Pregnancy fitness: 3rd trimester cardio

Even though you probably felt a bit like superwomen in your second trimester, you now may find yourself waking up slightly tried and losing energy as the day goes on. I know I certainly did. You’re also find that moving around isn’t as easy as it was and everything takes that little bit longer. The reason for this is that you’re baby is probably around 14 inches now (in your seventh month) and weighing around two to four pounds. Your breasts will also be around two pounds heavier and your uterus will be putting pressure on all your internal organs, including your diaphragm and lungs, causing shortness of breath. My bump really popped out at this stage and I felt HUGE! Staying active is vital though. I really noticed the difference at pregnancy groups – some of my in-active friends had constant back pains, found it difficult to walk for too long and even sit of too long. I didn’t really have any of this – and I certainly put it down to staying active as much as possible! 

Things to remember
During your third trimester your mobility may be limited, thanks to your growing bump and possibly water retention, and there’s no doubt that you will fatigue more easily. With that in mind, you can still safely participate in a 30-minute workout at least four days a week in order to maintain a good base of fitness and mental sanity.

One thing I would highly recommend in your third trimester is regular swimming sessions. The hardest part is probably putting on your swimsuit – but once it’s on and you’re in the water, you’re forget that you’re pregnant as the water supports your joints, provides buoyancy to your bump and supports your bodyweight. It will also keep your core temperature cool as you exercise, and work your heart as well as your arm and leg muscles.

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What stroke?
While the front crawl is still fine in your third trimester, the breaststroke will probably be most comfortable because your tummy will hang below you and the arm and leg movements are great for strengthening your back, chest, hips and bottom. It’s great for helping pregnancy posture too (you may have noticed your shoulders rounding and you get a slight hunch in your upper back). Breaststroke will stretch your chest muscles out and strengthen and shorten the back muscles that tend to overstretch during pregnancy.

Just be careful that you don’t work your legs too aggressively. Relaxin, the hormone that is will be circulating the body and working on making your joints more flexible, especially the pelvis will now be at its peak in your body, meaning you don’t have to do a lot to overstretch and cause a strain or muscle tear. Forcefully kicking your legs can strain the hip joints and ligaments because the public bone will already be starting to separate in preparation for labor. You don’t want to force the situation, which will lead to lower back, pelvis and hip pain.

How to fuel your swim
Complex carbs like wholegrains, oats, fruits and vegetables are ideal for getting your energy levels stable before and after your swim. At this stage you’ll also want to be getting sufficient calcium from calcium-rich foods like dark leafy greens, almonds and sardines – yes these are all just as good as milk!

Your pregnant body will also be leaching calcium from your bones to support the growth of your baby, so make sure you’re getting around three servings of quality calcium foods every day. Also make sure you stay well hydrated. It’s easy to forget to drink when in the pool but you can still get dehydrated, which is dangerous for you and your baby and will only add to your fatigue. Always leave a bottle of cool water at the side of the pool that you can sip from regularly, and make sure you drink a small glass before and after your session too.

Don’t forget!
As always, make sure you get the go-ahead from your doctor before you start exercising and listen to your body. If it doesn’t feel right then stop.

Lacie’s Magic Door – redecorating her playroom

Life has been some-what hectic the last month or so. We was going to move house – but it all fell through due to a history of subsidence on the new house. So we decided to stay put and just jazz up our current house. It has three bedrooms, so really with just the three of us, we don’t need much more room.

One thing we did decide to do was make one of our reception rooms into a playroom for Lacie. We had a totally blank canvas so deciding what to do in there was tough, but we came up with a solution and decided to build in cupboards as storage for all her toys and make it a fun, colourful room, which she could enjoy now and for many years to come.

Here’s what we did;
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You can see that we painted the walls a subtle pink colour and then we brought some grass wall stickers to put all around the room. We then added some 3D butterflies and brought this amazing grass carpet, which feels and looks like grass – and is really soft.
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The best bit about the room has to be The Fairy door, which sits just above the skirting board. We got it from The Magic Door store and just love it. I think its going to be a great way to tell stories when Lacie is older, telling her that the fairies only come out at night – and If she is really good, then they may leave the odd note and present – and of course leave a bit fairy dust on the carpet as they come and go.
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I’m so fond of the Fairy Door, that I’ve arranged a competition for one of my lucky followers on Twitter to win one. All you need to do is foliow me and the Magic Door Store and then RT my post about the competition. The winner can be from anywhere in the world and can choose one fairy door or elf door of their choice.

The doors are really easy to fit (they come with some putty to help you attach it to your wall) and come with a small bottle of Magic Dust and a welcome note for the fairies.

As I said, I’m so excited to have one of these in Lacie’s room (I’m probably more excited than she is at the moment!) Just imagine her excitement when she discovers tiny magic dust footprints on the floor and little gifts and messages left especially by a magical fairy!

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Grass carpet from The Flooring Company –
Fairy Door from The Magic Door Store –

Review; Ickle Bubba Orb

I love writing for Made For Mums. It’s a fab website with tons of information for whatever age your baby is. There is also a fab review section, in which I write for. It’s great because I get to test out the latest baby kit and pass on vital information to other new mums who aren’t as lucky to be able to test things before they buy.

This is my latest review on the Ickle Bubba Orb highchair. You can find the original review here….be sure to check out the rest of the Made For Mums website too. I’ve found it super helpful when it comes to things like weaning and sleep. Enjoy. 

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Ickle Bubba, the company behind this chair was set up by husband and wife Fran and Veronica Vaughan in 2011. The company only sells two products; the Stomp v2 travel system and the Orb highchair.  

The main motivation behind Ickle Bubba was to design a full travel system that looked comparable with the leading brands but at less than half their price.

But with the Orb highchair added to its portfolio, which I tested with my six-month old daughter, Lacie, Ickle Bubba have aimed to make a stylish highchair packed with enhanced features.

More about quality, not quantity the company has already won a whole plethora of awards, with the Orb featuring in Prima Baby’s six of the best new products for 2014.

A futuristic, reclinable, egg-shaped highchair, the Orb is designed to suit newborns and babies from birth to 17 kgs (approx 3 years), making it more of an investment, than an impulse buy.

What’s in the box?
Seat unit
Memory foam seat insert
Highchair base

Any additional extras?

First impressions?
At first glance, it’s clear to see the Orb’s modern style, it would not look out of place in an immaculately decorated show home, where there’s lots of space and most of all not much clutter.  It’s something that you would want to blend in with its surroundings and won’t stand out like a sore thumb in your dining room or kitchen.

Taking it out of the box, I noticed that the chair was fairly large and bulky, especially the base so I found it really dominated my kitchen.  My husband wasn’t happy about that, especially with so many understated highchairs on the market, that would fold up neatly when not being used.

I also found it heavy, so once I put it up (which was really simple as it all clipped together) and found a home for it, which is where it stayed.

How was assembling the Orb?
It was really easy; it comes in three parts, the seat unit (with memory foam insert), the base and removable tray.  All in all it took about ten minutes to fit together, to attach the seat pad to the seat you simply chose what height slot you want (there is a choice of two depending on the size of your child) and thread the shoulder straps through the hole.

How secure is the Orb chair?
The harness itself is easily adjusted with the simple slide of a buckle and there are soft shoulder pads for extra comfort. I did feel that at 15llbs Lacie moved around quite a bit in it and was often lop-sided but she looked comfortable enough and the straps made it very secure, so I wasn’t worried about her slipping out.

Is the Orb comfortable?
Yes, the seat insert is padded and so are the shoulder pads, Lacie fell asleep in the chair many times.

What do you think about the style of the chair?
The Orb is so unusual people will either love it or hate it, it really does depend what type of house you live in – it is certainly different from other highchairs on the market, that can look babyish, plain and plastic.

However, the Orb is big, especially the base, and it doesn’t tuck out of the way like other designs on the market.

Is it easy to keep the highchair clean?
Yes, it is.  The removable seat pad, which comes in five different colours, is made of a memory foam, rubber type material – which was nice and soft and most importantly easy to take off the seat and wipe down after use or to allow for more seating space for bigger babies. Once I worked out how to remove the tray it was however very easy to clean up any mess.

Tell us about the seat’s 360 degree swivel mode.
The spinning feature is really cool; with one push of a small button you can turn the seat around in 90-degree turns.  It means there are four seating positions available, which is really useful when taking your child out of the highchair or swiveling them round to face Daddy as you go and do the clearing up.

How is it when feeding?
It’s great; the height of the chair can be easily adjusted by simply sliding the leg up or down on the triangular frame section.  So you can have it at any height you like, depending on whether you’re feeding at a dining table, a breakfast bar or from the sofa.
You can also recline the chair. I found this perfect for when Lacie, wanted to snooze or if she needed a change of scenery as we ate our dinner. I did however find the button that did this pretty fiddly; you need to push it in on both sides of the base, which requires two hands and actually felt quite stiff.
This left me with no hands to adjust the seat angle or to hold onto my baby as an extra safety precaution. I didn’t want her feeling vulnerable as she tipped back!

Is the highchair as futuristic as it looks?
Yes, there are buttons everywhere; the only problem I have with it is that there is no continuity behind the buttons. Some need pushing, some need to be pulled up and some need to be pulled out. Everything took a few attempts before I worked out what to do, especially with the baby brain still lingering.

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Is the Orb value for money?
Yes, Lacie, got lots of use out of it and so did my nephews.  Although this highchair is expensive, it can be used until the age of three and is durable enough to last if we have any more children.

MadeForMums verdict
You’ll either love the Orb or you’ll hate it, but if your home is super modern or you love design-savvy baby kit, the Orb is definitely for you. Despite its good looks, it also has great practical features like the handy height adjustment and 360-degree rotation. The fact that the tray can be removed so the chair can be pulled up to the table for family mealtimes was a massive positive point for me. 

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The Orb retails at £139.00 and can be brought from

And squeeze….

Pelvic floor exercises are big news for pregnant women and beyond. I’m still doing mine and Lacie is coming up to seven months – You can’t do enough.

In the early days when she was first born, I downloaded an app, called My Pff, and always did the recommended programme from the app every time I fed her. It soon became habit and when I went for my 8 week checkup with my doctor and she asked me if I was doing my pelvic floor exercises, I told her about the app and my pelvic floor schedule. She said it was a fab idea and that she would pass it on to other mums. Hopefully she did.

So what are pelvic floor exercises and why are they so important?
The pelvic floor muscles form a sling-like band that surrounds and forms the base of your vagina, anus and urethra,” explains Hugh Hanley, National Personal Training Manager at Virgin Active. “These muscles also support all your abdominal contents, and your baby will pass through them as he or she is born. Strengthening these muscles is an extremely worthwhile and important activity.”

How to do Pelvic floor exercises: 
1.       Gradually tighten the muscles that you use if you want to stop the flow of urine when going to the toilet.
2.       Try to do it without holding your breath, squeezing your buttocks together,
3.       Hold the squeeze for several seconds and then relax slowly.
4.       Now pull the muscles up tight and fast. Then relax. Then tighten them quickly again. Use clenching and opening your fist as a visual tool to help you imagine the movement.

When I’m doing moves like glute bridges in the gym, I always make sure I  pause at the top to engage my pelvic floor or when I’m doing squats I make sure I ‘zip’ up at the top to get that engagement. You can also do them whilst watching the TV, cleaning your teeth, or reading this post (try and stop yourself!) You really can’t do too many. Now off you go…squeeze!!!

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This week’s meals….

We’re well and truly into the weaning – and I’m well and truly back into my old jeans. I’m back to 59’ish Kilos (I’ve never been a big fan of weighing) and in the last six weeks have lost 4.5% body fat. I’ve done this by eating lots of lean protein, green veg, good fats and working out 4-5 times a week. I said it before, and will say it again, it’s all about consistency. If you are eating well and exercising regularly, then you will lose fat. It helps that I’m getting more sleep these days as that stops those awful sugar cravings when you just need an instant hit of energy and I’ve really found that stopping eating in the evenings helps. Nowadays I have my dinner, then usually have a few spoonfuls of almond butter and a herbal tea before shutting the kitchen door and leaving it at that. It’s too easy to say ‘The baby is in bed – this is my time’ and eat food for comfort in front of the TV. The thing is I don’t find it comforting the next day when I’m beating myself up! I’d rather wake up full of energy and without a food hangover so I can get my workout in before Lacie wakes. I tend to do all her bottles and food in the evening too, which keeps me busy and organised for the next day….which leads me on to Lacie’s food.

So far, we have only been doing lunch. She has a feed usually around 6am and 9am, and then lunch is served at 12pm.

So far her favourite meal has to be banana, avocado and spinach, she can’t get enough! I’ve also tried other concoctions like sweet potato, butternut squash and carrot. She is also a big fan of pear and apple and tomorrow she has courgette, carrot and apple – just something I threw together. Could be interesting!

She’s also a huge fan of a little pudding after lunch (who isn’t?) I tend to blitz some organic berries with CO YO dairy-free coconut yogurt and chia seeds. This makes it nice and thick and filling, and I love chia seeds because they are full of omega 3 fats, protein, antioxidants and dietary fibre. They also hold water so will help keep Lacie’s tummy fuller for longer. She’s definitely a fan…and so am I!

She then tends to have a nice sleep (with a full belly), then has a bottle at 2:30ish, another feed at 5:30 and then a bottle before bed at 7:30. She’s certainly sleeping better (touch wood) now she’s on food and filling out a bit and even happier than before.

To say I was nervous about weaning is an understatement, but do you know what it’s great fun and I love being creative in the kitchen and giving her the best start I possibly can.

I will let you know how breakfast goes next week. I’m thinking colourful smoothie bowls, porridge with mashed banana and cinnamon and overnight oats, fruit and maybe even some scrambled eggs!



Healthy Happy Fit Mums – Introducing Lucy Miller

I’ve been interviewed by Miss Independent Women , a fabulous website also known as The ULTIMATE GIRL SITE‘ – a one stop shop for everything GIRL. I hope you like it! 

Originally posted on Miss Independent Women…

MIW Welcomes you LUCY MILLER!

As the resident ‘mum’ on the panel of girls that make up Miss Independent Women – The Ultimate Girls Site; I wanted to share some of Lucy’s brilliant tips for keeping fit and healthy throughout pregnancy. For those of you who don’t know, Lucy is a Freelance Fitness & Nutrition Editor for Health & Fitness MagMail OnlineWeight Watchers,Fertility Road,  Glamour magazine & founder of Fitness and the Bump

In between juggling a family life of her own, she manages her busy schedule of working with her clients as a Personal Trainer and is also working with children to keep fit as a trained level 2 Children’s Fitness Specialist.

So I took some time out from heavily pregnant waddling, running around after Fin and working to catch up with Lucy – I hope you enjoy!

MIW: Welcome Lucy and thank you for talking with us here at Miss Independent Woman!
Lucy: Thanks for having me – Your blog is fab.

Ah thanks so much! I am so glad you like it and our site. SO! Tell us a little bit about how yourself and how you became the Fitness Editor for Health and Fitness Magazine?
I’ve always been a huge fan of sport and health. As a teenager I was a national gymnast and once I retired from that I got into marathon running and going to the gym.

I started writing for Cycling Weekly Magazine after doing my qualification in Nutrition for Health & Fitness, I looked after their nutrition pages and just loved how nutrition could have such a positive effect on your body and mind. I then came across a job at Men’s Fitness and went for it. I got the job and wrote all their fitness and nutrition pages, which I loved. Whilst there I did a part time Level 3 Personal Training course and the rest is history. Dennis Publishing (owner of Mens Fitness) brought Health & Fitness Magazine and it was a natural progression that I joined the team as the Fitness Editor. I worked there for five years before going freelance, as I knew I wanted to start a family and I had so many people wanted me to train them. I now juggle writing, personal training and being a mummy to my 4-month old daughter. 

What drives your passion for healthy living and fitness – particularly for children and pregnant women?
Exercising throughout my childhood gave me so many opportunities and good qualities. It taught me discipline, self-confidence and drive, and made me respect my body. I would love other children to discover this too and see that moving is fun and beneficial in everyday life. With regards to pregnant women, again, when I was pregnant it made me realize how exercise can make you feel so much better. I felt so out of control with my growing bump and crazy hormones, but by exercising I gained some control back. It helped boost my energy, kept any unnecessary weight gain off and stopped me getting a bad back, achy joints etc. It’s important that women realize that exercising when pregnant won’t harm them (if they are sensible) and could actually help them.

As you know, one of the reasons I wanted to interview you was because of your healthy attitude towards keeping fit during pregnancy. I think in today’s busy world, it is very difficult to stay as healthy as we would like (convenience food, cheap supermarket offers on less healthy food options, TV, the ‘eating for 2 excuse’! 

As a result of your own personal history and passion for fitness, do you work with many mums wanting to really make the conscious decision to change their lifestyle whilst pregnancy and do any of them find it difficult?
Yes for sure. They can get negative reactions from their partners and relations saying that they should ‘be taking it easy’ and that they should be making the most of being pregnant and enjoy ‘eating what they want.’

Energy levels, morning sickness, tender breasts and cramps and cravings can also make things difficult, but the right nutrition and exercise can help this.

From my experience, running around after a 3 year old helped me keep some of the weight off I may have put on and loosing the weight after my 1st born was so difficult; I vowed not to go too big again! I have definitely noticed a huge difference in keeping active and hope that it helps me in birth. However I am sure I could have done more….I’d love to hear how you help pregnant mums! 
I encourage them to eat lots of nutrient-rich foods and avoid empty calories and unhealthy additive. I also encourage them to be as active as possible by walking and by doing gentle exercise to keep them strong and supple and generally become more in tune with their bodies. It’s so important that you listen to your body during pregnancy, so I’m all for helping women take pressure off themselves and reminding themselves they are creating a new life. It’s a pretty big ask of their body!! Just knowing you are doing the best for your body and baby can make pregnancy such a positive experience.

What are your top tips for keeping active and why should pregnant women encourage themselves to remain as fit and healthy as possible?
Don’t do anything new – if you weren’t a runner before becoming pregnant then don’t start running now. Always seek medical advice also. Your doctor needs to give the go ahead to exercise and I would always go to a fitness professional who is qualified in pre and post-natal fitness. 

Gym membership’s can be expensive (and I have been mainly walking or generally being very mobile as mine was cancelled)…what can us cash strapped and time limited mums and mums 2 be do?
Walk, walk, walk! You can also walk to a park, park the pram up next to a park bench and use it for step ups, press ups, dips etc or use your living room as your baby sleeps. You don’t need any kit to get an all-over body workout – your bodyweight is more than enough. I use my stairs, my sofa, some light dumbbells and my bodyweight to get an all over workout as Lacie sleeps. Here are my top tips for losing the baby weight…

In terms of healthy eating – again, many mums struggle to resist the naughty treats and go for the healthy snacks! What advice would you have for a pregnant mum struggling to say no to the cakes and biscuits!
My top tip is to keep your blood sugar levels stable by eating little and often (every 3 hours), avoiding refined sugar like sweets and cakes, eating plenty of good fats like avocados, coconut and oily fish and be prepared. Have healthy food in the house so when you do get hungry you can grab something quick and healthy. Here’s an example of what I ate when pregnant…

Looking back on your pregnancy/pregnancies – did you feel the benefits of remaining active and if so, how did it help you?
Definitely. My energy levels always increased after a workout, I had no back pain, I kept good posture and my baby weight fell off me. I had a difficult labor (I was two weeks late and induced – here is my birth story) but my baby’s heart rate never dipped or increased, which I put down to the exercise. She was obviously used to me exerting myself. I don’t think I would have had the stamina to push for two hours either if I hadn’t kept the exercise up. I was in the gym the very day I was induced – I knew it would be my last session for a while J

 Now, I have always struggled with my weight and I am dreading the post baby body (especially with all the coverage beautiful celebrity mums get as they squeeze back into their size 8′s weeks after birth!). 

Is there anything in particular you could recommend for me and other new mums to work into the daily routine of a newborn (and possibly more children) that we could do to help our bodies get back to a more reasonable shape?

Sleep and listen to your body. Too much stress causes weight gain so if you’re tired, then sleep, don’t force yourself to get up and exercise if you need to rest. Walking with the pram is great exercise too, so try to head out for a walk at least once a day. When you feel ready try incorporating a gentle incline into your walks and make them slightly longer, working up to 45 minutes most days. Remember to walk tall too, sucking your abs in to activate your core and pulling your shoulders back. Good posture is vital and will make you instantly look and feel slimmer. There are lots of workout ideas on my blog also here

And lastly, we would love to know if you have any ‘off days’ and if so, how do you motivate yourself!
Of course I do! Ha! I remind myself that I will feel so much better after some fresh air and some exercise. I usually just tell myself I’ll do ten minutes and if I’m still not feeling it after ten then I’ll stop, but 9 times out of 10 I carry on. Putting on my favorite TV show or music can help too. Sometimes it’s good to catch up on some trashy TV whilst doing a little living room circuit. It distracts you.

 And before I let you go, we have some #MIW quick questions

Shoes or handbags?

What’s your favourite treat?
Homemade banana icecream using CO YO ( and frozen bananas

Favorite holiday location?

Hopes and dreams for the future?
To write for mother and baby magazines and help make fitness accessible for pregnant ladies and new mums. I want everyone to feel that they are doing the very best for themselves and their babies. 

Do you have a life motto or quote? 
Move, eat, sleep, laugh.

What woman or women have inspired you and who do you admire?
Jillian Michaels

It was great to catch up with you Lucy and thanks again for talking with us at Miss Independent Woman. Thanks for being a fan of the site and for our wonderful readers, more information is available here on Lucy’s website here