Eating Clean…for Labor?


There’s a common phrase being thrown around out there for eating fresh fruits and vegetables as well as lean proteins and whole grains.  It’s called CLEAN EATING.  I’ve used this term also and still use it.

Throughout my pregnancy (3rd), I’ve consistently followed a clean diet and have had a virtually symptomless pregnancy. Yesterday, at 36 weeks 2 days pregnant, I learned from my OB that I am already 3cm dilated and 50% effaced.  She basically said that I could deliver this baby either tomorrow, or two weeks from now.  Either way, I want to do what I can to prepare.

I was so surprised when she said that I was 3 cm when only two weeks prior, I was O cm and 0% effaced.  However, like some other pregnant women nearing the end of their pregnancies, I’ve begun to indulge a bit more and as a result, end up feeling achy, crampy, and lethargic.  This happened after my exam yesterday.20140828-084933-31773109.jpg

As soon as my husband and I left the dr., we went our usual route to Starbucks to pick up coffee beans and for me, a decaf iced drink.  Along with my iced drink, I picked up a slice of pumpkin loaf which has become a trend for me in the past 3 weeks.  No biggie.  But then, I got home, and as it was late, we decided to order out.  Pizza and salads.  Sure, I ordered a salad.  But i ate all the chicken off it and proceeded to eat two slices of greasy pizza while finishing my decaf iced coffee.  And you know what happened?  I immediately became congested, had a lovely case of diarrhea, and  went into a series of BH contractions ranging from 5 minutes apart to 11 minutes apart for the next 4 hours accompanied with a back ache and an overall feeling of bloat.  These are in fact symptoms of impending labor, but having done this twice before, I knew that this wasn’t labor.  Regardless, this continued through the evening leaving me with a very restless sleep that woke me every 3 hours.  Labor seemed imminent…that is, until I woke up and changed my tune.

I woke with a headache that would rival the worst hangover, a bloated face and fingers, and a very very sluggish demeanor.  This was at 4:00am.  So, I thought having a bowl of cereal would help.  One bowl of cereal turned into two, followed by a food coma.  Falling asleep again, I woke to the sound of two children screaming MAMA! at 7:30am with all the same symptoms that I had at 4:00am.  Regardless, I pulled myself out of bed, and went to the washroom to splash my face with water and caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror.  I looked just as bloated and congested as I felt.  But…my contractions were gone.  So, I had a window of time to try to alleviate my symptoms.

I ran to the kitchen, and while making breakfast for my kids, went to my go-to breakfast for warding off colds – Green juice and fresh fruit.  Within 10 minutes of eating a few bites and sipping some green juice, I began to feel better.  Not just ok, but actually better.  My Braxton Hicks contractions started again but were spaced far apart again, baby #3 started kicking happily, the feeling of bloat began to subside, and my energy returned.  As with any clean breakfast like this, a trip to the bathroom isn’t rare, but the feelings associated are not ones of nausea.  My sinuses cleared almost immediately and my pep in my step returned.

SO here are my thoughts.  Knowing that the body cleanses itself out before the onset of labor by means of releasing bodily fluids and waste, why not try eating cleaner in preparation for labor?  No woman enjoys being uncomfortable, cramped and achy in the final weeks of pregnancy and for some, this is just unavoidable.  But, in my case it seems that my well-being and over physical wellness is directly affected by the food that I feed it.  Having a symptomless pregnancy while clean eating may be a coincidence, but I’m beginning to believe differently.  I’m thinking that by continuing to eat clean through to the end may help prepare my body for labor by keeping my body full of vitamins and nutrients, clear of toxins and congestants, and lowering my blood pressure by keeping foods high in fat, salt, and sugar from causing undue stress on my digestive system.  I’m going to give it a try!

OPAL Mom Question: I’m 29 weeks in my 3rd pregnancy with intense pelvic pressure. Anyone experience this?


This is my 3rd pregnancy and boy is everything different this time.  I’ve been feeling wonderful up until the last two days.  I exercise, eat very well and sleep well also.  Last night, I went to bed with intense pelvic pressure and woke this morning with the same type of pressure.   The only way that it subsides is when I lie down on my left side.  Any mommies of multiples out there experience tihs?  Did your babies arrive earlier?

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Think You Can’t Lift Weights When You’re Pregnant? Think Again…and WATCH.

At 7 months pregnant, I am still able to do a total body workout from start to finish.  As a prenatal exercise specialist, I of course take the necessary precautions and have been cleared for regular exercise by my obstetrician.  This morning, I completed the following TOTAL BODY STRENGTH TRAINING workout and followed it up with 20 minutes of cardio pushing my daughter in her stroller to brunch with my family.  So long as you have  history of regular exercise (and are cleared with a physician), there is no reason as to why you cannot continue to workout as you always have.

Your body will thank you for it, as will your baby!!


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Top Things to Avoid Saying to a Pregnant Woman…or at Least to Me While I’m Pregnant

When a woman is visibly pregnant, the door seems to swing wide open with an open invitation for all to comment.  Whether these comments come from well-intended family, curious friends or just very nosy strangers, there are a good handful of things that I personally don’t like to hear while pregnant.


Here are my top things to avoid saying to a woman who is pregnant:

1.  “Are you sure you aren’t carrying twins?” This is the ultimate stab in the heart for a pregnant woman…especially if she’s already feeling bloated and uncomfortable.  You’ve basically told her she looks like a beached whale and have most likely shot her self-esteem down to her developing cankles.

2.  “You can’t do that!  You’re pregnant!  You should really slow down.”  It’s one thing if you see a pregnant woman smoking a pack of cigarettes while taking shots.  But it’s quite another if you simply see her cleaning out her garage, picking up another child, or even running a marathon (if that’s the kind of thing she likes to do).  If a pregnant woman is up and moving and feels great conquering the world, more power to her!  Don’t discourage her with cockamamie  “but you’re pregnant” nonsense.  She’ll sit down when she’s tired enough.  Trust me, she will.

3.  “That’s ok, you’re eating for two!” (After said pregnant woman complains of looking fat).  Please, just tell her she’s glowing and looks beautiful, even if you happen to agree that she’s gained a few too many extra pounds.  This is NOT the time for the cold hard truth about weight gain.

4.  “Are you sure you should be doing (lifting, touching, moving) that?”  If there were ever a time for a woman to feel empowered for accomplishing daily activities, it’s when she’s pregnant and in nesting mode.  While I don’t recommend trying the move a car with bare hands or lifting heavy boxes while pregnant, I say never ask a pregnant woman this simply for the fact that she’s about to be a very busy mother who will be standing, sitting, squatting, lifting, pushing and pulling on a daily basis and probably through her next pregnancy.  Trust her while she figures things out.

5.  “You’re finished after this one, right?” I have one thing to say to the person who asks this.  “It’s none of your f*cking business”.

6.  “You’re going to have your hands full!  You better enjoy your life now while you still have it!”  Excuse me, did you just say my life as I know it will be over?  Saying this to a pregnant woman is like telling her, “Well you made your bed, now you have to sleep in it!”  Giving birth to a child does change one’s life entirely, but it doesn’t mean that life is less enjoyable for it.  It’s full of joy, heartache, and at times, pure magic.  This experience only grows with multiple children and makes for some wonderful memories along the way.

7.  “Are you sure you’re ready?”  Perhaps you should have asked this BEFORE your friend/sibling/spouse got pregnant.  Instilling doubt in an impending mother’s psyche while she’s pregnant, hormonal and quite vulnerable is a great way to increase her anxiety and drop her self-esteem.  One thing is for certain, no one is ever quite ready or knows what to expect when having a child.  So instead, encourage her, tell her she’s going to be a wonderful mother and that you can’t wait to see her holding her little one in her arms for the first time.  Either way, she will believe you so tell her what she needs to hear.

And these are just a few…

Do you have a funny or offhand comment that was thrown your way during your pregnancy?  SHARE! If you would like to contribute to this list, please send them to me!  I’d love to see what other questions and comments are out there that you’ve heard or experienced first hand!  Send them HERE

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Why Being Pregnant is Beautiful…Especially in a Bikini

Prior to having children, I was always one of those women who flipped through the Victoria’s Secret catalog for hours, vying for the cute little bikinis inside for the upcoming beach seasons.  I of course would always end up ordering two or three suits, only to hem and haw over whether or not to wear this bikini or that bikini because it either made my butt look big or my belly roll showed too much BLAH BLAH BLAH.  And this was pre-children, pre-stretch mark, pre-leather-belly-that-if-I-sneeze-I’ll-pee-my-pants-status.  Where was the confidence??



In my first pregnancy, I was due in September, just as I am now in my third.  (I was luckily exempt from this whole beach scenario with my second pregnancy as she was due in April and I could hide in layers.)  AND the first time around, I did buy a bikini…but I bought one of those maternity suits that actually do make your ass look huge and your boobs look more swollen and really do nothing flattering for the baby bump except keep you cool when your AC goes out in the heat of summer. So what’s a preggo to do?


uhhh…no beach ball crotch for me.  Thanks.

Well…I decided to do an experiment.  Considering that I’ve the rest of the summer to endure, I decided to bite the bullet and shop for a flirty, fun bikini…from VICTORIA’S SECRET.  My measurements couldn’t be that difficult to take considering I’d be exposing my baby bump, so how hard could it be to find my size?  As I shopped for the perfect, cute bikini, I remembered that my best girlfriend had rocked her bump with pride in a lovely bikini during her pregnancy and she was a vision of all that is beautiful about being pregnant.  So I said, if she could do it, then so could I.  This is a picture of her days before her son arrived.



Well, today, my bikini from Victoria’s Secret arrived and I decided to try it on for size.  What I can say, is that I’ve never felt more feminine or beautiful as a pregnant woman as I did trying that suit on today.  I was SHOCKED to say the least, but nevertheless, very happy.  I want to thank my friend for inspiring me to venture out of my fitness-driven comfort zone of six pack abs and chiseled legs so that I can appreciate what it means to be a pregnant woman who rocks a bikini.


Perhaps I’ll even pose for my own beach photoshoot like she did, so that I can have photos to show my daughter that you don’t need to be skinny, muscular, or lean to be a beautiful woman.  And while I AM exercising and eating mindfully throughout this pregnancy, I’ve come to yet another understanding about being comfortable in my own skin.  I’ve come to understand that like all things in life, I just need to embrace what I have.

Rock those tiger stripes ladies!  You earned them!



Recommended for New Moms: What to Expect When You’re Expecting – The Book and The Movie


So, you’re going to be a mom either for the first time or for the 3rd time (like me) and whether you’ve experienced pregnancy before or not, picking up a baby book or two somehow becomes a part of the whole pregnancy experience.  When I received What to Expect When You’re Expecting, the book, I read it front to back, week-by-week, word for word.  This worked well the first time because there was nothing that I knew about being pregnant and I believed every word, even if I wasn’t experiencing the “pregnancy glow” or my baby seemed bigger the size of an “avocado”.  I was hooked.

Then came pregnancy #2…and #3.

When I was pregnant with my second child, I was on a flight to Africa to work with a former prenatal client to teach dance to children and teach classes about prenatal fitness as well as bootcamps for adults.  During my flight, What to Expect When You’re Expecting, The Movie, was one of the on demand options so I decided to give it a whirl.  For my 2nd pregnancy, this movie was exactly what I needed.  I’m a fitness buff who is a personal trainer by trade and yet, I was feeling quite unlike the fitness buff personal trainer, Cameron Diaz, in the movie and more like the woman who complained of constipation, gas and the chronic bloat of pregnancy.  Needless to say, I was in stitches for the entire flight and arrived in Nairobi feeling refreshed if not liberated by watching a movie that truly emulated how I was feeling as an uncomfortable pregnant woman.  In fact, on my flight home, I watched it again.  It was that good.

So do I recommend you read the book?  YES.  Do I recommend you watch the movie? YES.  Do both and have fun with it because whether you are having a dream pregnancy or one that you are literally counting the days until your child pushes out of your body, you’ll want someone to understand along the way without saying, “Cherish these moments.  They go by so quickly.”  Those words spell doom for anyone who says them to me…especially in my third pregnancy.

Happy reading and movie watching!

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