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 – 39 days to go and I’ve done myself…

A new eating plan….

Now I’m nearing my last month of pregnancy I’m conscious that I need to feed my growing baby loads of healthy nutrients – despite the fact that I constantly feel bloated and to be honest a bit sick. It’s hard to over-eat but I don’t want to under eat either (not much chance of that!)

So I’ve written myself a plan of action of what I will be eating over the next few weeks. I’ve decided that little and often works best for us….here is the plan.

7am Green juice BEFORE gym

9:30am Spinach Omelette with grated hard goats cheese

12:30 Homemade soup or salad with lean protein and 1/2 avocado

3:30pm Sunwarrior protein shake with coconut milk and banana and cinnamon

7pm  Protein like salmon, chicken, turkey etc with salad or roasted veggies

7:30pm Chopped apple with cinnamon and almond butter.

8pm – Herbal tea.

I really love the Sunwarrior protein as it tastes like chocolate and sorts out my cravings, which always tend to pop up in the afternoon. It’s really tasty with the banana too and the coconut milk makes it really creamy.

Some other great snacks to keep me satisfied until dinner are;
* LoveRaw Superfood Energy Bar. They come in various flavours – my fav being Rosehip and Lemon. It’s really tangy and has no added sugar, grains or dairy.
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* UpRaw Bars – they are high protein and are made with wide array of wholesome ingredients such as walnuts, whey protein powder, desiccated coconut, honey and cocoa powder. Again these are wheat, dairy and sugar-free and really chocolatey.
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* CO YO – a coconut milk yogurt that is vegan, sugar-free, dairy free and soy-free. It’s super creamy and tastes wonderful with raspberries and banana with a few sliced nuts on top.
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Grenade® Reload Protein Flapjacks – again a protein rich snack that is satisfies my sweet tooth with any nasty refined sugars. I find this really dense and filling – so sometimes I can only have half – depending on how hungry I actually am.
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You may have noticed that all of these snacks are high in protein. This is because foods rich in protein take longer to digest and do not cause a high spike in your blood glucose levels like carbs can.
The amino acids that make up protein are also the building blocks of your body’s cells – and of your baby’s body as well.
It’s vital that we get enough protein throughout pregnancy, especially during the second and third trimesters, when your baby is growing the fastest and your breasts and organs are getting bigger to accommodate the needs of your growing baby.

 

 

 

Top pregnancy supplements to help look after your bump

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Eating a healthy diet is always a good idea, especially during pregnancy, but since falling pregnant 32 weeks ago, I’ve taken a pregnancy supplement every day without fail to help cover any nutritional gaps in my diet.

Even with the most solid diet, it’s extremely difficult to make sure that you’re getting enough nutrients for both you and baby. While I don’t recommend going crazy with the supplements, there are a handful that have been shown to help with pregnancy and your baby’s health.

Here’s a round up of what I’ve found to be effective:

Solgar Prenatal Nutrients Tablets

Solgar is a brand I’ve always trusted and I took these for a good few months before I fell pregnant.

The NHS recommend you have 400 microgram of folic acid every day while you are trying to get pregnant and until you’re 12 weeks pregnant, which is why I like this supplement.

Each tablet has the perfect amount of vitamins/minerals, without exceeding 100% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA), except for iron (which is supposed to be higher for pregnant women anyway, to help fight fatigue).

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 conditions like spina bifida.

Viridian Pregnancy Complex 

I like this brand because it has a healthy amount of DHA, which is vital for helping your baby’s brain develop. 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!

It also contains a healthy dose of vitamin D, which is good for regulating the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body, and is needed to keep bones and teeth healthy.

The NHS recommend you take a supplement of 10 micrograms of vitamin D each day when you are pregnant and if you breastfeed to provide your baby with enough vitamin D for the first few months of its life.

Zita West Vital Essence 3

I knew of Zita West, since I had read many of her books when planning to conceive, so it was a no brainer to try her  supplements, which are tailored to suit each trimester. 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 400mg 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 (necessary for baby’s brain development, and to ward off inflammation), plus a small amount of zinc.

Please speak to your doctor or health adviser before taking any supplements. 

Cheers to Chia Seeds

Omega 3 is the buzz word these days. And for good reason. It helps fuel every cell in your body including your brain and heart, while lubricating your joints and helping build lean muscle tissue. I love chia seeds because it is full of it!

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These tiny little seeds that look like frog spawn when soaked in water also absorbs 16 times its weight in liquid, making them really filling (think of the room these are going to take in your stomach) and full of nutrients.

To eat them, I’ve been soaking them overnight in filtered water. I then add them to my smoothie or juice in the morning.

Despite looking a bit slimy and gross, don’t be put off. They don’t taste of anything, yet will provide Omega 3, fibre and protein (which contains all eight essential amino acids), vitamins and antioxidants to power your body.

As well as adding to my juices, I’ve also tried making a breakfast chia seed pudding by simply tossing together chia seeds, coconut milk, blueberries, shredded coconut and sliced almonds in a bowl and letting it sit overnight in the fridge -it’s lovely and so filling and easy to eat!  It’s good for my growing baby too!
The omega 3 is great for a supporting my placenta, while the complete protein is essential for every cell in your baby’s body. The fibre helps things run smoothly too, especially as constipation can be very common in pregnancy.

Here are some more ways to include chia seeds in your diet;

Breakfast
Add a tablespoon of soaked seeds into any fruit or green smoothie, stir them into your porridge, sprinkle on top of granola or spoon them into nut butter  then spread the mix on toast, oat cakes or rice cakes. I sometimes add chia seeds to beaten eggs before I scramble them too. I love adding them to a Sunwarrior Protein shake too with 1/2 a frozen banana and some cinnamon.

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Lunch  and Dinner
Add them to either your salad or soup or if you’re having some brown rice or quinoa pop in some seeds just as it finishes cooking and give it a good stir. you won’t even notice them there!

Dessert
Stir into your yogurt or my favorite CO YO – a lovely creamy coconut milk yogurt, make a chia seed pudding like the one above or if you are making flapjacks or oat cookies, stir them into the mixture before cooking.

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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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