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Blog

Welcome to my world of being a follower of Jesus, wife & mom, Certified Personal Trainer, Pre/Postnatal Fitness Specialist, Young Living essential oils fanatic, holiday junkie, home decor lover and your Preggercise coach!

Filtering by Category: Pregnancy

35-Minute Prenatal Treadmill Workouts

lindsey shooter

First of all, you have to know your own fitness level when beginning any kind of new exercise routine. Be sure to get the okay from your doctor or midwife. Listen to your body and if you ever feel dizzy, nausous, or painful cramping shut off the treadmill. You either went too hard too fast or your body isn't up for it that day and is signaling you need a break. Remember, your body is working hard to make a baby right now. It's beneficial to stay active while pregnant but never push yourself to exhaustion. 

Here are 3 seperate workouts that I really enjoyed during my pregnancy. Feel free to change up the speed or incline based on your fitness level. Enjoy the challenge! 

Don't Get Bored Workout

 

Minute

0-2

2-5

5-8

8-10

10-13

13-15

15-19

19-21

21-24

24-26

26-28

28-30

30-33

33-35

Incline

1%

2%

4%

5%

7%

6%

8%

7%

5%

6%

7%

5%

3%

1%

Speed

3.5

3.5

3.5

3.5

3.5

4.0

3.5

4.0

4.0

3.5

3.5

3.5

3.5

3.2

Stay Focused Workout

 

Minute

0-2

2-5

5-15

15-25

25-33

33-35

Incline

2%

4%

6%

8%

10%

4%

Speed

3.5

3.5

3.5

3.6

3.7

3.2

Walk & Squat Workout

 

Minute

0-2

2-5

5-9

9-10

Pause

10-14

14-15

Pause

15-19

19-20

Pause

20-24

24-25

Pause

25-29

29-30

Pause

30-35

Incline

1%

3%

5%

8%

Do 10

6%

9%

Do 10

7%

10%

Do 10

8%

10%

Do 10

7%

9%

Do 10

2%

Speed

3.5

3.5

3.5

3.5

Squats

3.5

3.5

Squats

3.5

3.5

Squats

3.5

3.5

Squats

3.5

3.5

Squats

3.2

 

What to Expect Your 1st Week Postpartum

lindsey shooter

Day 1:

The first 24 hours after you give birth are pretty intense. Immediately after your baby has arrived there is this overwhelming relief and joy that is unlike anything you've ever experienced. You have made it though the last nine plus months of carrying this sweet little bundle and you are meeting him or her for the first time. Plus, if you've been experiencing the pain of contractions and pushing the relief you feel that it is over gives you a euphoric high. Congratulations, you are a mom!

lets get into the not so joyous part of giving birth. This will be coming from the point of view of a vaginal delivery. If there are any of you who have the experience of a cesarean birth I would love to get your input in the comments to bring some insight into that recovery process. Although each pregnancy and delivery is different, some of the things you can expect right after birth are lots of bleeding, possible tearing and stitches of the perineum, swelling, pressure, cramps/post contractions and an adrenaline high. Sounds awesome, right? Don't worry that little bundle you'll be holding in your arms makes it all worth it. Sounds cliche, but it is true. 

If you are giving birth in the hospital they will load you up on a slew of products to help ease the discomforts of your girly parts. They will supply mesh panties with very large pads for all the excess blood and discharge. You haven't had a period for nearly a year so just think of it as a big body flush. They will give you witch hazel pads to line in your pad along with epifoam for those dreadful hemorrhoids. Add in some Dermoplast spray to numb the pain and a spritz bottle to rinse clean after you urinate. When you leave the hospital, stock up on these things. You can take all of it with you. You'll need them in the days to come. 

Day 2: 

Cramps. If this is not your first baby, you will probably be experiencing more intense cramping/post contractions now. Many first time moms will not experience these kinds of cramps after delivery but with each consecutive pregnancy you will experience the post contractions more and more. I thought I was done with contractions!? It's simply your body working to shrink the uterus back to its pre-pregnancy state but these cramps can catch you by surprise. Many times breastfeeding will trigger them or it can be while you're simply lying down resting. I wasn't prepared, so now you will be.

Sore nipples. Day one was joyous as you and your baby are figuring out just how to latch and snuggle in with you. Day two, well, this can be a rough day. All it takes is one or two bad latches in the beginning and it will create small micro injuries to the nipples which become more irritated with each feeding. That's why it is so important to use the resources you have to make sure you are getting a good deep latch from the get-go. Hospital nurses and on-site lactation consultants are there to help you. Use them! In the meantime, if you are having a tough time with sore nipples apply lanolin ointment in between feedings, allow the ladies to air dry after feeding (just let it all hang out) and if worst comes to worst you can use a nipple shield. Nipple shields have been my saving grace and my kiddos have gained weight steadily from the beginning so I have no hesitation in saying they have worked great for us. 

Day 3:

Baby stares. You just can't stop looking at this little human you have made! Amidst all the gross stuff that has been coming out of you and the pain you may be feeling when you try to stand up, you just can't stop staring. This little baby is the best thing you've ever seen in your whole entire life. Enjoy these moments and take them all in. 

Sore muscles. When I had my son I was pushing for about 45 minutes. Which meant I was pulling my knees back and pushing as hard as I could for almost an hour. Let me tell you, I was not prepared to have every single muscle in my shoulders, arms and back more sore than any crazy workout I've ever done. And I'm no stranger to sore muscles after trying new intense workouts. I will happily leave this particular workout to once every couple years. 

Engorged breasts. Many women will get their milk in between day three to five. Engorgement may not be experienced by everyone but for those who do experience it, it can be rather uncomfortable to say the least. The breasts become large, firm (okay, hard as apples), heavy and warm. Your little one at this point isn't going to be able to stomach everything you've got to offer so you have to bare with it. It should only last a day or two but can be a problem that persists longer. You must be careful though that it does not continue for too long and you start to notice your skin becoming red as this can be leading to infection. To ease some of the discomfort apply cold compresses to your chest in between feedings (frozen veggies work great) or apply warm compresses and hand express. If neither of these are doing the trick you can use your electric breast pump but only pump for 10 minutes or so. Just long enough to relieve some pressure but not signal your body to produce even more milk.  

Day 4: 

Discharge. Yes, you are still bleeding but there is also a lot of other stuff coming out too. This is known as lochia. It is the discharge that contains not only blood but mucus and uterine tissue. I know, gross. I'm just trying to keep it very real here. I don't want you to be alarmed when its not just your typical bloody period coming out days afterwards. Keep the pads well stocked this can go on for up to six weeks. 

Bowel movements. Again, keeping it real. It could be very difficult to go after giving birth. Many women wind up constipated after delivery and there can be a good deal of pressure down in that region which makes the whole experience feel a bit foreign. When the time does come, try to relax and let things happen or you can end up aggravating your hemorrhoids by pushing with all your might. If things are really getting blocked up, talk to your doctor about using a stool softener to help loosen things up. Eat lots of fiber-rich foods and drink lots and lots of water. 

Day 5:

Naps and snuggles. The good news is your little one will mainly just eat and sleep (and poo) these first few weeks. So if you are lucky to have this time with just your little one, embrace the time to cuddle and nap with your baby. If you have other kiddos this may not be as easy but try to find time to get cozy with this little bundle because before you know it they'll be running all over the place and no longer accept mommy snuggles as often. 

Sleep. Or did I mean, lack of sleep. Yes, it is true what they say, you will be up often with your little one to feed these first couple of months. Now, I have to take a positive spin on this and mention that in my last couple months of pregnancy I was up every couple of hours going pee anyways, so this is nothing new. I'm not saying we don't need sleep but somehow I do feel like I need a whole lot less to function as a mother than I did previously.

Day 6: 

Sweat pants and messy bun. Be prepared to veg out and be home for a while. It's okay. Your body needs to recover and you have a newborn who needs to eat every couple hours and only wants to sleep in between. Plus, depending on the time of year you deliver it can be a scary germy world out there. Give yourself grace to lay low, put on that extra large t-shirt that is super comfy and not worry about doing your hair or makeup for several days. 

Day 7: 

Pediatrician Appointment. You will also be seeing your pediatrician within the first week of your newborns life. We saw our doctor on day four and then again the day after she was one week old. They will do weight, measurements, all the normal check-up on the first visit and then at your one week appointment they will likely only check their weight and answer any questions or concerns you may have. Be sure to write down anything you notice throughout the week that you may want to talk to your doctor about. Our pregnancy brains are not quite out of the fog so keep the paper and pencil handy. 

Victory. Things are looking up. Your boobs should be regulating your milk supply better now and not be as tender. Your nipples are toughening up. Your swelling should be subsiding. Your sore muscles are functioning just fine again. The discharge is hopefully getting lighter. It doesn't seem as big a feat to get up off the couch anymore. I'm not saying you are out of the recovery woods just yet but you are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Continue to rest and allow yourself time to fully recover. You will have five more weeks now of taking it easy... no sex, no exercise. Find a good book to dive into during feedings and enjoy your little newborn. 

If you have more to add on things you experienced during your first week postpartum, please share in the comments below! I pray we can help support and encourage each other through this unique time by not keeping the gory details a secret but understand we all go through many of the same recovery obstacles. It may sound like a mess and frankly it is a bit messy but as I've said before the joy of having your little one here with you will ease the pain. God bless you and your little ones! 

Ellie's Birth Story: Prayers Continuously Answered

lindsey shooter

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It was a Monday morning and I knew having my 39-week appointment could mean we'd get a favorable progress report on miss Ellie's arrival. I had after all been walking around 3+cm dilated and over 75% effaced for several weeks now. I had also been experiencing false labor on and off again for over a week. So, on this Monday morning I thought we need to have a special morning with Beau. Let's go to Chick-fil-a (as the YouTube mom group song rings in my head -- "I wanna go to Chick-fil-a, Chick-fil-a, Chick-fil-a") and have a picnic at Riverview Park together as a family. 

Since my husband DJ had planned to take the morning off he was able to stay home with Beau while I went to my check-up appointment at 11:45am after our family date. I arrived at the office feeling hopeful that I would have some progress since my last appointment and talk to my doctor about possibly stripping the membranes to kick start things a bit. We checked Ellie's heartbeat which sounded great and then he proceeded to do the cervical exam. This is where things got interesting real fast. 

As he was examining me he took longer than normal and had a certain look of surprise on his face. He simply said, "good news is you are now 5cm dilated but I feel something that's not quite right and I think we need to get into the the other room to do an ultrasound right now." Sure enough, I had a bulging hour-glass amniotic sac which means fluid from the sac had descended down outside of the cervix and inside that sac was a prolapsed umbilical cord. A rare condition seen in less than 1% of pregnancies. I have become rather fascinated with birth so I had read enough to know that this is not a good thing.  

My doctor, whom I trust wholeheartedly, did as he always does and explained the situation at hand. Having a prolapsed umbilical cord means that had my water broken or if my water were to break now we would have approximately 5 minutes to get Ellie out before her life support (the umbilical cord) would be pinched off and she would suffocate. 

My doctor knowing how much I was looking forward to a non-medicated, vaginal birth saw the look on my face when I said, "okay so this means we need to get her out via c-section right now?" Being the amazing doctor he is he said, "I have an idea. In my 30-years of delivering babies, I have only had one prolapsed cord and this is what we did and she was able to have a safe vaginal delivery."

From here, my doctor inverted the bed so my head was nearly on the ground and Ellie was able to float up. The nurse applied pressure on my abdomen to keep her there and my doctor maneuvered, very carefully, the umbilical cord back up and around her head. At this point if he were to accidentally break my water we would be in big trouble. After a few minutes, he said, "I have pushed it back but we aren't out of the woods yet. Since your sac is still intact the cord could still sneak around again so we need to get you admitted to the hospital. There, I can break your water thus allowing her head to drop into the canal, preventing the cord from slipping in front again."

Luckily my doctors office is directly next to the hospital so I was able to drive my car over to the maternity parking lot and check myself in at 12:30pm. They admitted me immediately as my doctor had called over to prepare them for my arrival.

I called my mom to come over to our house to watch Beau so DJ could come join me at the hospital. The staff got me settled and began monitoring both me and baby. Now we just had to wait until my doctor was done with his other patients and he'd be coming over to break my water.

It was a little before 3pm when my doctor arrived. He did another cervical exam to make sure the cord had not snuck back in front. Lo and behold, Ellie's hand was now in front of her head. Again, another no-no when it comes to a vaginal birth. So with the help of the nurse he began trying to maneuver Ellie and get her hand to drop back again (did I mention how uncomfortable all this maneuvering is?!). Since he was going to break my water he had to be absolutely certain everything was out of the way so we had an ultrasound ordered immediately to find he had successfully pushed back the bulging sac, umbilical cord, and her hand. Immediately, before anything else could possibly sneak in there, he manually broke my water. Ellie was safe and if all continued to go smoothly I would be able to deliver her vaginally. Answered prayer.

Now it was a waiting game. I had been admitted to labor & delivery but I was not yet in active labor. Breaking your water does not always mean the contractions will start immediately so my doctor, knowing my wishes for a natural delivery suggested we give the smallest amount of Pitocin (oxytocin) to get things started. Since I was 6cm dilated and nearly fully effaced by this time, once the contractions would start we would stop the Pitocin and allow my body to take over. It worked wonderfully. By 7pm I was having lots of pressure and contractions strong enough that I felt I needed a check. I was a discouraging 7.5cm. Keep in mind, I have not eaten anything since breakfast this morning so my energy is dwindling quickly. Again, I begin to pray for energy, strength and Lord willing, for things to speed up as the intensity is really picking up. 

I got through one more hour and again feel the pressure and the contractions intensifying significantly so we check at 8:30pm and I am now at 9cm. Prayer answered.  

My doctor who stayed at the hospital was in by 8:45pm, got set up as I went through the final transitional contractions. By 8:55pm I was pushing and Ellie was born at 9:10pm. That dang cord was wrapped both around her neck and her legs. Similar to Beau's birth where his cord was wrapped around his neck 3 times. This didn't have any negative effects on either of them, just funny I seem to produce the longest umbilical lassos out there. 

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Immediately after birth, Ellie was calm and sweet. She only let out a few little squeaks and just looked around bright eyed at the new world she had been brought out to. After nursing and some skin-to-skin time she was measured at 6lb, 0oz and 19.5in long. She was perfect. Answered prayer.

Now as I look back I see even more answered prayers. Had I gone into active labor instead of the false labor I was experiencing all week at home and my water had broken we could have lost Ellie. Answered prayer. Having an experienced, confident doctor that was willing to do the unorthodox for the betterment of both me and my baby. Answered prayer. Having family and friends to help support and pray for us in the midst of the uncertainty. Answered prayer. Having an absolutely amazing, calm, encouraging labor partner and husband. Answered prayer. Beau meeting his baby sister for the first time was a success. We asked him as he entered the room, Beau do you know who this is? He answered in a yell, "ELLIE!" Answered prayer. 



Adjusting Your Pregnancy

lindsey shooter

I will be the first to admit that I have neglected the stretching portion of my workouts many many times in my lifetime of being an athlete. I have always been built better for strength rather than flexibility. You'd think this would encourage me to improve my flexibility but evidently not. However, when it comes to pregnancy I have learned the hard way how essential stretching is for your changing body. Especially when it comes to the lower back and hips. 

When I was pregnant with my son I had horrible sciatic pain. This is characterized by pain radiating along the sciatic nerve, which runs down one or both legs from the lower back. I was still working out regularly but once I entered into the third trimester I was becoming limited by the sciatic pain. I finally realized I needed to first, be taking time to stretch every day and second, find a chiropractor that is Webster-certified for adjusting pregnant women. 

By stretching each day it helped me realign and strengthen muscles to ease the stress and strain on my joints. I will warn you though, while pregnant, you need to be cautious of a hormone released by the placenta called relaxin. This hormone relaxes the connections between the bones and can weaken ligaments that support your joints. So it is important to be careful not to over stretch. I'll show you my favorite stretches during pregnancy below.

Once I incorporated consistent stretching and did find my fabulous chiropractor, Dr. Jenny Dubisar, DC, I was able to overcome the sciatic pain and felt better than ever. As I mentioned previously, when choosing a chiropractor during pregnancy it is important to find one that is Webster Technique certified. This time around I have been getting adjusted monthly from the get-go. Now that I am further along in pregnancy and getting close to delivery I am going every one to two weeks to ensure my pelvis is in alignment and that baby can get into the very best position for her exit. 

Pregnancy is tough enough as it is with the frequent heartburn, swollen ankles, cramps, squashed bladder and shortness of breath. So give yourself a leg up by staying limber with daily stretching and schedule those chiropractor appointments to remain aligned.

Practice the stretches below. Hold the pose for approximately 16 seconds, exhale as you enter into the stretch. Continue to breath throughout. 

Piriformis stretch

Piriformis stretch

Hip flexor

Hip flexor

Open hip

Open hip

Hamstring

Hamstring

Pigeon pose

Pigeon pose

Quadricep stretch

Quadricep stretch

Sumo squat stretch

Sumo squat stretch

Hamstring / Lower back

Hamstring / Lower back

Side stretch / hip

Side stretch / hip

Lower back / side stretch

Lower back / side stretch

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Downward dog pose

Downward dog pose

These are just a few of my favorites. If you have any questions on how to perform these stretches or need help finding other stretches for problem areas please contact me. 

Stay limber, stay aligned, stay healthy!

Birth Plan: 101

lindsey shooter

We have the hospital bag packed and we are ready to go. Since it is round two for us, our bag is a lot smaller than it was last time. I've got the comfy P.J.'s that are breastfeeding friendly, light robe, yoga pants, slippers and socks, maternity going home outfit and toiletries. The great part about giving birth in the hospital is all the post-delivery "goodies" they provide such as witch-hazel pads, epi-foam, maxi-pads, spritz bottle, and the glamorous disposable underwear. Not sexy but comfortable and they are disposable so you aren't ruining your own underwear if you happen to soak through your pad. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, you will soon. 

I've packed baby girl some warm P.J.'s, couple onsies and a going home outfit with a few cute little bows. None of these are even necessary but a girl needs to be brought into this world with a little style, right? Our hospital provides receiving blankets, long-sleeve onsie and diapers so I'm leaving those out this time. Don't forget the car seat!

For breastfeeding I've decided to bring my own nursing pillow this time. It was tough getting the hospital pillows to squash in just right last time and when you're trying so hard to get that good latch and keep your body relaxed I think this would have been a real help. I'll also be bringing my own lansolin cream and my new CoveredGoods nursing cover for when we have guests visiting. Last but not least, we will be bringing a copy of our birth plan. This is something I am fairly confident I would have overlooked in my first pregnancy had my sister-in-law not recommended we write one up. 

Why is it important to have a birth plan? Well if you are someone who has done a lot of reading, preparing and envisioning how you want your labor, delivery and post-birth to go then you'll want everyone else who is going to be a part of that process in on your vision. Nobody can read your mind and when you are in the middle of laboring the last thing you want to be doing is trying to verbally communicate this to everyone over and over again. If you are planning to give birth at a hospital I feel it is even more important to have your plan written out for the staff. I have never worked in a hospital so this is not coming from personal experience but I would think they've got a pretty routine way of doing things and if you have specific wishes that don't fit into that routine it can simply be overlooked or it may be assumed differently. This isn't the hospital staff's fault, they are just doing their job the way they know how to do it. That's why it's important to write everything down so everyone is on the same page.

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Keep in mind, just because you have something written down in your birth plan does not mean all your wishes will be granted. Write your birth plan ahead of time and talk to your doctor or midwife about it and see if you have realistic expectations. Trust your doctor and the hospital staff that they have you and your baby's best interest at heart and that they know what they are doing. Be flexible because the most important thing at the end of the day is that you and your baby are safe and healthy. 

In my birth plan, which I am happy to share with anyone who requests it, I outline each stage of labor and what my preferences are. Let's go through some ideas to think about when you are writing your birth plan. 

First-Stage Labor

  • Outline how you would like to manage pain whether it be an epidural or the use of breathing techniques, distraction, bath/shower, massage/aromatherapy, music, etc. 
  • Would you prefer for your water to break on its own or be broken artificially if not medically necessary? 
  • If inducing or augmenting labor becomes necessary, which techniques would you like to try first? Administering medication such as Pitocin or non-medicated including stripping of membranes, walking, castor oil, sex, etc.
  • Do you want to be given intravenous fluid (IV)?
  • Fetal monitoring - intermittently or continuously?

Second-Stage Labor (Transition)

  • Although episiotomies seem to be scarcely used these days, you can include whether you would prefer not to have an episiotomy unless strongly recommended by your doctor.  
  • If you are giving birth at a hospital or birthing center feel free to list the birthing equipment you would like made available to you such as a birthing tub, birthing ball, squat bar, etc. 

Pushing/Birthing

  • List ways you'd like support for an intact perineum including controlled pushing/breathing, perineal massage, warm compress in between contractions/pushing. 
  • Do you want a mirror made available to you so you can watch your progression or not?
  • Vacuum extraction or forcep use

Post-Birth

  • How quickly after delivery do you want to hold your baby?
  • Would you like to have routine Pitocin offered to you after the delivery?
  • Do you prefer to cut the cord right away or delay? 
  • Do you want to breastfeed immediately after birth? Or would you like to formula feed?
  • How would you like dad to participate? Help with cutting the cord? Help with the first bath?
  • Would you like vaccines administered to the baby or wait until you take your baby to the pediatrician?
  • How would you like visitors regulated?

Then I go into some of the unexpected events. 

Cesarean Section

  • Although it is common practice for the spouse to be in with you, you can list this as a must. Same with requesting that the baby be given to you or your spouse as soon as the baby is dried (assuming the baby is healthy). 
  • List whether you would like to have skin-to-skin time and breastfeed as soon after surgery as possible.

Sick Infant

  • If baby is taken to a different hospital you may want to include that you'd like your spouse to go with the baby.
  • Include whether you would like to provide the baby's milk if possible through bottle, dropper or tube.

Remember, each hospital and birthing center is different in their approach to certain birthing practices. Many tend to promote as much skin-to-skin contact and breastfeeding on demand but its never a bad idea to have your preferences written down just to confirm these things with them. To ease anxiety, I would encourage you to take a tour of the labor and delivery unit you will be delivering at and ask a friendly nurse some of your questions. 

Here is an online birth plan template available for free (The Bump: Birth Plan Worksheet) or if you'd like to see a copy of my birth plan I will be happy to share it with you! Happy baby prepping!