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Prenatal Ease for Mama and Baby

Prenatal Ease for Mama and Baby

Prenatal Ease is a line of products that help mothers from pre-conception through breastfeeding. Offering supplements, nourishing creams and oils for stretch marks, Prenatal Ease takes care of you and your baby’s bodies. These carefully formulated vitamins and high-quality, plant-based skin care use both science and traditional herbal remedies. Want to know more? Here we do a roundup of their products and what they are made of.

The Prenatal Ease Vitamins

Prenatal Ease Preconception

Prenatal Ease Preconception is a multivitamin specially formulated for women trying to get pregnant. The scientifically-based formula contains 23 essential vitamins and minerals to prepare your body for conception.

It’s a good idea for you to try to build up nutritional stores before getting pregnant as certain nutrients are important in helping to support women’s reproductive health. Prenatal Ease Preconception contains zinc, selenium, choline, inositol, iron, and vitamin D; all which contribute to fertility and the regulation of hormones.

The formulation also has powerful antioxidants such as beta-carotene, E, and C, to help neutralize free radicals that are generated from normal processes like ovulation, oocyte maturation, implantation, and embryogenesis. It also has beta-carotene, which is a precursor to vitamin A and is difficult to take too much of, unlike pure vitamin A.

Prenatal Ease Preconception also has the full suite of vitamin B complexes. Studies show that vitamin B12 can help the chances of ovulating while vitamin B6 has a role in helping with implantation and early placental development. Each capsule also contains 800 mcg of folate to help prevent neural tube defect. It has everything you need for a pre-conception vitamin.

Prenatal Ease Stage 1

Prenatal Ease Stage 1 is a prenatal multivitamin specially formulated for pregnant women in their first trimester (weeks 0-13). It contains 20 essential vitamins and minerals to support your developing baby, including vitamin B6 and ginger to help alleviate morning sickness and provide digestive comfort. It’s also recognized by The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (SOGC).

During the first trimester all the baby’s major organs take shape and your body will also undergo significant hormonal changes to accommodate the new baby. As a result, this is when you will start to notice common symptoms of pregnancy such as breast tenderness, fatigue, increased vaginal discharge, and morning sickness. Prenatal Ease Stage 1 does not use any drugs to help with the morning sickness but uses premium grade ginger.

Ginger has been used for thousands of years by many cultures and is known to be effective in treating motion sickness, postoperative nausea and morning sickness. Ginger is also recommended by The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (SOGC) in managing morning sickness.

Some studies have suggested that the high levels of iron in many “one-size-fits-all” prenatal multivitamins might be another cause of morning sickness. With the biggest demand for iron being in the second or third trimester where your blood volume increases dramatically; having vitamins tailored to your pregnancy stage can be helpful.

Prenatal Ease Stage 1 contains just enough iron for a healthy pregnancy, but not high enough to cause morning sickness, and constipation. Prenatal Ease Stage 1 follows all the latest recommendations by The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada for supporting prenatal health and helping to alleviate morning sickness.

Prenatal Ease Stage 2

Prenatal Ease Stage 2 is specially formulated for pregnant women in their second trimester (Weeks 13-26). This advanced formula is scientifically based and contains 19 essential vitamins and minerals to support and nourish both mom and the growing baby. It contains important vitamins like A, B, C, D & E to support your immune system and that healthy pregnancy glow.

During the second trimester, all the baby’s major body systems are in place and will continue to grow. Their skeletal system will begin to strengthen, creating a greater need for calcium. Prenatal Ease Stage 2 provides significantly more calcium and vitamin D than Stage 1 to help both of you get the calcium you need.

Luckily it is during the second trimester when morning sickness and fatigue start to settle down. As the baby matures, there is an increase in blood volume and blood flow to the womb to nourish the baby. Prenatal Ease Stage 2 provides just the right balance of iron to support increased blood production, but not enough to cause side effects like constipation.

Stage 2 contains powerful antioxidants such as vitamin A, E, and C, carefully balanced for the second trimester. These antioxidants help neutralize free radicals and are also critical for the formation of many different systems.

Prenatal Ease Stage 3

Prenatal Ease Stage 3 is a comprehensive multivitamin formulated for pregnant women in their third trimester (Weeks 26-40). This scientifically-based formula contains 21 essential vitamins and nutrients with a special herbal blend to help prepare your body for giving birth. It contains important nutrients like calcium, iron, vitamin B, D and K to maintain your vitality and keep you healthy.

During this phase, your baby begins to gain weight rapidly by storing fat and other minerals like iron, and calcium. Blood flow to your womb increases significantly to accommodate your baby’s growth spurt. Prenatal Ease Stage 3 ensures that you get the right levels of iron and calcium to support your baby’s growth.

Some mothers may experience abnormal blood sugar levels during the third trimester. Prenatal Ease Stage 3 contains essential minerals like chromium to help your body maintain normal blood sugar levels and glucose metabolism.

Many moms suffer from indigestion, bloating and constipation during this time due to the extra progesterone being created by your body. Progesterone helps to relax your muscles, but it can also relax the muscles in your gastrointestinal tract. Prenatal Ease Stage 3 contains peppermint to help relieve indigestion and bloating and it contains just the right amount of iron so that it doesn’t aggravate constipation, but still satisfy your body’s needs

Prenatal Ease Nursing

Prenatal Ease Nursing is a comprehensive multivitamin specially formulated for new moms who are breastfeeding. Containing 21 important vitamins and minerals essential for nursing your growing baby this scientifically based formulation will help replenish your body’s store of vitamins B, C, D, E & K, and iodine lost during nursing. It is a rich source of plant-based vitamin A, beta-carotene.

Breastfeeding can be nutritionally demanding on your body. A typical mother will need to consume an extra 500 calories to meet her body’s energy requirements. Your vitamin and mineral requirements will also change during this time. Many minerals like iron, zinc, and calcium need to be replenished as they are consumed by your baby for their growing body. Prenatal Ease Nursing will provide you with all the essential minerals and vitamins that are lost during breastfeeding.

Vitamin A is essential for the proper development of the baby’s eyes, heart, ears, limbs, bones, skin, and immune system. Unfortunately, newborns have very low levels of vitamin A and get all of it from breast milk. Prenatal Ease Nursing is a rich source of beta-carotene, a source of vitamin A. One of the benefits of taking beta-carotene instead of vitamin A is the difficulty of overdosing. Your body will only create more vitamin A from beta-carotene if you need it.

When babies are just born, they are deficient in vitamin K. Vitamin K is essential in making sure blood clots properly. Because of this once the baby is born they will typically receive a vitamin K injection. In addition to this injection, babies will continue to absorb vitamin K through breast

milk. Taking Prenatal Ease Nursing will help ensure you and your baby will get the necessary vitamin K.

Prenatal Ease Omega3 DHA

Prenatal Ease Omega 3 DHA is the perfect companion to all the Prenatal Ease products. You can take it before, during and after pregnancy. And it is great for dads too, especially when trying to conceive.

Omega 3 fatty acids are essential to your nutrition and can only be obtained through diet. The richest sources of Omega 3 are from oily fish, but unfortunately most women do not eat the recommended amount. Prenatal Ease Omega 3 DHA provides you with all the recommended Omega 3 fatty acids. Our fish oil is first made from fish that is naturally low in contaminates and then it is further purified through molecular distillation. They are then tested in house and by a third-party laboratory to ensure maximum purity and quality.

Within the Omega 3 fatty acids, the two most beneficial fatty acids are DHA and EPA. DHA is essential to fetal growth and development and is particularly important to visual and cognitive development. EPA supports the development of the cardiovascular, immune and inflammatory system. Studies also show that EPA is essential in helping the transportation of DHA through the placenta to the baby and it helps DHA get through the fetal cell membrane. Many studies have shown the benefits of taking both EPA and DHA together. Each serving of Prenatal Ease Omega 3 DHA has both DHA and EPA to ensure you get the maximum benefit of the Omega 3 fatty acids.

The Fight Against Stretchmarks

Stretch marks are partly related to the rapid weight gain and expansion of the abdominal wall. The collagen and elastin fibers in the dermis are rapidly thinned and stretched. The Prenatal Ease Belly Therapy line is designed to repair and nourish the stretching skin and sooth the itching that can occur during this process.

Prenatal Ease Ultimate Oil

Ultimate Oil is formulated with a nutrient-rich botanical blend to improve the skin’s appearance of stretch marks and relieve itchy, dry skin. It contains nourishing oils of Borage, Rosehip and Calendula, and highly purified extract of the Centella Asiatica herb and is packed with nutrients including Vitamin E, Gamma-Linolenic Acid (GLA) and Ferulic Acid. This advanced formulation promotes skin elasticity and resilience. When it is applied it is instantly absorbed, leaving your skin noticeably nourished.

Prenatal Ease Ultra-Nourishing Cream

The Belly Therapy Ultra-Nourishing Cream was designed to repair and nourish the stretching skin. It is made with a special blend of plant-based ingredients to promote skin’s elasticity and improve the skin’s appearance from stretch marks.

It has both Shea and Cocoa butters to alleviate chapping and itching due to dry skin and helps to protect the skin’s moisture barrier. The blend of highly purified extract of the Centella Asiatica herb and nourishing oils of Borage, Rosehip and Calendula helps to repair and revitalize skin. This advanced formula is non-staining and penetrates deep into the skin, leaving it nourished, soft and supple.

Prenatal Ease Hydrating Lotion

The lightweight and non-greasy lotion is made with a special blend of plant-based ingredients to help improve the skin’s appearance from stretch marks.

Like the Ultra-Nourishing Cream, the Hydrating Lotion contains both Shea and Cocoa butters to protect the skin’s moisture barrier, along with a highly purified extract of the Centella Asiatica herb and nourishing oils of Borage, Rosehip and Calendula to help repair and revitalize skin. This advanced formulation is light and non-staining and upon application the skin is instantly hydrated and refreshed.

Check the Mama Bear Shop for your Prenatal Ease needs!

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Tips To Sail Through 3rd Trimester

Tips To Sail Through 3rd Trimester 

The third trimester can feel daunting for many expectant Mamas (trust me, I’m in the same boat!). Not only because of the increased size of your belly making it harder to do pretty much everything, but also because of what comes after; the actual birth! The third trimester is going to take a lot out of you, but at the end you’re going to get to hold your little one in your arms, so it will all be worth it! In the meantime, here are five tips to help you feel as strong, confidant, supported, and well-rested as possible in your third trimester!  

Emotional Support

You’re likely feeling a lot of emotions right now. From joy and excitement to worry, anxiety and stress, the full emotional gamut is pretty normal during pregnancy, and especially in the third trimester as your little one’s due date approaches. Having someone, or ideally, several someones, to talk to is going to help you work through a lot of what you’re feeling and help give you the sense that everything is manageable. If you have a partner, they’re going to be an important emotional support for you in the third trimester, but your Mom, sister, aunt, and best friend are also great options. You shouldn’t feel like you have to be sunny and happy all the time – pregnancy is a beautiful wonderful thing, but for many women it can also be incredibly difficult. Talking about how you’re feeling and leaning on your emotional support system to help you through the rough patches. Many doctors and midwives can also refer you to a counsellor who specializes in pregnancy, should you feel you need some outside support.  

Mental Preparation in the Third Trimester

Later in the third trimester you’re going to be doing a lot of mental prep work for labour and the sleepless nights that come with having a newborn. It can be a good idea to start some of that work now – exercises like visualizing your labour, listening to birth stories, and talking through your birth plan with friends and family you trust can all help you feel more prepared. Don’t just look for dramatic or difficult birthing stories either – although all births are different, the majority proceed without complications or giving-birth-in-a-taxi moments. Your labour is going to be different than you expect of course, especially if you’re a first time Mom, but prepping for many possibilities and getting comfortable with the whole labour process will make it feel less scary and insurmountable.  

Diet

I know, I know, you’re sick to death of hearing that you need to eat a healthy, balanced diet during your pregnancy (and really, always).The third trimester is no different, but there are a couple foods you should pay special attention to this trimester. First up, magnesium-rich foods like dark green leafy veggies, nuts, whole grains and, of course, avocados (hey, its shaped like a uterus after all!). The next key area to focus on is protein-rich foods such as eggs, milk and meat (or tofu if you’re vegan or vegetarian). Calcium-rich foods like broccoli, cheese, peas and beans will be key for all the bones and teeth your little one is building up, and you can get lots of folic acid from Brussel sprouts, oranges and, and eggs and beans make a second appearance here! Finally, you’re going to want to eat lots of iron-rich foods like breads and pastas (yes, music to my ears!), beets, raspberries and dried fruits like apricots.  

Key Supplements For the Third Trimester

If you’re having a hard time getting all the vitamins and nutrients you and baby need through diet alone, it is important to take a high-quality prenatal multivitamin to supplement your diet. Most healthcare providers recommend taking a prenatal multivitamin throughout your pregnancy anyways, even if you’re meticulous about your diet (and if you are, we bow down to you because that is hard). Prenatal Ease Stage Three is a great option because it is specially formulated for the third trimester with increased levels of iron and calcium, plus all the other essential vitamins and nutrients, AND has minerals like chromium to help your body maintain normal blood sugar levels (which is a common third trimester problem). It also contains herbs to help with indigestion, bloating and constipation (yay pregnancy!) as well as Red Raspberry Leaf to prepare your body for labour. Well.ca has a special bundle right now just for moms in their third trimester which comes with Prenatal Ease Stage Three, plus Prenatal Ease Omega 3 DHA and Prenatal Ease’s Ultimate Oil which is awesome for preventing and reducing stretch marks!  

Exercise

If you have a normal, low-risk pregnancy and your doctor has given you the okay, light exercise in the third trimester is totally safe, and can help ease all the uncomfortable symptoms that are headed your way. The key here is light exercise – walking, swimming, and prenatal yoga are all excellent places to start, but you shouldn’t feel limited to just those either. Simple exercises to improve the strength and tone of your muscles are also encouraged. Try gentle squats, wall push-ups, lunges, leg lifts and arm workouts with light dumbbells for low-impact workouts that can be done at home. If anything hurts, stop immediately and talk to your healthcare provider before trying those exercises again. You can find guided prenatal workouts, including things like pilates, online. Pelvic floor exercises are also important to try out in the third trimester, as strengthening your pelvic floor is going to be key for the remainder of your pregnancy, your labour, birth, and how you feel postpartum. You could even check out digital pelvic floor exercisers like the Elise from TensCare, or go with a more old-school tool like these toning balls!   

No matter what you use to manage your third trimester, I hope these last three months of your pregnancy are safe, healthy and happy! Momma’s who’ve rocked the third trimester – what are your tips and tricks to manage the uncomfortable aspects of the last stage of pregnancy? Let us know in the comments or on social!  

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What Can I Do About Stretch Marks?

What Can I Do About Stretch Marks? 

Stretch marks can occur on the bodies of both women and men and aren’t just the result of pregnancy. For those who are unsure what they look like, stretch marks are narrow pink or purplish streaks or lines that may appear on the skin during pregnancy, weight gain or loss or after a growth spurt in adolescents. When they are the result of pregnancy they don’t always disappear after childbirth but they should become less noticeable. It’s good to remember that stretch marks aren’t harmful and don’t cause any medical problems. 

What Causes Stretch Marks

They show up in other circumstances but during pregnancy your hormones can soften the fibers of your skin, resulting in a loss of elasticity and creating stretch marks. You may get stretch marks on your stomach as your baby’s growth causes your skin to stretch and you may also develop them on your thighs and breasts as they get bigger. How it happens will be different for everyone but one of the first signs may be some itching.  

Are Stretch Marks Preventable

Stretch marks affect about 8 out of 10 pregnant women and aren’t always preventable, especially during pregnancy. If your weight gain is more than average in pregnancy, or you don’t have very stretchy skin to start with, you are more likely to get stretch marks. Every pregnant woman gains weight differently and there are no official guidelines so you should talk with your doctor about what to expect for a healthy level of weight gain.  

Gaining weight slowly and steadily during your pregnancy can help reduce the effect of stretch marks. Though some women feel self-conscious about their stretch marks, you should never try to lose weight while pregnant, this is not healthy for you or your baby. 

How Do You Treat Stretch Marks

There are a few options for treating and managing stretch marks. You can try: 

  • Using creams, gels, oils or lotions which should be applied when your stretch marks are still red or purple, and massaging the products into the skin will help 
  • Laser therapy 
  • Microdermabrasion 
  • Exfoliation 
  • Microneedling 

Even if your stretch marks don’t go away completely after your baby is born, they should gradually fade from a pink or purplish colour to white and become much less noticeable. Prenatal Ease offers some great solutions for treating stretch marks during and after pregnancy, including their Hydrating LotionUltimate Oil, or Ultra Nourishing Cream

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Five Common Misconceptions About Stretch Marks

Five Common Misconceptions About Stretch Marks 

Even with the access to information we have now, rumours, misconceptions and untruths are easy to come across. This bad information may lead you to think that you’re not at risk for developing stretch marks, or that you’ll never get rid of them, or that it’ll take some expensive and dangerous treatment to remove. So here are the facts about some of the most common myths. 

Stretch Marks Only Come With Pregnancy 

Anyone can develop stretch marks. Adolescent boys and girls sometimes get them due to hormone changes and growth spurts. People frequently get them due to rapid weight gain or steroid use. And many women find them on their thighs and buttocks for no reason at all, it’s just the way their body is. 

Stretch Marks Go Away On Their Own 

Though technically this is possible, it’s not very common. Most of the time stretch marks will not disappear completely on their own though they may fade overtime. But there are treatments that can help minimize or get rid of them. 

Stretch Mark Treatments Are Covered By Insurance 

Sadly, Canada’s healthcare plan and extended private insurance packages do not cover treatment for stretch marks. Procedures such as microdermabrasion, chemical peels, or tummy tucks can get rid of them, but because they do not cause health issues, such treatments are considered cosmetic. So you’ll need to check if your extended health plan covers cosmetic procedures. 

Stretch Marks Can’t Be Prevented 

There are a few ways that you can prevent stretch marks if you believe you might develop them. Keep your skin hydrated by drinking a lot of water will mean it’s less likely to break. Avoiding foods that are high in sugar can prevent the lower layers of your skin from becoming brittle. There are also stretch mark prevention products like Prenatal Ease’s Ultimate Oil, Hydrating Lotion, and Nourishing Cream, all of which help strengthen your skin and reduce your risk of developing stretch marks. 

Stretch Marks Will Never Go Away 

Both time and treatments can help fade or even remove stretch marks. There are over the counter options to try and procedures like laser therapy, microdermabrasion, and chemical peels. Research is constantly being done on how to best treat the skin and hopefully the future holds even more options to treat stretch marks. 

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Prevent Stretch Marks Naturally by Eating the Right Foods

Prevent Stretch Marks Naturally by Eating the Right Foods 

Nobody wants stretch marks, and they aren’t only caused by pregnancy but though they are natural and common, there are things you can do throughout your pregnancy to try and minimize them. Stretch marks are caused when the skin tears because it’s being pulled more tightly than it’s capable of stretching. It’s much like a rubber band. A new rubber band will stretch far and is difficult to break but over time, the rubber band loses its elasticity and becomes dry, brittle, and very easy to tear. 

Skin becomes less elastic with age because it produces less collagen. Collagen is a protein that keeps skin soft, youthful, and flexible. Depleted levels of collagen in the body results in wrinkles, and it can also result in a significantly increased chance of developing stretch marks at times when your body is changing due to pregnancy, weight gain, or weight loss. 

What to Eat to Beat Stretch Marks 

So though this is a natural process, what you eat can help encourage your body to produce more collagen and reduce your chance of stretch marks. Drinking enough water helps too. You should be drinking at least eight cups of water a day. What you should be eating are selected proteins, vegetables and fruits such as: 

Fruits Vegetables Lean Proteins 
Avocados 
Blackberries 
Blueberries 
Cherries 
Grapefruit 
Lemons 
Limes 
Oranges 
Raspberries 
Tomatoes 
Beets 
Broccoli 
Brussel
Sprouts 
Carrots 
Edamame 
Garlic 
Green
Beans 
Kale 
Red
Peppers 
Beans 
Chicken 
Egg Whites 
Lentils 
Oysters 
Peanuts 
Salmon 
Tofu 
Turkey 
Tuna 

Rein in the Sweet Tooth 

Collagen is a protein and when you consume too much sugar, the excess sugar in your blood will attach to the protein and damage it. If you want to prevent damage to your collagen fibers, don’t eat too much sugar frequently over long periods of time. 

Doctor First 

You should always talk to your doctor first before you make any big changes to your diet. Remember the health and safety of your baby and your body are the most important thing. Every body is different and has different needs. So let your doctor help you do what’s best for yours. 

Prevention Products 

Diet is only one method of trying to prevent stretch marks. There are creams, oils, and lotions available that, when applied regularly, will soften skin and encourage continued elasticity. Brands like Prenatal Ease have options made of a special blend of plant-based ingredients such as their Ultimate OilUltra Nourishing Cream, or Hydrating Lotion. They repair and nourish the skin as the collagen and the elastin fibers in the dermis are rapidly thinned and stretched. 

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Living With Hyperemesis Gravidarum

Living With Hyperemesis Gravidarum 

For many women who are eventually diagnosed with Hyperemesis Gravidarum in their first pregnancies, it can be really hard to figure out what is normal morning sickness and what is more serious. If you’ve never experienced it before, how are you to know? This is why many women with Hyperemesis Gravidarum have such a severe experience in their first pregnancy. They don’t get treatment because they think what they’re experiencing is normal and they just need to tough it out. But the longer the symptoms go untreated the more severe the HG can become, so it’s important for women to be educated on the early warning signs. 

How You Know it’s Hyperemesis Gravidarum 

Many of the women who have experienced Hyperemesis Gravidarum describe it as the sickest they have ever been. Worse than any hangover, flu, or food poisoning they’ve experienced before. For some they are so sick they can’t even roll over in bed, let alone function like a regular adult. 

This leads to a mental toll as well as the damage that is done to the body. It feels like you are a prisoner in your own body and can’t manage the simplest tasks that you would have previously done without thinking. More than 50% of women with HG develop anxiety and/or depression as a result. It’s a difficult condition that need to be taken seriously by family, friends and healthcare providers. 

If any of the following apply to you, it’s time to talk to your doctor: 

  • You spend more time feeling sick than well 
  • You’re unable to keep down at least 500ml of water in a 24-hour period 
  • You vomit more than five times in an 8-hour period 
  • Certain smells trigger nausea 
  • You experience any of the signs of dehydration:  
  • Increased thirst   
  • Dry mouth   
  • Tired or sleepy  
  • Decreased urine output  
  • Urine is low volume and more yellowish than normal  
  • Headache  
  • Dry skin  
  • Dizziness  
  • Few or no tears 

Many people don’t realize that constant nausea is just as serious as vomiting because it keeps you from eating and drinking normally. The earlier you get treatment the more likely you are to get some relief from your symptoms and if you wait too long your chances for relief decrease significantly. Like any pregnancy, it’s important to get all the vitamins and nutrients you need. Prenatal vitamins like Prenatal Ease can help fill the gap and are available in bundles formulated specifically for each trimester.  

How to Get Through It 

Regularly morning sickness begins at about week five and maybe the first indication that you’re pregnant. Most of the time symptoms reach their peak at around week nine to eleven. For some it ends during the second trimester, for others it doesn’t end until they deliver. It can be the same with HG, it’s just a much more intense experience. 

If you’re suffering from HG it’s vital you work with your doctors to put together a treatment plan involving a many layered approach involving medication, and that treats all the potential causes of your symptoms and offers enough relief as possible. 

If you are unsure, it’s never a bad idea to check with your doctor. And if it is HG hold on and remember it’s only temporary. 

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Prepare For Pregnancy

Prepare Your Body to Make a Baby

Everyone approaches pregnancy differently, and what can come easy for one couple can be very challenging for another couple. Some people try to make it happen while others choose just to let it happen. Any way you want to do it is fine, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some simple and natural things you can do to prepare your body for pregnancy. It should come as no surprise that eating healthy and drinking water are on the top of the list but there are a few things that you may not know. 

 

Achieve a Healthy Weight

Paying attention to your weight before you become pregnant can help you have a better pregnancy. How you get there is by eating healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats. Limit the salty snacks, sweet treats, and anything with a lot of fat. You also need to be active, but that doesn’t mean you have to join a gym. Walks are good, so is riding a bike or going dancing. Find things to do with your friends or your partner and turn it into a fun adventure! 

Your weight is important because being both overweight or underweight can have negative impact on your pregnancy. Some issues that can develop are: 

  • Premature Birth. This is when birth happens before 37 weeks, and can result in the baby having more health problems at birth and/or later in life. 
  • Birth Defects. This is the change in the shape or function of the body. They do not cause overall health problems but do interfere with how the body develops and functions. 
  • Gestational Diabetes. This is the state of having too much sugar in your blood which can damage organs and cause pregnancy complications. 
  • High Blood Pressure. This is also called hypertension and can cause many problems during pregnancy. 

A healthy weight isn’t determined by what you look like, it depends on your Body Mass Index or BMI. The BMI is measured using height and weight with a healthy BMI being between 18.5 and 24.9. To figure out your BMI, use this BMI calculator from the CDC. 

Avoid Drugs & Alcohol 

Most people know as a reminder, smoking, drinking and street drugs are off the table if you’re trying to become pregnant, and during your pregnancy. All of these substances can make it harder to conceive and this includes secondhand smoke. Even though marijuana is legal in Canada, it is not recommended when trying to get pregnant and during pregnancy, especially for recreational purposes. 

Take Supplements

There are some vitamins and nutrients that you need during your pregnancy and some that have been shown to help with conception. For example, taking folic acid even before your pregnant can help protect your baby from neural tube defects (NTDs), which are birth defects of the brain and spine. If women take 400 micrograms of folic acid daily before pregnancy and during early pregnancy it can help prevent 70% of NTDs. 

Studies show that vitamin B12 can help increase chances of ovulating, while vitamin B6 can help with implantation and early placental development. Brands like Prenatal Ease have preconception vitamins that contain all these and more. They also have a bundle available on Well.ca where you can buy the preconception vitamin along with Omega 3 which contains both DHA and EPA.  

DHA is essential to fetal growth, and EPA helps with the development of the cardiovascular, immune and inflammatory systems. Studies have shown that EPA is needed to help transport the DHA through the placenta to the baby and through the fetal cell membrane. 

Prescription Drugs 

Talk to your doctor about your prescription drugs if you’re thinking of getting pregnant. Always follow the doctor’s directions and dosages and don’t abuse prescription drugs. While many drugs are perfectly safe for pregnancy and won’t inhibit conception, there are medications that will, and some that doctors aren’t sure about. That is why it’s important to talk to your doctor about your personal medical needs and not rely on Google! 

Try Ovulation Tracking

Every woman’s cycle is different but on average the menstrual cycle lasts approximately 28 to 32 days, with most woman ovulating between day 11 and day 21. Ovulation only lasts 12 to 48 hours, but you can in fact be fertile for up to seven days after the egg is released. If you’re looking to get pregnant, taking the time to get to know your cycle can let you know when the best time to try is. 

A person can only become pregnant if they have unprotected sex five days before ovulation and up to 24 hours afterward. Not a very long time is it? Traditionally the more regular your period is the easier it will be to pin down when you’re most fertile. But know there are tools that can help you narrow it down, beyond trying the traditional calendar method. 

There are now apps that track ovulation. Essentially, they are a souped-up version of the calendar method. Other options are measuring your resting temperature (otherwise known as the basal body temperature). Check it every morning and when you begin to ovulate your temperature rises. There are ovulation predictor kits that work like a pregnancy test and can let you know when your fertility window is opening. And the newest thing is fertility monitors that work in a variety of ways but are largely tracking body temperature. 

When you take the time to track your cycle, the more data you’ll have making it easier to predict your fertility window. Sometimes the menstrual cycle can vary month to month as much as it can vary from person to person. 

Protect Yourself

There are a couple of viruses and infections that can impact conception and pregnancy. Toxoplasmosis is an infection you can get from eating undercooked meat or touching cat poop. Lymphocytic choriomeningitis (LCMV) can be caught from caring for pets from the rodent family. These include hamsters, mice and guinea pigs. So, make sure your meat is fully cooked and try to find a temporary home if you have those kinds of pets. 

Reduce Stress 

Doctors know that stress is not good for conception or pregnancy. This is ironic because it is natural to feel stressed while trying to get pregnant or carrying a baby! Learning how you best manage stress even before you’re pregnant is a good idea. Eating healthy, getting exercise and making sure you have enough sleep helps with stress levels. If this isn’t enough, look into additional options like a counsellor, a meditation practice, or ask around and learn what others in your circle do to manage stress. Maybe it’s cat videos or cake decorating? Who knows! 

It doesn’t take much to prepare your body for conception but even a little bit can help. Check out the options on Well.ca for quality products to help you all along your pregnancy journey. 

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Nutrition Notes for the Second Trimester

Nutrition Notes for the Second Trimester

Hello Mamas, and welcome to your glorious second trimester! This is often the favourite part of many Mamas’ pregnancies as the morning sickness and exhaustion that left you feeling terrible for most of the first trimester is easing, your bump is finally starting to show, and your belly isn’t big enough yet to get in the way of pretty much everything! The second trimester is also when you will have your 20-week ultrasound, where you will get to see your little bean more clearly, and you will likely begin to feel your baby somersault around inside you.  

The second trimester is also a big one for baby, with a huge amount of important development and growth going on. It is key in this semester to make sure you’re getting all the right nutrients now that your appetite has likely returned in full force for both your health, and that of your rapidly growing little one! Below I’ve got some of my top tips for second trimester nutrition, especially when it comes to getting enough of everything with a busy schedule!  

The Building Blocks

In your second trimester, it is essential to follow a balanced diet. While the first trimester’s diet may have consisted of toast, yoghurt and ginger tea (hey, whatever you needed to do to get by Mama), the second trimester’s diet should focus on a good balance of vegetables, fruits, dairy, grains and proteins. As to how much you should eat, most doctors recommend an increase of 300-500 calories a day from your pre-pregnancy diet, but chat with your doctor or midwife as there may be other factors at work.  

It is especially important that you’re eating foods rich in calcium, magnesium and Vitamin D in the second trimester, as your baby is doing a lot of bone-building during this period and is completely reliant on you for those nutrients! Getting enough Omega 3 oils is also important during this time, which can be found in many foods including avocados, dried fruit, Greek yoghurt, and nut butters.  

If you want a quick cheat sheet, try to stick to this:  

  • 2-3 servings (or at least 75 grams) of lean protein a day 
  • 3+ servings of whole grains a day 
  • 4-5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day (try to eat a variety of colours here!) 
  • 4 servings of dairy products or calcium-rich foods a day 

Better With Batch Cooking

Eating a balanced diet when you have a busy schedule can often feel overwhelming, so batch cooking is something I’ve fully embraced in the past couple months. On days or evenings when I have the most energy (hello weekends!) I will pick 1-2 large meals to make for the week, something I love enough to eat at least a couple times, and make extra-large batches. Soups, stews and stirfrys are perfect for this, but it’s also possible to prep large salads ahead of time by chopping everything and storing it in individual containers. These tend to be excellent for lunches and dinners and having a couple options will help keep it interesting (because food should never be boring!).  

Mixing It Up

For breakfast my go-to is smoothies (you can combine fruits, veggies, dairy and protein all in one go, press a button, and watch the magic happen) or yoghurt with fruit and nuts. Lunches tend to be something easy to throw together like salad, leftovers, or quesadillas, as long as there is a good balance between veggies, carbs and proteins! I also have a local butcher who makes wonderful frozen meat pies, so I try to have something easy like that on-hand for those nights when I’m too exhausted to do anything (yes, the second trimester does tend to bring with it more energy, but you’re still growing a human so cut yourself some slack!).  

Snacking throughout the day is a great idea as eating 3 big meals a day tends to be difficult with the reduced stomach capacity that comes with pregnancy. Great easy options are fruits like bananas, apples, oranges, berries (really anything you don’t have to cut up), mixed nuts, yoghurt cups (for all that extra calcium!), or granola bars that don’t have a ton of sugar. 

Treat Yo’ Self

Okay, speaking of sugar – I have a huge sweet tooth and pregnancy has not changed that in the slightest. It is completely okay to indulge in that lemon tart that’s been calling your name at the café, or grab that chocolate bar when you’re checking out. As long as you’re not replacing meals with treats and getting all the nutrients you need from healthy food throughout the day, treating yourself occasionally is totally fine (and you definitely deserve it, you’re working hard Mama). A diet of all sugar all the time is going to feel icky for both you and the baby, so keep moderation in mind – it’s called a balanced diet for a reason!  

Take A Quality Multivitamin

There are going to be days when all you want is a giant pot of macaroni and cheese and a pint of ice cream. There are going to be days when you don’t get enough of everything, and you’re going to feel stressed out about it. A high-quality multivitamin is essential to make sure your baby is getting their essential vitamins and minerals, and give you peace of mind when you have a day where you just can’t do it all. I’m a huge fan of Prenatal Ease’s multivitamins as they’re stage-specific, meaning they’re specifically formulated for each trimester of pregnancy (as well as preconception and nursing) to deliver exactly what you and your baby need, when you need it. Prenatal Ease Stage Two is specifically designed for the second trimester, with increased amounts of iron, calcium, and Vitamin D, and is extra effective when paired with Prenatal Ease Omega 3 DHA to help get enough of the Omega 3 I mentioned earlier.  

Well.ca is currently offering bundles on some Prenatal Ease products, including one specifically for the second trimester, the Prenatal Ease Triple Pack with Second Trimester Bundle, which includes Prenatal Ease Stage Two multivitamins, Prenatal Ease Omega 3 DHA and Prental Ease Ultimate Oil, which is an incredible fast-drying oil that helps reduce stretch marks and improve skin elasticity.  

I hope you have a fantastic second trimester Mamas, and a safe, healthy, happy pregnancy! Remember to be good to yourselves – you’re growing a human (maybe more than one if you’ve got multiples!) and that is a lot to deal with physically, emotionally, and mentally. If you need some pampering (and really, we ALL do), check out this blog on Pampering in Pregnancy! [link when blog live] 

Love, Serena 

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Pampering In Pregnancy

Pampering In Pregnancy

When we’re pregnant we spend so much time thinking about what we’re eating, worrying over if we’ve gotten enough sleep, and generally stressing over the life growing in us, that we forget that we’re still humans and still need to take care of ourselves for ourselves, not just for our babies! So today, from one pregnant Mama to another, I want to talk about pampering in pregnancy, the many forms it can take, and how you can fit it into your busy lifestyle.  

So, what does pampering in pregnancy look like? For starters, it’s not all steamy bubble baths and facemasks, although if that’s your jam, you should definitely include those (just be careful staying in hot water too long). Self-care means taking the time to rest and do the things that make you feel good, balanced, and refreshed. How you look after yourself is completely up to you, but here are some popular ways to practice self-care, and how to make them work in every routine.  

Get Moving  

The idea of exercise, in general, does not give me warm fuzzy feelings, and never has. Unsurprisingly, being pregnant did not make me fall in love with the idea of the gym or biking around my very hilly city, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t found a huge benefit in getting some fresh air and getting my blood flowing. I try and walk at least once a day at lunch, which gets me away from my computer screen and forces me to take a mental break, and I try and get out in nature for a hike on the weekends. Swimming is another beautiful way to give yourself some peaceful time, especially if you live near the ocean or a lake. Swimming and walking might not seem like pampering but forcing yourself to take an hour away from screens, responsibilities, and phone calls every day is absolutely self-care. Taking time for yourself, in pretty much any format, is a luxury most of us don’t give ourselves, and considering you’re not going to be able to do that much once the baby comes is even more reason to take it now.  

Stretch It Out 

One of my other favourite ways to move is yoga. You can check out your local studios, or there are larger online-only companies with a huge range of classes. Many have the option to filter classes by duration and type of yoga practice, which is huge for me – if I only have 30 minutes to get a class in the morning, I am so grateful that I can just hit play without having to schedule it in. Taking mini stretch breaks throughout the day is also going to be a huge help – there are a lot of seated stretches that can be done while at a desk, and even more that can be combined with a walk. I recommend with whatever type of exercise you decide works for you to try and make time for it in your morning or in the earlier part of your day – by the time I get home from work I’m completely exhausted and there is absolutely nothing that feels better than relaxing on the couch.  

Find Peace of Mind  

Many Mamas (myself included) feel increased anxiety and worry in their pregnancies, which is incredibly draining. Finding mental peace is one of the most important ways in which you can pamper yourself during pregnancy. For some this might look more traditional, like a meditation practice, breathing exercises, or listening to calming music. There are a million blogs, books, and classes out there that cover meditation, so I’ll leave you to decide what works for you, although one of my personal favourites is a guided Yoga Nidra meditation.  

For other Mamas, you might feel a lot more relaxed by journaling, pouring all your thoughts and worries on to paper as a form of purging. For others still, the only way to work through worries and anxieties is to address them head-on. Make budgets, research the answers to your giant question list, find podcasts that tackle the topics that keep you up at night, and talk about everything else with your partner, best friend, sister, aunt or mom. Once you find the answers, or you’ve put a plan in place, pat yourself on the back and don’t dwell on it. Clear out that space in your mind, let it rest, and feel relaxed knowing that you’ve got this.  

Massage. Is. Everything.

If you can afford it or are covered by medical for massage by prenatal-trained RMTs, I cannot recommend it enough. Not only will your RMT be able to help work through all the aches and pains, but they will also be able to help you get into a deeper state of relaxation during and after your massage, which will give your body and your mind a much-needed break. If you can’t see an RMT, or your muscles need some extra love, put your partner to work! If they’re working on your back, try laying on your side with a couple of pillows between your knees and one hugged to your chest. You can also find a lot of relief in foot and hand massages, as our ankles and other joints tend to swell throughout the day. Partners are usually pretty understanding about your need for a little extra pampering during pregnancy!  

Feel Good In Your Skin 

My pregnancy has been itchy. Some days I feel like I want to scratch my skin right off, and it’s not limited to my belly either – everything is itchy. It is important to invest in some good quality skincare products to make you feel like a queen. Prenatal Ease’s stretch mark solutions are a fantastic place to start. Their Hydrating Lotion is a light, non-greasy lotion that I apply pretty much everywhere, and is great for the morning when you’re getting ready for work. The Ultimate Oil dries super quick and is perfect for spot application directly on to stretch marks, or any uneven skin (I use it as a face oil at night too!) and uses a special botanical blend to improve your skin’s elasticity. The Ultra-Nourishing Cream is the perfect weight for application before bed and helps ease the itch like you wouldn’t believe. I like to put it on at the start of my nighttime routine so that it has time to soak into my skin instead of my sheets (but if it does, don’t fear, it is a non-staining formula!). There are lots of options when it comes to stretch mark lotion but I love Prenatal Ease because it’s free of icky chemicals and additives, works, and smells AMAZING. They also have an awesome range of stage-specific prenatal multivitamins and other supplements to help you feel good inside and out.  

Indulge In The Guilty Pleasures 

If you want the ice cream, eat the ice cream. If you want to binge-watch a Netflix show, get the popcorn popping! As long as you’re following a healthy diet and getting some activity in every day (even if it’s just walking to the store), you should feel free to indulge a little. Same goes for a little shopping spree or pedicures with a friend – as long as you’re not breaking the bank and causing stress within your budget, do the things that make you feel good! Sometimes the very best way we can take care of ourselves is to take part in our ‘guilty pleasures’ without any guilt!  

Take a Load Off 

Life is a lot of work, and creating life is even more! One of the best things you can do for yourself right now is to learn to say no. If something makes you happy, by all means, make time for it, but right now you need to put yourself first instead of everyone else, so try and shed some extra non-essential responsibilities right now. Maybe your partner can pick up the slack by making dinner more often, or your brother can take a turn running errands for your Mom. Whatever it is, as long as you make it clear that you’re saying no so that you have more time for yourself, people will generally understand. 

There are a million and one ways to pamper yourself during your pregnancy, but you’ve got to make it a priority. Remember, you are more than just a cozy house for your baby! The best way to take care of the life growing inside of you is to make sure you’re also taking care of yourself and doing the things that bring you mental, physical, and emotional peace and relaxation.