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Whether or not you’re a gym rat (or were until ClassPass upped its rates), by now you are probably fully aware of the numerous mental and physical benefits of exercise. But just because you stopped scheduling workouts with your “shedding for the wedding” trainer and the photographer already captured you at peak-Michelle-Obama-arm-definition, that doesn’t mean the exercising should stop. Maintaining a consistent workout regimen and staying physically fit will help your chances of conceiving, and, when continued, can contribute to a healthier pregnancy. So, what exercise trends can you easily start now and maintain throughout that whole growing-a-baby part?
The best part about running is that you can do it wherever you want. Perhaps you’re already a runner and have failed to realize it. Have you ever run from responsibility? commitment? a bar tab? OK, perhaps these examples are for a different blog post, but it’s highly likely you’ve had to pick up the pace at one time or another. Why not get some friends together and sign up for a charity 5k? It's guaranteed to make you feel good about yourself in so many ways. You'll get those endorphins up while running with friends and raise money for a great cause to boot.
It's also a great option for beginners, as many people walk 5k races, so you typically won’t need any training to get out there and try it. If you establish a consistent power-walking or running regimen before you become pregnant, your doctor is likely to OK running as exercise throughout the entirety of your pregnancy. (Pro tip: Instead of music, try listening to an audiobook, podcast, or, as I do, a standup comedy special. Sure, you might look a little funny running and laughing, but you’ll certainly enjoy it more!)
A low-impact, indoor activity with mood lighting—what isn’t there to love about yoga? Yoga is perhaps the most pregnant-friendly corner of the fitness community, offering prenatal classes tailored to women at every stage of pregnancy. Practices vary so greatly within the yoga community that you’re sure to find one that suits your preferences (OM or non-OM). Not only will you stay physically fit through your yoga practice, you’ll be remarkably relaxed after your final bow. Speaking of which, namaste-right here in child’s pose while you read on. (Pro tip: While hot/bikram yoga is great for an intense sweat, if you’re focusing on finding a practice to continue throughout your pregnancy, it’s best to go with a more gentle hatha and/or vinyasa style.)
Barre is a ballet-based, low impact workout that can get you in great shape pre-baby. A barre class will ignite your fond childhood memories of piano-accompanied pointing, plié-ing, and passé-ing. Small, isometric movements make up the core of the class (movements forgiving of a growing baby bump), and some studios even offer special pre and postnatal mom-and-baby barre classes. One thing is certain at a barre class, pregnant or not, you’ll leave feeling more accomplished than Beyonce. (Pro tip: While barre is a feasible exercise for expectant mothers, many instructors recommend that only those who began training in barre prior to pregnancy continue once there’s a bun in the oven. So get to the barre for happy hour!)
This post was written by Lily Pisani from Recombine. Recombine is a clinical genetic testing company dedicated to helping patients and providers make informed decisions based on comprehensive and clinically actionable results. Visit www.recombine.com to learn more about their offerings and be sure to stop by their blog at www.news.recombine.com.
My husband and I used to have this running joke: I would tease that he lactated at the sight of a new baby. Although we were married for four years before deciding to get pregnant, I always thought he was ready just weeks into dating. Now that Hazel’s here, he finally gets to experience his first Father’s Day. To celebrate, I wanted him to know all the things I’m grateful for.
He takes pride in being a good dad
Like many men of our generation, my husband takes great pride in being a good dad. I’ve heard men of generations before mine spout casual and almost careless asides about fatherhood, bragging about never changing a diaper or similar acts of uninvolved parenting. When I hear these, I feel extra gratitude not only my husband, but for the progressing and progressive millennial men who reject these outdated tropes of “masculine” fatherhood.
We share the load
My husband and I both have demanding jobs—it would be impossible for just one of us to take the parenting lead. He has never assumed that I should be the one to take on the lion’s share of responsibilities because I am the woman. More than that, he doesn’t take parenthood for granted. He’s excited to participate in everything from changing diapers to late-night feedings. His enthusiasm means so much to me (although I do wish he would stop dressing her; he chooses the worst outfits.)
He loves Hazel more than himself
There’s no greater feeling than seeing my husband look at Hazel with so much love, and to see her love him back. The first nights in the hospital, while I was too exhausted and sore to move, he changed every diaper and genuinely loved it...except perhaps for one shocking meconium blowout (the photo of which he has promised to share with her first date). It was heartwarming to see how easily she fell asleep on his chest.
Now six months later, I have seen him grow into an incredible father. I see his love for her in everything he does, whether it’s packing her diaper bag with care, or holding her patiently while she practices standing, or making silly sounds until she laughs, or stroking her chubby belly until she falls asleep. I’m so grateful for the bond they share. It makes my heart so full.
Happy Father’s Day to my husband, and to all the Ovia dads out there! Whether you are trying, expecting, or a new parent, we love you.
As a new parent, you have a lot to worry about, and we know your child’s health often tops the list. The best indicator of sickness is sign of fever, so it’s important to know how to accurately monitor your baby’s body temperature.
Newborn - 6 months
Any level of fever can be a sign of infection at this highly susceptible age, so you want to take baby’s temperature often and ensure you’re getting an accurate reading. Pediatricians recommend rectal temperatures as the most precise for newborns. Often, parents keep a temporal or underarm thermometer around for a quick read and resort to the rather unglamorous rectal temperature taking if it seems high. To take a rectal temperature:
1. Disinfect the thermometer with an alcohol swab.
2. Consider applying a bit of petroleum jelly on the end to make it easier to insert.
3. Place your baby on your lap or a firm surface, on his stomach or on his back with legs lifted in diaper-changing position.
4. Insert the tip of the thermometer ½-inch to 1-inch inside his anal opening. Hold it in place between 2 of your fingers while cupping your hand around his bottom until reading is complete.
It’s a good idea to get in touch with your doctor immediately if babies less than 6 months old show signs of fever. According to the Mayo Clinic, fever is considered mild if rectal temperature reads 100.4-102 degrees F, moderate if temperature reads 102-103, and high if temperature reads above 103.
6 months - 3 years
Toddlers are notoriously hard to keep still. Once your child is on the move, getting them to sit for a rectal temperature reading is a difficult task. An ear temperature reading may be a better bet in this case. To take an ear temperature reading:
1. Disinfect the tip of the thermometer (an alcohol swab will do the trick). Turn it on.
2. Gently place the tip in your child’s ear canal facing down and back.
3. Press the button with your thumb to take the temperature, and remove the thermometer when it beeps.
Another option is an oral or underarm temperature reading. Often, general stick thermometers can be used for oral, underarm or rectal temperatures. For an oral temperature:
1. Disinfect the thermometer with an alcohol swab.
2. Make sure your child doesn’t eat or drink anything hot or cold for 15 minutes before the temperature reading.
3. Place the tip of the thermometer under your child’s tongue, toward the back of the mouth.
4. Make sure your child keeps his or her mouth closed for the entire reading.
Take note of any changes in temperature or any symptoms your child exhibits so you can giveyour doctor the best information for a more informed diagnosis.
This post is brought to you by Kinsa. The Kinsa Smart Thermometer is the first-ever FDA-cleared smartphone-connected thermometer available on the market. The smart stick and smart ear thermometers take accurate temperature quickly, and the free Kinsa app tracks illness history for each member of the family while offering guidance on what to do next. Kinsa is ready to help whole communities better track, treat, and stop the spread of illness.
We're so excited to announce our first Ovia Guest Expert series! Meet FitBump founder KIRA KOHRHERR.
An AFAA certified and ACE pre/postnatal certified personal trainer, she has over 15 years experience and works with moms to maintain fit, healthy pregnancies. A 21X Half-Marathoner and 4X Marathoner, Kira is pregnant with her first child, due in August 2016. Read on to find out how Kira approached fitness in her pregnancy and how you can have a healthy, mindful pregnancy, too!
Whether I knew it or not, fitness has always been a part of my life. I grew up on a farm where playtime involved exploration in the form of running, jumping, or climbing. When I took an early interest in basketball, my father built me an indoor half court in our barn. As an adult, I began running races from 5ks to marathons and signed up for crazy competitions with names like “Civilian Military Combine.” (Yes, it’s exactly like it sounds.) I viewed pregnancy as my next great athletic challenge, but this was unknown territory. And unlike training for a marathon, where you knew the physical obstacles ahead of you (Tight hamstrings! Sore quads!), I was entering a realm with a lot of question marks. At the top of my list: what were the true benefits of prenatal exercise?
Fitness & Pregnancy: The Benefits Continue Grow
A recent study at the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences measured the outcome of exercise on common pregnancy complaints. This blind study showed that participation in regular group exercise during pregnancy contributed to improvements in some areas related to maternal well-being and quality of life. Women who exercised regularly had significantly better results and reported less nausea/vomiting as well as a reduction in poor circulation in the lower extremities. Added benefits listed were less fatigue and feelings related to sadness, hopelessness and anxiety.
Putting this theory to test, at the beginning of my pregnancy, there was one week where I experienced a bit of mild nausea and fatigue. I switched my workout schedule to an early morning routine and within four days, my symptoms had alleviated, and by the following week, were gone all together. Every pregnancy is different, but sometimes a simple workout adjustment can go a long way.
More studies are also exploring not just short-term benefits for mom, but long-term benefits for baby-to- be. A 2016 study from researchers at Baylor College of Medicine and Rice University in Houston reported that mice offspring of active parents were just as active as mom throughout adolescence. Although it’s a long way to go from mouse to human, your choices now may have extended benefits to your family unit. For someone who can envision backyard obstacle courses and mini family triathlons, I’m ready to buy into this theory!
A Mindful Approach to Exercise
Exercise and exercise science are continuously evolving. There have been numerous studies outlining the physical and mental health benefits of strength training, yoga and aerobic/cardio exercise during pregnancy. As the case supporting prenatal fitness continues to grow, the new question becomes, “What type of exercise during pregnancy is right for me?”
This is where mindfulness is key. The general rule of thumb is to stick with what you've been doing prior to pregnancy. Now might not be the time to experiment with a new routine, but instead modify and supplement where it makes sense. With all of the changes happening in your body, take an assessment of your current programming. Cycling is a great low impact cardio exercise; however, if you are prone to tight hip flexors, you may want to offset that with yoga classes or walking to alleviate some of the tightness in preparation for labor and delivery.
I had been looking forward to pregnancy as the biggest athletic event of my life. The ultimate challenge. Something to strategically tackle and conquer, like chasing my next best race time. But as my body changes each week, my mindset has shifted. There are many things I can still do, but things that I think twice about. Just because I can do it, should I?
For me, my modified routine includes run/walk intervals, HIIT training without plyometrics, prenatal yoga, and a focus on upper back openers and lower back strengtheners. I was pleasantly surprised that my strength and cardio have remained on par with my pre-pregnancy levels; however, it’s disappointing that running isn’t as easy as I’d like it to be. I thought I’d be that woman who didn’t experience pelvic pressure when hitting the road, but the humanness of the body is very humbling and eye opening.
To get that zone-out, Zen fix that I usually achieved on my runs, I’ve ve also added daily meditation that involves visualization of the finish line – with a much better prize than a race medal.
- Ward-Ritacco C, Poudevigne MS, O’Connor PJ. Muscle strengthening exercises during pregnancy are associated with increased energy and reduced fatigue. 2016 Jun;3 7(2):68-72
- Haakstad LA, Torset B, Bo K. What is the effect of regular group exercise on maternal psychological outcomes and common pregnancy complaints? 2016 Jan;32:81-6.
- May LE, Glaros A, Yeh HW, Clapp JF 3 rd , Gustafson KM. Aerobic exercise during pregnancy influences fetal cardiac autonomic control of heart rate and heart rate variability. 2010 Apr;86(4):213-7
- Kusaka M, Matsuzaki M, Shiraishi M, Haruna M. Immediate stress reduction effects of yoga during pregnancy: One group pre-post test. 2016 Apr 16. pii: S1871-5192(16)30014-2