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Running During Pregnancy

6 ways to run safe and strong during pregnancy.

Running During Pregnancy

Running during pregnancy has long been discouraged by health care professionals because of the changes the body undergoes. But what if you turned those physiological changes into an advantage to your prenatal and postpartum health? Running outside can significantly boost your immune system, it can help with high blood pressure, early signs of diabetes and osteoporosis. Because it keeps your arteries elastic and your heart healthy it can even lower your risk for a heart attack. On the emotional side it can aid in relieving stress and avoiding depression, and according to a recent article, running is said to be great for the brain, too.

Let me preface by saying that if you have never run as a form of exercise, pregnancy is not the time to start a rigorous regimen. Postpartum on the other hand, can be and I will get to that in a separate post.

But, if you are a runner and like to see improvements in your running, there’s an added bonus to running when you’re pregnant: imagine getting several months of altitude training without having to move anywhere? Because that’s a similar effect you get from running during pregnancy.

When elite runners do an altitude stint, they have to acclimatize to breathing being more difficult at elevation but they adapt and when they descend from altitude, their blood is rich with more hemoglobin and they can transport more oxygen which means they run faster with less effort.

When you get pregnant, you breathe harder because you put on weight but you also generate more blood plasma, which in turn transports more oxygen so after you deliver, there is a window of time when you are likely to see a boost in performance that will seem sudden or over night. The cumulative effect of shedding baby weight and reaping the benefits of heightened blood plasma levels can lead to a great increase in running performance postpartum.

So while we mostly talk about the risks of exercise in pregnancy and running during pregnancy as one of the biggest, it can be done and there is better fitness on the horizon to look forward to.

As with all exercise during pregnancy, please make sure to discuss it with your healthcare provider, but once you have their blessing, here are 6 tips to make running safe and enjoyable during pregnancy.

  1. Run by feel and not by time. If you are prone to tracking every mile and how fast you go, pregnancy will disappoint. You will be slower and you will most likely run less (far). Rather than focusing on miles, try focusing on time. Go for a 30 minute run and enjoy it.
  2. Forget about heart rate which is very unreliable during pregnancy and instead use the Borg Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE). It is a 15 point scale, beginning at 6 and ending at 20, with level 6 being no exertion (i.e. watching television, reading) while level 20 represents a maximal exertion which could only be sustained for a short time (i.e. an all out sprint at the end of a race). The American College of Gynecologists and Obstetricians recommends that pregnant women keep their exertion level in the “somewhat hard” category which correlates to a 12-14 on the Borg RPE scale.
  3. Invest in a pregnancy belt to support your belly. Two suggestions that I have received from two amazing mother runners are the Gabrialla Maternity Support Belt and the Amon Maternity Behold Belly Support Band. They can help with round ligament pain and generally make the belly feel stable and supported.
  4. Stay hydrated, make sure that there are restrooms along the route and invest in body chafing cream (sorry, I went there). Your body needs water to form amniotic fluid to produce more blood so you need to drink up. But your shorts will also fit a little tighter (Vaseline on your inner thighs will help), apart from that extra weight pressing on your bladder. So make sure to plan for pit stops along your running route.
  5. Supplement the running with strength training and yoga. Carrying more weight means that you need more strength. Make sure to include glute-bridges, lunges and squats into your routine to keep your legs happy and running strong. Add in yoga to stay supple in the hips which can tighten up through running and especially as your pregnancy progresses and you start feeling achier and stiffer.
  6. Back off to walking whenever you feel the slightest discomfort. Pregnancy is not the time to set PRs and be competitive. Not in real life, nor online. You will see women running blissfully throughout their pregnancy, you will see moms gaining less weight and look different. However, this is the time to listen inward and back off whether it is during a run and adding in a few minutes of walking or throwing in the towel until you deliver your baby.

I know you’ll be back on the track in no time. Remember, it’s a marathon and not a sprint.

Image source.

Time-saving formula tips our editors swear by

Less time making bottles, more time snuggling.

As a new parent, it can feel like feeding your baby is a full-time job—with a very demanding nightshift. Add in the additional steps it takes to prepare a bottle of formula and, well… we don't blame you if you're eager to save some time when you can. After all, that means more time for snuggling your baby or practicing your own well-deserved self-care.

Here's the upside: Many, many formula-feeding mamas before you have experienced the same thing, and they've developed some excellent tricks that can help you mix up a bottle in record time. Here are the best time-saving formula tips from editors here at Motherly.

1. Use room temperature water

The top suggestion that came up time and time again was to introduce bottles with room temperature water from the beginning. That way, you can make a bottle whenever you need it without worrying about warming up water—which is a total lifesaver when you have to make a bottle on the go or in the middle of the night.

2. Buy online to save shopping time

You'll need a lot of formula throughout the first year and beyond—so finding a brand like Comforts, which offers high-quality infant formula at lower prices, will help you save a substantial amount of money. Not to mention, you can order online or find the formula on shelves during your standard shopping trip—and that'll save you so much time and effort as well.

3. Pre-measure nighttime bottles

The middle of the night is the last time you'll want to spend precious minutes mixing up a bottle. Instead, our editors suggest measuring out the correct amount of powder formula into a bottle and putting the necessary portion of water on your bedside table. That way, all you have to do is roll over and combine the water and formula in the bottle before feeding your baby. Sounds so much better than hiking all the way to the kitchen and back at 3 am, right?

4. Divide serving sizes for outings

Before leaving the house with your baby, divvy up any portions of formula and water that you may need during your outing. Then, when your baby is hungry, just combine the pre-measured water and powder serving in the bottle. Our editors confirm this is much easier than trying to portion out the right amount of water or formula while riding in the car.

5. Memorize the mental math

Soon enough, you'll be able to prepare a bottle in your sleep. But, especially in the beginning or when increasing your baby's serving, the mental math can take a bit of time. If #mombrain makes it tough to commit the measurements to memory, write up a cheat sheet for yourself or anyone else who will prepare your baby's bottle.

6. Warm up chilled formula with water

If you're the savvy kind of mom who prepares and refrigerates bottles for the day in advance, you'll probably want to bring it up to room temperature before serving. Rather than purchase a bottle warmer, our editors say the old-fashioned method works incredibly well: Just plunge the sealed bottle in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes and—voila!—it's ready to serve.

Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on Comfortsforbaby.com 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 support Motherly and mamas.

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9 products that will help baby sleep better (and longer!)

For many parents, attempting naps and bedtime can seem like a never-ending cycle of rocking, shushing and hoping for some kind of magic sleep solution.

How do I get my baby to sleep? This is one of the most commonly asked questions among new parents, and it makes sense, given that babies are born with their days and nights mixed up. For many parents, attempting naps and bedtime can seem like a never-ending cycle of rocking, shushing and hoping for some kind of magic sleep solution.

And while that might not exist (yet), we have found some of the best products out there that can help baby fall asleep faster and for longer durations. Because when baby is sleeping, so are you!

Dreamland Baby weighted sleep sack and swaddle

Designed by a mama, parents swear by this weighted sleep sack. It mimics your hug to give your baby security and comfort that helps them get to sleep faster and stay asleep longer. The detachable swaddle wing makes it easy to transition as they grow.

It's also super easy to get on and off, and includes a bottom-up zipper for late night changes, so you don't have to wake your baby in the process.

$79

Yogasleep Hushh portable sound machine

Yogasleep hushh sound machine

With three soothing options, this is a perfect solution to help your baby settle when naps are on the go and during travel! I love how compact this noise machine is and that it can run all night with one charge.

$30

Bebe au Lait muslin crib sheets

Burt's Bees Organic Crib Sheets

With a variety of print options to choose from, these breathable sheets are *so* soft and smooth, even through multiple washes. The luxury fabric keeps little ones warm without overheating—a formula that helps ensure more sleep for everyone.

$32

The Simple Folk perfect pajamas

The Simple Folk perfect pajamas

You know what's going to help baby have their best sleep ever? Some quality, super soft pajamas. The timeless (and aptly named!) Perfect Pajama from The Simple Folk are some of our favorites. They last forever and they're made from organic pima cotton that is safe on baby's precious skin. They come in a wide range of sizes so siblings can match and feature fold-over hand covers on sizes up to 12 months.

$37

The Snoo bassinet

Snoo

Designed by expert pediatrician and sleep guru Dr. Harvey Karp, the Snoo bassinet gently rocks your baby to sleep while snuggled up in the built-in swaddle. Not only does it come with sensors that adjust the white noise and movement based on your baby's needs, there is also an app that allows you to adjust the settings directly from your phone.

While this item is a bit on the expensive side, there is now an option to rent for $3.50 a day, which is a total game changer!

$1295

Hatch Baby Rest sound machine + nightlight

best baby sound machine

The Hatch Baby Rest is a dual sound machine and nightlight that will grow with your family. Many parents use this product with their infants as a white-noise machine and then as a "time to rise" solution for toddlers.

The thing I love most about this product is that the light it gives off isn't too bright, and you can even select different color preferences; giving your toddler choices at bedtime.

$59.99

Crane humidifier

Crane Humidifier

The only thing worse than a sick baby is a baby who is sick and not sleeping well. The Crane humidifier helps take care of this by relieving congestion and helping your baby breathe better while sleeping.

Personally, I think the adorable design options alone are enough of a reason to purchase this product, and your child will love watching steam come out of the elephant's trunk!

$46.99

Naturepedic organic crib mattress

Naturpedic Lightweight Organic Mattress

In the first few months of life, babies can spend up to 17 hours a day sleeping, so choosing a mattress that is safe (read: no chemicals!) and comfortable is incredibly important.

Naturepedic uses allergen-friendly and waterproof materials with babies and children in mind, making them easy to clean and giving you peace of mind.

$259.00

Happiest Baby sleepea 5-second swaddle

best baby swaddle

There are baby swaddles and then there is Sleepea. Similar to the brand's swaddle that is built into the Snoo, the Sleepea is magic for multiple reasons. First, it's got mesh panels ensuring baby never overheats. Second, the zipper zips from the top or the bottom, so you can change the baby's diaper in the middle of the night without ever waking them. Third, it's hip safe. Fourth, the patterns are SO cute. And fifth, the interior swaddle wrap that keeps baby's ams down has a "quiet" velcro that won't wake baby if you need to readjust while they're asleep.

$27.95

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A few years ago, while my wife's baby bump got bigger and my daddy reading list grew longer, I felt cautiously optimistic that this parenthood thing would, somehow, suddenly click one day. The baby would come, instincts would kick in, and the transition from established couple to a new family would be tiring but not baffling.

Boy was I wrong.

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