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Being on pregnancy #4 now, I’ve learned a lot to prevent swelling from happening at all. I’m going to go over all my tips on preventing swelling during pregnancy that have actually worked really well for me. My first three pregnancies were in the Seattle area, so I didn’t have to deal with humidity, but two of them were in the dead of summer. Now, my fourth pregnancy is in the dead of summer in the hot, humid Florida.

Even if you’re not pregnant during the summer, swelling can be painful and seriously annoying during pregnancy. I know a few mamas who had their feet swell up duiring the final weeks of pregnancy, and many mamas who start swelling in the first trimester, and stay swolen. So what is going on?

Factors that cause swelling during pregnancy:

  • Hormonal changes cause water retention
  • Fluid is stored for birth, baby and breastfeeding once baby is born
  • Serious issues like Preeclemsia can cause sudden swelling of the hands and feet
  • Eating more salty foods than usual because of cravings

Most of the time, diet is a big factor in swelling during pregnancy. Many mamas start eating more carb-heavy and salt-heavy foods, which cause your body to hold more water.

Tricks I use to avoid swelling during pregnancy:

Avoid packaged, high-salt foods:

Besides the first trimester, where I basically eat all the chips, cheese and salt to survive, I keep my diet as clean as possible. I often do clean eating challenges for 10-14 days on Instagram, which really help keep me from eating all the processed carbs and salt. I highly recommend grabbing my clean eating challenge here on this blog, or joining us on Instagram! You will find that eating clean also means eating a lot of high-water content foods, which help tremendously.

Eat plenty of high-water content foods:

Fruits and vegetables are your best friends when it comes to avoiding swelling. I eat a lot of fruit and vegetables, particularly in the summer. With the extra water inside the food, you are adding to your water and liquid intake, which helps flush out the water your body wants to store. Some of my favorite, high-water content foods include:

  • Grapefruit
  • Cucumbers
  • Pineapples
  • Apples
  • Oranges
  • Cantaloupe
  • Watermelon
  • Peaches
  • Asparagus (can help get rid of water)
  • Ice burg lettuce (mostly water!)

These foods can help you flush water out of your system, and they also offer natural electrolytes, nutrients and fiber to fill you up!

I eat higher protein, lower carb:

By focusing on my protein shakes and higher protein meals, I keep my carbs lower. Carbs will cause you to retain more water. It is a well-known fact in the fitness industry that as soon as you go low carb, you start flushing water out of your system, but you also start needing more water and salt. Many low-carbers will find themselves bloated and swolen after a higher-carb day. This is just the nature of how the nutrients work in our bodies. I do not do extremeley low carb with no fruit. I steer clear of a lot of bread, pastas, crackers, chips and grains. By keeping healthy, high-fiber carbs in my diet, I don’t have the fluctuations in my water retention, but still keep my water retention very low during pregnancy!

My protein shakes are my FAVORITE way to get in my protein, specifically in the morning. I LOVE them. My protien powder, Bump Dust, is specifically formulated to help with cravings, and it has helped me so much! If I start my day with one of these recipes, I literally feel so full and satisfied ALL DAY.

You may also like: The Best Protein Powder Safe For Pregnancy

If you follow me on Instagram, you will see me making a lot of spinach + strawberry protien shakes. For some reason that has been my go-to lately, but I do change it up. I think the huge infusion of vitamins from the fresh spinach and strawberries, with the added vitamins, protien and herbs in my protein powder is so amazing for pregnancy!

I have ice water with me at all times:

This is huge for being in FL during the summer. If you aren’t by the ocean, a pool or somewhere with shade and a breeze, you can easily sweat yourself to death in the heat. By sipping on cold ice water, you will be able to keep yourself so much cooler. I am surviving very well in the heat and humidity by always having ice water with me. This also keeps baby cool, which you don’t want your internal temp to rise and affect your baby.

I try to get 10k steps or more every day:

I do not sit for long periods of time. This is really important to keeping your blood flow going and your system moving. By moving most of the day (except for a few hours of work in the middle of the day), I am able to keep my feet moving, stay upright and keep circulation going. Circulation is really important to swelling as well. There are many affordable step trackers out there you can get to help you keep track of your movement. I’ve found that if I am active with the boys at the beach, park or pool, and I do about 30 minutes of exercise (running on the treadmill, HIIT, walking + strength), then I can hit my step goals. Not always, but most of the time I do.

There are also some things I don’t do, to ensure that I keep from swelling. Here are a list of those things too 🙂

Things I never do, to avoid swelling during pregnancy:

  • I never drink sugary sodas
  • I never drink sports drinks (with all the sugar)
  • I don’t drink any packaged smoothies
  • I don’t eat cereal or granola bars (stick to plain oatmeal)
  • I don’t use iodized salt when cooking. I only use sea salt
  • I don’t eat fatty, hormone-filled meats like cheap ground beef and steaks (get grass-fed, free range etc.). The added hormones can mess with your hormones
  • I don’t eat white rice or white potatoes (the carbs are so high and nutrients really low!). Stick to sweet potatoes or quinoa

I really hope this helps you with your swelling during pregnancy. If you’ve already started to swell, there are some things you can do to help it go down!

How to fix your swelling during pregnancy, once it starts:

If  you are already swollen, I want you to immediately clean up your diet and follow my tips on low carb, high water foods etc. Just a few days of that can really make a difference! You can also:

  • Try sleeping with your feet elevated
  • Wear compression stockings (get help finding the right level of compression for you)
  • Sit on a ball, rather than an office chair or couch and move your body more
  • Do more stretching and yoga
  • Massage your legs and arms to get circulation going
  • Try dry brushing in the shower to get the lympatic system working
  • Drink herbal teas to help flush the water out

Just remember, everything will end! The swelling will stop and baby will arrive before you know it. I repeatedly remind myself that feeling large and uncomfortable is only temporary. It will be over soon. I really hope these tips help you, as they’ve worked for me!

What I eat in a day, to have a belly-only pregnancy was a requested video from many of you over on Instagram, so I finally put it all together for you! I basically just filmed everything I eat on a normal day of eating.

Because this is my fourth pregnancy, I’ve learned so much about staying healthy and fit all pregnancy. Diet is one of the most important factors of maintaining your weight during pregnancy. Diet is probably one of the biggest challenges for pregnancy mamas because of all the pregnancy cravings!

Believe me, I know about cravings. I LOVE myself some chips, nachos, more chips and fries when pregnant. But, I can conquer those cravings, once I get to the second trimester, by cleaning up my diet and getting back on track. I frequently do clean-eating challenges with the mamas on my Instagram, which really helps me completely get rid of the cravings!

I also LOVE my protein shakes. I am seriously obsessed with Bump Dust because as long as I have a smoothie, I feel so good all day! It is formulated with all the vitamins, minerals and ingredients that help pregnant mamas nourish their body for baby. It is also high in protein, low in sugar and carbs and low in calories, so it really will help you maintain your weight! You’ll see the fun smoothie bowl I make in my video below.

What I Eat In A Day For a Belly-Only Pregnancy:

I hope this video helps give you some ideas on how to eat to nourish your body properly during pregnancy, while also maintaining your weight.

Some of my favorite foods for a belly-only pregnancy are in my program, and in my ebook cook book coming out soon! That way you can have a resource to quickly grab some meals that are nourishing and healthy.

If you want to see my Trader Joe’s grocery haul for our clean eating challenge, watch that one below!

Dealing with cellulite during pregnancy is not fun, and it can seem like pregnancy makes all the cellulite way worse. I personally have an increased amount of cellulte during pregnancy, and it can be very difficult to deal with when you aren’t used to it. All the cellulite can also be emotionally hard if you are gaining a lot of weight.

Being on my fourth pregnancy now, I can tell you I know exactly how hard it is to deal with the extra weight gain and appearance of cellulite. Let’s get into a chat on how to deal with this excess cellulite, understand why it is happening, and go over some possible ways to diminish it!

First things first, why does cellulite increase during pregnancy?

Cellulite increases as our fat cells expand underneath our skin. The extra fat gain during pregnancy is going to increase the appearance of cellulite. But, what if you haven’t gained much fat? Many mamas don’t gain much extra fat and still see an increase in cellulite. So, what is going on?

Additional factors besides weight gain that cause cellulite during pregnancy:

Pregnancy also causes extra liquid to remain in your cells. This fluid is stored in fat cells and other cells under ths skin. As your cells increase in size underneath the skin, you can see more dimples popping through. The fluid is stored because of the increased estrogen during pregnancy, as well as the extra fluid needed for producing breast milk when baby arrives.

Hormonal factors can also effect the elasticity of your skin. The increasead estrogen, and varrying hormonal levels during pregnancy can cause a difference in your skin. This can make cellulite more visible than when you aren’t pregnant. Just keep in mind this is a temporary experience, until your hormones, bodily fluids and weight get back to normal again.

How I deal with cellulite during pregnancy:

I acknowledge that over 90% of women deal with cellulite – pregnant or not!

Instagram, YouTube and other social media outlets can give the illusion that many women don’t have cellulite. Not very many fitness professionals or influencers post photos in a lighting that shows cellulite. I love that one fitness influencer, Emily Skye, specifically posts her cellulite with her pregnancy to help encourage other mamas.  Everytime I see my own cellulite, and I remember that almost every other woman has cellulite, pregnant or not. So, by just remembering that, you can happily deal with your own.

I focus on protein and lower carbs:

Many women don’t realize that carbs can contribute to swelling and water retention. Eating lower carb can help your body let go of water, both in pregnancy and after. Besides the first trimester, when things are all haywire, I like to eat lower carb, clean and higher protein. I have a Youtube video up on everything I eat in a day, when I am not on an eating clean challenge. This is a very basic, and fairly low carb day for me.

I am not a huge fan of meat in the first trimester or second, and sometimes all pregnancy, so my protein shakes are super helpful! I love them really, and because I use Bump Dust, they are full of delicious flavor and very low carb. Not to mention all the fabulous nutrients for pregnancy. In my video I show you a super yummy smoothie bowl I love to make on the mornings when I have more time.

I do cardio and strength:

Working out during pregnancy is so helpful to managing your weight gain and feeling good. A lot of the weight gain comes because mamas start feeling discouraged, big, slow and uncomfortable – so they don’t workout at all. Cardio is essential to keeping the blood flowing, your heart strong, your blood pressure down and burning any extra calories you are consuming. Strength work is essential for maintaining your muscle mass, which will help keep your metabolism up! Just cardio will help you keep your calorie consumption in check, and overall weight gain in check, but you will want to keep your muscle mass too. Muscle can also help diminish the appearance of cellulite by giving you a more toned appearance! If you let your muscle mass decrease, then your metabolism can slow down. My program involves quick, efficient strength workouts with cardio bursts to help you get all in at once. I often post workouts on my Instagram too, to help give you more ideas on what you can do to try and stay in shape.

 

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Hello #25weekspregnant!! I’ve got a good, low-impact workout with compound moves. Meaning you are doing legs and arms at the same time. This is a great workout when you don’t feel like working out. Simple moves, you can go heavy or light in your weights, and no intense jumping around. You are still working many muscles at once, which makes it effective!! – Each move 40 sec and 20 sec rest – 1 min rest in between sets – 3-4 sets for about 18-24 min workout Don’t mind my super tight white pants…obviously that was the last time i could pull those off ?? I am so excited for our clean eating challenge starting July 6th!! If you are joining, comment on my last post! The before pics are already coming in, and I can’t wait to see everyone after 10 days!!! The link to the free plan is in my bio titled, “10-day Reset.” #preggers #fourthpregnancy #pregnant #summerpregnancy #fitpregnancyjourney #fitpregnancy #prenataldiet #pregnancynutrition #pregnancydiet #pregnancyworkout #prenatalfitness #secondtrimester #secondtrimesterworkout #fitpregnancy #fitbump #healthypregnancy . . . #postpartumnutrition #postpartumfitness #postpartimdiet #nursingmama #nursingmom #4thtrimester #4thtrimesterbodies #bodyafterbaby #losingthebabyweight #losethebabyweight #postpartumweightloss #postpartumworkout #postpartumhealing #postpartumlife

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I drink a lot of water:

This is the boring tip that is so helpful! The more water you drink, the more you can flush out of your body. I think it is easier in the summer to drink more water because it helps cool us off here in Florida. Water is essential for pregnant mamas, especially in the summer to ensure you don’t get dehydrated. Find a big bottle you like and keep it full!

Foam rolling and stretching:

Foam rolling and stretching can help a bit with your fascia that is between your fat/muscle tissue and your skin. If this is super tight with knots, it can also increase the appearance of cellulite. Sometimes foam rolling and increasing mobility to areas like your hips, glutes and thighs can alleviate knots and increase blood flow. Circulation has been associated with cellulite, so I do some rolling and stretching just to help!

Overall, remember the increased cellulite during pregnancy is temporary.

I have to tell myself every day that pregnancy in general is only temporary. I refuse to allow myself to get depressed with the weight gain, soreness, back issues, fatigue and cellulte. I try to make nutritious food choices and stay as active as I can every day.

If you are struggling to stay fit and healthy during your pregnancy, definitely download my free, 7-day workout challenge, and try my eating clean challenge. There are sign ups for the eating clean challenge on every blog post, and I promise you will not forget it!

This prenatal protein frappuccino is better than Starbucks and a million times better for you. I am obsessed with this shake, and of course I look forward to my afternoon pick-me-up. This is the perfect afternoon protein shake, and you can use a decaf coffee if you are limiting caffeine during your pregnancy.

I personally drink about 1.5 cups of coffee a day. I like a cup or so in the morning, and just a bit in the afternoon. I’ve been drinking a little coffee through pregnancy for my past three pregnancies now. I gave up caffeine of course with the first pregnancy, then learned that a little coffee or caffeine isn’t a big deal. The issue comes in more with tons of caffeine, especially when your body isn’t accostomed to lots of caffeine.

bump dust prenatal protein powder

This protein shake is made with of course my Bump Dust protein powder, which is formulated for pregnant mamas to help curb sugar cravings, provide important nutrients and maintain your weight! At only 100 calories per serving, you can make this amazing frappuccinno for under 200 calories! YES!

Here is my video of how I make it, or scroll down for the full recipe: 

Prenatal Protein Frappuccinno Recipe:

Prenatal Protein Frappuccino

A delicious protein frappuccino for pregnant mamas.

  • 1 scoop Bump Dust
  • 1 cup Cold Brew Coffee (reg or decaf)
  • 1 cup ice
  • 1/4 cup low-fat chocolate milk of choice
  • 1/4 cup almond milk or regular milk of choice
  • 2 tbsp non-fat whipped cream optional
  • 1 tbsp caramel drizze optional
  1. Add all ingredients to your blender, blend up and serve immediately. Prep your cup with caramel drizzle if desired. Top with whipped cream if wanted as well.

I seriously love this protein shake in the summer for those long, hot afternoons! It is so refreshing, and just the perfect pick-me-up for a pregnant mama!

If you like this recipe, make sure to check out my top 8 prenatal protein smoothies, where I have a full list of super yummy recipes!

If you are struggling with naseau, don’t worry, I did too! I still get it a bit sometimes, and here are some foods I like to eat when I am nauseas. 

You may also be wondering if protein powder is safe during pregnancy.

In my opinion, it is so much safer than so many other things! Thing about all the chemicals, flavorings and other junk in the processed, packaged foods we eat? My protein powder is FULL of nutrient-dense ingredients that are meant to nourish your body. Protein powder is an amazing option for pregnant mamas to get in the extra protien necessary, when other sources like meat or eggs do not sound good!

Smoothies during pregnancy are an amazing way to get in a lot of nutrients, while also satisfying cravings! Cravings can be extremely difficult during pregnancy, and I know I crave all the salty chips and french fries. I could live off of nachos if I let myself. Smoothies are like my secret weapon to combatting those cravings. I love a protein-packed smoothie because protein and fiber are the key to making you feel full and satisfied.

I decided to do a round up of my favorite pregnancy smoothies, which I always add my prentatl protein powder, Bump Dust to these shakes. I specifically formulated this protein powder to nourish prenatal mamas, support uterus strength, combat cravings, and keep you full on lots of protein with little sugar!

I do have a prenatal recipe ebook coming out soon as well, which will have even more smoothie recipes for you to stay healthy and fit all pregnancy!

The Top 8 Protein-Packed Pregnancy Smoothies I Love:

Protein-Packed Prenatal Chocolate Milk Shake:

pregnancy chocolate milk shakeThis is a more decadant protein shake that is a great meal replacement! I talk about it on Instagram, and everything I use to make it. It is simple, sweet, creamy and just like a chocolate milk shake without all the sugar and fat! Full of protein for mama and growing baty.

Here are the ingredients: 

1 cup Frozen Mango
1 Scoop Bump Dust
1 Cup Reduced Fat Fairlife Chocolate Milk
2 TBSP of Cocoa Powder
5-6 ice cubes

Blend together and enjoy!

Orange Mango Protein Shake:

This one is super fun for summer, and tastes really good. Creamy, sweet and a bit of citrus to keep it fresh!

 

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Ingredients: 

2 Clementine Oranges
Handful of frozen Mango
1/3 or so of fresh mango
1 scoop Bump Dust
1/2 cup of ice
1 cup of milk of choice

Blend together and enjoy!!

Lean and Green Prentatal Protein Shake:

lean green prenatal protein shake

This is one of my favorite snack protein shakes. I love how lean it is, how HUGE it is, and how it fills me up between meals. I highly recommend this recipe if you are watching your weight gain, wanting to stay healthy, or struggling with snacking between meals.

Ingredients: 

3-4 cups of Spinach fresh
1 cup of ice
1/4 cup of frozen berries (I usually do strawberries or raspberries)
1 Scoop of Bump Dust
1 cup of Almond milk
1 splash of non-fat milk (I use Fairlife *not needed I just like the consistency)

Blend all together and enjoy! I have another video on Instagram showing you exactly how I make it 🙂

Simple Strawberry Pregnancy Smoothie:

strawberry pregnancy smoothie

This is a super simple strawberry smoothie that I love. I make it with fresh strawberries, and a tiny bit of frozen strawberries or raspberries. Either one works really well. To make it like a strawberries and cream you can replace the non-fat milk with a full fat milk, and it is really good that way too!

Ingredients: 

2 Cups fresh strawberries
1/4 cup frozen strawberries or raspberries
5-6 ice cubes
1 Scoop Bump Dust
1 cup non-fat milk or milk of choice

Blend together and enjoy!

Blueberry Banana Prenatal Protein Shake:

blueberry banana protein shake

Blueberries and banana just blend really well together. A soft, sweet, creamy texture that makes a smoothie so good!

Ingredients: 

1 cup of frozen blueberries
1 fresh banana
4-5 ice cubes
1 cup almond milk
1 scoop Bump Dust

Blend and enjoy!!

Kale and Blueberry Prenatal Protein Shake:

I usually do a lot of kale to roast, but sometimes I just throw it in a smoothie. I’ve found I like it best with blueberries. Simple and so good for you!

Ingredients: 

2 cups Kale (you can de-stem it to blend better)
1 cup frozen blueberries
1 Scoop Bump Dust
1 cup almond milk or milk of choice

Blend together and enjoy!

Strawberry Cashew Prenatal Protein Shake:

This is more of an ice cream texture, and it is so good!! Add more milk to make is more like a smoothie, or less to keep it like a dessert.

Ingredients: 

2 cups frozen strawberries
2 TBSP raw cashews
1 Scoop Bump Dust
1-2 cups of Almond milk or milk of choice

Blend together and enjoy!

Banana Peanut Butter Protein Shake:

I liked this one in my first trimester, and there’s something about bananas and peanut butter that go so well together!

Ingredients: 

2 tbsp of PB2 or peanut flour (lighter than peanut butter, but you can use regular too!)
1 1/2 to 2 fresh bananas
3-4 ice cubes
1 scoop Bump Dust
1 cup almond milk or milk of choice

Blend together and enjoy!

There you have my top 8 prenatal protein shakes that I use to stay fit and healthy all pregnancy. I personally think smoothies are such a great option to get in a lot of nutrition when you really need it. I also use them to combat a lot of salty cravings that hit me basically all 9 months. They also give me energy, keep me full, and give me tons of good vitamins!

I am so excited to offer you guys a free workout challenge, that will jump start your fitness plan during your pregnancy. These are workouts that I do to stay fit, and I wanted to challenge you all to get through a full week of workouts.

I have two workout options you can download once you sign up. I have a low-impact, beginner workout, as well as a high-impact advanced workout. Depending on where you are at in your pregnancy, you can download both or one! If you are just in your second trimester, the advanced may be great, then you may want to move to the low-impact later in the third trimester.

These workouts also don’t require equipment except for one strength-workout. I want you to grab something you can use as weights for some arm work. Dumbells are what I use, but there are many different things you can do!

I also have you do my core work a couple days, which is linked on youtube, and that is essential to protect your core during pregnancy.

Sign up, get the plan, and let me know if you do it!

Cardio can become more fun in the second trimester. The first trimester is a bit of a struggle, and the third trimester often is very uncomfortable for plyometric cardio moves. You also have to do less in the third trimester to get your heart rate up, where as the second trimester still takes some effort.

I also highly recommend cardio to maintain your weight and even burn off some extra fat that may have piled on in the first trimester. I always gain weight super fast in the first trimester, then even out as i start feeling better again. I have a great cardio workout for your first trimester, and this one is even more challenging for the second trimester.

This cardio workout is an advanced workout, where you can modify. I am a huge cardio fan, and even keep running during pregnancy, so I like a difficult cardio workout. I also know there are lots of mamas out there who want to keep up their cardio fitness during pregnancy. This is just one of the cardio workouts I do, and I hope you give it a try!

REMEMBER: please modify exercises to best suit you. That is key to fitness during YOUR pregnancy. What works for me, could be painful or uncomfortable for you. Never push yourself to that just to follow a workout.

Here are some great low-impact cardio moves you can use, if some of the moves in this workout don’t work for you.

 

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LOW-IMPACT prenatal cardio moves. During pregnancy, it can become super difficult to jog, jump, bounce or really get those cardio-blasting moves in. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get your cardio in! Here are some simple moves that will get your heart rate up. I HIGHLY recommend adding ankle weights and light dumbbells to these if you have them. It will increase your calorie burn, add a burn, and challenge your heart. These moves will also help you get your steps in for the day! At #19weekspregnant, I’m still able to do higher impact workouts, but as I get larger, these are the exercises I start doing more of ? Let me know if there are more workouts I can post! #fitbump #healthypregnancy #preggers #fourthpregnancy #prenatalworkout #pregnancynutrition #pregnancydiet #pregnancyworkout #prenatalfitness #secondtrimester #secondtrimesterworkout #fitpregnancy #pregnant . . . #summerpregnancy #fitpregnancyjourney #fitpregnancy #postpartumnutrition #postpartumfitness #postpartimdiet #nursingmama #nursingmom #4thtrimester #4thtrimesterbodies #bodyafterbaby #losingthebabyweight #losethebabyweight #postpartumweightloss #postpartumworkout #postpartumhealing #postpartumlife

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Let’s get to the best second-trimester cardio workout:

The plan: Each move is 45 seconds of work and 15 seconds of butt kicks. There is no rest in between moves. Once you complete all the moves, you can rest for one minute and that counts as one round. Go for 3 rounds total 🙂

The Moves:

Jump Squats
Burpees
Jump Lunges
Jumping Jacks
Jump Rope (imaginary jump rople)
Skaters
Floor Jacks (touch the floor between jacks)
High Knees
Wall sits with punches

Here is a demonstration of each move:

 

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Here are your prenatal cardio moves!! This is a more advanced cardio workout for mamas in their #secondtrimester. All moves can be modified to less jumping. And no equipment necessary!! EACH MOVE 45 SECONDS. NO REST. 15 SECONDS OF BUTT KICKS BETWEEN EACH MOVE. ALL MOVES ARE 1 ROUND. DO 3! ONE MINUTE OF REST BETWEEN ROUNDS 🙂 THE MOVES: * Jump squats * burpees * jump lunges * jumping jacks * jump rope (imaginary jump rope) * skaters * floor tap jumps * high knees * wall sits with punches Let me know if you do it!! #secondtrimesterworkout #fitpregnancy #fitbump #healthypregnancy #preggers #fourthpregnancy #pregnant #summerpregnancy #fitpregnancyjourney #fitpregnancy #20weekspregnant . . . #postpartumfitness #postpartumweightloss #postpartumworkout #postpartumhealing #postpartumlife #postnatalfitness #postnatalhealing #postpartimdiet #4thtrimester #4thtrimesterbodies #bodyafterbaby #losingthebabyweight #losethebabyweight

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Some important tips to remember when doing cardio while pregnant:

Cardio is different for everyone, just like weights are different for everyone. Make sure to rest if you are feeling really out of breath. You don’t want to feel like you are sucking air. Make sure to rest and catch your breath when necessary.

Why are cardio workouts important during pregnancy?

Cardio is very beneficial during pregnancy because it helps increase the strength of your heart. A strong heart usually helps with lower blood pressure, and it burns calories! Cardio is a great way to burn the calories you are consuming. Weights and strength work is important too, but doing only lifting or weight work doesn’t burn as many calories. Cardio workouts like the one I have here work many muscles in your body, as well as your heart and lungs. This turns your body into a calorie-burning machine. I often combine weights and cardio together for time’s sake.

Are strength workouts beneficial for pregnancy?

Absolutely! Most of my program is very strength-based because holding on to muscle is really helpful during pregnancy. Muscle will help protect your joints, which are loosening, as well as help with a fast labor. Being strong really helps your body recruit all those muscles to help baby come out quick. I don’t know about you, but I do not enjoy being in labor. I want it over fast. I’ve been fortunate that my last two labors were less than 4 hours, and my body was able to use all the strength I maintained to get those babies out. I’m hoping for a similar fast labor with this baby coming up. Having muscle mass also helps burn more calories throughout the day, and you will be able to hopefully maintain some of that muscle during the 6-week postpartum weight.

Your workouts can not out-do a bad diet:

No matter how hard or long you workout, you can’t fix a bad diet with a workout. It is so easy to eat thousands of calories in minutes, and burning those calories would take hours and hours of work. Most of the time, cravings cause us to overeat during pregnancy. I have the hardest time in the first trimester. I personally use protein shakes to really help manage my cravings. I’ve found that if I get a good protein shake in, with fruit and spinach, I am full and satisfied. And my Bump Dust protein powder is specifically formulated to help with pregnancy cravings. You can get lots of amazing nutrition, vitamins and minerals, all in a shake that will help keep those cravings under control.

Both cardio and strength workouts are really important to stay fit during pregnancy. I combine both into one workout most of the time, to make the most of my time at home. My workout program focuses on strength work using dumbells and an exercise ball. Staying fit during pregnancy doesn’t require a gym membership or lots of time. It’s all about good nutrition and being efficient with your workouts. The eating clean challenge is a great place to start, and combine that with your workouts to have a super fit pregnancy.

The first trimester is probably the most difficult to workout during, at least for me, but if you are still working out, and wanting to keep your booty in shape as your belly grows, then this workout is great for you. The reason I like to keep this workout in the first trimester is because we are going to be on our back for a decent amount. This allows for more hip-thrust motion, which is one of the best for glute activation.

Keeping your glutes strong is also beneficial for pelvic floor stability during pregnancy.

Yep, the glutes play a very important role in helping to keep your pelvic floor and pelvis in place during pregnancy. Pregnancy releases a hormone called relastin that allows joints and ligaments to stretch and expand. This is great for expanding the hips, opening the pelvis and allowing room for baby. But, some can experience their pubic bone and pelvis to slip out of place, causing pain in various areas including your back. By keeping your glutes and hips strong, you can help prevent this, and support your pelvis as it stretches and moves. If you think your pelvis has slipped, and is causing back pain, a physical therapist is the best person to see and correct this issue.

This video explains EVERYTHING on the moves and how to do them, and I have them written out below, so you can copy or screen shot for later use. Do this a few times a week, add bands or weights if you are wanting to progress!

The best glute workout for the first trimester to keep those buns tight:

We are going to start lying on our backs. This is okay during the first trimester, and part of the second, until you get farther along. I love the single-leg bridges because it ensures that each glute does some work. It also helps keep one glute from being more dominant over the other, which most people have one side that is stronger.

The moves:

30 Single-leg bridges (or hip thrusts) straight into

30 single-leg raises same leg

30 glute bridges or hip thrusts straight into a 30-60 second hold. NO REST, right into 30 more glute bridges, then hold for 30-60 seconds, then right into 30 bridges again, and hold for the third and final time at 30-60 seconds. 

30 Single-leg bridges other leg right into

30 Single-leg lifts 

Done with the first section. 

Next set, on all fours:

Get down on all fours, and continue with these super simple exercises.  First round is the right leg. Right leg does 30 donkey kicks, 30 fire hydrants then 30 donkey kick to fire hydrant.

30 Donkey Kicks

30 Fire Hydrant

30 Donkey Kick to Fire Hydrant (combo)

Last set standing:

The key is to stay on the same side, so the glute gets a lot of work. Each glute worked separately really makes a difference!

30 Curtsey lunges with a kick. 

30 Reverse lunge with a knee-up or kick

30 single-leg dead lifts

Switch legs and repeat. 

Working out during the first trimester can extremely difficult, and I know I gave up on working out all-together from about weeks 8 to 12.  This is a big deal for me because I was running around 3-6 miles 5-6 days a week before I got pregnant with my fourth. I actually was just starting to train for my first 10k race, when things went downhill. I slowly became more fatigued, sensitive to the heat, and basically felt like I was going to throw up when I ran.

If you are able to workout during the first trimester, I am so happy for you! I have the worst time with fatigue and weight gain in the beginning. I literally eat and sleep all day. I feel sick unless I am eating. If I’m not eating, I am laying on the couch with my eyes closed. I basically turn into the biggest couch potato, and my whole body turns to jelly.

But if you can workout during the first trimester, and you want to keep up with your cardio and fat-burning (which I am finally catching up on now!) here is a great, at-home cardio workout you can do with no equipement. The great thing about the first trimester is that you don’t have much of a belly to get in the way.

And yes, you can burn fat while pregnant – read here. 

I will have a video coming to really show you this workout, and I have another video on my favorite moves to prevent Diastasis Recti, which I highly recommend as part of your warm up for this workout. Make sure to watch that, and do those before this!

I should mention too that I get all my workout ideas from this app.this app. I LOVE it, and I have been using it literally for almost 2 years now to train for running and workout at home. They have everything from HIIT, strength, Pilates, Yoga, Prenatal, Cycling, Rowing and more. You do not need a gym, but can take it to the gym, and the music is awesome.

First-Trimester Cardio Workout At Home:

The simplest way to get your cardio in is to do a lot of moves for 45 seconds, with 15 seconds of rest. If you do 10 moves, and three rounds, you have a 30 minute, fat-blasting cardio workout in!

Each round is all 10 Moves for 45 seconds with 15 seconds rest:

High Knees

Butt Kicks

Skaters

Squats with arms overhead

Reverse lunges with speed bags

Jog in place

Jump Squats

Burpees

Squat pulses

Walk Outs

The key to burning fat is getting three rounds in. By pushing past the 20 minutes, your body will start tapping into the fat, which is absolutely fine during pregnancy. I’m doing this workout now in my second trimester, and I love it because I am tapping into the extra fat I put on in the first trimester.

Also, if you feel super winded, slow the moves down. You can keep going, but do everything at a slower pace. This will help your heart rate catch up.

If you can do this workout in a fasted state, like first thing in the morning, you will burn even more fat because you don’t have much glucose in your blood stream to use as fuel. Most of us pregnant mamas do not function well in a fasted sate. I personally only can go a couple hours without eating before I feel nauseas and light-headed. If this is you, make sure to sign up for my clean-eating challenge! That way you can eat what you need and when you need, but not gain a lot of weight from the extra calories.

I am pregnant with my 4th baby now, and I am very determined to prevent Diastasis Recti again this time. I was able to bring my abs back together after my last pregnancy, and I have everything I did in my postpartum program once baby arrived. Since becoming a Pre/Post Natal Fitness Specialist, I have even more moves and exercises I am focusing on now in pregnancy! I am determined to keep my abs as strong as possible this pregnancy, to make it even easier to heal after birth.

I’ve put all the exercises that I will be doing in my Belly-Only pregnancy plan, and I am also filming and creating more workouts to protect your core and pelvic floor through your whole pregnancy. If this isn’t your first pregnancy, you really know the importance of maintaining fitness and caring for your core during pregnancy. It helps eliminate the work we have to do when baby arrives, and helps us heal after baby as well.

Why preventing diastasis recti during pregnancy is important:

Preventative exercises during pregnancy develop muscle memory. This is just as important as muscle strength and endurance. We need to teach your muscles early how to work properly. Then, after some rest period, the process of returning to normal and working again will be much easier. Basically, you are teaching your muscles what to do after baby arrives. Then you have the muscle strength and endurance aspect. In order for your muscles to properly fuse back together, they need strength and endurance. The strength factor is what will create the tension. The endurance factor allows them to work and hold your body throughout the day. Practicing these moves will encourage your muscles to repair faster.

How to prevent diastasis recti during pregnancy:

Your basic plan to prevent diastasis recti involves doing the correct exercises consistently. I found that consistency was the hardest part for me. Each pregnancy workout felt rushed, with two toddlers running around me or waiting for me to grab them at the gym nursery, so the diastasis recti exercises were the easiest to skip. I prescribe practicing my diastasis recti prevention plan 3-4 days a week along with the strength training plan. This will help you make progress and build the muscle memory, yet not feel like it is too repetitive. The key is to build muscle memory, just as much as strength.

Why muscle memory plays a role in Diastasis Recti prevention:

Muscle memory is really what is sounds like. Your muscles store activity patterns and “remember” how to engage and work together. It is very similary to riding a bike. Your mind and muscles just never forget how to work a bike without flling over. The more you work on muscle memory and engagement during pregnancy, the easier it will be postpartum. Practice engaging your core with breaths either on an exercise ball, while standing or on your back if you are early in pregnancy. Doing prenatal Pilates is an amazing way to practice core work and breath. I was a Pilates instructor many years ago. Pilates is the foundation of my pregnancy and postpartum programs, and I highly encourage you to start working on your muscle memory now.

Doing the correct exercises is super important to prevent diastasis recti during pregnancy as well. 

You don’t want to do planks or crunches, or many ab exercises lying on your back. In my postpartum program, we do a lot of Pilates moves to restore your abs, which is great because you no longer have a big belly to worry about. Many of these moves are great for the first trimester, and beginning of the second, but not so much for the third. Sticking with ab exercises you can do on an exercise ball is wonderful because it involves balance as well. Exercises while down on all fours are good exercises to do too. Practicing good posture while pregnant also has numerous benefits to your abs in general, and it will help you continue the correct posture post-baby, which will pull your abs in even further. The correct exercises will involve breathing with your contractions properly, because breath is important to the pelvic floor as well.

5 exercises you can do to help prevent diastasis recti during pregnancy:

Exercise Ball Single Leg Lifts:

Sorry this angle is a little weird!

This is where you sit on the exercise ball, and you will alternate lifting one leg at a time. Basically you are marching in place, while sitting on the exercise ball. Take a deep breath in, and as you exhaie lift one leg straight up, keeping your knee bent. Inhale as you lower your leg, and exhale as you lift your other leg. Try holding your leg up for about 5 seconds or so. The key is to contract your ab muscles as you exhale and lift your leg. You are also forced to balance on the ball at the same time, engaging other core muscles.

Standing Single Leg Lifts:

This is the same exercise we did above, but now that you are warmed up, move to standing. This requires a different kind of balance, which will continue the ab work. Remember to contract your abdominals on your exhale, as you lift one leg at a time.

Ab Contractions on All Fours:

This one is very simple. Get down on all fours, and you will feel like you are going to do the cat/cow pose. You can warm up with a few of those if you want. Here, you want to keep your back straight. No arching or rounding like you would in cat/cow pose. Use your breath to help you contract your abs and pull them up into your back. As you exhale, you want to contract. Inhale and relax. Do not use your back to help you. Focus only on your abdominals moving.

Side Planks:

Side planks actually work the full abdominals, not just your obliques. You can lay on your side with your legs out straight, or with your knees bent, depending on what is more comfortable. Inhale, then as you exhaie lift your side off the flour. Hold for a few seconds, then inhale as you lower down. Make sure to do reps on both sides.

Posture Breaths Using A Wall:

Use a wall to help you stand with correct posture. Align your heels, shoulder blades and the back of your head to the wall. While standing in a good position, take a deep breath in, and as you exhale pull your belly button in. Do not tilt your pelvis to help you pull your abs in. Imagine a string from your belly button pulling your abs towards the wall. No other body parts need to be helping. Practicing posture while engaging your abs will be so helpful when baby comes, and it helps with your overally movement throughout the rest of the day.

Practice these 5 exercises 5 days a week, and do enough reps per side or exercises to feel a burn. The key is repetition to build the memory, not necessarily making your abs super sore. 

Glute and hamstring exercises also help prevent diastasis recti during pregnancy.

During pregnancy, a common posture issue that develops is a lack of strength in the glutes and hamstrings, which tilts your pelvis and pooches your tummy. By learning to stand in neutral spin, without tucking your butt underneath you is super important. Maintaining strength in your gluts with donkey kicks, single-leg dead lifts, squats and lunges to maintain strength in your posterior chain, which will help support your abs and the correct posture. Everything works together, so you don’t want to neglect other muscle groups just because you are worried about your abs.

In my program, I have a lot of balance movements to further activate the core, with hip and glute strength movements to ensure you don’t lose the support you need. I also have strength training workouts that will help with this as well.

Making the time do to these exercises weekly, throughout pregnancy is really important. Your abs and pelvic floor will heal much faster postpartum, and you can help your tummy get back to flat now. These exercises can also help prevent bladder issues, pain and more that can heppen postpartum.