Fighting Preg Fatigue: 8 Easy Ways to Feel Energetic During Month 8

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I’m entering month 8 of my pregnancy, and I must say that I just feel tired more easily. If you’re approaching the end of your 3rd trimester, you know what I mean. But rest assured (literally), it’s not just you! There are a host of physiological factors contributing to this 8 month preg fatigue, including but not limited to:

  • Shortness of breath, due to the rapidly growing baby and ginormous uterus pressing on the lungs and diaphragm.
  • Racing metabolism as body prepares for baby.
  • Extra weight in the core, making everything just that much more difficult.
  • Ridiculously caliente core temperature, causing overheating, and making dehydration and dizziness so much more possible.

The good news is twofold, though. First of all, we’re in the home stretch, and will be welcoming our adorable little babies into our arms in less than 2 months. And second of all, preg fatigue is super-easy to manage. You’ve heard the saying of the great generals: “Know your enemy.” Well, if we know why we’re feeling exhausted, we can combat and eventually defeat it!

Enjoying the breezy beach at sunset is my preferred way to keep cool during month 8.

Enjoying the breezy beach at sunset is my preferred way to keep cool and energetic during month 8.

With that in mind, here are 8 easy ways to keep up your energy during month 8:

  1. Hydrate – During pregnancy, our fluid demands increase, and it’s recommended to drink eight to twelve 8-ounce glasses of water per day, as opposed to the usual 6-8 glasses for a non-pregnant person. I drink water throughout the day to keep my energy up, since dehydration can increase the risk of fainting, malaise, and feeling hungry when you’re in fact thirsty. Remember: If you feel thirsty, you’re already dehydrated.
  2. Exercise – The energy lag hits me hardest in the mid-afternoon, about an hour after I eat lunch. For this reason, I changed my exercise routine from the morning to the afternoon. It’s always a battle to go to the gym or exercise along with that yoga video, but once I start and the blood begins to circulate, I feel so much more awake and alive. And afterwards, my energy is amped up for the rest of the day. My best advice is to identify your own personal energy lag time, and schedule your exercise in then. Not only will you feel better during and after the exercise, studies have shown that your baby may actually be born smarter because of the increased oxygen and blood flow–bonus!
  3. Test for anemia – If you’re feeling incredibly tired all the time, the reason might not be pregnancy directly–it could be anemia. Anemia can set in during pregnancy, even if you’re taking the recommended supplements, because the baby leeches your iron, storing it away for later. Medical protocol calls for an anemia test around 28 weeks. If you show up anemic, it’s important to remember a few things. First of all, iron from green leafy veggies like spinach is more difficult to absorb than heme iron (from sources like red meat), but vitamin C facilitates absorption. Therefore, adding a vitamin C supplement with your iron–or even just eating an orange or cooking with lemon–can help your body to retain more iron. Also, calcium impedes iron absorption, so separate your iron and calcium supplements by at least 3 hours.
  4. Keep up Your Blood Sugar – Blood sugar crashes are another huge cause of tiredness in pregnancy, and they can be exacerbated by giving in to “cravings” for sugary, carb-y snacks. The best way to keep up your blood sugar is by avoiding junk food and eating healthy snacks with some protein for extra staying power. Plain Greek yogurt with 10 almonds, 5 walnuts, and a handful of blueberries is one of my favorite late-afternoon snacks to carry me through that blood sugar crash period between lunch and dinner. Other good snacks are carrots and celery with hummus or a banana boat (banana with natural peanut butter).
  5. Power Nap – Sometimes, you just need a nap; nothing else will do. If this is the case, indulge in a 30 minute to one hour-long power nap. You will awaken rejuvenated and ready to finish out your day with gusto. Just avoid napping for longer than an hour, since sometimes those loong naps can make you more sluggish, and they can disrupt your sleep cycle at night.
  6. Breathe Deeply – Sometimes in pregnancy, we can feel more fatigued if we don’t pay attention to our breathing. As I mentioned earlier, many pregos experience shortness of breath as the uterus presses on the lungs and diaphragm. For this reason, it’s important to pay attention to your breathing. Yoga is a great way to become more aware of how deeply and how often you’re breathing.
  7. Stay Cool – Feeling overheated can make you languid and lazy, and pregos are especially prone to this because of our hotttt body temperatures. Seek out the breeze, amp up your AC, stay out of the sun during the heat of the day, take a swim–do whatever makes you feel more cool, calm, and collected, and your energy will surge.
  8. Sit up Straight – If you, like me, sit at a desk all day, it’s easy to absentmindedly slump over, which actually makes you feel tireder. Instead, focus on your posture, consciously keeping a straight back. Not only will you look better, you’ll feel better, since sitting up straight allows the lungs to fill more completely and facilitates circulation.

Moms-to-be out there, I hope these tips help you to feel more vibrant and exuberant during your 8th month of pregnancy!

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Preg and the Sea: Benefits of Beaching it During Pregnancy

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I’ve had a lifelong love of the beach, which is why the San Diego area is the absolute perfect place for me! Antonio and I frequently walk on the beach to meditate, frolic in the waves, or just enjoy the sunshine and salty air. We usually beach it on the weekends, but last Thursday we had an evening beach-date, which recharged me and left me exhilarated for the remainder of the work week.

Meditating during last week's "beach-date"

Drinking in the view during last week’s “beach-date”

I looove the beach for its calming effects, its natural beauty, and its health benefits, and I think it’s the absolute perfect place for us pregs to hang out for a little R & R. Here are 5 benefits of beaching it during pregnancy–and really any time!

  1. It has cleansing properties – No doubt about it; that tangy, salt air is ah-mazing for your skin–all the better to enhance that famous pregnancy glow. 🙂 And if you’re feeling a bit sluggish, there’s nothing more energizing than taking a deep, cleansing breath of ocean air. In addition, salt water is a natural astringent that has been said to speed wound healing and exhibit anti-acne and anti-inflammatory properties. The sand is great for your skin, too, with its natural exfoliating properties.
  2. It’s the perfect place to meditate – Sometimes, we just need to get away from it all, and what better place than the beach? The glimmering waters, brilliant blue skies, and golden sand provide the perfect backdrop to sit back, relax, and reflect on everything we have to be grateful for, as well as to set goals for our bright futures.
  3. It provides exercise opps – The beach is the perfect place to be active, regardless of your trimester. Swimming (in calm waves, of course) imparts that delightful feeling of weightlessness, and is a great way to combine cardio with subtle toning. Walking or jogging provides a work-out that is so different than walking or jogging on solid ground; the sand works wonders for your legs, especially your calves, and also stabilizes your core. And yoga on the beach allows you to commune with your inner self as well as your baby, and stay toned, all at once!
  4. It provides bonding time – The cliched “long walk on the beach” gives you quality couples time, and allows you to discuss your hopes, dreams, and plans, or simply to enjoy a companionable silence.
  5. It boosts creativity and mood – Something about the beach is so inspirational, don’t you think? During our beach-date, I thought up most of the storyline of the new YA mermaid fantasy novel I’ll be writing soon. And the environment, combined with the exercise and the sunshine, jacks up your seratonin and endorphins, boosting your mood and helping you to combat the preg blahs.
Preparing to frolic in the waves

Preparing to frolic in the waves

Is it any wonder that Baby C and his/her parents love the sea? Mommies-to-be out there, do you enjoy the beach even more now that you’re pregnant? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

The Beauty of Prenatal Yoga: 5 Reasons You Should be Saying Namaste

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We all know that proper exercise is essential throughout pregnancy. Not only does it increase energy, improve our moods, and combat excess weight gain, this article discusses how it actually boosts baby’s brain activity!

I am following the All Belly Pregnancy workout from Flavilicious Fitness, and would recommend it to anyone with an uncomplicated pregnancy who wants to maintain optimum health and muscle tone. This workout incorporates targeted weight-lifting and resistance exercises to keep us mommies-to-be looking our preg best.

I also practice prenatal yoga one to two times a week, and absolutely love the effects. Not only do my muscles feel tight and toned, I’m more relaxed and in tune with Baby C. I would highly recommend checking out prenatal yoga classes in your area; if they don’t fit into your schedule, the All Belly Pregnancy workout includes the option of buying Prenatal Yoga workout videos as well. The instructor demonstrates safe poses in pregnancy, which is so helpful!

A preg 3-legged dog on the beach ;)

A preg 3-legged dog on the beach 😉

 

There are so many benefits of prenatal yoga, and here are just a few:

  1. Improves focus – Combat the dreaded “mommy-brain” with focused you-time. Yoga’s emphasis on meditation, mantras, and focused thinking has prevented forgetfulness and absentmindedness throughout my pregnancy, and I think it will work for you, too!
  2. Better posture – As we gain weight in our bellies and boobs, it’s easy to slump forward, round our shoulders, and stop making an effort to hold our spines straight and our heads high. Yoga improves muscle tone and keeps the spine, chest, and shoulders supple and strong, leading to beautiful body carriage throughout pregnancy.
  3. Aids in delivery – The disciplined deep-breathing techniques, as well as the emphasis on stress management and healthy mind frame, make yoga an ideal way to prepare for delivery. In addition, many prenatal yoga poses strengthen the core and the pelvic floor, allowing for an easier delivery. I was inspired by a story I heard from a colleague, about a woman who practiced prenatal yoga and reported having a nearly painless delivery. Hmmm. Let’s see how that works… 😉
  4. Allows communing with baby – Close your eyes, say “ommmm,” and listen to the soft sound of your breath. All of these yoga activities help us to become more attuned to our bodies, especially during pregnancy. But even better yet is the way yoga makes us more attuned to our babies! The first time I followed the prenatal yoga video, the instructor urged viewers to imagine what our babies were doing as they listened to the calming sound of our breath. And then, Baby C kicked! So cute. In fact, Baby C is often active during my yoga sessions, striking little poses of his/her own. I guess he/she is a yoga lover like mommy!
  5. Relaxes our muscles and our minds – Many poses are excellent for stretching, improving flexibility, and relaxing the muscles. That’s why I love yoga on my non weight-lifting/strength training days. And just as importantly, yoga quiets our minds. Sometimes, the weird evolution that is pregnancy can be a bit overwhelming, and yoga is an amazing way to cope with that.

Ladies, what do you think? Are you a fan of prenatal yoga? Have you found any prenatal yoga programs that work well for you? I’d love to hear your feedback!

Yummy Craving #1: Crabmeat Avocado

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I adore refreshing, satisfying superfoods, and San Diego’s cuisine is full of them! I’ve fallen in love with the delicious flavors of Cali–so much so that I’ve begun developing my own recipes based on California staples like avocado and fresh seafood. For today’s first-ever “Yummy Cravings” post, I share a recipe that’s the perfect appetizer on a warm, sunny day. I usually make it for Antonio and me, but it went over famously at a recent cook-out with our friends, and can easily be scaled up for a crowd. In fact, it looks super cute if you make at least 6 servings, because you can arrange it like a flower on the plate!

My crabmeat avocado recipe combines the superfood avocado, which is loaded with healthy oils and the antioxidants lycopene and beta-carotene, with crabmeat, a low-mercury seafood rich in omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins A, B, and C. You and your growing baby will love this recipe, since it’s tasty as well as nutritious. Bon appetit!

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Ingredients (serves 2): 

  • 1 avocado
  • 4 oz fresh lump crabmeat
  • 2 large mint leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp red onions or green onions, diced
  • Juice of 1 lime, divided
  • Dash of sea salt, pepper, and paprika

How to Make:

  1. Slice avocado in half. Remove pit but leave skin on, and place the halves face-up on a plate.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, combine crabmeat, mint, cilantro, onions, and the juice of half of the lime. Blend together with your hands.
  3. Add a dash of sea salt, pepper, and paprika to the crabmeat mixture.
  4. Use a spoon to scoop the crab mixture into the center of each avocado half.
  5. Finish by lightly drizzling the crab-filled avocados with the rest of the lime juice. Serve immediately or refrigerate and enjoy within 2 hours.

Antonio and I eat this delicacy with spoons, scooping the avocado and filling right out of the outer avocado skins. I usually serve it before a dinner of either baked salmon or tacos, since the lime, avocado, and cilantro infuse a bit of Mexican flavor.

Ladies, let me know if you make this recipe–especially if you like it! I’d love to hear your feedback. 🙂

 

5 Pregnancy Myths Demystified

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I don’t know about you, but before I was pregnant, I kind of dreaded it, and not because I didn’t feel ready for kids… I just hated to hear that looong list of things that one shouldn’t do while pregnant. It sounded like an anal, draconian checklist of ways to ruin my life. No sushi, no alcohol whatsoever, no coffee, no hot tub, and while you’re at it, you’d better take it easy and keep your exercise to a minimum. It sounded like cruel torture for someone like myself, who loves to work out and relax her muscles in the hot tub afterwards and–yes–likes her sushi, her cup of morning coffee, and some alcohol. I found myself wondering whether I’d be spending a long and miserable 9 months sitting on my couch becoming a beached whale, craving just one drop of wine or Starbucks coffee, with my un-worked body crying out for exercise.

Luckily, the things I mentioned above are just some of the many pregnancy myths devised in the name of preventing any and all mishaps. All of these things can cause harm to the unborn baby if they’re done excessively or carelessly. As a result, in our lawsuit-hungry society, it’s become necessary for pregnancy recommendations to be written in absolutes.

However, we’re more educated than that. As a pharmacist who spent years researching medical and pharmaceutical literature and drawing my own conclusions, I knew it was time to dig deeper. Why can’t I go in the hot tub? Or drink the occasional small glass of wine? Or do any of the other things I mentioned in the first paragraph–in moderation, of course?

It turns out I can–if I do these things responsibly and intelligently. Here are the 5 most bothersome (to me, anyway) pregnancy myths–demystified!

  1. Absolutely no alcohol – See a woman with a baby bump holding a beer, and most people in our society are full of instant judgment. And it’s not their fault, it’s what our medical community tells us. American guidelines tell us to drink no alcohol during pregnancy. However, UK guidelines tell a different story: “Women who are pregnant or trying to conceive should avoid alcohol altogether. However, if they do choose to drink, to minimise the risk to the baby, we recommend they should not drink more than one or two units once or twice a week and should not get drunk.” I go by the UK guidelines in my own pregnancy, because it was approved by my OB/gyne and I have educated myself on the guidelines, as well as what constitutes “a unit” of alcohol. Click the link above for examples of a unit and further details, and be sure to clear this with your own doctor before you drink during pregnancy.
  2. No sushi whatsoever – Cautious healthcare providers have two main concerns when dealing with sushi in pregnancy: mercury content in the fish and the possibility of getting food poisoning from certain bacteria that may be found in improperly prepared raw fish. Because of this, the blanket statement, “No sushi in pregnancy,” is made fairly regularly. However, fish contains omega-3 and other vitamins and minerals that are essential in a baby’s brain and body development. Therefore, it’s important to understand which fish contain acceptable levels of mercury. This article gives an awesome breakdown of fish containing “safe” and “unsafe” levels of mercury. As far as the raw fish debate, I’ve found numerous sources, including this one, that state that raw sushi is okay during pregnancy as long as it has been flash-frozen, a procedure that all reputable sushi restaurants perform in order to kill any bacteria and parasites in the fish. I cleared this with my doctor, who agreed and added that it’s fine to enjoy occasional sushi at my go-to sushi place. The bottom line: be informed and ask your doctor.
  3. Don’t drink coffee – One of my mom’s favorite things to say when I was a kid and doing something dangerous was, “I didn’t drink one cup of coffee when I was pregnant with you!” Apparently, this was a thing in the 80s, and there are still people who think pregos shouldn’t drink any caffeine whatsoever. However, the new recommendations are to limit caffeine intake in pregnancy to no more than 200 mg per day, so you can still have that small cup of morning coffee in a normal pregnancy. Thank goodness! Of course, things might be different if you have medical conditions, so always ask your doctor first.
  4. No hot tub – I looove the hot tub, and when I heard that hot tubs in pregnancy were not recommended, I was bummed. It turns out there’s a good reason for this: Improper use of the hot tub can bring your body temperature above 102 degrees Fahrenheit, which can cause neural tube defects in the baby, especially in early pregnancy. However, a little research confirmed that hot tubs can be used in moderation during pregnancy, if you’re educated about how to use them. Namely, use them for 10 minutes or less, and monitor the water temperature. (It should be 100 degrees or less.) For further tips, check out this article.
  5. Don’t exercise – I’ve heard a lot of people say that pregnant women should “take it easy” and “avoid exercising,” which is totally ridiculous, especially for those of us who had a definitive exercise routine pre-pregnancy. Exercise in pregnancy is healthy and beneficial. Not only does it allow you to stay fit and toned throughout your 9 months, it allows you to get back to your pre-pregnancy body faster after you give birth. That said, pregnant women should be informed about the best exercises to stay in shape as the baby grows. I am doing the All-Belly Pregnancy workout in addition to my regular yoga and cardio, and it’s fabulous, since it provides step-by-step exercise routines and demonstrates safe and effective exercises in every trimester! Highly recommended!
I love exercising in pregnancy! Here I am last Saturday practicing yoga after doing the 5K ROC race.

I love exercising in pregnancy! Here I am last Saturday practicing yoga after doing the 5K ROC race.

17 weeks in, I can honestly say I’m having a happy, healthy, and relaxed pregnancy. Life does go on while you’re pregnant, so before you go saying no to things you love just because you might have “heard” you should, make sure to educate and inform yourself first. And above all, enjoy and embrace your preg days!!