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New Mom FAQ

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By Kate Horney

I recently had the opportunity to chat with Jillian Michaels, a celebrity fitness trainer, author, and television personality known for her appearances on NBC’s The Biggest Loser.

Jillian recently wrote the book Yeah Baby! in which she and a team of top-notch experts cover various new mom topics including child development, pregnancy and so much more, and wanted to talk to mamas about some of the issues that the industry is ignoring. The book helps moms make the right choices for themselves and their little ones. From understanding the check-ups, tests, and treatments your doctor recommends to solutions for heartburn and swollen feet, and so much more.

It was so awesome to chat and especially to compare our thoughts on fitness for women – specifically women who are pregnant or postpartum. 

Jillian and I discussed how so much of the fitness industry is not where it should be when it comes to resources for moms, and that got me thinking…my goal is to arm you with the most cutting-edge information available, but I can’t do that if I don’t know your questions.

Below I’ll share some of the most frequently asked questions that have come to me from new moms. I’ll also share some of the topics that Jillian and I discussed, and some resources you can use to help you through your pregnancy and postpartum period.

The goal: to help moms everywhere manage pregnancy, have a healthy baby and bounce back better than ever. 

After you read through these new mom FAQ, please take a minute to let me know what else you would want added to this list!


Q: Can a mom’s hormones during pregnancy impact her baby?

A: Yes! This is a big topic that Jillian and I discussed. I’ve read quite a few studies that show that babies who are exposed to cortisol in the womb are more likely to have a cortisol spike after they’re born. These studies (read some here, here, and here) show the importance of not just focusing on training and nutrition, but also on the missing piece of the puzzle, in my opinion, for many women and moms: hormones. Jillian agreed and said, “Gestational diabetes, everything from that postpartum to fertility in the first place…it’s a hormone game, period.” Click here to read about the gestational diabetes test alternative that I used to ensure a healthy baby (and mama) during my pregnancies. 


Q: What’s the #1 nutrition thing to focus on? (It all seems so overwhelming!)

A: When we were chatting, Jillian mentioned that she likes to follow a three-step process when it comes to food, which is remove, restore, and rebalance. I loved that idea! The remove is obvious – remove the junk. Then, restore and rebalance your body with proper nutrition, things like: protein, produce, and healthy fats. It’s hard to boil proper nutrition down to just one thing, but to avoid it becoming overwhelming, focus on the 3 R’s – remove, restore, rebalance – by eating what I call the 2 P’s – protein & produce. 


Q: What do you do when you just don’t have the energy to work out?

A: First, look for ways you can improve your energy. Read more about how to keep your energy up during pregnancy here. If you’re in the postpartum period and are struggling with energy, be aware that fatigue is one of the big hormonal imbalance symptoms for new moms, and after that, give yourself some grace. Since becoming a mom, “just do something” has become my motto.

Really, it comes down to either doing something or nothing…it’s your choice. It’s ok if you can’t commit to a full workout today. In fact, when you’re pregnant and exhausted, or exhausted with a new baby, some days finding just 30 minutes in a row might be impossible. That’s ok! I suggest breaking up the time into 10-minute increments – then work your way up to 20 or 30-minute sessions as you can. The key is to do SOMETHING.  


Q: Is sleep really that important?

A: YES! One thing that Jillian and I both feel strongly about is that new moms need to prioritize sleep! It may seem impossible to get a full eight hours of sleep when you have a baby summoning you like clockwork throughout the night, but being sleep deprived will definitely make fat-loss harder. In one study, new moms who slept five hours or less a night were more likely to hold onto their extra pregnancy weight than women who slept seven hours. Yes, it’s much easier said than done, but don’t be afraid to ask for help from your partner, family or friends.

The old adage, “Sleep when the baby sleeps” is still great advice. When you’re tired, your body releases cortisol and other stress hormones that can promote fat storage. Plus, when you’re tired you simply don’t feel like taking good care of yourself. Moms who are exhausted are less likely to choose healthy food and are more likely to raid the pantry and load up on stimulants and sugar. In addition, if you’re low on sleep, you are less likely to have the motivation to exercise. When you sleep your body restores and rebuilds muscle, burns fat and resets hormones to prepare your body to be energetic, motivated and ready for the next day. Go to bed early, and until the little one is sleeping through the night, make it a priority to nap when your baby naps.


Q: How can you prevent Diastasis Recti (DR) during pregnancy? 

A: Some degree of abdominal separation will always occur during pregnancy. This is because everyone’s core muscles have to expand to give room for the baby to grow! Us wonderful women are made to make babies and our amazing bodies are made to adapt to accommodate our baby without any third party help! So, in a lot of cases, the separation will not be severe and it will heal naturally post birth with no medical intervention.

diastasis recti

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In about 60% of pregnancies the abdominal separation will be wider than 2 – 2.5 finger widths apart and you will be considered to have DR during your pregnancy. DR in pregnancy will, in most cases, heal naturally post birth, especially if you take the right steps and do the correct exercises!

There are many things that can be done during pregnancy to limit or prevent DR.  (Read more here!) 


Q: What’s the best way to lose the baby weight?

A: There is a TON of conflicting information out there about how to lose baby weight. I’ll be completely honest when I tell you that the fitness industry is NOT where it should be when it comes to rescues for moms. It frustrates me that so many trainers fail to give moms the REAL LIFE tools they need to look good and feel great after having a baby. This is one of the most frequently asked questions I get from moms, and Jillian agreed – “How to lose baby weight” is a question that almost all moms ask. Whether it’s a pregnant mama who is worried about how to lose baby weight when the time comes postpartum, or it’s a postpartum mom who is wondering how to get rid of those extra pounds packed on during pregnancy now that her bundle of joy is here. The snuggles are great, but the scale isn’t moving.

There is so much that can be said when it comes to losing baby weight. If I had to narrow it down to the BASICS, because let’s face it, if you’re a busy mom, you don’t have time to spend hours reading this blog, it would be this: HEALING first, then training & nutrition, and then the missing piece of the “how to lose baby weight” puzzle: fixing your fat fighting hormones. 


Need some more fit pregnancy tips and tricks?  


What are some of the biggest questions you have or had as a new mom? If there’s a topic that’s not covered or that you’d like more info on, email me!

 


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If you’re a pregnant mom who wants to check out Jillian’s newest book Yeah Baby! Click HERE!  
 


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