Preparing your body for Pregnancy 4

Part 4: Getting Fit if you’re Fat

This is a sensitive issue.  I completely understand!  After 3 very closely spaced pregnancies, and lots of  bedrest I gained a lot of weight.  It took me just over a year to lose the close to 50lbs I had gained.

Being overweight when you get pregnant puts you at risk for many issues, like high blood pressure, diabetes, a big baby (think about the stitches!!), and later your baby has a higher chance of being overweight.  These are long term issues, which may make it easy to put aside.  But the elephant in the room is that if you’re bigger when you’re trying to get pregnant – guess what?  You’re just going to get bigger!!  If you’re already feeling it, it’s not going to get any easier!  Even in the best of pregnancies moving around is challenging, being overweight makes it much harder and many times more exhausting.

How do we know if we should drop some weight?  Check your BMI on a calculator.

If you are over a BMI of 25, you most likely have weight to lose.  In some cases, if you are under a BMI of 25 you may still have weight to lose.  You should be at a weight where you feel energetic, and feel confident.  For me, this is around a BMI of 22/23 because I have a small frame, and I am still nursing.  But when I was not nursing, it was lower.  However, someone with a larger build might be much more comfortable around 25.

I think there are hundreds of ways that people could los weight, so do what works for you, as long as you are eating healthfully.

How did I lose the weight?

I think a lot of the success I had was due to the fact that I was tracking my food, weight and workouts.

I kept track of what I ate on MyNetDiary which is a calorie calculator.  The goal was not to be overly strict, but studies have shown that people who keep track of their food tend to eat less.  I had a range of calories that I would consume depending on my activity level, and if I was hungry I would eat closer to the top end of my calorie range.  (1500 to 1800)  If there were days that I consumed much more than I planned, like at a special dinner, than I might go as low as 1250 the next day.  Because I am nursing I stayed above 1200, and listen to my body.

I tried to get on the scale once or twice a week.  I didn’t want to get obsessive about it, but if I let it go too long, I would also slack on the other areas of my plan.

I went to the gym when I could.  This means I had a plan to go 3 times a week.  If I couldn’t go then I would try to go for a good walk, or get up earlier and go for a jog on the treadmill.

I focused on eating whole foods, which means food you could find on a farm, or make in your own kitchen.  I ate lots of fruits and veggies.

I drank lots of water.

If you want a treat, try to eat just half and see if it will satisfy you.

Eat more mindfully, slowly enjoying each bite.

The main change that I experienced was to avoid being excessively strict, but aim for a balanced approach.  I stopped feeling guilty about eating foods that are not perfectly healthy.  If I really wanted a piece of delicious chocolate cake, I would plan for it calorically, and make sure it was the best darn cake… or wait for the chocolate chip cookies Grandma makes when she visits. YUM!

 

 

 

Preparing your body for Pregnancy 3

Part 3: To Detox or Not to Detox??

This is a question that comes up a lot.  The opinions on the answer  to this question vary widely as well.  My quick and easy answer is, it depends on your definition of detoxing.

The type of detoxing that I do not agree with:

  • Any type of extremely limited and restrictive diet.  Like a 10 day juicing only fast.
    • This limits the amount of nutrition you will take in.  So at the end of the detox you’ll be very depleted in many vitamins and minerals.
    • The human body is meant to digest, and it can be very stressful on your body to restart eating normally after doing this type of fast.
    • I do however agree that occasionally you may need to give your body a rest from eating, so consuming liquids only for 24 to 48hrs can be helpful in some instances.
  • Consuming a packaged or processed packaged “detox” program  (I would make an exception though for someone with heavy metal toxicity, in this case the course of treatment is very specific, so packaged kits would be helpful).
    • These are generally highly processed foods, which is not what your body is meant to eat.
    • Shakes, bars, special cereal or forms of “food” that are not found on a farm are not good for you, no matter what the marketers tell you.

The type of Detoxing that is healthy:

  • If you are a chocolate or sweets addict, and are overindulging, take a 14 or 30 or 90 day break from this offending food.  Taking a break from the specific food that you’re overeating will lead you to appreciate it more.  When you end the period of time you were avoiding that food, resolve to make your portions of that food very small, or kept for special occasions.
  • Commit yourself to making half of your plate fruits and vegetables each and every time you eat.
  • Eat better quality fruits, vegetables and meat.  If you are not eating organic foods, begin by switching over the worst offenders in terms of pesticide residue.  But it is best to avoid foods with genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and stick to organic foods.
  • Cut out processed foods.  If it has more than 3 ingredients, and has anything you wouldn’t find in your kitchen, don’t put it in your mouth.  It’s probably as good for you as eating Windex.

So although I wouldn’t recommend you undergo a “detox” before trying to conceive, I do believe that you should very closely examining your diet.

 

Preparing your body for Pregnancy 2

Part 2: Natural Health Tips & Tricks

Today, let’s go through a few extra steps you can take at home to make your journey to motherhood a little less bumpy.

The reason I say less bumpy is because if you end up needing a fertility expert, you will most likely be introducing unnatural chemicals into your body.

Here are some vitamins and supplements for the future mom:

  1. Pre-natal.  You’re thinking, DUH!  But just hold on… For all 3 of my pregnancies, taking a pre-natal vitamin caused me to throw up within a minute.  However, I had been taking pre-natals for years just in case.  Since, I had been taking prenatals regularly, I was able to quit taking them as soon as the vitamins caused the vomiting.
  2. Folic acid.  This should be part of your pre-natal.  However, if you have any predispositions to genetic issues, (I have a heart condition), I was advised to take twice the recommended amount of folic acid leading up to and between pregnancies.  As far as research shows at the moment, taking a higher dose of folic acid is fine.  It has also been found to decrease the risk of genetic issues.  Before taking any supplement or vitamin at a dose different than the recommended amount, check with your health care provider.
  3. Chaste tree is helpful for women who have long cycles, or are having anovulatory (non ovulating) cycles.  Take it for 1 month, max 3 months while trying to conceive, and stop as soon as you find out you are growing a little person.
  4. Vitamin D.  This boosts your immune system, and no one wants to get busy with a snotty spouse… so take it and make sure your guy is taking it too! (note: if your guy is willing, give him a zinc supplement, it will boost his virility.  Some men’s vitamins have it included.)
  5. B6.  During my first pregnancy I had extreme issues with vomiting/nausea and grudgingly ended up needing to take anti-nausea medication.  However, when I got pregnant for the second time, I researched the contents of the medication (diclectin), it is essentially gravol and B6.  So as soon as I find myself pregnant, I start taking B6, and it is MAGIC!!
  6. Fish Oil.  For so many reasons, you need to be taking your omega 3’s.  It thins your blood, which is excellent for pregnancy, (note: stop taking this as you get close to your due date so you can clot easily).  But the highlight of fish oils is that it boosts your baby’s brain, and helps mom with “pregnancy brain”, which has been frequently attributed to the baby stealing all your omega 3’s.
  7. Magnesium at night for leg cramps, difficulty sleeping, and …. umm… no nice way to say it.. but bathroom challenges… *blush*

*Note: Excessive drinking, smoking and coffee should be eliminated, because they affect your absorption of nutrients.

3 Further steps to take when thinking of getting pregnant:

  1. Get your spine checked by a Chiropractor that has experience in this area.  The nerves that go to your reproductive organs come from the lower back.  If your spine is not aligned properly, it’s like the wifi signal is low in your ovaries and uterus.  They are not going to function properly, because they are not getting the signals sent from the body.
  2. Try acupuncture.  Acupuncture has been getting great results with fertility.
  3. If you are overweight, or obese, lose the weight!  Fat stores impact your hormones and can decrease your fertility.