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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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. 

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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KX 365

As explained in an earlier post, one of my first stops for aiding my recovery was KX Gym in London.

Gideon, my personal trainer prescribed me all sorts of pills and potions including the KX 365 supplements, which features a multivitamin and CoQ10 for the morning and  an Omega-3 fish oil and Antoxidant tablet for the evening.

But what does what? The CoQ10 is crucial for helping the body to generate energy. So this was perfect for helping me to maintaining my energy levels. The multi-vitamin then meant that I got all my B vitamins for energy too as well as vitamin’s D and C to support my immune system.

The afternoon supplements, which were Omega-3 fish oils and an antioxidant, meant I got  660mg of EPA and DHA, essential fats – which help to support the heart and joints, whilst promoting muscle development, brain health and regulating hormones, whilst the antioxidant was perfect for helping me to cope with all the harmful effects of free radicals – those nasty things that cause the ageing process and disease.

So there you have it. One month works out at £85 but this is literally all you need supplement wise for the month and makes supplement taking and remembering sooooooo easy!

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