Pregnancy

Preventing Winter Weight Gain

17 Nov
by Kristen, posted in Blog   |  No Comments


First, of all I want to start off by apologizing for not posting in a long time. Free time in the 1st trimester was spent resting after work, and lately I’ve been writing at my other blog.  I’m blogging about baby over at
Baby Makes Three. If you want to see pictures from our Gender Reveal Party, check them out here.

Preventing Winter Weight Gain:
If you’re like me, the winter months may make you to want to stay inside under a blanket with a cup of hot cocoa.  Now that daylight savings has hit and it gets darker earlier, I find myself coming home from work and wanting to sit on the couch with a good show/movie.  My normal (and usually easier) plan is to head to the gym for a workout class or meet a friend to go walking.  So, I completely understand how hard it is to get yourself to the gym in the winter rather than do what your body wants, which is hit the couch.  But I promise you that once you complete that workout, your body will thank you for the extra energy and the mood-lifting endorphins.

3 Tips to Prevent Weight Gain:

  1. Hit the Gym at the Right Time:  For some people, they are too exhausted after a long day at work to work out.  You know that you will not even try to force yourself to make it to the gym even though you know it will make you feel better. So, if you’re one of those people, you may benefit from an early morning workout (before you head to work). Sure, you’ll have to get up earlier, but you will get a great workout in, and you won’t feel guilty for watching your favorite TV shows after a long day on the job.  Or maybe you are someone who cannot get motivated again once you make it home from work. The best tip for you is to always keep gym clothes in your car, and make sure you head straight to the gym after work (do not go home first).  Because you know that once you make it home, you won’t be getting out in that cold weather again.  You must plan in advance to accomplish your workout goals.
  2. Get REAL FOOD Conscious: During the winter, people’s vitamin D levels drop because they are not exposed to the best source of vitamin D, which is sunlight.  This is one reason why it’s very important to get your vitamin D levels checked regularly-you probably need supplementation at least during the winter months.  Low vitamin D levels are linked to depression, and many people struggle with SAD (Seasonal Affect Disorder), caused by not being exposed to as much light/sunshine.  This could lead to comfort eating during the winter blues.  Instead of turning to comfort foods turn to real foods, which will boost your mood. Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, folate, & B12 are especially important.  These include wild salmon, walnuts, eggs, dark green leafy veggies, sunflower seeds & organic/grass-fed meat products.  When you’re focused on eating foods that grow from the earth and less processed foods, the weight will naturally come off.
  3. Don’t Go Overboard at Holiday Festivities: Some people blame the winter pounds on the holidays.  And if you’re someone that has multiple Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years parties to attend, than you definitely have to work harder at preventing the weight gain than others.  But it IS possible, and you CAN do it.  The best way to not overeat at a holiday party is to eat a healthy snack right before the party.  A handful of nuts is an easy snack to keep in your purse when you’re on the go.  The healthy fats & protein in the nuts will keep your blood sugar from dipping and will give you a sense of satiety so you’re not starving at the party.  Make sure you’re eating protein at every meal/snack to keep you feeling fuller longer.  When you’re at a party, don’t feel like you have to deprive yourself.  Enjoy the food, but just make sure you limit the items that are exceptionally high in calories/fat/sugar.  Load your plate up with veggies/fruit and protein first, then have a small portion of the higher carbohydrate items.  Remember that sugar is just as addictive as cocaine is, so the more you eat it, the more your body wants it.  Focus on your veggies & protein during the winter months, and this will help you not go back for seconds and thirds on all those holiday desserts.

Enjoy this holiday season and remember the reason for it all.  Don’t stress over the little things, because we all know what stress does to our body.  Have fun with all your loved ones, and safe travels to you all!

If you ever need help with your weight or other nutrition issues in your life, feel free to schedule a private consultation with me.

Naturally Yours,
xoxoxo
Kristen M. Pardue, RD, LDN, CLC

I Have Exciting News…

21 Sep
by Kristen, posted in Blog   |  6 Comments

I’M PREGNANT!

Many of you probably know by now, but I wanted to let my blog followers know the exciting news.  Eric and I are expecting our first child March 22, 2012.  I’m 14 weeks tomorrow and am thrilled to finally be in my 2nd trimester.  We got to hear the baby’s heartbeat for the 1st time yesterday, and that sound was truly music to my ears.  My husband and I feel truly blessed for this amazing gift.  We also can’t wait to find out if it’s a boy or a girl.  The big gender reveal is October 27, so stay tuned!

Also, since this is my nutrition site, I will be blogging all things baby over at my personal blog if you want to follow our journey through pregnancy and parenthood.
Check out “Baby Makes Three.”

Excited Mommy-to-Be,
Kristen M. Pardue, RD, LDN, CLC

Don’t Forget A Doula

09 Jun
by Kristen, posted in Blog   |  6 Comments


By Annie Scott, B. Comm, Doula, CBE, Lactation Support

You just found out that you are pregnant. While making list after list of items that you need to start accumulating for your new baby it is very important to focus on your actual labor and birth itself. You need to allow yourself some time to think about what kind of birth experience you would like to have and the kind of birth team are you going to surround yourself with. Are you and your partner ready for the postpartum period? Breastfeeding? These days it is becoming common for expectant parents to hire the services of a Doula for their labor, birth and postpartum needs.

Let’s have a quick look at why people are choosing to hire Doulas.
Studies have shown that having a Doula supported labor significantly decreases the following:

  • the length of labor,
  • the incidence of medical complication,
  • and the amount of medication and medical intervention needed during labor, including epidural anaesthesia, c-sections,  and forceps or vacuum delivery.

Doula support has also been shown to:

  • improve the effectiveness of medication when it is used,
  • improve postpartum outcomes in areas such as healing, bonding, and breastfeeding.

As an example of the positive benefits of Doula care, we can look at a study examining the benefits of Doula support by McGrath & Kennel that looked at labor induction and labor support in 1999, a sample of 531 women were studied and it was shown, with significant statistical difference that there was a decrease in cesarean rate, oxytocin use, epidural rate, and narcotics use.

So what is the role of a Doula and how do they create these positive benefits?
Doulas are trained to support their clients’ psychosocial and emotional needs. They also provide resources to help clients assess their labor, and give advice on comfort measures and positioning. The most important role of a Doula is to ensure constant and continuous support for the laboring mom and her partner without interruption.

What a Doula doesn’t do
Doulas specialize in non-medical skills which means they do not perform clinical tasks, such as vaginal exams or fetal heart rate monitoring. They are not midwives. Doulas do not diagnose medical conditions, offer second opinions, or give medical advice. Most importantly, Doulas do not make decisions for their clients; they do not project their own values and goals onto the laboring woman. A Doula is present to be an advocate for their client, to make sure that their client is being heard, and to help clients have the confidence to ask questions and be involved in different medical procedures and choices.

What reaction will I get from my OB or hospital if I hire a Doula?
Doulas are slowly becoming a respected member of the maternity care team, but I do stress the word slowly. There is still apprehension that exists due to some Doulas practicing outside of an appropriate scope of practice or being argumentative and inappropriate with hospital staff. This is a struggle for Doulas who abide by a professional code of conduct.  Through an ever expanding pool of certified Doulas and marketing of best practices, this apprehension can be turned into repeated positive experiences for medical staff with the end goal of a Doula being a supported member of the maternity care team. Midwives are often very pleased when clients express the desire to hire a Doula, and obstetricians are slowly warming up to it as well. In the end, it is your choice to hire and have a Doula present for your birth. You are the one giving birth, not your care provider.

How to choose a Doula
Choosing a Doula comes down to personality and fit. I suggest that you interview quite a few Doulas before settling on “the one”.  Get references and ask a lot of questions. Remember that your Doula is going to be a main support to you during one the most vulnerable times of your life, so make sure that you feel comfortable, and most of all, like her. If you are looking for a doula in your area and can’t find one through a basic Google search you can check out www.dona.org.

But Doulas can be expensive…why should you consider one?
The value of labor support is to ensure the presence of an experienced and focused partner in your journey through your birth experience. A Doula adds value to an expectant mother by knowing how to read her needs and adds value for her partner as someone to coach them and support their needs as well.

The hiring of a Doula should be something that all expectant families consider with as much care as they use when choosing a car seat or a stroller. After all, this is the birth of your child and you won’t get a second chance to make sure that you are prepared for this life experience.

About Annie: Annie is a Doula and prenatal educator committed to supporting and nurturing women and their families through their birth experience. Her goal as a Doula is to help each woman develop her own confidence and ability to give birth the way she wants to. She practices in Toronto, On. She runs her blog: www.doulaannie.com, teaches classes through www.prenatalclassestoronto.com, and runs an online prenatal class www.mybirthonline.ca. Have a question? Contact her: annie@doulaannie.com

References:
Kennel and Klaus, DONA Position Paper and Klaus, “Maternal Assistance and Support in Labor”

McGrath SK, Kennell JH, “Induction of labor and Doula support,” Pediatric Res, 43(4):Part II, 14A, 1998.

Preparing For Your Pregnancy

03 May
by Kristen, posted in Blog   |  No Comments


In honor of Pregnancy Awareness month, the next few weeks’ posts will feature guest bloggers who specialize in this area.  So if you’re pregnant, have little ones at home, or a woman of childbearing age, you don’t want to miss this month’s posts!

By Kim Corrigan-Oliver, CNP ROHP at Your Green Baby 

I am often amazed at how little thought and time woman take in preparing their body for pregnancy. The journey of pregnancy is a demanding one; you are building a human being from scratch…yes, you are building a human being. It truly is an amazing gift women have been given, and preparing for this journey before you conceive sets the foundation to support a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.

Research now suggests your preconception nutritional status sets the foundation of your baby’s long term health and well being.  With this in mind, what should you be eating preconception?

Fresh Fruits & Vegetables.  Fruits and vegetables supply the body with minerals, vitamins, enzymes, antioxidants and phyto-nutrients.  Eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables will ensure you get all the nutrients you need.  Aim for lots of color and choose organic as much as possible.  Don’t forget about nutrient dense dark green leafy vegetables like kale, collard greens, watercress, swiss chard, spinach, etc.  These are especially important because they supply so many vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A and C, calcium, and iron.  Leafy green vegetables are also a rich source of folate, a must-have nutrient for any woman trying to conceive. Folate is a B-vitamin that prevents serious birth defects. Folate deficiency has also been linked to infertility. 

Protein.  Required for every function in the body, protein is very important for health and well being.  Protein is important for building tissues, muscles and digestive enzymes, and will help to stabilize blood sugar levels. Choosing plant-based proteins is best for optimal health and well being.  Nuts and seeds, leafy green vegetables, beans and grains (especially quinoa) are excellent choices.  If you will be consuming meat or poultry, choose organic to avoid hormones, antibiotics and pesticides.  If choosing to eat fish, be cautious with your choices – avoid tuna, swordfish, Chilean sea bass, grouper, orange roughy, shark, king mackerel, halibut, bluefish and tilefish due to mercury concerns.  Instead focus on anchovy, mackerel, pollock, herring, rainbow trout, salmon (not farmed), sardines and smelt.

Carbohydrates.  Carbohydrates in the form of whole grains provide us with fiber, important minerals and vitamins and immune supporting properties.  Fiber is an extremely important nutrient in our diet – it helps the body get rid of excess hormones and helps stabilize blood sugar levels, which in turn aids in balancing hormones. It can be beneficial for some woman to avoid gluten.  Gluten is a protein found in some grains – wheat, spelt, kamut, barley and rye.  Many people have difficulty digesting gluten and are sensitive to it.  Creating an environment of healing is important preconception and avoiding foods that cause sensitivity is imperative.  Gluten is also known to be very sticky and can “gum” up the intestine, which in turn means things don’t move quite as well through your body.  Gluten free grains include quinoa, millet, oats, amaranth, rice, buckwheat, sorghum and teff.

Calcium rich foods.  Calcium is important to create an alkaline environment in the body, which is a very friendly environment for the sperm and the fertilized egg.  Choose plant-based calcium rich foods including sesame seeds, almonds, quinoa, chia seeds, beans, lentils and dark leafy green vegetables. Why choose plant-based calcium rich foods over dairy? Dairy is very congesting to our bodies.  This congestion can have an impact on your ability to conceive; even more so if you are experiencing any hormonal imbalances.  It is also important to note that non-organic dairy production uses hormones and antibiotics during production, both of which can lead to increased levels of estrogen in your body and hormonal imbalances – both unfavorable environments for conception.  When trying to conceive, it is best if we are easy on our digestive system; unfortunately for many of us dairy is difficult to digest.  When our digestive system is stressed the other systems in our body don’t work as well.  Your body must use a lot of energy to digest dairy; energy your body needs elsewhere to ensure optimum health and well being for conception.

Fats.  Fats are necessary for hormonal balance and the production of hormones.  The right fats control inflammation in the body, aid in the absorption of fat soluble vitamins, are important for healthy egg production and are important in every step of the reproductive process.  Omega-3 fatty acids are also very important in the development of the brain, nervous system and retina of your baby.  Choose fish oils, flaxseed oils, hemp seed oils, nuts (especially walnuts), chia seeds, hemp seeds, avocados and olives to meet your needs.  Minimize animal fats and avoid hydrogenated fats. 

If there was ever a time to provide optimum nutrition for your body, preconception is it!  During this time it is important to choose the freshest, healthiest and most natural foods to support reproductive and general health. By optimizing your health you will increase your chances of conceiving, having a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.  This is within your control; you have the power and the choice to make a difference in your health, fertility and in the health of your baby. Take control and become empowered.

About Kim:
Kim is a mom, holistic nutritionist and writer.  She is passionate about cooking, real food and raising happy healthy babies.  Kim specializes in mom, baby and toddler nutrition, offering workshops, consultations and cooking classes through her company Your Green Baby. She has recently published her first book “Raising Happy Healthy Babies” which focuses on nutrition preconception right through the toddler years and included 95 recipes for mom, baby and toddler.
 
Find out more about Kim and read her blog at www.yourgreenbaby.ca 
 
Receive daily tweets about mom, baby and toddler nutrition by following Kim’s Twitter page @yourgreenbaby