Exercise and Supplements in Pregnancy

28 November 2012

Oh, yes please Grace, tell us more about your never ending pregnancy.

Fine.

I know, I know ... I'm not a health professional nor am I any sort of pregnancy veteran and probably zero people (pregnant or not) care about my exercise regimen or the horse pills that I throw back on the daily but ... here I am ... typing and advising away.


Supplements:
I should probably preface this by admitting that I am guilty of taking those useless gummy prenatal vitamins that have almost no effect on my overall health other than probably only slightly elevating my blood sugar for a few minutes after I scarf them down so don't think that I consider myself any sort of free range health nut because I do not.

Blood Builder I don't know many ladies that don't suffer from at least mild anemia when they are pregnant. My mom is a reflexologist and a natural medicine guru and sent me this stuff as soon as there was even a hint of lowish iron levels with Julia's pregnancy and it shot my red blood cell count right back up to the normal range. I started taking it right away with Sebastian's pregnancy and never had a problem but didn't have any on hand at the beginning of this pregnancy and my levels were extremely low in the first trimester but one Amazon order later ... I was good as new. Blood Builder is great because it has folic acid as well and doesn't have any of the nasty side effects that taking straight iron supplements does. Get it and take it and kiss your Anemia and (some) fatigue goodbye.

Magnesium 400 mg Like most pregs in their third trimester I start to get a little achy and my ribs start to hurt and I like to complain at night about how I just feel (wait for it ...) "SO pregnant!!" Simon mentioned that one of the attending doctors he works with recommends that his patients take 400 of magnesium a day to help with the "aches and pains" associated with pregnancy. Maybe it was/is a placebo effect but as soon as I started taking it I felt a million times better than I had. I do think the baby dropped a little and helped with the rib cage achiness and overall soreness but I'm not going to take my chances and stop taking it. I take it at night and I have no idea if that matters or not. My heartburn also improved significantly and that could just be a crazy coincidence.

Super B-Complex Vitamin: There's probably almost no way to escape at least a little bit of overall fatigue throughout one's pregnancy but I was feeling especially worn down at the beginning of the second trimester this time around, you know, when you're supposed to start feeling that "burst of energy"? I started taking this B-Complex in the morning and again ... blame it on the effect of the placebo but I really noticed a difference and even on the days that the kids got in the way of my coffee/creamer drinking ... I felt a lot better than I had the previous weeks. I would imagine it would have a similar effect even if you aren't pregnant, right?

Exercise:
Without overdoing it, I'm a firm believer that the more active I am, the better I feel. I know - crazy. I find this to be especially true during pregnancy. I can tell when I've let a few days go by with my only physical exertion being that of dragging Sebastian away from the toilet and lifting a fickle Julia in and out and in and out and in and out of her crib because I feel restless and extra tired. Of course, even with regular exercise, I still have those afternoons that the mere thought of carrying Sebastian upstairs for his nap makes me really tired and really grumpy.

Running: I know I suffer from a bit of pregnancy amnesia and don't remember how bad my morning sickness was with Julia and Sebastian but it felt especially bad this time around. I found that a little cocktail of Zofran, one (cooked) egg, and a run in the morning before the temperature hit 111 degrees kept the gross at bay. There was one week in which the jogger was out of commission due to a flat tire and I pretty much camped out on the futon in the basement because I felt so sick even with some protein and Zofran. Is running the answer to everyone's morning sickness woes? No ... but staying a little bit active was definitely the ticket for me this time around. And when I say "running" please know that I mean something along the lines of weeks 1-7 in the Couch to 5K program (lots of intervals) and my pace is bordering on that of a geriatric tortoise. I think I maybe ran (no walking) my entire route two whole times while pushing the kids this pregnancy and a few more when I escaped without them ... but other than that ... I love a good "walk 2 min, run 3 min" pattern.

Summer Sanders' Prenatal Workout: Eh. I don't love it but it makes me feel like I'm doing something when the physics of the belly doesn't allow for regular Jillian Michaels Ripped in 30 in the third trimester. I only ever do the express option for the 2nd trimester because the 3rd trimester involves a chair that I don't want to drag downstairs to the basement because I'm too lazy to be doing that for a workout.

10 Minute Solution - Kickbox Bootcamp: I hate/love this lady. She has an Australian accent and a body made entirely of steel and wears camo capri pants and is totally nuts. You can easily do the arms and legs segments all throughout your pregnancy because you stay standing (lunging, squatting) throughout those portions and they aren't too killer. They are great for getting back into the swing of things in the postpartum period of "hell no I do not want to work out but I'm sick of feeling gross and stagnant so I guess I can handle this while the baby grunts and robot moves his/her little legs and arms in the bouncy chair" -- you know what I'm talking about.

10 Minute Solution: Prenatal Pilates: this should be reserved for the last 4-6ish weeks of pregnancy when you're feeling especially elephanty and don't want to move ... there is also a postpartum ab portion that I should probably check out in the Spring because my sister-in-law is getting married and I have a very pretty bridesmaid dress that I don't want to be spilling out of or layering 3 pairs of Spanx (fine, Assets) underneath that might inhibit my ability to dance the night away.

 
I'm sure you seasoned pregs have a zillion better tried and true tips to share .... and I hope you will. Thanks in advance. 

37 comments:

  1. oh, i'm totally bookmarking this in my "bump stuff" folder. that's right i troll mommy blogs and bookmark awesome lists like this for future reference. it may seem crazy now, but i have lots of info in that folder...it will be very useful one day! also your pregnant workout regime may be more intense than my non-pregnant one...woops! awesome tips! :)

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  2. Intrigued by the blood builder - may need to order me some.

    As for exercise, I get SUPER winded pretty much immediately upon getting pregnant, so my running went out the window. Shiva Rea's Prenatal Yoga is my go-to preggo exercise. I love it so much, even did it some when not preg. http://www.amazon.com/Prenatal-Yoga-Shiva-Rea/dp/B0000BYNMH

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  3. haha, love this! and love the Assets shout out!

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  4. I'm totally doing Jillian Michael's 40 minute trouble zones right now (9 weeks preggo) because my butt always get bigger faster than my belly. Ugh. Also, running/wogging. Zofran and Unisom are my best friends.

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  5. I think I need that blood stuff...never even heard of it. I took magnesium with my fifth pregnancy and it took away all my Charlie horses. And I'm a big fan of exercising pregnant or not, but you already know that!

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  6. Preggo veteran here - you are my idol, because I totally used pregnancy as an excuse to be a couch potato. That, and I couldn't stand the feeling of my belly being jostled. Great ideas on the vitamins. I couldn't stand those large horse pill ones they try and throw at you. Bleh. I love me some gummy vites, too!

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  7. I've only had one trip to the preggers circus, but 400 mg of Magnesium a day took me from leg cramps that had me waking up screaming bloody murder at all hours of the night to, like, barely a cramp to be had. If nothing else, it was a better placebo than a whole bunch of bananas.

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  8. And I wonder why I look so much bigger than you... Maybe I should get off the couch? Are you going to buy a triple jogger? Or make Julia run next to you? And do you love/like or hate your double? Trying to decide what to get this time around.
    Sorry for the obnoxious amount of questions, and thanks for the non-Jillian workout suggestions. I might actually try those!

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  9. Really glad to read about the blood builder since I'm a tad wary of just dumping high doses of iron into this 18week system. I try to you're this response as I speed walk on the treadmill....only second time doing this in the last month so can't tally be boasting here. Also glad to know about the magnesium. Wonder if it will help at all in the third tri with my bad back. Will have to see.

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    1. *ha! Read that "type this response"and "can't really be boasting"

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  10. hmmmm... wonder if the blood builder is only for pregnancy? ive been on those nasty stomach upseting iron supplements because i have such low iron and i would love to find something that works without causing more annoyance and discomfort.

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  11. The book, "Fertility, Cycles, and Nutrition" by Marilyn Shannon has some good, holistic pregnancy nutrition advice. I read through it when I was pregnant with my first baby and had awful ankle swelling. She recommends taking 50mg of B6 and 500 mg of Magnesium to reduce swelling and it totally works like a charm. I lost about 4 pounds of water weight at the end of my pregnancy and it was awesome. I've taken those supplements in each subsequent pregnancy and have never had any more problems with cankles.

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  12. Oh this is so wonderful! I only wish you would have posted abouttt 6 weeks ago, before Baby B'a arrival! Can I request a post-partum exercise/diet routine?! I am feeling soooo sluggish and will take any advice you can give! :)

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  13. Thanks for the helpful info! I am 27 weeks along with pregnancy #4 and have suffered through the aches/muscle cramps in the third trimester with the other pregnancies. Hopefully the supplements will help me avoid that this time around. I second the zofran/morning run/protein trifecta recommendation. If I miss one of the three components during the first 14 weeks I am guaranteed a rough go of it that day.

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  14. love! thanks for the tips :) what are the gummy brands you use and are you using any lotion/body rub to prevent stretch marks?

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  15. You seriously put me to shame when it comes to exercising, pregnant or not. I just have no motivation for it. I will go on walks until it gets below 50, then I have no desire to do that either. I just found out the hospital I am delivering at offers free yoga once a week so I am jumping on that so I can stop feeling so guilty about my laziness!

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  16. Where was Bettina's Blood Builder during my last 6 pregnancies? I can't take iron supplements because they leave me doubled over on the couch, begging God for the sweet, sweet release of death- but this magical elixir could have been just the ticket.

    Thanks Bettina. Had you kept a blog (and had I found it) back in '01-'02, all my pregnancy anemia may have been avoided.

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  17. Where were you when I was pregnant with #2. I totally get sick when taking pills, I wish I had known about the gummies. I just stopped taking everything. Uugg next time. :)

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  18. I had terrible morning sickness (all day long, naturally) the entire pregnancies with my first two boys. I started taking magnesium this time (boy #3!) at 14 weeks and noticed a substantial difference within a few days and actually managed to wean off of the zofran. I wish I'd tried it with the first two, in case it would have helped then too. I don't think it's a coincidence that helped with your heartburn, I'm pretty sure that I read that it helps with that too. I'm going to check out the blood builder supplement. I'm so run down and tired lately. I'm sure chasing around two wild toddler/preschool boys has nothing to do with that...

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  19. I'm definitely going to get on the Blood Builder and Magnesium trains. And you *may* have just inspired me to get back into my exercise routine even though the temps outside are frightening (read: below 50)...we'll see how tomorrow goes.
    I'm also curious if you like your double stroller. I'm in the market for one so any tips on that are more than welcome.

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  20. Blood Builder, eh? I always have low iron, but I haaaate taking iron pills. For you sake, I'll leave out the details.

    I am an exercise video junk-kay. I am going to look some of these up too.

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  21. Okay, I've been a blog stalker of yours forever, but I don't think I've ever actually commented before. I guess it took my passion for vitamins to spur me to action, haha. Anyway, I can vouch for how amazing B Complex is, even if you've never been pregnant! It's such a great energy boost, and I also find that it helps reduce stress as well.

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  22. I love the prenatal pilates video! I actually do the segments now...but over youtube! I actually find most prenatal workouts a laugh, but doing something has always made me feel 100% better. Actually, one that is pretty great (and pretty hilarious) is done by a woman who is/was in the Circus de Solei (sp??) It's long, but actually one that I can admit sweating to. Always a plus. I was actually just coveting Tracy Anderson's new prenatal workouts...but alas, one 28 weeker can't fathom spending $45 on a set of dvds that won't be used for very much longer :( This is sad for probably no one else but me. Because I'm a weirdo when it comes to things like this.

    Wait, am I really filling up your combox with a novel about pregnancy workouts? Yes, yes I am. Why can't we live closer and just workout together? That would really be hilarious. Did I mention my husband laughs at me all the time when he's in the room? Turd.

    As for the supplements, I would add probiotics and cod liver oil (or some type of fish oil). I agree about Magnesium! It's also a plus if you are taking iron. I have never heard of Blood Builder though! Good tip! Ok, that's enough exclamation marks for one comment. Praying for your pregnancy, as always. Great post.

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  23. Ok, If I take all these pills and do all of these DVDs every day, will I look itty-bitty pregnant like you next time around??? Pleaseee???

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  24. Blood builder? Never heard of it before, but it sounds like it would be helpful postpartum, too. After I had Rose I was a "little anemic" and described it to my doc as unusually tired/exhausted even for just having a baby... gonna definitely look into this for p.p. this time around. Oh, and Super B is awesome. Very good tips!

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  25. I'm not pregnant, but this post really helped me because I've been doing a lot of research in regards to what I need to do pre adn during pregnancy. I already take the BComplex. Glad to know I'm doing at least one thing right!!

    www.domesticatedworkingwoman.blogspot.com

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  26. Soooo...I am terribly ashamed of myself now. Thanks a mil for that! You do more preggers than I do, well, NOT. In fact, this is actually a nightmare come true for me and you do it willingly. i.fail.again. ;) Keep it up though, you totally look GREAT!

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  28. Thank you for this! I wonder if the magnesium will help with pelvic pain, this baby is the beating the ish out of me and my whoo-ha!

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  29. thanks for this! this is my first pregnancy and i'm 17 weeks and i STILL have morning sickness. did it last during all of your pregnancies or at some point does this go away? maybe it depends on the person.. i read at the beginning of the second trimester it is supposed to go away but i still haven't had that happen and am losing hope. i think it's LESS bad but it's definitely still there.. will this ever go away entirely??
    needless to say i'm really glad zofran exists!

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    1. Laura, mine lasted a bit longer than I thought it would, but hold out hope -- it could just take a while to calm down! Good luck. You and I aren't too far apart with our first pregnancies!

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    2. ew. I'm so sorry you are STILL sick. I think my magic number is around 16 weeks ... which feels like an eternity so I can't imagine going 17+ ... I've read that not eating ANY sugar (fruit included) really helps ... and taking Unisom at night really helped a lot too ... and ginger ... the kind they serve with sushi ... out of the jar (gross? I know) always tasted so good.

      I really hope you feel better SOON ... seriously. No matter how big I feel now I don't think there is anything worse than morning sickness 24/7!

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  30. Love this post! Running was the only thing that helped me not feel sick when I ate during my first trimester so I can totally vouch for that

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  31. Just wanted to let you know that I've been taking the B vitamin complex for about a week now and have REALLY noticed a difference in my energy level. Thanks for the suggestion!

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  32. good blog :) more info on anemia if required http://www.whatisanemia.info/

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  33. So I just found out I'm pregnant. Like barely 5 weeks. And I pretty much haven't really told anyone else yet, but I remembered that you wrote this post and came back to look it up. Would you suggest taking the supplements this early in the pregnancy? My symptoms aren't terrible at this point and I'm mostly waiting for the iceberg to hit the ship and getting really nervous (but am still excited!) for it.

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  34. I love Solray's Mega Stress B vitamin, I'm 34 weeks pregnant and notice a huge difference when I get lazy and "forget" to take them. I take when not pregnant too. Amazing!

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