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Pregnancy

COVID-19 Tips for TTC, Expecting and Brand New Moms

hugging couple

hugging couple

Photo by Shvets Anna from Pexels 

During the global COVID-19 crisis, pregnant, trying to conceive couples and those within weeks/months of giving birth are questioning the safety of going to the hospital, doctor’s office, labs and clinics.

Yale University Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology Mary Jane Minkin ffers tips and tells women to stay calm but be prepared.

“As we experience unprecedented times with many unknowns, the most important thing to remember is that health care providers are prepared to handle all health-related concerns. And, they are taking all steps necessary to be available to their patients,” says Dr. Minkin, who is also the founder of MadameOvary.com . “However, women must take personal responsibility for their health and wellbeing and utilize telehealth appointments if available.”

Here are Dr. Minkin’s Facts and Tips:

  1. Get your flu shot: Pregnant women have altered immune systems; therefore, they are at an increased risk for respiratory infections.
  2. Don’t hesitate to call the doctor’s office. Even if you’re not experiencing serious symptoms, doctors and nurse practitioners are available via phone to answer all your questions and concerns. This is the safest first step, rather than going directly into the office. Doctors will do their best to evaluate symptoms, prescribe medicine or make proper arrangements based on symptoms for you to go to a lab for testing or the hospital. Your healthcare provider should make sure you do not spend time in the waiting room, and you will be escorted directly to specially designed isolation rooms for fetal monitoring, or labor.
  3. Pregnant women should revisit doctor schedules with their OB/GYN. OB/GYN offices will still be seeing their pregnant patients, but visits will be deliberately spaced apart to avoid spending time in the waiting room. It is also wise not to allow friends or family members to accompany you to your appointment, or ultrasound, at this time.
  4. Stock up onPre-Natal gummy vitamins like Vitafusion  which should be taken when trying to conceive through breastfeeding.
  5. If you suspect you might be pregnant, and showing signs and symptoms like morning sickness, food cravings, mood swings, and fatigue, etc., have First Response Early Result Pregnancy tests at home, so you don’t need to leave the house until Covid-19 settles down.  Women can take a test up to six days before a missed period. Be sure to call your doctor right away if the test is positive to put a proper plan of action in place.
  6. Mothers infected with the coronavirus should follow their pediatrician’s guidelines for breastfeeding and precautions to take (wearing a mask and gloves, hand washing, etc.) while spending time with baby.

Stay healthy moms, moms-to-be and soon-to-be new moms!!!

What To Call the Quarantine Babies {Non Obvious Names}

No doubt, we may be welcoming some new Coronavirus Quarantine kids in 9 months or so. Now, these kids cannot be given names too obvious  about the world circumstances that surrounded their conception.

Therefore, we’ve got  to be creative when it comes to giving them names to not be too obvious. Despite that funny meme out there, you certainly cannot call your baby Quarantine! Nope that will not do, but we can get creative with it.

Tina

Consider Tina for a girl.  Tina is a female given name. It originates from Old English Tyne/Tyna/Tina, meaning river. It is also a diminutive for names such as Albertina, Bettina, Christina, Christine, Kristina, Martina, Valentina.

No one would ever thing it was a derivative of Quarantine.

Rhona

This is a girl’s name of Scottish origin and means “might” and it will take the will of the might to defeat this disease. The name was coined in Scotland in the late nineteenth century, according to the website Nameberry.

And because the spelling “Rona” would be too obvious that it was a take off Corona, adding that “h” is smart.

Corey

Similarly, Corey is a masculine version of the name Cora and means Chosen, per SheKnows. The name has Irish, Scottish, American, Gaelic and English heritage and origins. It’s a perfect all around name for a virus that affected us all around the world.

And no, we cannot go with Cora. It’s too obvious and frankly, could be embarrassing.

Quinn

Derived from the Irish surname O’ Quinn which is from the Gaelic O’ Cuinn (descendant of Conn), the name means wisdom, reason, or intelligence.

When you think of the names that start with the letter Q as in Quarantine, certainly Quinn is high on that list right? It’s a name that is unisex and can apply to a girl or boy.

Then, we have the names of the governors, here in the US anyway, who have lead their constituents  very well to get them thru these times:

Gavin

California’s governor Gavin Newsom stayed in front of the viral spread a bit when he recently ordered a complete lockdown of the Bay Area in which residents must stay home unless they need to go out to purchase essentials.

Andrew

New York’s Mayor Andrew Cuomo has also been an active face on TV given his state has had the most cases of the virus to date: over 10,000.

Larry

My state’s Governor Larry Hogan of Maryland has remained ahead of the feds with his active approach. Each of his press conferences has been reassuring and he held a press conference when we had our first and second deaths.

Jay

Governor Jay Inslee, the governor of the state that saw the very first case, Washington. He set the example for other states to follow.

Gina

Rhode Island’s Governor Gina Raimondo was aggressive in ordering a shut down as well.

Ned

Connecticut’s Governor Ned Lamont similarly signed a recent executive order as part of a new campaign called “Stay Safe, Stay at Home” that will require non-essential businesses to close.

Finally, if one is looking to give a kid a name after the times, an obvious pick would be  the scientists, health officials delivering us all solid news on how to stay healthy.

Anthony

As summarized by The Guradian, “[t]ested by Donald Trump, who demands loyalty over facts, Dr. Anthony Fauci has earned praise from the US public for telling the truth about coronavirus, even when it means contradicting the president.”

There are others around the world as highlighted in this recent piece on The Guardian you can read here!

No matter what parents select, any baby born out of love (and forced seclusion) is a blessing.

9 Ways to Avoid Hair Loss After Pregnancy

Being a new mom can be one of the most emotionally rewarding — and challenging — experiences a woman faces. And while you may have anticipated your body to go through a whirlwind of changes, you may not have expected your hair to start falling out in clumps.

Also referred to as postpartum hair loss, telogen gravidarum, and telogen effluvium, excessive hair shedding after childbirth (which would occur anywhere between two and four months after giving birth) can affect between 40 and 50 percent of women, according to statistics from the American Pregnancy Association.

“When a woman is pregnant, she has a lot of extra hormones in the body, including estrogen,” says Christine Carlan Greves, a board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist in Orlando, Florida. “The estrogen helps protect us from losing our hair. Then when she has the baby, there’s a sudden change in the hormone levels, including a drop in the estrogen. And this shift can cause a response in the body that may affect the hair cycle.”

Hair loss is a normal occurrence for a woman after a pregnancy. Telogen effluvium is the medical term for post-pregnancy hair loss, which happens to nearly 50 percent of women after they give birth. A temporary condition, this hair loss should not cause a woman to become bald or experience visibly thin spots.

Use these tips to reduce or prevent hair loss after pregnancy.

Steps

  1. Avoid hairstyles that pull or stretch your hair. Braids, cornrows, weaves or tight rollers can pull hair and cause stress and trauma to your scalp. Hair that is excessively pulled is more likely to fall out naturally, without the extra issue of telogen effluvium affecting your hair growth cycle.
  2. Maintain a healthy diet that includes fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are not only naturally health, but they also contain flavonoids and antioxidants that protect hair follicles. Additionally, these foods encourage increased hair growth, which can offset any hair lost after pregnancy.
  3. Add vitamins and nutrients to your diet. Vitamin B complex, vitamins E and C, zinc and biotin help increase hair strength and health. Take extra supplements or eat foods rich in these nutrients and vitamins to help retain pre-pregnancy locks. Try Nature’s Bounty Optimal Solutions Hair, Skin & Nails Formula which gets great reviews.
  4. Select a shampoo with quality ingredients. Shampoos that contain biotin or silica improve hair health and stimulate follicle growth. Use this shampoo regularly and rinse with cold water.
  5. Comb your wet hair with a wide-toothed comb. A wide-toothed comb reduces the amount of pulling and stress you apply to your hair as you attempt to remove tangles after washing it. Excessive pulling of your hair can increase the chances of it falling out.
  6. Reduce the use of heated styling tools. Heated styling tools like curling irons, hot rollers, flat irons and blow dryers dry hair out and may increase hair loss. Allow your hair to air dry and style it naturally. If you must use heated styling tools, use the coolest settings possible or give your hair a cool shot of air afterward with your hair dryer.
  7. Trim split ends. Split ends cause your hair to be less healthy. Unhealthy hair is shed in larger amounts than healthy hair.
  8. Avoid stress. Having a new baby to take care of can create more stress in your life, but try to avoid additional stressful situations or feelings. Stress can cause your hair to fall out or decrease in thickness. Avoid stress to increase your chances of retaining more of your pre-pregnancy hair
  9. Get a shorter haircut. Long hair weighs more and pulls from your scalp with its constant downward pull. Shorter haircuts cause less pressure to your hair follicles, which will decrease chances of increased shedding. A shorter hairstyle may cause your hair to look fuller and healthier, in addition to being easier to take care of than longer styles.

Take it easy and good luck new moms!

Surprising Family Planning Tax Deductions You May Not Know About

mom in chair

mom in chair

It’s tax filing season and if you are expecting or just had a new baby, there are some expenses related to your journey to parenthood that you may or may not know about.

The fact of the matter is that babies do in fact change your tax situation and here are a few tax tax deductions and credits available to families this year.

[FILE TAXES ONLINE FROM ANYWHERE WITH H&R BLOCK]

Before Baby

Pregnancy Test Kits. Birth Control Pills. Fertility Enhancement. These count as medical expense deductions. For medical expenses to be deductible, you’ll have to itemize your tax deductions, and your medical expenses must exceed 7.5 percent of your adjusted gross income.

Expecting Baby

Nursing moms can include the cost of breast pumps and supplies in their medical expense deductions. Lactation expenses are also deductible as are laboratory fees that may be a part of your medical care.

The New Arrival

The tax deduction that comes with your new arrival can’t match the joy, but this still should make you happy.

Under the new tax law, the child tax credit has doubled to $2,000 per qualifying child. And, unlike a tax deduction, which reduces the amount of your income subject to tax, a tax credit reduces your tax bill dollar for dollar.

Enroll in Credit Sesame’s Credit Score and Monitoring, Savings Recommendations and Identity Theft Protection for FREE!

Planning for Baby’s Future

The new tax law lets parents save tax-free for their child’s education. Under the law you can use up to $10,000 per child from a 529 plan to pay qualified expenses for elementary and secondary school and home school.

The 529 plans can also be used to pay for college.

Speaking of college, if you want to think that far ahead, two tax credits are available to help with qualified educational expenses. Those credits are the American Opportunity Tax Credit, which provides a credit of up to $2,500 for qualified tuition and expenses for the first four years of college, and the Lifetime Learning Credit, which provides up to $2,000 per return.

Use College Backer as your global ‘529’ Plan

I apologize if I’ve gotten too far ahead of you by talking about schooling and college and all those things. I’ll bring it back to the here and now by reminding you that whether your bundle of joy is born on January 1 or December 31 of the year, you can take a full $2,000 child tax credit.

And remember, as your child grows, the tax code is bound to change. You’ll want to make sure you get all the tax deductions to which your family is entitled. The best way to do that is to talk with a tax professional. It’s their job to keep up with the tax code. And, because they do their job, you can do yours, enjoying life with your new addition

tax saving

How to Pick or Predict Your Baby’s Gender, According to Old Wives Tales

Photo by Fallon Michael on Unsplash

A lot of women want to know what sex their baby will be before they give birth. There are tons of old wives tales that offer clues and these non-scientific predictors, although not proven for sure, are sometimes accurate.

If you are having a boy, it’s been said the fetal heartbeat on the doppler fetal monitor will be over 14o beats per minute. Others have said if you are having a boy, you will carry the baby out front like a basketball, develop large and dark nipples or bright yellow color of the urine are all signs too.

Some of the signs indicating a baby girl, according to the Old wives, include a heart rate of less than 140 per minute, bulges in the back and the hips, watermelon looking belly, dull yellow urine color, breasts that are blossom and appearance less than normal.

Then there are the fun voo doo tricks.

Tie your wedding ring to a string and watch it sway over your bell. If it sways in a circular motion, then it is thought to be a boy whereas the sideways movement indicates baby girl. Craving for salty and sour foods are known to be there in case of baby boy whereas sweets and orange juice cravings indicate baby girl.

Another way to find out is by adding your current age to the month of perception and if the number comes in even then it is a boy and if it comes an odd number then it is considered to be a girl. 

There are even thing they say you can do to make yourself more likley to conceive one gender or another. 

If you wish to conceive a baby girl then prescribed diet includes food items like corn, eggs, yogurt, coffee, beans, plums, fish, meat and liver. The restricted food items should be oranges, watermelon, alkaline foods and potatoes.

If you wish to conceive a boy then you should include lentils, pine nuts, sprouts, almonds, avocado and royal jelly in your diet.

Dairy products and foods having calcium and magnesium should be avoided.  Here is an old wives tale infographic shared before for you to Pin.

Eco Friday: How to Have a Plant-Based Vegan Pregnancy the Healthy Way {Plus Book Recommendations}

I’m one of those off ramp/on ramp vegans and currently I am just vegetarian, but for each of my pregnancies I didn’t dare stay away from dairy or meat because I feared iron deficiency knowing that baking a baby requires even more iron than normal.

Also, the fat from dairy, I thought was needed.

But for people who have been completely vegan for at least a decade straight, is it possible to have a healthy pregnancy while vegan?

The Examiner’s: The Vegan RD , Virginia Messina offered these tips for a Vegan Pregnancy recently:

Pregnant vegans can meet nutrient needs by following just a few simple guidelines:

  • Consume at least 5 servings per day of protein-rich plant foods. A serving is ½ cup cooked beans, tofu, or tempeh; 1 ounce of meat analog, or 1 cup of soymilk. (Fortified almond, rice, coconut or hempseed milk are fine to drink, too, but they are too low in protein to count as a protein-rich food.)
  • Include a good source of vitamin C at every meal to boost iron absorption. Good choices are cantaloupe, kiwifruit, mango, citrus fruits and juices,  papaya, pineapple, strawberries, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, sweet peppers, and tomatoes.
  • Eat plenty of leafy green vegetables like collards, kale and spinach. They’re good sources of folic acid, a B-vitamin that is especially important in the very early stages of pregnancy. (Vegans typically have higher folate intakes than meat-eaters but still may not meet the needs of pregnancy.)
  • Include a serving or two of nuts and seeds in your daily menu to help meet zinc needs.
  • Emphasize calcium-rich foods in your daily menu: leafy green vegetables, calcium-set tofu, tempeh, soynuts, fortified plant milks and fortified juices are all good choices. If your diet falls short of the RDA (1,000 milligrams), a small supplement can help make up the difference.
  • Your doctor will most likely prescribe a prenatal vitamin supplement that includes iron and folic acid (usually recommended for all pregnant women). Make sure your supplement includes zinc, copper and iodine as well. Pregnant vegans (like all vegans) should be sure to have a chewable vitamin B12 supplement, too, providing 25 to 100 micrograms of B12 per day.

Talk to your doctor about the need for a supplement of the omega-3 fat DHA. The jury is still out on whether pregnant women need these supplements, but vegan versions are available.

  • Avoid super-restricted types of vegan diets. Diets that are too low in fat or are based on mostly raw foods can reduce nutrient absorption and make it harder to meet nutrient needs.

Finally, here are some Vegan pregnancy books to get you started:

What to Add To Your First Baby Registry

It has been a long while since I have highlighted what’s popular and most wanted on Baby Registries these days so I searched  the web sphere and revisited my past posts then cross referenced to determine a List.

Now this is not necessarily the essentials.

Below are some of the top items and I urge Moms-to-be to still consider my list of things you do not need no matter how many books or ads tell you that you do

Diapering

Burt’s Bees Baby 100% Natural Ointment ($8.45; amazon.com)

Hiccapop Wipe Warmer and Dispenser ($34.92; amazon.com)

Sophie The Giraffe Teething Toy ($23.75)

Infant Quickchange Portable Changing Pad ($7.99; amazon.com)

 

Out & About

Ergobaby Carrier Omni 360 ($171.49; amazon.com)

Britax Back Seat Mirror ($34.99; amazon.com)

No Cow Protein Bar(box of 12) ($27.99; amazon.com)

Sustainable On-The-Go Essentials

Reusable Food Storage Bags ($10.99; amazon.com)

Welly Traveler Stainless Steel Bamboo Water Bottle ($33; amazon.com)

Rosti Mepal Ellipse Reusable Lunch Pot ($16.95; amazon.com)

Nursery

LectroFan High Fidhttps://amzn.to/2Mkc9PQelity White Noise Machine ($49.99; amazon.com)

Google Nest Cam (169.89, originally $199; amazon.com)

aden + anais Silky Soft Bamboo Swaddle Blanket ($42.75; amazon.com)

Sandra Boyton Board Books Library (54.95)

Feeding

Boon Bundle Feeding Set ($29.87; amazon.com)

BEABA Babycook 4 in 1 Steam Cooker ($149.95; amazon.com)

 

Medela Pump In Style ($196.97)
Inglesina Fast Table Chair ($69; amazon.com)

For Mom

Traditional Medicinals Organic Mother’s Milk Tea ($23.33; amazon.com)

My Brest Friend Nursing Pillow ($42.99; amazon.com)

Milkmakers Lactation Cookie Bites ($27.99; amazon.com)

Bath Time

Skip Hop Moby Bath Spout Cover ($9.95, originally $13; amazon.com)

 

hop skip jump

Baby Nasal Aspirator ($17.63, originally $20; amazon.com)

nose frida

The Honest Company Shampoo + Body Wash ($8.99, originally $9.99; amazon.com)

honest

Happy registry making!
baby registry 1010

Amazon Baby Registry Start Up Guide

As any brand new expecting couple understands, the process of starting a family is daunting, from conception, to appointments, to dietary restrictions, to the unsolicited advice to the actually prep for getting ready to add a brand new member of the family.

It’s a good thing that there is a lot more technology these days that is taking the headache out of some of the items on the long to-do-list.

In my day, over a decade and more ago, if you wanted to create a baby registry for your family and friends who wanted to help you out with your initial childcare expenses, you had to load yourself and your growing girth in the car, stand in line for a clerk who’d give you a scanning gun and then, you’d have to waddle all over a big box store like Target or Walmart scanning items to add to your list. After that, you had to go back in line and have another clerk upload the list. Phew!

These days, there is Amazon Baby Registry

Here is how it works:

Got to the Amazon Baby Registry landing page and click the “Create a new Baby Registry” button.  You’ll be directed to a page with questions you need to answer, enter the address to have gifts sent to and then create the registry.

After that, you can start adding gifts you want. As you probably already know, Amazon has the Earth’s Biggest Selection of products to fill your house with all the right baby things.

Now, here is a bonus that you get with Amazon that you won’t get with other one off stores, if there is a product that isn’t carried or available on Amazon, you can add it using the University Registry option. It’s a browser plug in and you can add items from any site to your registry.

Mobile On the Go

If you are not at your desktop and you think of something to add, you can do it via the Amazon app on your phone. It allows you to access and update your registry whenever you want, from wherever you are.

Instant Organization

Once you’re done with your registry, Amazon works its magic and organizes it by categories to make it easy for your family and friends to search and decide what they want to buy.

Publish It

Once  you’re done, you can decide if you want to make your registry public so anyone can find it by  searching your name.

You can also limit your registry so that only people with the link can access it. Or you can make it totally private to yourself only as you build it out and before it’s ready for public consumption.

Gifts for Parents Just for Creating the Registry

When you sign up, Amazon sets you up with a welcome box with up to $35 worth of baby products. Yay!

Option for Group Gifters

When your co-workers, or college friends want to go in on one large expensive gift like a stroller, glider or car seat on the list, they can utilize the Amazon group gifting option.

Friends and family or coworkers and associates can pitch in towards the purchase of one costly item.

The average annual cost of diapers for the first year of life for an infant is $550.

Another option for friends who want to help offset the expense of a new baby is for them to contribute to Diaper Fund. Friends and family can contribute any amount of money, up to $550 total, toward diapers.

You’ll get this money in the form of an electronic Amazon gift card, which can be used toward diapers and a variety of other eligible baby products as well.

For Gift Givers

All you have to do is go to the Baby Registry search page and look for the name of the mom-to-be, pick gifts, then check out. You can opt to pitch in towards a large group gift or contribute to the Diaper Fund.

If you don’t have Amazon Prime, you’ll have to spend at least $25 to be eligible for free shipping. If you have Prime, you’ll get the regular, two-day free shipping rates you’ve come to know and love.

What happens if you don’t get all the items on your list

Once you’re registry is closed, or after baby is born, you can go back and order items unpurchased for 10% off or 15% off if you are an  Amazon Prime member.

Returns are Generous and Easy

If you have to return an item, don’t worry about rushing because Amazon gives you an entire year to return items from your list! That’s the best part if you ask me!

And you have no store to drive to, just print out the return label and drop it off at an Amazon location or ship it back through regular carriers like USPS.

Start your Amazon baby registry today

 

Here Is Your Pregnancy and Postpartum Exercise Guide

pregnant woman running with weights

reposted from Havenlife with permission

Moving while your pregnant is so important. It can be five minutes in the morning or ten minutes at lunch. The time of day doesn’t matter, just as long as you can fit it into your schedule.

Being fit as a mother doesn’t mean spending hours at the gym. We talked with Jaime McFaden, a mom and trainer with audio fitness app Aaptiv, and asked for her top tips for staying in shape during and after pregnancy. Check them out below.

The best exercises for pregnant women

Regular exercise during pregnancy can improve health, reduce the risk of weight gain and even help with delivery. Jaime says that while it’s important to move throughout your pregnancy, it is also important to listen to your body. During pregnancy, your body goes through so many changes. Before you begin exercising, listen to what your body is telling you. Below are some safe exercises for pregnant women.



Kegel exercises for pregnant women

Kegel exercises are something you should do every day even if you’re not pregnant, Jaime says. Learning how to contract and release your pelvic muscles is so important for women’s bodies. This exercise can be done anywhere and only takes a couple of minutes.

How to do kegel exercises: In a seated position or standing up, take a deep breath in. In the inhale, release muscles in the pelvic region, and when you exhale, clench up those pelvic floor muscles. These are the muscles that control urine flow. Repeat this exercise for about 2-3 minutes.

Recommended reps: Every day for 2-5 minutes

Ab exercises for pregnant women

The ab exercises you do should vary throughout your pregnancy. Listen to your changing body. Jaime says to “avoid crunches, laying on your back and any twisting exercises as you progress in pregnancy.” Below are three recommended ab exercises for pregnant women.

Bird dog

How to do it: This exercise requires you to get on all fours and do opposite arm and leg extensions. Start with your right arm and left leg. Move both limbs away from your center and then pull them back in. Then, repeat. Do the same thing with your left arm and right leg.

Recommended reps: 12-15 on each side

Knee side planks

How to do it: Lay on your side with your knees bent on top of each other at a 90-degree angle. Raise your upper body by lifting yourself up on your right forearm. Your elbow should be directly under your shoulder bent at a 90-degree angle. To do a rep, contract your abdominal muscles and lift your hips off the ground. Hold this for 30 seconds and then lower yourself to your starting position. Do this same movement on the other side.

Recommended reps: Hold each side for 30 seconds

Reverse plank

How to do it: Sit on the floor with your legs extended in front of you. Place your palms on the floor behind your hips. Press into your palms and lift your body upwards. Looking up at the ceiling, make sure to point your toes and keep your arms and legs straight. Keep your body in a straight line and squeeze your core. Hold this for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.

Recommended reps: Hold each side for 30 seconds

Lower body exercises

“Building lower body strength is a huge help when it comes to labor and delivery,” says Jaime. Strong lower body muscles will also help with all the lifting and carrying you will be doing as a mom. Squats are a great option. They not only keep you strong and healthy, but they also help build the muscles you will be using during birth. Below are some exercises to help strengthen your lower body.

Pilé squats

How to do it: A pilé squat is a version of a squat where you keep your legs wide and toes turned to the outside. To do a rep, lower down your hips as you were going to sit in a chair and come back to a stand.

Recommended reps: 12-15

Lunges

How to do it: Standing with your feet hip-width apart, take a big step forward with your right leg. Lower your body until your right thigh is parallel to the floor and your right knee is directly above your right foot. Press your weight into your right heel to drive yourself back up to your starting position. Repeat this on the other side.

Recommended reps: 12-15 on each side

Back exercises for pregnant women

Most women endure back pains at some point in their pregnancy. “So much of what you will do as a mom is forward—make sure you build your back muscles to keep good posture and support,” Jaime says. Below are her top recommended back exercises for pregnant women.

Good morning

How to do it: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and place your hands behind your head. Take a deep breath and hinge forward from your hips. Allow a slight bend in the knees and keep your back flat. Lean forward until you are horizontal (do not go beyond horizontal). You should feel a slight stretch in your hamstrings and back. Then, exhale as you reverse the move to stand up. You can do this exercise without weight, with a resistance band or with a barbell once you get comfortable.

Recommended reps: 12-15

Deadlift

How to do it: This exercise requires a barbell. Again, listen to your body and reduce your weight as needed. Between 22 and 30 weeks, consider switching to an alternative exercise as your bump may be too big.

To do this exercise, stand next to the barbell and hold a neutral spine. Taking a deep breath, bend from the hips (maintaining a neutral spine), and grab the barbell. Exhale as you lift up. Once you are at your starting position, breath in on the way down until your barbell is back on the ground. As you exhale, repeat the exercise by lifting the barbell back up. Remember to keep a neutral back throughout.

Recommended reps: 12-15

One-arm row

How to do it: With a 5-10 pound weight in your left hand, place your right knee on a sturdy chair and leave your left foot on the ground. Bend forward with your back parallel to the floor and place your right hand on the seat. Hold the weight in your left hand with your palm facing in and extend down. Bend your left elbow back up to form a 90-degree angle. Hold for a couple of seconds and then return to your starting position. Repeat this on both sides.

Recommended reps: 12-15 on each side

Yoga exercises for pregnant women

Yoga is a great way to condition the body and soothe the mind during pregnancy. “I strongly advise women even if they have never tried yoga to give it a try during pregnancy,” says Jaime. However, it is important to not over-stretch. During pregnancy, your body will produce more of the hormone relaxin. This hormone has a tendency to make you feel more limber than you are.

With that in mind, try out the exercises below. These poses are great for any stage of your pregnancy as they do not include a ton of twisting or balance.

Cat cow

How to do it: This move is great for stretching your back, releasing tension and shifting the weight of the baby away from your spine. To do the cat cow pose, start on your hands and knees with your hands directly under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips. As you inhale, raise your head slowly and look up. On your exhale, bring your chin towards your chest and round your back. Press your hands into the floor and push the center of your back up (similar to a cat stretching).

Recommended reps: 3-4 breaths

Downward dog

How to do it: To do this pose, start on your hands and knees. Spread your fingertips wide and tuck in your toes. From here, lift your hips up so your heels are now touching the ground and your body is in a triangular position. Press through your fingertips to draw your chest towards your thighs. If your calves are tight, bend one knee forward and repeat with the other side. When you are done with your downward dog, you can bring your knees down and rest in child’s pose.

Recommended reps: 3-4 breaths

Pigeon

How to do it: The pigeon yoga pose is a great move for you to cool down with. For pregnant women, it is excellent for releasing tension in the lower back and hips. To begin, start on your hands and knees. Stretch your left leg all the way back, keeping your foot relaxed. Bring your right leg forward and bend your knee, so your right knee is at your right wrist. If your belly allows, come down to your forearms and connect your hands. Repeat this on the other side. Any variation of this position will work and as the baby grows you may need to adjust to create space for your bump

Recommended reps: 3-4 breaths

Best workouts for pregnant women by trimester

 

While it is important to move throughout your pregnancy, make sure to get your doctor’s clearance before doing any exercise and check in regularly through each trimester. Jaime says the most important thing to do is to listen to your body. If you feel tired, get some rest. If you’re hungry, eat. Your body is going through a lot of changes, so you should listen to what it’s telling you.

First trimester

According to Jaime, “the first trimester is where women either feel fine or crappy, so you have to take it day by day.” She recommends sticking to normal strength and cardio exercises. If you didn’t do much working out before your pregnancy, aim to establish good exercise habits gradually. Start by taking a few 10-minute walks every week and then gradually build up to a 30-minute walk three to five times a week. If you are someone who exercises regularly, talk to a doctor or personal trainer about how you can lower the intensity of your workouts.

Yoga is great during this trimester as it will allow you to gently stretch and develop strength. You can also pair this with some light strength training such as squats, lunges and deadlifts.

Second trimester

In months four to seven of your pregnancy, many women generally feel great. “As the baby gets bigger and your belly starts to grow,” Jamie says, “you may surprisingly feel good and have some energy back so you can exercise.” She recommends doing about 60-70% of what you are used to. Rather than focusing on a particular area, stick to full body workouts. When doing your abs, lower body and back exercises stick to 10-12 reps as opposed to 15.

Third trimester

You’re now in the home stretch with only a few more weeks to go! This is when your body is being stretched and pushed the most. Many women feel they need a break during this time. However, if you are still looking to get your heart rate up, Jaime recommends avoiding exercises where you are on your back. “A vein pumping blood called the Vena can be disrupted if you lay on your back for extended periods of time,” she explains.

Avoid any high-intensity workouts. Consider activities like walking, swimming or prenatal yoga. If you’re looking to tone muscles, stick to squats and lunges. As always, make sure you are practicing your Kegels.

Postpartum exercises

 

If you’ve just welcomed a new baby into your life, finding the time to workout can be tricky and feeling comfortable in your body again can feel even harder. “Doctors say not to go for physical exercise until 6 to 8 weeks after birth,” Jaime says. For the first few weeks after birth, your priorities should be to rest and spend time with your new baby. Your body takes several weeks to recover from the changes of pregnancy. Do not overdo it by rushing back to the gym.

If you’re ready to get back in shape, start making an effort to move a little bit every day. Once you are feeling comfortable again, try the below postpartum exercises.

Kegel exercises postpartum

Just like you should be doing kegel exercises during your pregnancy, you should also be doing them postpartum. During the birthing process, these muscles are weakened and therefore should be exercised regularly after giving birth.

However, it is important to give your body the time it needs to heal so wait until about six weeks after delivery. You may find that doing kegel exercises is challenging at first. Do not be discouraged. This is normal and will take time and patience to get back to normal.

Low-impact exercises

If you are just starting out, it is best to begin with lower-impact activities. These can include swimming, walking, stretching, water aerobics or yoga. If you are going to the gym, try the elliptical, stationary bike or stair climber for a lower-impact workout that will still get your heart racing. Start with 5-10 minutes and then build on your duration and intensity the more comfortable you feel.

Core strengthening

According to Mahri Relin, founder of the exercise platform Body Conceptions and a trainer who specializes in postnatal workouts, “core strength keeps you safe, centered, and prepared for childbirth—and it’s the same area you want to keep strong after.” One way to regain your stability and heal your abdominal muscles is to do postpartum core exercises.

However, it’s important to get the green light from your MD before attempting these exercises. Your abdominal muscles have gone through a lot of pulling and stretching in order to make room for your new baby. Avoid traditional sit-ups and crunches and instead opt for the moves below.

Leg and arm extensions

How to do it: Starting on your hands and knees, draw the core up and bring your right elbow into your right knee. As you inhale, reach your right arm out and your left leg straight behind you. Exhale, and contract your muscles while bringing your right arm and left leg back to your center. That’s one rep. Once you have completed your reps, switch sides.

Recommended reps: 10-12 each side

Yoga boat

How to do it: Sit on the floor with your knees bent. Tighten your abdomen and slightly lean your torso back while lifting your feet off the floor. Lift until your shins are parallel to the floor and your hips are flexed at 90-degrees. Keep your back straight and extend your arms forward to maintain balance. Hold this for 30 seconds and then repeat.

Recommended reps: 10-12

Raised leg extensions

How to do it: Lie on the floor with your legs bent at 90-degrees. Engage your lower abs and lift both legs up a few inches so they are in a diagonal position. Hold for a few seconds and then return to your starting position.

Recommended reps: 12-15

Exercises for diastasis recti postpartum

Diastasis recti is a separation of the rectus abdominis, what we refer to as our “six-pack” muscles. This happens to about two-thirds of women and can occur either during or after pregnancy. Maura Shirey, a certified pregnancy fitness educator and owner of Bodies for Birth, says that after birth “the core remains overstretched and the woman is left with a belly that feels very different.” She recommends focussing on strengthening your transverse abdominis. This is the deepest muscle in your core and your best bet for regaining strength and stability.

Kristin McGee, a yoga/pilates instructor and mother of twins, says that “while you’re healing your diastasis, you want to avoid any exercises that put too much strain on the abdominals and can cause the belly to cone or dome.” She advises her clients to avoid crunches, planks, backbends and any exercises that can cause the abdomen to stretch further. Below are some recommended exercises to help strengthen your rectus muscles.

Transverse abdominis side bracing

How to do it: Lie on your right side with your knees bent and feet resting on the floor. Place the fingers of your right hand on top of your stomach—just above the hip bone. From here, tighten your abs and draw your belly button in towards your spine. Hold this position, then relax and repeat. You should be able to feel your muscles contract under your fingers.





Recommended reps: 3-4 breaths

Toe taps

How to do it: Lie on your back and lift your legs into a tabletop position. With your knees bent at a 90-degree angle, lift up your right leg and tap your toe on the ground. Alternate between legs.

Recommended reps: 10-12 on each side

Heel slides

How to do it: Lie on your back with your legs bent. Lengthen one leg forward and hover it over the floor, keeping the hips still and drawing your abdominals in and up. Bend the leg back into the starting position and repeat on the other side.

Recommended reps: 10-12 on each side

Postpartum back stretches

As a mother, your back muscles work harder from moving and lifting your baby all day. Many mothers begin to experience postpartum back pain. To combat this, try to do the below stretching exercises at least ten minutes a day. For the first six to 12 weeks, stick to gentle postpartum stretching such as side-to-side neck stretches or toe touches.

Pelvic tilts

How to do it: Lie on your back and bend your knees at a 90-degree angle so that your feet are flat on the floor. Then, lift your hips off the floor and squeeze your butt. You should feel a nice stretch in your lower back muscles and buttocks.

Recommended reps: 10-12

Knee to chest stretch

How to do it: Lie on your back with your legs straight in front of you. Bring one leg up and use your hands to hug your knee into your chest. Hold this for about 30 seconds and then switch to the other side.

Recommended reps: 10-12 each side

Supine lower back release

How to do it: Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Extend both arms out into a “T” position. Roll both knees to one side while keeping your shoulders on the ground. Hold this for 20-30 seconds and then return to your center. Repeat this on the other side.

Recommended reps: 10-12 each side

The US and State Workplace Breastmilk Express Laws You Need to Know

pump at work

pump at work

 

Even though the United States is the only high-income nation without guaranteed paid maternity leave for workers, according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, most states still given women rights to express breast milk at work.

There are patchwork extra protections provided by states, and some do not apply to all workers or employers, explains employment lawyer Tom Spiggle of The Spiggle Law Firm in Washington, DC.

Federally, new moms benefit from a relatively new law called the Break Time for Nursing Mothers Law which was part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act from 2010 which amended Section 7 of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Specifically, the Break Time for Nursing Mothers Law requires employers to provide a suitable workplace location and reasonable time to break from work to do so until the mother’s child  turns one-year old.

This law gave relief to many moms who had been forced to pump milk in unsanitary bathrooms and possibly docked pay or penalized for taking time to pump.

The  National Conference of State Legislatures reports that 29 states plus the District of Columbia have at least some sort of workplace breastfeeding laws in effect which are similar to the Break Time for Nursing Mothers Law. For the most part, they require employers to provide unpaid break times and reasonable locations (other than a bathroom) where an eligible employee can express breast milk. Some of these jurisdictions include:

  • Washington, D.C.
  • Arkansas
  • Colorado

A complete list of the other 27 states, along with the corresponding statutes, can be found at the NCSL’s Breastfeeding State Laws website.