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.
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.
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.
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 email@example.com.
Check Melissa’s website for current classes, dates and times here!
Follow her on Facebook here!
About the Author
Melissa 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
If you have been diagnosed with preeclampsia or any other form of pregnancy-related high blood pressure.
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.
Have you heard about Hike it Baby? For those of you who haven’t, we are an organization dedicated to developing communities that get families outside with children from birth to school age. There are branches in cities all over the world! Iowa has four branches: Des Moines, Iowa City, Cedar Rapids, and Davenport. An Ames branch will be starting soon, too!
Come celebrate Des Moines’ one year anniversary with us! We went from an inspiration to an entire branch with over 800 Facebook members and hundreds of hikes on the calendar in a year! We have some fun things planned, including an amazing giveaway filled with donations from local businesses.
When: Sunday, June 5th at 2:30pm at the Ewing Park Children’s Forest and Nature Trail. We will meet at the Ashley Okland Star Playground and hike the Nature Trail at 3pm then have time to play on this AMAZING playground. Bring your own chairs, a picnic basket, and join us!
I have practiced it on and off since I was 13. Growing up in small town Iowa, I didn’t have exposure to a yoga studio or organized classes. All I had was videos, books, and the teachers my high school brought in from time to time. I loved yoga right away. When I decided to check out a local Des Moines studio I thought I would waltz in there and fit right in. I was wrong.
Everything about the studio was beautiful – the people, the clothes, the yoga mats, even the floors. The whole place was very intimidating all by itself (also very intimidating when there are beautiful yoga bodies all around you). I suddenly became very aware of how big my body was. No one said anything. No one looked at me funny. But I didn’t notice that. To me, everyone’s eyes were all on me and my (probably see-through) yoga pants.
Despite all that I was hooked right away. I was exhausted and sweaty but I felt great. The following day I ached in places I didn’t even know existed. After my first week I still didn’t know what a chaturanga was or how to properly do one (still a matter of contention two years later) but I did know that I was going to come back.
Yoga has completely changed the way I see myself inside and out. It has reminded me that I am strong, beautiful, and capable. Being skinny isn’t going to make me a better person. It’s not going to make me happier. My self worth is not determined by the size of my jeans.
It’s easy to think that yoga isn’t for you. I’m here to tell you that it is. You don’t have to be flexible. You don’t have to wear special clothes. You don’t have to look a certain way. All you have to do is show up. Really, truly, that’s it. Ignore the beautiful Instagram pictures on beaches. Ignore the perfect bodies in tight clothing. Ignore the commentary in your mind.
Join me on Tuesdays at the South Suburban YMCA at 4:45 or on Thursdays at 4020 70th Street in Urbandale. Tuesday classes are free with a YMCA membership and Thursday classes are $15 each, but your first two classes are free. Punch cards are available for purchase and offer discounts by buying multiple classes at a time. My classes are geared towards beginners and will help you understand some basic yoga poses, connect you with your breath and body, and help build confidence in yourself and your yoga practice. There is no need to sign up ahead of time. Just show up!
I’m a Yoga Alliance certified yoga teacher and am working towards becoming Iowa’s first Curvy Yoga Certified yoga teacher. If you have questions, want to schedule a private session, or just want to chat yoga, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Babywearing has been a blessing in my life. It has kept me sane as a parent with small children. I was introduced to it when I had Monte and fell in love even more when I had my daughter!
There are so many options with babywearing and living in Central Iowa, we are truly blessed with the amount of resources available to us, to learn. If you have not checked out our local Babywearing International of Central Iowa group, you NEED to. It is a great place to ask questions about wearing, certain carriers, support, and to just meet other like-minded parents! They offer several meetings in different locations in the metro area, so check out their Facebook page!
Since the babywearing community has grown and lots of parents are wearing, there are fun exercise classes being created right here in Central Iowa! I am so excited to share information about these classes with you!
Pied Piper Studios & ClubFit Studio
Created by Caeli Esser of ClubFit, she is bringing fitBaby to you at two different locations! You can check out her babywearing class at Pied Piper Studios or at the ClubFit studio. Baby wearing optional. Stayclose to your baby, while giving yourself some love. We’ll safely guide you through exercises to improve posture, give your metabolism a boost and leave you feeling energized and ready for anything (whether or not you got any sleep last night).
Pied Piper Studios – 3892 NW Urbandale Drive
ClubFit Studio – 2614 Beaver Avenue, shared space with Livable
Pied Piper Studios – Sunday; 10 am – 10:45 am
ClubFit Studio – Monday; 5:15 pm – 5:50 pm
Prices: Check out here for details on pricing options!
Roots Healing Movement Class
The Family Tree Yoga & Massage
Enjoy great music and easy to follow moves and stretches in a supportive atmosphere. Open to all women and safe for pre/postnatal students. Baby wearing welcome.
Location: 3900 Ingersoll Avenue Suites 106 & 108
Dates & Times:
4-week session begins Wednesday 10/21 weekly thru 11/11 from 11 am – 11:45 am
Offered once monthly on Saturdays from 10:30 am – 11:15 am on 10/31, 11/21, and 12/12.
A minimum of 4 registered students are required to hold this class. You will receive an email the evening before if we do not have enough participants
Prices: $25/class for Saturday drop-ins (may be used with 4 week class pass and Monthly Unlimited Memberships), or $89 for the four-week class series. All participants receive a complimentary guest pass with purchase!
Check out other classes they offer and sign-up here!
Uplift Fitness Studio
This class is a wonderful activity to help you be fit, give your metabolism a boost, and leave your body feeling energized all while having fun with your baby or toddler! Dancing to music is beneficial to your body, soul and your baby! Whether you have danced in the past or only dreamt of it, these 45 minute classes are open to everyone! Each class includes simple stretches and dance moves designed to give you and your tiny dancer a bonding connection and fun time together. This class is also great for expecting mothers.
Location: 300 SE Grimes Blvd.
Dates & Times: Saturdays; 10:30 am – 11:15 am & Wednesdays; 10:30 am – 11:15 am
Prices: Check here for all pricing packages and to sign-up!
Make sure you keep an eye out! I will be checking out all three of these locations and doing a Featured Post, so you know what to expect!
YMCA has some awesome classes for different ages, that you must register for. I decided to sign Monte up for Tumble Tots because he absolutely loves running around, climbing, and bouncing. This class ended up being perfect for him!
Tumble Tots is for ages 3 to 5 years old with an accompanied adult. It is slightly structured, but not too much. Monte likes to do his own thing and does not have much patience, so the fact that there is not much structure, is nice.
Tumble Tots always opens up with stretching, which the instructors make lots of fun! They have the kids act like animals, pretend they are in space, and other scenarios that get their imaginations rolling. They also sometimes do “sit-ups” and running around the gym (Monte’s favorite). Afterwards, the kids are free to run around to the different stations and play. The instructors walk around and help at each station. They show the kids different things they can do.
They have a trampoline.
A balance beam to walk on.
A spring board to jump from.
Tunnel to crawl through.
They also have tumbling mats, a bar to swing and hang from, and mats to help you learn how to do a cartwheel!
Tumble Tots is a 4-week class and it is $15 for members, $35 for non-member.
Tumble Tots and other programs/sports the YMCA offers are a perfect way to introduce your toddler to new activities and sports. It is very affordable and the classes last a short-period of time. If they are not interested, then you know that it isn’t the way to go, before spending a lot of money for a long term program/sport.
They also offer:
Tiny Tumblers 18 months – 3 years
Fun & Fit 3-5 years
Kids in the Kitchen 3-5 years
Music & Movement 2-5 years
Tiny Chefs 18 months- 3 years
Moving with Music 18 months – 3 years
I highly recommend checking out all the classes the YMCA has to offer. Not only do they have classes for toddlers, but they also offer classes for grade school children and adults! Check out here for their online registration where you can search for a class and register all online!
It’s the New Year! Have you already started your New Year’s resolutions? Every year I make a list of things I want to do aaaaaaand maybe I accomplish one or two things for awhile, then give up. This year I decided I was making ONE resolution …. I will wake up at 5 am every week day.
You are thinking “Wow that’s early!” “That’s your only goal?” Yepp, it is! I have other little goals, but I will not be able to accomplish them, without my MAIN resolution. My thought process is, if I wake up every morning at 5 am, that gives me an extra 2 hours or more to do what I want to do. The house is quiet, kids and hubby are still asleep and daycare kids have not arrived yet.
The past few months, since I had baby Amelia, I have messed around with a few ways to live healthier and be active.
Planning when I was going to workout and where – I became overwhelmed and felt if I missed one class, the entire week was ruined.
Working out during nap time- That lasted about a week.
Going to YMCA classes when my hubby came home from work- I began to miss family time or I was completely exhausted and did not want to leave the house!
I was also:
NOT making myself a healthy breakfast – Breakfast is the most important meal of the day!
NOT allowing myself to wake-up before my day began – I would wake up about 30 minutes before daycare kids arrived.
NOT allowing myself “me” time.
NOT allowing myself time to meditate before the day began.
SOOOOO I figured if I make this one resolution, to wake up at 5 am everyday, everything else will fall into place. If I get myself out of bed at 5 am, what else am I going to do for 2 hours? It’s my time, I want to be healthy & active and this is my chance!
So far it’s been going great! I’ve been able to meditate, workout, shower peacefully, take my time preparing a healthy breakfast, and even prep myself a little for the day for when the kids wake up and daycare kids arrive!
This goes to show you may have several resolutions, you may want to achieve this year. It can be a little overwhelming BUT if you make ONE main resolution everything else will just fall into place.
Happy New Year’s to you! What are your New Year’s resolutions?!
I finally finished The Body Book. It was such a great book and I am so happy I picked it up! Now, I know what you are thinking … “another diet book, another exercise regimen, etc., etc.” Nope! Not the case. It is none of that. It is basically a users manual to your body. It is a book that breaks down how your body works and why your body works the way it does. Yes, there are some suggestions of foods to eat, exercises to do, but it’s not all about that.
I will be honest, this book is pretty much anatomy class all over again, BUT it’s so much more interesting this time around. I promise 🙂 Maybe it was more interesting and the information stuck with me more, because I am actually interested. Or maybe because I’m not thinking about passing notes in class and what I am doing on Friday night 🙂 Also, it helps that the book was written by Cameron Diaz, not another textbook author. It’s real life explanation. A lot of the information you read, you already know, but it’s explained to you, so you UNDERSTAND.
I love how this book was broken down. The first section was all about nutrition …
Water intake! I just started keeping a 16 oz mason jar of room temperature water in my bathroom and chug it every morning when I wake up, BEFORE I do anything else. It’s amazing how much this makes a difference.
Sugar … it’s bad duh! But, why is it so bad?
Carbs are NOT bad! As long as you are eating good carbs.
Microbiome. Sounds boring? But, so interesting!
The second section is about fitness! You are thinking … “yes, I know, I need to workout more. OKAY!” Nope. There is more to it 🙂
The history of why going to the gym and planning for your workout has become a much needed priority today.
The evolution of technology … CRAZY to see how technology has affected our movement!
What happens when you do NOT move.
“Energy In, Energy Out” very interesting topic! Energy = LIFE!
Break down of bones, muscles, and system functions.
Sleep is so important. All technology off! I sleep with a mask now!
The third and final section is about mind! Okay, so you can read this entire book, understand, and agree with everything that is written in it. BUT nothing will change if you don’t DO something. Put your MIND to it!
Connect body and mind
Realize your body is NOT the same as the person next to you. LISTEN to your body!
Break the habits … practice, practice!
“Nothing’s For Free” … discipline!
Cameron Diaz says this in the book … we are a machine. You would not let your car go months and months without an oil change would you? Or if you do, is it still functioning correctly? We function at our bests when we eat the right foods to give us energy, drink enough water, and keep moving. If we lay on the couch for days and eat cake and potato chips for days, our machine slowly breaks down over time.
The year is coming to an end and I know the most popular New Year’s Resolution is to lose weight, be healthy, etc. THIS book will help you keep your resolution. Of course, I cannot promise it will help you keep it, because ONLYYOU can make that change. This book will help you in the right direction.
My favorite, are the fitness classes. They have so many variety of classes to offer and with the multiple locations around Des Moines, you can usually find a time that will suit you. Some classes include:
AND MUCH MORE!
There is an awesome iPhone app to keep track of what classes and what time classes are available. They also will post special events that may be going on at the specific YMCA you belong to, open swim schedules, open gym schedules, etc. You can search by class and instructor. You can also click on a specific class, sync it to your calendar and place an alert, so you do NOT forget to work out. The app ROCKS!
Since giving birth to baby number two, it has been a lot harder to work off this baby weight! It is also a lot harder to get to the gym with two kids! Luckily, Travis is very supportive and flexible. Each week I compare his work schedule, my schedule, the kids schedule and I plan out what classes I plan to take. Then with the YMCA app I can add it to my calendar!
Right now, I have two favorite classes I have been going to regularly.
I love BodyPump! A lot of people feel that they need to have good coordination when taking this class because there is counting, but the instructors are awesome at counting it out and keeping you on track. If you are a beginner or experience, this class is for you. The instructors do an awesome job explaining each lift and also show you an alternative way of doing a lift or exercise, if you are not experienced enough.
BodyPump is NOT about how much weight you lift. It is based on form, how slow, fast and reps you lift. You do it all to music and once you get in the groove, it’s a lot of fun! During one class I have burned between 350-500 calories. They change up the classes every 8 weeks or so, and they just recently switched up the class. With the new routine, I have burnt over 500 calories! I definitely recommend this class!
2. Body Sculpt
Body Sculpt is a mixture of cardio and strength training. Each class I have been to has been different and totally awesome. I always burn between 400-500 calories in a Body Sculpt class. Each instructor creates their own workout which can consist of bands, weights, barbells, running on the track, jumping jacks, crunches, etc. You usually start off with a jog around the track, to get your heart rate up, then you will do some strength training exercises. Through out class you will alternate cardio and strength training, so your heart rate continuously stays increased.
If you are looking to get into shape, I definitely recommend joining your local YMCA. The YMCA makes it very easy to workout, even with busy schedules and kids.
Hike It Baby all began in July of 2013 and has EXPLODED since then. It all started when one mother, Shanti Hodges, from Portland, Oregon, asked a group of other women if they wanted to go hiking with her. Week after week, more and more women joined. As the numbers increased, Shanti decided to create a website and newsletter to keep everyone in touch with each another.
Shanti created this group with the main focus to get moms (even dads) and babies out into nature. The hikes also help minimize postpartum depression, allows you to learn more about your city, meet other people who have the same interests as you, and give you some exercise.
By word of mouth, and social media, several moms AND dads volunteered to lead hikes. The number of hikes that were lead weekly and daily, grew and grew! At this time, there are 40-80 Hike It Baby lead hikes across America. Each location has their own Facebook group, where leaders plan hikes and everyone who is in that area can talk and plan.
I absolutely love babywearing and to hear that an activity like Hike It Baby exists, makes me so happy!
Hike It Baby is completely free. It’s free to lead and it’s free to hike. It does not take much to become a leader. You can wear your baby, you can push them in a stroller, or if they want to hike along with you, they can do that too!
Right now, the Hike It Baby 30 challenge is taking place during the month of November. The challenge is to hike 30 miles in the month of November. Every 10 miles you hike, you are entered into a giveaway and there are some AWESOME prizes to be won! You can register for $10 to be officially part of the Hike It Baby 30 challenge and have a chance to win prizes OR you can do it on your own, without registering, but you will not win prizes.
There are several levels of the challenge if you really want to challenge yourself even more. Such as hiking on only dirt trails all 30 miles, or you can walk around anywhere in your city as long as you hit the 30 miles. Amelia and I signed up for this challenge. Since it has been getting colder, it has been hard to get out and hike/walk, but there is still time! I know we can do it!
There is still time to sign up for the Hike It Baby 30 Challenge and if you belong to the Babywearing of Central Iowa Group, there are a group of women who are planning some hikes to meet this challenge. If you have not joined Babywearing of Central Iowa, read this to find out how!
As of now, there is no official Hike It Baby group in the Des Moines area. After the Hike It Baby 30 challenge, there has been talk of one being created! So, keep your eyes and ears open!