Preconception Nutrition - Guest Blog

Preconception Nutrition - Guest Blog

Hi everyone! I’m Beverly Chester.

My undergrad is in Nutrition Science, I have professional certifications in health, personal training, and youth exercise. I’m currently set to graduate in April with a Master’s of Public Health (MPH) degree. My career field is in Health Promotions, where I teach about nutrition, exercise, and weight management.

And of course, last but certainly not least, I’m a mother of two boys (ages 2 and 4 years old) and I’m a USMC spouse. I met Natalee a few years ago while living in Okinawa; we lived in the same building and we had our first babies around the same time. I’m thrilled to get the opportunity to write this post about preconception nutrition!

Read More

K is for Kegels

K is for Kegels

Kegels are exercises that strengthen the pelvic floor which supports the bladder, uterus, and bowels.  They are named after gynecologist Arnold Kegel.  Many women don’t want to do kegels during pregnancy because they believe that the exercises tighten the pelvic floor and make delivery more difficult.  But that is not actually what kegels do.  Kegels, done properly, allow you to understand how to tighten, relax, and generally control those muscles, which is extremely useful during labor and delivery.  Kegels are also said to help increase bladder control after pregnancy and decrease hemorrhoids during and after pregnancy.  Some say that doing kegels during pregnancy can shorten your labor - this is unclear, however it can’t hurt to do them for the other benefits they provide…

Read More

J is for Jacuzzi

J is for Jacuzzi

You are pregnant and sore and nothing sounds better than a soak in a Jacuzzi, hot tub, or whirlpool.  Before you jump in take a minute to read about why it may not be the best idea…

Read More

I is for Insomnia

I is for Insomnia

What is Insomnia?  The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines insomnia as a prolonged and usually abnormal inability to get enough sleep.  This can be caused by a difficulty to fall asleep, waking repeatedly overnight, difficulty falling back to sleep, or restless sleep.  During pregnancy this is most common in the first and third trimester.  Things that can contribute to lack of sleep are pregnancy hormones, increased need to pee, congestion, and heartburn.  During the first trimester nausea, breast tenderness, frequent urination, and dreams can keep you up at night.  During the third trimester the main contributor to lack of sleep can simply be your inability to get comfortable.  This can be accentuated by back pain, leg cramps, breast tenderness, and heartburn which are all common complaints at the end of pregnancy.  Anxiety or stress about the birth or motherhood can also keep you awake at night.  Insomnia is not harmful to your baby; it is a common (and annoying!) pregnancy symptom…

Read More

H is for Hospital Bag

H is for Hospital Bag

You have the nursery all together, the car seat installed, the clothes washed – but have you packed your hospital bag?  When is the best time to pack your hospital bag?  For a regular pregnancy with no complications, it is a good idea to pack your bag between 37 and 38 weeks.  If you are high risk or are having multiples, it would be a good idea to have your bag packed by 35 weeks.  If you aren’t sure what car you will be taking to the hospital, then leave it packed and by the door, if you know what car you will be taking then have it in the car.  This is where having spare chargers and travel size toiletries help, so you don’t have to worry about grabbing items at the last minute on your way out the door.

But what everyone really wants to know is, “What should I pack?!”…

Read More

F is for Foot Massage

F is for Foot Massage

A foot massage during pregnancy can help relieve stress and pain in the feet of a pregnant woman.  The act of having her feet rubbed can also allow her to relax, which is always beneficial.  If a pregnant woman is experiencing high levels of stress, this can cause distress in the baby.  So yes, you can still have a foot massage when pregnant, and it may provide both psychological and physiological benefits.  Massage can cause a hormone release of endorphins, which are known to lower pain and generate a feeling of euphoria…

Read More

E is for Exercise

E is for Exercise

Exercise is not only safe during a healthy pregnancy but can be the key to helping you have an easier labor!  It is always a good idea to check with your care provider to ensure that exercise is safe during your specific pregnancy.  Some rare conditions can make exercise dangerous during pregnancy, so if you think you may have risks associated with exercise, definitely make sure to check with your provider before exercising…

Read More

D is for Dehydration

D is for Dehydration

Pregnant women need more water because it is so crucial in the development of their baby and the condition of their amniotic fluid.  Water also helps the development of the placenta which is your baby’s life line.  Doctors recommend that pregnant women drink 8-12 glasses of water each day.  Avoiding caffeine can also help you stay hydrated.  During summer or regular exercise, you should try to drink closer to 12 glasses a day.  Morning sickness can also cause dehydration, so if you experience regular or intense bouts of morning sickness, you will have to work harder to stay properly hydrated…

Read More

C is for Cervix

C is for Cervix

The cervix is a narrow ring of muscle at the lower end of your uterus that is the passage through which the baby travels during birth.  During pregnancy the cervix changes position quite a few times, and it changes drastically at the end of pregnancy as you begin to labor.  Before pregnancy, your cervix is mostly closed, rigid, and approximately 3 cm long.  At about 12 days pregnant your cervix rises slightly, lengthens, and softens a little from the extra blood flowing to the area; if you are familiar with the feel, position, and texture of your cervix regularly, you will likely be able to tell when this change occurs and may even suspect your pregnancy before you take a test!  During pregnancy, the cervix thickens and becomes sealed shut with mucus referred to as the mucus plug.  This mucus plug acts as a wonderful barrier to keep germs and other infections from entering your uterus and possibly harming the baby…

Read More

B is for Braxton Hicks

B is for Braxton Hicks

Braxton Hicks contractions are intermittent uterine contractions that can start early on in pregnancy.  Some women never notice them, others notice them early on, and still others will not notice them until about half way through the pregnancy.  These contractions are named after Doctor John Braxton Hicks who first described them in 1872.  Braxton Hicks will likely occur more frequently the farther you progress in your pregnancy and, in your last few weeks, may even come regularly and painfully which can cause confusion with preterm labor.  Braxton Hicks at the end of your pregnancy can be very intense and frequent, but they aren’t pointless; these contractions can help efface (thin out) and possibly even dilate (open up) your cervix.  While some doctors may call this false labor, it is more aptly described as prelabor because it does actually have a purpose in preparing your cervix for labor…

Read More

A is for Amniotic Fluid

A is for Amniotic Fluid

You hear a lot about amniotic fluid indicating labor, or breaking while in labor, but you don’t hear much about amniotic fluid during pregnancy, so let me tell you all about amniotic fluid during pregnancy.  Amniotic fluid is a slightly yellow, clear fluid that fills the amniotic sac within the first 12 days following conception, starting out mostly as water.  Your baby floats in the amniotic fluid throughout your pregnancy.  The amount of amniotic fluid varies during your pregnancy and typically reaches it max at 34 weeks…

Read More