Exercise During Pregnancy

We have begun a new column where our readers can write in with their questions. We’ll field the questions to one or more experts in the subject and post the responses typically within 2 weeks. Write Us with Your Question!

Tatum and Her Dog Griz

Tatum and Her Dog Griz

 

Our expert for this question below is Tatum Rebelle, an experienced fitness professional and owner of  Total Mommy Fitness.  Read more about Tatum’s work here, including her online prenatal fitness program.

 Q: I have been a runner for the past 5 years and just learned that I am pregnant. Do I have to give up running?

A:  If you were a runner before you were pregnant there is no reason that you cannot continue as long as it feels comfortable and you have the okay from your doctor. This is a very important time to listen to your body and do not push it to your pre-pregnancy intensity.

Q: I love weightlifting and find it empowering. What are the common restrictions about this while pregnant? I want to be safe but also stay in shape for when my baby arrives.

A:  Weightlifting is safe and very beneficial during pregnancy. You can continue your pre-pregnancy routine as long as it feels comfortable and your doctor has cleared you for exercise. If you were not lifting weights before pregnancy you can begin a routine that feels comfortable. Pregnancy is not a time for powerlifting and explosive movements, but a full body, moderate intensity program has many benefits for you and your baby.

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Doulas in the Hospital

We have begun a new column where our readers can write in with their questions. We’ll field the questions to one or more experts in the subject and post the responses typically within 2 weeks. Write Us with Your Question!

Shelley Scotka

Shelley Scotka, Birth Doula and Childbirth Educator


Our expert for this question below is Shelley Scotka, an experienced doula and childbirth instructor in Austin, Texas.  Shelley is a mom of two and has been helping women and their partners since 1995. Read more about Shelley here.

Q: How does a doula work with my physician and the nurses in the hospital where I am delivering?

A:  A birth doula works alongside medical care providers but does not provide medical care. Instead, a doula provides emotional, physical and informational support for the laboring woman and her partner. Medical care providers, including your doctor and labor nurses, are really “lifeguards” who oversee the safety of the mother and baby. A doula is there to offer continuous support, to make sure the woman feels cared for, safe and respected. A doula listens and reassures, offers suggestions for positioning and comfort, uses touch and massage, and encourages communication between a woman and her medical care providers. After the baby is born, a doula stays in touch with the family and offers additional support with breastfeeding, newborn care, and making sure the family transitions well during postpartum.

 

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When and How to Start a Prenatal Yoga Practice

We have begun a new column where our readers can write in with their questions. We’ll field the questions to one or more experts in the subject and post the responses typically within 2 weeks. Write Us with Your Question!

Sarah Evans

Sarah Evans, an Experienced Prenatal, Postnatal, Children’s and Hatha Yoga Instructor

Our expert for this question below is Sarah Evans, an experienced Prenatal, Postnatal, Children’s and Hatha yoga instructor in Austin, Texas.  Sarah is a mom of two. Read more about Sarah here.

Q: I’ve tried yoga a couple of times before and heard it’s especially beneficial for pregnant women. As a beginner, should I try it? What can I expect from my first yoga practice? 

A: If you are newly pregnant, congratulations! You are embarking on such an amazing time in your life. Whether you have no yoga experience or have been practicing for years, attending a Prenatal yoga class is one of the best activities you can do for you and your baby!

Gathering with a group of expectant mamas provides invaluable support in this time of much change. In each class, the students spend the first few minutes sharing how they are feeling and ask questions. This time gives them an opportunity to be heard in a safe environment, and it provides a sense of normalcy to any student who might need reassurance that they are not alone in their physical or emotional feelings.

The yoga poses practiced in a Prenatal class are safe for both mom and baby. Since the body is in the flux so much during pregnancy, options are offered to either intensify or soften each pose. We begin with breath awareness and gentle warm-ups. Then we gradually work toward side stretches, subtle back bends, gentle forward bends, hip openers, and abdominal strengtheners. We end with time to rest, in the final pose of class, called Savasana.

All of these postures improve circulation, tone, balance, and gives a greater sense of space in the body. The release of endorphins through these movements helps to calm the discomforts of pregnancy. This, combined with deep, mindful breathing helps to foster relaxation, which is priceless during labor and delivery.

Most importantly, let your body be your guide! Listen to your body’s messages, be gentle with yourself, take breaks when needed, modify when appropriate. Enjoy connecting with your baby and appreciate your body for all the hard work it is doing to carry this sweet little life.

Please consider joining a Prenatal yoga class. It will greatly benefit both you and your baby!

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On Selecting a Pediatrician

We have begun a new column where our readers can write in with their questions. We’ll field the questions to one or more experts in the subject and post the responses typically within 2 weeks. Write Us with Your Question!

 Q: When should I select a pediatrician for my unborn child? How can I compare practices and philosophies?

Dr. Kibler

Dr. Elise Kibler, Capital Pediatric Group, Austin

Response from Elise Kibler, M.D., Capital Pediatric Group

A:  It is best to select a pediatrician during the third trimester of pregnancy.  I would select one after visiting their office and meeting with them 2 or 3 of them.  Determine your own priorities for a good pediatrician and come prepared with a list of questions.  I think important items to discuss would include after hours contact with doctor, whether the doctor can see the newborn in the hospital, practice style of the pediatrician, and what the pediatrician thinks parents-to-be should know.  Doctors should have a way for parents to get advice and reach the on-call physician if needed.   Consider asking about the physician’s threshold for using antibiotics, thoughts on vaccines, check-up schedule, and ease of working in sick patients same day.

A pediatrician’s practice style can be that of a team effort, in which the pediatrician plays the role of a team member in the care of the child.  Their role is that of an educator and provide options in the care of mild illnesses.  Some options may include homeopathic treatments or a wait and see approach for things like congestion, and mild ear infections in older children.

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Trying to Conceive at Age 36

We have begun a new column where our readers can write in with their questions. We’ll field the questions to one or more experts in the subject and post the responses typically within 2 weeks. Write Us with Your Question!

 

 Q: I’m 36, healthy and trying to get pregnant for the first time. How long should my husband and I expect it to take to conceive on our own? When should we seek a medical consultation and with whom?

Natalie Burger, M.D.

Natalie Burger, M.D.

Response from Natalie Burger, M.D., Texas Fertility Center:

A: Women in their mid-30s who are trying for pregnancy generally have a 10-15% chance of conceiving each month.  Approximately 80% of couples will be able to conceive within the first year.  However, if there has been no success for many months, the overall chance of pregnancy per month begins to decline – to even 1-2% after a full year of trying.

Women over the age of 35 should consider seeking fertility evaluation if they have been trying for 6 or more months for pregnancy without success.  As fertility significantly declines after the mid-30s, it is especially important for those 35 and older to seek prompt fertility evaluation to maximize the chances of success.

A woman is born with all the eggs she will ever have.  During her life, she will continue to lose eggs (both through the process of ovulation as well as through a process called apoptosis – or programmed cell death).  The eggs that remain continue to deteriorate in quality.  It is especially important to keep an eye on ovarian health as a woman approaches her mid-30s and beyond.

Some women will seek initial guidance from an obstetrician/gynecologist (a.k.a. OBGYN).  Many OBGYNs are quite comfortable performing basic fertility evaluations and some types of fertility treatment.

Reproductive endocrinologists (REs) are OBGYNs who have undergone 3 years of additional specialization in fertility.   They are able to handle all types of fertility treatments – from very basic to very complex.  Oftentimes OBGYNs will refer patients to an RE if the basic testing is abnormal and/or if the basic treatments are not working.  Some patients prefer to start off with an RE so that they are able to have access to full fertility evaluation/treatment from the start.

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Relating to Other Parents with Young Kids

We have begun a new column where our readers can write in with their questions. We’ll field the questions to one or more experts in the subject and post the responses typically within 2 weeks.

Here’s the first question that editor Sharon thought you might like to see as an example (she responded). Write Us with Your Question!

Q: I’m one of the oldest moms at our daycare and am feeling a little isolated from the rest of the parents. Do you have any suggestions on ways to identify with younger moms?

 A: Just talking about your kids is easiest. What are they learning or what are their favorite foods and toys? Feel free to suggest fun playground or other kid-friendly activity that you discovered nearby the daycare and encourage them to join you for a weekend play date. Overall, keep the conversation focused on the thing you have in common, your kids, and the conversation should flow.

We’d love to see your question!