1st Trimester

9 Surprising Tips: Pregnancy Digestive Health

Natural health has become very popular among pregnant women and moms lately– and for good reason!

Mom’s are now more aware than ever that our diet, exercise routines, and environments affect our pregnancy and our children, not just our own health! Since digestion, your tummy, and your whole gut system is affected by so many factors, especially during pregnancy, here are some great tips to creating and maintaining digestive system health through your pregnancy and beyond.


Digestive System Bacteria– What you NEED to Know

Probiotic, now a hype word, was once a topic only discussed among “holistic” health practitioners has become center stage in the topic of many health discussions, since probiotics contribute to healthy digestion and intestinal balance. Our gut is filled with hundreds of different species of good bacteria. In fact, there are more of them in a healthy gut than there are cells in the entire body! The intestinal flora is also a key contributor in detoxification, ridding the body of 40 percent of the toxins in food. If the gut didn’t have the intestinal flora, the liver would have to work almost twice as hard.
Avoid These Things to Maintain the Balance in Your Belly:

1. C-sections
While often absolutely necessary, today, too many women are induced. This leads to C-sections that would not have been necessary if the natural process of labor had been respected and allowed to proceed without disruption. A baby in the womb is sterile, but when passing through the birth canal, it is exposed to bacteria, mouth first. These bacteria are supposed to colonize the gut, nature’s first vaccination of sorts. This does not happen during a C-Section.

2. Antibiotics
Antibiotics are the second (and often most commonly seen) problem the intestinal flora often face. While our culture is beginning to become aware of our over-prescribing of antibiotics, it is still often the case that children (and adults for that matter) are given antibiotics for every kind of infection-many of which if given the proper time and rest would resolve on their own. In fact, because this antibiotic regime starts early, many of us have always lived with compromised intestinal flora and have never been truly healthy.

3. Chemicals in Your Food
The chemicals found in our food is the most common way that we make trouble for our intestinal flora on a day-to-day basis. A trip to the doctor isn’t the only place you’ll find antibiotics, some of the same antibiotics doctors prescribe to humans are administered to livestock by the food industry. This goes for processed and packaged foods in boxes, jars, bags, tubes, and bottles. The food industry calls them preservatives, but in essence they act as antibiotics. These antibiotics kill the friendly flora naturally found in your digestive system.

4. Chlorinated Water
Tap water and shower water are two places that can cause problems for our intestinal flora. The water we shower with is absorbed through the skin and ends up in our circulatory systems, just like the water we drink. Recent reports reveal that your shower and tap water may contain increasingly detectable levels of most of the popular prescription medications such as antidepressants, antibiotics, hormones, and immuno-suppressants, all serious problems for the good bacteria in our gut.

5. Stress
Research is beginning to suggest that stress itself can cause significant changes to the diversity, composition, and number of gut microorgansims. Stress has been linked to a variety of conditions such as food allergies, GERD, and IBS.² Stress has also been shown to slow bowel transit time, which encourages the growth of bad bacteria!

Tips to Keep Your Tummy Happy:

1. Eat chemical-free whole foods and use chemical-free products. You have heard this before and it is worth repeating. Look for whole foods free of preservatives, conservatives, and coloring agents. Use chemical-free makeup, body-care, and cleaning products. I so often hear of the expense that comes along with eating organic whole foods and my thoughts on this are pay now or pay later. You really are what you eat… and so is your baby!! Decreased exposure to pesticides, added hormones, and antibiotics is good for you & baby.

2. Take a multi-strain probiotic. The truth is we are still learning about which probiotics are the most useful and in what quantities. We do know that probiotics support the intestinal flora. I recommend rotating your probiotics to include different strains and different amounts. The brands I have found most reliable are VSL #3 and Primal Defense by Garden of Life

3. Filter your tap & shower waters. Keep chlorine and other chemicals from being absorbed and damaging your microflora by using a shower and drinking water filter. On top of decreased exposure as an added bonus you may notice softer skin!

4. This is SO IMPORTANT while pregnant. Reduce stress. There are many strategies to help reduce stress, so find one that works for you and use it.

On top of these things, don’t forget that healthy eating, staying hydrated, safe and effective exercises, and above all– plenty of rest, will help your total body health. Avoiding the chemicals and toxins that bombard your daily life can seem overwhelming, but when you know where to look for them, how to avoid them, and alternative lifestyle choices, you can have a happier healthy pregnancy and beyond!

*    *    *    *    *    *    *

Other Posts by Knocked-Up Fitness:

5 Tips for Fighting Pregnancy Fatigue
Healthy Product Talk with Mommy Greenest
Getting Pregnant: 7 Pre-Pregnancy Health Tips




1. Clean Gut by Dr. A. Junger

2. http://www.jpp.krakow.pl/journal/archive/12_11/pdf/591_12_11_article.pdf

1st Trimester

Healthy Lifestyle for the Busy Mom: How Much Exercise Do You Really Need? {Video}


While being a mother is a special and rewarding feeling, it takes a lot of time away from ourselves. Often we feel like we can’t find the time and energy to have an intense workout, and so we forgo exercising altogether. But maybe an intense workout isn’t what you actually need. Your body is different than everyone else’s body, which is part of what makes you so beautiful, but different bodies have different needs. It’s important that your nutrition needs and exercise needs are tailored to you.

That being said, how much exercise does your body really need? Are you exercising too much? Are you not exercising enough? Does your exercise energize you or instead tire you out? Are you supposed to exercise after a horrible night of sleep, or when you just don’t have the energy? These are questions that we have all asked, and the answers are important for our health as a woman, a wife and a mom. Watch my video below for answers to these questions and more.

I love hearing from you so please  leave any questions or comments below.

Let’s get the word out! There are a lot of moms and families out there and I want to help as many as I possibly can. Little changes to your lifestyle really can make a BIG IMPACT on both you and your family. Not to mention all the great habits you are building for your little ones, so share on…

To keep up on the latest from Erica Ziel of Knocked-Up Fitness, sign up here.

If you missed the last videos talking about sugar and the belly bulge check them out!


1st Trimester

Sweet Facts: Sugar & Artificial Sweeteners in Pregnancy

Pregnancy cravings hit all of us, and an occasional indulgence may seem like a right-of-passage during pregnancy– but watching your sugar intake is more important now than ever, here’s why:

Sugars are important for our body, but the differences between natural and artificial sugars are astronomical. The American Heart Associations recommends that women consume a maximum of 100 calories of sugar per day, preferably through natural sugars occurring in organic fruits and vegetables (YES– these sugars count, too!). These healthy sugars keep your body balanced, but so many sugars we consume, especially in pre-packaged foods, are artificial sugars– which, along with adding unnecessary sugar to your diet, also add chemicals that your body can’t process, and what your body gets, your baby gets, too!
Some of these artificial sugars can be disguised under many names. When shopping, always be aware of labels that include hidden ‘sugar aliases’ such as; sugar high fructose corn syrup, dehydrated cane juice, fructose, glucose, dextrose, syrup, cane sugar, raw sugar, corn syrup, coconut sugar, agave, or honey– just to name a few. In moderation, the most natural sugars are safe for your and your baby, but excess sugar in your diet can lead to a lot of health issues.
Gestational Diabetes & Excess Weight Gain
The number of pregnant mom’s diagnosed with gestational diabetes has more than doubled in the last several decades. A leading panel of pregnancy experts in the US now believe that about 16% of pregnant women may have gestational diabetes, and this rapid increase is attributed to a few key factors in prenatal health, including sugar intake and maternal weight.
Gestational diabetes is manageable with great diet and exercise habits. However, an American Journal of Clinical Nutriton study found that babies born to mothers with poorly controlled GD are at risk of higher birth weight, more emergency c-sections & other pregnancy/labor complications. Studies also show these babies may be more likely to be overweight throughout their lives, proving the long term health affects of GD. To help avoid gestational diabetes, try to maintain a healthy balance of sugars in your diet, as well as talking with your doctor about your pre-pregnancy health and pregnancy weight gain.
Beware Artificial Sweeteners
FDA approved artificial sweeteners, including saccharin, acesulfame, aspartame, neotame, and sucralose, most commonly appear in food labelled low-fat, fat-free, or sugar free, like your morning yogurt or that after-coffee stick of gum. Although these sweeteners are deemed safe for consumption, most have yet to be studied during pregnancy. These artificial sweeteners offer no nutritional value, and are composed of mostly chemicals that haven’t been proven safe for use during pregnancy.
The Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health found that many artificial sweeteners had very few positive human trials, and some have been linked to weight gain, intestinal issues, and cancers. The American Association of Pregnancy lists many of these sweeteners as unsafe during pregnancy, since the chemicals composing non-nutritive sweeteners like saccharin, aspartame, and cyclamate (currently banned in the US) can cross the placental barrier and reach your baby.
Mamas, please be aware that all sugars you consume will reach your baby– and sugars, while in small amounts necessary to the body’s balance, in excess can cause your body to function at a less than optimal level. To be your healthiest and sharpest, avoid processed and artificial sugars, instead opting for the recommended servings of organic fruits and naturally sweetened foods to satisfy your sweet tooth, and your pregnancy cravings.


Get The Knocked-Up Fitness DVDs & Guide to Pregnancy Fitness HERE


*   *   *   *   *   *   *

Check Out These Tips From Knocked-Up Fitness:



1st Trimester

Healthy Lifestyle for the Busy Mom: Getting Rid of the Belly Bulge! {Video}


As moms, we lead the busiest of lives. We’re not just on the job for 40 hours a week, or even 60. We work tirelessly 24/7 to raise our children, care for our family, run errands, and work. With such a full plate, it feels nearly impossible to find time for ourselves and our own health.

Well I’m here to tell you, you don’t have to make crazy changes to your schedule in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle. It starts with once again, the basics – posture. Postural changes can be made without taking away any time with your kids or husband! Simply changing the way you sit, stand, and carry yourself not only can relieve neck, back, and joint pain, but also turns on your deep core, which helps us get rid of that belly bulge. And if you’re pregnant, having a strong deep core during pregnancy makes it easier to regain that flat belly after baby. Watch my video below to see how you can improve posture with my simple tips, and be on your way to your pre-pregnancy glory (or better)!

I love hearing from you so please  leave any questions or comments below.

Let’s get the word out! There are a lot of moms and families out there and I want to help as many as I possibly can. Little changes to your lifestyle really can make a BIG IMPACT on both you and your family. Not to mention all the great habits you are building for your little ones, so share on…

To keep up on the latest from Erica Ziel of Knocked-Up Fitness, sign up here.

If you missed the last video talking all about sugar, check it out here!


1st Trimester

Worth the Weight: How Prenatal Exercise Can Help You Achieve Your Postpartum Weight Goals

If you’re one of many Knocked-Up mommas waiting for baby, and wondering how your body will react to pregnancy and delivery, you’re in luck!


A study out of The American College of Sports Medicine shows an exciting new positive correlation between prenatal exercise and postpartum weight. Researchers found that women who practice moderate exercise and healthful eating habits are 75% more likely to reach their pre-pregnancy weight at 2 months postpartum! What’s even more amazing is that exercise and healthy eating during pregnancy yielded similar results in all moms-to-be –whether they practiced healthy habits before pregnancy, or only began exercising during early pregnancy. The study also confirmed that a healthy diet and exercise program does not contribute to low birth weight in babies, instead, it contributes to babies being born within a normal, healthy weight range!

This is an exciting breakthrough, since so many women (up to 70% in North America) struggle with postpartum weight loss. By proactively targeting strength and stamina activities during pregnancy, prenatal exercise gives women an opportunity to jump-start their postpartum fitness and reach their after-baby weight goals faster. Several studies show that hanging on to excess weight after baby can contribute to health complications and emotional stress (including postpartum depression), both of which can be significantly reduced by prenatal exercise. These amazing benefits can be reached in just a few workouts a week, and by implementing healthy eating habits.

If your doctor approves you for exercise during pregnancy try starting with some of the Knocked-Up Fitness simple, effective exercises, including Exercising During Pregnancy Can Help Prepare You for Life as a Mom! and remember to listen to your body


Get The Knocked-Up Fitness DVDs & Guide to Pregnancy Fitness HERE


*   *   *   *   *   *   *

Check Out These Tips From Knocked-Up Fitness:




American College of Sports Medicine

1st Trimester

Healthy Lifestyle for the Busy Mom: Let’s Talk About Sugar! {Video}


leader-oct20Moms, you know how much I care about your body, confidence, and pregnancy(s).. but most importantly, I care about your health! But being healthy and confident is not just about exercise, though that definitely plays a big part in it. Rather, it’s maintaining a healthy lifestyle in all aspects of our life, including sleep, exercise, eating right, time management for our kids, husband, and self, etc., to ultimately attain the best version of ourselves.

But we’re moms, and by definition, that makes us busy!! So how can we maintain an overall well-being and our sanity at the same time?? By taking manageable steps towards a healthy lifestyle, starting with the basics – food. Check out the video below addressing nutrition – specifically sugar. This is the first of a three-part video series geared toward a healthy lifestyle for you busy moms!

I want your feedback so leave any questions or comments below.

Let’s get the word out! There are a lot of moms and families out there and I want to help as many as I possibly can. Little changes to your lifestyle really can make a BIG IMPACT on both you and your family. Not to mention all the great habits you are building for your little ones, so share on…

To keep up on the latest from Erica Ziel of Knocked-Up Fitness, sign up here.


1st Trimester

Bringing Awareness to the Dangers of Low Amniotic Fluid


Whether you are a first time mom or have experienced a prior pregnancy I want to talk about something that many expecting moms don’t give a lot of thought to…

I want to discuss amniotic fluid. Is yours sufficient? How would you be able to tell? When is it time to discuss this with your mid-wife or doctor any changes you have noticed with discharge?

I will be providing some hints to determine if you are working with low fluid and whether or not you may be leaking it!

Being that I just experienced my first pregnancy I had no idea, for some time, that what I was experiencing “down there” was in fact something that needed to be not only discussed with my mid-wife but also addressed much sooner than it was!

I had been to multiple appointments, had my scheduled sonograms, progressed from hearing the baby’s heart beat every few weeks to every two and then towards the end every week with no CLUE that I was slowly leaking amniotic fluid!

Some of you may be wondering how in the world I didn’t catch on to the fact that I had little to no fluid. However, when you are making it to each appointment and your mid-wife is giving you the OK on everything why would one think that the “damp” feeling I was experiencing each and every day as I was changing my undergarments would be anything other than the “normal” pregnancy discharge that ALL pregnant women experience.

My condition was caught right in the nick of time. Luckily, I had a breech baby.. you won’t be hearing many women feeling lucky about a breech baby!! So at 36 weeks I had an appointment to get a “version” done, a procedure in which a physician attempts to manually turn the baby from a head up to a head down position in an effort to give mom and baby the opportunity to have a vaginal delivery.

As is common protocol, prior to starting the procedure I was scheduled for a sonogram. This was utilized to ensure that the baby was still breech and to determine that I had sufficient amniotic fluid to turn the baby.

As many mothers know, a sonogram is a simple, painless, and relatively quick procedure. However, a telltale sign that something of concern may be happening, is when you have a sonographer leave the room multiple times to eventually return with the physician scheduled to do your procedure.

In a matter of minutes, I went from having the “version” schedule to having an emergency C-section. I had ONE 2 cm pocket of amniotic fluid (Just a side note the threshold in which many OB’s start to monitor fluid levels is 5 cm).

Although, at the moment, this was not welcomed news for many reasons obviously, primarily due to the fact that I wanted nothing more than to have a vaginal delivery retrospectively, I am quite blessed that it was caught.

After my baby had been safely delivered and I had adjusted to my new reality of being a mommy I started to get curious and ask the “who, what, when, where, how, and why” of this happening.

Below I have provided some general guidelines to consider if you are an expecting mom and at any point if you feel like the “damp down there” has changed or feels off I would encourage you to listen to your intuition, as no one knows your body better than you, and bring it up with your health care provider.


I, unfortunately, experienced placental problems in which the placenta was not providing enough  blood or nutrients to the baby to the point at which it was picked up on the sonogram (the good news is, it can be picked up on a sonogram!!). It was concluded that this was caused by a small leak due to a rupture of the membranes causing a slow constant trickle of fluid resulting in a constant “damp” feeling.

So how can you tell if you MAY be leaking amniotic fluid?!

Honestly, it can be difficult to determine! During the third trimester the baby will put increasing amounts of pressure on the body, causing discharge to fall from the cervix. You may also begin to leak urine as the uterus puts additional pressure on the bladder.

Unlike these substances, amniotic fluid is odorless and will soak the undergarments as it leaks in a significant amount. Urine and cervical discharge occur in “spurts.”

For me, it became a nightly routine to remove undergarments that were dampened (not wet) all the way through. I attributed this to sweat and discharge only to now know this is one of the best indicators that you are indeed leaking fluid.

Also, I did notice that when I would rub my growing belly I didn’t feel the typical “squish” many women had due to the padding provided by the amniotic fluid however, with no previous pregnancies to compare this to I thought little of it!

Utilizing a sanitary napkin can be helpful in determining the amount and type of fluid you are leaking. However, my best advice to expecting moms is to pay attention and be aware!! As I said previously, no one knows your body better than you!

It is important to note that this was not due to the fact that I stayed active throughout my pregnancy! However, I also encourage you to stay hydrated!! It is so important not only for your overall health but the health of your baby.

Discuss any changes you pick up on with your health care provider!


Other related Knocked-Up Fitness posts:

1st Trimester

Strengthening Your Deep Core




The benefits of strengthening your deep core are virtually endless! Here are a few important reasons you need to start ASAP and strengthen your deep core:

  •  Look and FEEL your best, during pregnancy, after baby, and far beyond!
  • A quicker and easier labor, specifically the pushing portion (could prevent unnecessary c-section).
  • The ability to bounce back quicker after baby – get those abs back! (or as I prefer to say “core back”)

For more information and great exercises, check out my NEW Book Knocked-Up Fitness Guide to Pregnancy.



Other Related Knocked-Up Fitness Posts: