10 Diet Tips for Losing The Baby Weight

10 Diet Tips for Losing The Baby Weight

     I’ll admit that Jessica Simpson’s whopping 100-pound weight loss just 6 months after giving birth to her third child is pretty amazing, but when it comes to losing the baby weight, it’s totally unrealistic for the rest of us non-celebrity, everyday moms.

Don’t get me wrong—this isn’t an opportunity to bash Jessica, or take away from her hard work and dedication to get back to her pre-baby body. But when you have a personal chef, a personal trainer and a nanny—which I’m guessing she does—losing the baby weight is a little easier.

For most new moms, being able to take a shower or run a load of laundry feels like an accomplishment. Still, today I’d like to talk about why losing the baby weight is important, and how to make it happen without going on a diet or feeling deprived.

Why Losing The Baby Weight Is Good For Your Health


My goal isn’t to shame or make you feel bad about your weight, but we should talk about the facts.

Not only do most women start out their pregnancies overweight, but nearly half gain more than the recommended amount of weight during pregnancy, according to an April 2015 study in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Both your pre-pregnancy weight and the amount you gained during pregnancy can—but not necessarily will— impact your weight loss journey.

Another thing to consider is that 75 percent of new moms weigh more a year after giving birth than they do before becoming pregnant, a January 2015 study in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology found.

Although losing the baby weight can take time, getting back to your pre-pregnancy weight or a healthy weight is always a good idea.

Being overweight, or obese, can increase your risk for several major health problems including high blood pressure, obstructive sleep apnea and certain types of cancer. 

Plus, moms who don’t lose the baby weight within a year of giving birth or those who gain more weight during that time have an increased risk of heart disease and type-2 diabetes later on in life, a study published in July 2014 in the journal Diabetes Care found.

If you become pregnant again, carrying around extra weight can also lead to pregnancy complications like high blood pressure, preeclampsia, blood clotting problems, gestational diabetes, and complications during labor and delivery.

Postpartum weight loss takes time

It should come as no surprise that losing the baby weight is a concern for most moms.

According to a survey by BabyCenter.com, 61 percent of new moms said they expected to get back to their pre-pregnancy weight by their baby’s first birthday but most didn’t.

In our society, it’s not easy to get around the barrage of weight loss success stories on social media, compare ourselves to celebrities and other women we know, and not feel the pressure to get our pre-bodies back fast.

Unfortunately, because of that pressure, many moms have high levels of body image dissatisfaction, putting them at risk for psychological distress, a March 2018 study in the journal Body Image found.

When it comes to losing the baby weight, the first step is to recognize that your genetics, body type and chemistry, and life are all unique.

It’s really hard to do, but try to stop comparing yourself to other moms—because the truth is, they don’t have it all together like you think they do and they’re trying to manage life just like you are. 

After you give birth, it’s also important to realize that you need time to heal and recover, bond with your baby and get sleep when you can. Give yourself a break and be realistic about how much and how fast you can lose the baby weight.

The key to healthy weight loss (for your body and mind) is slow and steady. It took nine months to gain the baby weight so it can take just as long to lose it.

And if you gained more than the recommended amount of weight, it could take up to a year to lose it, Rosanne Rust, MS, RDN, LDN stated in this article.

Related: How I Lost The Baby Weight Twice

Tips for Losing The Baby Weight

With some simple, realistic strategies, you can get back to a healthy weight.

1. Eat real food

When you have a newborn and there’s not a lot of time to prepare healthy meals, getting take-out or eating your toddler’s left over boxed macaroni and cheese is an easy solution.

Yet a healthy diet made up of real, whole food will give you the energy you need to care for your baby and lose the weight.

A good rule of thumb is to eat between 5 and 9 servings a day of a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are packed with nutrition and fiber so they’ll help you feel fuller longer and stave off hunger.

Also be sure to include lean protein, whole grains and healthy fats like avocado on your plate.

Related: 6 Reasons Why Avocado Is Healthy For Kids

2. Don’t starve yourself

Drastically cutting calories can put your body into starvation mode and stall your weight loss.

Plus, if you’re exclusively breastfeeding, you’re burning about 200 to 500 calories a day—calories your body needs to produce breast milk and boost your metabolism.

Instead of cutting calories, eat when you’re hungry, watch your portion sizes and choose foods that will satiate your hunger and give you energy.

3. Stay hydrated

Drinking plenty of water throughout the day is key for losing the baby weight.

Since water takes up space in the stomach, it can help you feel full and stave off hunger. It also helps to metabolize carbohydrates and stored fat in the body and can keep your energy levels up so you’re less likely to reach for something to eat.

Thirst can also be mistaken for hunger so drinking up before reaching for something to eat can help you decide whether you’re hungry or not.

In fact, according to a 2014 study in the Journal of Natural Science, Biology and Medicine, overweight women who drank an additional 500 ml of water 30 minutes before meals lost weight and fat and lowered their body mass indexes (BMI).

According to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, women should aim for 2.7 liters of water a day, while breastfeeding moms should get 3.1 liters a day.

If plain water isn’t your thing, add slices of cucumber or strawberry for a hint of flavor.

4. Prioritize protein

Eating enough protein helps to stabilize blood sugar, gives you energy, prevents overeating and can help you lose weight.

Getting protein in your meals and snacks is particularly important if you’re breastfeeding since there are high demands of protein on your body.

5. Plan meals and snacks ahead of time

When hunger strikes, it so easy to grab what’s available which isn’t always the healthiest option.

If you like to do meal planning for the week, go for it, but at the very least, think ahead and have a handful of easy, healthy dinner ideas so you’re not left stranded.  

Use your Instant Pot or Crock-Pot or try sheet pan meals to get dinner on the table quickly.

Also, do your best to carve out a few minutes to set aside cut-up fruits and vegetables, individual portions of smoothie ingredients, or nuts and seeds for easy grab-and-go options.

6. Keep healthy snacks on hand

Healthy snacks help to satisfy hunger, keep blood sugar levels stable, and prevent overeating and weight gain. 

Some good options include an apple with almond butter, Greek yogurt and raspberries, or hummus and baby carrots. 

7. Watch your wine

Relaxing with a glass of wine or your drink of choice at night can help you decompress, but the calories can also add up fast.

For example, a 5-ounce serving of Pinot Noir can net 121 calories. which is fine, but if you’re one of the 40 percent of adults who drink more than that the calories can add up quickly.

Also, if you’re breastfeeding, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) says an occasional drink is OK, but having more than two drinks every day can be harmful to your baby and may cause drowsiness, weakness, and abnormal weight gain.

They also recommend moms wait at last 2 hours after having a drink before breastfeeding again. One drink of alcohol includes:

  • 6 ounces of wine
  • 12 ounces of beer
  • 1.5 ounces of liquor

8. Leave room for treats

Losing the baby weight shouldn’t mean deprivation, so leave room for a piece of dark chocolate, dried fruit, or a serving of popcorn, for example.

Related: [VIDEO] Is Dried Fruit Healthy for Kids?

9. Curb emotional eating

It’s common to feel anxious and stressed especially when you’re a new mom, and if you also have postpartum depression, everything can feel overwhelming.

If you’re an emotional eater like I am, you’re not alone.

According to a survey by the American Psychological Association, 31 percent of women eat to manage stress.

Although eating can be soothing, it’s always a temporary feeling and it can hinder your ability to lose weight.

Instead of turning to food to feel better, make a list of healthy activities you can do instead of eating: going for a walk with your baby, calling a friend, journaling or meditation, for example.

10. Ask an expert about losing the baby weight

If you’re looking for a customized plan and more help losing the baby weight, I recommend you speak to a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) who specializes in maternal nutrition and/or breastfeeding or seek the help of a therapist who works with new moms. 

10 Best Healthy Pregnancy Snacks

10 Best Healthy Pregnancy Snacks

You already know that a healthy pregnancy diet is important for both you and your baby, but when hunger strikes and you have nothing on hand, you might be tempted to grab something quick and easy like a bag of salty chips or a package of cookies. Being prepared with list of healthy pregnancy snacks that are made up of whole foods and are nutrient dense however, is the way to go.

Healthy snacks will help satisfy your hunger, keep your blood sugar levels stable, and prevent fatigue, overeating and weight gain. Noshing on good-for-you options can also help satisfy pregnancy cravings and fill in nutritional voids if you have food aversions and morning sickness.

Despite what you may have heard about eating for two, during the first trimester you actually don’t need to consume extra calories. If you have a normal body mass index (BMI), an extra 340 calories a day during the second trimester and an extra 450 calories a day in the third trimester is appropriate, according to the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Need some snack ideas? Here are 10.

1. Guacamole and raw veggies

With 20 vitamins and minerals including vitamins B5, B6, C, E, K, folate and potassium, avocado is also a good source of protein and fiber.

Avocado is also an excellent source of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats—healthy fats that can satisfy your hunger and help to reduce bad cholesterol and the risk for heart disease later on in life.

Pair carrots, celery, broccoli, jicama or your favorite raw vegetable with guacamole  or mashed avocado for a healthy, delicious and satisfying snack.

2. Tuna and celery or whole grain crackers

Studies show eating foods high in omega-3 fatty acids during pregnancy is vital for baby’s brain and retina development.

Eating these healthy fats may even determine when your baby is born and prevent postpartum depression, according to a 2010 study in the journal Reviews In Obstetrics & Gynecology.

The best source of omega-3 fatty acids, specifically EPA and DHA, are from fish.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) say it’s safe to eat two, 8-12 ounce servings of fish per week.

Tuna, canned light and skipjack, are low-mercury options that’s are also easy and quick to pull together for a snack.

Pair tuna fish with celery, which is a good source of vitamin B6, calcium, magnesium, vitamins A, C, K, folate and potassium. It’s also high in fiber: a 1/2 cup has nearly 2 grams. Or if you’re craving carbs, add a few whole-grain crackers.

3. Hard boiled egg and an apple

Eggs are an excellent source of protein—1 egg has nearly 7 grams—to satisfy your hunger and give you plenty of energy.


They’re also a good source of vitamin D, which is vital for your baby’s bone development and your own health.

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), between 1,000 and 2,000 IU per day of vitamin D is safe.

Since most prenatal vitamins only have 400 IU of vitamin D, getting eggs in your diet is a good idea.

Eggs also have choline, which is important for brain development—so much so that the American Medical Association recently recommended pregnant women get more of it in their prenatal vitamins.

Pair a hard boiled egg with an apple and you have a healthy, delicious and portable snack.

4. Greek yogurt and berries


With 17 grams of protein per serving, a great source of calcium, potassium, magnesium and vitamin B12, and rich in gut-friendly, immune-boosting probiotics, Greek yogurt is one of the best healthy pregnancy snacks.

When choosing a yogurt however, read labels and stick with brands that are low in sugar and made without artificial ingredients and preservatives.

Top Greek yogurt with raspberries (fresh or frozen) which are high in fiber, and a good source of vitamins C and K, and magnesium.

5. Chia seed pudding with fruit

An excellent source of protein, fiber and healthy fats, chia seeds are an excellent choice to snack on when hunger strikes.

Chia seed pudding takes only a few minutes to whip up and you can store a batch in your refrigerator or in individual mason jars for grab-and-go snacks. Top with fruit for even more fiber and a hint of sweetness.

6. Iron fortified cereal with banana

Since your blood volume doubles during pregnancy, it’s important to get enough iron so you won’t become anemic.

Iron-fortified cereal is also a great choice but look for those that have an 80 to 90 percent daily value of iron.

Add sliced bananas, which are a good source of potassium, vitamin B6, and fiber: 1 small banana has 2.6 grams.

7. Green smoothie

Green leafy vegetables like kale, spinach and broccoli are excellent sources of vitamins A, C, K, iron, and B vitamins which are important for your baby’s brain development and nervous system.

They’re also good sources of calcium which is important to help your baby develop strong teeth and bones.

One way to get plenty of green leafy vegetables into your diet, especially if you’re battling morning sickness, is to make them into a cold green smoothie or green juice.

Related: [VIDEO] 11 Natural Ways to Deal With Morning Sickness

A good rule of thumb: choose an 80/20 ratio of vegetables to fruit and add a protein source like peanut butter or a protein powder.

8. Hummus and baby carrots

Carrots are a good source of vitamins A, C, K, B6, folate, iron, potassium and fiber: 1/2 cup has nearly 3 grams

Pair carrots with hummus, which has nearly 8 grams of protein and 6 grams of fiber per 1/2 cup, and you have a healthy snack anytime of day.

9. Homemade trail mix

Store-bought trail mixes make can he a healthy option but read labels carefully because many brands are packed with “yogurt-” covered raisins, chocolate chips and M&Ms—all sources of sugar.

You can also make your own trail mix with unsalted nuts and seeds, raisins, toasted coconut and granola, but be sure to stick to 1/4 cup.

10. Sliced pear with cheddar cheese

Pears are sweet and refreshing, a good source of vitamins C and K, and with more than 4 grams of fiber per serving, they can also help prevent pregnancy constipation.

Related: [VIDEO] How to Cope With Pregnancy Constipation

Add an ounce of sliced cheddar or Colby-Jack and you have one of the best healthy pregnancy snacks.

What’s one of your favorite healthy pregnancy snacks? Let me know in the comments!

7 Best Pregnancy Nutrition Tips

7 Best Pregnancy Nutrition Tips

When one of my friends was pregnant with her first child, like all new moms, she tried to do everything she could to have a healthy pregnancy, including eating right.

She talked to her doctor about her diet and read a book about a pregnancy nutrition.

But with all of the recommendations about getting plenty of protein, iron and calcium for example, she started to worry about getting enough of every nutrient and she ended up gaining 60 pounds!

Although your diet is really important for both you and your baby, all of the pregnancy nutrition advice can seem overwhelming and make you crazy.

Instead of worrying about following a set of rules, eating the “right” foods, and getting a certain amount of nutrients in your diet, stick to the basics.

Here are my best pregnancy nutrition tips and general recommendations that can go a long way in having a healthy pregnancy.

1. Get folic acid

Folic acid, the synthetic version of folate, is a must-have nutrient for a healthy pregnancy because it prevents neural tube defects (NTDs) like spina bifida and anencephaly.

Although many women think they should start taking folic acid when they first see the plus sign on a pregnancy test, it’s important to take it before you even plan to become pregnant and especially during the first 6 weeks of pregnancy.

Since nearly 50 percent of all pregnancies in the U.S. are unplanned, experts recommend all women take 400 micrograms (mcg) of a folic acid supplement daily.

Although folate isn’t absorbed as well as folic acid, it’s still a good idea to get it from foods like beef, chicken, pork, fish and shellfish, green leafy vegetables, citrus fruits, beans and legumes and fortified foods like some cereals.

2. Don’t eat for two

The advice that you need to eat for two when you’re pregnant is outdated and incorrect.

In fact, following this advice may be why 47 percent of women gain more than the recommended amount of weight during pregnancy, according to a 2015 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Gaining too much weight during pregnancy can lead to pregnancy complications like gestational diabetes, preeclampsia and sleep apnea, preterm birth, birth defects, problems during labor and delivery, and is linked to a higher risk for c-sections.

Research also suggests babies born to obese moms are more likely to be overweight themselves and may be at risk for poor developmental outcomes.

Excess weight gain can also make it harder to lose the weight after you give birth.

In the first trimester, you actually don’t need to consume extra calories.

If you have a normal body mass index (BMI), an extra 340 calories a day during the second trimester and an extra 450 calories a day in the third trimester is appropriate, according to the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

If you’re carrying twins or multiples, or you’re underweight, overweight or obese when you become pregnant, you should talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian nutritionist to make sure you’re getting the right amount of calories for a healthy weight gain.

3. Limit fake food

A whole foods diet can help ensure you get the right amount of nutrition to support your health and your baby’s growth and development.

Instead of fast food, processed foods and foods with refined carbohydrates, focus on getting plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, clean sources of protein, whole grains and healthy fats.

Since your blood volume doubles during pregnancy and you may feel more tired than usual, eating real food will give you the energy you need.

Whole foods are also more satiating, so you’ll be less likely to overeat and gain too much weight.

4. Get your omega-3s

Fish is an important source of DHA and omega-3 fatty acids which are important for your baby’s brain development.

In fact, a 2016 study in the American Journal of Epidemiology found eating more servings of seafood each week was associated with higher cognitive scores and a decrease in symptoms of Autism.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) says it’s safe to eat two, 8-12 ounce servings of fish per week. Fish with low levels of mercury include shrimp, salmon, catfish and pollock.

Avoid those with high levels of mercury which include shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish. If you eat white albacore tuna, limit it to 6 ounces a week.

If you can’t stomach fish, try adding other foods high in omega-3 fatty acids like walnuts, DHA-fortified milk or peanut butter, or talk to your doctor about taking an omega-3 fish oil supplement.

5. Eat enough

Although many women gain too much weight during pregnancy, there are also those that may go in another dangerous direction.

In fact, a 2012 survey by SELF magazine and CafeMom.com found nearly 50 percent of pregnant women admitted to cutting calories, eliminating entire food groups and eating a lot of low-calorie and low-fat foods. A few women said they even turned to fasting, cleansing, purging and using diet pills and laxatives.

You might be worried about gaining too much pregnancy weight or losing the baby weight after you give birth but pregnancy isn’t the time to diet.

Be sure to check out the pregnancy weight gain recommendations which take into account your pre-pregnancy weight and if you’re having one baby or multiples.

If you’re unsure of what to eat—and how much—consult with a registered dietitian nutritionist who specializes in pregnancy nutrition.

6. Eat iron-rich foods

In order for your body to make more blood to supply oxygen to your baby, you need about double the amount of iron during pregnancy than you did before you became pregnant.

ACOG recommends 27 milligrams of iron a day which you can likely get from your prenatal vitamin, but it’s also a good idea to eat iron-rich foods like beef, chicken, fish, beans and peas and iron-fortified cereals.

Eating iron-rich foods with foods high in vitamin C can also help your body absorb iron more efficiently.

7. Don’t stress

The thing about pregnancy nutrition is that no matter how well-intentioned you are to eat healthy, your pregnancy may not go as you had planned.

Whether you’re dealing with morning sickness or something more serious like gestational diabetes, you may have to tweak your diet.

My advice: eat whole, healthy foods and follow your nutritionist’s advice, but don’t stress.

Being a calm mama is so much more important than adhering to a strict list of pregnancy rules.

[VIDEO] How To Cope With Pregnancy Constipation

[VIDEO] How To Cope With Pregnancy Constipation

When your hormones are all over the place, you’re exhausted and you’re already dealing with morning sickness, constipation—along with the gas, bloating and that uncomfortable heavy feeling—is one more pregnancy symptom you’d rather not have to deal with.

Constipation is a surprising common complaint during pregnancy—studies show between 11 and 38 percent of women are affected.

Blame it on the hormone progesterone, which is in full effect during pregnancy and can cause the muscles in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract to slow down and prevent waste from moving through.

Pregnancy constipation can also be a result of the increase in water absorption from the intestines which causes stool to dry out and the growing uterus, which may disrupt the normal functioning of the GI tract.

A decrease in activity and lack of exercise as well as the iron and calcium in prenatal vitamins can also back things up.

The good news is that you don’t have to suffer for 9 months feeling miserable.

Here are some strategies that can help prevent—and cure—pregnancy constipation.

Short on time? Check out 3 of my top strategies in this video. 

 

1. Eat more fiber


Fiber-rich foods are the perfect antidote to pregnancy constipation but they can be hard to get in your diet especially during the first trimester, when all you can tolerate are saltine crackers, for example, and other foods with simple, refined carbohydrates.

As morning sickness subsides however, usually (but not always) around the second trimester, you’ll be able to start introducing healthy, high-fiber foods again to get you back on track.

Stick to vegetables, especially the dark, green leafy types that are packed with nutrition and fiber, as well as fruits, beans and legumes, whole grains and chia seeds and flaxseeds.


2. Drink up


During pregnancy, it’s crucial that you drink plenty of water but it’s even more important if you’re constipated because it will help move things along.

Aim for 10 cups (2.4 liters) of water each day, which the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine recommend during pregnancy.

In addition to drinking plenty of water, a cup of coffee, black tea or a bit of prune juice especially in the morning may also do the trick.

3. Try magnesium


Magnesium relaxes the bowels and certain types are known to have a laxative effect.

According to an August 2017 study in the Advanced Biomedical Research,

magnesium may even prevent pregnancy complications.

Before starting any supplement however, always check with your provider about the type, dosage and safety.

4. Avoid refined carbohydrates


White, refined carbohydrates found in foods like rice, pasta, crackers, snack foods, and processed foods are binding so it’s best to avoid them as much as possible.

5. Get moving


Getting plenty of exercise not only ensures a healthy pregnancy, it can also prevent constipation.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommend women with uncomplicated pregnancies get between 20 and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most or all days of the week. Walking, swimming and prenatal yoga are all good choices.

6. Talk to your doctor


If constipation persists after changing your diet, upping your water intake and exercising, talk to your doctor about changing your prenatal vitamin which may be backing you up.

Your doctor may also prescribe a fiber supplement, a stool softener, or a laxative. Although they’re generally considered safe, it’s always a good idea to check in with her first since every woman and every pregnancy is unique.

What are some remedies for pregnancy constipation that have helped you? Leave me a comment.

4 Folate and Folic Acid Benefits For All Moms—Whether They’re Pregnant or Not

4 Folate and Folic Acid Benefits For All Moms—Whether They’re Pregnant or Not

Folic acid, the synthetic form of folate or vitamin B9, is well known as a vitamin that pregnant moms take to help prevent neural tube defects like spina bifida and anencephaly.

Since the first 4 to 6 weeks of pregnancy are when the neural tube is formed and when defects occur, and up to 45 percent of pregnancies are unplanned, taking folic acid before you get pregnant is vital.

The Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) guidelines recommend that women of childbearing age get 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid a day. During pregnancy, women should increase the amount to 600 mcg; breastfeeding moms need 500 mcg.

Although most women get enough folate, some women, such as those with the MTHFR gene variant, may not be able to utilize folate properly and may need to take the bioactive form.

Interestingly, research suggests folate and folic acid can actually be beneficial for all moms, whether they’re planning to become pregnant or not. Here’s what we know.

1. Folic Acid May Prevent Heart Disease

Heart disease is often seen as a man’s disease but nothing could be further from the truth.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease is the leading cause of death in women in the United States, accounting for approximately 1 in 4 female deaths each year.

In addition to a healthy diet, exercise and stress reduction, getting enough folate may actually ward off heart disease.

According to an August 2016 meta-analysis in the Journal of The American Heart Association, folic acid supplementation is associated with a 10 percent lower risk of stroke and a 4 percent lower risk of cardiovascular disease.

2. Folic Acid Acid May Reduce Cancer Risk

Some studies suggest that adequate levels of folate may prevent certain cancers. According to a large 2011 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, people who had total folate intake of 900 mcg a day or more had a 30 percent lower risk of developing colorectal cancer than those who only consumed 200 mcg a day.

Since some studies suggest that high levels of folate and folic acid may actually increase cancer risk however, more research is needed to determine whether or not taking higher doses is actually beneficial. 

3. Folic Acid May Prevent Depression and Postpartum Depression

Some studies have shown an association between low folate and depression.

Researchers have also looked at the link between folate and depression during pregnancy and postpartum depression.

According to a November 2017 study in the journal Nutrients, women who took folic acid for more than 6 months during pregnancy had a lower risk of postpartum depression than those who took it for less than 6 months.

Some studies also suggest folic acid, in combination with anti-depressants, may improve symptoms, but it’s unclear whether it’s effective or not.

4. Folic Acid May Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease

It’s unclear whether folic acid supplementation may prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s disease but some studies suggest it may have some benefit.

While observational studies have found an association between low levels of folate and poor brain function and a higher risk of both dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, folic acid supplements have not been shown to improve cognitive function or prevent these diseases, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

For people who have already been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s however, folic acid may help, according to a June 2016 study in the journal Mediators of Inflammation.

What Moms Should Know About Folate and Folic Acid

Since folate is a water soluble vitamin, it’s not stored in the body so you need to get it in your diet, ideally through food.

Foods high in folate include dark green leafy vegetables, some types of fruit, nuts, beans, peas, seafood, eggs, dairy, meat, poultry and grains. Some foods like breads, cereals, pastas, rice and other grains are also fortified with folic acid.

Although most women get enough folate, symptoms of a folate deficiency include fatigue, irritability, weakness, poor concentration, headache, heart palpitations, shortness of breath and pale skin, according to the National Institutes of Health.

It’s important to note that although the folate thats’s naturally found in foods isn’t harmful, high doses of folic acid and fortified foods may be. There are also certain medications that can interact with folic acid supplements so when in doubt, always talk to your doctor.

Gestational Diabetes Diet: 7 Tips for a Healthy Pregnancy

Gestational Diabetes Diet: 7 Tips for a Healthy Pregnancy

If you’ve been diagnosed with gestational diabetes, you might be wondering what foods you should eat, what foods you should avoid and what else you can do to have a healthy pregnancy.

According to a 2014 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), up to 9.2 percent of women are diagnosed with gestational diabetes, a condition in which your body can’t produce enough insulin, which causes high blood glucose levels.

Gestational diabetes can lead to pregnancy complications and problems during labor and delivery, so managing it now is key.

What’s more, although gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that only occurs during pregnancy, it can still increase your risk for developing type-2 diabetes and high blood pressure down the line.

The good news is that through diet, exercise and an active lifestyle, you can manage the condition during pregnancy and create healthy habits that will benefit you and your children for years to come.

Here, learn what a healthy gestational diabetes diet looks like and how to stay healthy during pregnancy and beyond.

1. Talk to a nutrition expert

One of the most common pregnancy nutrition myths is that during pregnancy, you should eat for two. D

During the first trimester of pregnancy however, you don’t need to eat extra calories.

And throughout your second and third trimesters, you only need an additional 300 to 450 calories a day, which can be spread across two healthy snacks.

If you’re overweight or obese and you have gestational diabetes however, the amount of pregnancy weight gain varies depending on your body mass index (BMI).

To get a better idea of how many calories you need each day, how much weight you should gain and what foods to eat, ask your OB/GYN or midwife to make a referral to a medical nutrition therapist or a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN).

 

2. Eat regular meals

If you’re dealing with morning sickness, it can be tempting to avoid eating, but skipping meals can cause your blood sugar levels to drop.

Eating breakfast is particularly important and will also help you make healthy diet choices the rest of the day. Aim for a combination of protein and fiber, such as an egg with blueberries or Greek yogurt with berries and a low-sugar granola.

Try for 3 meals and 2 small snacks a day and be mindful of your portion sizes.

3. Pick protein

 

Foods high in protein help balance blood sugar so it’s a good idea to get some at every meal and snack.

Eggs, fish, meat, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, tofu, tempeh and edamame are all great sources of protein.

4. Be choosy about carbs

 

To avoid spikes in blood sugar, it’s important to pay attention to the types and amount of carbohydrates you eat.

Complex carbohydrates are typically high in fiber, which keep blood sugar levels steady and stave off hunger.

Complex carbohydrates such as whole grain bread, brown rice or quinoa (a seed) are best. Also, try to combine complex carbs with protein and a healthy fat like avocado to help you feel satisfied.

Avoid refined carbohydrates like white bread, white rice and potatoes as well as juice, soda, and sugar-sweetened beverages which lack nutrition and will spike your blood sugar.

5. Focus on foods with a low glycemic load (GL)

 

You’ve probably heard about eating foods that have a low glycemic index (GI), but glycemic load (GL) is a more accurate measurement of a particular food’s effect on blood sugar.

Glycemic load describes the quality (GI) and quantity of carbohydrate in a serving, meal or diet, according to this article.

Aim for foods with a glycemic load of less than 10 including:

  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Beans
  • Lentils
  • Chickpeas
  • Whole grain breads and cereals

Starchy vegetables likes peas, carrots, and butternut squash as well as some low-glycemic fruits are OK, but they should have less of a focus in your diet.

6. Choose healthy fats

 

Healthy fats give you energy, promote satiety and are important for your baby’s brain and eye development.

Focus on monounsaturated fats like avocado, olive oil, and almonds and polyunsaturated fats like those found in flaxseed and chia seeds.

Fish like salmon and herring are also excellent sources of healthy fats but because of mercury exposure, check the FDA and EPA’s chart for those with the lowest amount of mercury and how many portions are safe to eat.

7. Avoid foods that spike your blood sugar

 

It’s important avoid foods that will spike your blood sugar including processed foods, fast food and foods that are refined and high in sugar.

Be sure to read labels carefully because many foods like yogurt, salad dressings, marinades, and condiments are sneaky sources of sugar and should be avoided.

 

Have you been diagnosed with gestational diabetes? What were some ways you managed it?  

6 Subtle Signs of Postpartum Depression  For many moms, postpartum depression goes undiagnosed. I was one of them.

6 Subtle Signs of Postpartum Depression

For many moms, postpartum depression goes undiagnosed. I was one of them.

Four years ago, I found myself in the office of a therapist who specialized in postpartum depression.

My second child was already 18-months-old by that point and from what I had read and written about postpartum depression, there was no way I had it.

I thought moms with the condition felt sad, cried a lot and felt detached from their babies. I also thought those symptoms showed up within weeks after giving birth.

My story wasn’t like that at all.

I had a positive birth experience with a midwife and supportive husband by my side.

I felt so great in fact, that I spent only one night in the hospital.

The day after I came home, we even hosted family in our home for Easter and I was happy and energetic. I already felt like I was settling into our new life with a 2-year-old and a newborn.

Everything seemed just fine.

Two days later at my daughter’s well visit, I was asked to fill out a screening for postpartum depression and I was flippant about it. I quickly checked off the answers and thought, I don’t have time for this.

For the next year and half, I cared for my daughters, worked part-time and went to the gym regularly. I cooked our meals and made homemade baby food. I cleaned my home every week like clockwork and did everything else that had to get done.

I was high functioning for sure, not the disconnected mother I had envisioned a mom with postpartum depression to look like.

And besides, so much time had passed.

As I spoke to the therapist however, she explained that despite all that, what I was experiencing was in fact, postpartum depression.

As I did more research, I realized that I had likely had the condition since my first daughter was born and no one, not even me, picked up on it.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), postpartum depression affects approximately 1 in 9 women nationwide and in some states, as many as 1 in 5 have the condition.

Despite how common it is however, it often goes unrecognized and is not always an easy, clear-cut diagnosis. When it is diagnosed, less than half of women get treatment, according to a February 2015 study in the journal CNS Spectrums.

Whether you’re a new mom or know someone who is, it’s important to recognize the signs—no matter how subtle they may be—and know where to turn for help.

1. Anxiety

I was no stranger to anxiety, having experienced it since childhood, but after my daughters were born it ramped up even more.

When my kids were sleeping, I constantly checked to make sure they were breathing, they were still lying on their bellies, and their swaddles hadn’t come undone, potentially suffocating them.

When I was driving, I not only worried that we would get into a car accident, but that another car would hit my car on the side where my kids sat.

It doesn’t make much sense that you can be anxious and depressed at the same time, but anxiety is actually one of the symptoms of postpartum depression. In fact, The Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale, the screening tool used to diagnose postpartum depression, includes questions about anxiety, panic and overwhelm.

Some moms who have the same type of irrational fears I did, can suffer from postpartum anxiety or postpartum obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). These and other perinatal anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and panic disorder are about as common as postpartum depression.

2. Irritability

The weeks and months after I gave birth felt so incredibly stressful. I lacked patience for everyone and everything.

I was constantly frazzled—trying to balance interviews, writing and pumping my breast milk, all in the short amount of time I had our sitter caring for my kids.

Unlike my first daughter who would breastfeed like clockwork and be done, my second liked to nurse what felt like all the time and would cry the minute I put her down.

If you feel on edge, you’re not able to relax, or you’re short and snappy with your husband and other people in your life, take note. True, you’re already exhausted and the lack of sleep can make you feel irritable but if those feelings persist, it could be due to postpartum depression.

3. Changes in appetite

A change in your appetite is perhaps one of the most significant, but subtle signs of postpartum depression.

Despite being a chef, cookbook author and foodie, Chrissy Teigan has said that when she had no interest in cooking or eating she realized it was time to seek help for postpartum depression.

When you have a new baby, it’s rare that you’ll have time to sit down to a meal so you might find yourself skipping meals or overeating when you do have time to eat.

Yet if you have a lack of appetite or find yourself overeating or binging to decompress, cope with tough feelings or to fight fatigue, it might also be due to postpartum depression.

4. Feelings of uncertainty, insecurity and regret

There are so many decisions you have to make when you become a mom.

Whether it’s choosing to breastfeed, going back to work and picking the right pediatrician, it can all feel very overwhelming.

If you get stuck and find it hard to make decisions, no matter how minor or significant they may be, or you doubt, regret or beat yourself up about a decision you made, it could be a sign of postpartum depression.

5. Insomnia

With a newborn at home, sleep is already hard to come by. If you have other children who don’t sleep through the night, it can be even more challenging.

If you find it difficult to fall asleep, or toss and turn throughout the night, talk to your doctor because it could be a sign of postpartum depression.

6. Feeling like a failure

After the birth of my first child, I constantly compared myself to other new moms including family, friends and those I knew in the community.

Of course, photos of happy moms with their cute, “perfect” children on social media didn’t help either.

Everyone else seemed to have it all together and handle new motherhood with ease while I felt like I had no idea what I was doing.

I struggled nearly every day with feelings of inadequacy as a mom. I frequently told my husband, I’m not a good mom, I’m not cut out for this and I’m failing.

Motherhood didn’t come easy for me and I knew I wasn’t happy, but I thought it was my fault. I thought I simply didn’t know how to be a mom, but now I know that was the depression duping me.

Although I think it’s safe to say we all feel overwhelmed by motherhood from time to time and we doubt our decisions, when these feelings persist, it’s time to seek help.

How To Find Help

If you have any of these signs, or you simply don’t feel like yourself, it’s important to seek help.

Postpartum depression is not a sign of weakness or a character flaw and it doesn’t mean you’re a bad mom. It’s a real, diagnosable condition and there are effective treatments available.

Tell someone

Talk to your doctor or midwife about your symptoms, whether you gave birth 2 weeks or 2 years ago.

She can screen you for postpartum depression and refer you to a therapist who can help. If you feel like you can’t take that first step, talk to your partner, a family member or friend who can put the wheels in motion for you.

Find help

Postpartum Support International is an amazing resource for new moms. They offer phone and online support, referrals to local therapists and support groups.

Get support

Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) was a lifesaver for me. They welcomed me with a warm breakfast, someone to watch my kids for 2 hours and a group of real moms who listened, understood and were supportive. Although it can feel hard to be social, try to find a moms’ group that provides a safe, supportive space.

Ask for what you need

As I said, I had no idea I had postpartum depression. I was checking things off my list, going full throttle 24/7, and having an I can do it all mentality but I rarely accepted help or took time for myself.

All moms need help, but if you have postpartum depression, it’s even more important.

Ask your partner to take a feeding, cook dinner or take over some of the household duties. If you can afford to do so, hire a postpartum doula, a baby nurse or an au pair.

If your parents or in-laws have the time and offer to help, take them up on it. They can take your baby for a walk in the stroller, read to your baby, or help prepare dinner.

Say yes to any help you can get.

If you have thoughts of suicide, please don’t suffer in silence. There is help. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800-273-8255)

 

[VIDEO] 11 Natural Ways to Deal With Morning Sickness

[VIDEO] 11 Natural Ways to Deal With Morning Sickness

When I was 6 weeks pregnant with both of my children, it was like someone flipped a switch: one day I felt fine and the next I woke up feeling nauseous.

On a few occasions, there was some vomiting thrown in but in general, it was a constant queasy feeling that lasted all day.

According to a 2013 meta-analysis in the Journal of Population Therapeutics and Clinical Pharmacology, approximately 70 percent of pregnant women have nausea and vomiting during pregnancy.

It turns out however, that “morning sickness” is a misnomer. For most women, that nauseous feeling is something that lasts 24/7.

In fact, less than 2 percent of women experience nausea and vomiting only in the morning, while 80 percent have it all day, one study found.

When you have nausea, struggle to keep food down and don’t have an appetite, it can be pretty miserable.

For most women however, morning sickness improves over time and there’s a lot you can do to prevent and deal with morning sickness.

If you’re short on time, check out my top 3 natural remedies for morning sickness in this video.

1. Eat small meals

When your blood sugar is low, you’re more likely to feel nauseous so do your best to avoid skipping meals.

 

Focus on eating small meals made up of protein and complex carbohydrates about 3 to 4 hours apart to give your body a slow, steady release of energy and prevent huge blood sugar spikes and crashes.

 

2. Try the scent of lemon

The smell and taste of lemon is so refreshing and may help you deal with morning sickness.

 

A warm cup of tea or water with lemon and a bit of honey or adding lemon essential oil to a diffusor may do the trick.

3. Carry snacks

If the subway gets delayed or you get stuck at the DMV, having a snack in your bag can help you deal with morning sickness should it strike.

 

Portable snacks like dried fruit, nuts, seeds, granola bars (made with whole ingredients and low sugar), whole-grain crackers or a piece of fruit are all great options.

 

4. Add ginger to your diet

Ginger is well known for it’s ability to combat nausea and if you can tolerate it, it can be quite effective for morning sickness.

 

Processed ginger snaps or ginger ale, however won’t cut it.

 

The key is to consume real ginger root.

 

Try boiling a small piece of ginger in water, adding it to tea or a green juice.

 

Ginger root beer (it’s non-alcoholic), ginger capsules, gum or lozenges may also help combat that queasy feeling.

 

5. Vitamin B6

During my second pregnancy, my midwife recommended I take a vitamin B6 supplement and it ended up being a lifesaver for me. In fact, the nausea went away within a day or two.

 

Ask your provider to recommend a reputable supplement brand and explain how much to take and how often.

 

6. Eat magnesium-rich foods

Kale and spinach might be the last thing you want to eat when you’re dealing with morning sickness but a magnesium-deficiency can lead to nausea.

 

In fact, most women are deficient in magnesium during pregnancy, a September 2016 study in the journal Nutrition Reviews found.

 

In addition to green leafy vegetables, foods high in magnesium include almonds, cashews, black beans, edamame, and avocado.

 

If you don’t think you’re getting enough magnesium, ask your provider about taking a magnesium supplement, the type of magnesium and dose.

 

7. Sip on peppermint tea

Peppermint has a long history of being used for digestive disorders and experts say it’s safe to drink peppermint tea during pregnancy, although it may make heartburn worse.

 

8. Salty crackers

Saltines are pure, refined carbohydrates and not a food anyone should be eating on a regular basis because they lack fiber and spike blood sugar, but they can be really helpful in easing morning sickness.

 

Keep them by your bedside and munch on a few before you get out of bed in the morning or snack on them during the day when you feel sick.

 

9. Drink up

It sounds counterintuitive to drink water if you’re struggling to keep much of anything down, but if you’re dehydrated, you’re more likely to experience morning sickness.

 

You might find drinking in between meals, drinking ice water or a piping hot cup of herbal tea.

 

You can also stay hydrated by eating melon and citrus fruits which are really refreshing when you’re pregnant, and especially during the summer months.

 

Either way, avoid soda, sugary and sugar-sweetened beverages which are empty calories, spike your blood sugar and leady to unhealthy pregnancy weight gain.

 

10. Try smoothies, green juices or soup

If the sight or aroma of greens is enough to make your stomach turn, try getting a bunch of vegetables and fruit in a smoothie or green juice.

 

Or make a vat of broth-based, pureed vegetable soup.

 

You’ll pack in a ton of nutrition and in a more palatable way.

11. Avoid fatty foods

You might be craving a bacon, egg and cheese sandwich, but fatty foods and processed fast food are hard to digest and will most likely bring on nausea.

 

Not to mention a healthy pregnancy diet isn’t what you and your baby really need.

 

 

6 Tips For a Healthy Vegetarian Pregnancy  A vegetarian diet can be a heathy way to eat during pregnancy, but you'll want to make sure it's designed to support your baby's growth and development.

6 Tips For a Healthy Vegetarian Pregnancy

A vegetarian diet can be a heathy way to eat during pregnancy, but you'll want to make sure it's designed to support your baby's growth and development.

A vegetarian diet—one that’s rich in fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts and seeds—can be a healthy way to eat, even during pregnancy.

According to a 2016 Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ position paper, a well planned vegetarian or vegan diet during pregnancy and while breastfeeding is appropriate. What’s more, a 2015 review in the journal BJOG suggests following a vegetarian or vegan diet during pregnancy is safe and not associated with adverse outcomes or birth defects.

Being a junk-food vegetarian and filling up on meatless foods like breads, pastas and processed foods alone however, isn’t a healthy way to eat and can lead to nutritional deficiencies. Add to that nausea and morning sickness, and you could be missing out on the nutrients you need for a healthy pregnancy.

The key therefore, is to make sure your vegetarian diet is well designed and includes all of the nutrients you and your baby need.

Here are some things to consider when planning a vegetarian diet during pregnancy.

1. Fill up on folate

The US Preventive Services Task Force recommends all women of childbearing age take between 400 and 800 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid, the synthetic form of folate, to prevent neural tube defects like spina bifida that can occur during the early weeks of pregnancy.

During pregnancy, you should take a prenatal vitamin with 600 mcg of folic acid to support your baby’s development.

Although folic acid is better absorbed than folate-rich foods, getting foods like spinach, black-eyed peas, asparagus and Brussels sprouts is ideal.

2. Pick protein

Getting enough protein during pregnancy is important for cell growth, both for you and your baby.

The Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) for protein is 46 grams per day during the first trimester and 71 grams per day during the second and third trimesters.

On a vegetarian diet, beans and legumes are excellent sources of protein and can easily be swapped in for meat in most dishes. Beans and legumes are also healthy choices because they contain fiber which balance blood sugar, help you feel satiated and prevent pregnancy constipation.

Other sources of protein include eggs, nuts and seeds, tofu, tempeh and edamame.

3. Up your intake of iron

Iron helps your baby and the placenta develop, allows red blood cells in your body to deliver oxygen to your baby, and maintains your body’s blood volume which doubles during pregnancy. Not only can iron-deficiency anemia cause fatigue, it can lead to preterm labor as well.

During pregnancy, you need 27 milligrams of iron but your iron needs may be higher because plant-based iron may not be as readily absorbed as the iron in animal products.

To improve absorbency, you can soak and cook beans, legumes and nuts or pair them with vitamin-C rich foods. Vitamin C rich foods include strawberries, honeydew, broccoli, cauliflower, green peppers, Brussel sprouts and tomatoes. Other iron-rich foods include eggs, spinach, raisins, quinoa, pumpkin seeds, and fortified cereals.

4. Eat calcium-rich foods

Calcium is an important nutrient during pregnancy because it helps your baby build strong teeth and bones, and it’s important for his cardiovascular function.

Dairy products are a rich source of calcium, vitamin D and protein as well as vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 supports brain and nervous system development and is necessary to absorb folate and choline. B12 is primarily found in animal sources but you can also get it in fortified foods like cereals, meat substitutes, nondairy milks, and nutritional yeast.

If you’re avoiding dairy products, be sure to include non-dairy calcium sources such as green leafy vegetables, figs, and chia seeds.

5. Get healthy fats

Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, including DHA, are vital for baby’s brain, eyes and nervous system development. Be sure to include fatty fish like salmon as well as eggs, nuts and seeds.

If you don’t eat fish or eggs however, you’ll want to pay attention to the ration of omega-6 fatty acids to omega-3 fatty acids for optimal conversion of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) to DHA and EPA. I suggest you speak with a registered dietitian nutrition who specializes in pregnancy nutrition and can design a healthy plan for you.

6. Eat complex carbohydrates

Foods rich in complex carbohydrates include vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients you need for a healthy pregnancy. They support your baby’s neurological development and overall health, and give you steady energy throughout the day.

Foods rich in complex carbohydrates include foods like fruits and vegetables, beans and legumes, sweet potatoes, oatmeal and brown rice.

7. Take a prenatal vitamin

A good prenatal vitamin shouldn’t replace whole-food sources of nutrients but if you’re battling morning sickness or find it difficult to get what you need, it can help fill in the nutritional gaps.

The New Mom’s Guide to Losing The Baby Weight  Shed the pregnancy pounds with these easy tips.

The New Mom’s Guide to Losing The Baby Weight

Shed the pregnancy pounds with these easy tips.

In between diaper changes, feedings and getting the hang of being a new mom, chances are losing the baby weight has been on your mind.

Shedding the pregnancy pounds takes time but getting back to your pre-pregnancy weight—or at least back to a healthy weight—should be your goal.

Carrying around extra lbs can increase your risk for several major health problems including high blood pressure, obstructive sleep apnea and certain types of cancer.

According to a study published in July 2014 in the journal Diabetes Care, moms who keep the baby weight 3 to 12 months after giving birth and those who gain more weight have an increased risk of heart disease and type-2 diabetes later on in life.

And if you become pregnant again, the extra weight can lead to pregnancy complications.

The key to healthy weight loss is slow and steady. It took nine months to gain the baby weight so it can take just as long to lose it.

Eat Whole Foods

Fast food, take-out and processed, packaged foods can be tempting especially because it can seem like there’s no time to cook, much less sit down to a meal.

Eating a healthy diet made up mostly of whole foods will give you the energy you need to care for your baby, feel good and shed the post-baby pounds.

Rather than overhauling your diet or eliminating whole food groups in an effort to lose the baby weight, eat a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables, lean protein and healthy fats like avocado. Since fresh fruits and vegetables are packed with nutrition and fiber, they’ll also help you feel fuller longer and stave off hunger.

Start Slow

Depending on your fitness level before you conceived and during pregnancy, your doctor will give you the green light to start exercising, although it will likely be after your 6-week check-up.

Since your joints may still feel loose and your balance will be off, start out slow and don’t push yourself if you’re not feeling it.

Stick with low impact workouts like walking or a postpartum fitness program before high-impact workouts like running, Spinning or boot camp.

Make Time For Strength Training

Cardio torches calories but building muscle also burns fat and is key to losing the baby weight. According to a study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research women who participated in a 1-hour strength training session burned an average 100 more calories 24 hours afterward than when they didn’t lift weights.

Eat Enough

Drastically cutting calories can put your body into starvation mode and stall your weight loss. Plus, if you’re exclusively breastfeeding, you’re burning about 500 extra calories a day—calories your body needs for your breast milk and to boost your metabolism.

Instead of cutting calories, eat when you’re hungry, watch your portion sizes and choose foods that will satiate your hunger and give you energy—not zap it.

 

Deal With Diastasis Recti

After I gave birth to my second child, I was back to my pre-pregnancy weight, eating healthy and exercising but my body looked much different than it did before I became pregnant.

After I interviewed Leah Keller, founder of Every Mother, I realized I had diastasis recti.

Diastasis recti is a condition in which the rectus abdominis or “6-pack” muscles that run down the center of the stomach separate. The connective tissue thins, weakens and stretches sideways, causing the waistline to widen and bulge. So no matter how much you exercise, you’ll have a belly. More than 32 percent of women have diastasis recti 12 months postpartum, according to a September 2016 study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

Diastasis recti can be resolved but it takes time and you have to do the right exercises: ones that pull the belly into the spine, never crunches.

Stop Comparing Yourself

It’s unrealistic to think you’re going to shed the baby weight in weeks flat like the celebrities do. These moms are probably resorting to extreme, unhealthy diets, have personal chefs and personal trainers and a 24/7 nanny to help them.

But you might also be trying to stack up to your own or someone else’s impossible standards about what you should look like or even compare yourself to other moms.

My advice? Don’t do it.

Your body and its chemistry are unique, and your life is different than other moms.

After you give birth, you need time to heal and recover, bond with your baby and get sleep when you can. So give yourself a break and be realistic about how much and how fast you can lose the baby weight.

Commit To Your Health

According to a January 2015 study in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology, 75 percent of new moms weighed more a year after they give birth than they did before becoming pregnant.

When you’re home with a newborn, you never know what your day will look like or how much energy you’ll have after being up all night. Although a 60-minute workout at the gym first thing in the morning may not be realistic, joining a mommy and me postpartum fitness program, finding another mom who can be your workout buddy or putting on a streaming workout while your baby naps may be.

Regardless of the workout you choose, make a commitment to you and your health because the healthier you are, the healthier your baby will be.

Ask For Help

Don’t feel bad about asking others to help you achieve your weight loss goals and make time for yourself. If grandma offers to babysit, take her up on it. Or, if your budget allows, consider hiring a babysitter so you can take a Yoga class or go for a walk.

Losing the baby weight should be realistic, time efficient and fun. And with the right support, you’ll be back to your pre-baby bod in no time.

10 Calcium-Rich Foods To Eat During Pregnancy

10 Calcium-Rich Foods To Eat During Pregnancy

Calcium is an essential nutrient and during pregnancy, its primary role is to help your baby grow strong bones and teeth.

It’s also a key nutrient for blood clotting, nerve, heart and muscle function and normal heart rhythm.

If you who get less than 900 mg of calcium a day however, you could be at risk for preeclampsia, a pregnancy complication that causes high blood pressure and kidney problems and can lead to serious, even fatal, complications for you and your baby.

What’s more, a July 2017 study in The Journal of Nutrition suggests low calcium intake during pregnancy can lead to high blood pressure, especially for those who had high blood pressure while they were pregnant.

During both pregnancy and breastfeeding, your baby will draw what he needs from your calcium stores, so it’s important to make sure you’re getting enough in your diet for yourself. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends 1,000 milligrams (mg) per day during pregnancy and while breastfeeding for women 19 years and older while those under 19 should get 1,300 milligrams (mg).

Talk to your doctor or a nutritionist who specializes in prenatal nutrition to make sure you’re getting enough calcium and if you should also take a supplement.

Adding these 10 foods to your diet can help.

1. Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt, which has more protein that regular, is also high in calcium. One serving contains 187 milligrams.

Instead of fruit-flavored Greek yogurt which is high in sugar, opt for plain Greek yogurt and add fresh berries for extra fiber and a sweet and satisfying snack.

2. Broccoli

Dairy isn’t the only way to make sure you get enough calcium in your diet—leafy green vegetables are also one of the best sources.

With 34 milligrams of calcium in each cup, and chock full of vitamins and minerals, broccoli is an excellent addition to your pregnancy diet.

If you can’t stomach greens however, try pureeing broccoli into a delicious soup or adding pureed broccoli into your favorite marinara sauce.

3. Sesame Seeds

Sesame seeds are probably not a food you eat often, but they are one of the best calcium-rich foods to eat during pregnancy. Once ounce provides 273 milligrams of calcium.

Sesame seeds are also high in iron and magnesium and a good source of protein and fiber.

Add sesame seeds to rice dishes, stir-fries, salmon or shrimp or incorporate them into your favorite bread or muffin recipe.

4. Dairy and Fortified Non-Dairy Milks

Milk is an obvious source of calcium and it’s always a good idea to choose organic milk to avoid artificial growth hormones.

 

If you can’t digest cow’s milk or are avoiding it however, non-dairy, fortified almond milk, cashew milk and coconut milk can also be a good source of calcium in your diet.

5. Sardines

When morning sickness and nausea are in full force, fish may be the last food you want to eat. But sardines are one of the best calcium-rich foods to eat during pregnancy. Three ounces provides 325 mg of calcium.

Sardines are also an excellent source of protein, vitamins B12 and D and omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for your baby’s brain development.

Fresh or canned, they’re easy to incorporate into any meal.

6. Salmon

Like sardines, salmon (fresh, frozen or canned) is rich in calcium: a 3-ounce serving provides 181 milligrams.

Salmon is also an excellent source of protein, vitamins B6 and B12, and omega-3 fatty acids, it will satiate your hunger and give you plenty of energy throughout the day.

7. Tofu

If you’re vegetarian, vegan, or simply looking to get more plant-based foods in your diet, tofu is a good choice. A 1/2 cup of tofu contains 253 mg of calcium.

Make a tofu scramble for breakfast, use it as a replacement for meat in most dishes or add it to a vegetable stir-fry for a delicious and satisfying meal.

8. Figs

Fresh or dried, figs are one of the best calcium-rich foods during pregnancy. A 1/2 cup of figs provide 35 milligrams of calcium. They’re also high in fiber, a good thing if you’re plagued by constipation.

Add figs to oatmeal or salads or roast them for a sweet and satisfying after-dinner dessert.

9. Edamame

An excellent source of protein, fiber, iron and magnesium, edamame (soybeans) are high in calcium. One cup provides 97 milligrams of calcium. Edamame is also an excellent source of folate, a nutrient every woman needs whether she’s planning to become pregnant or not.

Edamame goes well with any meal and makes for an easy and convenient snack.

10. Kale

Green leafy vegetables are an important source of nutrients while you’re pregnant and kale is one of the best calcium-rich foods to focus on. One cup of kale provides 90 milligrams of calcium, and is also a good source of protein, fiber, iron, folate, vitamins A, B6, C, K and potassium.

Add kale to soups and stews, make a salad or roast kale chips. If you can’t think about chewing kale, blend it up into a green smoothie or make a green juice instead.

10 Healthy (and Surprising!) Things To Do Before Your Baby Is Born

10 Healthy (and Surprising!) Things To Do Before Your Baby Is Born

When I was pregnant with my first child, like most moms I read everything I could get my hands on: parenting books, articles, magazines and every brochure offered at my doctor’s office.

I took a Hypnobirthing class and a meditation class, created a registry, set up the nursery, washed and folded onesies and stocked up on diapers. I read ratings and reviews to find a safe car seat, the best bathtub and an organic mattress.

Although all of the clothing, gear and products are important, there actually are other things you’ll want to consider that you probably haven’t thought about. Things that will help you, your spouse and your baby be healthy and happy.

So go ahead, schedule the childbirth class, create your birth plan and pack a bag for the hospital, then think about these 10 healthy (and surprising) things to do before your baby is born.

1. Purge Your Pantry

If you indulge in cookies, candy and chips, it can be a tough habit to break. After you give birth however, you’ll want to eat foods that will give you energy, not zap it. Also, the way you eat will help set the stage for your baby’s diet when he starts solids and throughout his life.

Adopt an “out of sight, out of mind” mentality and purge your pantry of processed, packaged snacks so they won’t be a temptation. Then fill it with healthy, whole foods like nuts and seeds, quinoa, oatmeal, nut butter and canned salmon and sardines.

2. Make Small Tweaks To Your Diet

A healthy diet after you give birth is just as important as it is during pregnancy. Eating mostly whole-foods, including plenty of vegetables and some fruit, will give you the energy you need to care for your newborn and the calories to support your body while you’re breastfeeding.

If your diet could use some improvement, think about making one small changes every week instead of overhauling your entire diet at once.

These might include:

  • Make a salad everyday for lunch.
  • Use the slow cooker to make a healthy meal.
  • Go out to dinner one less day.
  • Chop and sort fruits and vegetables for green juices or smoothies.
  • Make Meatless Mondays a habit.
  • Swap refined carbohydrates for whole grains.
  • Add an extra vegetable to your plate.
  • Plan your meals for the week.
  • Create a shopping list and stick with it.

3. Know The Signs Of Postpartum Depression

After I had both of my children, I struggled to adapt to my new role. It seemed to me that every other mom knew what she was doing, she had it all together and she couldn’t be happier. For some reason, I didn’t feel the same.

It wasn’t until my second child was walking that I finally decided to seek help and I was diagnosed with postpartum depression.

Postpartum depression affects as many as 1 in 7 women, according to a 2013 study published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry, and experts say many more women are likely suffering in silence.

Postpartum depression is nothing to be ashamed of and it doesn’t mean you’re a bad mom. Before you give birth, read an article or two about postpartum depression so you’ll know the signs to look for and where to turn for help.

4. Get Moving

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends pregnant women get at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise most or all days of the week. If you didn’t exercise much throughout your pregnancy, it’s never too late to start.

Exercise during pregnancy can give you an energy boost, keep your weight under control, help you sleep better, improve your mood and lower your risk for pregnancy complications. Creating the habit now will also make you more likely to stick with it after you give birth.

5. Stock Your Freezer

When you have a newborn at home, there’s little time to cook healthy meals, much less find the time to eat. When I had my first child, I used to balance my lunch on a plate over her as she breastfed.

Before you give birth, spend a few hours on the weekends to make meals you can freeze and re-heat later so you won’t have to resort to fast food or take-out. Keep a few healthy frozen foods on hand too so you’ll always be able to quickly pull something healthy together.

6. Put A Lactation Consultant on Speed Dial

Within minutes of giving birth, my daughter immediately latched on but I didn’t quite understand how to position her and I never could tell if I was doing it right.

It wasn’t until I had a private session with the lactation consultants at the hospital a few days later that it all came together for us.

Although breastfeeding is one of the most natural things you can do, it doesn’t always come naturally so if you decide to breastfeed, chances are you’ll need help.

Before you give birth, find out if the hospital or birth center you’ll be delivering at has lactation consultants on staff or ask your doctor or midwife for a few recommendations.

7. Stock Up On Natural Products

In the U.S. so many of the products for moms and babies contain harmful, toxic chemicals like parabens, phthalates and fragrance that you don’t want near you or your baby.

Before your baby is born, clean out your home and stock up on natural, green cleaning products and personal care products. Or consider making your own cleaning products with simple ingredients like vinegar, baking soda and castile soap.

8. Find (Good) Friends

One of the best groups I joined when my daughters were babies was MOPS International. It was the first time since becoming a mom that I felt there were other moms who got it. I found friends and a community of real, down-to-earth, supportive moms.

So many of us don’t have a village around us that we so often read about but having a few good friends is necessary. Having friends who are in the same stage of life and can offer support can make motherhood a bit easier.

9. Ask For and Accept Help

When I became a new mom, my mother offered several times to help. Yet since I was breastfeeding, I didn’t know what to ask her for help with.

Plus, I wanted to be able to handle new motherhood on my own. I’m Ms. Independent and rarely ask anyone for help.

Now that my kids are older however, I see the error of my ways I could have asked her to rock the baby or play with her so I could take a catnap or go out for a coffee.

No matter how much you think you can—or should—do everything alone, ask for help. And if a family member or friend offers help, say yes. The slightest amount of support can spell the difference between an exhausted, stressed out mama and a healthy, happy one.

10. Let It Go

Having a birth plan is a good idea but the truth is bringing new life into the world is unpredictable so your baby’s birth may not go as you hope.

Perhaps you’ve already made up your mind about co-sleeping, breastfeeding and going back to work, but one of the best pieces of advice you can have as a new mom is to let it go. The truth is you won’t know what your baby will be like or what kind of mom you’ll be until you actually become one. If you’re flexible and open to the roller coaster ride of being a mom, it can be a smoother journey.