Category: Pregnancy

How to Have a Fit and Healthy Pregnancy featured image

How to Have a Fit and Healthy Pregnancy

Whoever told you being fit and healthy while you’re pregnant is impossible lied to you. As I near the 37-week mark, some people have commented that it’s easy for me to work out and eat healthy because it’s my job.

They couldn’t be more wrong. Sure it may be a smidge easier than someone who doesn’t work out or eat healthy on a regular basis, but I’ve definitely had my ups and downs.

Being pregnant has been a learning experience unlike any other – mentally, physically and emotionally. For the first 16 weeks, saltines and Sierra Mist were my best friends. I slept a lot, and the last thing I wanted was to do any physical activity. Thankfully, it got much better during the second trimester, but I started to experience another downfall: pain in my lower back. I was finally excited about working out again, so it was a huge rain storm on my parade. I am now in the third trimester, and although my work outs are few and far between, I continue to live a fit and healthy lifestyle, taking it one day at a time. It’s all about finding a balance, and it’s something you can definitely achieve in your life as well.

1. Go at your own pace.

The moment you find out you’re pregnant is not the day to take up training for a marathon. Don’t worry about keeping up with your previous work out partners, either. As long as you’re cleared by your doctor, it is safe to continue working out as you were prior to getting pregnant. It’s very beneficial for both you and your baby, but keep it controlled. Don’t worry about hitting new PR’s (personal records). Be happy that you have the ability to work out at all. Bonus: It can help once you go into labor. Think endurance.

2. Listen to your body.

It’s important that you don’t overdo it. (See point No. 1.) If you feel like your body needs a day of rest, take one. Remember, you’re growing a human inside. It’s OK to take some time off. Feel like you have the energy to climb a mountain? Take advantage of the extra boost and hit the treadmill or lift some weights.

3. Don’t use pregnancy as an excuse to eat at the buffet every day.

The average suggested weight gain for an average-size woman is 25 to 35 pounds – more for underweight women and less for overweight. The suggested amount of extra calories a day is 300. To give you an idea of how many calories you’re looking at, that’s about the size of a banana, an extra chicken breast and a half ounce of nuts. Not much. By all means, enjoy yourself every now and then because now is not the time to go on a diet, but keep in mind that the calories do add up quickly. You’ll be happier going through your pregnancy without putting on unwanted and unnecessary pounds.

4. Stay hydrated.

Pregnant women can have the same eating habits as a woman who isn’t pregnant – eating out of boredom, stress and dehydration, for example. Try to be mindful. If you notice yourself “hungry” only a half hour or hour within eating your last meal, drink a glass of water and wait 20 minutes. If you’re still hungry, have a small snack but make it nutrient dense; fruits, vegetables and nuts are all great choices.

5. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

Part of being fit and healthy, in any aspect of life, is having a clear mindset. It can get overwhelming choosing car seats, doctors and paint colors. Breathe. It will all fall into place. Be grateful that you have the opportunity to bring a child into this world, and cherish every challenge you’re faced with. It will only make you stronger.

Hungry for more? Write to [email protected] with your questions, concerns and feedback.

Jolynn Toma has a bachelor’s degree in marketing and is an ISSA Certified Personal Trainer, as well as an ISSA Specialist in Fitness Nutrition. She owns a private personal training studio in Illinois, specializing in strength training, cardio endurance and nutrition.

Top 6 Breastfeeding Benefits featured image

Top 6 Breastfeeding Benefits

Even today, there are new mothers who are not aware of the so many breastfeeding benefits of breastfeeding, as it is a known scientific fact that breast milk is the best for your baby. This is not to say that one should breastfeed at all costs, however it is important to know about the advantages breastfeeding has to offer before you decide upon the matter. This short article is meant to introduce to you only some of the breastfeeding benefits to destroy whatever doubts you may still have.

The first of all breastfeeding benefits would be that breast milk consists of all the nutritious components that your baby needs, assuming, of course that you eat right and include enough protein, iron etc. in your diet.

Breast milk consists of all antibodies that will protect your baby from infections and diseases. These are only two of the most important breastfeeding benefits there are.

Among the numerous breastfeeding benefits, breast milk is also known to make the emotional bond between you and your baby stronger. As your baby is being fed directly from your body, he looks into your eyes, you hold his little hand, his body is attached to yours… What can bring you closer together than this?…

Breastfed babies are known to be much healthier than formula-fed babies; they suffer less from obesity, diebetes and allergies, and have better brain development and intelligence.

And do not forget that breast milk does not cost a thing! Moreover, you can go anywhere, already carring the food on you, no need to care for bottles or hot water.

Breastfeeding Benefits for you

Finally, you may be surprised, but your baby is not the only one who benefits from breatfeeding; researches show that breastfeeding can also reduce the chance for breast cancer.

Top 4 Breastfeeding Positions featured image

Top 4 Breastfeeding Positions

There are 4 common breastfeeding positions for you and your baby to try and choose the one that will be the most comfortable and useful of all. You may also find each of them to be practical in different situations; For instance, some breastfeeding positions could be easier to use in public, some when you are too tired to get up from bed, or after a c-section.

The most familiar of all breastfeeding positions is called “the cradle hold”- your baby’s back is lying above your forearm, when your elbow “crook” is supporting his neck and head. For this position there is less need for a breastfeeding pillow, therefore it is especially easy to be used outdoors.

More breastfeeding positions for you to test are “The cross cradle hold” and “the football hold”. The first is recommended mostly for babies with weaker sucking who find it difficult to stay connected to the breast. Of all breastfeeding positions, it provides the greatest support for the baby’s head, as the palm of your hand holds his neck. Basically, it is very similar to the cradle hold, only now the supporting hand would be the opposing one to the breast in use.

The second one, “the football hold,” is mostly common in situations of c-sections or in twins’ labor. Whereas In most breastfeeding positions the baby’s body is facing yours, here it is lying on your side, leaving the cut of the c-section protected and untouched, and room for a second baby on your other side. Moreover, out of all breastfeeding positions, this posture is the only one in which his face (and not his body) is facing yours, forming the greatest and nicest eye contact between you and your baby.

The last of the 4 breastfeeding positions is referred to as “the side-lying” position- this position is extra special as it permits you to keep on sleeping while breastfeeding… your baby is lying on his back next to you while you’re lying on your side, each body facing the other. In my opinion this is the most fun and bonding position, however the least safe and extra caution should be taken not to unintentionally squeeze the baby’s body!

Breastmilk Storage Do It Right featured image

Breastmilk Storage Do It Right

In case you have made the decision to breastfeed your baby, it won’t be long until you need to consider breastmilk storage.

This option will get very important for you when you will leave your baby with another care giver, or even just hand it over to your partner’s responsibility in order to sleep the whole night through.

Important details about breastmilk storage

It can be kept in sealable bottles or sterile bags.

In room temperature for:

  • 4-6 hours in 25c (air conditioned room, summer time)
  • 8-10 hours in 20c
  • 10-24 hours in 15c

Breastmilk storage in the refrigerator:

  • For about 3-5 days (in the summer) but never more than a week (in the winter). It needs to be kept in a close hermetic plastic bag or bottles and not in the refrigerator’s door but deep inside.

Breastmilk storage in the freezer:

  • For 3-4 months
  • For 6 months in deep freezer (external freezer)

When defrosting breastmilk, keep it in the fridge and use it during the following 24 hours. If you need to worm it, put the bottle under hot streaming water (up to 60c).

What NOT to do when handling breastmilk storage

  • Defrost or heat in the microwave
  • Boil or cook your breastmilk (this is ruin all nutritious values)
  • Freeze again defrosted milk
  • Re-heat breastmilk

You may add breastmilk to existing milk in the refrigerator, however let it cool first, not to spoil the older milk. Remember though that you will need to use it following the expiration date of the older milk. It is a bit harder to keep track on the date this way…

Tip 1: Know your breastmilk! Smell it and taste it. This is the only way to know if it has gotten spoiled.

Tip 2: store your breastmilk in small amounts because once you bottle- feed your child with breastmilk and he/she doesn’t finish the bottle, you will not be able to reuse it. This is due to the fact that breastmilk gets bacterias very fast (and faster than milk substances!).

6 Tips for A Healthy Pregnancy Weight featured image

6 Tips for A Healthy Pregnancy Weight

Karen Cooper, DO, who authored this post, is an avid exerciser, a wellness advocate, and a sought-after media expert on the topic of obesity.

So you’re pregnant — and excited about the new baby on board. But pregnancy comes with questions, and in my experience, some of the biggest questions center around weight gain.

I’ve written before about the myths of pregnancy and weight and about the health problems associated with excessive weight gain during pregnancy, from diabetes to high blood pressure. There are plenty of reasons why you should maintain a healthy weight during pregnancy. But how do you do it?

Start with these six tips to keep your weight on track — for a healthy you and a healthy baby.

Karen Cooper, DO (Women’s Health Institute)

1. Know your BMI

Your doctor will guide you to gain the appropriate amount of weight based on your body mass index (BMI). For example, if you are within the normal range (BMI of 19–24), you will be advised to gain 25 to 35 pounds. If you are overweight (BMI of 25–29), you should gain 15 to 25 pounds. And if you are obese (BMI of 30 or more), then your weight gain should range from 11 to 20 pounds. Once you know the proper range, you can work to keep yourself within it.

2. Watch your portion sizes

Keep portions to one serving size — based on food labels and recipes — and increase your protein content to stay fuller between meals. Protein is necessary not only for your baby’s growth and development but also for maintaining even levels of blood glucose throughout the day. Good sources of protein include greek yogurt, low-fat milk, low-fat cheese, fish, chicken, eggs and lean meat.

3. Hydrate, then hydrate some more

Drink 10 to 11 glasses of water per day. It is easy to confuse hunger with thirst, and satisfying your thirst will help prevent you from eating too much. In general, your water intake should be slightly increased during pregnancy.

4. Keep yourself moving

Unless you are on bed rest, do some form of low-impact exercise daily for at least 30 to 45 minutes. Brisk walking, swimming, yoga and strengthening exercises are all appropriate during pregnancy, with your doctor’s permission.

5. Curb your cravings

If your cravings are getting the best of you, try to limit portions to one serving size at a time. Better yet, search for lower-calorie alternatives. If you have non-food cravings — such as ice, baking soda, chalk or paper — report them to your doctor immediately. These often indicate a nutrient deficiency that may be harmful.

6. Seek help

Losing and maintaining weight are hard tasks for anyone, but the cravings of pregnancy can make them even harder. Consider meeting with a dietitian early during your pregnancy for guidance on limiting excessive calories and finding healthy alternatives to high-calorie foods. A little expert help can go a long way toward a good nutrition plan.


What to Consider in Your Breastfeeding Diet featured image

What to Consider in Your Breastfeeding Diet

When you make the decision to breastfeed your new baby there are a few things that you will want to keep in mind related to your breastfeeding diet. Your doctor may speak to you about some of the foods that you will want to include or foods that you may want to leave out from your breastfeeding diet. This article will explore some of the foods that should be consumed and avoided in order to give you a starting point that you can use to get your started.breastfeeding diet

First you need to remember that when you make the decision to breastfeed, what you eat affects not only you but your baby as well, so be sure to have the right breastfeeding diet!

Breastfeeding Diet- What to Include?

Your breastfeeding diet needs to be very well balanced so that you and your child are getting all of the nutrients that you both need in order to remain healthy. Make sure that you are eating protein and that you are eating at least three servings each and every day. Combine in your breastfeeding diet at least five servings of calcium each and every day. This is actually a little bit more than you are recommended to have when you are pregnant.

Do not forget fruits and veggies. These are also very important parts of your breastfeeding diet. It is recommended that you have three to four servings of these as well when you are planning your meals. While it may sound like a lot, you need to remember that you are trying to ensure that your child is getting all of the vitamins and minerals that he or she needs, and they will, only through the breastfeeding diet you will compose for yourself.

What to Exclude From Your Breastfeeding Diet

Finally, there are a few things that you should avoid when you are consuming a breastfeeding diet. You will want to limit the amount of coffee that you are drinking and keep it light. More than one or two cups of coffee a day can actually make your infant jittery and it can affect his or her sleeping.

furthermore, you should not include raw meat or fish, like sushi in your breastfeeding diet to protect yourself from listeria.

Keep your B6, A, D, AND B12 levels high since a long term sufficiency of these will affect your milk and therefore your baby.

Diet and Exercise Help With the Weighty Issues of Pregnancy featured image

Diet and Exercise Help With the Weighty Issues of Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a time to take care of your body as it is harboring a precious life. But, for many women it is sometimes a license to eat whatever they want.

As a new mom, I know that sometimes cravings kick in, not to mention food aversion to even the healthiest of fare.

While extreme dieting is also not advised, doctors caution pregnant women not to go overboard in giving in to their cravings.

A new study from the United Kingdom echoes that sound advice with results showing “that following a healthy diet, overseen by health professionals, stems excess weight gain in pregnancy and reduces the risk of pregnancy complications such as pre-eclampsia, diabetes, high blood pressure and early delivery.”

The study as reported on was recently published in the British Medical Journal and compiled data from more than 40 other studies.

Both the effects of just diet or exercise alone as well as when both are done simultaneously were evaluated. The results looked at the impact on both mothers and babies health.

The results found that dieting alone contributed to a more than 30-percent less likelihood in the development of pre-eclampsia as well as a 60 percent less occurrence of gestational diabetes.

As told to, the researchers hope to confirm these studies with additional larger studies.

From my personal experience as a trainer as well as experience with a recent pregnancy I know that it’s important to be mindful that what you are eating is best for both mother and baby.

It is important to make sure you are getting quality calories and enough vital nutrients. Pizza, ice cream and chips are typically not in the nutrient-rich category, while fruits and vegetables obviously are important.

While the above mentioned study focused primarily on the results of dieting alone, I believe prenatal exercise is still important. That is of course, as long as you have no contraindications.

In fact, I exercised and taught exercise classes throughout my pregnancy and was told by my doctor that it truly helped me during labor, delivery and recovery.

A recent article in The New York Times written by Shivani Bora talked about the trends of many fitness studios and clubs catering to pregnant women.

Bora spoke about her own prenatal exercise experience as well, stating, “those with a growing belly can regulate their weight gain, recover faster from delivery, sleep better and lift their moods through regular exercise. What better way to prepare for a new life?”

Prenatal exercise expert and author of Exercising Through Your Pregnancy, James Clapp, agrees, concluding in his book, “Women who exercised regularly during their pregnancy had shorter labors, fewer C-Sections, less uses of forceps and their babies had higher APGAR scores. APGAR is an acronym for Activity, Pulse, Grimace, Appearance, and Respiration and is the test given to a newborn immediately after birth.”



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