Exercise during pregnancy was once believed to be harmful, but over the last few decades studies have uncovered a slew of benefits. Most
recently, a study revealed that exercise improves the cardiovascular health of
mothers and their developing babies.
Researchers at Kansas City University found that babies
whose mothers exercised during pregnancy had lower heart rates that persisted
one month after birth. "This exposure to maternal exercise has influenced
the way that the nervous system and the way that the heart has developed, so
that even after the baby is born and is not being exposed to mom's exercise
anymore, you still see differences," said Linda E. May, exercise
physiologist and anatomist. The exercising group among the 61 women who took
part in the study engaged in activities like walking, yoga, running and weight
lifting at least 30 minutes a day, three days a week.
Previous studies have shown that exercise during pregnancy
reduces back pain, lowers blood pressure, improves mood, and provides a host of
other great benefits including a smoother postpartum recovery. Talk to your
doctor about exercising during pregnancy, then visit PregnancyWeekly’s 40
weeks of fitness for safe exercises you can take part in. Activities such
as scuba diving or some extreme sports are not safe during pregnancy.
Vegan diets have proven to be healthy for the planet as well as for the human body in most cases. People on vegan
diets tend to have lower rates of obesity, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, and certain types of cancers. During pregnancy, vegan
diets can provide all the nutrients you need but it will require conscious meal
The main concern that most health professionals have when
their patients decide to become vegan is
whether they are getting enough iron, calcium, vitamin B12, zinc and
omega 3’s. In order to make sure you are getting adequate amounts of these
nutrients, you typically need to consume fortified foods, nutritional
supplements and learn more about alternative food sources. It requires quite a
bit of work and that’s why many pregnant women opt to give in to cravings for
meat and dairy during their pregnancies. Actress Natalie Portman has been a
notorious vegan but recently decided to give in to some of her cravings. She
said during a recent phone interview: "I actually went back to being
vegetarian when I became pregnant, just because I felt like I wanted that
stuff. I was listening to my body to have eggs and dairy and that sort of
Another well-known vegan who is pregnant is Alicia
Silverstone, who has decided to stick to her vegan diet. She has been posting
some good information on her blog throughout her pregnancy, including excerpts
Vegetarian Pregnancy, and a recipe from
Alicia’s own vegan cookbook. Her new blog
is a fairly good resource for vegan mothers.
If you decide to eat vegan throughout your pregnancy and
while breastfeeding, please take the time to research what nutrients you will
need to pay special attention to and where to get them. Taking a prenatal supplement will often fill
in many of the gaps. This
article from Medicine Net is a great place to start. Also, the Vegetarian
Resource Group has a
section specifically for pregnant and nursing mothers.
Are you a vegan?
What are the benefits of a vegetarian and vegan diet? [MedicineNet]
A new study reveals what most parents were already aware of: parenting often takes precedence over personal health. New mothers in
particular tend to neglect their own health by eating unhealthy foods and not exercising
Over the course of ten years, 1520 young adults were
surveyed three times for the study that appears in this month’s issue of Pediatrics. Of the participants 149 were
parents. Although many moms in the study made healthy meals for themselves,
both parents were apt to eating their children’s leftovers that tended to be
unhealthy foods such as macaroni and cheese or chicken nuggets and fries. The
study found that mothers consumed an average of 400 more calories a day than
their childless peers. The calories were usually from sodas, sugary foods or
foods high in saturated fat.
Mothers also missed out on the amount of time spent
exercising. On average, they lost approximately 50 minutes of exercise time
compared to those without children. Fathers maintained a comparable amount of
clocked exercise time, except they participated in less moderate to vigorous
exercise – the best kind for heart health.
The researchers conclude the study by emphasizing the
importance of focusing on personal health, because the health habits of parents
generally determine the health of the entire family. They recommend asking for
help from friends and relatives in order to carve out the time needed to
exercise and further point out that exercise can encompass the whole family.
Park walks, playing tag and other family-friendly activities can help the whole
family stay fit.
Do you find ways to
exercise with the whole family?
Barbara Hannah Grufferman is a mother of two and author of "The Best of Everything After 50." She quit as president of a small business in
order to stay home with her daughters, after over a decade of career building.
When she did return to the workforce, she was over 50 and had been out of the
business world for almost seven years.
In an article for the Huffington Post, Barbara provides some
wonderful insight for other mothers returning to the workforce.
Create your own board
of directors. Barbara proposes meeting with a group of friends each week to
serve as an accountability board. They give you input and feedback on decisions
before you make them. She recommends giving each person 15 minutes to pitch
their life changes, whether starting a business, leaving a relationship or just
small life issues. The group provides feedback
and each person leaves with a to-do list to be completed by the following week.
The group is there to keep you motivated and on the right track.
Network. Meet new
people and put your plans out there. Learn as much as you can about the people
you meet. You never know when the right connection is going to surface.
appearance. For mothers returning to the workforce, this is tough but
helpful. Who cares about their appearance when they’re busy running after a
toddler? However, when you feel good about the way you look, you’ll feel more
confident in interviews. Put yourself together in a clean, professional fashion
and make sure you feel great.
Know yourself. Knowing
what kind of person you are can help you figure out your next move. Are you a
people person? Detail-oriented? A numbers person? A creative powerhouse? Let
your strengths and weaknesses determine which job is right for you.
List your skills. It’s
been awhile since you’ve used your work skills, but you’ve probably added a few
just by being a mom. Keep a running list of what you’re capable of.
Learn new skills. Sometimes
learning how to use a specific program can improve your marketability significantly.
If you want to enter a new field entirely, don’t be afraid to test the waters
with some classes on subjects you’ve never tried.
Research companies. Instead
of searching out companies that are looking for
employees, figure out which companies you would love to work for. Seek out
companies that are known for treating women well in the workplace; many such ratings can
be found online.
Have no regrets. Everyone
has regrets but there comes a time when you need to let go. Forget the person
you used to be and be proud of who you are now. Leave your guilt and regret at
the door and present yourself as fully accepting of your life decisions.
Life After 50: Derailed by the 'Mommy Track'? 10 Tips to Get
Back to Work [HuffPo]
The new health care plan implemented by Obama (dubbed "Obamacare" by conservatives) has provided relief for many parents with
children who have preexisting conditions such as autism. Unfortunately, in
tacit protest of the legislation, insurance companies have removed child-only
plans, leaving many children without any options for coverage, particularly
those being raised by retired grandparents.
The report of this news comes out of Texas, where it’s
estimated that thousands of children are without insurance. Executive director
of Texas Association for Health Care explains the situation in these terms: the
pre-existing condition language has been interpreted as meaning that insurance companies
will need to write plans for any child who applies and the companies assume parents
will wait until their child is sick to apply for benefits. Therefore, they have
just stopped offering plans altogether.
States are introducing legislation to force insurance
companies to review applications of children under 19 years of age.
Unfortunately, laissez-faire republicans in Texas would like to see the market
take care of itself, so passing legislation is not in their interest. Putting
“Obamacare” under the test of free markets is most likely their way of working
on an argument for repeal of the legislation.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas released a statement that
they were working on providing a child-only plan that would have “benefits and
rates appropriate to the new market requirements.” It’s unclear what kind of
coverage will eventually pop-up, if any does at all. For parents and guardians
who want to ensure their child, the hurdle could prove insurmountable until
insurance companies offer some kind of plan or states successfully legislate to
require child-only plans be provided. Currently, California, Kentucky,
Washington and New Hampshire have all passed legislation that ensures a
child-only plan is available to state residents.
Have you had trouble
finding a child-only health insurance policy?
Insurers Drop Child-Only Plans, Blame Health Reform [Texas