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.

The Ultimate Power Dessert: Yogurt Ice Cream

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Happy Saturday! Matt has created many recipes throughout my pregnancy to satisfy my ever changing cravings. This dessert is not only super delicious, but it is nutritious for you and your baby =D There are two recipes that we have been making.

Recipe 1:

Ingredients:

Plain Greek Yogurt

Frozen Strawberries

Pasteurized Honey

Chia Seeds

Lemon

French Vanilla Oats

Recipe 2:

Ingredients:

Plain Greek Yogurt

Peanut Butter

Banana

Chia Seeds

Pasteurized Honey

Lemon

French Vanilla Oats

Place the yogurt and frozen strawberries (Recipe 1) or the yogurt, peanut butter, and banana (Recipe 2) in the food processor or blender. Add some raw organic honey, some chia seeds, and a squirt of lemon. This measurements are based on your taste, after the ingredients are mixed, add more of anything that you would like. Place the mixture into a bowl and put it in the freezer until it is at a texture to your liking. Sprinkle french vanilla oats on top for a nice crunch.

What nutrients do these ingredients contain?

Plain Greek Yogurt

Yogurt contains protein, calcium, vitamin B-12, potassium, and magnesium. It also contains probiotics, which research suggests boost the immune system.

Pasteurized Honey

Honey boosts your immune system and reduces heartburn. It contains calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and zinc.

Chia Seeds

Chia seeds contain fiber, iron, protein and calcium.

Peanut Butter

Peanut butter contains protein, fiber, potassium, magnesium, and healthy fats.

Oats

Oats contain fiber, potassium, and iron.

Strawberries

Strawberries contain vitamin C, magnesium and calcium.

Bananas

Bananas contain potassium and vitamin B6

Lemon

Lemons contain calcium, thiamin, folate, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, manganese, vitamin B6 and riboflavin.

How does the nutrition found in these ingredients foster your babies development?

Protein is necessary to the baby’s growth and organ development.

Calcium is necessary to the baby’s bone development.

Magnesium helps to regulate blood sugar levels and your build tissues.

Potassium contributes to balancing electrolytes and nerve impulse transmission throughout your body.

Vitamin B12 is essential for the formation of red blood cells.

Copper assists with developing the baby’s heart, blood vessels, and skeletal and nervous systems.

Iron helps create blood for you and baby as well as transports oxygen throughout your body.

Phosphorus helps with the baby’s bone development.

Zinc is essential for the baby’s rapid cell growth.

Fiber helps regulate the digestive track in pregnant women.

Vitamin C assists with the development of the baby’s skin and bones.

Vitamin B6 helps promote the production of white blood cells by ensuring that the organs that create them remain healthy.

Thiamin helps promote a healthy nervous and muscular system for your baby.

Riboflavin helps a baby develop bones, muscles, and nerves.

I hope that you enjoy this delicious dessert =D Happy Saturday <3333

 

 

How I am Staying Fit During Pregnancy

Good afternoon and happy Thursday! Even though I have been unable to do toning exercises, I have been trying to stay as fit as possible by eating healthy, drinking a lot of purified water, and going on daily walks. I have been gaining 1 lb a week since week 13, so I am currently 130 lbs (my pre pregnancy weight was 115) and I have about 12 to 15 more pounds to gain depending on the size of my boy. I have found many recommendations online about how many calories to eat on a daily basis, but honestly, I do not follow any of these suggestions. When I am hungry, I eat. Since the second trimester, I have been consuming approximately 1800 to 2300 calories a day. Though I do add up my daily calorie intake, I am not concerned with them. What is most important to me is where I am getting the calories from. I try my best to limit the amount of empty calories I consume on a weekly basis since they have little or no nutritional value and try to keep my diet very healthy. I am very happy if I consume 2300 or more calories from nutritional foods in one day. =D

There are specific items that I try to always have in my kitchen to ensure that I am eating healthy and nutritionally:

Fruits and Vegetables

Avocados, Organic Spinach, Organic Apples, Oranges, Frozen Strawberries and Mangos, Bananas, Tomatoes, Onions, Organic Celery, Organic Carrots, Jalapeños, Red Peppers, Cucumbers, and Garlic

Protein

Chickpeas, Cannelloni Beans, Red Beans, Organic Eggs, Organic Peanut Butter, Organic, Whole Chicken, and 90% Lean Ground Beef

Dairy

Greek Yogurt, Parmigiana Cheese, Butter and Whole Milk

Oils

Canola Oil or Olive Oil

Grains

Pasta and Whole Wheat Bread

Drinks

Orange Juice and Sparkling Water

Seeds

Chia Seeds

There are so many delicious and nutritious meals that could be created with these ingredients. I have been sharing my husband’s recipes and explaining how each ingredient in the recipe impacts the development of a growing fetus. If you would like to view some, you can click on the following links =D

Chicken Burrito

Beef Chili

Chicken Salad Sandwich

Upcoming recipes include homemade hummus with homemade yogurt sauce, chicken chili, and fruit smoothies  =)

Thank you for reading, I hope you have a wonderful day! <3

 

Why I Avoid the Deli Line

Good evening and happy Friday! As soon as I found out I was pregnant, I started researching foods that would offer essential nutrition to my baby as well as which foods that could potentially cause harm to my baby. Three foods that I used to eat on a regular basis have been on my avoid list during my entire pregnancy. As difficult as it has been, I am just too afraid to risk it.

Deli Meats

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Oh how I miss my Prosciutto, Salami, and Sopressata. My mouth is watering just thinking about the delicious salty spicy goodness that could be in my mouth right now. As much as I love these meats, there is a risk of Listeria contamination on all deli and hard meats. Listeria poses a huge threat to your baby. Listeria contamination could be found in other foods as well. Please read about it on the Center for Disease Control website:

http://www.cdc.gov/pregnancy/infections-listeria.html

and on the Food and Drug Administration website:

http://www.fda.gov/Food/ResourcesForYou/HealthEducators/ucm083320.htm

Over Easy Eggs

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I was eating these beauties every day for breakfast. I stopped when I found out I was pregnant because that delicious runny yolk can be contaminated with Listeria or Salmonella. It seems that Salmonella is not AS serious as Listeria or Toxoplasmosis, but it still may pose complications to your pregnancy and your baby.

Medium Rare Red Meat

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I absolutely loved eating juicy medium rare burgers. We would top them off with jalapeños, onions, mushrooms and avocado to create the perfect juicy burger. I stopped eating undercooked red meat because there is a risk that it could be contaminated with Ecoli, Salmonella, Listera, or Toxoplasmosis. Ecoli, like Salmonella, does not seem to be AS serious as Listeria or Toxoplasmosis, but like Salmonella, may pose complications to your pregnancy and your baby.

If toxoplasmosis is contracted during pregnancy, the bacteria causes serious risks to your baby’s growth and development. Please read about it on the Center for Disease Control website:

http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/toxoplasmosis/gen_info/pregnant.html

http://www.cdc.gov/pregnancy/infections-toxo.html

http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/toxoplasmosis/

and on the Food and Drug Administration website:

http://www.fda.gov/Food/ResourcesForYou/HealthEducators/ucm083327.htm

Listeria and toxoplasmosis are two bacterias found in food that pose a huge risk to your baby’s growth and development. Unfortunately, I had a toxoplasmosis scare at the beginning of my pregnancy. If you are interested, check it out here: http://thisdarlingtale.com/index.php/2015/09/05/my-cute-little-kitties-and-my-toxoplasmosis-scare/

For more information about food poisoning, please refer to the following websites:

http://www.livestrong.com/article/528520-the-risks-of-rare-meat-when-pregnant/

http://www.cdc.gov/features/holidayfoodsafety/

http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/food-poisoning/food-poisoning-during-pregnancy-topic-overview?page=1

http://www.livestrong.com/article/367332-effects-of-food-poisoning-while-pregnant/

http://www.cdc.gov/features/ecoliinfection/

http://www.livestrong.com/article/507063-the-dangers-of-undercooked-meat-in-pregnant-women/

I hope that this post was helpful =D Thank you for reading, I hope that you have a wonderful night <3

 

My Number Two Pregnancy Craving: Jalapeño Sauce!

Happy Friday everyone! I have always loved spicy foods, but ever since I became pregnant I can not stop eating hot sauce with breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert! My favorite hot sauce is Trader Joe’s Jalapeño Sauce. It is perfection in a bottle. It is especially delicious with my scrambled eggs and toast in the morning =D The best part is I can understand every ingredient that is in this bottle. The ingredients are red ripened jalapeños, hot chili peppers, distilled vinegar and salt. I highly recommend this delicious sauce. I hope you have a wonderful night! =D

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Delicious Chicken Burrito

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Good afternoon and happy Friday! =D Chicken burritos are one of my favorite dinners because it is simple, delicious, and all of the ingredients are super nutritious! We oven roasted and steamed a whole 8 lb chicken for 3.5 hours at 350 degrees. The whole chicken is cooked at 25 minutes a pound. To steam the chicken, water is placed on the bottom of the pan. Be sure to cover with tin foil before placing in the oven. When the chicken comes out of the oven, separate the breasts, legs, and wings. The meat will be so moist from being steamed in the oven that it falls right off the bones. We made four different dinners from each part of this whole chicken.

For this meal, we are using chicken breasts, spinach, avocados, and whole wheat tortillas.

Why is this meal nutritious for your baby?

Oven Roasted Chicken Breasts contains Protein and Iron.

Spinach contains Magnesium, Folate, Iron, Calcium, Potassium, Fiber, Choline, Omega 3 Fats, Vitamins B1, B2, B6, and C. Eating spinach contributes to preventing birth defects in the baby.

Avocado contains Omega 3 fatty acids, Protein, Vitamin A, B6, and C, Calcium, Iron, Folate, and Magnesium. Eating avocados are essential to the baby’s eye and brain development.

Why are these nutrients important?

Iron helps create blood for you and baby as well as transports oxygen throughout your body.

Protein is necessary to the baby’s growth and organ development.

Fiber helps regulate the digestive track in pregnant women.

Calcium is necessary to the baby’s bone development.

Choline is essential to the development of the baby’s nervous system.

Omega 3 Fats is necessary to the development of the baby’s brain, eyes and nervous system. Many prenatal pills have DHA, which is an Omega 2 fatty acid.

Vitamin B1, also known as Thiamine, promotes the baby’s brain development.

Vitamin B2, also known as Riboflavin, contributes to the growth of the baby’s skin as well as eye development.

Manganese helps with the formation of the baby’s bones.

Vitamin C assists with the development of the baby’s skin and bones.

Vitamin B6 helps promote the production of white blood cells by ensuring that the organs that create them remain healthy.

Magnesium helps to regulate blood sugar levels and your build tissues.

Folate contributes to the prevention of brain and neural tube defects in your baby.

Potassium contributes to balancing electrolytes and nerve impulse transmission throughout your body.

Thank you for reading, I hope you have a wonderful day <3

 

Delicious Chili =D

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Matt introduced chili to me a few years into dating, and it has been one of my favorite dishes since. Chili is super delicious and you can taste every ounce of love that Matt puts into it. What makes this dish even more amazing is that each ingredient contains nutrients that are essential to our son’s development =D

Lean Ground Beef or Ground Turkey

Contains iron and protein

Black Beans

Contains fiber, thiamine, protein

Red Peppers

Contains vitamin C, vitamin B6, magnesium, and folate

Jalapeños 

Contains vitamin C, iron, and manganese

Tomatoes

Contains vitamin B6, vitamin C, folate, iron, potassium, magnesium, and chromium

Onions

Contains vitamin C

Why are these nutrients important?

Iron helps create blood for you and baby as well as transports oxygen throughout your body.

Protein is necessary to the baby’s growth and organ development.

Fiber helps regulate the digestive track in pregnant women.

Thiamine helps promote a healthy nervous and muscular system for your baby.

Vitamin C assists with the development of your baby’s skin and bones.

Vitamin B6 helps promote the production of white blood cells by ensuring that the organs that create them remain healthy.

Magnesium helps to regulate blood sugar levels and your build tissues.

Folate contributes to the prevention of brain and neural tube defects in your baby.

Potassium contributes to balancing electrolytes and nerve impulse transmission throughout your body.

Chromium assists with breaking down and storing fat and protein as well as contributes to stabilizing glucose levels in your body.

Recipe by my wonderful and thoughtful fiancé, Matt <3

Ingredients

Love

1lb Ground Turkey or Lean Beef

1 Jalapeno

2 Red Peppers

1 Onion

4 Tomatoes (or you can add one 1 can of tomato puree)

1 Package of Black Beans (or 1 can of black beans)

Salt

Pepper

If you are using beans that come in a package, you will need to cook the beans for a few hours before they are ready to be consumed.

After the beans are cooked, you can put a pot with some oil (we use canola oil) on medium heat and place ground turkey or beef into it. When fully cooked, add onion, peppers, and jalapeño and cook until they are sautéed. Then add the tomatoes (or can of tomato puree) and the cooked black beans (or can of beans) into the pot and stir. Cover and let cook on medium heat for about 2 hours stirring every couple of minutes, then let it simmer for another half hour still stirring every couple of minutes. Turn the gas off and let set for a few minutes before serving.  It is super delicious and super nutritious.

I hope that you enjoy and that you have a happy Tuesday =D

 

My Number One Pregnancy Craving: Homemade Healthy Chicken Salad Sandwich

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I absolutely love this meal. It is so delicious, and I constantly crave it! What I love about this meal is that three of the ingredients positively enhance my baby’s development.

Chicken:

Chicken contains protein and iron.

Plain Greek Yogurt

Yogurt contains protein, calcium, vitamin B-12, potassium, and magnesium. These are some of the nutrients that you will find in your prenatal vitamins. Yogurt also contains probiotics, which research suggests boost the immune system.

Canola Oil

Research suggests that canola oil is good for the heart and contains Omega 3.

Depending on the brand, the content of each nutritional value varies; but all chicken and yogurt contain these important nutrients =D

Recipe by my wonderful and thoughtful fiancé, Matt <3

Ingredients 

Love

chicken breasts

celery sticks

plain greek yogurt

onion

red wine vinegar

salt

pepper

The pan is buttered to avoid sticking.

The chicken breast is coated with canola oil, and then baked in the oven at 375 for about an hour.

After taking the chicken out of the oven, the chicken is pulled with a fork and placed into a bowl. Add as much onion, celery, plain greek yogurt, salt and pepper to your liking.

I like to eat my chicken salad on toasted sourdough bread (because I understand all of the ingredients) or whole wheat bread and with a delicious beefsteak tomato.

Organic VS Non-Organic

Whether eating organically or non organically, what is most important is that your child is getting the nutrients that are vital to his or her’s development. There is no right or wrong way to eat poultry, fruits, or vegetables, so as long as you are eating nutritionally, you are doing a wonderful job! =D

If you are interested, I would love to share my opinions and perspectives on why I choose to eat the way that I eat. When financially feasible, I try to eat organically as much as possible to avoid preservatives and food additives in my food. I either shop at Trader Joes or Shoprite because they are close to my apartment; both stores have organic options.

When I shop at Trader Joe’s, I buy the organic low fat plain greek yogurt and the organic chicken breast. When I shop at Shoprite, I buy Chobani plain greek yogurt and either the organic chicken breast or Tyson chicken breast (it is usually on sale). At both places, I try to buy all of my fruits and vegetables organic if they are selling it. Whether I buy organic or non organic fruits and vegetables, I always wash them under water and scrub them with a produce brush to kill any bacteria.

I hope you enjoyed this post! Let me know if you try this recipe. I would also love to hear your perspectives on eating organically and non-orgnaincally =D

I hope that you have a happy Monday <3

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