The Stork OTC

The Stork OTC: A Natural Way to Get Pregnant

Disclosure: This is a sponsored conversation from Mums the Word Network and The Stork OTC. All opinions are my own.

Sometimes getting pregnant on your own is not easy. Many factors may play a role. There is now a new FDA cleared product on the market that can assist you in getting pregnant, before you turn to other complicated methods to become pregnant.

The Stork OTC Home Conception Device does not include, shots, scans, prescriptions or procedures. This device is made to be used at home. No doctors offices!

Many women do not want to turn to injections and prescriptions. They want to become pregnant naturally whether that be receiving acupuncture, regular chiropractic care, changing diet, or taking natural supplements. The Stork OTC is now another natural option available in your toolbox.

How does it work? Here is a great breakdown of exactly how it works!

The Stork OTC uses cervical cap insemination which has been shown to have up to a 20% success rate. It’s very easy to use and you can do it right in the privacy of your own home. Currently it retails for $79.99 and can be found in Walgreens, CVS, and Target along with buying it online. This is a much cheaper option to IUI and gets 3 times higher sperm concentration at the cervix compared with natural intercourse plus it has worked for many couples. Just take a look at the success stories from their site!

Interested in trying Stork OTC? There are two great promotions going on NOW!

  1. Buy 1 Stork OTC, Get 1 Stork OTC 50% at Target from August 6 – August 19.
  2. 25% off Stork OTC Single Device at the Stork OTC Online Store through the end of August. Not sure where to buy? Search here.

Do not miss an upcoming Twitter party on August 17 at 8 p.m. EST! Make sure you participate using hashtag #TTCwithStorkOTC.

 

HowtoFindDoula

How to Find a Doula

You’ve already decided that hiring a doula to attend your birth is the right decision for you and your partner. You already know all the amazing things that doulas can do for you during pregnancy, birth, and postpartum after reading my previous article  and you’re blown away by the research supporting the use of doulas. There are many ways to find a doula….here are a few ways to get started!

Word of mouth

Consult with your friends and family in the area. Did they have a good experience with a doula? Ask your chiropractor, massage therapist, yoga teacher, childbirth educator, physical therapist, etc. Asking people whose opinion you value and trust may help narrow the field to a handful of doulas that you may like to interview and get to know on a more personal level.

Doula Groups

Doula associations, agencies, and collectives are groups of doulas in a community. These groups meet on a regular basis for continuing education, support, and networking. These doula groups often have a website with their members listed with links to their profiles or personal websites.To learn more about the different ways doulas work, check out this concise article on the topic. Here in central Iowa, the Central Iowa Doula Association, Iowa Doula Agency, and Mid-Iowa Doulas are some great options!

Websites and Doula Match pages

Most doulas and doula groups have websites, social media pages, and/or a Doula Match profile. By viewing their online content, you should get a feel for a particular doula and the services they offer. Some doulas offer services at additional cost including placenta encapsulation, photography, childbirth education classes, breastfeeding and/or postpartum support, and fitness classes. Doula fees range in price, often by several hundred dollars based on their experience and services. Look for testimonials from past clients, or ask for references. If having a doula who is certified through a professional organization is important to you, you should be able to find that information on their website or profile. Doulas of North America (DONA), Childbirth and Postpartum Professional Association (CAPPA), and Birthworks International are some of the more widely known certifying organizations.

Start early in your pregnancy and schedule interviews

Doula schedules often fill up quickly, so don’t wait! You may be able to view a doula’s schedule on their website or Doula Match profile; otherwise, email or call to check availability for your estimated due date. Plan to interview at least two to three doulas and bring your birth partner! Doulas usually offer an interview or consultation at no cost or obligation. These interviews last about one hour and are often held in a coffee shop or other public place.

The interview

One of the most important aspects of the doula interview is to see if you and your partner feel comfortable and relaxed with the doula, and if you feel a personal connection. You may decide to ask questions about:

  • the doula’s background, training, and experience with birth
  • why they became a doula and what they enjoy about doula work
  • what services the doula provides, including number, length, and topic of visits
  • the doula’s fees and payment schedules
  • if the doula has a back-up, what circumstances will one be used, and if you can meet the back-up
  • the types of comfort techniques the doula typically provides
  • experience with certain providers, birthing locations, or types of birth

Be prepared for questions from your doula! Doulas often want to know about the type of birth you envision, if you are taking childbirth education classes, and how you’d like your doula to support you and your partner. After you’ve interviewed the doulas you are interested in, think about it! Most doulas give you a few days or a week to consider your decision. Once you have chosen your doula, she will provide you with a contract to consider. This contract protects both of you by outlining fees and when they are due, back-up doula situations, expectations of both you and the doula, and more.

Now that you know how to get started, go out there and find the doula that is right for you! Because every mom deserves support, encouragement, respect, and peace on the day of her baby’s birth. You got this!

About the Author

Kelli Brus CD(DONA) is a mom of two wonderful girls and has been married to her husband since 2007. She lives in Urbandale and is currently taking a break from teaching with Des Moines Public Schools to take care of her little ones and focus on doula work. After her second birth experience, attended by a doula, she knew this was the type of work she wanted to do. She is certified through DONA International (Doulas of North America) and is part of the Central Iowa Doula Association (CIDA). Making sure all moms have support and respect during their birth experiences is so meaningful to Kelli and why she is so dedicated to doula work.

www.dsmdoula.com

dsmdoula@gmail.com

 

BirthDoula

What is a Birth Doula?

Do you want to be fully supported during your pregnancy, birth, and postpartum period? Do you want someone in the birthing room solely dedicated to providing you comfort and experienced information?

Do you want to have the best possible birth experience? A doula may be right for you!!

A certified birth doula is a trained and experienced professional who is hired to assist with birth. A doula meets with her client and birth partner two to three times during pregnancy to learn their personalities, hopes and fears, and past experiences with birth. Birth plans, basic childbirth education, community resources, interventions, comfort techniques, and newborn care may be discussed during these prenatal meetings. A doula comes to the birthing woman during labor, remains until the baby is born, and stays an hour or two afterwards. Examples of the types of support a doula may provide during labor include, but are not limited to:

  • Massage and touch
  • Encouragement of mobility, motion, and vocalizations
  • Counterpressure on low back and hips
  • Position suggestions for labor and pushing
  • Assistance with breathing, relaxation, and tension release
  • Heat and/or cold to ease discomforts
  • Encouragement to use water, including shower and/or tub
  • Verbal praise and feedback
  • Reframe thoughts, fears, and feelings during labor, if needed
  • Continuous presence with main role of supporting mom
  • Assistance with decisions during labor
  • Encourage partner to take bathroom and meal breaks, and rest if possible
  • Leave the medical tasks (i.e., blood pressure, heart tones, etc) to the nurses, doctors, and midwives

Doulas support women and their partners regardless of the type of birth they are planning, whether that be in a home, hospital, or birth center, if they plan to use pain medication or not, and if they decide to bottle feed or breastfeed. In other words, doulas support you in the type of birth YOU want!  

After the baby is born, doulas visit within the first week or two to assist with basic breastfeeding concerns, discuss the mother and couple’s adaptation to a new baby, and discuss their thoughts about the birth experience. For more continuous support during the postpartum period, consider hiring a postpartum doula.

As the birth of your baby is one of the most memorable experiences of your life, consider hiring a doula to assist you with your birth! “A woman, as long as she lives, will remember how she was made to feel at her birth.” ~Anna Verwaal

Stay tuned for Part 2, where I will discuss how to find a doula!

About the Author

Kelli Brus CD(DONA) is a mom of two wonderful girls and has been married to her husband since 2007. She lives in Urbandale and is currently taking a break from teaching with Des Moines Public Schools to take care of her little ones and focus on doula work. After her second birth experience, attended by a doula, she knew this was the type of work she wanted to do. She is certified through DONA International (Doulas of North America) and is part of the Central Iowa Doula Association (CIDA). Making sure all moms have support and respect during their birth experiences is so meaningful to Kelli and why she is so dedicated to doula work.

www.dsmdoula.com

dsmdoula@gmail.com

515-210-0066

 

 

UpSpringBaby

Postpartum Care with UpSpring Baby

Disclosure: This post was created in partnership with MommyCon + UpSpring Baby, but all thoughts are my very own.

 

After having a baby every woman needs a little support. Carrying a baby for nine months changes you emotionally and physically. UpSpring Baby understands that new mamas body’s need a little support. They have designed a new Post Pregnancy Belly Wrap.

This new Bamboo Charcoal belly wrap will shrink your post-baby belly faster than any other belly wraps you may see on the market. This specific belly wrap includes bamboo charcoal fiber technology and a triple-point compression to help you shrink your uterus and make you slimmer.

The fact that this belly wrap shrinks your belly fast is great, but one common thing I hear from postpartum mom’s is how uncomfortable their stomachs feel after giving birth. Think about it. You have spent 9 months (or more) carrying around a baby and then all of a sudden one day you are not. Your body takes time to change and bounce back to the way it was. Wearing a belly wrap regularly is a great way to feel a bit more confident and supported. It also provides great support after a c-section and supports your lower back.

Get the Bamboo Charcoal belly wrap added to your baby registry!

Check out UpSpring Baby’s 100% Pure Virgin Coconut Oil too! A great option for you and baby to help soothe, protect and helps with healing.

UpSpring Baby offers a ton of products for breastfeeding, prenatal, postnatal, and baby care. Make sure you add them as a trusted source for you and your family.

 

BridgetheGap (3)

Bridge the Gap with Fortify Your Life

In December I traveled to New Orleans for Shiftcon, an eco-wellness influencer conference. Not only did I meet other wonderful bloggers and influencers, came home with lots of swag, I also learned a TON!

One person that left a lasting impression on me was Dr. Tieraona Low Dog M.D. I had the pleasure to listen to her talk about how our society is dangerously lacking in certain vitamins and nutrients. It was interesting and eye-opening to say the least. I never realized how many factors can affect what vitamins and nutrients our bodies are obtaining.

Some examples:

  • non-GMO and/or organic cereals are not fortified. If your diet consists of these items, you are not receiving the correct amounts of Vitamins B1, B2, B3. B5, B9, B12, C, iron and calcium!
  • Iron is the most common nutrient deficiency in the world.
  • If you are taking prescription medications, these medications can deplete certain vitamins and nutrients you eat daily. If you eat extremely healthy, you still may not getting the correct amounts of vitamins and nutrients due to the medications.
  • You may be eating healthy, but eating foods such as fruits and vegetables that have traveled long distances to get to your plate causes them to lose some of their most important benefits.

These were just a few examples of the many that can determine what your body is getting on a daily basis.

A common misconception, by a lot of Americans, is to take a bunch of vitamins and supplements, eat what they want and they will be okay. It is important to remember that vitamins and supplements are there to bridge the gap of the healthy lifestyle you should already be living. This means eating the correct amounts of fruits, vegetables, proteins, etc. every day. If you live a healthy lifestyle and fill in the gaps with the correct and trusted vitamins and supplements, you will feel amazing.

When I left Shiftcon I knew that I wanted to do my research and figure out what I needed to feel my best and to allow my body to function at its best. I started by reading Dr. Low Dog’s book, Fortify Your Life. I cannot recommend this book enough! You will learn  about why you need each vitamin and mineral, what it does, what population may be more depleted in it, and how much you should be getting each day.

This book is not going to tell you exactly what you need to take and when. Each person is different. Fortify Your Life is a book that guides you in becoming more educated and creating a plan that works for you. Dr. Low Dog will break down each vitamin, mineral, and common nutraceuticals. Within each breakdown she will share:

  • What it does
  • Food sources
  • Signs of deficiency
  • Risks of deficiency
  • Supplement considerations
  • Partner nutrients
  • Special populations

In the back of the book she also breaks down:

  • Supplements for common ailments such as ADHD, Celiac Disease, anxiety, depression, and more.
  • Common laboratory tests you should ask your doctor to run.
  • Popular prescription drug-nutrient depletion’s and interactions.

Fortify Your Life is a resource and tool for you to take responsibility of your health. It is a great way to start a conversation with your doctor!

After I read the book, I went ahead and kept a daily food journal for about a week. This helped me keep track of how much protein, Vitamin D, Vitamin C, iron, and so on that I was receiving from my diet. I could then conclude what I needed to improve on eating wise and what I needed to bridge the gap.

I then created a chart that listed all of the common vitamins and minerals Dr. Low Dog discussed in her book. I went through what her daily recommendations were for me personally. My dosages are completely different then a teenage boy, or a woman who has been through menopause, or a pregnant woman. It’s also important to remember, that whatever your dosages may be now, they may change as you grow older, begin taking a medication, become pregnant, etc. You will need to make adjustments as you grow, your habits change, and your life changes.

After I created my chart with what my personal dosages were, I found a trustworthy multi-vitamin that hit the majority of the recommended dosages for myself. I highly recommend, Megafood. Dr. Low Dog has partnered with Megafood to create a line of gender specific multivitamins, so you know you are receiving the best. I compared the label on the vitamins to my chart and discovered that the Multi for Women was the perfect fit for me. I then knew there was a shortage in my Vitamin B’s and Vitamin D, so decided to also supplement with Balanced B Complex and Vitamin D3. I am also taking a daily probiotic and a few days a week add Daily Maca Plus for Women to my coffee.

Since I have added these vitamins and supplements to bridge the gap in my already healthy lifestyle, I have felt great! I have also learned about what each vitamin and mineral does. If I am feeling sluggish in the afternoon I know I may need to boost my Vitamin B a little bit, instead of turning to some sort of unhealthy energy drink.

This is a great process to get to know YOUR body.

  1. Buy the book Fortify Your Life 
  2. Create your chart. Lucky you, I am offering an already created chart for you to fill in below!
  3. Research which vitamins and supplements will best fit you. I recommend starting with Megafood!
  4. Feel better and take control of your health!

Download your FREE chart here!

 

Beautycounter

Skin Products: What Are We Putting On Our Body?

I remember before I became pregnant with my son, now five years old. I never really thought about the products I used on my body whether it was the facial cleanser , body wash, shampoo, body sprays, or lotion I used. When I became pregnant I quickly learned that not only everything I consumed impacted my growing baby, but what I put on my body did too!

It is extremely common for women to completely change how they view things and take a closer look at everything once they become pregnant and have children of their own. Once your child is born, it’s a whole other ball game. Some common questions include “is this safe for my baby?” “Is this safe to put on my body, when my child is nursing?” 

It is important that we do our research and live by example. Whether it be an example for our friends and family, or our growing children. Our children are watching us daily. If we are using products that are safe, our children will know no other way.

While at Shiftcon in December, I learned so much about an amazing company Beautycounter. I had just recently been introduced to it by my good friend Emily Boyd. I quickly learned that Beautycounter was much more then just a company selling beauty products, but this company is playing a huge part in the education and change of beauty products in the industry.

I invited Emily Boyd to chat with you and share exactly what Beautycounter is doing, how you can learn about what is safe and what is not safe to put on the largest organ of our body (yes, our skin!)

It was about two years ago when my close friend and boss got the devastating call that the lump in her breast was in fact cancer.

That moment was something I’ll never forget, but what was even more impactful to me was the response she had.

She decided that she was going to win the battle and make some powerful decisions to ensure she got healthy & stayed healthy. She was not going to be a victim and hide away in sadness. She was going to fight & I decided that I was going to journey on a similar path.

I have some influential voices in my life who have educated me on the impacts of foods we consume, products we use to clean our homes, and the personal care products we put on our hair, our eyes, and our largest organ: our skin. However, I have learned that during her treatment, she hosted a Beautycounter social and because I love my friend, I gladly obliged (Wine? Yes, please!). What I learned that night radically changed my view of personal care products.

Here are the key takeaways from that evening that eventually led to me being a business owner & educator with Beautycounter.

  1. Many of the products we use on our skin are loaded with toxic chemicals that are disrupting hormones, messing with our overall endocrine system, potentially changing our DNA (what?!) and many other scary health issues. People often ask…

  2. How is that even possible and legal? We haven’t passed a major federal law since 1938 that regulates the cosmetic industry. This industry that’s worth $60 billion only bans 30 ingredients from your products. The European Union bans well over 1400. So, what the heck are we doing about it?!

  3. Beautycounter and its 30,000+ (and growing) educators are working with legislators and trying hard to make federal changes that protect you. We are also sharing our missiong to “get safer products into the hands of everyone” through socials, conversations, posts like this (thanks, Erin!) and social media.

  4. So how do you know what’s harmful? We know some ingredients for sure are linked to human health, but we have barely even scratched the surface with other ingredients. Here are some major offenders: parabens, pthalates, sulfates, triclosan, and retinol. We actually provide consumers with our amazing Never List full of ingredient names & how they might be impacting you right here.

  5. What should you do? Flip your bottles, my friends. The first and most important thing you can do is figure out what’s harmful & what’s not. The Environmental Working Group (the EWG) provides a great database where you can look up your product or the specific ingredients in your products. It’s not entirely comprehensive, but it’s a good start.

  6. Don’t think for even one second that just because something says “organic” or “green” or “natural” that it actually is. These words can be slapped on anything and everything. It’s false marketing and quite frankly, pretty unethical in my opinion. Do your research.

Let me remind you… your health is your greatest asset. If you’re healthy, you can invest in relationships, a career, hobbies, and working towards the life you want to have. I know this certainly isn’t black and white, but I feel like our society has been taught that the way we treat our sickness is reactively. Why not choose to be proactive?

There has recently been articles about lead in personal care products (this is also legal to put in your skin, but in your paint – what?!), the impact of chemicals in teenagers from personal care products, and how “all safe/natural” products like Wen are causing serious issues like hair loss.

This post is intended to educate and inform. As a Beautycounter educator and business owner, I love the opportunity to work with women on some safer options to purchase, however my ultimate goal is for you to feel like you can make an informed purchasing decision. Maybe that means organic coconut oil is your body lotion or you use essential oils as your fragrance.

If you want to support our movement for #BetterBeauty, check out our “Chanel meets Whole Foods” products; the packaging is absolutely stunning and you never have to worry about what is in it. 

If this resonates with you, there is always an opportunity to participate in this growing company (we are only 3.5 years old!) and make a difference while earning extra cash. It’s not for everyone, but it certainly is for some people. Beautycounter knows that the only way we can make a lasting impact is to have more voices, so they offer a generous compensation plan to help everyone move the needle.

Oh yeah, and the company was started by a woman in the United States (yes!).

If you want to continue the conversation, send me a message through this site. Onward & upward, Midwest Moms & Wives.

 

BabiesBlogImage

Bellies, Babies & Beyond a Postpartum Support Group

A strong passion of mine is supporting and connecting families with resources, whether this be details about events and activities, product and service reviews or information about my personal experience on certain topics. I feel the more information we are given and the more opportunities that are available to us, we can make the best decisions for ourselves and families.

Since the beginning of my postpartum doula journey, I have envisioned a place where mothers can come together in a safe and open place to share their concerns, thoughts, laughter, tears and just feel loved.

Beginning in February 2017, I will be hosting Bellies, Babies & Beyond twice a month. This group will be just that. I will be there twice a month to chat with you, answer your questions, and give you additional resources if needed. Do you not have any concerns or not sure what you want to talk about? That is okay too! Just come and be with us! This is a great opportunity to get out of the house and be with other mothers in the same place as you. 

I will be holding Bellies, Babies & Beyond twice a month:

The 1st Thursday of the month; 9:15 a.m. – 10:45 a.m. at the Iowa Doula Agency located at 120 5th Street, West Des Moines.

The 3rd Saturday of the month; 9:15 a.m. – 10:45 a.m. at Balance Chiropractic & Wellness located at 6611 University Avenue, Windsor Heights.

Feel free to come to both each month! This will be an open house style group. Feel free to come late and if you need to leave early, that is okay too! Registration in not required. Newborn babies to 12 month are welcome!

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact me here!

Note: Bellies, Babies & Beyond is registered with Postpartum Support International.
PPMeTime

7 Ways to Create “Me” Time Postpartum

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links!

After having a child, it can be harder to create alone time, or what some like to call “me” time. During your postpartum period it can be even more crucial as you are adjusting to life with a newborn, or with more children. Your “me” time allows you to relax, re-set and refocus on you. When you are finished with your “me” time, you can return to your children and family refreshed and happier.

Creating “me” time can be as simple as 10 minutes to 1 hour a day or it could be a few hours one afternoon, once a week. Allowing yourself time to re-set is important for your health, just as exercising and eating healthy is. If you are a planner and have a family calendar, carve these days out in your schedule. If it’s on the schedule then you and your significant other will be prepared and it is more likely to happen.

Are you not sure what to do during your “me” time? Check out this great list I put together!

Take a Hot bath, Epsom Salts & Lavender Essential Oils. This is my favorite and the most simplest way to have some alone time. Grab your favorite book and some hot tea. Of course, if you are newly postpartum you may need to wait a few weeks until your doctor approves you to bathe. Epsom salts are a great way to relax your tense muscles from carrying and nursing your baby. Add a few drops of Lavender Essential Oil to your bath. Lavender Essential Oil can help relieve nervous tension, enhance blood circulation and much more. Plus, it just smells amazing!

Spend an afternoon at a local coffee shop or book store. Grab your favorite book, a journal, or go look for a great book to read while taking your hot bath. Every new parent needs coffee right? Treat yourself and get a fancy, specialty drink and relax. Read your book or people watch. Both can be equally entertaining 🙂 Check out some great, local coffee shops here!

Spa Day! What woman doesn’t love a spa day? It doesn’t need to be an entire day, but you can go get a manicure and pedicure or an hour long massage. If someone is wanting to get you something postpartum, ask for a gift certificate! You just gave birth and are juggling life as a mom, you deserve some pampering. Do you live in Central Iowa? Check out some great spas in the area here.

Sign-up for a yoga class. Yoga is a great way to relax and to get your body moving. It does not have to be a sweaty workout, but it can be an opportunity for you to become re-centered. Yoga is a great time to meditate too! I know whenever I leave a yoga class, I am refreshed and ready for the world. If you live in the Des Moines area I highly recommend checking out The Family Tree Yoga. They offer several great classes and workshops for pregnancy, postpartum and more. They also offer massage too! 🙂 Check out Power Life Yoga, also! They offer several locations in the Des Moines area.

Take a walk. Fresh air is truly some of the best medicine. After being cooped up in the house all day with your newborn, getting outside and taking in the scenery can be a great way to unwind. The Des Moines area is truly blessed with tons of bike trails. One of my favorite places to walk and explore is the PappaJohn Sculpture Park located right by Central Library and Ritual Cafe. You can also walk along the Des Moines River on the Principal Riverwalk. Too chilly out? Check out Botanical Blues at the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden.

Take a class. After becoming a parent, you easily can forget to do things you love to do! Find something you want to learn or something you have always loved, and take a class. Are you artistic? Paint some pottery or canvas at Glazed Expressions! There are several places to do canvas art in the area. You can also take a cooking class! The Des Moines Public Library offers an Adult Coloring Time weekly.

Get adjusted! This seems simple and actually does not take much time at all, but can easily be added to your afternoon break before you head to the coffee shop or book store. After giving birth, whether it be vaginally or via c-section, your pelvis and entire body experiences changes. Not only from child birth, but from nursing positions, carrying your newborn, and carrying that hefty car seat! Getting adjusted regulary by a chiropractor you trust and is experienced with prenatal and postnatal adjustment is highly recommended! Check out Dr. Jennifer Thompson at Balance Chiropractic & Wellness.

Photo Credits: PappaJohn Sculpture Park, Smokey Row Coffee Shop
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Empowering Moms With Yoga

I started practicing yoga in 2009 when I lived in Green Bay, WI. Shortly after, I found out that I was expecting my first child and continued in the same yoga class throughout my pregnancy. My instructor helped me with modifications as my belly grew, but he was not prenatal certified. During this time, I was also working toward becoming a certified birth doula (DONA). After the birth of my daughter, it became clear that these experiences could come together in a beautiful potion to empower, strengthen, and educate expecting women.

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In 2012, my husband, daughter and I moved back home to central Iowa (Ankeny), and shortly after I was introduced to Sandi Hoover, owner of The Family Tree (Des Moines) and founder of Roots Prenatal YogaTM. I took her Roots Prenatal Yoga Certification course (80 hours) in February 2013 and have been passionately sharing prenatal yoga with expecting women since.

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In January 2016, I began teaching my prenatal yoga classes in Ankeny! In my classes, I empower women to tune into their bodies, breath, and babies. Each class begins with time to chat with the other expecting women in class about a topic related to pregnancy, birth, or motherhood. We move through gentle yoga poses and end class with a few minutes of relaxation. EVERY (pregnant) BODY can benefit from participating in my prenatal yoga classes.

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I hear from many of the women in my classes after their babies are born. They thank me for the classes and say they felt more prepared physically and mentally for labor/birth. My Ankeny classes are held on Sunday evenings from 6:30 – 7:45 PM. Each 6-week series is $100 (less than $17/class)! To inquire or sign-up for the series that begins on September 11, 2016, please e-mail me at doulamel13@gmail.com.

Check Melissa’s website for current classes, dates and times here!

Follow her on Facebook here!

About the Author

Head shot 2Melissa Schnurr, PhD, CD(DONA):

Melissa is the mother of two daughters born in October 2010 and November 2014, an early childhood consultant for the State of Iowa, DONA certified birth doula, and a prenatal yoga certified instructor. Also the owner of Empowered Pregnancy & Birth LLC, Melissa has a passion for supporting women and their families during pregnancy and birth.

Pregnancy & Exercise

Pregnancy & Exercise

When you become pregnant one big question comes across your mind “Can I exercise?” In most cases, the answer is, yes!

In the past, it used to be common for practitioners to tell newly pregnant women, they were not allowed to exercise. Quickly, it was discovered that there were a lot more benefits to exercising, compared to not exercising. Exercising and being active during pregnancy benefits not only mom, but baby also!

I have done some looking and there are several things to keep in mind while exercising and being active during pregnancy. I have broken it down for everyone.

Pregnancy & Exercise

Warm Up

Warming up before exercising is always important, but even more critical when pregnant. Just like before pregnancy, if you do not warm up, you may experience aches and pains after workout. Pregnant women, will definitely experience these aches and pains if they do not warm up. When pregnant, your body is growing and changing. It is important to ease into activity and exercise.

Heart Rate

Heart rate is a common thing that comes up when discussing exercise during pregnancy. Women will hear different target heart rates from different sources, but a common heart rate that is most commonly given is 140. It is not recommended to get your heart rate over 140. During the first trimester, most women are usually tired and do not have much energy; so staying at this heart rate is easy. Some women have no change in energy and can exert themselves way more. It is important for you to discuss this with your provider and come up with a target heart rate that makes everyone feel comfortable.

Mood Swings

When you become pregnant, hormones are going haywire! One moment you may be sad and depressed, nauseous, stressed, and so on. Exercising brings out those good and happy endorphins! It may hard to get moving but, getting outside and being active can greatly improve a your mood.

Exercises to Avoid

Deciding what exercises to avoid will vary between each person. If you are very active and work out routinely, there will be less to avoid. Most commonly, you can continue to do what you have been doing. There are women who still run marathons, lift heavy weights and more while pregnant. The most important thing is for you to listen to your body. If you feel something is too much, hurts, or just feels “off” you need to cut back. There are certain activities and exercises that should be avoided while pregnant such as, scuba diving, horseback riding, mountain biking, skiing or any contact sport that may cause trauma to the abdomen.

Eating

Yes, eating fits into exercising while pregnant. If you are regularly exercising while pregnant, you are burning calories. It is very important for you to make up for those calories by eating healthy, lots of fruits and veggies, and high protein foods. Even though you may think you do not need those extra calories, your baby does!

WATER, WATER, WATER

Water is extremely, extremely important while pregnant. Not only is it important if you are lying around all day, it is even more important if you are active and exercising. Staying hydrated keeps the body temperature low while exercising, reduces aches and pains, and will help prevent contractions.

Look into prenatal exercise classes

Although, you are usually able to continue your normal exercise routine, it may be beneficial for you to research and find a prenatal exercise class. This may also be beneficial for women who have not been exercising prior to pregnancy, but want to stay active. Prenatal exercise classes are modified for pregnancy and the instructors have a special certification to teach prenatal classes. The fitness instructors are knowledgeable of the woman’s pregnant anatomy and know the dos and don’ts. It is also a great place to meet other pregnant mama’s and connect!

When to slow down

In the first trimester you may be able to workout like you did before pregnancy. As pregnancy continues, your body changes, and your baby grows; changes may need to be made. Listen to your body for changes such as these:

  1. Fatigue – Feeling a little fatigue after exercising is okay, but if you cannot recover like before, it may mean to start scaling a bit back.
  2. Joint or muscle pain – Joint and muscle pain comes with the “being pregnant” package, but it may increase even more if you are exercising too much. Any sharp pains, or aches, that is not going away after a day or so, after working out, cut back.

Reasons to STOP exercising

The number one reason to stop exercising would be if your practitioner has told you to do so, but there are also some other factors to look for.

  1. If you have been diagnosed with preeclampsia or any other form of pregnancy-related high blood pressure.
  2. Cervical problems
  3. Vaginal bleeding
  4. Lots of swelling

If any of these symptoms arise or anything else that may be abnormal, stop exercising, and let your practitioner know immediately.

Exercising while pregnant is not only great for you, but also baby. It boosts your energy and mood levels, helps you sleep better, prevents excess weight gain, and may help ease pain when you go into labor. It is important for to have an open communication with your provider about what your exercise routine is and if any changes are happening.

Disclaimer: All information in this post are thoughts, opinions and research I have personally done. Please talk to your provider before engaging in any activity.