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.

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Pregnancy countdown – 40 days to go and I’m loving my…

NordicTrack E11.6 elliptical.

I’m now 34 1/2 weeks pregnant and seem to have popped somewhat! My belly feels bloody huge and it makes me a little self-conscious in the gym. I know to shouldn’t be you do get some funny looks! Like ‘what are you doing here?”

This is where my little beauty, my NordicTrack E11.6 elliptical comes in. I had it delivered last week and it’s in my cabin out in the back garden, which I have made into a gym. It’s really cool in there and perfect for days when me and bump just want to hide away yet still get some exercise in.

This morning I was on it for about 40 minutes and did a little routine, which looked like this.

I warmed up for 5 minutes, then did 4 minutes on level 3 going forwards. I then had a 30 second rest and repeated the 4 minute interval but with my legs going backwards.
* 60 seconds rest
I then did 3 minutes in level 5  forwards. I then had a 30 second rest and repeated the 3 minute interval but with my legs going backwards.
* 60 seconds rest
I then did 2 minutes in level 7  forwards. I then had a 30 second rest and repeated the 2 minute interval but with my legs going backwards.
* 60 seconds rest
I then did 1 minutes in level 9  forwards. I then had a 30 second rest and repeated the 1 minute interval but with my legs going backwards.
* 60 seconds rest
I then did 30 seconds in level 11  forwards. I then had a 30 second rest and repeated the 30 second interval but with my legs going backwards.
* 60 seconds rest
To finish off I just carried on at level 5 at one speed until I had completed my 40 minute stint.

To finish the session I did a 30 second plank with a knee dip (static holds tend to push my blood pressure up), then 30 seconds side plank with my arm going from my hip to over my head – again just to keep something moving so I wasn’t in a static position.
I did this three times through.

Although I do love the gym environment, I really enjoyed my session today and will defiantly be doing this once bubba is born and I’ve had my six-week check up. It’s going to be great to dive down into the gym when I can, knowing that she will be safely in the house with my husband whilst I work towards shifting some of my baby weight!

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Pregnancy countdown – 41 days and I indulge in….

.a Neom Feel Amazing Treat box – For New & Soon To Be Mums

Wow – I’m now over 34 weeks pregnant and feeling the effects – especially at night time. The day is fine. I’m still active, writing features from my desk, sitting on my Wellness Ball and still training one or two clients (I had my last one today – boo!) but the night is painful. My hips go numb from where I lie on my side – all I want is to lay on my belly. No chance!

They say that at night its best to sleep on your left hand side as this position helps blood and nutrients to flow to your baby and uterus (womb) and helps your kidneys get rid of waste and fluid. You should also avoid laying on your back because the weight of your uterus lies on the spine, back muscles, intestines, and major blood vessels, which can lead to muscle aches and pains, and impaired circulation, which is uncomfortable for you and can reduce circulation to your baby.
Don’t worry I often find myself on my back at night. I just move straight back to my left. You’re body will soon let you know when it’s time to move, just try and get out of the habit of it!

So to help me sleep, this Neom box of goodies, has been a saviour!

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The Cocooning Bath Oil ( 50ml ) is soothing and relaxing. Great for unwinding before bed and helping you to get nice and sleepy so you doze of quicker and easier.

The Cocooning Travel Candle is perfect for having on as you dry yourself off and rub yourself down in the Cocooning Body Oil which will help keep your skin soft and supple, whilst avoiding stretch marks. It’s smells divine too – light and fruity with a hint of Ylang Ylang, Chamomile and Jasmine. Delicious!

It’s so important to really look after yourself at this time of pregnancy as you do tend to forget about yourself and sometimes feel a bit fed up of all the effort of everyday life. Enjoy these last few weeks – I am. Because before I know it I know I will have my little bubba in my arms and missing these long relaxing baths and pampering sessions!

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Pregnancy countdown – 42 days to go and I get….

…….Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD)

Ever heard of it? I hadn’t either until I did my pre-natal and post natal fitness course with Premier Training International – and it happened to me early this week.

It’s basically one of the most common causes of pain in pregnancy and caused when the ligaments and joints of the pelvis become relaxed due to the hormones of pregnancy (relaxin) and become inflamed by certain movements – in my case like lunges, one-legged exercises, until walking etc.

I feel the pain mainly when walking (particularly after I’ve been sitting down for ages), getting out of the car and standing for long periods and if I stand up for too long, so to help it, I’ve totally stopped any lunges or one-legged exercises in the gym, not taking long strides when walking to and from places until I’ve warmed up a bit, and wearing my supportive Gowri Wrap, which gentle supports my baby girl while supporting my lower back.

A few other things to avoid are:

  • Pulling yourself up when lying on your back. Instead you need to roll to your side and use your hands to push yourself up.
  • Getting up and down from a char with your knees together. When you get up, keep your knees together and use your hands to push yourself up.
  • Avoid soft chairs like sofas, as you won’t get adequate support and they are hard to get out of!
  • Avoid squatting, or sitting cross-legged and sit symmetrically in the chair.
  • Avoid balancing on one leg when putting on clothes, especially underwear and trousers and instead sit down to do this
  • Lean on one hip/leg when standing. Instead try putting your weight on both legs rather than on one.
  •  Twisting your body.
  • Lifting anything heavy.
  • Lots of walking or stair climbing. Take the stairs one step at a time.

Apparently the pain will eventually subside once the baby is delivered, but to make sure it doesn’t get worse I am going to have acupuncture now every week until I give birth. I swear by it and have missed my weekly sessions during my pregnancy.

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Review: Pregnancy Supplements That’ll Look After Your Bump!

Back in December, I was prescribed Tamoxifen to help me fall pregnant. As explained in my very first post my body fat was too low to conceive due to too much training and a restricted diet plus my husband had testicular cancer nine years ago so we needed all the help we could get. Chemotherapy in high doses (Mark had it for four months – he stayed in hospital for one whole week every month and had an 8-hour dose a day and then did weekly day visits for a top up) kills the stem cells that produce sperm. He also had to have one testicle  removed altogether due to the cancer, so as you can imagine we thought our only chance of having babies was through IVF.

My specialist gave me hope and told me the Tamoxifen should do the job because Mark recovered well and was very healthy.

So to compliment my Tamoxifen I stared taking a pre-natal supplement, to make sure my body had all the right nutrients. It’s important to start taking these a few months before you conceive because recent research suggests that they can help boost a healthy pregnancy and also help with healthy childhood development.

They also contain Folic Acid, which is important right from the very moment your baby is conceived, because studies show that it can protect your baby from some serious birth defects, including spina bifida, a life-threatening spinal malformation.

So here are my favourite Pre-natual supplements that I have experimented with over the past seven months.

ImageSolgar Prenatal Nutrients Tablets
I started taking these back in December. Solgar is a brand I have always trusted and I took these until I fell in April.

They have the perfect amount of vitamins/minerals, without exceeding 100% of RDA,except for Iron (which is supposed to be higher for pregnant women anyway) and Vit. C ( which doesn’t really have a toxicity level).

It also had an adequate level of folic Acid, which as I said before is extremely important prior to conception as the neural tube develops in the first 30 days of pregnancy (before most women know they are pregnant) and supplementing folic acid can prevent many cases of neural tube defects.

Viridian Pregnancy Complex 

ImageAs soon as I found out I was pregnant, typically I had just run out of my Solgar supplement, so in a mad dash I ran to Revital, a local Health shop near me. They had run out of the Solgar also, so I spent a good half an hour scouting al the other supplements and came across Viridian. I went for this brand because it had a healthy amount of DHA, which I had read was vital for the development for the baby’s brain. You can get DHA from eating fish such as  salmon, sardines and herring but what with my morning and afternoon sickness, the last thing I wanted was fishy fish! These did the trick and had everything in there that I needed!

Zita West Vital Essence 2
ImageSince hitting my 2nd Trimester and getting my normal healthy appetite back (well sort of – I’m still off meat!) I decided to look into getting more specific supplements to suit that stage of my pregnancy.

I knew of Zita West as I had read many of her books (which are amazing BTW) so I opted for her Vital Essence 2 supplement, especially for women in weeks 13-28.

You take one, three times a day with food and they will then provide you with everything you need to safeguard your everyday diet, including 400ug of Folic Acid plus lots of protective ingredients such as Beta Carotene (a safe way to help support your intake of Vitamin A), Copper, Magnesium, Manganese and Zinc, all of which  support normal cell division and help to protect DNA.

I also brought her Vital DHA, which you have twice a day and contains Omega 3 essential fatty acids (EFA’s), plus a small amount of Zinc.Image

I totally trust Zita West and her products, as she’s renowned for being a leading fertility and pregnancy expert, and a practicing midwife, acupuncturist and nutritional advisor. I love all her books and often see her in magazines and on the TV giving women (and men) fertility advice.

So, I’m confident that my supplements are working well. I’m now 17 weeks and feeling fantastic and full of energy. I’ve had another scan, which reveals I’m having a baby girl and that she is very healthy and active. I’m on cloud nine!

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