Women's Health

Exercising in Pregnancy

Exercise is crucial in pregnancy. Movement in pregnancy supports circulation of your blood, increases oxygenation of your cells, tonifies your pelvic floor, helps the body eliminate toxins, keeps your bowel movements regular (aka avoids being constipated), balances hormones, stimulates secretion of neurotransmitters and hormones that make you feel good, balances your blood sugars, tonifies your nervous system, helps you cope with stress, and so much more!

Women are often scared into not exercising when they are pregnant for fear they will overdo it and hurt the baby. You can most certainly exercise safely throughout your entire pregnancy. And your baby’s health will be better because you got in all that nourishing movement!

Exercising Safely during Pregnancy

As a general rule, pregnant woman can maintain their exercise level that they had prior to becoming pregnant. If you are a morning jogger, keep hitting the pavement. If you like to play tennis on the weekends with your gals, continue to show up at the court. If you like to get your movement by dancing around the house while doing chores, dance away my friend.

Or if you don’t have a regular exercise routine, pregnancy is the perfect time to start. Start slow to give your body time to build muscle and strengthen your heart and blood vessels. This could be going for a walk for 5-10 minutes per day or practicing a gentle yoga flow for 30 minutes or biking on a trainer for 20 minutes, or swimming laps at your local pool. Find something you enjoy doing and do it everyday; increasing the duration and/or intensity until you find a sweet spot where you get your body sweating and increase your heart rate.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) states, “physical activity does NOT increase your risk of miscarriage, low birth weight, or early delivery”. They also recommend that pregnant women exercise for at least 30 minutes 5 days a week of moderate-intensity aerobic movements.

With all this being said, there are a few exercises to avoid or at least be aware that they may be dangerous to do while pregnant. Contact sports or sports that entail a risk of falling should be avoided due to the risk of getting hit in the belly. Exercising in extreme heat and humidity is also generally not recommended. Unless you are used to high altitudes, exercising in high altitudes or even the potential for low oxygen states with scuba diving should be avoided.

A Pregnant Body Just Isn’t The Same

In pregnancy, your ligaments (which hold your joints together and provide limitations for excessive movement) become more relaxed. This relaxation of your ligaments is caused by relaxin and progesterone that your ovaries and placenta create an abundance of in pregnancy. It is important to be aware of this while pregnant because your joints will have more mobility and the risk of injury becomes higher.

It may be obvious, but pregnancy also throws off a woman’s center of gravity. Even in activities you are used to doing, this change can throw off your balance and put more stress of your joints.

As your uterus grows bigger, laying on your back can put pressure on your inferior vena cava, which is a blood vessel that returns blood to the heart. When practicing yoga or other forms of exercise that require you to be on your back, be aware that you can squish this inferior vena cava which disrupts blood flow to the heart.

As a pregnant woman, your body is putting a lot of its energy into growing a human. You may find that as you exercise, you tire more quickly or don’t have the energy to go as long or as intense as you did before you got pregnant. This decrease in energy is normal, but there are also lots of things you can do to increase your energy in pregnancy as well.

Your heart also works harder in pregnancy because it has a whole other being to oxygenate and bring blood flow too. When exercising during pregnancy, your heart rate will increase faster than it did prior to pregnancy.

Nourishing and Hydrating your Precious Body

When you are moving your body, you should also be cognizant of staying hydrated to nourish all your cells, increase muscle repair, and prevent dehydration. You may even want to add a bit of salt to your water to replace any electrolytes lost through your sweat. To do this, add a pinch of salt to a glass of water. Your water should taste more robust, or like it has more body to it, but should not taste salty (if it does taste salty, you’ve added too much salt).  

A pregnant body already has an increased demand for macro- and micro-nutrients to nourish the baby. Add exercise on top of growing a human inside of you and you’ll need to make sure you are eating enough calories and getting enough nutrient dense food in your diet every day.

Exceptional Women

If you have complications in your pregnancy, such as placenta previa, cervical insufficiency, preeclampsia, or severe anemia, talk to your health care professional about what movements are safe for you. We should all be moving in some way while we are pregnant. A sedentary life should never be an option.


Listen to your body. You know your body and your capabilities better than anyone. Pay attention to when your body is telling you to decrease the intensity of the exercise or when your body is craving movement after a sedentary day. Listen to your body and then make changes with your exercising that take into account what your body is trying to tell you.

If you feel like you need more guidance, talk to your health care professional about how to get in nourishing movement during your pregnancy!


Organic Food as Medicine

Is organic food more powerful medicine than conventionally grown food??

This may get a bit “science-y” but bear with me.

Plants contain nutritious and healing compounds called primary metabolites and secondary metabolites.

Primary metabolites, we are often more familiar with. These are our proteins, carbohydrates, fats, and nucleic acids.

Secondary metabolites, although less known are just as important, if not more important! Plant’s secondary metabolites are the compounds in plants that give the plant medicinal properties. These secondary metabolites protect the plant from pests, drought, other dominating plants around them, etc. Just like how humans and animals have an immune system to protect them from viruses and bacteria, plants have secondary metabolites to protect them. And when we eat plants, we get the healing properties of those secondary metabolites. Examples of these healing properties include antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, bitter to stimulate digestion, and adaptogenic (helping you adapt to stressors).

So, how does this relate to organic vs conventionally grown foods?

Conventionally grown foods are sprayed with pesticides and herbicides that protect the plant from insects, microbes, weeds, etc. Since the plant doesn’t have to protect itself from these pests and weeds, it doesn’t have to create as many secondary metabolites. Another reason why conventionally grown foods are very low in secondary metabolites is because they are typically grown rapidly, with a controlled amount of water, sunlight, and nutrients. They haven’t had to struggle and adapt to their environment to build up their secondary metabolites.

On the other hand, organically grown foods have to adapt to pests, microbes, draught, weeds, etc. These foods have to build up their own defenses in the form of secondary metabolites to these stressors. The more secondary metabolites, the more medicinal the plant is for you.

Because organically grown foods contain more secondary metabolites than conventionally grown foods, they are more medicinal. Every time you eat an organic plant, you are gaining their powerful defense and healing properties. Plants are our ultimate healers so don’t let a day go by where you aren’t eating plants, drinking herbal tea, applying a botanical lotion to your skin, or spending time with plants outdoors.

Women's Health

Living in Line with Your Menstrual Cycle

Our bodies, hormones, and physiology undergo a lot of changes throughout our menstrual cycle. But we often ignore these changes and live our lives the same way regardless of what part of our cycle we are in. Fortunately, there is a lot we can do with nutrition and exercise to support our hormones and body changes throughout our cycles.

During menstruation (3-7 days)

  • Eat warming, nourishing foods, such as cooked veggies (the more colorful the better), soups, stews, oatmeal.
  • Healthy fats, like salmon, avocados, nuts, seeds, olives, olive or avocado oil, are great for reducing inflammation and help you to create healthy hormones! Fats are also the body’s fuel of choice during lower intensity exercise which is what you should aim for while menstruating.
  • Drink lots of water, maybe even adding in some ginger or chia tea.
  • Engage in gentle forms of exercise, such as going for a walk, stretching, and yoga. Lifting weights is also a great form of exercise during menstruation because you have a higher amount of testosterone and more ability to build muscle mass.  
  • Spend time journaling, reading your favorite book, taking a bath, or doing breathing exercises.
  • Allow your body to get a good night’s sleep everynight!

During the follicular phase (7-10 days)

  • Continue to eat lots of veggies, but add in more plant-based proteins, such as beans, lentils, nuts, and seeds.
  • Engage in exercises that raise your heart rate and challenge your body. This could be HIIT training, lifting weights, running, dancing, and cycling.
  • Spend time in creativity and be social.

During luteal phase (12-15 days)

  • Eat 1 cup of cruciferous vegetables per day to help support the increase in progesterone during the second half of your cycle. Examples of cruciferous veggies are broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, asparagus, arugula, turnips, kale, and radishes.
  • Focus on eating foods that are high in magnesium, such as steamed spinach, black beans, almonds, pumpkin seeds, quinoa, oatmeal, avocados, cashews, and dark chocolate.
  • Root vegetables are another great food for luteal phase because they help you connect to the Earth and feel grounded.
  • Your metabolism tends to increase during the luteal phase which increases your body’s breakdown of protein and ability for the body to use fat as fuel. So, make sure you are still eating plant-based protein sources and healthy fats!
  • Go for a barefoot walk
  • Continue exercising, just a bit less intensely than during your follicular phase.

Living Life to the Fullest

Live. Your. Life. So. Fully. That. Every. Time. You. Think. About. Your. Life. You. Smile. From. Ear. To. Ear.

Are you truly LIVING the life you want to be living?

When you wake up in the morning, do you express GRATITUDE for another day to live, laugh, and love?

Are you chasing after your PASSIONS?

Does the path you are on fill you up to the brim with JOY?

Are you using your GOD-GIFTED TALENTS in your everyday life?

Are you taking time to prioritize the RELATIONSHIPS in your life?

Do you spend time outside daily to allow NATURE to NOURISH you?

My HOPE for you in this New Year is that you can answer yes to ALL of these questions. If you answered no to even one of these questions, why not make changes in your life that flip that answer to a big, fat YES?

Reach for the stars, dream big, and take action to pursue all your hopes and dreams. And make sure that while you are in pursuit of happiness, you are making time for the relationships in your life.

They say that as you get older, all the little stuff falls away and you truly find out what is important in life. Well, I’m thinking that relationships are what they mean by the important stuff in life. Relationships, whether those relationships are with friends, family, partners, nature, and/or God, seem to be what life is all about. We get to share, give, receive, and love in relationships. We get to fill others up, heal others, be there for others, and support others. We get to be goofy together, to not take life too seriously together, to laugh with each other, to cry with each other. Connecting with other beings on this planet and making the world a better place through those connections is what I think life is about.