2nd Trimester

Bringing Awareness to the Dangers of Low Amniotic Fluid

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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.

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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!

 

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2nd Trimester

Strengthening Your Deep Core

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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.

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2nd Trimester

Sex During Pregnancy: Real Moms Talk!

If you’re pregnant, or thinking about trying to conceive soon, you’ve probably thought a least a little about sex! If you’re curious about how other women deal with sex during pregnancy, this is the place for you! We talked to 200 moms and, not surprisingly, many have similar experiences and concerns.
Sex during pregnancy can be completely safe, and even healthy for your body– but pregnancy can change a lot of things, including your sex drive. Some women find sex more exciting and even better than before pregnancy, while many others struggle with discomfort, both physically and emotionally, during sex.

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It’s important to understand is that many of the changes to you and your partners sexual preferences during pregnancy are totally normal, and health experts agree changes in sex during pregnancy are often attributed to hormonal fluctuations. What’s also amazing is that exercise can actually increase your energy level, and improve your body image & confidence! Here’s what some real moms have shared with Knocked-Up Fitness about their sex life during pregnancy!
” I had a big sex drive when I was pregnant but my husband didn’t want to have sex because I had some bleeding early on and he didn’t want to hurt the baby.”

“Sex during pregnancy was almost non-existent. I was sick for 20 weeks and then the last half of my pregnancy I was large, miserable, and felt unattractive.”

“I had a high drive until I got pregnant with my first. Then it disappeared like magic.”

“I had a high sex drive during my pregnancy and the couple weeks after…I was also open to a lot more things sexually during my pregnancies.”

“Pregnancy was the first time I felt totally secure with my body in years, so sex was great!”

“I had no sex drive in the first trimester; I was nauseous and exhausted. Then in my second trimester I started feeling a little better, and resuming my workouts, and my sex drive came back stronger than ever!”

So if you’re feeling less than motivated to get busy– or if you’re one of many women who feel liberated and wonderful during pregnancy– the good news is it’s probably pretty common, and you’re not alone! Always remember to talk with your doctor about your concerns during pregnancy, and listen to your body & do what feels comfortable!

 

Check Back With Us Next Week to Read What Our Real Moms Said About Sex After Pregnancy!!

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Julianna

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2nd Trimester

5 Tips to Motivate Moms-to-Be

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Exercise is an extremely important factor in having a healthy pregnancy, so you might be surprised that three out of four pregnant women in the U.S. don’t get enough exercise! Preventative Medicine reports that as few as 14% of women are meeting the minimum recommendations for physical activity, which could partly explain why so many moms struggle with their health, weight, and body image.

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To help keep you motivated, here are 5 reasons you should get active at any stage of your pregnancy!

  1. Prenatal activity helps lower your heart rate, but more amazingly, studies show activity can positively affect your baby’s heart functions up to six years of age.
  2. Active mothers a less likely to suffer from gestational diabetes (1.8% vs 8.3%).
  3. 1 in 3 moms in the U.S. are giving birth via cesarean and 38% of women who did not do pelvic floor exercises had a prolonged second stage of labor (a common reason c-sections are performed)– not surprisingly, inactive moms are twice as likely to need a cesarean.
  4. Women are 58% less likely to deliver an excessively large baby when exercising regularly.
  5. Just 55 minutes of exercise, three days a week during pregnancy can make you 34% less likely to require an emergency c-section.

The key to these tips is that results happen when you make taking care of yourself through exercise a priority and a habit. Exercising regularly can be hard to fit in some days, but a simple  and effective 10 minute workout is the difference between doing it, and not doing it!
Stay motivated, mamas– & have a happy, healthy pregnancy, birth, & beyond.

Julianna

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Sources:

WebMD
Preventative Medicine
Journal of Science Medicine
National Center for Biotechnology Information
HealthyWomen.org
British Journal of Sports and Medicine

2nd Trimester

The Importance of Your Transverse Abdominals {Video}

Check out my new video below on Deep Core Strengthening. Learn the importance of your Transverse Abdominals and how they can impact your pregnancy, labor, and beyond!

===>Now Available: The Knocked-Up Fitness Pregnancy Program

Don’t forget to sign up for the Knocked-Up Fitness Newsletter to receive your FREE Booty Sculpting Workout!

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2nd Trimester

MommiesFirst Subscription Box Review

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I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love getting mail– especially the kind of mail that you weren’t expecting, and particularly the kind of mail that includes gifts! I remember when I was pregnant with my first little one, just about anything that I saw for babies made me freak out with excitement, I was so excited to explore the world of products for my baby. With baby #2, I’ve become a bit stubborn. I find myself less likely to try new products– because it becomes a small project; reading reviews, researching the company, and learning about every ingredient it’s made of. For all these reasons and more, the MommiesFirst Subscription Box is an amazing way to explore new products, which I’ll likely be using for both my boys in the future! The boxes, developed by a real mom, MommiesFirst CEO Lorena Pacheco Scott, are designed to save moms time and money by offering the most effective, natural products for mom and baby.

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The first thing you’ll notice when you receive your MommiesFirst box (after the beautiful box itself) is a personalized note with you and your baby’s’ name. My note; to Julianna & Lincoln, briefly discusses the ideal time frame for the products, and why they are relevant to your baby’s current developmental milestones. The box I received was ideal for age 4-5 months, and is described as the “Medicine Cabinet” box. It is centered around baby discovering the world, and putting everything in his mouth (yep–we’re here!).. and along with this discovery often comes some germs and sniffles.
After the note I found the product cards, fastened together with a cute little diaper safety pin. This is such an important touch for me, because the last thing I have time for or want to do is to have to go online and research everything in the box– I just want to start using the products! With the product cards you get an overview of the product & company, ‘how to use’ directions, reasons why MommiesFirst loves the product, and where you can find it if you want to continue to use them. Genius!

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In my subscription box I received:
-Boogie Wipes
-Boiron Camilia teething drops
-Boiron Coryzalia cold drops
-WELEDA Calendula Weather Protection Cream
-Thera Wise VpR Vaporizing Rub
-Parents Canada Magazine (the newest issue)

 

Living on the East Coast, we’ve had the wackiest weather I can recall– seriously, yesterday I could sunbathe and today it’s snowing– and it’s April!! With all that weather change, colds and sniffles are going around like crazy, so this subscription box has me prepared!

To start with, I’ve been holding a Boogie Wipes coupon hostage in my ‘odds & ends’ drawer for several months, so I was pretty excited to see a large package of them in my MommiesFirst box. I loved these gentle, effective wipes for both my boys, and will likely purchase them for my purse/diaper bag again.

Next, the Boiron products–natural homeopathic medicines that are safe for babies as young as 1 month! I try to avoid medicine whenever possible for both my boys, and since infants don’t have many medication options to begin with, these drinkable drops are the perfect alternative. While I haven’t had a chance to try the teething bottles yet, my 3 year old had a bit of a dry cough one evening, and after 3 single dose bottles spread out over a day– he stopped coughing! And since my little one has been drooling puddles everywhere– I think we’ll be making use of the teething doses soon.

With all the nose wiping that goes on when baby has a cold, the WELEDA Weather Protection Cream is an excellent addition to the medicine cabinet box. When you’re constantly wiping and rubbing baby’s nose, it can get red and irritated– so this gentle, fresh smelling lotion is great. I’ve repurposed this cream for a number of things, from protecting my hands (I’m constantly washing them after changing diapers and before feeding), and since we’re in early spring and we’ve been trying to get outside as often as possible, the WELEDA cream has also been great for treating and protecting my 3 year olds skin from wind-burn. A perfect addition for any time of year.

The Thera Wise vaporizing rub might be my favorite product in the subscription box for several reasons– it’s all natural, plant based, effective, safe for infants, and gentle. This cream leaves a much lighter scent than the vaporizing rubs we remember, is super gentle on the skin, and is paraben and petroleum free. It does say on the packaging to consult a physician if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding– but for baby the instructions are to apply to the bottoms of feet and cover with socks. It also claims to be effective on muscle aches, and since I love natural products, I’ll probably use this on me as much as baby.

Finally, the latest issue of Parents Canada magazine was included. This is great for any mom, because the magazine often offers information on many stages of parenting, so there’s always something relevant. Plus it’s an excuse for mom to take some ‘me’ time with some good reading material. Depending on your location, you might receive a different (similar) magazine, but being in Canada, this magazine is relevant to me and my location!

I will reiterate, I’m product stubborn. I love all-natural products, and this box provides moms with several amazing products that they might not have heard of before. Subscription Boxes by MommiesFirst are available for every stage of pregnancy (including a special ‘shower’ box if you know a pregnant mama!) and throughout the first year, and are a great value at $30/month, the retail value of the box I received was about $55 and shipping was free. This is a great gift idea for moms, or a special treat for yourself if you’re pregnant or have a new baby. If you’re like me and love natural products, but often find yourself in a product rut, this is a great way to introduce new, effective products that are tested & loved by other moms!
Thank you so much to Lorena Scott & The MommiesFirst Team for providing beautiful care packages to Moms & Babies (like my boys and I) for the most exciting (and sometimes stressful) times in the first years! To order Subscription Boxes from MommiesFirst for you, your baby, or someone you know visit the MommiesFirst website here.

And don’t forget to sign up for the Knocked-Up Fitness Newsletter for more great tips!

 

2nd Trimester

16 Minute Club: Breastfeeding Support Box {Review & Giveaway}

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I was so excited to receive one of the Subscription Boxes from The 16 Minute Club, founded by IBCLC Wendy Wright, and named after the average length of a breastfeeding session (16 minutes). Each of the available boxes are designed to specifically meet the needs of you and your baby at every stage of breastfeeding. You can choose to subscribe to all of the boxes, which will automatically come to you just when they’re needed, or start with the box most relevant to your baby’s age. Successful breastfeeding comes easier for some mothers than others, so having a little help from experts come right to your doorstep is pretty great.

From Knocked-Up Fitness: 16 Minute Club Box

First let’s talk about how cute this package is–I mean, getting a present in the mail is awesome, but even better, this box feels like a care package from a (really educated) family member, and it’s pretty, too! So let’s get right down to it…

When I opened up the package the first item on the top is a personalized little note and a binder filled with an introduction, words of encouragement, and information about the stages of breastfeeding & baby development (keeping in mind that all babies develop at a different pace). The 16 Minute Club offers several different boxes, and since my baby is nearly 3 months old (wow, time flies!!) I received box #3. This box particularly identifies growth spurts, soothing techniques, and building up a sufficient supply for your ever-growing babe (see what I mean about relevancy– my baby is growing like a weed!). You can see in the picture, there are tons of awesome goodies in this box, a lot of which are items I have talked about wanting to try, but either didn’t know where to find them, or didn’t know how to tell what products are the best. That’s another reason I really love the idea of these boxes, I feel a lot more confident in using the products knowing a professional has hand picked them.

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Okay, since I loved everything in this box, naming favorites isn’t realistic.. so this is what The 16 Minute Club included in my Box #3:

Lactation Cookie & Birds and Bees Tea: Both products are included to help mom make sufficient supply during growths spurt. Quality products made with natural, safe ingredients (LOVE that!) for nursing moms. Plus, who can complain about a snack, am I right!?

Bella B Nipple Nurture Butter & Motherlove Green Salve: Again, two products made with natural ingredients so I can safely use them on myself and baby– and anyone else! Actually, I used the Motherlove Salve on a dry patch on my three year old’s face before picture day, cleared it right up! The Bella B cream is a great alternative to other nipple creams because it’s lanolin-free, it also smells great and is PERFECT for avoiding irritated skin when baby seems to be eating 24/7!

BabyBabyOhBaby Infant Massage DVD & Susan Brown’s Botanical Body Massage Oil: Okay, I said I wasn’t picking favorites, but I lied. I love love LOVE the combination of these two products. Here’s why: Babies (especially small ones) get bored– but you can’t exactly take them outside for a bike ride. Enter: Infant Massage. Not only do I now have the softest baby on the block thanks to the massage oil, but he is happy! The DVD teaches you different techniques to massage baby, and I can vouch for their belly massage tactics really helping with gas related fussing!

Baby Bits wipes solution & Breast Assured nursing pads: These are both things that were on my personal list of things I wanted to try but never seemed to get around to picking up, and are now regular use items. The nursing pads are perfect for during the day, discreet and absorbent and stay in place unlike the disposables that seem to get lost half the time (I still use disposables at night, as they didn’t work as well while laying down, but for the day, I give them an A+ for comfort and effectiveness). The wipes are a great alternative to pre-soaked throw-away wipes, and are especially soothing for when baby has an irritated bottom.

Also Included:
Green Sprouts baby toy, aka probably the most baby-friendly toy out there–made from cornstarch, PVC & BPA free, if your little one loves to chew on toys, this is probably one of the safest ones!

The Milk Charm, a helpful little ‘necklace’ for your pumped bottles, so busy moms can keep track of when the bottle was pumped to ensure it’s fresh for baby.

And, milkscreens. Okay, now I’m going to confess to a guilty pleasure: the first time I saw this product, it was being used by Kourtney Kardashian. These test strips detect the presence of alcohol in breast milk. So for the sake of science (!!!) I enjoyed a glass of wine, and they really work! While I’m not going to make a habit out of drinking and testing, it’s serves as a great reminder that what you consume, baby consumes. They might also be useful when baby is eating less frequently, so you have a chance to enjoy a drink without worrying about feeding soon.

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Finally, the package also contains special offers, coupons, and information booklets on the products and companies represented in the box.

I think the best part of these boxes is that the products included identify your current breastfeeding and baby needs. It isn’t just one box with a bunch of random items that I may or may not even remember that I have in a few months when they are relevant– it’s full of products that I might not have even known about, but are absolute life savers at this particularly trying period (seriously, will this baby ever get on a schedule?). I really would recommend a subscription to these boxes to support anyone who is expecting!

So here’s your chance to enter to win one of three boxes!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A Big Thank You to Wendy from 16 Minute Club for sending me such a lovely care package! Contact them online to order for you or a pregnant/new mama you know!

 

Julianna

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2nd Trimester

A New Reason to Keep Up With Those Kegels!

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Kegel Exercises are an important part of pelvic strength during pregnancy and after baby. A strong pelvic floor not only contributes to easier labor and reduced pain during pregnancy– but it can contribute to many other aspects of your life (better sex, less risk of incontinence, and a tighter abdomen… need I say more?)!

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Often there is concern that kegels, while doing their job to tighten ‘down there’, can increase your risk of experiencing tearing or a difficult labor– but an Obstetrics and Gynecological study on the effect of antenatal pelvic floor muscle training on labor and birth proves otherwise! Women who performed regular pelvic floor muscle training exercises were actually less likely to experience tearing during labor. Additionally, the study showed that women performing these exercises had a reduced rate of necessary episiotomy, vaccuum and forcep intervention, and cesarean delivery! All in favor of fewer complications– say I!!

In short, pelvic floor muscle training during pregnancy can make your delivery and after baby experience much more comfortable! To get started on pelvic floor training, check out how to perform a kegel, and The Knocked-Up Fitness Guide to Pregnancy Book, these will help you target the muscles that contribute to your pelvic floor! A strong pelvic floor is an essential part of the Prenatal and After-Baby Knocked-Up Fitness Program, because making your delivery, recovery, and long term fitness goals easier, accessible, and straightforward is what the program is all about!

Julianna

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Sources:

PubMed