1st Trimester

3 Best Exercises for Early Pregnancy Health

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According to The University of North Carolina’s study on pregnant women, fewer than 25% of moms-to-be are meeting healthy exercise recommendations– this means less than 1 in 4 women are exercising during every stage of pregnancy!

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Prenatal exercise boasts tons of benefits, and not just for your muscles: regular exercise can help boost your energy, build strength and endurance for pregnancy & after baby, and now we know it can improve your health AND your baby’s health! Active moms who maintain a healthy body weight through good nutrition and exercise typically have:

  • fewer pregnancy complications
  • faster recovery
  • deliver healthy babies in the ideal weight range, with excellent brain function

For all these benefits and more, participating in an exercise program even before you start trying to conceive (since your eggs begin to mature about 3 months before conception) and in early pregnancy, can help promote a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby! To give you a head start, we’ve assembled the 3 best exercises for early pregnancy health.

 

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1) Forward Rolls: These allow you to stretch your tight abdominals (belly and sides), while strengthening your deep core and your back muscles, both of which take on extra strain during pregnancy! To Perform Forward Rolls:

  1. Start on your knees with the ball positioned close to you. Exhale, tucking your chin towards your chest, and slowly roll the ball out in front of you.
  2. Inhale and hold, breathing into your belly, allowing a stretch.
  3. Exhale as you press your arms into the ball, engaging your core, then tucking your chin and hips to articulate your spine back to starting position.
  4. Repeat for 3 to 5 times

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2) Squats:  An excellent overall lower body strengthening exercise, and great for targeting the pelvic floor & deep core! A strong lower body will help you carry your baby safely and reduce injury during pregnancy and postpartum.

Remember: “A proper squat burns more calories because it engages more muscles than almost any other exercise, especially when you add arm movements too!”

To Perform A Squat:

  1. Stand with your legs wider than shoulder-width and slightly turned out for wide squats, or stand with legs shoulder-width apart for narrow squats.
  2. Inhale as you lower into a comfortable deep squat, keeping your weight in your hips and heels.
  3. Exhale to stand up.
  4. Repeat for 10 to 20 reps

 

 

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3) Walking is a safe option to keep up with cardio, especially when you’re feeling too tired for a high-intensity workout.  It’s also a great way to get some fresh air! There are many safe variations of cardiovascular exercise– whether you’re pre-pregnancy, currently pregnant, or postpartum.  Remember to listen to your body, and perform the Talk Test to ensure you aren’t over-exerting yourself.

“During pregnancy your blood volume increases around 50%! Due to this change, it’s easy to become lightheaded during position changes, so be cautious about moving to rapidly.”

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If you are new to exercise, be sure to talk with your doctor before beginning any exercise program, and remember to start slow, gradually increasing duration and intensity based on your health and how you feel. There is no better time to add these safe exercises to your day than now– whether you’re pregnant, trying to conceive, or have baby(ies) at home! These exercises will help keep you fit, healthy, and happy at any stage.
Other Related Knocked-Up Fitness Posts:

WebMD

1st Trimester

The Medicine Cabinet: 9 Natural Remedies for Pregnancy Symptoms

Are you one of the many moms reaching for effective relief from pregnancy symptoms, but wanting more holistic alternatives to chemicals and artificial products? There are so many natural ways to reduce all kinds of discomforts, many of which can be especially problematic during pregnancy. As parents, we want to protect our children from harsh chemicals for life, so we’re sharing 9 products we use to replace chemicals in our medicine cabinets.

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1. Ginger & Peppermint- Ginger is great raw– straight from the root, and can also be found in supplement form. Add a few slices of fresh grated ginger to your water bottle, food, or pregnancy-safe tea to help eliminate nausea, gas, indigestion, and bloating. Peppermint extract smells fantastic and is really effective at reducing symptoms of nausea. Adding fresh mint leaves to water and food, as well as using diluted essential oils for aromatherapy, can be beneficial for nausea, exhaustion, and indigestion.

2. Tea Tree Oil- With so many uses, tea tree oil is a staple for many natural product seekers.  Tea tree oil has anti-fungal properties, and can be used diluted with body washes or oils to help combat blemishes and oily skin or hair.  Add a few drops to hot water in a sink or steamer and you can help clean congested sinuses, since many commercial sinus and congestion medications are not recommended for use during pregnancy, this natural oil steam can provide a lot of relief if you get the sniffles! 

3. Iron- Iron deficiency is very common among pregnant women, and can be effectively treated by including iron-rich snacks and meals (one of my personal favorites is pumpkin seeds!) There are also many iron supplements available, that can be safe during pregnancy when discussed with a health professional. Low-iron can cause extreme poor body temperature regulation, fatigue, exhaustion, faintness and weakness– so be sure to discuss these symptoms with your doctor and adjust your diet if necessary! 

4. Aloe Vera Juice- Just 2 tablespoons before bed can effectively treat constipation, which is extremely common during pregnancy. Aloe Vera juice is also an excellent source of hydration, improving dry skin and reducing blemishes.

5. Probiotics- Available from many sources; including supplements, beverages, and foods such as yogurt– probiotics help maintain good bacterial balance in the stomach, which can be especially disturbed by hormonal changes in pregnancy and postpartum. Probiotics can also help with constipation, loose stool, and indigestion, but also help maintain total complete digestive health.

6. Magnesium- Experiencing leg cramps? This truly versatile mineral regulates body mechanical functions, and can be used to alleviate many pregnancy related symptoms! By drawing water into the bowels, magnesium helps alleviate constipation; it also encourages better sleep, decreased fatigue, increased alertness and brain function, better bone health, improved insulin sensitivity, leg cramps, and restlessness. So many of these symptoms are associated with pregnancy, so magnesium really is a great choice for many pregnant mamas!

7. Oils- Jojoba, Olive, Coconut, Avocado…They are all fantastic alternatives to chemical-laden products that can disrupt body functions and hormones. Since pregnancy can increase your sensitivity to chemicals (and because many commercial shampoos, washes, and lotions are full of artificial chemicals) natural oils are a great alternative for healthier skin and reducing dangerous chemical exposure to both you and your baby. Aside from cosmetic uses, natural oils can also be used in place of commercial massage oils– massaging can help promote circulation, lymphatic drainage, and relaxation– some excellent benefits for mamas! 

8. Witch Hazel- A really great product to help alleviate dry skin, heal blemishes, and treat hemorrhoids that might appear during pregnancy and after delivery.

9, Dandelion Leaf Tea– Completely safe during pregnancy, dandelion leaf tea provides gentle diuretic action with the addition of potassium, to support kidney function and provide tons of nutrients for pregnancy. This tea can also be used to reduce the symptoms of morning sickness, and help alleviate fluid retention– a very common pregnancy concern.

Along with all of these fantastic choices, and a regular and safe exercise program, pregnant mama’s HAVE to understand the importance of water. Water without sugar and other artificial additives will be every pregnant woman’s #1 defense against many of the typical pregnancy ailments. Adequate water intake can help reduce nausea, fatigue, cramps, body pain, dry skin, indigestion, gas, headaches, constipation, and so many other symptoms that pregnant moms deal with.

When making changes to your approach to health, be sure to consult your physician about the products your using and the health concerns you want to address! 

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Other Posts by Knocked-Up Fitness:

5 Tips for Fighting Pregnancy Fatigue

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

9 Surprising Tips: Pregnancy Digestive Health

Healthy Product Talk with Mommy Greenest

Getting Pregnant: 7 Pre-Pregnancy Health Tips

 

1st Trimester

Going Into Overtime

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Why Overdue Is Just An Estimation.. and 7 Ways You Can (Actually) Enjoy It!

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If you’re waving at your due date as you drive on– still pregnant– it’s easy to spend hours watching the clock pass, hoping for a ‘Hollywood Moment’ of rushing fluid, crazy contractions, and a rush to the hospital. It’s normal (and so exciting!) to get anxious waiting for baby to arrive, but what many moms don’t know is only about 5% of baby’s are born on their due date– and saying you’re ‘overdue’ is only an estimation.
Since conception date depends on your individual ovulation time–along with other variables– exactly 40 weeks can be very difficult to determine, with many health professionals monitoring fluid, but not suggesting intervention until 2 weeks post-due date (provided there are no underlying complications).
All babies (in the womb and in the outside world) grow at different rates, so if you’re approaching or passing your due date here are 8 Ways You Can (& Should) Enjoy Your Final Pregnant Days!
-1- Treat Yourself! If we told you that today was the last day you have to sleep extra, get to the spa, have a long (Read: Uninterrupted) bubble bath, or spend some quality time at the gym– why wouldn’t you?! Time to spend spoiling yourself might be a little harder to come by in the months following delivery, so whatever it is you love to do in your alone time, DO IT!

-2- Quality Time. Speaking of that quality alone time, there are probably others in your life that will want some too! Your spouse, your other child(ren), your pets, and your friends might take a back seat in the early postpartum days– especially when you’re establishing a nursing relationship and taking time to heal after delivery. Take advantage of your pregnant days to bond with everyone in your life, tell them how much you appreciate them, and enjoy their company one-on-one… Trust us, everyone wins with this one!

-3- Out & About. Whether it’s the holidays approaching or beautiful summer weather, there are plenty of places it’s difficult to go when you have a newborn. Holiday shopping can give you some enjoyable browsing time, and will be a lot easier in a healthy pregnancy than it is when your new baby is nursing– and the same goes for hitting the beach or the pool. Remember to take lots of pictures to remember you final ‘outings’ with you plus your baby bump!

-5- Belly. Bump. & Beauty. When every day could be your last day pregnant, its easy to get caught up in the waiting and forget to track your progress. Pass the time by measuring your waistline, doing a belly cast, scheduling a prenatal photo shoot, and even jotting down your weight. Your growing size might be hard to wear today, but it’s easy to forget these details once you have a baby to keep up with. You’ll definitely look back at these mementos of pregnancy fondly one day!

-6- Journal It. By writing a daily journal or even a single love letter, you can tell your baby how excited or nervous you are for their arrival, and all the things you’re doing to prepare for their arrival. This is a project you can use to enjoy pregnancy now, read to baby as a newborn, and gift to baby as they get older. A beautiful, handwritten, first-account of how much you already love them!

-7- Kicks, Movements, Hiccups & More! Whether you love to feel the movement, or you’ll be glad when baby is kicking the air & not you– it’s amazing to feel all that livelihood on the inside. It’s normal for baby to move around a little less in late pregnancy due to reduced space, but monitoring movement is a great way to stay connected to enjoying your pregnancy, monitoring baby’s well-being, and reveling in all the amazing things your body has done in the last nine months or more.

Of course, there are tons of ways to enjoy your final days in the pregnancy club, and we hope that adding in a great prenatal workout– to energize you and prepare you for labor– is one of them! Remember that your due date is just an estimation, and not to get discouraged when it comes and goes.. Trust your body, your healthcare providers, and your baby, and you can have an amazing time in overtime!

Julianna

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Other Related Knocked-Up Fitness Posts:

Gearing Up For Baby: My 10 Must-Haves

5 Tips to Healthy Pregnancy Weight Gain

 Delivery Methods: 1 Crazy (But Awesome) Tip To Improve Baby’s Health 

1st Trimester

5 Tips to Healthy Pregnancy Weight Gain

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Weight gain is a reality of pregnancy… Or is it? Many pregnant women struggle to meet pregnancy weight gain milestones–often leading to anxiety, and unhealthy eating habits. We asked Kristi Angevine, OBGyn, to weigh in on some healthy weight gain tips, and we’re sharing 5 Tips to Ensure Healthy Pregnancy Weight Gain.

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1) Check-Ups

Your suggested weight gain will be based on your health and BMI at conception as determined by your doctor, and this calculation is often a simple estimation. Your body shape, and the number on the scale throughout you pregnancy will be largely based on your body type, diet, and activity level both before and during pregnancy– so talk to your doctor about the most accurate weight-gain timeline specifically for you.

2) Tummy Talk

If you’re experiencing extreme nausea, excessive vomiting, or ongoing sickness into the second trimester, you’re one of many mamas who experience morning sickness (or all-day sickness for many of us!) If this nausea is interfering with your appetite, weight, or energy, you could be suffering from Hypermesis Gravidium– a pregnancy related illness caused by hormonal fluctuation. There are several ways to ease HG, including diet change, keeping hydrated, grazing so you are never ‘over full’ or hungry, light exercise or meditation, and using natural nausea reducers, such as ginger. In severe cases, medication can be prescribed by a physician if necessary.

Nausea, of any severity, can cause reduced weight gain– and even weight loss– in the first trimester, but rest assured as long as you are eating healthy, taking vitamins, and staying hydrated, baby will get enough nutrients to develop normally!

3) Understanding ‘Diet’

When we talk about diet, we associate it with deprivation, ‘rabbit food’, and trying to lose weight, which causes a lot of confusion– especially for pregnant women, since they are being weighed every month (or more often!). Traditionally, ‘diet’ simply refers to what is being consumed by an individual, and everyone should use this more organic definition. When moms understand that their diet can have a strong impact on their pregnancy, and better understand how food fuels the body, they can have a healthier pregnancy.

With that being said, Dr. Angevine has collaborated with us to develop these additional guidelines for pregnant women struggling to gain the recommended amount of weight.

4) Fats & Carbs

A ‘diet’ that demands fats and carbs? Yes Please! But to be more specific, we’re talking healthy fats and adding additional carbohydrates that are also more closely naturally derived from plants.

Some Excellent Food to Try:

Real Organic Nut Butters

Walnuts, Pumpkin/Sunflower Seeds, Almonds, Pistachios

Steel Cut Oats

Flax Seed

Greek Yogurt

Olive (no heat) or Coconut (low heat) Oil

Real Butter (forget the processed stuff, opt for organic, natural types)

Additional carbs in your diet as a pregnant or nursing mama are essential to maintaining energy and health. While we typically think of limiting these items in our diet, fats and carbohydrates provide heart healthy properties and essential nutrients that will help you stay strong, and help fuel you and your baby, both during pregnancy, and while breastfeeding.

Lots of moms are concerned about eating too much, but the bigger concern is eating too much of the wrong things! So go ahead, finish off that delicious avocado or quinoa salad… Just skip on that second serving of ice cream!

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5) Flex a Little

Working out to help gain weight– it has a TON of benefits. You’ll feel more energized, you’ll be in great shape during pregnancy and have more endurance (this will help during labor!), many pregnant moms who exercise find their body bounces back better after delivery, and surprisingly, weighted exercises will help you gain healthy weight– Muscle! It is safe to perform almost all weight lifting and weight bearing exercises you did before pregnancy, as long as you’re using proper body mechanics & listening to your body. If you weren’t previously doing weight-training, talk to your doctor about your personal limitations, and seek out a specialized prenatal exercise program like Knocked-Up Fitness Prenatal DVDs. Remember, exercising to build muscle and gain energy can help your pregnancy progress healthfully, but never exercise yourself to exhaustion!

Finally, since we’re talking about weight– remember that pregnancy is a time to gain weight healthfully, it’s all for your beautiful baby (or babies!!). If you’re concerned you are gaining too little, or too much, be sure to talk to your doctor to review what is a healthy weight range for your pregnancy!

Julianna

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Check Out These Tips From Knocked-Up Fitness:

1st Trimester

Delivery Methods: 1 Crazy (But Awesome) Tip To Improve Baby’s Health

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For many moms, planning for your baby’s arrival can even start before you find out you’re pregnant. Not surprisingly, delivery brings great excitement, along with questions and concerns for both mom and baby’s health and safety. The CDC estimates about 3 of 4 women have a vaginal delivery with minimal complications– but in the U.S. 33% of moms are delivering via cesarean.

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Cesarean births have increased by nearly 60% since 1996. For moms with complications like placenta previa or fetal distress, a cesarean can save the life of mom and baby– which is amazing! But the CDC estimates as many as 30% of cesarean births are unnecessary or elective– with many doctors and women alike siting the cesarean delivery felt ‘safer’ or ‘easier’. But this is not the case.

A typical, vaginal delivery does come with some risks too, like tearing or minor lacerations, and of course pain–not to mention it can happen anywhere, anytime! It isn’t hard to see why an elective cesarean might seem like a good option– but many complications are increased with cesareans in comparison to natural deliveries, these include:

  • maternal organ damage
  • excessive blood loss
  • blood clots
  • infection
  • long-term pain
  • extended recovery time
  • a doubled mortality rate for baby versus vaginal deliveries that proceed naturally

 

PLUS.. Due to the nature of a cesarean, it also takes longer for women to return to an active routine, making postnatal health and fitness more difficult! 

 

What The Birth Canal Is Built For & What Moms (& Docs) Are Doing

Scientists are now studying the stage of birth, as baby is progressing through the birth canal. Newer studies are proving the prescence of good bacteria– bacteria that colonizes baby’s tummy and strengthens their system for the outside world in a natural delivery. The Journal of Pediatrics published a doctorate paper researching the high concentration of bacteria in the vaginal canal, and found that it may help reduce complications for baby such as:

  • colic
  • milk intolerances
  • athsma
  • immune complications
  • food allergies
  • celiac disease
  • obesity
  • diabetes

These studies have so astoundingly proven the benefits to baby that some doctors and moms are practicing a post cesarean colonization– yes– innoculating babies with bacteria from the vaginal canal, or by rubbing vaginal fluid on the breasts while in the early stages of nursing, to introduce these necessary bacteria to baby. So if you do require a cesarean, there are still ways to help your baby reap the benefits of what your body naturally provides.

While these methods might surprise you, the last decade has shown a three-fold in the prevalence of many of the related health issues in North America, and we want to make sure that every mom has access to information about postnatal and neonatal health.

We hope that you can choose the safest delivery method for you, and encourage you to talk to your doctor about any of your concerns regarding delivery and recovery.

 

Julianna

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If You Liked This, Check Out These Other Knocked-Up Fitness Posts:

 

 

 

Sources:
National Institute of Health

Pediatric Health

 

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.

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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!

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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

 

 

References

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}

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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!

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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:

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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

Julianna

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