Guide to Maternity Workout Clothes

I started this post when I was pregnant with Chase and never posted it because I ended up at the hospital before I could finish it. Even though it’s a little late, I still want to share this info for any pregnant mamas reading. 

One of the worst things about pregnancy is that as your belly (and everything else) grows, none of your clothes fit anymore. It’s a very small negative compared to the blessing you get in exchange but it’s still annoying. Here’s what I found worked for workout clothes.

Pants

 

Ingrid and Isabel make the best maternity workout capris. My mother-in-law sent me a pair of these early in pregnancy and then I was able to pick up a couple similar pairs from Target. The ones from Target are a cheaper, thinner material but are less expensive. If you run, Jazzercise, do bootcamp, or any kind of workout during pregnancy, I think these are worth it. Buy a couple pairs early in your pregnancy-you can fold the top over when your bump isn’t very big and pull the top up once you’re bigger. That’s the same pair of capris in the pictures above. Order your prepregnancy size.

Tops

The only actual maternity workout top I had was from Fitness for Two. This was a gift from my mom and I received several compliments on it. It’s a little pricey but you can wear it throughout your whole pregnancy and it’s fun to show off your bump. They recommend going with your prepregnancy size, which I did and it fit great. Know that it fits tight over your bump, which is great if you’re comfortable showing it off; if not, you might want to size up.

Otherwise, I wore nonmaternity tops. My longer, stretchy tops worked for the early second trimester. Late second trimester and early third trimester, I stuck with muscle tanks one size up. Once my belly really grew, I went up another size. The main problem I ran into with these were that they were short but if you pull the top of the capris over your belly, you’re covered. I primarily stuck with tops from Jazzercise that ran around $20 and wore the same few over and over again. It’s worth trying on some different sizes in whatever brand you choose because decent, affordable maternity workout tops are difficult to find.

Bras

The Knockout by Victoria’s Secret was my favorite bra before pregnancy and remained my favorite during pregnancy because it’s supportive for high-impact workouts. I simply sized up a couple times during pregnancy. If you can, go to the store to try on because pregnancy can really change your size.

There you have my favorites! Truthfully, I’ll probably continue to wear the capris and my bigger tops for awhile postpartum. If you’re frustrated looking for maternity workout clothes, I hope this helps.

What’s your favorite brand of workout clothes (any workout clothes, not just maternity)? 

 

Tips for Visiting a Newborn

The full title of this post should actually be “Tips for Visiting a Newborn Without Giving the Mom a Nervous Breakdown.”

With Chase here, we’ve had more visitors in the past month than we’ve had in the two years we’ve lived in our house. It’s been wonderful to see so many family and friends but as a new mom, it can be a little overwhelming. Here’s some advice from a new mama to keep in mind if there’s a new baby you need to see.

1.Wait to visit

I know you’re excited to see the baby. Babies are cuddly and there’s nothing better than holding a sleeping newborn. But remember that Mom and Dad are just meeting their baby and want as many snuggles as possible too. This is especially true if the baby spent time in the NICU or had a medical condition. Chase had jaundice that required him to be on a light bed for several days and we didn’t get to hold him much then. Once he was off the light bed, the last thing we wanted to do was hand him to someone else. If you have to visit when the baby is brand new, make sure you’re not a baby hog. Check in with Mom and Dad if they want him/her back-they have first priority!

2. Bring something

Some of our friends brought us pans of enchiladas and pasta when they came to visit and it was amazing to have homemade food to eat for a few days. Another friend brought lattes from one of my favorite coffee shops. Helping take care of the parents is a thoughtful gesture and one that I will be doing from now when visiting a new baby.

3. Be aware of germs

Chase is a winter baby and I am terrified of flu and RSV, although it’s good to be cautious anytime of year. Thoroughly wash your hands with soap (Mom and Dad will probably ask you but do it anyway if they forget) and don’t roll your eyes. Yes, it might be obsessive but it’s within the rights of new parents. Make sure to help any children that are visiting and remind them frequently if it’s a long stay.  Also, unless you are family, please don’t kiss the baby. If you are family, don’t overdo it.

4. Stay away if you’re sick

Going along with #3, if you’re sick, think you might be getting sick, or have recently been around someone sick, don’t visit. Again, I know you want to see the baby but wait until you’re feeling 100%. My best friend from Nebraska was going to visit but decided to postpone her trip because she and her boys had been around a lot of illness lately. The days after they were supposed to visit, both her little boys were sick with a stomach virus. It was hard for her to cancel (and me, because I’m excited for her to meet Chase) but we both know it was for the best and are so glad Chase wasn’t exposed to that.

5. Don’t stay too long

The parents are tired and are still adjusting to a new normal. There’s a good chance the baby needs to eat and Mom is still figuring out breastfeeding. Keep your visit short.

6. Be understanding

Along with #5, be understanding if Mom needs to take the baby to eat. I try to feed Chase before visitors but sometimes he has other plans. When you’re breastfeeding on demand, there’s no schedule to follow other than whenever the baby decides it’s time to eat. Sometimes that’s 10 minutes after visitors arrive. It takes so much pressure off when visitors are understanding that we need to disappear into the bedroom for awhile.

Remember, the needs of the baby come first and the needs of the parents come second; your need to see the baby comes last. Keeping these tips in mind will help the parents relax and make the visit much more enjoyable for everyone.

What advice do you have for visiting a new baby?

Semester in Review: Fall 2017

With all the baby excitement, did you guys remember that I’m still in school? Yeah…that was my answer too. Chase helped me finish my last final on Friday.

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He’s not a fan of the baby carrier but he did eventually fall asleep in it. With that, I’m another 5 credits closer to my master’s degree.

Like always, I like to look back on my classes at the end of the semester. I should start by saying that all my classes were online and fortunately my teachers all let me work ahead. By the time I had Chase, I was completely finished with two of my classes and only had a few things left for the third. So, my classes this semester:

  • Nutrition and Public Health (1 credit):  I always enjoy nutrition classes but I felt like I knew most of this material already. We read some interesting articles though and I enjoyed the book for the class, Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy. I wish the class was offered as a 3 credit course; I think I would really enjoy it and get more out of it.
  • Maternal Nutrition (1 credit): This was an interesting class to take while pregnant. Truthfully I tailored most of my assignments for my own personal gain, like doing my final presentation on the best diet for breastfeeding. Actually, I was super pregnant when I recorded it, which I find amusing. This is another class that I wish was offered as a more in-depth 3 credit course.
  • Tech-Based Health Promotion (3 credits): I took this class to meet my health communications requirement and it ended up being my favorite class I’ve taken so far. It focused on mobile health, like apps, virtual reality, and text messaging programs, and how to make these interventions effective. Some of our assignments included creating text messages for a nutrition program (that were then actually used by the program), critiquing an app based on a usability model, and comparing data from Twitter to health data from the CDC. One week we studied why some things go viral and others don’t; now I need to use that information to make my blog crazy popular 😉

Final grades aren’t posted yet but I’m confident that I’ll receive A’s or B’s in all three classes. Of course I’m hoping for A’s (and think I’ll get them unless I did horrible on final assignments) but considering I gave birth and have a newborn to care for this semester, I’ll be fine if I get a B.

Now I have about 7 weeks until next semester starts. The plan is still to graduate at the end of next year with my MPH and I’m one semester closer.

Have you ever been surprised by a class and loved one that you didn’t expect?

Chase 4 Week Update

I can’t believe my baby boy is already 4 weeks today! It’s the strangest thing-I already can’t remember life without him but it doesn’t seem possible that it’s already been 4 weeks since he was born. Also, is he a month today because he’s 4 weeks or is he officially a month on December 9th? Very important musings going on here today.

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Our days seem to fly by and are full of nothing but baby snuggles, nursing, and diaper changes. I’m perfectly okay with that. I know that I won’t always be able to spend the day cuddling my sweet boy, nor will he want me to, so I’m enjoying every second of it right now.

It amazes me how much Chase has already changed and how much personality he already has. He’s pretty calm except when he’s ready to eat. Once he’s hungry, he gets mad pretty quickly if he’s not fed right away. Just like his mama.

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Things he likes are laying on someone’s chest, especially his mama’s, his Rock and Play, and Daddy’s silly kisses. Things he doesn’t like are being cold, meaning he’s not a fan of diaper changes, getting dressed, baths, and being surprised by Bailey’s nose, when Mom puts him down (he doesn’t mind as much when Dad does), his Pack and Play, and being swaddled.

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Speaking of Bailey, she absolutely loves him. I think it’s an adjustment for her to not be the center of attention but otherwise she’s doing well. She pretty much goes wherever Chase is and if he fusses while we’re not holding him, she beats us to him. We’re working with her on not licking his face and hands but I think they’re going to be best buds when he’s older. Benji hasn’t paid too much attention to him but will come over when we’re doing tummy time. Both the dogs seem as tired as Ryan and me, which makes us laugh.

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He had his last doctor’s appointment at 2 1/2 weeks and weighed 7 pounds. He weighed 6 pounds, 12 ounces at birth and dropped down to 6 pounds because of jaundice, so we’re thrilled that his weight is back up and past birth weight. He also grew 1/2 an inch and while he’s still in newborn clothes, he’s not swimming in them like he did when he was first born. He’s awake more frequently now and much more alert. His eyes can focus and he’ll look at your face. I’m pretty sure he smiled at me the other day when I was talking to him and I don’t care that my app says that doesn’t happen until around 6 weeks.

I’ll leave off there for now. I’m done with school for about 6 weeks now (once I finish my final) and Chase and I are getting used to the baby carrier, so hopefully I’ll be on here a little more.

Important question: I want to start Christmas traditions with Chase. What are some of your favorites? 

Welcome to the World Chase!

On November 9 at 12:17 a.m., Chase Anderson D. entered the world.

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Measuring 19 inches and weighing 6 pounds, 12 ounces, he was much smaller than the chunk we expected.

As much as I tend to overshare share everything on here, I’m choosing to not share Chase’s birth story. Labor and delivery was long, difficult, and scary at times. All that matters now is that Chase is here safely.

The past 2 and a half weeks have been spent falling even more in love with our perfect baby boy. Ryan and I are tired but very, very happy.

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Chase’s first Turkey Trot-a 1.5 mile walk around the neighborhood

I’ll try to stay active on here but no promises. I still have some assignments to finish for school and of course my number one priority is baby cuddles!

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ACE Health Coach Certification

This summer I earned my health coach certification through American Council on Exercise (ACE) as part of an independent study for school. You might remember that I’m also certified as a personal trainer, group fitness instructor, and Jazzercise instructor. I’m excited to have another certification to add to my toolbox and resume.

I thought I’d do a brief recap of the certification and my experience with it. Health coaching is something I’d love to offer, so please let me know if you’d be interested or have any advice on getting starting!

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What is a health coach?

According to the ACE website, a health coach “move[s] people to adopt healthy, long-term, sustainable behaviors that can change the course of their lives” by ” facilitat[ing]  healthy lifestyle changes for individuals and groups through physical-activity guidance, nutritional education and behavior-change coaching.” –Source

Essentially a health coach can help you set achievable fitness and nutrition goals, create a plan for you to reach those goals, and keep you motivated and accountable while helping you overcome challenges.

Why did I choose to be certified through ACE?

Because I did this certification as independent study credits towards my master’s degree, I worked with a faculty advisor. My advisor does health coaching and ACE was the certification she recommended for me. She actually holds a different certification (for the life of me, I can’t remember what; I’ll edit if it comes back to me) but it costs upwards of $1000-not something this grad student can afford. If you search for health coach certifications, several results will come up but ACE is one of the only ones that is NCAA-accredited. It’s important to note that the ACE Health Coach certification is only open to those who already have some kind of health, nutrition, and/or fitness background.

How much does the certification cost?

It depends if you choose the standard or premium package. The premium package includes a separate study guide, practice tests, and an online study program. You can compare the study programs here. Those who already have an ACE certification (like me) get a discount. If you don’t already have a certification through ACE but are interested in the health coach certification, I’d suggest following their Facebook page because it seems like there’s always sales.

I chose the premium package mainly because the study guide and practice tests were huge helps to me when I was completing my group fitness certification and I knew they’d be helpful for this certification as well. If you can afford it, I’d highly recommend spending a little more for the extra study materials.

Any study tips?

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The best advice I can give is just dive in and take advantage of the study materials that you have. I read a chapter, completed the review in the companion study guide open-book style, and then tested myself on the end-of-chapter quiz. Once I reached the end of the book, I skimmed/reviewed the chapters and took the first practice test. Then I repeated the process. One tip: if you use the companion study guide, do the quizzes on a separate piece of paper so you can take them multiple times.

What is the time commitment?

I believe you have six months from date of purchase to schedule your exam. I completed this as an independent study for school during the summer semester, so I started in June and took my exam at the end of July. At the time, I was also taking another 3-credit graduate course and nannying; studying for and completing the course in that time felt very manageable and not overwhelming. I should point out, however, that the certification covers nutrition, fitness assessments, and behavior change theories, all of which I’ve studied before. It may take you more or less time to feel comfortable with the material depending on your background.

What is the exam like?

Do the practice tests! The practice tests give you a good idea of what the exam is like, although the actual exam is more difficult. If you’re confident with the practice tests and quizzes in the study guide, you’ll probably do fine on the actual exam.

What are my overall thoughts on the certification?

There are a lot of great things with this certification. I particularly enjoyed the chapters on the different change theories and motivational interviewing. The fitness and nutrition overviews are very informative and helpful for being knowledgable while working with clients without going outside of scope of practice.

There are also a few things I didn’t like. One, there’s no in-person component. As part of my independent study, I was able to ask my advisor questions and role-play practice sessions with her; I felt like I got so much out of this and would like to see it incorporated into the certification process. I also really didn’t like all the time dedicated to fitness assessments and putting together workout programs. I felt that is more under the domain of a personal trainer and not a health coach. I don’t want to run personal training sessions with health coach clients, unless I’ve also been hired as their personal trainer.

Overall, I’m very pleased I completed the ACE Health Coach certification and would recommend it to anyone looking to add another certification and learn more about how to best help clients. I’m hoping to put this certification to good use and am looking forward to helping others live a healthier lifestyle!

 

Updates

Hi all! A quick post today to fill you in on a couple things

First, Benji had his tests and surgery on Friday. His blood work and x-rays came back negative, meaning the cancer hadn’t spread (thank goodness!), and the vet is confident he removed the entire mass. We got to bring him home Friday afternoon and apart from a really nasty-looking incision, he’s doing well.

Second, we’re going to the hospital to be induced today! After another tense and frustrating doctor’s appointment that ended at the hospital, I left against medical advice but agreed to be scheduled for induction today. I can’t say I’m happy about the situation but I will be very glad to not have another appointment at this clinic. Anyway, we get to meet our baby boy soon!

With that, I’m not sure when I’ll be back on here. I have a non-baby post that I meant to write earlier but just finally got around to it scheduled for later this week; otherwise, it might be a while. I’ll try to check it at some point though with pictures 🙂

Bumpie Friday: Week 37

This post was sitting in my drafts folder. I didn’t publish it because we were scheduled for induction a few days later and I never finished it. This blog serves as my pregnancy journal and I don’t want to lose this weekly update. I’m trying to publish it backdated and I’m not entirely sure how that works, so apologies if you get a strange notification. 

Tomorrow marks the start of week 38 and my due date seems so near and so far at the same time. But we’re officially in the baby’s birthday month, as in we’re having a baby this month (!) not next month anymore.

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So you know how the other week I said I hadn’t reached the point where I was tired of being pregnant yet? I reached it.

Size

My apps say he could range anywhere from 6 to 9 pounds. Please don’t let him be 9 pounds at 37 weeks! Based on his earlier ultrasounds, my guess is he’s somewhere between 6.5 and 7.5 pounds this week.

How I’m Feeling

  • Sleep: I can pretty much count on being awake for at least two hours in the middle of the night. I’m up anywhere between 1 and 4 in the morning for no reason other than I’m awake.
  • Uncomfortable: So much pressure and cramping. No contractions yet, I think my body is just feeling every little bit of the effect from carrying around a 7 pound baby.
  • Nausea: I threw up the other night for the first time during this pregnancy. It was a one-time thing, I think from eating too much, but throwing up is never fun.

Special Moments

I’m still loving feeling his movements and I’m going to miss having him in my belly. He reacts to things now, like when the dogs are barking or Ryan talks to him, and it’s so neat to feel.

I read that babies can remember familiar songs and stories from the womb and hearing them after they’re born can help calm them, so I’ve been reading some of his baby books to him. My favorite is called You Are My Wish Come True. I haven’t made it through once without tearing up, especially on the part where the little bear asks his mother if she ever worried her wish wouldn’t come true. It will be close to 2 years and 2 months from the time we started trying to have a baby to the time we hold our little guy in our arms and I still feel so grateful every day for this addition to our family.

Latest From the Doctor

Because we had to schedule a follow-up appointment with the doctor we saw at the hospital (read more here), we actually had two appointments this week. Apparently the baby is very comfortable where he is and my body is happy to let him hang out for awhile longer. I’m not dilated at all and have only thinned out a little.

As of right now, the doctors don’t see a reason to induce, especially because my body isn’t physically preparing for labor yet. If my blood pressure stays stable, it sounds like they might let me go to my due date. You might remember that the doctors at my previous clinic were fairly adamant that I’d be induced at 38 or 39 weeks (originally they had even said 37 weeks), so this change is something Ryan and I have to wrap our heads around. A week or two might not seem like a big difference but it sure feels like one when you’re waiting for a baby. Fingers crossed this remains the case because I’d much rather the baby decide when he’s ready than have to be induced.

Added later: This post was unfinished because the doctor’s appointment that morning was fairly stressful; we ended up being sent to the hospital again and scheduled for induction the following Monday. It all came down to what doctor we saw and it’s still frustrating to think about. 

Weekly Randomness

Hi all! Thank you for the kind words and messages after Tuesday’s post 💕

I meant to write this post for Wednesday but that obviously didn’t happen, so I’m checking in with you today. Let’s jump in and talk about this week.

  • At my last appointment, the doctor advised me to take it easy for these last couple weeks of pregnancy and the last Jazzercise class I went to didn’t feel entirely comfortable (lots of pressure down low), so I think I’m calling it for now. 154 classes for the year-not too shabby! I’m hoping to be back in January but until then I’m looking forward to lots of walks with Bailey and the baby.

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  • Lately I feel like I’ve just shared negative and sad posts, one after another, on here. But I try to keep this blog as real and honest as possible and sometimes that’s life, right? We had the dogs at the vet earlier this week for annual exams and shots. It turns out a bump I noticed on Benji a few months ago is cancerous. Tomorrow he’s going to have some more tests done to see if it’s spread (fingers crossed that it hasn’t) and then surgery to have the tumor removed. Prayers are much appreciated, especially as this timing is not ideal with the baby due so soon.
  • All I have left for the semester are 5 assignments and most of them shouldn’t be difficult to finish soon. One class is completely done and all I have to do for one other is record a presentation. I keep putting that one off, as my camera aversion is still going strong. Ironically the project that’s going to take me the longest is writing a blog post for my tech-based health promotion class.

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  • Did anyone else see a bunch of articles like this leading up to Halloween about how much exercise it takes to burn off candy? Let me go on a quick, little rant because I HATE articles like this. It’s fine to encourage people to eat candy mindfully and remind them that eating an entire bag of Reese’s pumpkins isn’t the healthiest choice (um, guilty) but thinking that you have to “burn off” or “earn” your treats can lead to an awful relationship with food and exercise. Exercise is not a punishment and it shouldn’t be done in reaction to food choices. Eating candy doesn’t make you a bad person and you don’t have to make up for it. Enjoy your workouts, enjoy your occasional treats, and live your life in balance and moderation without guilt. And yes, I ate this candy after taking the picture.

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  • Speaking of food, have you ever eaten a date before? I’ll be perfectly honest, aside from Larabars, I never had before last week. Ever since reading this study on dates and labor (yay for evidence-based information and a randomized control trial!), I’ve been trying to eat some every day. They’re pretty tasty with peanut butter or as a Larabara with peanut butter and a chocolate Kiss for dessert.
  •  I treated myself to a 90-minute prenatal massage yesterday and it was amazing. I signed up for a membership at MassageEnvy during the spring when I was super stressed with school and it’s been fantastic to get a massage every month of pregnancy.

That’s all I have for right now. I’m planning to be back tomorrow with a recap of my 37th week of pregnancy but it will probably be a little later than usual; we have a doctor’s appointment in the morning and I want to be able to give you the latest. Take care!

Questions of the Day

What’s something happening in your week?

Has anyone had experience with an older dog and surgery? Benji’s eleven and the vet says he’ll be fine but it makes me nervous.

Remembering Our Loss

A year ago Ryan and I went in for our first ultrasound. We were so excited to see the baby we’d fallen in love with for the past 10 weeks. Our world was turned upside-down that day and we left with our hearts shattered.

If you’ve never experienced that kind of loss, there’s no way to describe it to make you understand. And if you’ve never been pregnant after a miscarriage, there’s no way to explain the confusing, mess of emotions you feel celebrating a new pregnancy while still grieving your loss. Sometimes I think that this baby now is the same baby; he just needed to come a little later. Other times, I like to believe that I think that because it’s too painful and confusing otherwise.

That’s all I have to say today. Like I said, there are really no words for it. I just didn’t want to let the day pass unmarked.