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Post-pregnancy fitness and wellness tips that work

Post-pregnancy, every woman wishes to get back into shape as soon as possible. Here’s a diet and exercise program to help with post-pregnancy fitness:   Always check with a medical physician before beginning any fitness program Be sure to keep the water flowing. Aim to consume half of your body weight in ounces a day  Take your time and start off slowly 1. Kegel, Kegel, Kegel: Pelvic muscles may have weakened during childbirth so it is imperative that we start in this area. Begin by either sitting or lying down and contract (squeeze) the muscles that you would generally use if you were attempting to stop urinating. I recommend performing 15 to 20 sets of contractions. Hold each contraction between three to five seconds resting three to five seconds between sets.  2. The easiest workout: Standing on one leg while brushing your teeth works deep core muscles. It's a perfect short workout, creating a degree of instability that engages the smaller muscles essential for core strength.  3. Eat with your non-dominant hand: You may feel awkward at first but you will eat about 30 percent less and actually pay more attention to your food instead of other things.   4. Confuse your stomach and watch it shrink:  Studies show people who eat food off of saucers believe they are eating an average of 18 percent more calories than they really are.  5. Easiest way to start flattening your belly...work your invisible abdominal muscles: Your transversus abdominis lies beneath your rectus abdominis, the 6-pack muscle, and flattens your waistline when you suck in your gut. Work it with the vacuum. Pull your belly button toward your spine and hold for 10 seconds while breathing normally. Repeat five times.  6. Dip your fork first: Next time you order salad keep the dressing on the side and dip your fork in it before spearing a piece of lettuce rather than dousing your greens. The average salad dressing has over 300 calories. This way, you'll add taste without the extra calories. 7. Me and you time: Having a newborn can sometimes create anxiety between a couple, and distance. Walking not only strengthens, tones, and redevelops muscles that may have been lost during pregnancy but, starting a walking or exercise regimen with your spouse or partner actually increases your chance of sticking to the program by up to 90 percent.  Featured Image Source

Effective tips to prevent preterm labor

Along with the joy of pregnancy, a first-time mother also experiences anxiety and fear about labor and delivery. She wants her pregnancy to be smooth and uneventful. She is scared that something might go wrong during her pregnancy and her baby might be harmed. At times, a mother is unable to carry her baby for the entire nine months and has a delivery before the full term. A baby who gets delivered before the 37th week is termed as a preterm baby. A preterm baby may or may not be completely developed and are at a high risk of various diseases and infections. Although the causes of preterm labor are not exactly known, experts point to a number of factors can trigger preterm labor- Smoking, alcohol and drug use: Short interval between pregnancies Uterine and vaginal infections Pregnancy complications Structural anomalies of the uterus and/or cervix Gum infections Stress levels Occupational factors Carrying multiples Maternal age A previous preterm birth If you were preterm yourself Although, many of the above factors are beyond a mother’s control, there are still a few precautionary measures that can be taken to prevent preterm labor – Eat healthy – A healthy diet goes a long way in ensuring that you have a healthy baby. Consume foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids, calcium and vitamin C, in order to provide your growing baby all the essential nutrients and build his/her immune system. Avoid alcohol – Consuming alcohol during pregnancy has often been linked to preterm labor so quit drinking for the sake of your baby. Alcohol may also harm your baby’s growth adversely. Say no to smoking – Mothers who smoke during pregnancy are more likely to go into preterm labor and their babies are more likely to have low birth weight. Stop smoking immediately to ensure the well-being of your baby. Exercise and yoga – Staying active, exercising regularly and practicing prenatal yoga not only ensures a smooth delivery but also helps to improve the chances of carrying your baby full term. Take prenatal vitamins – Vitamin deficiency is one of the main factors responsible for preterm labor. Make sure that you take all your prenatal vitamins timely. Keep an eye on your weight – Maintain a healthy weight as prescribed by your doctor. Adding too many kilos can lead to gestational diabetes and this might lead to early labor. Being underweight may also be a cause of preterm labor. Stay hydrated – Drink enough water to keep your body hydrated, simple it helps to ensure a healthy pregnancy. Maintain adequate gap between two pregnancies- If you’re planning another baby, ensure that you conceive after a minimum of 18 months after your first baby is born. If the mother’s body is weak, the chances of a preterm labor are higher. Do not hold on to urine – Urinate whenever you have the urge to. Holding on to urine can not only lead to urinary tract infections but also put unnecessary pressure on the bladder and lead to preterm labor. Get adequate rest – Getting adequate rest is of utmost importance in ensuring that you have an uneventful pregnancy and are able to carry your baby to the full term. Maintain good oral health – This might sound surprizing but good oral health goes a long way in ensuring that you carry your baby to the full term. Keep flu at bay – Research has shown that women who catch a flu often are more likely to go into preterm labor. Make sure that you are vaccinated against the flu and are getting enough rest even if you get it. Featured Image Source

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Gain weight the healthy way during your pregnancy

Weight gain during pregnancy is often a very delicate subject for most to-be moms. You want to make sure your baby is getting the right nutrition but you are also wondering how you will lose the baby weight once your child is born. It may also happen that your hormones going crazy may lead you to major cravings; and not always for healthy food, or completely killing your appetite. This may result in you going into a spree of eating more than you should and gaining way too many kilos or eating less than the required quantity. Some women even lose some weight during the first trimester due to the morning sickness but it is only for a very short duration. In case you have any doubts, you must check with your healthcare professional.   How much weight should you gain? The ideal weight to gain during pregnancy for a person of normal weight is 11-15 kg. Given 40 weeks of pregnancy, this would mean not more than 0.3 to 0.5 kg in a week. At the time of birth, an average Indian baby weighs anywhere between 2.5-2.8kgs. Apart from this, there are many other elements that make up for your body weight. These include the uterus (0.9 kgs), the placenta (0.5 kgs), breasts (0.4kgs), blood volume (1.2 kgs), amniotic fluid (2.6 kgs) and some extra fat (about 2.5 kgs).      Your BMI and pregnancy weight gain According to experts, women should aim for gaining weight based on their BMI: If your pre-pregnancy BMI was >18.5, you should gain 12-18 kgs. If your pre-pregnancy BMI was between 18.5 - 22.9, you should gain 11 - 16 kgs. If your pre-pregnancy BMI was between 23 - 25, you should gain 6 - 11 kgs. If your pre-pregnancy BMI was <25, you should gain 5 - 9 kgs.   Being Overweight and Pregnant For most women, gaining weight is easier said than done. There are a number of reasons why gaining excess weight during pregnancy is bad for both you and the baby. For you, it could lead to conditions like gestational hypertension, preeclampsia or gestational diabetes. It may also lead to your baby being born via cesarean section, a preterm baby or a baby born at a higher weight than normal (a big baby - macrosomia); which can lead to health risks like childhood obesity and type 2 diabetes for your baby. Don’t lose heart if you find yourself halfway through your pregnancy already having gained the entire recommended weight. It is not too late and you can still get things under control. The key is to focus on the weekly metric of 0.3-0.5 kg and try and stick to that. Gaining a lot of weight early on often makes pregnant women pessimistic and they stop making efforts to gain weight in a healthy way. This makes the situation worse and makes their weight gain go out of control. Here’s what you need to do if you’ve gained too much weight -  Regular Exercise- Get half an hour of gentle exercise in a day. It could be prenatal yoga, a walk in the park with your partner or a gentle swim. Even if you can’t get 30 minutes every day, a minimum of 10 minutes is critical. This will not only help you stay healthy for your baby and prevent various complications but also keep off those extra kilos. Do not crash diet - Going on a crash diet in order to lose the excess weight is even more harmful than gaining weight. Talk to your gynecologist and allow her to suggest the required dietary modifications. Take special care of your diet- If you can afford the services of a nutritionist that’s great; if not there are still several reliable resources online that will give you detailed advice on maintaining a healthy and balanced diet. Your doctor will also have some useful tips. Do try to maintain a healthy diet that is balanced and gives your baby the right nutrients. Also, remember that you only need 300 extra calories per day when you’re pregnant, so make sure you don’t go overboard trying to “eat for two people”.   Being Underweight during Pregnancy If you're eating the right amount of calories during pregnancy and you're not gaining enough weight fast enough, you need to think before eating. If you’ve lost your appetite, focus on consuming quality calories in small packages. Some good options include foods high in healthy fats, such as avocados and nuts, as well as higher-calorie grains and legumes. To make sure you are gaining the right amount of weight in a healthy way, here are some tips to keep in mind: Do not skip breakfast - Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and if you skip it, the chances of acidity and gas increase, which decreases your appetite and leads to other GI tract problems. Add healthy calories to your everyday diet - Grab a handful of nuts, healthy salads and avocados to your diet so that your body can gain the required weight. Eat after every 2 hours - Instead of eating 3 large meals, eat small portions every two hours so that they can be digested easily. You can have 3 main meals, along with a mid-morning snack and an evening snack. Take your supplements regularly - Do not miss your multivitamins and mineral supplements, since these are crucial for the development of your baby. Do not consume junk foods - Junk foods and processed foods may supply a lot of calories to your body but they have no nutrition and they contain various artificial sweeteners and other additives, which are harmful to your body. Remember, the bulk of your nourishment should come from whole foods. Since every woman is different and every pregnancy is unique, the kilos gained by every woman will vary. You must consult your gynecologist regularly and monitor your weight to ensure a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. Featured Image Source

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