Martes, Enero 31, 2012

Pregnancy Workout, Anyone?

I worked out from the day I discovered I was pregnant up to the time I was in labor. It made me feel great and  helped me deal with the common aches and pains associated with pregnancy. With my OB GYNE's permission, I looked for a prenatal work-out that was safe and effective.  As I didn't have the time to go to the gym and prenatal classes are hard to find, I knew my best bet would be a workout video. I made my search in the DVD shops around the Metro but couldn't find one.

My husband suggested YouTube. Brilliant idea! It was through YouTube that I got acquainted with  Doctor Cathy,   a chiropractor and fitness professional who designed her own prenatal  work-out. A beautiful mom of two toddlers, she videotaped herself working out while pregnant with her youngest. To make things easier for moms-to-be, her videos are segmented into manageable 5-10 minutes sessions.  There's warm-up, cardio, stretching, strength training and various exercises targeting different areas of the body.

Doctor Cathy's Relaxing Full Body Stretch:
This is the video that helped removed my back pain.

I noticed that I had the hardest time doing the exercises during the first trimester. My body was still adjusting to the baby and there were days I found myself huffing and puffing and getting dizzy whilst warming up. As I knew it was a delicate time, I gave myself permission to stop and rest until my body was ready. Ironically felt strongest during the last trimester, even if I had gained 36 lbs.  I did almost all of the exercises every day until it was time for the baby to come out.  I was amazed that I could do the modified push-ups and tricep dips even with a bulging tummy.  I was motivated to have an easy delivery. I also read that mommies who exercised during pregnancy had babies with higher IQ. 

Did the exercises make me have an easy delivery?    Well, I still had to go through 24 hours of labor that led to a C-section, even when I did squats and walked around the hospital  while laboring. The doctor said  I had labor arrest due to fetal position. Still, working out helped me bounce back faster from the surgery. Both my OB GYNE and pediatrician were amazed that I was able to sit up and move  the day after surgery. So thanks, Dr. Cathy! 

You can check out Doctor Cathy website at She is now offering more extensive prenatal exercise classes for a fee through her website, but a lot of her work-out videos are still free. And there's also a program prepared for postpartum moms, which I am currently trying out.  As a precaution, make sure you consult your OB GYNE before doing any of the routines.  I led an active lifestyle and I didn't have any pregnancy complications that's why my OB GYNE gave me the go signal to exercise until the last trimester. 

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Lunes, Enero 16, 2012

Things That Make Pregnancy Easier

It all began when I started huffing and puffing in the shower. That never happened before! A few days later I tried googling pregnancy symptoms. I hadn't even finished typing the word "first" when "first signs of pregnancy"appeared on the Google search bar.  I knew we were on to something when still a few days later, I was reading the Bible and came to the story of Hannah who prayed to have a child and was given the prophet Samuel. I felt that God was saying I was pregnant. And we discovered that I really was--on our first try at that! 

We were overjoyed. But along with joy came the discomforts: queasiness, heightened smell,  back aches, mood swings  and constant hunger.  I  was queasy morning, noon and night during the 1st  few weeks. I remember cooking a big pot of sinigang na baka only to throw it away because I couldn't take the smell of onions. And it was supposed to be my favorite dish. 

Here's a  list of the stuff  that made life better for me: 

1. Sky Flakes crackers-- I discovered that if I eat before getting out of bed, I actually don't feel as queasy in the morning. Somehow having a full stomach keeps  morning sickness away.  It helps that Sky Flakes  is odorless and almost flavorless. The first time queasiness hit me, I was alone in  our apartment living room in Vancouver and it was about 10 degrees outside. It's a good thing there's a Filipino store two blocks away from where we lived. Still I had to bundle up to go outside. And it was not an easy feat to walk in that kind of weather when you are dizzy and  gagging. It seemed like  the longest 10 minute walk of my life. It was such a relief to reach the warm store and find boxes upon boxes of Sky Flakes! I spent about 11 dollars for this treasured find, but it was well worth it. 

2. Tamarind candy-- I didn't know I could be this sensitive to different smells and scents. I I am lucky I didn't find my husband offensive, but a lot of things and food stuff made me feel nauseated. I found that eating tamarind candy or champoy helps keeps my tummy stable. In fact, I never did once have a spewing spree.You get what I mean. . . 

3. Hard-boiled egg-- Although it made me want to  gag sometimes, the heightened smell did wonders for my appetite, which kept me hungry all the time. Waking up in the unholiest of hours because of hunger became the norm in all my nine months!  Egg never failed to satisfy. It's easy to prepare and easy to  down. Plus it doesn't spoil easily. My husband, the egg connoisseur, says  it takes 6 minutes to have the perfect hard-boiled egg. Less than that, you get something syrupy, which may still be harboring harmful bacteria. Cooking past the 6 minute mark may give the yoke a greenish tint which means it is overcooked. 

4. The book What To Expect When You Are Expecting-- It was my go-to book for the whole 9 months. My mom doesn't remember the details of her pregnancies. It must be the anesthesia. It helps to have a book that answers most, if not all of the questions that pop up in  a first  time mom's head, which often happens in the middle of night! So it pays to keep this at your bedside table.  And they have a section for first time dads, too. 

5. DHA capsules--This is one of the best advice I got from the book. DHA not only boosts babies' brain development, pregnant moms who regularly take this nutrient  stave off depression and mood swings. My husband can attest that I had a relatively  happy disposition the whole nine months (READ: less catty remarks despite the discomfort) thanks to God and this wonderful fatty acid. I got mine from Healthy Options. I also took their prenatal vitamins. 

6. Pregnancy Aerobic Exercises-- Being an active person, I couldn't just sit and watch my belly grow. I had to continue exercising. Some people warned me against it but some research and a check with my OB GYNE confirmed that exercise is not only okay during a low-risk pregnancy, it is  a must. Exercise keeps the aches and pains away, and as a bonus, it also makes your baby smarter. Research has shown that babies of pregnant exercisers generally scored higher on IQ tests by the time they are 5 years old.  Somehow the increased oxygen intake helps in fetal  brain development.  More on my exercise routine in a later post. . . . 

7. Body pillow-- I saw this in the movie The Back-Up Plan. An aunt generously gave me a pair. They became indispensable as my tummy grew and sleeping on my back became next to impossible. My OB GYNE told me that sleeping on the left side is best because it delivers more oxygen to the baby. Lying on the right is said to increase the pressure of the uterus on the heart, making it impede uterine blood flow. It was hard to follow that advice without these two huge pillows and my huggable husband supporting my back. 

8. Daily talks with Jesus-- My mom suffered from morning sickness morning, noon and night from the 1st until the 9th month during all her pregnancies. She said she couldn't eat.  I kidded her that we all might have had higher IQs if she ate more. Pregnancy was punishing for her. This had made me ask God to please, please not make me inherit that from my mom. I made this prayer long before I met my husband.  And God granted my wish!  As I have mentioned above, I never had really had morning sickness. The queasiness went away after a few weeks. I could eat as much as I want and not have heartburn!   My mom was actually alarmed that my appetite was that strong. (She was quite worried when she asked the maid why I had a voracious appetite. Our help assured her I was fine and it was natural.).  It was the total opposite of what she had experienced.  Even though I had my pregnancy at the ripe age of 36, my OB GYNE assured me that I was healthy and  could basically do everything I  want.  It was a blessing and I credit it to God who not only answered my long-time prayer of having an easy pregnancy, but  also saw me through the exhilarating but sometimes challenging journey to parenthood. Everyday I whispered a prayer of thanks for letting me experience this miracle. 

I hope this list helps you, too! 

Do add to this list by writing on the comments section so that we can help more moms!