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Pregnancy Tips

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Being on pregnancy #4 now, I’ve learned a lot to prevent swelling from happening at all. I’m going to go over all my tips on preventing swelling during pregnancy that have actually worked really well for me. My first three pregnancies were in the Seattle area, so I didn’t have to deal with humidity, but two of them were in the dead of summer. Now, my fourth pregnancy is in the dead of summer in the hot, humid Florida.

Even if you’re not pregnant during the summer, swelling can be painful and seriously annoying during pregnancy. I know a few mamas who had their feet swell up duiring the final weeks of pregnancy, and many mamas who start swelling in the first trimester, and stay swolen. So what is going on?

Factors that cause swelling during pregnancy:

  • Hormonal changes cause water retention
  • Fluid is stored for birth, baby and breastfeeding once baby is born
  • Serious issues like Preeclemsia can cause sudden swelling of the hands and feet
  • Eating more salty foods than usual because of cravings

Most of the time, diet is a big factor in swelling during pregnancy. Many mamas start eating more carb-heavy and salt-heavy foods, which cause your body to hold more water.

Tricks I use to avoid swelling during pregnancy:

Avoid packaged, high-salt foods:

Besides the first trimester, where I basically eat all the chips, cheese and salt to survive, I keep my diet as clean as possible. I often do clean eating challenges for 10-14 days on Instagram, which really help keep me from eating all the processed carbs and salt. I highly recommend grabbing my clean eating challenge here on this blog, or joining us on Instagram! You will find that eating clean also means eating a lot of high-water content foods, which help tremendously.

Eat plenty of high-water content foods:

Fruits and vegetables are your best friends when it comes to avoiding swelling. I eat a lot of fruit and vegetables, particularly in the summer. With the extra water inside the food, you are adding to your water and liquid intake, which helps flush out the water your body wants to store. Some of my favorite, high-water content foods include:

  • Grapefruit
  • Cucumbers
  • Pineapples
  • Apples
  • Oranges
  • Cantaloupe
  • Watermelon
  • Peaches
  • Asparagus (can help get rid of water)
  • Ice burg lettuce (mostly water!)

These foods can help you flush water out of your system, and they also offer natural electrolytes, nutrients and fiber to fill you up!

I eat higher protein, lower carb:

By focusing on my protein shakes and higher protein meals, I keep my carbs lower. Carbs will cause you to retain more water. It is a well-known fact in the fitness industry that as soon as you go low carb, you start flushing water out of your system, but you also start needing more water and salt. Many low-carbers will find themselves bloated and swolen after a higher-carb day. This is just the nature of how the nutrients work in our bodies. I do not do extremeley low carb with no fruit. I steer clear of a lot of bread, pastas, crackers, chips and grains. By keeping healthy, high-fiber carbs in my diet, I don’t have the fluctuations in my water retention, but still keep my water retention very low during pregnancy!

My protein shakes are my FAVORITE way to get in my protein, specifically in the morning. I LOVE them. My protien powder, Bump Dust, is specifically formulated to help with cravings, and it has helped me so much! If I start my day with one of these recipes, I literally feel so full and satisfied ALL DAY.

You may also like: The Best Protein Powder Safe For Pregnancy

If you follow me on Instagram, you will see me making a lot of spinach + strawberry protien shakes. For some reason that has been my go-to lately, but I do change it up. I think the huge infusion of vitamins from the fresh spinach and strawberries, with the added vitamins, protien and herbs in my protein powder is so amazing for pregnancy!

I have ice water with me at all times:

This is huge for being in FL during the summer. If you aren’t by the ocean, a pool or somewhere with shade and a breeze, you can easily sweat yourself to death in the heat. By sipping on cold ice water, you will be able to keep yourself so much cooler. I am surviving very well in the heat and humidity by always having ice water with me. This also keeps baby cool, which you don’t want your internal temp to rise and affect your baby.

I try to get 10k steps or more every day:

I do not sit for long periods of time. This is really important to keeping your blood flow going and your system moving. By moving most of the day (except for a few hours of work in the middle of the day), I am able to keep my feet moving, stay upright and keep circulation going. Circulation is really important to swelling as well. There are many affordable step trackers out there you can get to help you keep track of your movement. I’ve found that if I am active with the boys at the beach, park or pool, and I do about 30 minutes of exercise (running on the treadmill, HIIT, walking + strength), then I can hit my step goals. Not always, but most of the time I do.

There are also some things I don’t do, to ensure that I keep from swelling. Here are a list of those things too 🙂

Things I never do, to avoid swelling during pregnancy:

  • I never drink sugary sodas
  • I never drink sports drinks (with all the sugar)
  • I don’t drink any packaged smoothies
  • I don’t eat cereal or granola bars (stick to plain oatmeal)
  • I don’t use iodized salt when cooking. I only use sea salt
  • I don’t eat fatty, hormone-filled meats like cheap ground beef and steaks (get grass-fed, free range etc.). The added hormones can mess with your hormones
  • I don’t eat white rice or white potatoes (the carbs are so high and nutrients really low!). Stick to sweet potatoes or quinoa

I really hope this helps you with your swelling during pregnancy. If you’ve already started to swell, there are some things you can do to help it go down!

How to fix your swelling during pregnancy, once it starts:

If  you are already swollen, I want you to immediately clean up your diet and follow my tips on low carb, high water foods etc. Just a few days of that can really make a difference! You can also:

  • Try sleeping with your feet elevated
  • Wear compression stockings (get help finding the right level of compression for you)
  • Sit on a ball, rather than an office chair or couch and move your body more
  • Do more stretching and yoga
  • Massage your legs and arms to get circulation going
  • Try dry brushing in the shower to get the lympatic system working
  • Drink herbal teas to help flush the water out

Just remember, everything will end! The swelling will stop and baby will arrive before you know it. I repeatedly remind myself that feeling large and uncomfortable is only temporary. It will be over soon. I really hope these tips help you, as they’ve worked for me!

Dealing with cellulite during pregnancy is not fun, and it can seem like pregnancy makes all the cellulite way worse. I personally have an increased amount of cellulte during pregnancy, and it can be very difficult to deal with when you aren’t used to it. All the cellulite can also be emotionally hard if you are gaining a lot of weight.

Being on my fourth pregnancy now, I can tell you I know exactly how hard it is to deal with the extra weight gain and appearance of cellulite. Let’s get into a chat on how to deal with this excess cellulite, understand why it is happening, and go over some possible ways to diminish it!

First things first, why does cellulite increase during pregnancy?

Cellulite increases as our fat cells expand underneath our skin. The extra fat gain during pregnancy is going to increase the appearance of cellulite. But, what if you haven’t gained much fat? Many mamas don’t gain much extra fat and still see an increase in cellulite. So, what is going on?

Additional factors besides weight gain that cause cellulite during pregnancy:

Pregnancy also causes extra liquid to remain in your cells. This fluid is stored in fat cells and other cells under ths skin. As your cells increase in size underneath the skin, you can see more dimples popping through. The fluid is stored because of the increased estrogen during pregnancy, as well as the extra fluid needed for producing breast milk when baby arrives.

Hormonal factors can also effect the elasticity of your skin. The increasead estrogen, and varrying hormonal levels during pregnancy can cause a difference in your skin. This can make cellulite more visible than when you aren’t pregnant. Just keep in mind this is a temporary experience, until your hormones, bodily fluids and weight get back to normal again.

How I deal with cellulite during pregnancy:

I acknowledge that over 90% of women deal with cellulite – pregnant or not!

Instagram, YouTube and other social media outlets can give the illusion that many women don’t have cellulite. Not very many fitness professionals or influencers post photos in a lighting that shows cellulite. I love that one fitness influencer, Emily Skye, specifically posts her cellulite with her pregnancy to help encourage other mamas.  Everytime I see my own cellulite, and I remember that almost every other woman has cellulite, pregnant or not. So, by just remembering that, you can happily deal with your own.

I focus on protein and lower carbs:

Many women don’t realize that carbs can contribute to swelling and water retention. Eating lower carb can help your body let go of water, both in pregnancy and after. Besides the first trimester, when things are all haywire, I like to eat lower carb, clean and higher protein. I have a Youtube video up on everything I eat in a day, when I am not on an eating clean challenge. This is a very basic, and fairly low carb day for me.

I am not a huge fan of meat in the first trimester or second, and sometimes all pregnancy, so my protein shakes are super helpful! I love them really, and because I use Bump Dust, they are full of delicious flavor and very low carb. Not to mention all the fabulous nutrients for pregnancy. In my video I show you a super yummy smoothie bowl I love to make on the mornings when I have more time.

I do cardio and strength:

Working out during pregnancy is so helpful to managing your weight gain and feeling good. A lot of the weight gain comes because mamas start feeling discouraged, big, slow and uncomfortable – so they don’t workout at all. Cardio is essential to keeping the blood flowing, your heart strong, your blood pressure down and burning any extra calories you are consuming. Strength work is essential for maintaining your muscle mass, which will help keep your metabolism up! Just cardio will help you keep your calorie consumption in check, and overall weight gain in check, but you will want to keep your muscle mass too. Muscle can also help diminish the appearance of cellulite by giving you a more toned appearance! If you let your muscle mass decrease, then your metabolism can slow down. My program involves quick, efficient strength workouts with cardio bursts to help you get all in at once. I often post workouts on my Instagram too, to help give you more ideas on what you can do to try and stay in shape.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

Hello #25weekspregnant!! I’ve got a good, low-impact workout with compound moves. Meaning you are doing legs and arms at the same time. This is a great workout when you don’t feel like working out. Simple moves, you can go heavy or light in your weights, and no intense jumping around. You are still working many muscles at once, which makes it effective!! – Each move 40 sec and 20 sec rest – 1 min rest in between sets – 3-4 sets for about 18-24 min workout Don’t mind my super tight white pants…obviously that was the last time i could pull those off 😂😂 I am so excited for our clean eating challenge starting July 6th!! If you are joining, comment on my last post! The before pics are already coming in, and I can’t wait to see everyone after 10 days!!! The link to the free plan is in my bio titled, “10-day Reset.” #preggers #fourthpregnancy #pregnant #summerpregnancy #fitpregnancyjourney #fitpregnancy #prenataldiet #pregnancynutrition #pregnancydiet #pregnancyworkout #prenatalfitness #secondtrimester #secondtrimesterworkout #fitpregnancy #fitbump #healthypregnancy . . . #postpartumnutrition #postpartumfitness #postpartimdiet #nursingmama #nursingmom #4thtrimester #4thtrimesterbodies #bodyafterbaby #losingthebabyweight #losethebabyweight #postpartumweightloss #postpartumworkout #postpartumhealing #postpartumlife

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I drink a lot of water:

This is the boring tip that is so helpful! The more water you drink, the more you can flush out of your body. I think it is easier in the summer to drink more water because it helps cool us off here in Florida. Water is essential for pregnant mamas, especially in the summer to ensure you don’t get dehydrated. Find a big bottle you like and keep it full!

Foam rolling and stretching:

Foam rolling and stretching can help a bit with your fascia that is between your fat/muscle tissue and your skin. If this is super tight with knots, it can also increase the appearance of cellulite. Sometimes foam rolling and increasing mobility to areas like your hips, glutes and thighs can alleviate knots and increase blood flow. Circulation has been associated with cellulite, so I do some rolling and stretching just to help!

Overall, remember the increased cellulite during pregnancy is temporary.

I have to tell myself every day that pregnancy in general is only temporary. I refuse to allow myself to get depressed with the weight gain, soreness, back issues, fatigue and cellulte. I try to make nutritious food choices and stay as active as I can every day.

If you are struggling to stay fit and healthy during your pregnancy, definitely download my free, 7-day workout challenge, and try my eating clean challenge. There are sign ups for the eating clean challenge on every blog post, and I promise you will not forget it!

My pregnancy showed up less than 3 months ago as an unexpected surprise, and just a few weeks ago, so did the Covid-19 pandemic. At first, I think I was like many, and things didn’t seem that serious. The virus didn’t seem that bad and life was moving on as normal – until it wasn’t. I do believe this is a serious virus, and managing the spread through social distancing is important, especially during pregnancy.

But social distancing with three boys, and another baby on the way is actually a lot of work. Especially in the first timester, when I feel exhausted and nauseas half the time. There are some things I am doing to boost my immune system, stay healthy and hopefully avoid infection all together. We are in Florida, where we have yet to experience the intensity that many other states and cities are experiencing. Here are some ways I am handling the pandemic to keep myself, and the new baby healthy and safe.

I am staying up to date on pregnancy + Covid-19 findings and reasearch:

There’s actually not a lot that we know concerning pregnancy and Covid-19. Here’s what we do know.

  • Right now, there’s no increased risk for Covid-19 during pregnancy. According to this source.
  • The immune system is in an altered state during pregnancy, making symptoms more likely if Covid-19 is contrcted.
  • You can’t give it to your baby. There’s been on findings of the Corona Virus in amniotic fluid, cord blood, or placenta tissue.

That’s about all we really know so far, and because this virus is so new, there could be more findings in the near future that will show us different information. But for now, I feel confident that if I do contract the virus, I will not give it to my baby, but I may experience some worse symptoms than if I wasn’t pregnant. One of the biggest ways I can help myself avoid the virus all together is to stay home, as well as boost my immune system.

Safe ways I am boosting my immune system during pregnancy:

Boosting the immune system is really important to ensuring your body can fight off the virus if you contract it. A strong immune system can also reduce the symptoms of the virus, which reportedly are extremely uncomfortable with a high fever, dry cough and difficulty breathing. Here are some safe ways to boost your immune system during pregnancy:

  • I’m drinking Ora Organics Imuunity Vitamin C powder,Ora Organics Imuunity Vitamin C powder, which might be sold out now, but so good if you can get some! It has everything you need to boost your immune system with the power of vitamin C.
  • I’m taking a really good prenatal.a really good prenatal. I can actually keep this one down during my first trimester, which is HUGE. I wish I had these with my other three pregnancies because I had to skip many days of vitmins just to be able to function. You can learn more on other prenatals on the market, and the important difference between folate and folic acid in this post. 
  • I’m drinking extra water. This is an easy one, but hard for me during the first trimester. I want to drink soda, and I crave it, but I’m forcing plain water down. Water washes away the bacteria in your mouth and helps your body function, where as other drinks have sugar and fake sugars that bacteria can feed on. If you have a higher amount of bacteria in your system, your body chemistry is altered and more suceptible to viruses.
  • I’m walking as much as I can. Workouts are basically non-existent right now because I feel so icky. I gag when I work out, so I am working on getting in 10,000 steps a day. This helps with the lymphatic system, keeps your body moving, and is much better than sitting all day.

I am forcing more fruits and veggies down:

Being in the first trimester, I have the worst time eating healthy. I basically live off of white cheddar cheezeits right now. But with everything going on, I am forcing down more fruits and vegatables. I’m also leading a 21-day eating clean challenge with the mamas in my Postpartum program, and it is so helpful for me! I am forced to be accountable in eating clean, according to the guidelines in my program because other mamas are doing it with me! We all want to be as healthy as possible during this time! My favorite way to eat fruits and veggies right now is in a smoothie. I can drink it down slowly, and not feel like I am chewing on raw kale. This protein powder is my all-time favorite for postpartum mamas, and the pregnancy formula will be coming out soon too!

I am not going to the doctor – yet:

I actually am about 11 weeks pregnant as I write this, and I haven’t been to the doctor. I am scheduled to go this coming week, and I probably won’t. I don’t really want to go into an environment where so many people have been and possibly contract the virus. I am giong to call and verify that’s a good idea, and I amy just get an at-home baby doppler systembaby doppler system to attempt to hear the heart beat at home, myself!

Getting sun and fresh air:

I read a report that sun and fresh air help the healing process, and supposedly the sun kills the virus. I love the concept, whether true or not, so I am making sure to get time outside and in the sun every day. We live in Florida, and the virus has yet to really run its course here, which maybe all the sun is helping. I am running with the concept and assuming all the vitamin D is a good thing.

Social distancing as much as possible:

We started with a couple play dates early on, with friends we’ve been around at school, and I’ve had to run to the store a couple times, but other than that, we’ve been home and outside. We are doing a lot of various activities at home, playing in yard, swimming in the pool, walking the neighborhood and finding trails to explore. That’s about all we can do, and we are avoiding close proximity to anyone coughing or sneezing, where we know the virus can be contracted.

I am not wearing any masks, or going to extremes because I feel confident in a healthy immune system and social distancing. I also do know that there are many viruses and infections mothers get during pregnancy, which don’t affect a growing baby.