WORKOUT OR NAP?

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Workout or take a nap? The choice is really yours. But, to help you get ready for both… here are some maternity clothes that transition smoothly from yoga to yawn and mat to mattress. Plus, some tips and tricks thrown in from our amazing pregnancy and parenting partners.

Besides this adorable graphic maternity tank top, and the featured super soft French terry underbelly maternity shorts, we are loving the newest take on athleisure, like our graphic side-ruched dresses with sayings like, “Bae on Board” and “Kickin’ It”.  Our friends at Parents Magazine wrote an article on how maternity workouts are actually benefiting babies too. So, that bae on board is also feeling the positive effects of a workout. You look good, baby feels good – win, win!

Of course, we have the maternity activewear that is made for moving mamas. Created for stretch and sweat, the pregnancy performance wear is also comfortable enough to make your namaste turn into a nice long nap. Our friends at What to Expect say, “Yoga helps alleviate pesky pregnancy symptoms like constipationback painbloatingswelling and fatigue. And according to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, staying active helps moms mentally, too, increasing energy, mood and ability to sleep.”

And for the everyday jog to dream outfit, our BumpStart™ line is the perfect package. They come in sets of two, with stretchy solid or striped maternity tees, maternity tanks and maternity leggings.  They are easy enough to take your style from walking to working, with accessories and outfit additions. Our friends at Fit Pregnancy say, “’I recommend walking to most of my patients who are pregnant,’ says Tanya Ghatan, M.D., an OB-GYN at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. ‘It’s easy entry for women who’ve never exercised and gives athletic women a way to stay active without the high impact of other activities they’ve participated in.’”

How do you do the athleisure look? Show us your workout to sleep-in style @motherhoodmaternity #thisisgoingtobefun

BATHING BEAUTIES

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What is summer without swimming? A warm winter, that’s what! We personally think nothing is more beautiful than a bump on the beach. Call us bias, but there is something so wonderful about a mama relaxing by the pool, digging her feet in the sand, and showing off her best accessory.

According to our friends at What to Expect, there are a lot of benefits of swimming during your pregnancy as well. “Swimming is a gentle way to work toward your goal of 30 minutes most days of prenatal exercise — without aggravating your loosening joints. In addition to resulting in plenty of fitness-related benefits for your body and your baby along with reprieve for your tired muscles and joints, swimming during pregnancy can also help:

  • Relieve ankle and foot swelling. Submersing your limbs in water helps push fluids from your tissues back into your veins.  It also boosts your circulation, which keeps blood from pooling in the lower limbs.
  • Ease sciatic pain: Baby’s floating right along with you (instead of pressing down on your sciatic nerve).
  • Reduce morning sickness: Many women report that the cool water provides welcome relief from nausea.
  • Keep you cool: It’s a hard thing to do when those pregnant sweat glands are on overdrive — but a dip in a cool pool can help, especially when the temperatures soar outside.
  • Improve your labor & delivery experience: Swimming maintains muscle tone and increases your endurance — both of which you’ll be thankful for when it comes time to push baby out.”

And per Motherhood®, we know how to look good while swimming. Shop the post:

PAMPER HER PRETTY 

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With Mother’s Day just around the corner, we took an office poll and the number one wish for our moms and moms-to-be is SLEEP! With that in mind, we pulled together a few of our favorites that might help give your favorite mama few extra winks.

Sleep may be harder to come by with an actual bump in the night, but there is no reason not to prep with pretty pajamas. Our gorgeous spring sleepwear features everything from pregnancy panties, to maternity sleep bras, to nursing separates. We want you cozy from head to literal toe with comfy socks and slippers too.

Speaking of head to toe, safe skincare is a necessity for pregnant women. Your body is going through so many changes. It needs the extra pampering. Soothe and smooth your skin with products that work hard to soften you up, without harsh chemicals.

Looking for something more? We’ve got you covered with baby gifts, necessities for new moms and , of course, you can’t go wrong with the Motherhood® Gift Card. An e-Gift Card is quick and reliable, and comes in Mother’s Day designs. The choice of giving the gift of choice is yours.

THE GIFT GUIDE

 

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When it comes to baby showers, we love striking a balance in our gifting – something for baby, of course, but also a little something for the mama-to-be. We have created a lust-worthy list of items for both! The options are endless. Oh, and if you can’t decide… give the gift of choice with a seasonal and themed e-gift card or physical gift card too.

Let’s start with gifts for her: Safe, effective skincare made for bodies that are working hard seems like a necessary little luxury. We love brands like basq NYC, Bella B and Belli Beauty. They’ve got the body covered, literally from head to toe with stretch mark creams, tummy butters, and nipple balms for mama. Pair some skincare with a pajama set for an unexpected gift to make her feel pampered and pretty.

Gifts for baby range from adorable to practical: Both the WubbaNub and Pop Pacifier have our hearts. The first will surely be your baby’s new best friend with its friendly and cuddly stuffed animal attached while the Pop Pacifier will surely be yours! The nipple will fold inside the base, so that it never hits the ground, eliminating the constant sanitizing every time it falls to the floor.  And it’s 100% silicone is free from phthalates, lead, latex, bpa and pvc. You can shop all baby gifts here as well.

For a few “just because” gifts: Shop milestone markers like the blocks shown, as well as blankets and stickers so your mama-to-be can document every cute moment to come her way. Or prepare her for motherhood with any of our nursing items and accessories. If she doesn’t already have one, the Snoogle is a must for any mom-to-be hoping to get some beauty sleep before baby. And of course we love to gift diaper bags to ensure she’s got everything she needs for days out with baby. Happy shopping!

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A WORK (OUT) MOM PART V

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We are wrapping up our collaboration with Amy Kiefer of Expecting and Empowered this week!  From workouts to making mamahood work, she has been giving us and you a whole lot of information and inspiration. Being a clothing company, we at Motherhood® wanted to learn more about Amy’s fave fashions. As a mom, a nurse, a trainer and a woman who has been through two pregnancies in less than three years… she knows which pieces make maternity and motherhood comfy and stylish. See what she has to say below.

“I love the ease of the nursing camisole with the clip down feature. It is perfect for middle of the night nursing sessions. I’ve lived in it! I wear it as pajamas or for my days that I’m at home. I just throw a zip up over it and I’m all set.”
Clip Down Nursing Cami

“This is an easy staple! It’s so comfortable during pregnancy and it also transitioned so well into the postpartum phase. I found it to be very flattering after birth, covering my 4th trimester belly. I wear this everywhere and always.”
Zip Front Maternity Active Jacket

The following are Amy’s new maternity/ new mom musts from our latest collection of clothing!  The underbelly is one of our more current waistlines, and perfect for post-pregnancy.
Under Belly French Terry Straight Leg Maternity Lounge Pants

Plus, for a workout mama, the sweatshirt dress takes effortless chic to a whole new level. This is one of our favorites for spring too!
Super Soft Maternity Dress

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A WORK (OUT) MOM PART IV

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Birthing a baby is one of the most amazing tasks a mama will accomplish. After the newborn freshness passes, you might start to wonder, “How the heck do I get my body back?” You might also be thinking, “I would prefer to do this in a timely fashion!” We caution you: the very worst thing you can do is too much too fast. Returning to exercise should be a well-choreographed dance.

There is a tremendous amount of physical and emotional change that a woman goes through after birth.  Hormones are still present in your body after birth, especially if you plan on breastfeeding. These hormones may create instability as they are the same ones that allowed for the baby to pass through the pelvis and make his or her way out into the world.

Our bodies do not automatically reset once the baby is here. Your body “forgets” about certain muscles and relies on others too much. This is why proper strength training is vital to postpartum recovery. One reason we are excited about the Expecting and Empowered: Postpartum Guide is to teach women specific exercises to help avoid injury and eventually return to higher impact activities like running.

Postpartum exercise is all about the right order at the right time. For example, when doing lower extremity work, it is important to do symmetrical exercises. This means squats instead of lunges. When you are squatting, it is important to start without weight before returning to weight bearing.  Always pay attention to your body; if it is warning you to back off, you have to listen. Warning signs may include an increase in postpartum bleeding and pain.

This postpartum workout was developed for women that are 12 weeks post-birth and beyond. The full Expecting and Empowered: Postpartum Guide will be available for on our site and for purchase soon! We are so excited to share this with you now for an early sneak peek!       

Postpartum Workout

FLEXIBILITY

  1. NECK EXTENSIONS WITH CHEST OPENER x5

SETUP: Begin in a standing position. Clasp hands behind back, then pull shoulder blades back and down. Do not allow shoulders to creep upwards as you get into this position. Hold this position.

MOVEMENT: Bend your head backward, lifting your chin away from your chest. Return to the starting position and repeat.

POSTPARTUM TIP: Keep your back straight and do not let your head tilt to either side.

REASON FOR EXERCISE: If you are like any new mom, you are spending lots of time staring at your beautiful baby. This is a great way to reverse the effects of that. This exercise keeps your neck joints and discs healthy and combats the demands of mothering.

 

  1. WORLD’S GREATEST x4 EACH SIDE

SETUP: Step forward with your left leg and lower your body into a lunge.  As you go down, place your right hand on the floor so it is in line with your left foot. Your right knee should hover above the floor.

MOVEMENT: Now move your left elbow inside your left foot and rest it on the floor. Square your hips so you feel a stretch on both sides, and try to keep your back as flat as possible. Move your left hand outside your left foot and twist to reach for the sky with your right arm.  Try to pull the toes on your left foot up toward your shin.

POSTPARTUM TIP: If the stretch is too intense, you can drop your back knee to help.

REASON FOR EXERCISE: This stretch is named World’s Greatest for a reason: it hits so many muscle groups. It is helpful for stretching out a tight upper back from nursing or carrying a baby. The lunge position helps to stretch out a tight hip flexor that is usually on guard during pregnancy.

 

  1. TRANSVERSE ABDOMINIS CONTRACTIONS x10

SETUP: Begin lying on your back with your legs bent and feet resting on the ground.

MOVEMENT: Place your fingers just inside the bones on the front of your pelvis. Find the very pointy part of the hip in the front before the wings of your pelvis start. Move your fingers one inch inwards towards the belly button and then one inch downward towards your pubic bone. Exhale, and gently pull the muscles under your fingers in. You can accomplish this by flattening your back. Relax and repeat.

POSTPARTUM TIP: Make sure to draw in rather than push out your muscles. This should be a subtle movement. This is NOT sucking in your stomach.

When you do abdominal work that activates the deep core, you should not see your belly pouch out like a beer belly. With transverse abdominis you will always see a flattening.

REASON FOR EXERCISE: This step is so important to the restoration of your core. It also helps women to prevent or help heal rectus diastasis. The deep core is vital for stability!

 

STRENGTH

  1. ONE SIDE WEIGHTED SQUATS (DUMBBELL) x12 EACH SIDE

SETUP: Start in upright position with your feet shoulder width. Place a dumbbell on one shoulder, holding it in place.

MOVEMENT: Squat, bending at your knees and hips. At the bottom of the movement, your knees should be close to a 90° angle. Straighten your legs and squeeze your butt at the top of the movement. Repeat for assigned number of repetitions, then switch weight to other side.

POSTPARTUM TIP: Make sure you tuck your tailbone underneath you so that your low back is not rounded.

REASON FOR EXERCISE: We are training you to be a mama.  We usually do not carry that baby evenly on both sides, so it is great to train with the load of the dumbbell only on one side.

 

  1. BENT OVER ROW (DUMBBELL) x12

SETUP: Stand in upright position, then hinge forward at your hips. Arms hang toward the floor with a dumbbell in each hand.

MOVEMENT: Pull both arms upward, bending at your elbows. Your elbows should graze along your sides and up toward the ceiling. Focus on elbows drawing toward opposite butt cheeks so you feel a squeeze between your shoulder blades. Lower them back down. Repeat.

POSTPARTUM TIP: Keep your back straight as if someone were pulling the crown of your head (ponytail) upward. Retract your neck.

REASON FOR EXERCISE: We are undoing the forward position our shoulder blades often get into during pregnancy. Your mid-back will thank you for tension free nursing and baby carrying sessions.

 

  1. SPEEDSKATERS x12 EACH SIDE

SETUP: Start in a standing position with feet shoulder width apart. Hold a dumbbell in each hand.

MOVEMENT: Shift your weight to one leg and pull one leg behind the other. Both knees will bend, with front knee bending to almost 90°. Draw chest forward, keeping your shoulders over your front leg. Tap each dumbbell on the ground. Next, swiftly switch legs, moving back and forth to complete repetitions.

POSTPARTUM TIP: Keep your knees over your toes even though you are performing exercises at angles. Perform this slow and controlled (no jumping).

REASON FOR EXERCISE: This is great to get some of the hip rotators moving. These often get tight and weak from the waddle women do while carrying their sweet babies. Wake your muscles up with this!

 

  1. ½ KNEELING BICEP CURL to OVERHEAD PRESS (DUMBBELL) x12 EACH SIDE

SETUP: Start in a half kneeling position with left knee bent in front of your body. Hold a dumbbell in your right hand.

MOVEMENT: Curl the dumbbell toward your shoulders. Next, flip your wrist so that the dumbbell faces out. Press dumbbell overhead and lower back to shoulder height. Return to starting position. Repeat for assigned number of repetitions. Switch sides.

POSTPARTUM TIP: Make sure your bent knee is not collapsing inward during the exercise. As you transition from the bicep curl to the press, make sure to draw your elbows backwards towards the opposite butt cheeks. This opens the front of the shoulder.

REASON FOR EXERCISE: This hits multiple areas that we use to lift those heavy car seats.

 

  1. SQUAT TO FRONT RAISE x 12

SETUP: Start in an upright position with feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart. Hold a dumbbell in each hand.

MOVEMENT: Squat. Bend at the knees and hips, until your knees are almost at a 90° angle. When in a low squat, you are going to raise the dumbbell right in front of you. Return to standing, squeezing butt at top of movement. Repeat.

POSTPARTUM TIP: Squeeze your butt on the way up while you exhale.

REASON FOR EXERCISE: With an infant, there is a lot of time spent on the floor playing and changing diapers. Get used to it, because these little ones like you to be close! Training muscles that we use to get up and down from the floor will prove helpful.

 

  1. QUADRUPED DONKEY KICKS x 12 EACH SIDE

SETUP: Begin on all fours with shoulders above wrists.

MOVEMENT: Tighten your abdominals, then lift one leg and bend the knee at a 90° angle. Press your heel towards the ceiling, squeezing your butt on the way up. Lower it back down until you return to the 90° angle and repeat for assigned number of repetitions. Switch legs and repeat on other side.

POSTPARTUM TIP: Do not to let your hips rotate to either side during the exercise.

REASON FOR EXERCISE: Often, the hip extensors do not get used as frequently during pregnancy due to the changes in weight. Postpartum is a great time to refresh these muscles and get them going.

 

  1. SIDE LYING EXTERNAL ROTATION x 12 EACH SIDE

SETUP: Start in an upright position, holding dumbbells in each hand. Bend your elbows to 90° at belly button height with palms facing each other.

MOVEMENT: Rotate left arm away as right arm stays in starting position. As you do, pinch your shoulder blades down and back together, keep movement at shoulder height. Return to starting position. Repeat on right side.

REASON FOR EXERCISE: This exercise is great for increasing your shoulder strength.  It will also alleviate stress and strain off of the neck.

 

  1. SIDE LYING LATERAL LEG RAISES x12 EACH SIDE

SETUP: Start by lying on your side. Bend your bottom leg, but keep it on the floor. Your top leg is straight.

MOVEMENT: Slowly lift your upper leg toward the ceiling. Your top leg will only lift 6” from neutral (in the picture leg is higher, so you can see the movement). Do not lift it high! Lower it back to the starting position. Switch sides to other leg.

POSTPARTUM TIP: Keep your hip, knee, and ankle in one line. Do not allow your hips to roll backward or forward during the exercise. You should feel a deep burn in the hip.

REASON FOR EXERCISE: This is important for decreasing pressure on your lower back and preventing aches and pains. Unstable hips put the back in compromised positions and this move will help to stabilize them.

 

  1. SKULL CRUSHERS x 15

SETUP: Start by laying on your back with your knees and feet on the floor. Start with one dumbbell above your chin with both arms straight.

MOVEMENT: Activate your deep muscles by drawing in your belly. It is more of a scooping motion by tucking your tailbone up and in towards the belly button. Start to slowly lower the weight to your forehead, keeping your core tight during the movement. Then push the weight back up until your arms are straight, returning to starting position. Repeat for the assigned number of repetitions.

POSTPARTUM TIP: Keep ribs down on the floor. Do not allow your bottom ribs to pop off of the floor.

REASON FOR EXERCISE: We are teaching your body the proper order it should turn muscles on.

 

  1. WEIGHTED BRIDGES x 15

SETUP: Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the floor. Hold a dumbbell at on your pelvis.

MOVEMENT: Slowly lift your hips off the ground until your body is in a straight line. Squeeze your butt at the top of movement. Slowly lower body back down to the mat. Repeat.

POSTPARTUM TIP: Squeeze your butt checks like you have a credit card between them.

REASON FOR EXERCISE: Your body is craving hip extensions just like you may be craving sushi and a mommy drink, so give it to it! Hip extensions are your friend postpartum.

 

  1. HEEL MARCHES x 12 EACH SIDE

SETUP: Lie on your back with your knees bent towards your chest in a tabletop position.

MOVEMENT: Activate your deep muscles by drawing in your belly. It is more of a scooping motion by tucking your tailbone up and in towards the belly button.  Start to slowly lower one leg towards the floor, tap your heel and then return to the tabletop position. Repeat on the other side.

POSTPARTUM TIP: Keep your core tight during the movement and do not allow your lower back to come off the floor.

REASON FOR EXERCISE: This is a great core exercise that also helps with the prevention of lower back pain.

 

 

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A WORK (OUT) MOM PART III

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The workout starts with flexibility movements and then transfers into strength training exercises.

This workout, as well as our comprehensive pregnancy fitness guide, Expecting and Empowered, includes exercises to prevent common aches and pains throughout pregnancy, decrease unnecessary weight gain during pregnancy, ease labor and delivery, expedite postpartum recovery, and most importantly, keep the baby safe.

There are many incorrect, ineffective and unsafe ways to exercise during pregnancy.  It can be frightening for mamas-to-be to wonder if they are harming the baby or themselves while exercising.  This structured workout session and the week-by-week workouts from Expecting and Empowered alleviate this concern. It begins with the week of the positive pregnancy test all the way to week 40 and beyond. Each workout session only takes 30-45 minutes, and it removes all the guess work for women. Additionally, exercise has been proven to boost energy and mood during pregnancy!

WORKOUT (repeat the workout for 3 sets)

Part 1: FLEXIBILITY

  1. SL THORACIC ROTATION WITH ADDUCTOR ACTIVATION

SETUP: Start in a side lying position. Bend both knees toward chest.

MOVEMENT: Slowly lower your knees to the left side of your body. Take a deep breath in and as you exhale reach your right arm open until it makes contact with the ground behind you. Hold for 10 breaths. Repeat on other side.

PREGNANCY TIP: This is a great night time stretch!

  1. DOWNWARD DOG

SETUP: Start on all fours.

MOVEMENT: Move to an inverted V position with your elbows and knees straight. Get your heels as close to the ground as possible, shifting weight into your feet. Set your shoulders by pretending to rotate your hands outward through the ground. A good visual: pretend you are pushing your hands into the ground and rotating the whole arm outward like a screwdriver, but your hands stay in the same place. This should allow you to feel your shoulders turn on. Hold this position, feeling a stretch through your back and legs. Slowly inhale and exhale. Repeat for 10 breaths.

PREGNANCY TIP: Keep your neck relaxed (dangling). Keep your heels as close to the ground as possible.

  1. KEY HOLE ARM STRETCH

SETUP: Start on all fours. Left arm is bent bracing you upright while your right arm reaches under it and across your body. Right arm is lying flat on the mat with palm up.

MOVEMENT: Slowly lean forward, as you lean forward draw your right shoulder down toward the mat. At the same time push your right hand into the mat (as if you are following through a back- hand in tennis). Hold for 10 seconds. Switch sides. Repeat for assigned number of repetitions.

PREGNANCY TIP: You want to feel a stretch between your shoulder blade and spine.

  1. STANDING HIP FLEXOR STRETCH

SETUP: Start in an upright position. Place left leg behind you in lunge position and right leg on the ground with your knee bent.

MOVEMENT: Keeping your back straight, slowly shift your weight forward. You should feel a stretch in the front of left hip. Hold for 10 seconds. Switch legs. Repeat for assigned number of repetitions.

PREGNANCY TIP: If you tend to get round ligament pain, focus on stretching with breath.

Part 2: STRENGTH TRAINING

  1. ONE SIDE WEIGHTED SQUATS (DB) x 24 reps (12 with weight on one side, switch)

SETUP: Start in an upright position with your feet shoulder width apart. Place a DB on one shoulder, holding it in place.

MOVEMENT: Squat, bending at your knees and hips. At the bottom of the movement, your knees should be close to a 90-degree angle. Straighten your legs and squeeze your butt at the top of the movement. Repeat for assigned number of repetitions. Switch weight to other side.

PREGNANCY TIP: Make sure you tuck your tailbone underneath you so that your low back is not rounded.

  1. PLIE SQUAT (DB) x 24 reps

SETUP: Start in an upright position with feet in a wide stance, toes pointed outward. Hold onto one DB. Arms hang straight down in front of your body.

MOVEMENT: Squat, bending at your knees and hips. Exhale and squeeze your butt as you return to starting position. Keep your back straight, weight in heels, and do not allow your knees to collapse inward.

  1. TRICEPS EXTENSION (DB) x 15 reps

SETUP: Anchor the resistance band in the top of a doorway. Stand facing away from the door. Take a step out, so that the band is taut. Hold onto the RB with each hand. For DB version, hold onto the end of one DB behind your head with elbows bent.

MOVEMENT: Bend your elbows as you bring your hands near your forehead. Straighten your elbows, pulling against the RB. Slowly return to the starting position. Repeat. For the DB version, straighten elbows.

PREGNANCY TIP: Exhale as you straighten your arms. Keep elbows and ribs from flaring out.

  1. WALL SIT x 60 second hold

SETUP: Find a stable wall. Sit in a squat with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart. Head, shoulders and butt should all be touching the wall.

MOVEMENT: Hold position and think about anchoring your feet into the ground.

PREGNANCY TIP: Do not arch your back on the wall. Do not rest your hands on your lap. Add weights to make harder if needed.

  1. BICEP CURLS (DB) x 15 reps

SETUP: Stand in an upright position, holding DBs in both hands. Start with arms downward with palms facing forward.

MOVEMENT: Bend your elbows, lifting DBs toward your shoulders. Pause at the top of the movement. Slowly lower. Repeat.

PREGNANCY TIP: Squeeze shoulder blades, pulling them down and back towards opposite butt cheek.

  1. BICEP CURL TO OVERHEAD PRESS (DB) x 15 reps

SETUP: Stand in an upright position, holding DBs in both hands.

MOVEMENT: Bend your elbows, lifting DBs toward your shoulders. Next, rotate hands so your wrists are facing forward. DBs are at shoulder height. Press the DB overhead. Slowly lower back down to starting position. Repeat.

PREGNANCY TIP: Do not shrug your shoulders during motion.

  1. FRONT RAISE AND LATERAL RAISES (DB) x 15 reps

SETUP: Start in an upright position. Hold a DB in each hand with arms hanging in front of you. Palms face you.

MOVEMENT: Keeping your arms straight, raise the DBs to shoulder height. Slowly lower to the starting position. Next, move the DBs to the side of your body with palms facing each other. Keeping your arms straight, raise DBs to the side until they are parallel with the ground and aligned with your shoulders. Repeat.

PREGNANCY TIP: Pull your shoulder blades toward one another during movement.

  1. BENT OVER ROWS (DB) x 15 reps

SETUP: Start in upright position, then hinge forward at the hips. Arms hang towards the floor with a DB in each hand, palms facing you.

MOVEMENT: Pull both arms upward, bending at your elbows. Bring the DBs toward your armpits. At end point of movement, elbows should be aligned with your shoulders. Squeeze your shoulder blades together. Slowly lower. Repeat.

PREGNANCY TIP: Keep your back straight as if someone were pulling the crown of your head (ponytail) upward. Retract your neck.

  1. BENT OVER REVERSE FLYS (DB) x 15 reps

SETUP: Start in an upright position, then hinge forward at the hips. Arms hang toward the floor with a DB in each hand.

MOVEMENT: Pull your arms apart and back until the DBs are aligned with your shoulders. Maintain a very slight bend in the elbows. Focus on elbow drawing toward opposite butt cheeks so you feel a squeeze between your shoulder blades. Caution: do not al- low your shoulders to draw upward towards the ears.

PREGNANCY TIP: Keep your back straight as if someone were pulling the crown of your head (ponytail) upward. Retract your neck. Lower the weight slowly down, fighting gravity

  1. RDL (DB) x 24 reps

SETUP: Begin in an upright position with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width and a DB in each hand. Keep a slight bend in your knees during the movement and keep your back in a straight line.

MOVEMENT: Lean forward, bending at your hips to reach down. Lower the DB down along the front of the thigh and shin. Next, lift back up to standing by engaging your back and thigh muscles. Repeat.

PREGNANCY TIP: You should not feel this in your lower back. You should feel it in your hamstrings.

  1. SIDE LYING LATERAL LEG RAISES x 30 reps each leg

SETUP: Start by lying on your side. Bend your bottom leg, but keep it on the floor. Your top leg is straight.

MOVEMENT: Slowly lift your upper leg toward the ceiling. Your top leg should only lift 6” from neutral. Do not lift it high! Lower it back to the starting position. Repeat for assigned number of repetitions. Switch to other leg.

PREGNANCY TIP: Keep your hip, knee, and ankle in one line. Do not allow your hips to roll backward or forward during the exercise. You should feel a deep burn in the hip.

 

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A WORK (OUT) MOM PART II

 

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We’re back for day two of our blogger edit with Amy Kiefer. Check out our last post to learn all about her and read on to find out about her fitness program designed specifically for mamas-to-be, Expecting and Empowered. And get excited – next week we jump into a pre-natal workout routine!

 

Motherhood: What led you and your sister to start Expecting and Empowered?

Amy: Expecting and Empowered is our passion project.  There were so many women around us asking, “What can I do during pregnancy? What is safe?” We knew smart women who would believe the old lies that working out can cause a miscarriage. We also saw people doing dangerous things to the other extreme and not making proper pregnancy modifications. We knew that together we had the knowledge, experience and drive to produce something really special. My sister Krystle holds a doctorate in physical therapy and has taken specialty courses in obstetrics and pelvic floor health. As a personal trainer and nurse myself, we just knew we had all the tools and resources to make the best pregnancy guide possible.

I called her one day on my way home from the gym and pitched her the idea. It was easier than I thought to get her on board and we just started working! Little did we know how much work it would be, but we are thankful our business baby was born in October.

Motherhood: How does your program work and how does it differ from any traditional fitness regimen? What makes it pregnancy-friendly?

Amy: Expecting and Empowered is an instantly downloadable PDF. A really fun detail is that we were both pregnant during the creation, so we were able to model for our own guide! You will see me in my first and second trimester and Krystle as the third trimester model. Our pregnancy guide consists of three guided days of pelvic floor, flexibility and strength training exercises. There is a lower body day, upper body day and full body day. We also suggest two days of cardiovascular training and give you our recommendations for those days. All in all, we are hoping women get five days of exercises in a week to reap all the benefits.

Expecting and Empowered makes all the proper pregnancy modifications when necessary. For example, women should not be on their backs for an extended amount of time after the first trimester. Women should not be doing planks after the first trimester. Women should not be doing unilateral movements (lunges) later in pregnancy. E and E (as we affectionately call Expecting and Empowered) makes it easy, because we have only safe workouts ready to go for women. Because Krystle is a women’s health physical therapist, one element that makes our guide very unique is having an emphasis placed on pelvic floor health. This under-talked about subject can mean big issues postpartum for women, including incontinence and inability to return to a normal sex life. Krystle is incredibly passionate about preventative health and helping women avoid these common issues, so there are pelvic floor exercises included in every single day of the guide.

Motherhood: Beyond the actual exercises, what kind of community are you hoping to build?

Amy: So glad you asked, because this has been a favorite part of our business. When we were dreaming up this business, this was a pillar of it. We knew we wanted a place where women could connect and share experiences. We created a private Facebook group for customers. The women have made it their own! They share everything from positive pregnancy tests (some women start E and E before conception) to recipes, to energy tips, to morning sickness advice. It is a really awesome thing to be a part of and I look forward to meeting and cheering on more women. 

Motherhood: It’s hard staying motivated to work out. What is some advice you would give to women who want to work out while pregnant? And maybe more importantly, post-partum when time and energy is even harder to find?

Amy: I love this question! It is counterintuitive, but working out gives you a huge boost in energy and mood. One of my very favorite experiences as a personal trainer was to see someone START a workout journey and quickly become hooked and excited. At first, they were dragging themselves to the gym, but once they established a routine and experienced the positive benefits…they became hooked. I was able to see their confidence, fitness and dedication soar.

Take it slow postpartum! You are not supposed to be able to jump right back into it and most of your energy will go toward taking care of your newborn and recovering yourself. When you are a little bit further out, you can return to a regular fitness routine. The Expecting and Empowered postpartum guide that is currently being created really picks up at six weeks postpartum. Prior to that, we are just giving women exercises that will help them heal.

Motherhood: Since it is the first week of January, we can’t let you go without asking if you have any resolutions for 2018?

Amy: I am not a huge resolution gal, rather I love to continuously work on improvement. Most of the audiobooks and podcasts I listen to would fall into the self-improvement and positivity category. That way, I am always inspired.

Expecting and Empowered will launch a postpartum guide early this year. We are excited because we know that women have a lot of questions and make mistakes in this period. Krystle and I are excited to give women a guide that shows them how to safely return to a place where they are comfortable. Essentially, we will have women covered the whole way through their mamahood journey.

Stay tuned all month for specific workout tips and tricks from Amy! And as always, show us your 2018 workout goals with #thisisgoingtobefun @motherhoodmaternity – Happy New You!

 

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A WORK (OUT) MOM PART I

 

MH Blog E&E IntroPart1 v1

To kick off 2018, we’ve partnered with full-time mama and co-founder of Expecting and Empowered, Amy Kiefer. With years of fitness training under her belt, Amy and her sister saw a lack of exercise programs dedicated to expecting and new moms. Seeing a need in the market to cater to and empower women during a physically and emotionally challenging time, they decided to answer the call themselves! We can’t think of a more perfect fit than Amy to guide our Motherhood mamas on a fitness journey this month. We’ll be coming to you with perinatal workouts, activewear and new mom/nursing style posts, Facebook live interviews and much more! To start, read on to find out how Amy balances this crazy life we call motherhood!

 

Motherhood: Congratulations; we heard you just had your baby! Tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from and what do you do?

Amy: Thank you and first let me say that I am really honored to be January’s featured contributor for Motherhood Maternity. My husband Drew and I just welcomed our second little boy, Trey, on November 11th. Maxwell, our firstborn, was seventeen and a half months old when Trey arrived. Our hearts and hands are full.

I was born and raised in Pewaukee, Wisconsin. I moved around a little bit after college, but landed in Madison, Wisconsin. My husband and I absolutely love it here and enjoy raising our babies in this beautiful Midwestern city. I work at the Carbone Cancer Center, one of the University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics. I am a registered nurse and work three days a week. I also launched a pregnancy fitness business with my sister called Expecting and Empowered. Finally, I blog about mamahood, positivity and fitness over at BalancedAmes.com.

Motherhood: What inspired your fitness journey? What road(s) did you take to pursue your passion?

Amy: I grew up playing outside and participating in sports. In high school I became interested in improving my performance through nutrition and strength training. Additionally, I wanted to help other people become healthier. That led me to pursue a degree in exercise science at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, where I also ran cross country and track. After graduating, I worked as a personal trainer in Chicago for 2 years.

While training clients one-on-one, I noticed that there were a lot of women that needed guidance through pregnancy. I decided to take a specialty course in perinatal fitness (fitness before, during and after pregnancy) through a company called Healthy Moms. There I learned an enormous amount about what women go through during their pregnancy and postpartum journey. My mind was pretty blown, and I wanted to help spread the knowledge to expecting mamas.

Motherhood: As a nurse, mom and blogger… can you walk us through a “typical” day?

Amy: I will return to my nursing job in February from my maternity leave. First, I will run through what a typical two-parent work day looks like in our household. My husband wakes up at 4:30am to workout. I wake up as he is leaving for the gym at 5am. I work on my blog or business until one of our little ones wakes up. We have learned to get ourselves as ready as possible the night before including packing pumping parts, setting our clothes out and making lunches. We get both the little guys ready for daycare. My husband does daycare drop off because it works better with his schedule. I LOVE my nursing job, but I work at a busy, busy clinic. I make sure I get two pump breaks in, no matter how busy the day is.

After work, we all meet back at home. It is really important to Drew and I that we all eat dinner together. Sometimes we both have a baby in our lap, but it is our time to connect as a family. Next is bath time. Our very favorite part of the day is from 7-8pm because our toddler Max is in the best mood ever and we all play until it is his bedtime. I take the nighttime workout slot and will head straight into the basement to do that once Max is down. This really works to de-stress me and boost my mood before bed. Blogging and managing Expecting and Empowered are squeezed somewhere in all that too. If everyone is well fed, loved and alive at the end of the day I consider it a great success. If they nap at the same time, that is my window to work on my blog or business.

Motherhood: Can you tell us a little bit about how you fit fitness into your daily life – before kids, after your first child and now with your second?

Amy: Before children, I figured out the time that worked best for me and STUCK to it. When I was a nightshift nurse, working out when I first woke up worked best. “Morning” to a nightshift nurse is in the afternoon. I thought of it as a non-negotiable meeting with myself and was disciplined about sticking to my plan.

After we had our first babe Maxwell, we quickly learned that we had to be more flexible

Here are some of my suggestions for working out after becoming first time parents:

  1. I have had stretches of morning workouts, naptime workouts and after bedtime workouts, instead of nixing it from my schedule.
  2. If you are using naptime, workout as soon as you put the little person down. This way, you are more likely to be able to get it in and not be interrupted.

After our second baby, it seems easiest for me to work out after toddler bedtime. This means I am heading to the basement at 8pm. I am the type of gal that can go to sleep right after working out and showering. I always tell myself I am better for getting it in and it always rings true.

 

Stay tuned tomorrow to find out more about Amy’s fitness program designed specifically for moms-to-be and new moms!  Tell us [and show us] how you work out with #thisisgoingtobefun @motherhoodmaternity.

 

YOUR COMFORT ZONE

your comfort zone

The cooler months are ironically all about getting warmer. There are so many fall festivals and harvests to enjoy, but sometimes a mama just wants to stay inside, kick her feet up, and watch a good movie under a blanket.

Drinking a warm cup of herbal tea will definitely help soothe the soul…not to mention a sick tummy. The American Pregnancy Association suggests red raspberry, peppermint leaf, ginger root, dandelion, nettle and chamomile teas for calming morning sickness and relaxing hard-working bodies. Anna Naturals, available on our sister site APeainthePod.com, also offers teas specifically catered for the mama-to-be!

Complete your comfort zone with a soft sweater, stretchy leggings, comfy socks, skin care, and your favorite snack. We are suckers for anything themed and seasonal, so we are sharing a recipe we found for Pumpkin Custard from our friends at Fit Pregnancy. Whip this up and enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 2 cups reduced fat or whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • pinch salt

Make It

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar and pumpkin. Whisk in the remaining ingredients.
  • Divide the custard mixture between 6 ramekins and place them in a roasting pan so they are not touching. Fill the roasting pan with enough very hot water to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Cover the pan with foil and carefully place it in the middle of the oven.
  • Bake the custards until they are set at the edges but still a little wobbly in the center when the pan is moved, about 35 minutes. Remove the foil and let the custards cool in the water. Cover and refrigerate before serving.
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