Your Pregnancy Guide to The Gym

10 machines you should and shouldn't use at the gym when expecting.

Your Pregnancy Guide to The Gym

Need a workout that will keep you active and fit throughout pregnancy? You may find that pregnancy and all the (not so) fun side effects that come with it slow you down. But lucky for you, that is no reason to put your gym membership on ice. You just have to approach your workouts, new or old, with caution.

The gym may feel intimidating at first, but fear not, we’ve got the goods on the machines that are safe (and those that aren’t), plus the best classes, cardio and weight training for pregnant women. Here’s your pregnant woman guide to the gym.


Treat with caution or don’t use.

1. Abdominal Bench. As the name suggests, this bench, which is usually on an angle and works your abs, is target for your core. While you are pregnant, don't push yourself too much. There are gentler ways to maintain some core strength.

2. Bench press. Whenever you see guys lying on their backs and grunting trying to push out that barbell with several hundreds of pounds on it, keep walking. After the first trimester, lying on your back is strongly discouraged and you certainly don’t need to be pressing a weight off of your (expanding) chest.

3. Kettlebells. While they would be safe to use with a personal trainer, you shouldn’t attempt to swing them by yourself. The risk of injuring your lower back or pulling other muscles in your neck and back by lifting heavy kettlebells is too high.

4. Leg Extension Machine. This seated exercise where you extend your legs from a bent knee seems fine in theory, but the strain it poses on your lower abdominals and lower back is too much during pregnancy. Even low weights could potentially strain your belly too much and cause problems, such as diastasis recti.

5. Hyper extension bench. This machine normally works your back by placing your legs and lower abs on the machine and then lifting yourself up to a straight position, using your back muscles. When you are pregnant, you will most likely not be able to work around your bump, and the risk of falling is too high.

Use these machines for cardio and strength.

6. Treadmill. The treadmill is great to avoid falling or tripping outside and to be able to use year-round. Try and power walk or even run on it for great cardio. For added benefits, try walking slowly but at an incline of two percent to break a sweat.

7. Cables and pulleys. Sitting on a bench, you can do lat pulls both in front of your chest and behind your back to help your posture during pregnancy. If you are standing, you can challenge your stability in a lunge by pulling the cable towards you. Don’t use heavy weights, but focus on more repetitions.

8. Rowing machine. This is a great machine to work your cardio in a seated position. Make sure to really push into the legs to move the seat, and then pull the arms in to get a full body workout.

9. The Elliptical. You have probably made out a theme here. For low impact but a running-like motion, the elliptical is your machine. You can get a good cardio workout that is easier on your joints as you get bigger. For added variety, try pedaling both forward and then backward for a few minutes to target different muscle groups.

10. Exercise balls and Free weights. There are many upper body and arm exercises that you can do safely with smaller weights such as biceps curls and triceps extensions. Focus on doing one arm at a time, and place your feet hip width for a good foundation. The exercise ball is great for bridges lying on your back and lifting your hips with your legs on the ball, or you can just sit on it and bounce, which is a technique used during labor to help women relieve the pain.

Hopefully you will feel good enough throughout your pregnancy to make use of some the machines and exercises mentioned above. Let us know in the comments if you need additional suggestions and how you stayed fit while pregnant.

These are only the vitamins I give my children and here's why

It's hard to say who loves these more—my kids or me.

When I became a mama five years ago, I didn't put too much thought into whether my son was getting the right vitamins and minerals. From breastfeeding to steaming and pureeing his first bites of solid food, I was confident I was giving him everything to support his growth and development.

But then the toddler years—and the suddenly picky palate that accompanied them—came along. Between that challenge and two additional children in the mix… well, I knew my oldest son's eating plan was falling short in some vitamin and mineral categories.

I also knew how quickly he was growing, so I wanted to make sure he was getting the nutrients he needed (even on those days when he said "no, thank you" to any veggie I offered).

So when I discovered the new line of children's supplements from Nature's Way®, it felt like a serious weight off my chest. Thanks to supplements that support my children's musculoskeletal growth, their brain function, their immune systems, their eyes and more, I'm taken back to that simpler time when I was so confident my kids' vitamin needs were met.*

It wasn't just the variety of supplements offered by Nature's Way that won me over: As a vegetarian mama, I'm the picky one in the family when it comes to scanning labels and making sure they meet our standards. The trick is that most gummy vitamins are made with gelatin, which is not vegetarian friendly.

But just like the other offerings from Nature's Way that I've already come to know and love, the children's supplement line is held to a high standard. That means there's no high-fructose corn syrup, gelatin or common allergens to be found in the supplements. The best part? My two oldest kids ensure we never miss their daily vitamins—they are so in love with the gummy flavors, which include tropical fruit punch, lemonade and wild berry.

Nature's Way Kids Mulitvitamin

Meanwhile, my pharmacist husband has different criteria when evaluating supplements, especially when it comes to those for our kids. He appreciates the variety of options from Nature's Way, which gives us the ability to rotate the vitamins based on our kids' daily needs. By keeping various children's supplements from Nature's Way on hand, I can customize a regimen to suit my kids' individual requirements.

Of course, high-quality products often come at a higher price point. But (to my immense gratitude!) that isn't the case with Nature's Way, which retails for a competitive value when compared to the other items on the shelf.

Like all mamas, my chief concern is supporting my children's health in any way I can. While I see evidence of their growth every time I pack away clothes they've outgrown, I know there is much more growth that doesn't meet the eye. That's why, for my oldest son, I like stacking the Brain Builder gummy with the Growing Bones & Muscles gummy and the Happy & Healthy Multi. My 3-year-old also enjoys getting her own mix to include the Healthy Eyes gummy. And both of my older kids are quick to request the Tummy Soothe tablet when something isn't sitting right in their stomachs.* And I'll admit it: I've tried it myself and the berry blast flavor really is tasty!

Although my current phase of motherhood may not be as "simple" as it once was, there is so much to appreciate about it—like watching my kids play and sing and create with their incredible imaginations. Along the way, I've eased up on some of my need for control, but it does help to have this range of supplements in my motherhood tool kit. So while I may not be able to convince my son to try kale, having the Nature's Way supplements on hand means I do know he's right on track.*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

This article was sponsored by Nature's Way. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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Motherly editors’ 7 favorite hacks for organizing their diaper bags

Make frantically fishing around for a diaper a thing of the past!

As any parent knows, the term "diaper bag" only scratches the surface. In reality, this catchall holds so much more: a change of clothes, bottles, snacks, wipes and probably about a dozen more essential items.

Which makes finding the exact item you need, when you need it (read: A diaper when you're in public with a blowout on your hands) kind of tricky.

That's why organization is the name of the game when it comes to outings with your littles. We pooled the Motherly team of editors to learn some favorite hacks for organizing diaper bags. Here are our top tips.

1. Divide and conquer with small bags

Here's a tip we heard more than a few times: Use smaller storage bags to organize your stuff. Not only is this helpful for keeping related items together, but it can also help keep things from floating around in the expanse of the larger diaper bag. These bags don't have to be anything particularly fancy: an unused toiletry bag, pencil case or even plastic baggies will work.

2. Have an emergency changing kit

When you're dealing with a diaper blowout situation, it's not the time to go searching for a pack of wipes. Instead, assemble an emergency changing kit ahead of time by bundling a change of baby clothes, a fresh diaper, plenty of wipes and hand sanitizer in a bag you can quickly grab. We're partial to pop-top wipes that don't dry out or get dirty inside the diaper bag.

3. Simplify bottle prep

Organization isn't just being able to find what you need, but also having what you need. For formula-feeding on the go, keep an extra bottle with the formula you need measured out along with water to mix it up. You never know when your outing will take longer than expected—especially with a baby in the mix!

4. Get resealable snacks

When getting out with toddlers and older kids, snacks are the key to success. Still, it isn't fun to constantly dig crumbs out of the bottom of your diaper bag. Our editors love pouches with resealable caps and snacks that come in their own sealable containers. Travel-sized snacks like freeze-dried fruit crisps or meal-ready pouches can get an unfair reputation for being more expensive, but that isn't the case with the budget-friendly Comforts line.

5. Keep a carabiner on your keychain

You'll think a lot about what your child needs for an outing, but you can't forget this must-have: your keys. Add a carabiner to your keychain so you can hook them onto a loop inside your diaper bag. Trust us when we say it's a much better option than dumping out the bag's contents on your front step to find your house key!

6. Bundle your essentials

If your diaper bag doubles as your purse (and we bet it does) you're going to want easy access to your essentials, too. Dedicate a smaller storage bag of your diaper bag to items like your phone, wallet and lip balm. Then, when you're ready to transfer your items to a real purse, you don't have to look for them individually.

7. Keep wipes in an outer compartment

Baby wipes aren't just for diaper changes: They're also great for cleaning up messy faces, wiping off smudges, touching up your makeup and more. Since you'll be reaching for them time and time again, keep a container of sensitive baby wipes in an easily accessible outer compartment of your bag.

Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

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11 products to help parents survive the 4-month sleep regression 😴

So you—and baby—can start getting more rest.

Ah, the 4-month sleep regression...unlike, say, your baby's first solid food or her first steps, the 4-month sleep regression isn't a milestone that many parents typically look forward to. Whether you're currently in the midst of the madness or just anticipating what might be ahead, odds are you have some questions—and some worries—about this much talked-about sleep (or lack thereof) phase.

But guess what, mama? The news is good! According to experts, sleep regressions aren't really a thing; they're more like transitions. And they're actually a good thing—they mean your baby is growing, changing, developing, + finding new ways to interact with the world around them.

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