Pregnancy Update: 35 Weeks Pregnant

Good morning and happy Saturday! Today, I am 35 weeks pregnant and love feeling baby angel’s fetal movement! She is always super active! Little baby angel is 5lbs 1 ounce  =) This pregnancy flew by, and I am so excited for labor! Seriously =)

At 35 weeks, I have gained 24 beautiful pounds so far. As I experienced with My first pregnancy, my appetite has drastically decreased. I get hungry less often and I become full a lot quicker. The four main symptoms that I am experiencing is exhaustion, leg swelling and pain, a swollen and very painful vericrose vein, and consistent acid reflux. The doctor officially advised against my routine workouts due to the swelling, and I am grateful that I was able to continue my workouts until 32 weeks as opposed to 17 weeks in my first pregnancy. He approved me to continue walking and stretching, so I plan on attending a prenatal yoga class to learn what is safe at this stage in pregnancy.

Here is a picture of my body at 35 weeks =D

Thank you for reading! I hope you have a happy Saturday =)

Pregnancy Update: Hello 8 Months!

Good evening and happy Monday! It is hard to believe that I am 8 months pregnant and that we are officially at the 8 week countdown. We are all so excited for baby angel’s arrival! =) I posted a 30 week update two weeks ago and there has since been some changes. Mama Bear is experiencing extreme exhaustion these days. Extreme. I also am having pain and swelling in my right calf, which I found out could indicate a blood clot. Luckily, through a extremity ultrasound, my doctors concluded that my muscle is swollen and no clots were detected! I also have some other very manageable third trimester symptoms. I have a decreased appetite, I get full very quickly, I have acid reflux, and I am experiencing difficulty breathing both because of shortness of breath and because I feel very heavy on my tummy. I am struggling with how heavy I feel because I am getting tired out quickly which contributes to how exhausted I feel. Despite these symptoms; I still love being pregnant and growing a life inside of me. I am exhausted because my body is growing another beautiful baby angel; and I would gladly welcome these symptoms over and over again to grow a life that Matt and I created.

During week 30, I decided to take a full week off from exercising due to the level of exhaustion that I was feeling. The need for resting allowed me to take a step back and really relax and feel just how strong my daughter’s strong and constant fetal movements have become =) On week 31, I resumed working out four days a week–but had to completely modify my leg and glute workouts. Up until this point, I was doing two supersets of three circuits that each had three or four exercises embedded in them. Now, I do one circuit consisting of four exercises twice. This week, I have to wait until the pain and swelling subside before I could continue exercising; so week 32 will be another rest week and hopefully I could resume exercising next week.

Now that I am in week 32, baby angel is moving all the time; my stomach shifts and jumps and it is just beautiful. The third trimester is definitely my favorite part of pregnancy because I get to feel every moment of this beautiful life growing inside me. Eight more weeks until we finally get to meet this baby angel =)

Thank you for reading, I hope you have a happy Tuesday!

Pregnancy Update: 30 Weeks

Good evening and happy Saturday! Today, I am 30 weeks pregnant. Matt and I had our 27 week ultrasound and I am so happy to share that everything is going well; baby girl is 2 lbs and is in birthing position. We absolutely love going to ultrasound appointments =)

The experience of pregnancy is so incredible and it makes me so happy to be able to experience it again for a short 9 months. Baby girl is moving so much, and her movements are so strong. I love feeling this little baby angel grow inside of me; and I am really looking forward to the next 10 weeks of feeling her fetal movements grow stronger. It is so exciting that we can officially see her movements. =)

Reading through my posts during my pregnancy with Paul made me realize how different both pregnancies have been. With this pregnancy, the third trimester symptoms that I am experiencing are chronic heart burn, exhaustion, fatigue, difficulty sleeping, skipped heartbeats, and a swollen vein. While these symptoms are incredibly difficult–it is a beautiful difficult.

Body

I have gained 18 beautiful pounds during this pregnancy so far; and I expect to gain up to 10 more. I am someone who feels absolutely beautiful during pregnancy; I think that I even stated in a post while I was pregnant with Paul that I have never felt more beautiful than I do when I am pregnant. This remains true with this pregnancy. The duration of pregnancy is so short; so I embrace every second of ALL of the experiences it brings.

I am still able to workout and it is a regular part of my routine. I do a 45 minute workout for my lower body two days a week, a 30 minute workout for my upper body with weights two days a week, and lots and lots of walking. I really want to incorporate yoga into my daily routine, specifically for flexibility (and take advantage of that relaxin hormone!), but I am unsure of what is safe for me to do. Keeping up with my workouts are a priority for me; I have been able to maintain as much muscle mass as possible and I think this is going to make my postpartum fitness journey easier this time than it was the first time.

I have not been excessively hungry during this pregnancy. With Paul, I would wake up starving in the middle of this night; but with this pregnancy, I have a snack right after dinner and that’s all until the next morning (unless Matt and I are snuggling up and watching a movie and fall down the snack hole). The days that I am constantly hungry are the days that I work; my job is physically demanding so I stay physically active during the entire work sessions and I also walk a lot on these days. Overall, I am really happy with my food consumption and fitness journey during this pregnancy.

Thank you so much for reading and coming on this journey with me! =) I hope that you have a happy Saturday! <333

Sixth Month Pregnancy Update

Sixth Month Pregnancy Update

Good morning and happy Wednesday! It is hard to believe that I have already experienced 6 beautiful months of this pregnancy and that I am only one month away from the third trimester =) Baby girl has very powerful movements and she is very active. Her kicks are able to be seen on the outside of my belly now =) I have gained 9 pounds so far and my belly button has popped out. I still do not have any pelvic pressure, and I have been able to keep up with my workouts; which makes me feel so good. I workout four times a week; two days weightlifting for arms, back, and shoulders and two days a week for legs and glutes. I also walk as much as possible and my job keeps me physically active. Cellulite and loss of muscle mass is unavoidable during pregnancy; I am just trying to maintain as much muscle mass as possible for when I begin weight training my legs and glutes again and I know most of the cellulite will go away post pregnancy. Sleeping has become a little more difficult over the last few weeks. I am waking up to use the bathroom more often, from heartburn, and I wake up when baby angel is really active. Over the last month, I have been struggling with dizziness; I am still waiting to see if there is a source to the dizziness or if it is just a pregnancy symptom that I am experiencing. Feeling my baby move in my body is such a beautiful experience and I treasure every moment I have feeling these strong kicks. I love experiencing pregnancy and everything that comes with it! Thank you for reading! I hope you have a happy Wednesday!

Pregnancy Update: 21 Weeks

Good morning and happy Saturday! I am 21 weeks pregnant, and halfway through this beautiful pregnancy. This pregnancy is flying by. I feel baby girl’s movements very strongly all day (and night) long; I absolutely love how active she is–same as Paul was in my belly. Matt is able to feel her movements as well =)I have gained 8 pounds so far; I started gaining 1 pound a week as of week 13. Here is a picture of me at 21 weeks with baby girl:

I am a person who loves growing a baby. I think it is incredible what a woman’s body can do to accomodate pregnancy; and I feel so incredibly lucky to be carrying another baby angel. With this pregnancy, I have been significantly more lenient with myself when it comes to nutrition. I find myself drinking more caffeine (I just love iced tea this pregnancy), eating more store bought candy, and eating lots of bagels (those carbs really help me have enough energy to get through work)–these are things I completely avoided with my first pregnancy. While I am more lenient with myself, I still eat very nutritiously. With my pregnancy with Paul, I had to stop working out because of severe pelvic pressure; but I have not experienced that with this pregnancy (yay!), so I am still working out 3 days a week.

Paul and the Pregnancy

Paul is very excited about his baby sister. He was the first one to know (even before Matt and I) that I was pregnant. Paul started nursing more frequently in September, and he would point at my belly and say “baby.” That prompted me to take a pregnancy test and, I was pregnant! Matt and I had been talking with Paul for some time before I became pregnant about having a baby brother or sister and that a baby would grow in my belly like he did–so it could have just been a coincidence that he actually pointed to my belly and said “baby.” He did, however, increase his nursing for the entire month of September, which was my first month of pregnancy. Paul says good morning and good night to his baby sister every night and always kisses my belly. It is the sweetest thing to see how happy he becomes when we talk about the baby with him. I am so happy that these two baby angels will be two years and four months apart. I think it was perfect timing. And this month, Paul started sleeping in his crib for nap time =) He no longer needs to nurse before nap, and we just follow the night time routine before we place him in his crib to nap. I am so proud of my big boy.

Thank you so much for reading! I hope you have a happy day! =D

We’re Expecting Another Baby Angel!

We’re Expecting Another Baby Angel!

Good afternoon and happy Thursday! I am so excited to announce that we are expecting our second baby angel–our first daughter! I am 19 weeks pregnant, and almost halfway through the pregnancy. We are so excited to be expanding our family.

The First Trimester

I found out I was pregnant when I was 7 weeks; though, both Matt and I had our suspisions earlier. For the first 8 weeks, I was extremely fatigued and weak all the time; and thirsty! Around week 8, I started vomiting 2 or 3 times a day–and this lasted until 13 weeks. I dropped a lot of weight, and even though my belly is big, I finally reached my pre first trimester weight at week 18. I started showing really early–at 13 weeks! With Paul, I didn’t show until week 17.

When I started experiencing extreme fatigue during the first trimester, I discontinued weight training and started focusing on yoga. I did this twice a day every day until week 8; when I started vomiting multiple times a day. I completely stopped working out until week 14. I resumed exercising at week 14 and plan to exercise for the remainder of my pregnancy. 

The Second Trimester

The second trimester has been enjoyable since my first trimester symptoms subsided. I’ve been eating more nutritiously, exercising regularly, and enjoying pregnancy. I first felt baby girl’s movement at week 15, and as of week 18, I feel them every day. It is the most beautiful feeling in the world.

I am so excited to share this journey with you. Thank you for reading, I hope you have a happy day!

My Search for the Perfect Prenatal Vitamin

My Search for the Perfect Prenatal Vitamin

Good evening and happy Wednesday =D I wrote this back when I was pregnant with Paulie and wanted to share! I hope this helps pregnant mama’s and those trying to become pregnant =)

As a new mom-to-be, I was surprised to discover that the majority of commercially available prenatal vitamins contain ingredients that are considered toxic to humans. For this post, I am focusing on two specific types of toxins: food additives and mercury. FD&C Red #3, Blue #1, Green #3, Yellow #5, and Mercury are just some of the widely used ingredients in both prescription and over the counter prenatal vitamins. As a result of this, I considered discontinuing taking prenatal vitamins completely, but it quickly became apparent that doing so would render me incapable of adequately monitoring my essential nutrient intake solely through careful dieting. While it is incredibly important that pregnant women take prenatal vitamins, it is also essential that we stay informed about the ingredients in our dietary supplements. I am very passionate about early childhood development, and I truly believe that it is possible that toxins found within food and supplements could impact a child’s development. There are two main questions that I ask myself before taking a prenatal vitamin.

1. Does the pill contain any food additives?

Researchers have been publishing studies concluding that food additives may be contributing to ADHD in children since the early 1990’s. After conducting a study on two groups of children, Bateman (2004) concluded “that the effect of food additives on behavior occurs independently of pre-existing hyperactive behavior.” The behaviors of both groups of children (those who were diagnosed with ADHD and those who did not exhibit characteristics of any behavioral disorder) significantly changed after the additives were removed from their diet. According to Tuormaa (1994), the reason for these “subtle or exaggerated behavioral changes” is most likely due to the impact that food additives have on neurotransmitter release (which is essential for brain function). Weiss (2012) noted this response made by the FDA Food Advisory Committee in 2011: “For certain susceptible children with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder and other problem behaviors, the data suggests that their condition may be exacerbated by exposure to a number of substances in food, including, but not limited to, synthetic color additives.”

Color additives are a type of food additive that is found in many food items (often found in foods targeted towards children), and is also found in most prenatal vitamins. With all of the evidence linking food additives to ADHD in children, it is alarming that I have not been able to find studies focusing on the impact (or lack of) that color additives have on pregnancy and the developing fetus. I have noticed that many times, the color additive is not listed as an ingredient on the brand’s box; and it was not until I called each company to talk to a representative that I discovered that I was taking a vitamin that contained color additives.

2. Where is the DHA extracted from?

DHA is an Omega 3 fatty acid that is essential to a baby’s brain development. Many vitamins extract DHA from fish, which would be acceptable if they extracted DHA from fish that do not contain high levels of mercury.  Mercury is highly toxic and could negatively impact the development of a fetus. Oken (2008) concluded that children born to women who consumed fish with high levels of Mercury during pregnancy had “lower developmental test scores at age 3 years.”

When I first started searching for prenatal vitamins that contain DHA, I noticed that many brands would extract DHA from sources other than fish. However, the box often times does not indicate the entire source of where they extract the DHA from. For example, CitraNatal Harmony says on the box that 40% of the DHA is extracted from a plant. What about the other 60%? When I spoke to a representative, I discovered that the other 60% is from a synthetic DHA. Prenate says that they extract 100% of their DHA from fish, but what kind of fish? When I spoke to a representative, he was unsure of what type of fish it was extracted from. With the possibility that mercury will impact a developing fetus, my goal has been to find a vitamin with DHA that is extracted from fish with low mercury levels or solely from plants.

It is a major issue that brands are regularly offering misleading information and not thoroughly labeling the ingredients found within their products. Since boxes may fail to provide accurate information about the ingredients, I recommend to always call and ask a representative these two very important questions so that women are aware of what they are consuming. 

References

Bateman B., Warner J O., Hutchinson E., Dean T., Rowlandson P., Gant C., Grundy J., Fitzgerald C., Stevenson J. (2004). The effects of a double blind, placebo controlled, artificial food colourings and benzoate preservative challenge on hyperactivity in a general population sample of preschool children. Retrieved from http://adc.bmj.com/content/89/6/506.full.pdf+html

Tuormaa T. (2004). The Adverse Effects of Food Additives on Health: A Review of the Literature with Special Emphasis on Childhood Hyperactivity. Retrieved from http://www.natural-knowhow.com/home/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Additives-and-child-hyperactivity-article.pdf

Weiss B. (2012). Synthetic Food Colors and Neurobehavioral Hazards: The View from Environmental Health Research. Retrieved from http://www.researchgate.net/profile/Bernard_Weiss/publication/51650459_Synthetic_food_colors_and_neurobehavioral_hazards_the_view_from_environmental_health_research/links/0912f50c000252a10c000000.pdf

Oken E., Radesky J., Wright R., Bellinger D., Amarasiriwardena C., Kleinman K., Hu H., Gillman M. (2008). Maternal Fish Intake during Pregnancy, Blood Mercury Levels, and Child Cognition at Age 3 Years in a US Cohort. Retrieved from http://aje.oxfordjournals.org/content/167/10/1171.full.pdf+html

What Every Woman Should Know About Her Postpartum Body

What Every Woman Should Know About Her Postpartum Body

During pregnancy, a woman’s body drastically changes in a very short period of time. It is important for women to be aware of these changes so that they are better prepared to address them. Women should prepare for the following changes to occur:

Pelvic Muscles: It is important that women who want to become pregnant, are pregnant, or are postpartum understand the importance of strengthening their pelvic floor muscles. The weight from carrying a baby for 9 months places a lot of stress on a these muscles, causing them to become weak. Weakness in the pelvic floor muscles causes women to be at risk for experiencing incontinence while pregnant and postpartum; which is a sign of a much more serious problem called a vaginal prolapse. The only way to prevent incontinence and a vaginal prolapse is to exercise the pelvic floor muscles. It is never too late to start pelvic floor exercises. The most commonly known exercise that targets the pelvic floor muscles are kegals; but there are many more exercises that a woman can do prior to pregnancy, while pregnant, and postpartum to strengthen her pelvic floor muscles.

Diastasis Recti (split abs): Women who are interested in exercising postpartum should be aware of diastasis recti. Some women, including myself, experience a split in their abs while pregnant. To reconnect them, women need to do very gentle core workouts. Post delivery, I asked the nurse to check my abs and she confirmed that my abs were split three fingers wide. She then taught me how to measure my abs and explained that prior to engaging in ab toning exercises, my abs could not be any wider than one finger width apart. Women are not allowed to engage in any toning exercises until six weeks postpartum; so when I reached six weeks, I saw a physical therapist who taught me the exercises that I needed to do to strengthen my abs. I highly recommend going to see a physical therapist six weeks postpartum prior to exercising.

Vagina: Any change to your vagina will depend on the trauma it endures during delivery. Trauma includes first degree, second degree, third degree, or fourth degree tears or episiotomies; as well as tools used for assisted birth. Women who experience no tears or episiotomies; first degree tears or episiotomies; and who give birth without assistive birthing tools will most likely notice very little change about their vagina both aesthetically and sensationally.

Muscle LossMuscle loss is inevitable during pregnancy due to many factors. The experience of pregnancy is beautiful, but it is physically difficult. There are approved pregnancy workout programs that women can do; but even these workouts may be too strenuous for many women. If you are unable to workout during pregnancy, do not worry, any muscle loss during pregnancy can be rebuilt postpartum.

Breasts: If you produce milk, your breasts will change drastically; and they will change whether or not you choose to breastfeed. I exclusively breastfeed (meaning that all sucking needs, both for nutrition and comfort, are met at my breasts); and exclusive breastfeeding has not only impacted the physical appearance of my breasts, but my weight loss and fertility as well.

  • Exclusive Breastfeeding and Weight Loss: I dropped my pregnancy weight at an accelerated rate. It is recommended that women consume an additional 500 calories a day if they are breastfeeding because women burn approximately 20 calories per one ounce of milk.
  • Exclusive Breastfeeding and Fertility: Women who exclusively breastfeed may experience natural child spacing. For this to be effective, women need to be breastfeeding approximately every 3 hours to maintain the hormone prolactin; which is the hormone responsible for milk production. Natural child spacing is 98 percent effective for the first six months postpartum.

With the knowledge of these postpartum body changes along with setting goals, hard work, patience, realistic expectations, accepting and overcoming setbacks, being in tune with my body, embracing a positive mindset, accepting the permanent changes to my postpartum body and desiring to be the happiest me; my pelvic floor muscles are once again strong, I no longer have diastasis recti, and I have gained my muscle mass back. The female body is strong; and being informed about postpartum changes will allow women to overcome these temporary changes.

Labor and Delivery: Meet Paul Raffaele Noojin

Good morning and happy Sunday! Life has been amazing at the Noojin residence =D Matt and I have been living in bliss with our now 2 week old son; we are completely obsessed with him =D Paul has brought me so much happiness. He is my little snuggle muffin.

Labor

My little Paulino was born early Sunday morning on February 7th. I went to the hospital on Saturday morning because I had light bleeding when I woke up. When I got there, it turned out that I was having contractions and I was 2 centimeters dilated. They kept Matt and I there for four hours, but since I hadn’t dilated any more in those four hours, they decided to discharge me. Within two hours, we were back at the hospital to find out I had dilated 4 more centimeters. The contractions were intense at 6 centimeters, but I was so determined to give birth without medication that I dealt with the pain. That plan ended when I was having contractions at 8 centimeters. I decided to request an epidural because I could not deal with the minute long contractions that were coming every 2 to 3 minutes. By the time the epidural was administered, I was 9 centimeters dilated. The epidural worked on my right side, but not fully on my left. I still felt the contractions on the left side, but they were not intense anymore. At 3 am, my water broke, they turned off the epidural, and I started to push.

Delivery

The delivery took about 25 minutes. At this point, the epidural wore off completely. Truthfully, pushing did not hurt until the last 5 pushes. During the last couple of pushes, the pain was indescribable, with each subsequent push more unbelievably painful than the last. After the last push, I heard my baby cry. I removed the towel that I had covered my face with during delivery and looked up at Matt. As I was looking at him, I was not prepared for the intense love that I felt for him. I didn’t think it was possible to be able to love him any stronger prior to this since I had already thought my love was at its strongest. This love was so intense. Then they put Paul on my body.

If I was a Saiyan from Dragonball Z, I would have powered up to Super Saiyan 3 in that one second. Except the power up would have come from intense love instead of anger for my two favorite boys  😉

Paul has given love a new meaning. Matt and I created this little being. He is perfect.

Meet Paul Raffaele

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Thank you so much for reading =D  I hope you have a happy Sunday! =D

Baby Boy is Full Term!

Good morning and happy Monday =D I am 37 weeks pregnant, and my son is officially full term! When I look at my belly, I can’t believe that I have a full size newborn baby in my body. My little marshmallow man is due in 22 days, and I am so anxious and eager to meet him. It is amazing how much my son’s fetal movements have changed over the last week. I feel him all of the time, but he is mostly squirming and trying to stretch. I think he is trying to make more room in mommy’s tummy!

Body

This is my body at 37 weeks =D  I still weigh 140 lbs.

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 This is the first time in my life that, in my eyes, I feel absolutely beautiful =D Being pregnant has been such a positive experience and has had such a positive impact on me.

Thank you for reading! I hope you have a happy Monday! <333

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