Supplements whilst pregnant and breastfeeding.

A question I have been asked a lot during both my first and second pregnancies and during my time breastfeeding after, is, is it safe for me to take protein powder? Do I take/use any other supplements during these precious times. It is at this point where my answer is always, ‘yes and no.’ The lines surrounding this subject are very important especially as it concerns the health of a baby, therefore, if you are thinking of taking protein and or supplements, it is important to know the ‘rules’ as well as how, when and how much is safe to use. On this blog post I will outline the basic – yes and no’s to what can be taken and what is a no go, however, I will be also uploading a VLOG, so that I can expand and talk about in more detail what supplements I take, what stages I take them and most importantly why I take them.

Prenatal Supplements: YES. Prenatal supplements are extremely important to take during pregnancy, even if you have a healthy diet and lifestyle, a prenatal will help cover any bits missed when it comes to getting a full dose of essential vitamins and minerals that you will need to take care of yourself and your growing baby. On another note, whilt breastfeeding many women choose to just continue with their prenatal vitamin, however, experts suggest that it is actually important breastfeeding mother make the transition from a prenatal vitamin to a postnatal vitamin. This is due to the fact that whilst nursing, the nutritional needs of a mother and baby are different to those of a pregnant woman and that certain vitamins are needed in different quantities such as Vitamin D.

Iron Supplements: YES. Many woman after giving birth are temporarily anaemic due to the massive blood loss. Iron supplementation is very important for some new mothers, yet maybe not as important for others, this widely varies from mother to mother, their birth stories and their general diets. One group of mothers it is important for regardless are those who have had a c-section, as iron supplementation is extremely important for the post operation recovery.

Probiotics: YES. During pregnancy the hormone oestrogen slows down everything that is happening within our digestive tracts, leading many mothers to continue to suffer even after birth constipation, wind, stomach cramps etc. Probiotics help to maintain a healthy digestive tract over the long run and results can be seen even from the first few days of taking them. Depending on the specific probiotic, most are safe for use during breastfeeding and even have been proven to help with maintaining a healthy digestive tract for baby too. No more colic! Although when buying an over the counter probiotic make sure to verify that it is indeed BREASTFEEDING SAFE before buying. 

Protein Powder: YES and NO. When it comes to protein powder it can be a red flag on whether you take it or not. Here it is important to understand how protein powder functions to help us and know how the other added artifical substances can harm/cause damage to our growing babies. There are also so many other factors that vary depending on age of baby, stage of pregnancy and the mother herself. I will expand more in detail on my upcoming VLOG on what type of proteins are okay and what types are a NO – GO. 

 

BCAA’s: NO. The term BCAA is short for ‘branched chain amino acids’. In short they are just basic protein building blocks for our body, so you may wonder, why not for a growing foetus? In general high levels of BCAA in children under 12 years of age have shown to cause mental retardation and brain damage, an unborn foetus or nursing child can inadvertently consume extra levels of BCAA through any kind of nutrition passed from the mother to the child during the pregnancy or nursing stages. This is why it has become a general rule for medical professionals to recommend that women who are pregnant or nursing not take any kind of BCAA supplement. It’s better to play it safe than sorry. 

Fat Burning Supplements: NO. Fat burning supplements usually are just made using a stimulant or a combination of stimulants in order to increase our metabollic rate, thus causing us to burn fat easier/quicker. If you have been pregnant or nursing before, you will know even every day stimulants such as caffeine has to be restricted during these sensitive periods of time. Why? Everything we consume, our child does too and if the effect of a stimulant can have such an impact on our body then inadvertantly it would be like giving crack cocaine to your child. So that is a definite no. 

L – Carnitine: YES. Whilst there is not enough research of L-carnitine use during pregnancy, it is better to be on the safe side and to not use it, however, during breastfeeding reseach has shown that it can help a mother bring her energy levels up during this time where a lot of energy consumption goes into making milk. Moreover research has also shown that small amounts of L-carnitine have had no side effects in nursing babies, yet large amounts of L-carnitine use has still not been researched. It can therefore be concluded that l-carnitine in moderation and at smaller doses is safe to take during breastfeeding. 


 

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WEEK 27 WORKOUT

15 minutes cycling – 67 calories – 5.06km distance

30 mins treadmill – 200 calories – 3.29km


40 mins treadmill – 275 calories – 4.31km

20 x 4 bicep culs (alternating)


15 mins cardio – 100 calories – 1.64km

20 x 4 double bicep curls 

6 x 30 adductor (short – pelvic pains) 

As you can see it’s getting harder for me to get into the gym nowadays, I’m honestly so big compared to last time (or so it feels like it) and on otp of that, most days I’m exhausted after being with a toddler all day and having a toddler that doesn’t sleep so well at night. However, on days that I do feel good, I try and get into the gym just so I don’t losetact with it. How are all your workouts going?

Week 26

This week, the nerves in baby’s ear are developing to become even more sensitive, which means baby can not only hear what you have to say, but even people who you may be making conversation with too – poor baby having to listen to Ayan’s toddler problems when he has them!

This week after 6 long weeks and a little bit of unnecessary weight gain (it is SO HARD being pregnant during the Christmas period) I have finally returned to the gym! Although I’m taking it easy as I obviously don’t want to push it after a long break (this is very important guys) I am sooo excited about this. Hopefully I won’t have fallen too far behind, although anyways this week I will be starting super light, mostly cardio just to get back into the flow and of course, I will be posting the workouts on the blog 🙂

In other news, I know it varies from woman to woman and of course for each individual pregnancy, but for me this week I’ve had an incredible burst of second trimester energy, which I’m so not complaining about as I do have so much to do, it’s great being able to get up early be running around all day, off to the gym, with some clients and then home again. I believe one of the things that majorly helped in achieving this energy is R O U T I N E. I totally cranked up my routine this year and try to for the most part stick to it strictly and it really has made a MAJOR difference believe it or not.

So enough about me, how are you all feeling this week?

WEEK 21

Week 21, baby is forever being a gymnast kicking and somersaulting around in there. During my last pregnancy I started feeling Ayan actually quite strongly (more than flutters) at this point, however, during this pregnancy I still wasn’t feeling a thing. Of course after reading so much about pregnancy I began to get paranoid and was so sure something was wrong with the baby, so rushed to my gynecologist for a scan only to find out baby is there, kicking and perfectly healthy, yet I on the other hand have a placenta which is placed on the fundul of the uterus and the anterior wall. What does this mean? This means that my placents is partially on the top wall of my uterus and partially on the front wall meaning to an extent is providing a cushioning pad when baby kicks. So there’s a funny story for this week. My husband however, was not amused, oops.

Aside from that most women are feeling pretty comfortable at this point, aside from the occasional ache and pain. This point in second trimester is one of my favourites as I’m big enough to look pregnant yet not fat. Small enough to still wear a few cute clothes and I still have enough energy to get through my day without resolving to being a crying mess at the end. The only downside during this week is that I’ve officially taken a break from the gym, for some reason this pregnancy (as I’m always complaining) my sciatica and back pain has been a lot worse and it resulted on some days me being barely able to walk…so take note girls, DO NOT OVER WORK your body during pregnancy. You can push a little, however, if you have a serious pain, rest it, don’t push it as you’ll only be causing more harm and stress to yourself, which can even cause stress to baby!

Week 20 + Workout

At week 20 baby is putting their digestive system into practise, swallowing the amniotic fluid around them, then urinating or producing a sticky black substance called MECONIUM. This gooey substance will accumulate in his bowels and you will see it in his first soiled diaper (I never actually got to see it last time round thanks to the hubby doing all the nappy changes) – however, maybe this time round.

For us this week it is also a great week because WE HAVE REACHED THE HALFWAY MARK definitely a reason to celebrate! Your uterus should be up to your belly button by now and if you didn’t already have one then a bump surely should be visible (even if it is tiny) this pregnancy, my bump was huuuge, however, my last pregnancy it was cute, tiny and low, however my weight hasn’t varied so much, so it surely is as we already knew, every pregnancy is so very different! 

In other news, as I said in my previous blog post, I considered at some point during week 19 to take a break from the gym as my back pain and sciatica was just getting so bad that I was barely doing anything at the gym. So this week I did manage to get into the gym a few times and then I took a break for a very long time. So this is the last workout that I will be posting for a while!

 

Light walking

1.72km – 15 mins

2o reps x 4 sets each arm bicep curls

12 reps x 4 sets wide squats

20 reps x 4 sers tricep pull downs

20 reps x 4 sets leg press

30 reps x 4 sers adductor

1.25km – 12 mins treadmill – 102 calories

12 reps x 4 sets wide squats 

20 reps x 4 sets leg extension

8 reps each side x 4 sets glute kick backs

Week 19 + Workout

This week marks a super important week during the pregnancy (I ironically say, as I know, I know EVERY week is important during pregnancy). However, this week is one of my favourites as remember all that food you ate last week? Well hopefully it was as nutritional as you could manage because this week baby needs all that excess energy to develop his/her SENSORY SKILLS! What does this mean? This means that baby’s brain is designating specialised areas for touch, taste, hearing, vision and smell. Research suggests that baby can actually begin to hear our voices round about this week, so don’t be shy to read, speak or sing to baby – during my first pregnancy I found this an extremely embarrasing thing to do for some reason, even when I was alone, so didn’t do it much. However this pregnancy as I already have a toddler, I am forever singing baby songs, reading baby books etc. etc. so I sure hope my little one is hearing it all in there too!

Below is my (sciatic)  workout. I don’t believe what I do at the gym can be called workout anymore due to the fact that I barely do anything from the back pain (pregnancy for you), however, as I still documented it, I’ll just write it down anyways so that you guys can see what I did, however after these poor performances, I seriously considered taking a looong break from the gym until my back healed a little!

10 mins cardio – 41 calories

20 reps x 4 sets double bicep curls 

10 mins cardio 

20 reps x 4 sets adductor

10 mins walking 

Oblique side bends 10 reps each side x 4 sets 

10 mins running 



WEEK 18 + workout

At week 18 baby already weighs about 7 ounces, about the wight of a BELL PEPPER, they’re also roughly around this size too. Baby is practising flexing those teeny little arms and legs and soon in the upcoming weeks, you’ll definitely start to feel those too! Exciting!

Another symptom for us mama’s which I was DEFINITELY feeling, is an increase in appetite. As baby is growing bigger by the minute there is a bigger demand from our bodies for more nutrients and more energy (from food). Although in comparison to my first pregnancy where I ate very healthy, I have found that this pregnancy eating healthy has been a difficult task for me, however, I still try every day (even if I do mess up by the end of the night) – and this is what is the most important! Also as you guys already know, even if I don’t manage a kick ass workout, I always try at least to get my ass IN the gym, just so that I don’t get OUT of routine, so below is my workout for week 18.

 

.N.B. my workouts are not extreme AT ALL because my sciatica from this week has been extremely bad, so bad that sometimes I could barely walk, however, I have managed to ‘control’ the symptoms without painkillers and will post a blog post soon about helping sciatics during pregnancy.

10 minutes cycling – 50 calories 

20 minutes walking – 80 calories 

17 mins cycling – 100 calories 

5km on treadmill – 38 mins – 345 calories

WEEK 13 WORKOUT

20 mins cardio – 221 calories 

15 reps x 4 sets double bicep curls

70 reps inner thigh abductor

12 reps x 4 sets tricep pull downs

20 reps x 4 sets thigh adductor 

15 reps x 4 sets thigh abductor

12 reps x 2 sets bicep curls 

10 ab crunchers

10 mins walking 

20 reps x 4 sets bicep curls 

20 reps x 4 sets each side oblique crunches 

20 reps x 4 sets pull down crunches

20 reps x 2 sets crunches 

20 reps x 3 sets oblique crunches 

12 reps x 2 sets lying full leg raisers

10 minutes walking 

Week 9 + Workout

FUN FACT: Baby is the size of a GRAPE

At 9 weeks, baby is now the size of a grape so about 1 inch long. The four little chambers of baby’s heart has now finished forming and it is time to fine tune the valves of the heart. Beneath those mini pink gums the first set of teeth have already formed, can you believe that? Ready for those days of teething after baby is born.The iconic ‘tail’ is now completely gone and baby is looking more and more human by the day, am I the only one who finds the idea of a mini 1 inch human so cute? Two other things which are now fully formed but which will not be able to be seen for a while are baby’s genitals, and also baby’s eyes. Where genitals will only be able to be seen on an ultrasound in about a month and eyes at about the 27 week mark of pregnancy when they are no longer fused shut.

And how are the momma’s feeling? Still not visible to the outside world, you may personally begin to feel some thickening at the waist, this is due to bloating, a growing uterus and even the widening of the hips preparing for that cute little baby. You (or maybe even your loved ones) will be noticing more and more mood swings by this point, blame the hormones, they are definitely responsible for causing all this chaos, however, don’t fear, they should level out at some point at the end of first trimester. Some will still not have made it to the gym yet, this is perfectly normal, I managed to make an entrance twice this week, workouts will be down below. ps. Any funny mood swing stories? Comment or message them to me, I’d love to take a read! 

Workout 1

10 mins cardio – 105 calories

6 sets x 20 reps each side (increasing weight) standing oblique crunch

4 sets x 15 reps v crunches on bench 

4 sets x 20 reps tricep pull down

4 sets x 20 reps oblique crunches 

4 sets x 20 reps cable crunches 

10 minutes run 

Workout 2 

10 mins cardio – 100 calorie 

4 sets x 15 bicep curls 

4 sets x 20 each side standing oblique crunch 

4 sets x 15 reps v crunches on bench 

4 sets x 20 reps reclining crunches

4 sets x 10 reps lying leg raises

4 sets x 10 reps ab roller

10 minutes cardio

Week 7 + Workout

FRUIT FACT: Baby is the size of a BLUEBERRY

During week 7 whilst now experiencing full blown pregnancy symptoms such as nausea, morning sickness, fatigue, bloating  – baby has since almost doubled in size since last week and is now the size of a blueberry! Crazy right? 

This week, baby’s hands and feet are forming from the emerging arms and legs attached to that tiny little body of theirs. The liver is already forming red blood cells – a job which it will do until the bone marrow is formed enough to take over the process. Also in that tiny abdomen area you will find an even teeny tinier appendix and pancreas, if that isn’t enough, baby’s umbilical cord now has it’s own distinct blood vessels to carry oxygen and nutrients to the baby and back. Imagine that, at only the size of a blueberry little baby’s body is already carrying out so many tasks, they are truly tiny little miracles. 

This week in contrast to last week I managed to carry out two workouts – below here’s my week 7 workout.

WEEK 7 WORKOUT

ABS

10 minutes cardio

20 reps x 4 sets dumbbell side bends

20 reps x 4 alternating bicep curls

20 x 4 oblique crunches

15reps x 4 sets lying leg raises 

20 reps adductor 

4 minutes cardio

A little bit  of LEGS

10 minutes cardio

30 reps x 4 sets leg extension 

20 reps x 4 sets adductor

15 reps x 4 sets wide squats 

20 reps x 4 sets tricep pushdown rope 

10 minutes cardio