Pregnancy fitness: 2nd trimester cardio

I’ve been really lucky to be able to write some informative blogs for the children’s shop Kiddicare. I love this shop and brought most of Lacie’s baby clothing, furniture and pram from here, so its a real honour to be writing for them.
Basically all my blogs are about how to exercise safely through pregnancy. I am going to share all these blogs with you over the next few weeks so all you beautiful pregnant ladies feel confident to carry on exercising. Here’s my third blog – ‘Cardio during your second trimester.’ I remember this was the trimester I really got my energy back and felt great. Yes I had days when I just wanted to stay in bed and sleep so I did it. I did also find that on those tired days that some gentle exercise was great for my energy levels and pulling me out of my lull.

* As always please drop me an email or message me if you need a hand or have any queries…*

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Now you’ve got your energy back, let’s get into the swing of some regular exercise. Here’s how to exercise safely between weeks 12 and 26 of your pregnancy.

Yay – you should start feeling better by the second trimester. Your body finally understands what it’s doing, and your hormones and energy levels have leveled out, making things feel that little bit easier.
If you didn’t get to the gym much in your first trimester, don’t panic, you should be proud of yourself for listening to your body and letting your body protect your precious baby. So now your interest in fitness – and other things has come back, lets pick up where you left off and take advantage of this new found energy!

Things to remember

When it comes to doing cardio in your second trimester, you still NEED to very much listen to your body and keep the intensity down. This is not the time to be increasing your fitness levels. Simply put, it’s the time to be maintaining them and keeping those feel good endorphins circulating the body.

One thing to remember whether you are opting to swim, power walk, use the cross trainer or the exercise bike is that you’ll sweat more easily during this trimester. This is down to an increase in weight and also because your core temperature would have risen about one-degree. This increase in sweat is a way of cooling you off and of course keeping your bubba in the safe zone. Your main mission here is to make sure you stay well hydrated, you’ll be surprised at how much fluid you lose through sweat and you need to keep your body hydrated to avoid dizziness, mental fog, headaches, muscle cramping and nausea.
So what can you do that’s safe?

Walking
Walking is still a great form of exercise during this trimester. It poses very few risks and will keep the heart rate nice and steady. As before make sure you are wearing a good sports bra to cater for your growing chest and get properly fitted shoes that provide good support. It’s also worth remembering that your center of gravity and gait will change very quickly, so stick a flat terrain with little obstacles – you don’t want to trip over. You’ll be surprised at how clumsy you can get.
I love wearing a pedometer or Garmin when walking. It monitors the time on your feet and the distance covered – those miles soon add up!

Swimming
If you like swimming, you should be able to continue swimming well into your second trimester without any difficulty. The cool-water will feel really nice as your body temperature increases, plus the water supports your joints, especially as relaxin, the hormone that released to loosen your hip joints and prepare you for labor starts to surge.
Just be careful not to jerk your legs, when doing breaststroke as this will put pressure on your hips and pelvis. You should also avoid backstroke to improve fetal positioning.
Three swims per week of 20-40 minutes is enough for you to reap the aerobic benefits of swimming with no adverse effects on your body or baby, but remember that if you begin to get short of breath during swims, slow down your pace and stay near the edge or shallow end of the pool until you feel that you’ve recovered.

Stationary cycling
Your balance and center of gravity will still be out, so I would ditch the outdoor bike and stick to stationary cycling now until the baby is born. It’s not worth the risk, especially since your pelvis is no longer protecting your uterus.
When sitting on the stationary bike, make sure you are sitting nice and upright, which will make it easier to breathe, and move the seat to a comfortable position (usually hip height) to stop your knees from opening too far. Make sure you keep an eye on your temperature too and don’t work out so hard that you feel exhausted and light headed. This totally defeats the purpose of a fit and healthy pregnancy!

Anything else?
As always listen to your body throughout your whole session and beyond and of you experience any of the following STOP and seek medical advice.
Pain in the back or pelvis
Exhaustion (much worse than fatigue)
Dizziness
Chest pain
Hyperventilation
Severe headache
Heart palpitations
Contractions that persist long after exercise
Calf swelling
Irregular heart beat.

And don’t forget to 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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The Diary of a Breast Feeding Mum

Breast-feeding can be pretty demanding. It can be so rewarding too, and I’m so glad I’ve done it and stuck it out for over eight weeks now.

During the first few weeks my nipples were so sore, which is pretty common and I had mastitis, which thankfully I managed to cure with warm flannels, ibuprofen & self-massage. It was a really painful time but the best thing to do is carry on feeding through it. It helps block the inflamed milk ducts.

Anyway I came out fighting and still feeding. It definitely gets easier, so this is how my day usually goes.

Wake at 5pm.
Lacie now goes from 10pm – 5am, which gives me 7 hours sleep. I always feed her in bed with me, and doze off. It’s so much easier than having to get up and make up a bottle.
Night-time feeding is definitely easier thanks to my Anita breast-feeding PJs, which are comfy and really easy to feed with. No fiddley straps or buttons, they have a chest opening for feeding. Great for ease and cold nights too, when you just really don’t want to strip off.

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Back to sleep until 8am
This feed is always followed by smiles and a bit of playtime. Our favorite story book at the moment is Wilson the Whistling Tree Frog, which is part of her Babycademy set. We read the book whilst doing the actions with Wilson the Frog. It’s great fun for both of us.

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Up at 9am
This is when I do my exercise. I pop Lacie straight in her pram and off we go. I either walk for an hour or jog around the park with her pram, stopping en-route at the children’s playground for some toning work with my resistance band and dumbbells. I will post one of my workouts soon.

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Back by 10:30am
Breakfast. This is usually a Be Skinny Me shake or a Slender Blend shake with Maca powder, a banana and some cinnamon. I also have a bowl of home-made granola, made by soaking oats overnight in apple juice and then mixing with seeds, nuts and dried apricots. I then bake it until golden brown. I love Maca powder because it helps balance out your hormones and help reduce the stress hormones caused by sleepless nights and being a new mum. 

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11:30 Feed then playtime
My feeding app ‘Nursing Time’ really is my bible. It times between feeds, times how long she feeds for, from what side she’s fed and also records all her feeds for the day. Great to look back on. Especially when baby brain kicks in and you can’t remember which side you fed from last.

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11:30 is also playtime
Lacie either goes on her playmat, in her Fisher Price Infant to Toddler Rocker, which comes with comes bright and colourful fabrics to stimulate her little brain and a vibration unit to calm and soothe your baby or simply on her blanket on the floor. She loves having a kick around.
Whilst this is keeping her entertained, I’ll have a snack of sliced chicken pieces, 1/2 avocado and cucumber. Protein is essential for maximising your milk flow, whilst the good fats in the avocado will help improve her  growth and development. I find that I’m really thirsty also when breast-feeding so the cucumber helps keep me hydrated.

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2pm: Lunch
This is usually homemade tomato and lentil soup, which is full of iron and vitamins, followed by some fruit.

2:30: Out and About 
I find this feed the hardest as I’m usually out and about with my NCT friends, mother in law or  mum or sisters, so I need clever clothes that allow me to feed discreetly. I’ve found the Breast Vest to be über helpful, which makes any top a breastfeeding top. It works by  sitting  just under your nursing bra, so when you feed it covers your tummy and doesn’t interfere with your bra straps.  Babes with Babies is another great clothing line, which make stylish clothes especially for nursing mums. I have the Cloud 9 Nursing T-Shirt, which has an elegant scooped neckline and soft draped pleats that flatter a postnatal tum.

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4pm: Juice Time
I’m always tired and hungry in the afternoon so I always have a juice to pick myself up. I love Plenish Juices. They come in handy little bottles, are cold-pressed and full of vitamins, minerals and nutrients to help keep my milk quality high. I also love making my own juices. I tend to do a batch on a Sunday night and freeze. My favourite at the moment is one beetroot, one apple, 1/4 inch of cucumber and 1/2 lemon. I add this to 1/2 a litre of water and sip throughout the afternoon.

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5:30: Feed
Feed time again. If I’m out and about still, then I’ll take some expressed milk, which I’d expressed earlier using my Medela Swing Breast Pump. I love it. It’s so quick and easy – and not stressful. I always thought I’d hate expressing but it really isn’t that bad. I like to give Lacie a bottle every three days just so she’s not fussy and I know she will take a bottle, which is especially important for when the grandparents have her and mummy and daddy want to pop out for some dinner or a spot of shopping. My breast pump came with a Calma bottle, which enables Lacie to maintain the natural feeding behaviour that she’s learnt on the breast. I don’t want her getting confused when going from bottle to breast and back again.

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6:15 : Core Workout 
My hubby usually arrives home about now, so I hand her over for daddy time, whilst I head to our home gym and get some core work in. Just 20 mins is enough to help heal my recti diastasis, which is abdominal separation caused by pregnancy. It’s all about consistency, so I do my exercises little and often. I need a strong core again before I start running any sort of distance or start lifting heavy weights.

7pm: Dinner
Protein & vegetables for us. If I’m extra hungry I’ll have a sweet potato too.
Dinner is usually followed by a chopped apple and almond butter.

7:30: Bath time
Bath time. Lacie usually goes in first. Now her skin isn’t so sensitive I love adding some special Cussons Mum & MeSleep Tight Baby Bath‘. It’s infused with lavender to help her sleep and most importantly its hypoallergenic and paediatrician approved. I always finish her bath with a massage. I wrap my hands around her legs, then gently pull my hands down to her feet before tracing circles on the soles of her feet with my thumbs. I use the Sleep Tight Balm for this. She loves it – and it makes her really relaxed and sleepy.
I’ll have a bath after her whilst she sleeps on daddy. My fav products are also from the Mum & Me range. Especially Calm & Soothe Bath Soak and the New Mum Firming Butter, which contains Oat and Marine Algae Extracts, helps to leave skin feeling tighter, firmer and more toned.

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8:30: Feed
Milk time again. This tends to be a long, relaxed feed, to full her tummy for the night. She’ll then sleep again either on daddy or in her crib downstairs with us, which allows is to get a few chores down or spend some quality time together.

10:30: Last feed
I like to give her a little top up before bed. If I’m really tired, I’ll go to bed at 9ish, then set my alarm to give her a quick feed. She’s sleep 7 hours at the moment so I know if I give her a little top up now I won’t have to wake again until 5:30ish.

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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Maca Power – Magic Baby Dust?

Have you ever heard of Maca powder? I hadn’t either until I read a book that sang its praises for helping to boost fertility.

So guess what – I went and got some and started added it to my daily morning smoothies and  sprinkling it on my granola and yogurt. Whenever I had the chance it was in my food and working it’s magic.

Maca is basically a root-like cruciferous vegetable from the Andes of Peru. It grows in some of the harshest farmlands in the world, where the soil is rich in volcanic minerals, experiencing freezing temperatures, fierce winds and intense sunlight .

It contains 31 different minerals and 60 different phytonutrients,and is extremely nourishing  for the endocrine system, aiding both the pituitary, adrenal, and thyroid glands (all vital for fertility and hormone balance.)

It also has adaptogenic properties, which means it helps to strengthen the body so it is able to better resist disease and stress, support the adrenal glands and balances the body’s functions.

This wonder-food has been scientifically researched for the use of increasing fertility since 1961 and has been shown to contain specific compounds called glucosinolates which directly can affect fertility for both men and women.

I must admit I stopped taking it as soon as I found out I was pregnant because there have been no studies on the use of maca during pregnancy and as a safety precaution most manufacturers state that their supplements should not be used during pregnancy – it’s not worth the risk. But I’m pretty certain that this superfood really helped me regenerate my body and get everything back working again.

It has a bit of a taste to it – but it can be well hidden in smoothies etc so why not give it a go?

As always, I would recommend speaking to your GP if you are on any medication and treatment as you don’t want it to interfere with anything – just a safety measure – but you should be fine.

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