Posts Tagged ‘prenatal care’

Pregnancy Week 15: Exercise

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

This is the best I’ve felt so far during this pregnancy–I’m not nauseated and feeling a little more energetic. Notice I say a “little” more. I would still rather lie around than exercise, but this week it’s on my mind.

Exercise offers so many amazing benefits for your growing baby. It can make your pregnancy easier, help you have a smoother labor, and even help get rid of that extra baby weight more quickly. Here are some of my favorite activities to do while pregnant.


I grew up dancing, so of course I like to get my groove on. Zumba features fun rhythms with Latin and international beats. There are a variety of Zumba classes. The best part of Zumba is that it doesn’t feel like exercise. You can modify any dance move if you are feeling winded or if you’re farther along in your pregnancy. Zumba was actually recommended to me by my midwife to continue during pregnancy. I will be going to these classes as long as this baby allows.

Pregnancy Week 15: Exercise


Any kind of cardio activity such as walking or running is great to do during pregnancy. It isn’t recommended that you begin a running routine during your pregnancy, however. Stick to the pace that you did before baby. Running on a treadmill is fun during the winter, and pushing a jogging stroller during the spring and summer is great exercise. Make sure you have supportive shoes and stick to a walking or running path that isn’t full of hills and traffic. Stick to exercising during daylight hours and bring a friend along. Walking or running with a friend is a great way to de-stress and get in some much needed girl time.


This one is my favorite. I swam laps regularly until 38 weeks with Johanna, and I am planning on swimming as much as I can this pregnancy. The important thing to remember is to use good judgment and don’t zap all of your energy. The water will feel great to you, but don’t overdo it. Stay hydrated, too. Swimming while pregnant increases your circulation and can ease back pain brought on by your growing belly. I definitely recommend a maternity swimsuit. Swim for fun or swim laps. It’s great exercise and a fun family bonding experience.

It’s important to use your head when exercising while pregnant. During my first pregnancy I was registered for a half marathon that would have taken place during my second trimester. After losing a baby, I opted out. If you have previous health concerns, talk to your doctor or midwife before starting an exercise regimen. Pregnancy is not a time to start a new extreme sport. Stick to what you’ve done pre-baby that is safe and makes you feel comfortable.

The best part of exercise for me is that it is my “me time.” Enjoy being active while pregnant!

Karyn Meyerhoff is a mom of 1 and 1 on-the-way in Indiana. She really enjoys going to the local YMCA and her daughter does, too!

Selecting Maternal Health Care Partners

Friday, September 30th, 2011

When you discover you are pregnant, you face an array of important choices. It can be an overwhelming process at times to sort through all the information provided during pregnancy. The maternal health care partners that support you during this process have a big impact on your experience. Therefore be selective in the care providers you choose! Mothering begins during pregnancy! It is the first time you can consciously make decisions that directly affect your child. Prenatal care, labor, and birth can nurture a sense of empowerment in women and thus motherhood is positively impacted. You are able to approach mothering with a deeper awareness and a stronger consciousness.

Prenatal appointment with midwife done right in the comfort of my own bed

Maternal Health Care Partners include the following professionals:

An obstetrician (OB) is a medical doctor and the most commonly used type of maternal health care provider by women in the United States.

A midwife supports women during their childbearing years to provide health care during pregnancy, labor, birth, and post-partum. The word midwife literally means “with woman”. Rules and regulations for midwives vary widely per state so if you want to work with a midwife it’s important to understand your state’s guidelines for midwifery care. There are midwives who do homebirth, those who work at birth centers, and some who work in hospital settings. Check out Midwives Alliance of North America for more information.

A doula is a non-medical labor, birth, and post partum support person. They are educated and trained to provide a laboring mother physical and emotional support. There is a strong evidence base of positive birth outcomes and successful breastfeeding when a doula is used. Check out DONA International for more information about doulas.

Lactation Specialist
If you intend to breastfeed, creating a community of support is extremely beneficial. This can include professional support through a lactation consultant. A lactation consultant has training, knowledge, and expertise in helping you establish successful breastfeeding. If you are experiencing difficulties with breastfeeding, a Lactation Consultant can be a wonderful resource. Check out the International Board of Lactation Consultants Examiner for more information.

Childbirth Educator
A childbirth educator undergoes training and completes a certification process to provide pregnant woman with information about pregnancy, labor, and birth. Typically information is shared in a classroom-like format to a small group of women/couples who are at similar stages in their pregnancies. The information from a childbirth education class can help woman/couples better understand the changes that occur during pregnancy, the stages of labor, the pros/cons of medical interventions, and the basics of breastfeeding. Check out International Childbirth Education Association for more information.

An hour after birth...sharing in the joy and happiness with my midwife

Mutually reciprocated respect and trust is the foundation of a positive patient-provider relationship. As in all relationships, effective communication is a key ingredient. If you ever leave a prenatal appointment feeling discouraged, confused, or upset, honor those feelings as valid. Call your care provider and/or schedule another appointment in attempt to resolve any concerns as soon as possible. If you continually have negative interactions or experiences during prenatal appointments, consider choosing a new care provider.

Even if you are very far along in your pregnancy it is okay to make a change. I cannot emphasize this enough! So often I hear stories of a woman feeling discontent with the prenatal care they receive but unsure what to do about it. Then they often go on to have a dissatisfying birth experience with that care provider. If you are in that situation, grant yourself permission to explore all your options. Please don’t continue to receive less than optimal maternal health care. Pregnancy and childbirth are a sacred a time in your life; a time that deserves kind, compassionate, attentive, dedicated, and supportive health care partners. They exist abundantly and it’s worth the extra effort it may take to find the right match for your growing family.

What do you enjoy most about your health care partners? Did you have a doula, a childbirth educator and/or a lactation consultant? What was your experience?