for everybody and something like Pilates or Zumba will do you good this way too.

  4. Chiropractor

    So this isn’t exactly exercising but it is a great addition to my pregnancy wellness plan.  Back pain is very common and a big bummer in pregnancy.  With a once a week adjustment I move around still as if I’m not pregnant.  Before I started seeing my chiropractor by lower back pain almost knocked the breath out of me every time I changed positions and my hip joints were sliding in and out of place.  It is also said that since chiropractic work aligns the body as it should be, baby’s passage and orientation should be much more natural – if mom’s body is out of place it’s bound to be harder for baby to navigate through it.  If you think about it this way, it is much easier to sip out of a straight straw than one with a kink in it!

I highly recommend all pregnant women follow these four wellness tips.  I promise you’ll be glad you did!

Pregnancy Food

Right after I found out I was pregnant I scoured books and online articles for information about what I should and should not eat.  After exhausting my research I turned to my midwife and doctor.  Here is my most helpful and well rounded list of things to eat and not to eat in pregnancy.

DO

Food

  1. Greens

    Try to sneak as many greens into your diet as possible.  I admit, this one is very hard for me!  I actually slack the majority of the time because greens happen to be the one thing I have had an aversion to since I was about 12 weeks pregnant.  In favor of not upsetting my gag reflex I often opt out of eating them.  However, on the days I’m feeling up to it I will sneak them into my eggs, pick up a green juice with kale or spinach in it, pop a handful of spinach into a smoothie, hide some kale in fried rice, or occasionally even braving a salad.  Who would have thought the world’s biggest veggie lover would have to force feed greens to herself!

  2. Protein

    Eat as much as you can.  As a vegetarian it was recommended I try and get some protein into every meal.  For a snack I’ll often grab a handful of nuts or a hardboiled egg (see Grab-N-Go Foods below).  I default to eggs often but I also have been going for greek yogurt, beans, and protein enriched smoothies.

Vitamins

  1. Multivitamin

    This is your insurance to cover gaps in your diet.  Even if you are a fruit and veggie fiend you simply don’t know how nutritious those whole foods are unless you grow them in your own composted, organic soil.  Take your prenatal with a meal in the first half of your day.  Here’s what to look for in your multivitamin:  400+ mcg of folic acid (folate), 150+ mcg of iodine, 2000- IU vitamin A acetate/palmitate.  I personally recommend a plant based multivitamin because you are more likely to save yourself from experiencing constipation.

  2. Vitamin D

    For women living in the midwest I recommend 5000 IU of D3 daily.  We do not get much sun in the winter and at our latitude any sun we get in the summer isn’t actually that helpful.  My doctor recommended Healthy Origins, 360 softgels.  If you shop on vitacost.com or iherb.com you will save yourself a chunk of change.  Vitamin D should be taken with a fatty meal or alongside your omega-3 supplement.  Low vitamin D levels have been linked to increased risk of preeclampsia and c-section.

  3. Omega-3’s

    My doctor is also a die hard vegetarian but even she gave into taking Omega-3’s because flax, chia, and hemp simply won’t make a dent.  What you want is at least 1000 mg of DHA + EPA.  DHA alone will not help you or your baby, the EPA is the component that will allow the supplement to reach across the placental barrier.  My doctor specifically recommended Carlson labs Fish oil, 16.8 oz (I got lemon flavor for taste).  You can also purchase this on vitacost.com or iherb.com to save yourself some money.  To be honest, I loathe this vitamin.  Whenever I can finally get around to polishing off what I have I plan on getting my fish oil in the form of a capsule.  It’s not the taste.  The stuff doesn’t carry any real flavor.  It’s the texture that gets me.  You try swallowing a spoonful of cold oil a day and tell me if you like it!

  4. Probiotics

    Research is showing that the types of bacteria your baby is exposed to at birth and shortly after may influence the development of their immunity system.  Exposure to lactobacillus and bifidobacteria has been shown to reduce the risk of skin allergy and possibly asthma later in life.  Studies also show that women who take probiotics in pregnancy reduce the risk of having a child with autism.  The best ways to help the baby get these bacteria is to deliver through the vagina, breast feed, and take probiotics.  My doctor specifically recommended a Wisconsin brand called Florajen3 but if you can’t find that brand be sure to take a probiotic that includes both the lactobacillus and bifidobacteria.

Grab-N-Go Foods

Since I was so hungry so frequently I spent some time brainstorming what I could carry around with me.  Both my midwife and my doctor recommended snacking on protein because it would last longer for me and I needed to pile as much protein into my body as I could for the baby and delivery.

  1. Hard boiled eggs
  2. Protein balls
  3. Nuts
  4. Protein bars
  5. Greek Yogurt
  6. Fruit (like apples and bananas)

Don’t

  1. Dyes

    They are totally hard to avoid but if you stay away from candy, soda, and other obviously bright colored things you are on the right track.  Dyes ultimately have been said to lead to all sorts of issues in your baby, some of which may include autism and ADD.

  2. Caffeine

    A cup a day won’t hurt but do yourself, and the baby, a favor and choose more sleep instead.  If you really have to have coffee go for decaf, but be aware that digestion in pregnancy gets a little hosed up and coffee is one of the first things they tell you to cut out – apparently coffee makes the esophagus lazy, caffeinated or not.

  3. Seafood and sushi

    A little won’t hurt anyone.  The key to eating habits in general is everything in moderation – particularly the “bad” stuff.  But, according to my reading, tuna and other fish are ok, swordfish and shark are a no-no, and shellfish and other bottom feeders are ok but should be consumed only rarely.

  4. Alcohol

    Apparently even a glass or two of wine is ok now-a-days.  Earlier in the pregnancy I would restrict myself to occasional sips of someone else’s beverage, but I have now cut it out completely.  Despite my findings I feel a lot more comfortable foregoing altogether.  I figure, if the stuff gets me a little bleary eyed so quick I can’t imagine what it would do to the baby.  But what do I know right?

  5. Refined sugar and flour

    This is a pretty broad category but ultimately you want to avoid carbonated beverages, packaged foods, and things like that.  Ideally it is best to stick to a whole foods diet and cooking meals yourself (and that goes for always too but particularly when pregnant).

  6. Deli meat

    My doctors didn’t specifically mention this but I’ve read it all over online.  I don’t eat it ever anyway but I sure am not going to start when pregnant.

What To Wear

Bemusings of a Baby Life:  What To Wear

– 26 weeks pregnant

There are plenty of little tid bits of information that skipped reaching my ears before I got pregnant.  One such thing is that it isn’t really until you are showing significantly that it is easy to dress.  I mean, around now I still fit into my regular clothes, I just look chubby instead of pregnant.  I have found a few numbers in my closet that I wear certain ways so I show off my belly.  I recently decided I’m going to have to be ok with my select few discoveries because the maternity clothes I am borrowing from my wonderful sister-in-law were clearly made for a lady with a bigger belly (and I’m sure that will come), everything else in my closet is either too baggy to showcase the belly (but not baggy enough to hide it), or is now a belly shirt.  Actually, are belly shirts back in style yet?  Just kidding.

Certainly my closet issues aren’t a big problem.  It’s not a terrible thing to feel frumpy every now and then.  I’m just so anxious to show off my little miracle!

Anyway, here are the tricks I’ve come up with along the way to stretch the clothes I already own far into pregnancy.

Tunics and loose form dresses.

Tie a belt just under your bust and vwaula!

T-shirts and long sleeve shirts.

Most of these simply won’t work, but those longer t’s you have in your collection will become your best friend!

Dresses.

My dresses have been my go to.  I have a handful that I simply cycle through because they are fitted just under my bust so they show the baby bump nicely while keeping me comfortable and loosy-goosy.  And since the majority of my pregnancy thus far has been in winter I can slide some leggings on underneath and I’m good to go.  The leggings can sit comfortably just under my bump but stay on just fine!

Pants.

I am still wearing my regular pants.  With low rise jeans I can still even zip and button them up all the way.  I usually steer clear even still though just for comfort purposes.  It’s way more comfortable wearing a dress with leggings than pants.

Bras.

This was unexpected.  Not that I didn’t expect to size up at all, but I thought that only came with breast feeding.  No, I had to upgrade only a few short weeks in.  Babies make a lady busty that’s for sure!  Fortunately I have a lovely friend who was able to lend me some bras in the next size up.  I am stubbornly not buying a bra because I won’t need it for very long!

I still have issues with getting dressed because I was born with long torso – a “long tank” on your average female is of normal length on me.  So, if anyone knows where this pregnant lady can find some seriously long tank tops I am all ears!

First Kicks

Bemusings of a Baby Life

– 28 weeks pregnant

I have to admit, I didn’t much enjoy baby’s movements until recently.  This little kiddo started wiggling very early and noticeably kicked Josh for the first time at 16 weeks.  I was excited at first of course, then the constant squirming in my belly felt more like a bad case of the butterflies or poorly processing bowel movements.  I started feeling a little bad about my feelings because I kept being told by other moms stuff like “isn’t that the best!” or “oh I miss feeling my baby like that.”  But a week or so ago I finally joined the ranks of moms who view baby’s movements fondly.

I had a wicked stomach bug a couple of weeks ago; with my already struggling digestion and a baby moving around constantly the addition of the vomitous mass threatening to explode at any moment and my diarrhea infested intestines I was miserable.  They all said getting sick when pregnant is the worst and they were right!  I have never had the flu for more than 48 hours and this bug lasted a week, caging me in my bed for 3 of those days.  Then, when my flu finally fled for good I found myself in love with feeling my baby move.

I love falling asleep with my hands on my belly feeling baby kick me here and head bump me there.  I love that I can tell where baby’s butt is and the difference between getting punched or kicked.  I have learned that this baby particularly likes the drums.  A couple of weeks back I sang with Josh at Central Christian Church.  Our friend Dustin would hammer the drums at different points in the set and every time the baby unleashed an unprecedented dance party.  That was very distracting but I loved it.   Actually, I grinned like a fool on that stage.  Sometimes I swear the baby is playing the surface of my belly like a piano or the drums.  Other times, I’m fairly certain the baby is trying to tickle me from the inside.

As Josh and I were watching a show the other night I was experiencing a particularly active session with baby.  As I held my baby through my belly I muttered “I love this baby.”  And I do.  Josh said, “And you were worried about not loving our baby.”  And I was.  I had heard stories about women who birthed their babies and when they saw them for the first time they didn’t feel anything.  I heard that, in some cases, it took the mom a few days to fall in love with their baby.  It was my understanding this was primarily due to the fact that these women expected their baby to look a different way.  Well, I have no clue what my baby looks like, but I do know I already love them wholly and completely.  I would do anything to keep them safe and show them love.  I even have dreams, ok nightmares, about getting attacked and all I’m thinking in these dreams now-a-days is how I could position myself to defend my baby against the assailant.  My instincts are to use my body to shield my baby belly from whatever may threaten to harm my little treasure.

I truly am looking forward to meeting this baby and experiencing love in a whole new way.  I’m excited to use what I learn about love from loving my baby to better love everyone else better too.

Second Trimester Pregnancy Symptoms

Bemusings of a Baby Life

My symptoms in my 12 – 24 weeks of pregnancy.

  1. Little Miss Cranky Pants.

    Yup, I’ve been a hot button waiting to be pushed ever so slightly for several weeks now.  I remember the first day I woke up cranky.  I remember the second day I woke up cranky.  I remember the third day I woke up cranky and thought, “What the heck?!”  Isn’t a lady only supposed to be cranky for two days tops?  That’s how it was during a regular menstruation cycle.  This isn’t that different right?  Well, apparently it’s worlds different because I’m still cranky many weeks later and finally beginning to figure out how to be peppy and joyful despite my inherently sour disposition.  For example, I have recently stopped reaming Sam out every time he doesn’t come the minute I call him in from outdoor tinkle time.  That is a big victory and gives me hope as a mommy.  I figure there will be plenty more times in life when I’m cranky but will have to deal with icky parenting moments despite my bad mood.  Also, I have discovered cooking and working out are wonderful coping mechanisms for a bad mood.  I now do both almost every day.  Lastly, I am very devoted to my devotions.  I feel very committed to praying for my bad mood every day.  God is good and helps me cope quite well.

  2. Lower Back Pain.

    I thought lower back pain was reserved for the ginormous pregnant lady?  Like, maybe when I’m 8 – 9 months.  I mean, come on body get a grip!  This lower back pain is a beast!  It’s angrily lingering just above my pants line all day.  It feels like a muscle that was worked hard the previous day and is in need of a good, long stretch.  I try to stretch it.  I feel good.  And then I release the stretch and I feel just as bad as when I started.  What has actually worked is going to the chiropractor about once a week, turns out my sacrum keeps shifting out of place to the right, and yoga!  If I start slacking though I pay for it in pain!

  3. Did My Hip Just Pop Out of Socket?

    There’s no rhyme or reason, suddenly my hip just slides out of socket.  It hurts and I can’t move because that makes it hurts more.  But, if I move a very particular way that is impossible to describe my hip will slide back into place.  Maybe you’ll be around sometime to watch this event unfold.  On the up side, working with the chiropractor and going to yoga has also now cured this!  I still have the occasional slip but it’s usually the day I’m due at the chiropractor or just a minor infraction.

As you can see, my grocery list of symptoms is shorter than in previous stages of pregnancy (First Symptoms and More Symptoms)… YAY!