I am really excited to announce the release of my first book, available here and also available through Amazon in all other countries for example amazon.co.uk, amazon.fr etc.
I have already had 7 five star reviews and over 135 downloads and it has only just been released!
The Happy Healthy Mom is a great resource for post-pregnancy fitness and health and gives:
- Reassuring information as to what is happening to your body and how best to help recovery after birth
- Precise advice for caring for skin and hair post baby
- Practical tips as how to manage time and prioritise, following the dramatic change to parenthood
- Life changing advice on nutrition – including what supplements could help with the present challenges of motherhood. Tips for healthy snacks.
- LOADS of encouragement and advice as to the exercise and activity you can perform from the first day of motherhood through to regaining your full fitness. Included are pictures of the exercises you can perform at home with clear explanations. Also includes specific advice for those post C- Section.
Following the practical and realistic advice in this book, mums will find they feel they can make confident steps forward in aiding recovery, regaining their fitness and losing the baby weight. Rather than worrying about the changes to their body and struggling with the changes in life’s routine, mums will be loving their new life with their little one, confident in the knowledge they have gained and the encouragement they have received!
Even if you are not a new mum yourself, this would be an excellent gift for mums to be!
A paperback version will be available through the same link on Amazon very soon.
Please download and enjoy! If you love it, please leave a review.
* Spellings are in American English as most of my audience are in North America
Welcome to Part 1 of a 4 part series on Postnatal Nutrition where Nutrition expert Esther Street answers 4 questions exclusively for girlgetfit.org. In this series Esther presents some excellent and up to date advice as well as practical tips on meals, snacks and how best to look after your body by feeding it the right food.
What types of food or meals can you recommend for soon after delivery to help with recovery?
Preparation for recovery begins right back before pregnancy begins. Eating a healthy diet before conception builds up nutrient reserves for you and your growing baby. Continuing to eat healthily during pregnancy is essential for your postnatal recovery and breastfeeding as well as for your baby’s growth and development. Your baby receives its nutrition not only from what you eat but also from your body’s reserves so if you are not eating right before and during pregnancy, your body may suffer. The good news is you can prepare your body for a speedy recovery well in advance of the baby arriving before life gets a whole lot busier. Once the baby arrives there is still plenty you can do to help your body recover well, here are a few of my top tips:
The key is ‘keep it simple and avoid processed junk’! Food should be fresh, seasonal and organic if possible. Eat a wide range of foods to get a wide range of nutrients.
Stock up the freezer before labour with nutritious, home-cooked meals and have a collection of quick, healthy recipes to hand for you or someone offering to cook for you. If you have an extended hospital stay, why not ask friends to in bring salads and fruit.
Here are a few simple meals:
- salmon, new potatoes, organic crème fraiche with fresh watercress
- wholegrain pasta, pesto, organic chicken and broccoli
- wholegrain rice, omelette and vegetables lightly stir-fried in coconut oil
- baked sweet potatoes, hummus and salad
I always like to have plenty of healthy snacks on hand too, here are a few of my favourites:
- sourdough ryebread with nut butter and banana
- fruit and organic cheese e.g. cheddar and grapes, cream cheese and apple slices
- wholemeal pitta and hummus
- veggies such as carrots, peppers, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, sugar snaps etc
- dried fruit, nuts and seeds (apricots are high in iron, figs high in digestive enzymes, prunes great for reducing constipation)
- oatcakes (these come in all different flavours) and goat’s cheese
- boiled eggs (full of nutrients for healing and recovery, brain function and energy)
- red bell pepper dipped in guacamole
- handful of strawberries and 2 squares of dark chocolate
- sliced tomato sprinkled with feta
- flaked coconut and dates
- raspberries or honey and natural greek yoghurt
Eating healthy food is the best way to get all the nutrients your body needs. However, before, during and after pregnancy, your body needs extra help. When you have a diet of hospital food (need I say more!) or are exhausted and barely have energy to eat, let alone prepare a healthy meal, your body needs good quality supplements to help boost recovery.
Buy a couple of pill organisers for your hospital bag and to keep at home. This helps you remember which supplements you have taken when all your days and nights tend to blur into one!
These are the supplements I would recommend:
- A good quality multivitamin and mineral (if you are breastfeeding make sure it is recommended for this). You can keep taking your prenatal vitamins but make sure they include iron (wound healing, building up reserves following any blood loss, protection against infection), calcium (for bone strength) and zinc (wound healing, to help lower the effects of postnatal depression, healthy hormones). I love Revital Essence by Zita West which is especially developed for postnatal recovery and breastfeeding.
- 1000mg Vitamin C with bioflavonoids – this is great for wound healing, iron absorption, skin repair and helping prevent postnatal depression and infection.
- Fish oils – may help healing and skin repair, lower inflammation, improve sleep, boost energy, reduce afterbirth pains, nourish your brain (most mum’s suffer from ‘mummy brain’ at some point!) and lower the chances of post natal depression. My favourite fish oil is Vegepa E-EPA 70 by Igennus (https://shop.igennus.com/ code STREET25 for 25% discount).
- Vitamin D3 – may decrease the risk of pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, pre-term delivery and high blood pressure for the mother and may decrease the risk of asthma, low birth weight and heart disease for the baby. It is recommended that you take a minimum of 400iu, but many experts recommend up to 4000iu both during and after pregnancy.
- Glutamine – may help with the healing of soft tissue, especially following a caesarean (as long as you have no liver problems). As a supplement for the first 2 weeks and then eat glutamine rich foods (eggs, beef, chicken, yoghurt, milk, cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, spinach, cabbage).
- Vitamin E oil – may help reduce the appearance of stretch marks and scars (once the wound has healed) and improve skin condition. Pierce a capsule with a pin and rub the oil directly onto the skin.
- Coconut oil – may help to improve your skin after birth. I love Coconoil organic coconut oil as it smells great and tastes great too.
Esther Street is a nutritional therapist who works both in the UK and internationally. She lives in England with her husband and two kids who are just as excited about delicious, healthy food as she is.
This article is not intended as medical advice, just some notes from my personal experience of having babies myself and helping others who have had babies. The advice is not intended to replace advice from your doctor so please contact your healthcare provider with specific questions or issues.
Generally I blog about all areas that concern post pregnancy mums. I like the focus to be on you and leave the baby advice to others! You are important and valuable and need care! I want to encourage you and offer advice in this particularly difficult period of life, and enable you to make a smooth and happy transition to being a mum. So I write about health, fitness, training, weight loss, diet, beauty, and fashion relating it all to post-pregnancy women.
Today, however, I want to write about getting in the shape of your life before pregnancy as this has great multiple advantages. I meet loads of women who are motivated to get in shape for their wedding day, to look good on photos, to impress the bridegroom and generally wow everyone in the room when they make the entrance! They use their wedding as an end-point to provide them with a goal or target to aim towards, as often, getting in shape is something they’ve wanted to do for ages. In contrast, I don’t meet many women who are getting in shape to get pregnant…arguably a more life changing change! It’s not talked about much, but it can be really beneficial and here’s why.
1. Less physically challenging pregnancy
When you’re fitter everything feels easier. You’re stronger, more mobile and recover quicker from physically demanding tasks. Daily life is full of physical activities such as shopping, working, walking, doing household chores and errands. All these things will become so much more physically demanding when you are pregnant, and if you are overweight, unfit and pregnant then these tasks will really become quite difficult for you. As you get bigger in pregnancy, it’s pretty exhausting. You’re carrying more weight, your lungs work harder, and perhaps you are not sleeping so well. So let’s not allow the extra-unwanted pounds make life even tougher than necessary. Don’t battle against the extra weight of a baby and against your extra unnecessary weight and lack of fitness. Don’t just survive but thrive! The fitter you are, the best chance you have of coping well with the physical demands of pregnant life!
2. Physically easier to get back in shape afterwards
If you haven’t exercised much before, getting back into shape after having a baby may seem like a tough thing to do. If you’ve been fit and your body has been accustomed to exercise pre-pregnancy and during your pregnancy, it’s going to be a lot easier to get these muscles functioning again. If you were fit before pregnancy, then you will have maintained a lot of that during pregnancy, so although you may feel totally different, you will be surprised how quickly you get back in shape. Five weeks after having my first child, I was back training with my Netball club, and played my first competitive match the following week. Did I have to work really hard to get fit again? Not really. I was in good shape before getting pregnant so with a bit of training afterwards, I was ready to go again!
3. Mentally easier to get back in shape afterwards.
If you have seen how amazing your body can be…you are more likely to want to get it back! If you have never seen your body looking lean and toned you will find it even more difficult to believe you could have an amazing body after having a baby and thus find motivating yourself pretty difficult. Most women have the desire to look good and regain a pre-pregnancy body, and for many it may be high on the priority list, but the actual process of getting back in shape brings fear and doubt. Is it possible? Will I be able to do it? If you’ve done it before, it’s always easier to do it again. You know what to expect and you have been disciplined. You have formed good habits of healthy eating and of regular activity. Psychologically it’s always easier to do something you’ve already done before. You know it’s possible. Doing something new or something for the first time is going to be more challenging and difficult.
4. Skin recovers better after pregnancy.
Quite simply, if the weight you put on during pregnancy is the only extra weight you have, your skin will be less stretched than it would have been. If you already carry extra weight and your skin is already stretched, then think how much further your skin is being stretched to adapt to pregnancy. The less stretched your skin has been, the better chances of a good skin recovery following birth.
5. Can increase the chance of getting pregnant.
Many people are unaware of the link between weight and conception. A healthy weight improves fertility! Therefore, getting in good shape can increase your chance of conception. A healthy diet of mostly fresh, unprocessed foods and limited refined sugars (honey and fruits are ok) accompanied by exercise is going to help you get pregnant. Nutrition will have a greater impact on weight loss than exercise, but exercise is vitally important for the health and the smooth functioning of many physiological processes, thus a combination of both is the best formula. Moreover, exercise and healthy eating can act as a de-stress mechanism, which in turn can also increase your chances of conception.
Why wait until after pregnancy?
Some people have the attitude that, “I’m gonna put on weight during pregnancy anyway, so I’m just going wait until after to get fit”. Error! Don’t go down that path! It will be harder to loose the extra weight after the birth of your baby. If the benefits of healthy eating and exercise are so clear, then why wait? Why lose out on quality of life, looking good, better sleep, better well-being, healthier skin, heart and lungs, stronger muscles and so on by procrastinating and waiting until a time when you’ll be more busy and when you are not the only person you need to look after!
Go for it…get in the shape of your life and enjoy all the benefits!
Have a happy Easter!