Kim Kardashian Has Already Lost 17 Pounds, and Her Plan Is 53 More to Go

During a recent live stream session on her app, Kim Kardashian spoke about her postpregnancy health and fitness goals, in addition to revealing that she has already lost 17 pounds since giving birth to her son, Saint, on Dec. 5. It’s good to remember that most women drop 18 to 25 pounds during the first month after giving birth (baby, placenta, fluid, breastfeeding, etc.), so Kim is pretty on track with what happens to the body naturally after giving birth.

While live streaming, the post-baby-body whisperer invited Caitlyn Jenner over for Christmas decorating and some deep-dish pizza ¡ª though she was unable to partake in the latter ¡ª at which point Kim told Caitlyn she gained about 60 pounds during her pregnancy and weighed 190 pounds at the end of her third trimester. “I almost died,” she remarked.

Now Kim is hoping to reach her goal weight of 120 pounds through breastfeeding, a no-nonsense diet and fitness regimen, and . . . placenta pills?

In a blog post, Kim explained she starting taking the pills made with her own placenta (shown below) to combat postpartum depression: “I heard so many stories when I was pregnant with North of moms who never ate their placenta with their first baby and then had postpartum depression, but then when they took the pills with their second baby, they did not suffer from depression!” She added, “So I thought, why not try it? What do I have to lose?”

Lastly, Kim said that she plans on lying low and keeping to herself as she embarks on her health and fitness journey. Just kidding. She plans on having a big post-baby-body “reveal” once she’s ready ¡ª in a break-the-Internet way, one can only assume.

My experience eating my placenta is up on my app! https://t.co/0aC3YXxIgv pic.twitter.com/xcCEtVCvzb¡ª Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) December 14, 2015

Image Source: Getty / Larry Busacca

Kim Kardashian Has Already Lost 17 Pounds, and Her Plan Is 53 More to Go

During a recent live stream session on her app| Kim Kardashian spoke about her postpregnancy health and fitness goals| in addition to revealing that she has already lost 17 pounds since giving birth to her son| Saint| on Dec. 5. It’s good to remember that most women drop 18 to 25 pounds during the first month after giving birth (baby| placenta| fluid| breastfeeding| etc.)| so Kim is pretty on track with what happens to the body naturally after giving birth.

While live streaming| the post-baby-body whisperer invited Caitlyn Jenner over for Christmas decorating and some deep-dish pizza ¡ª though she was unable to partake in the latter ¡ª at which point Kim told Caitlyn she gained about 60 pounds during her pregnancy and weighed 190 pounds at the end of her third trimester. “I almost died|” she remarked.

Now Kim is hoping to reach her goal weight of 120 pounds through breastfeeding| a no-nonsense diet and fitness regimen| and . . . placenta pills?

In a blog post| Kim explained she starting taking the pills made with her own placenta (shown below) to combat postpartum depression: “I heard so many stories when I was pregnant with North of moms who never ate their placenta with their first baby and then had postpartum depression| but then when they took the pills with their second baby| they did not suffer from depression!” She added| “So I thought| why not try it? What do I have to lose?”

Lastly| Kim said that she plans on lying low and keeping to herself as she embarks on her health and fitness journey. Just kidding. She plans on having a big post-baby-body “reveal” once she’s ready ¡ª in a break-the-Internet way| one can only assume.

My experience eating my placenta is up on my app! https://t.co/0aC3YXxIgv pic.twitter.com/xcCEtVCvzb¡ª Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) December 14| 2015

Image Source: Getty / Larry Busacca

Bun in the Oven? How to Avoid Excessive Weight Gain

Congratulations, mom-to-be! Of course you’re excited about the little bun growing in your oven, but you still don’t want to look like you ate an entire bread factory. Whether you’re in your first trimester or your third, here are some tips to keep in mind to prevent excessive weight gain during your pregnancy.

What’s Expected?

Every pregnant woman will gain weight. For those with a healthy prepregnancy body weight, 25 to 35 pounds is the norm. For those who are underweight, expect to gain closer to 40 pounds, and anyone who is overweight will gain an average of 20 pounds. Expect variables, though. Many average-weight women can gain anywhere from 45 to 60 pounds during pregnancy but have no issues giving birth or shedding the weight later.

Eating For Two

While you are growing a human being, that little baby is a fraction of the size of an adult, so no need to feed it like one. While pregnant, you need an extra 150 calories a day in the first few months and an extra 300 calories a day for the remainder of your pregnancy.

Foods that are high in fiber such as fruits and veggies, whole grains, and legumes have the power to fill you up and make you feel full longer. Eat fiber-rich foods like these every few hours to prevent hunger pangs that cause you to crave high-calorie snacks.

How to Satisfy Cravings

Every time you eat is an opportunity to nourish the body and help grow a healthy baby. If you always choose foods high in sugar and fat, think about how that can affect the little bundle inside of you. That said, you are a pregnant woman with needs, so find nutritious alternatives to the foods you want. Whip up this 150-calorie mango ice cream instead of reaching for a store-bought pint, or make this tomato, basil, and mozzarella quinoa polenta when you feel like heading to the nearest pizzeria. But like anything in life, give yourself some room to indulge.

Just Keep Moving

If you were exercising before your pregnancy, it’s usually safe to continue, but make sure to check in with your doctor first. Most importantly, listen to your body. Fatigue, a decreased sense of balance, nausea, and muscle pain might make it difficult to run like you used to; just do what you can. Also be sure to include strength training since muscle mass burns calories ¡ª here’s a 10-minute yoga strength-training routine you can do at home. If you weren’t exercising before but want to begin, again, speak with your doctor before getting started. She’ll probably recommend focusing on gentle types of movement such as walking, leisurely swimming, strength training with light weights, and yoga, as well as classes and videos geared specifically toward pregnant women.

Here are some quick videos you can follow along to:

Tracy Anderson Prenatal Workout For a Toned Tush5 Prenatal Pilates Moves10-Minute Prenatal Arms Workout10-Minute Strengthening Yoga Series10-Minute Prenatal Workout From Heidi Klum’s TrainerPrenatal Lower-Body WorkoutHip and Hamstring OpenersYoga Sequence For Your Sore BackOr buy this three-DVD series called Healthy, Fit, Happy Mom ($15).Hit the Hay

Between waking up every hour to change positions or pee or staying awake thinking of baby names and what color to paint the nursery, a solid night’s sleep is a tall order when you’re about to be a mom. But not getting enough Zs contributes to weight gain by slowing down your metabolism, causing you to eat more, and making you feel too tired to work out. Make up for interrupted sleep by jumping into bed earlier or napping during the day.

Keep Track

If the pounds are creeping up and you don’t know why, keep track of your calorie intake by writing down everything in a food and fitness journal. It’ll make you realize how those extra handfuls of M&M’s really add up, remind you to measure out serving sizes of everything you eat, and keep you honest about how many scoops of mac and cheese you’re really eating.

Yes, Indulge!

You know choosing fruit or Greek yogurt is the more responsible option when it comes to satisfying your pregnancy hunger, but that doesn’t mean you should never give in to your insatiable cravings. Denying yourself that slice of cheesy pizza or hot fudge sundae will just make you crave it more, which can lead to binging later. Eat healthy most of the time, and allow yourself a small indulgence a few times a week (or even every day) to keep cravings at bay.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Grace Hitchcock

Bun in the Oven? How to Avoid Excessive Weight Gain

Congratulations| mom-to-be! Of course you’re excited about the little bun growing in your oven| but you still don’t want to look like you ate an entire bread factory. Whether you’re in your first trimester or your third| here are some tips to keep in mind to prevent excessive weight gain during your pregnancy.

What’s Expected?

Every pregnant woman will gain weight. For those with a healthy prepregnancy body weight| 25 to 35 pounds is the norm. For those who are underweight| expect to gain closer to 40 pounds| and anyone who is overweight will gain an average of 20 pounds. Expect variables| though. Many average-weight women can gain anywhere from 45 to 60 pounds during pregnancy but have no issues giving birth or shedding the weight later.

Eating For Two

While you are growing a human being| that little baby is a fraction of the size of an adult| so no need to feed it like one. While pregnant| you need an extra 150 calories a day in the first few months and an extra 300 calories a day for the remainder of your pregnancy.

Foods that are high in fiber such as fruits and veggies| whole grains| and legumes have the power to fill you up and make you feel full longer. Eat fiber-rich foods like these every few hours to prevent hunger pangs that cause you to crave high-calorie snacks.

How to Satisfy Cravings

Every time you eat is an opportunity to nourish the body and help grow a healthy baby. If you always choose foods high in sugar and fat| think about how that can affect the little bundle inside of you. That said| you are a pregnant woman with needs| so find nutritious alternatives to the foods you want. Whip up this 150-calorie mango ice cream instead of reaching for a store-bought pint| or make this tomato| basil| and mozzarella quinoa polenta when you feel like heading to the nearest pizzeria. But like anything in life| give yourself some room to indulge.

Just Keep Moving

If you were exercising before your pregnancy| it’s usually safe to continue| but make sure to check in with your doctor first. Most importantly| listen to your body. Fatigue| a decreased sense of balance| nausea| and muscle pain might make it difficult to run like you used to; just do what you can. Also be sure to include strength training since muscle mass burns calories here’s a 10-minute yoga strength-training routine you can do at home. If you weren’t exercising before but want to begin| again| speak with your doctor before getting started. She’ll probably recommend focusing on gentle types of movement such as walking| leisurely swimming| strength training with light weights| and yoga| as well as classes and videos geared specifically toward pregnant women.

Here are some quick videos you can follow along to:

Tracy Anderson Prenatal Workout For a Toned Tush5 Prenatal Pilates Moves10-Minute Prenatal Arms Workout10-Minute Strengthening Yoga Series10-Minute Prenatal Workout From Heidi Klum’s TrainerPrenatal Lower-Body WorkoutHip and Hamstring OpenersYoga Sequence For Your Sore BackOr buy this three-DVD series called Healthy| Fit| Happy Mom ($15).Hit the Hay

Between waking up every hour to change positions or pee or staying awake thinking of baby names and what color to paint the nursery| a solid night’s sleep is a tall order when you’re about to be a mom. But not getting enough Zs contributes to weight gain by slowing down your metabolism| causing you to eat more| and making you feel too tired to work out. Make up for interrupted sleep by jumping into bed earlier or napping during the day.

Keep Track

If the pounds are creeping up and you don’t know why| keep track of your calorie intake by writing down everything in a food and fitness journal. It’ll make you realize how those extra handfuls of M&M’s really add up| remind you to measure out serving sizes of everything you eat| and keep you honest about how many scoops of mac and cheese you’re really eating.

Yes| Indulge!

You know choosing fruit or Greek yogurt is the more responsible option when it comes to satisfying your pregnancy hunger| but that doesn’t mean you should never give in to your insatiable cravings. Denying yourself that slice of cheesy pizza or hot fudge sundae will just make you crave it more| which can lead to binging later. Eat healthy most of the time| and allow yourself a small indulgence a few times a week (or even every day) to keep cravings at bay.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Grace Hitchcock

8 Stretches That Can Help Ease the Pain of Sciatica

8 Stretches That Can Help Ease the Pain of Sciatica

Are you dealing with shooting pains or numbness from sciatica? Discomfort is caused when the sciatic nerve (which runs from the lower spine down the back of each leg) gets pinched. It can be caused by an injury such as a slipped disk or pelvic fracture| pregnancy| or tight muscles in the lower back| hips| and legs. Whether you feel yours at night or after sitting or standing for a long time| relief is just a yoga mat away with these eight poses.

| Half Moon

If your sciatica symptoms are caused by sitting or standing for long periods| stretching the outer leg can offer instant relief.

  • Stand on your hands and feet in Downward Facing Dog. Step your right foot forward between your hands| and rise up into Warrior 1. Open your hips| arms| and chest into Warrior 2.
  • Place your left hand on your left hip| and stretch your right arm straight out| creating length through the right side of your body. Shift weight onto your right foot| and lift your left foot up. Plant your right palm flat on the ground under your shoulder.
  • Distribute your weight evenly between your right hand and foot. Lift your left arm up| and gaze toward your left hand. Hold for five breaths| and then release the pose| coming into Downward Dog. Then try Half Moon on the left side.

Find more details on this balancing pose here.

| Seated Spinal Twist

Creating some movement in the spine through twisting poses can relieve pressure from the sciatic nerve. As a bonus| this pose also targets the oh-so-tight piriformis muscle.

  • Begin seated on your mat with your legs extended in front of you. Bend both knees and place your left heel as close to your right sit bone as you can. Cross your right foot over your left knee and plant it on the floor so your outer right ankle is next to your left knee.
  • Reach your right arm behind you| and place your palm on the floor. Cross your left elbow over your outer right thigh to gently increase the twist.
  • Gaze behind you and over your right shoulder| staying here for five breaths. Then release the twist| straighten your legs out in front of you| and do this pose with your left knee pointing up.

Check out this post if you’re itching for a deeper variation.

| Open Lizard

This variation of Lizard pose will open a different part of your hip| as well as offer a nice stretch for the hip flexor| which can also contribute to sciatica discomfort.

  • From Downward Facing Dog| step your right foot forward between your palms. Keep your hands on the mat| and lower your left knee to the floor| pointing the toes.
  • Slowly lower your right knee to the right| so you’re resting on the outside of your right flexed foot. Keep your arms straight| pressing your chest forward just like in Upward Facing Dog. This will help encourage your hips to lower| increasing the stretch.
  • Gaze forward| and enjoy this pose for five breaths. Then switch sides.

| Locust

Strengthening the back muscles can offer relief| and here’s an effective and relaxing pose to try.

  • Lie on your belly with your legs together. Place your arms by your sides so your palms are facing up.
  • As you inhale| lift your legs| head| and upper body off the floor. Keep your hands on the floor for support. As you breathe| extend the crown of your head away from your toes| lengthening as much as you can through your spine.
  • Stay for five breaths| and then release back to the mat.

Here’s a more detailed description of how to do Locust A.

| Pigeon

Take this pose as deeply as you want to target the areas of discomfort around your lower back| hips| and thighs.

  • From Downward Facing Dog| step both feet together| and bring your right knee forward between your hands so your outer right leg is resting on the mat. If your hips are more open| inch your right foot away from you. Make sure your left hip is always pointing down toward the mat.
  • Stay here with your hands resting on your hips or your right leg| or walk your hands out in front of you| allowing your torso to rest over your right knee.
  • Hold here| breathing into any areas of tightness and tension| for at least five breaths. Then place your hands on the mat in front of you| tuck your left toes| and step your right foot back. Repeat Pigeon on the left side.

Here are more details regarding the common hip-opener.

| Figure Four

This relaxing variation of Pigeon really targets the tight piriformis muscle| which is a common cause of sciatica.

  • Lie on your back with both legs in the air. Place your right ankle on your left thigh above your knee. See the shape of the number four? It is there| just upside down.
  • Reach your right hand through the open space created by your right leg and grab your left hand| which is reaching around the outside of your left thigh. Slowly bend your left knee toward your chest. You should feel a stretch on the outside of your right hip.
  • After five breaths repeat on the other side.

| Reclining Big Toe Pose

This gentle variation of Reclining Big Toe pose is done with a bent knee so you can really focus on stretching the lower back and hamstring of the leg that’s raised.

  • Lying on your back| bend your left knee slightly and plant your foot on the floor. Raise your right leg into the air| keeping your pelvis grounded. Hold your lower thigh or place a strap over the arch of your foot.
  • Keep your torso relaxed| and hold for five breaths. Repeat on the left side.

| Half Wheel

Some people will experience relief from engaging the glutes and hamstrings| so give this backbend a go.

  • Begin lying flat on your back with your arms along the sides of your body and your palms facing down. Bend your knees| placing your heels as close as you can to your bum.
  • With your palms and feet pressing firmly into the ground| lift your hips up. Keep your palms on the mat or clasp your hands together below your pelvis| extending through your arms. Or you can also bend your elbows and rest your hands on your lower back. If your feet are close enough| you can also hold your ankles.
  • Stay here for five deep breaths| lifting your hips up as high as you can.

If you want more details on how to do Bridge pose| keep reading.

How Pregnancy Ruins Workouts (and Ways to Deal)

Not everyone feels like running a marathon when they’re pregnant or lifting heavy weights ¡ª heck most expectant mommas have a hard time making it off the couch to go pee! Symptoms of pregnancy can be so intense that they make exercising seem nearly impossible. Since our doctors want us to be active to stay strong and healthy, and to avoid excessive pregnancy weight gain, here’s how you can alleviate some of the issues pregnancy brings up that might get in the way of your workouts.

Urinating often: In a 30-minute workout session, you may have the urge to pee (or accidentally leak) three different times. Work out close to a bathroom so you can quickly relieve yourself, and get back to your workout.Feeling overheated: Head indoors where the AC is flowing, and make sure you’re wearing comfortable workout clothes made of breathable wicking material. If you love being outside, move your workouts to a pool or lake. Round ligament pain: As your belly expands, the round ligaments that support your uterus are getting stretched out, so it makes sense that you’d feel intense cramp-like pains in your lower belly. Wearing a supportive compression band that’s specifically designed for prenatal exercise might help. If you feel a sharp twinge during a sweat session, reduce the intensity of your workout, and if that doesn’t bring relief, take a break.Lower back pain: As your baby grows, your lower spine begins to curve in response to your protruding belly. Stretching your lower back helps immensely. Try this hip and back stretching sequence. If shooting pains radiate from your back down your leg, these yoga poses should offer relief from sciatica.Upset stomach: Between nausea and constipation, you’ve got digestive issues covered, so try to eat bland foods that keep your tummy happy. Nausea may be worse at certain times of the day, such as early morning, so find times to work out when you’re not worrying about having to run to the bathroom. Fatigue: Growing a baby is hard work, so it’s no surprise that you feel like napping all the time. Resting your body is important, but so is keeping up with exercise. Find times to work out when you’re least tired, and shorten workouts when necessary. Weak upper body: Release your expectations about what you used to be able to do and focus on your present abilities. That might mean doing modifications of exercises, like placing your knees on the floor when doing push-ups. When strength training, move to lighter-weight dumbbells.Restrictions on what you can do: You may not be able to lie on your back and do crunches, so find other ways to work your core like doing Seated Russian Twists and plank variations. Instead of lying on your belly to strengthen your back doing Superman, get on your hands and knees and do Alternating Two-Point Plank.

Pregnancy only lasts about nine months, so do what you can ¡ª here’s a list of great workouts and videos ¡ª and remember you can get back to your old workout routine soon after your little one arrives.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Grace Hitchcock

How Pregnancy Ruins Workouts (and Ways to Deal)

Not everyone feels like running a marathon when they’re pregnant or lifting heavy weights ¡ª heck most expectant mommas have a hard time making it off the couch to go pee! Symptoms of pregnancy can be so intense that they make exercising seem nearly impossible. Since our doctors want us to be active to stay strong and healthy| and to avoid excessive pregnancy weight gain| here’s how you can alleviate some of the issues pregnancy brings up that might get in the way of your workouts.

Urinating often: In a 30-minute workout session| you may have the urge to pee (or accidentally leak) three different times. Work out close to a bathroom so you can quickly relieve yourself| and get back to your workout.Feeling overheated: Head indoors where the AC is flowing| and make sure you’re wearing comfortable workout clothes made of breathable wicking material. If you love being outside| move your workouts to a pool or lake. Round ligament pain: As your belly expands| the round ligaments that support your uterus are getting stretched out| so it makes sense that you’d feel intense cramp-like pains in your lower belly. Wearing a supportive compression band that’s specifically designed for prenatal exercise might help. If you feel a sharp twinge during a sweat session| reduce the intensity of your workout| and if that doesn’t bring relief| take a break.Lower back pain: As your baby grows| your lower spine begins to curve in response to your protruding belly. Stretching your lower back helps immensely. Try this hip and back stretching sequence. If shooting pains radiate from your back down your leg| these yoga poses should offer relief from sciatica.Upset stomach: Between nausea and constipation| you’ve got digestive issues covered| so try to eat bland foods that keep your tummy happy. Nausea may be worse at certain times of the day| such as early morning| so find times to work out when you’re not worrying about having to run to the bathroom. Fatigue: Growing a baby is hard work| so it’s no surprise that you feel like napping all the time. Resting your body is important| but so is keeping up with exercise. Find times to work out when you’re least tired| and shorten workouts when necessary. Weak upper body: Release your expectations about what you used to be able to do and focus on your present abilities. That might mean doing modifications of exercises| like placing your knees on the floor when doing push-ups. When strength training| move to lighter-weight dumbbells.Restrictions on what you can do: You may not be able to lie on your back and do crunches| so find other ways to work your core like doing Seated Russian Twists and plank variations. Instead of lying on your belly to strengthen your back doing Superman| get on your hands and knees and do Alternating Two-Point Plank.

Pregnancy only lasts about nine months| so do what you can ¡ª here’s a list of great workouts and videos ¡ª and remember you can get back to your old workout routine soon after your little one arrives.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Grace Hitchcock

These Stretches Will Take the Soreness Out of Pregnancy

The following post was originally featured on Fitnessista and written by Gina H., who is part of POPSUGAR Select Fitness.

My neck . . .

My back . . .

My neck and my back.

Ok, and my glutes, hips, and round ligament pain, but they can’t really make a hip-hop song with that.

During this pregnancy, while I’m fortunate that things have been overall very pleasant and enjoyable, I’ve definitely had some aches and pains. It comes with the territory of growing a small human, which can alter our center of gravity, put additional pressure on our limbs, and hormones are surging through the body to support the little one. One of the major hormone shifts that occurs during pregnancy is through relaxin, which loosens the joints and makes us extremely flexible. Because we have so much relaxin coursing through the body, it’s easier to overstretch the muscles, which can be painful and take a long time to heal. This is a huge reason why it’s important to exercise and stretch within stable limits, and avoid trying to reach your “max,” whether it’s through a workout, yoga class or stretching. Like I’ve said many times before, focus on maintaining, not adding!

Stretching can help to ease some of the aches of pregnancy, and can also help to promote full range of motion within the joints. When we have full range of motion, we’re less likely to alter our movement patterns, which can lead to muscle imbalances and potentially injury. Also, stretching feels so good.

Here are some of my favorite prenatal stretches. As always, check with a doctor before making any fitness changes and honor your body. Instead of stretching to your max, stretch to a comfortable point (without trying to force yourself into a deeper version of the stretch) and focus on taking deep breaths.

1. Cat to Cow

Come onto your hands and knees with your knees stacked under your hips and your hands stacked under your shoulders. Lift up through your core and keep your neck long so your spine is straight.

Take a nice big inhale, drop your belly, and gaze up towards the ceiling.

As you exhale, round your back, gaze towards your belly button (or if you’re like me: where your belly button used to be), and feel the nice stretch through the length of the spine. Continue this pattern, taking long deep inhales, and long, cleansing exhales.

2. Spinal Balance

Once again, start on hands and knees with knees under your hips and hands stacked under your shoulders. Keep your neck long (chin lifted and spine straight) and press down through the knuckles of your hands.

Lift one foot off the floor, and straighten the leg behind you, while lifting the opposite hand, extending it in front of you. Press out through your heel and try to keep your hips parallel to the floor.

Gently lower down and repeat on the opposite side.

3. Tailor Sitting

Start in a seated position and bring the soles of the feet together. Let the knees gently fall out towards the sides as far as they’ll go. Do not press down on the thighs at all, and enjoy this awesome inner thigh (adductor) stretch. Focus on sitting up tall, and take nice deep breaths.

4. Gentle Spinal Extension to Forward Flexion

Start standing with your hands supporting your low back. Drop the shoulders and gaze towards the ceiling as you gently arch through the back. (Avoid over-stretching the abdominals here. Keep the movement small and gentle.)

Keep your hands where they are as you carefully exhale and fold forward. Bend your knees as much as you need to, and enjoy the hamstring stretch. Slowly rise, making sure your head is the last thing to come up.

5. Standing Hip-Flexor Stretch

Start standing with feet hip’s distance apart. Step one foot back and come up onto your back toes. Carefully lower the back knee down. You can stay right here to stretch out your quadriceps and hip flexors, or if you want more, take one arm overhead (whichever leg is back, use the same arm) and reach up and over. Hold and breathe for about 15 to 20 seconds before repeating on the other side.

As great as it feels to stretch, remember that our muscles also need stability during pregnancy through strength exercises where the pelvis remains stable. (My lovely friend Jess, who is a physical therapist, taught me about this.) Strengthen the muscles to support the ones that are causing you discomfort. For example, for my sore hips, I’ve been working on exercises like squats, outer thigh work (mostly though band exercises at barre), hip extensions, and bridges. As always, talk to a doc or physical therapist if you need help with your pregnancy aches and pains.

To learn more about these stretches, check out The Fitnessista.

Image Source: Fitnessista

These Stretches Will Take the Soreness Out of Pregnancy

The following post was originally featured on Fitnessista and written by Gina H.| who is part of POPSUGAR Select Fitness.

My neck . . .

My back . . .

My neck and my back.

Ok| and my glutes| hips| and round ligament pain| but they can’t really make a hip-hop song with that.

During this pregnancy| while I’m fortunate that things have been overall very pleasant and enjoyable| I’ve definitely had some aches and pains. It comes with the territory of growing a small human| which can alter our center of gravity| put additional pressure on our limbs| and hormones are surging through the body to support the little one. One of the major hormone shifts that occurs during pregnancy is through relaxin| which loosens the joints and makes us extremely flexible. Because we have so much relaxin coursing through the body| it’s easier to overstretch the muscles| which can be painful and take a long time to heal. This is a huge reason why it’s important to exercise and stretch within stable limits| and avoid trying to reach your “max|” whether it’s through a workout| yoga class or stretching. Like I’ve said many times before| focus on maintaining| not adding!

Stretching can help to ease some of the aches of pregnancy| and can also help to promote full range of motion within the joints. When we have full range of motion| we’re less likely to alter our movement patterns| which can lead to muscle imbalances and potentially injury. Also| stretching feels so good.

Here are some of my favorite prenatal stretches. As always| check with a doctor before making any fitness changes and honor your body. Instead of stretching to your max| stretch to a comfortable point (without trying to force yourself into a deeper version of the stretch) and focus on taking deep breaths.

1. Cat to Cow

Come onto your hands and knees with your knees stacked under your hips and your hands stacked under your shoulders. Lift up through your core and keep your neck long so your spine is straight.

Take a nice big inhale| drop your belly| and gaze up towards the ceiling.

As you exhale| round your back| gaze towards your belly button (or if you’re like me: where your belly button used to be)| and feel the nice stretch through the length of the spine. Continue this pattern| taking long deep inhales| and long| cleansing exhales.

2. Spinal Balance

Once again| start on hands and knees with knees under your hips and hands stacked under your shoulders. Keep your neck long (chin lifted and spine straight) and press down through the knuckles of your hands.

Lift one foot off the floor| and straighten the leg behind you| while lifting the opposite hand| extending it in front of you. Press out through your heel and try to keep your hips parallel to the floor.

Gently lower down and repeat on the opposite side.

3. Tailor Sitting

Start in a seated position and bring the soles of the feet together. Let the knees gently fall out towards the sides as far as they’ll go. Do not press down on the thighs at all| and enjoy this awesome inner thigh (adductor) stretch. Focus on sitting up tall| and take nice deep breaths.

4. Gentle Spinal Extension to Forward Flexion

Start standing with your hands supporting your low back. Drop the shoulders and gaze towards the ceiling as you gently arch through the back. (Avoid over-stretching the abdominals here. Keep the movement small and gentle.)

Keep your hands where they are as you carefully exhale and fold forward. Bend your knees as much as you need to| and enjoy the hamstring stretch. Slowly rise| making sure your head is the last thing to come up.

5. Standing Hip-Flexor Stretch

Start standing with feet hip’s distance apart. Step one foot back and come up onto your back toes. Carefully lower the back knee down. You can stay right here to stretch out your quadriceps and hip flexors| or if you want more| take one arm overhead (whichever leg is back| use the same arm) and reach up and over. Hold and breathe for about 15 to 20 seconds before repeating on the other side.

As great as it feels to stretch| remember that our muscles also need stability during pregnancy through strength exercises where the pelvis remains stable. (My lovely friend Jess| who is a physical therapist| taught me about this.) Strengthen the muscles to support the ones that are causing you discomfort. For example| for my sore hips| I’ve been working on exercises like squats| outer thigh work (mostly though band exercises at barre)| hip extensions| and bridges. As always| talk to a doc or physical therapist if you need help with your pregnancy aches and pains.

To learn more about these stretches| check out The Fitnessista.

Image Source: Fitnessista

Expecting Mamas! Move Through This Gentle Prenatal Circuit Workout

The following post was originally featured on Peanut Butter Fingers and written by Julie Fagan, who is part of POPSUGAR Select Fitness.

I wanted to share the workout I did at the gym yesterday with those of you who may be in a similar boat: You’re looking for a gentle workout that allows you to move your body a bit while still treating it with kindness. This workout is a total body workout that focuses on bodyweight exercises and biking. It’s easy on your joints and incorporates two short circuits that include upper body, lower body and core exercises.

To learn more about this prenatal plan, check out Peanut Butter Fingers.

Image Source: Peanut Butter Fingers