Swim – Your Bump Will Love It…..

Although I’m not usually a fan, (I like the dry!) I’ve found that swimming is a relaxing, invigorating exercise when pregnant. It’s low-impact, and keeps pregnant women healthy without putting strain on the joints or legs.

One thing I have had to get over is how I look in a swim suit. All my old bikini’s look ridiculous with a bump and my tankini doesn’t quite cover it so I’ve had to find a good-fitting, comfortable swimsuit to wear that doesn’t offend anyone!

One tankini I have fallen in love with is from the Anita Maternity Swimwear range.

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The pretty maternity two-piece has adjustable straps, a supportive and padded bust area and ruching around the tummy. It comes in lots of colours too.

Now, not being quite confident with my expanding chest, I did however find that the design was pretty low cut, but thats fine because I wore a supportive halter neck sports bra underneath. There’s nothing worse than keep having to re-cover and re-adjust yourself mid-stroke. This just gave me that extra security and once in the water no-one would know any different.

So what do I do in the pool – except from swimming? Well after speaking to a coach at my pool, I’ve been doing pool running and breast stroke but stopped doing the front crawl.

Unlike the crawl, breaststroke doesn’t require the torso to twist, which can be both uncomfortable and harmful to the back. Also, as pregnancy often drives the shoulders and spine to round, and pushes the pelvis out of position, breaststroke can help counteract this, as it gently encourages the body to remain properly aligned.

As for backstroke – my favourite – the jury is still out.
As we know, after the first trimester, women are advised not to lie on their backs for fear that the pressure of gravity will compress a major vein in the chest and impede blood flow. Some experts advise pregnant women against doing the backstroke for this reason. However, the water can minimises the effect of gravity on your stomach, so you should safely be able to carry on doing backstroke while pregnant. All I suggest is that you keep an eye on this as your bump grows and stop at the first sign of discomfort or dizziness.
Enjoy the water ladies – I know your bump will. It feels so good for it to be supported – and hidden under the water, well away from those impending eyes as you lift weights in the gym. This is time for just you, your bump and the water.

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Five inches and counting…..

For as long as I can’t remember, I haven’t weighed myself, but instead used a tape measure to keep track of my body shape. 

Instead of writing it down I’ve instead put a red line on the tape measure so every time I  measure myself I know where I stand. 

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So today I took the plunge and grabbed my tape measure to see how much weight I had really put on since falling pregnant. 

To my surprise, the measurements around my upper arms were exactly the same. Great. My calves again were exactly the same. Once again – great! My thighs were 1/4 an inch bigger – ok not the end of the world and could be water retention, but my hips were two inches wider – which shocked me slightly. I then did a bit of research and found that most women’s hips will widen during pregnancy mainly because the hormone relaxin causes the ligaments in your pelvis to widen and become flexible so that birth will be easier, which put my mind at ease. 

I then measured my tummy and ha! It was 5 inches bigger since the beginning of my pregnancy, five months ago – an inch for every month. It’s nice to know that my bubba is growing well! 

Now to support my growing bump I came across this GORGEOUS Gowri Wrap.

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It’s absolutely beautiful and is designed to give the baby some gentle support, while supporting your lower back, which is vital for me, since I am really bendy thanks to my gymnast background and even more so now that I have an extra dose of relaxin in my body. 

Dr Gowri Motha, a fantastic a doctor, healer and pre and postnatal expert also believes that the wrap can stop the colon getting bloated and discourage the build up of gas and build up in the colon, since the growing uterus is fighting your colon and intestines for space, creating gas and wind. 

The wrap can also be used post-baby too, helping to bring your ribs back to their original position and lift your abdominal organs. 

I can’t wait to start wearing this. It truly is beautiful and will support my growing bump over the next three months, whilst helping me to ease my abs back into its pre-pregnancy shape once the baby is here. Well worth the £75 and my husband likes it too! 

Get yours at http://www.bopeeps.com/collections/the-gowri-wrap.php for just £75. 

You can also learn more about it by watching this video featuring the one and only Dr Gowri. it’s a very interesting watch.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K5b4JlYDkaE

 

 

 

My Pregnancy Diet

Since finding out I’m expecting, weight has gone on where I really didn’t want it too and I have craved foods that I really didn’t want to crave.

Admittedly, in the first three months I went with the flow. If I wanted some salad, thats what I had, and if I wanted a digestive biscuit I went with it. I was so relieved to be pregnant, I wanted to do everything I could to protect my baby, and that involved listening to my body and going with it.

Now I’m five months in, I want to take more care of what is going in.

Here is my diet;

Before the gym:  two boiled eggs
10am: Green juice – 1 x apple, 4 x sticks celery, handful of kale, 1 x lemon, 1/4 cucumber and sometimes 1/2 avocado. I will also have a slice of rye bread with almond butter.

1pm: Usually a soup or I have chicken with sweet potato and salad.

4pm: This is my problem time so I have something sweet like chocolate Sunwarrior Protein Shake and 1/2 banana with cinnamon. I might also have a few slices of goats cheese.

7pm: Protein like salmon, chicken, steak or cod with salad or veggies.

8:pm: Apple and cinnamon and almond butter.

Now I don’t know if this is the right diet for everyone but I seem to have loads of energy from this. I’m still putting on weight though, which I suppose is down to my growing baby and my hormones. My nails are strong though, my hair doesn’t stop growing and my iron levels are high and my blood pressure is on the low side of normal. My mid-wife seems happy.

Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I do give into my cravings. For instance, yesterday I was at an event and they were giving out yummy birthday cake with lots of icing. Usually I would have resisted but I think why not. Big shape up is for once the baby is born so that’s when I say no, no to cake and no to junk food but for now, I will have it occasionally as and when I fancy it.

Protect Your Assets with the right sports bra

It’s not only your belly that grows during pregnancy. Your boobs grow too. Annoyingly none of my sports bras fit anymore. I’ve never felt so womanly!

So I called in a helping hand from Clare Robertson, Panache sports bra designer.

According to Clare “it is especially important to be fitted correctly when looking for a sports bra whilst pregnant.
Most sports bras are unwired, which would be more comfortable and safer than a wired bra that doesn’t fit correctly. But a correctly fitted wired sports bra would give more support for the heavier busted woman. It is always important that the wire sits behind the breast tissue and not on it, especially when pregnant.”

Now, I know everyone is different, but Clare reckons most pregnant women go up at least one band size and 2 cup sizes – but don’t guess this when looking for an effective sports bra go and be sure to go and get expertly fitted periodically throughout  your pregnancy.
Now thankfully I’m fully stocked with some comfy bras that should see me through my pregnancy including The Panache Sports bra (£35).
Now looking slightly larger than what I’m used to, I found this bra really supportive and comfortable. I liked the adjustable straps which allowed me to wear racer back tops and normal strappy tops while still keeping me supported.
It wasn’t bulky either so when I was having an especially fat day, I could wear under normal clothes for added support and re-assurance. I also loved the colourways – although this one below isn’t available until September.
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Another of my favourites was the Moving Comfort Juno Bra ( from £24). Admittedly it isn’t as supportive and structured as the Panache Bra BUT it was uber comfortable and felt more relaxed, which made it perfect for a yoga or stretching session. It gave me a nice shape too.
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So there we have it. A few of the best Sports Bras to wear when pregnant and exercising.
I’ve never been used to having boobs (or a bump for that matter), so these have been life savers for me – and I”m confident that they will protect me until the baby is here and until my body returns to its normal shape.
One thing I’ve learnt over the last few months is don’t fight it ladies – go with the flow and enjoy the ride and all the body changes pregnancy brings. It might be the only time in your life that you have bigger and perkier breasts for free!

What I eat for breakfast – my green goodness smoothie

Yesterday I went and saw my mid-wife she asked me how my diet was looking and seemed pretty impressed with my breakfast (and other meals for that matter). My juice is mainly bright green and full of vitamins, minerals and good fats. She definitely approved!

One juice I have most mornings is my turbo green juice.

It’s basically 1 x apple, a handful of kale, an inch of ginger, some cucumber, 3 stalks of celery and a lime or lemon.

I then blend it with some ice cues, a cup of water, a tablespoon of Lucy Bees’ coconut oil and a scoop of Bodyism’s Beauty Food. 

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I love adding coconut oil to my breakfast as it helps fill me up for longer and contains large amounts of lauric acid, a powerful anti-microbial fatty acid that protects the immune system of my growing baby. Coconut oil is also said to to increase the quality of the womb environment and breast milk – both things that are absolutely vital to me right at 19 weeks pregnant.

If I’m being extra indulgent and want to make my juice nice and creamy I will also add 1/2 an avocado or a dollop of CO YO, a dairy-free yogurt made with real coconut milk. It’s a real treat!

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It’s weird. These days I wouldn’t even think about having cereal or toast. I wake up in the morning craving the goodness of this juice. It sets me up nicely for the day and the benefits of it are evident. My irons levels are super high, I don’t suffer with lack of energy or constipation like many pregnant women at this stage in their pregnancy and I’m getting plenty of green, vitamin rich food even though i don’t fancy eating it as a meal. I’ve really gone of meat and veggies since finding out I’m pregnant and this is a great way of filling up on my greens without gagging 🙂

 

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Pregnancy Yoga

Tonight I’m off to my first pregnancy yoga class as recommended by the lovely Tegan Haining at Bodyism. She suggested it would be a good way to connect with my body and baby and help stretch out any kinks caused by my growing bump, so I listened and I’m all signed up and ready to go.

The class is especially aimed for pregnant women, which can help correct any posture problems as well as help to boost circulation and help with fluid retention. I’m also hoping it will help me to relax a little and concentrate on my breathing.

Here are a few key pieces of kit that I will be taking and wearing to my first yoga class. I’ve been to a few in the past so I’m hoping that I will make these a regular thing and meet some other expecting mums in the area too.

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My TLC Sport Figure Firming Leggings 

These leggings are super supportive and not see through in any way – which is great for the person doing yoga behind me! They also have a flattering fold down waist band which supports and moves with my ickle bump and isn’t restrictive in any way. (www.tlcsport.co.uk)

My Liforme Yoga Mat
This well cushioned, ultra grippy yoga mat is a few inches wider and longer than regular yoga mats making it handy for us women carrying a few extra pounds. It’s also PVC-free so it doesn’t contain any nasty ‘heavy metals’ and has markings on it so you can check your alignment during your poses.

I will of course also be armed with a big water bottle to keep me hydrated throughout the session, a towel and a piece of fruit incase I need to raise my blood sugar levels during or after the class.

I’ll give you a full verdict of the class soon – has anyone else tried yoga when pregnant?

 

Why use a heart rate monitor when pregnant

One of piece of kit that I can’t live without when in the gym is my Polar Heart Rate Monitor. 

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It gives me instant feedback so I can see how hard I am really working during each session.

Obviously being pregnant means I CAN’T go all out in the gym. I need to be look after number one – my baby – and researchers suggest that prolonged intense exercise can reduce blood supply to the placenta.

My level 3 Award in Designing Pre and Post-Natal Exercise Programmes stats that exercise intensity should be monitored and you should be working around 60-80% of peak aerobic capacity. So if you are;

Less than 20 years old – you should be aiming to workout out at around
140-155 beats per minute (bpm). 

If you are 20-29 years old – you should be aiming to work keep your heart rate between 135-150 bpm
and
30-39 years out between 130-145 bpm.

If you don’t want to invest in a heart rate monitor you can also use the ‘talk test’ to monitor your intensity. If you breathless while speaking when exercising, then reduce the intensity. As a rule of thumb you should be able to hold a conversation without having to stop and gasp for air!

I tend to keep my heart rate around 140 BPM this feels comfortable for me and re-assutring that once I return to exercise fully once the baby is here I won’t be TOO unfit. I think!

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Exercising during your First Trimester – 0-12 weeks

Finding out I was pregnant was one of the happiest days of my life. But deep down I wasn’t looking forward to expanding. My body is my work and I sort of felt like I’d be losing my identity. I’m a real gym bunny!

I wasn’t going to be silly though and restrict my calories or go mad in the gym. A healthy bump equals a healthy baby after all.

I popped into see Gideon at KX gym, who gave me a safe exercise programme to follow (I will share this in a later post). It was here that I also decided I wanted to do my pre-natal exercise course too. If I was going to carry on working out then I wanted to know that I was doing it safely & effectively.

During the first trimester lots of changes are happening.

Firstly, your blood vessels increase dramatically but there isn’t enough blood to fill them, which causes something called Vascular Underfill. This is why people tend to feel sick, dizzy and tired. Their blood pressure will also drop.

I also noticed that my heart rate was high. I always wear my Polar FT60 when working out and straight away noticed that my HR was 10-15 Beats per minute higher than normal. This is basically to accommodate the bigger blood vessels, which don’t have enough blood in them so your heart has to work extra hard to pump this blood through these expanded vessels.

Don’t worry there are some benefits! The excess progesterone pumping through the body is said to improve lung function! You may feel you are over-breathing though. I noticed this in the simplest of tasks like walking up the stairs. I felt so unfit! Don’t worry, you aren’t, it’s just your body adjusting.

Lastly increased insulin resistance (when your body’s cells cannot take in glucose so it ends up circulating round the blood stream and causes fat storage) can result in excess fat storage but as pregnant women we know and expect this. During the whole pregnancy you’re going to put on around 24 – 33 pounds, so there’s no hiding from weight gain!

So there you have it. These are all the things you need to look out for and be aware of when exercising during the First Trimester.

One other thing that is absolutely vital is that you make sure you don’t overheat when exercising. It can damage the baby and cause abnormalities.

I was so lucky that  I only had the odd day of extreme tiredness and sickness so didn’t miss too many sessions. Most importantIy I DID listen to my body and sleep in when I needed to or just stay at home and have a big nutritious breakfast. That is the secret when pregnant. You need to listen to what your body and baby is telling you and go with it.

Pregnancy most certainly isn’t the time to reach peak fitness or break records, it’s literally for maintaining what you already have and making your pregnancy and birth that little but easier.

Please contact me if you have any questions or need some advice – I’ve been through this trimester and come through the other side so will happily help others who need some support or advice.

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* Thank you to Premier Training International for allowing me to learn all about Pre & Post-natal exercise through their Award in Designing Pre & Post natal exercise programs course 

Can Progesterone help to Prevent Miscarriage?

At first I didn’t know I was pregnant. My periods were all over the place anyway and it wasn’t until I felt tired and my jeans felt tight that i thought – ok perhaps I am! 

The problem with no knowing was that I continued to take my monthly dose of Tamoxifen. Once I found out I was pregnant I panicked big time and booked into see my specialist straight away. Knowing that I had taken my Tamoxifen when pregnant scared me. What if i had harmed the baby? 

He called me to the clinic, scanned me and told me that I would be fine. He also prescribed me some Progesterone suppositories to use for a month or so. 

The reason behind Progesterone is that they are said to be quite helpful to women in maintaining pregnancy if they suffer from low progesterone. Progesterone is basically the hormone necessary in the first three months or pregnancy which helps maintain the womb lining – and since I’ve suffered from a thin womb lining for years my specialist just wanted to make sure it stayed high enough to support the baby. 

So where there side effects? Who knows! You don’t exactly feel a million dollars in the first Trimester anyway. I thought I was holding water but again this could be down to the pregnancy not the progesterone. The bottom line is, my progesterone levels stayed high enough to maintain my womb lining, and it kept my baby safe.

If you have had miscarriages in the past – then perhaps speak to your doctor or specialist about supplementing with hormone. A few studies have found evidence that taking progesterone supplements might benefit women who have had recurrent miscarriages, but right now the numbers are too small to say whether or not the findings are significant. However many doctors who choose to use this supplement say that this is simply helping the body with a hormone it’s already producing and there is no harm in prescribing them. It’s up to you to have a chat with them about your past history and decide whether its good for you or not. Good luck! 

 

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Pampers New Baby Sensitive Nappy

When it comes to choosing products for my hair and skin, I’m all for natural products that are kind to my body inside and out. My baby will be raised exactly the same way.

ImageSo you can imagine my happiness when I came across new Pampers New Baby Sensitive nappies. 

According to research 58% of mums believe that their baby’s skin is in some way or very sensitive – and I’m sure I will agree when my little one arrives.

The skin is the largest organ of the body and your baby’s skin is in contact with its nappy 24 hours a day, exposing delicate little bottoms to potential irritation. I’m hoping that these special nappies will reduce this irritation, thanks to the Absorb Away Layer, which will absorb any mess.

I also love the colour-changing Wetness Indicator on the nappies. Basically it has a pH activated indicator line on the front, which turns from yellow to blue the nappy comes into contact with baby’s wee. Very nifty!

I will most certainly be putting these nappies on my HUGE list of baby bits that I need to buy. The list feels endless right now – so it’s lucky I still 159 days to go!