Does pregnancy seem to be taking the wind out of your sails?

Without fail, every new client I work with at some point complains about feeling “out of breath” during activities that would normally feel easy. If you find yourself in the same boat, trust me when I say this is perfectly normal and nothing to worry about.

You see, the first and third trimesters place demands on your respiratory system that make transporting oxygenated blood throughout your body very difficult. For this reason, it is normal to feel winded from something as simple as walking up a small flight of stairs.

During the first trimester, around the time the fertilized egg implants in the womb, The elasticity and volume of your entire vascular system (heart, arteries and veins) increases virtually overnight. This creates a big problem: suddenly there is not enough blood in circulation to fill up all that extra space!

From these changes, your body senses that your vascular system is under filled, which leads you to experience all the symptoms that normally accompany vascular underfill.
These symptoms include:
1. Waves of sudden fatigue
2. A racing pulse
3. Nausea
4. Sweating
5. Dizziness, especially when getting up quickly or during quiet standing

Sound familiar? I know at first these symptoms can seem scary, but they improve progressively as your blood volume expands and usually are gone by the end of the fourth month.

By the second trimester your body has more or less adjusted to its new condition. You should be breathing easy and feeling more energetic. This is the time to really ramp up your prenatal fitness regimen. You may even be able to work out as hard or even harder than you did before becoming pregnant, depending on your previous strength and fitness level. I always stress the importance of taking advantage of this time period because once the third trimester hits, it’s back to feeling tired and breathless.

The third trimester presents its own unique set of breathing problems to deal with. By this point your growing belly and uterus are pressing up on your diaphragm giving your lungs less space to expand. In addition, the weight gained during pregnancy places even more demand on your muscular system, making even the easiest tasks seem difficult. You may feel tired in the beginning of an exercise, or even for the first ten minutes, because your lungs can’t quite get enough oxygen to your working muscles fast enough. Don’t give up! If you can make it past the first ten minutes, the respiratory system will adapt, and exercise will become easier.

Well, there you have it… If you are constantly feeling short of breath, take comfort in knowing that it’s a sign of a normal and healthy pregnancy. Breathe easy!

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Avoid Post-Baby Pounds!

It may take some hard work, dedication and time (which as a new mom is hard to come by), but making exercise a priority after baby arrives is a necessity for your health and the health of your future children. Recent research points to a significantly increased risk for gestational diabetes in subsequesnt pregnancies for women who pack on the pounds after their first pregnancy.

The study found that an average-height first-time mom that gains 12 to 17 pounds after delivering her first baby is twice as likely to develop gestational diabetes in her second pregnancy as a woman whose weight remained stable. Shockingly, the risk was three times greater for those women who gained 18 pounds or more, according to the study of 22,000 women.

The moral of the story is this: if you are planning on having more than one baby, you are going to have to earn it. Now grab your bub and your stroller and get movin’… Your future children will thank you!

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Baby-Steps Stroller X Launches!

 Baby-Steps Stroller X officially kicked off in the summer of 2011. Designed as an affordable postnatal workout option for Moms looking to get their bodies back after baby, it became an instant hit. The Baby-Steps Stroller X classes are held every Monday and Thursday at 10:30am, and take place in some of San diego’s most beautiful settings. Enjoy the serene ocean environment of La Jolla Cove or the stunning panoramic views from Kate Sessions Park all while getting an effective total-body toning, fat-burning, stomach flattening workout. All this with your baby in tow. No need to worry about finding a baby-sitter, just grab your stroller and go! Always remember this:  in order to best take care of others, you must first take care of yourself. Happy Moms. Happy Babies.

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Prenatal Vitamins For Autism Prevention

A recent study concluded that women who begin taking prenatal vitamins in the pregnancy-planning stage may be able to help reduce the chance of their child being born with an autism spectrum disorder. The study participants included 700 families with children between the ages 2-5. Mothers who took a daily prenatal vitamin for the three months leading up to getting pregnant were only half as likely to have a child diagnosed with autism as women who did not take the supplements.  

Prenatal vitamins are essential to a child’s developing brain because they contain high levels of Folic Acid and B vitamins. Often times a healthy diet just isn’t enough and a prenatal vitamin is required to fill in the nutritional gaps left behind. While more studies need to be conducted to confirm the correlation between prenatal vitamin suplementation and autism, the possibilities are exciting. Families have often looked to science to provide answers in helping reduce the risk of autism, but to no avail. Finally there is something these families can do. All it takes is a little planning!

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Beat the “Baby Blues” with Exercise

Postpartum depression is commonly found in women who have recently given birth, some women suffer from it immediately afterwards, and for others it may take some time to appear.  The symptoms can be quite severe and if left untreated can continue for years.  As many as 80% of new mothers will experience some form of baby blues that can be very mild or severe depression. The lack of concentration and feeling of complete loneliness can overwhelm some new mothers. This makes it very hard to cope with their new baby.

Although this condition is a natural hormone imbalance that some women have it doesn’t make it any easier to deal with it. Exercise has been proven to help with the symptoms, and speed the recovery time up. Not only can this help with losing the baby weight, but also can help you to bond with other new mothers. When you have a baby your whole life changes and you can feel very alone. You may feel that you have no one to talk to, however, by joining some sort of fitness class it can drastically help with the postpartum depression.

When you first come home the thought of exercising at all may seem very daunting, and you may even dismiss the whole idea. However, if you can overcome that initial reaction joining an exercise class will help you to get back to your former self. Being a new mom is fantastic; however, it can bring some very mixed emotions. You will need a fantastic support network, and often if this can be other mom’s who are going through the same things as you.  Having someone to talk to that really understands how you are feeling is a fantastic way to deal with the postpartum depression.

The actual exercise that you are participating in will of course help you to regain your shape, lose the weight and be more confident. It will also offer you the opportunity to leave the house, and meet up with other new mom’s. It can become a social event that you will look forward to every week, helping you to recover from your postpartum depression faster. This condition is nothing to be embarrassed about, and learning to talk is a great tool when dealing with it.  You should ensure that the exercise that you choose is suited to a new mom. You do not want to push your body too far, and cause injury or further problems.

Remaining fit and healthy in the first few months can help you to cope with the new level of activity that you are experiencing. You will be surprised how active you will need to be, and your new baby will keep you moving. However, you also need contact with the outside world, and talking to other new moms can help you to remain calm and sane during this mad period in your life. When you exercise the endorphins kick into your body making you feel healthier and happier about everything. If you can work through your postpartum depression, you can begin to enjoy the time with your new baby.

For extra support and more info contact San Diego’s Postpartum Health Alliance. To furhter support the Postpartum Health Alliance join us for Mama Fest on May 20th 2011 at La Jolla Country Club.

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La Jolla’s Outdoor Exercise for Moms and Moms-To-Be

                                                                                                                                                                If you are a woman who lives in the San Diego area, you can take advantage of the beautiful weather, the ocean breezes, and the wonderful terrain that the area offers while you are pregnant. You can do so when you take part in San Diego prenatal exercise.  There are many advantages of exercising while pregnant, and certainly in exercising outdoors.

For example, a pregnant woman can find peace and relaxation when she exercises outdoors. She can take advantage of the fresh air, which will help to make her feel more at ease. This in turn will stabilize her blood pressure, and give her and the baby a rich, fresh oxygen supply that is important for both of them. Not only this, but exercising outdoors does wonders to improve a pregnant mother’s outlook, and mood.

One of the challenges that pregnancy brings, is a lower self esteem. Many pregnant women feel out of shape, bloated, fatigued, and unattractive. Exercise in general will address the issues of water retention, and it will tone the muscles. A San Diego prenatal exercise program will help the mother increase her physical strength, and her stamina. Not only this, but she will feel emotionally and mentally stronger as well. She will feel empowered to handle her pregnancy and life, because she is taking control of her health, and of her life. Exercising outdoors will feel totally invigorating, and will boost her spirits.

After a new mother gives birth, she will feel stressed, worn, and tired. Many mothers are simply too fatigued to leave the house, and some feel guilty, as if they are duty-bound to stay in the house with the baby. If they participated in activities such as Baby-Step’s   Haute Mama boot camp, they would feel a lot better. Postnatal exercise does wonders to help a new mother regain her figure, and to also feel rejuvenated. She will be doing something healthy outdoors to connect her with herself, and with the world again. She will be sweating off the water weight that she has gained. She will be toning up her muscles. All of these will help her to feel like her old self, and in many cases, she will be in better shape than she was before she participated in the La Jolla’s Haute Mama boot camp.

When a new mother participates in a La Jolla based Baby-Steps Perinatal Fitness program, she can enjoy prenatal group exercise classes in an outdoor setting, with breathtaking, beautiful ocean views. Also offered at Baby-Steps is the Haute Mama Postnatal Boot Camp  that encourages new moms to connect with other new mothers, all while getting a great workout.

While the postnatal/postpartum period can be tough on new moms, outdoor exercise has been shown to help reduce the incidence of postpartum depression. This makes an exercise program for new mothers all worth it

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The Dangers of Preeclampsia in Pregnancy

Preeclampsia, otherwise known as toxemia, is a disorder that occurs during pregnancy wherein the woman’s blood pressure rises to an abnormally high level. This condition is characterized by proteinuria, which symbolizes abnormal levels of protein in the urine, and other metabolic disturbances, and could endanger the life of the mother and the fetus during the third trimester of a pregnancy or at around twenty weeks of gestation.
In the United States, there is a 5-7% occurrence of preeclampsia of all the pregnancies, which is 23.6 cases in a thousand, and due to its life-threatening possible effects, it is the third leading cause of pregnancy-related death.  In the US, the maternal mortality rate is still around 12 maternal deaths for every 100,000 live births, a nymber that puts America behind at least 41 other countries. 

If you are pregnant and are worried that you may suffer preeclampsia, there are ways to help lower your overall risk of cardiovascular disease, although there is no known prevention or cure for preeclampsia itself. One good idea is promoting prenatal exercise, because a high BMI is one known risk factor. Aside from being in a normal weight range before pregnancy, prenatal exercise is prudent because if you do get acutely ill, your recovery is likely to be much faster if you are in decent shape to begin with. Check with your doctor, because many women at risk for preeclampsia are advised to rest more than normal. According to a case-control study, prenatal exercise is considered a primary step toward preventing preeclampsia, cutting the risk 34% less for developing hypertension. Now, that’s a figure that means something. Prenatal exercise, like ordinary exercise, is aimed at making a person more fit and less susceptible to disease and body disorders, which are usually more likely to affect a person with a sedentary lifestyle. Prenatal exercise is also designed to do the same thing, but in this kind of exercise, you are not only doing the fitness training for yourself, but also for your baby.
Studies have shown that stretching exercises can be effective for prenatal exercise methods to help control blood pressure. Walking can also have some benefits, but all prenatal exercise routines should be monitored by your health care provider. Not only will prenatal exercise keep you healthy, it can potentially affect the lives of you and your baby.
Of course, prenatal exercise and general care should come with a good and balanced prenatal diet, to keep you and your baby healthy. This includes an adequate percentage of fruits and vegetables, and prenatal vitamins and whatever supplements you are prescribed, if any. Although there is no sure way of eliminating the risk of preeclampsia, it is false to say that there is no hope, because there is definitely something you can do about it. Start your pregnancy off on the right foot by eating a balanced diet and participating in a carefully monitored  prenatal exercise program today.
Please help support further research into the causes of preeclampsia and help increase awareness about the symptoms of preeclampsia by participating in your local Promise Walk. Promise Walks happen across the nation, so look for one in a city near you by logging onto  www. If you live in the San Diego area log on and join our Baby-Steps team for the Promise Walk being held Saturday May 14th at Crown Point Shores. For more information contact:

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The Importance of Folic Acid in Prenatal Nutrition


Folic Acid and Pregnancy

Carrying and giving birth to healthy baby can only be accomplished if you take good care of yourself and your health during your pregnancy by consuming healthy pregnancy foods . These would include making sure you get enough folic acid in your diet which is one of the most important first steps you can take. By getting the right amounts of folic acid very day you can go a long way toward preventing serious birth defects in your baby including neural tube defects. Neural tube defects include Spina Bifida, Encephalocele and Anencephaly. Following the proper prenatal nutrition is highly important at this point in your life.

Folic acid is a water soluble Vitamin B that encourages accelerated cell division and growth. It is the primary energy for the production of the red blood cells and helps to prevent anemia. Foods that contain iron, are normally also rich in folic acid and both are essential nutrients for optimal health in women. In addition, folic acid is crucial when it comes to the manufacturing of DNA synthesis as well as protein metabolism.

It is not difficult to work foods rich in folic acid into your daily life. Here is a list of healthy pregnancy foods you should make a part of your diet before and after your pregnancy.

Spinach is the number one source for folic acid and iron. Fix yourself a nice fresh spinach salad or use it on your sandwiches in place of lettuce. It’s also really great steamed as a side dish or mixed into a casserole or with eggs.

Asparagus is also a great source of folic acid. Buy some fresh asparagus and quick boil it by just adding it to a pot of boiling water for a couple of minutes. Then remove from water and dunk in ice water. This recipe keeps it crisp and really fresh tasting. You can even add a little low sodium soy sauce to give it a kick. Cooking it this way locks in the nutrients instead of boiling them off by cooking for longer periods of time.

Fresh or frozen green beans or peas are quick, easy and high if folic acid. They’re easy to cook and normally inexpensive. As often as possible fresh is best but frozen is also a good alternative.

Romaine lettuce or a spring mix of lettuces and greens are other wonderful, healthy sources of folic acid. Whip up a fresh salad with some lettuce, red onion and maybe even some sliced strawberries and fresh light dressing to keep it interesting or simply pile it onto a sandwich.

Other foods high in folic acid and iron are, millet, broccoli, dates, cabbage, almonds, kale, potatoes, oysters, clams, raisins, figs, whole wheat anything, collard greens, orange juice, okra, black eyed peas, sunflower seeds, lentils, chickpeas, grapes, pineapple juice, fish and poultry. You’ll find it easy to work these important nutrients into your diet with these amazing choices.

Medical professionals as well as scientists even now are not entirely certain exactly why folic acid has this kind of profound effect when it comes to preventing neural tube defects. What the facts have shown is that it has an important effect on the development of DNA the end result being that folic acid takes on an important role in cell development, growth and issue formation. In any case, following a diet rich in folic acid will ensure you receive the proper prenatal nutrition.

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Crazy Baby-Steps Birth Announcement!

Congratulations to Megan Del Muro and family! This San Diego mom of four deserves the medal of valor. Despite carrying twins, Megan showed up to her workouts day in and day out with a positive attitude and a big smile. It’s been said that attitutde determines altitude and never has this statement held more true. From the outset of her workout program Megan was bound and determined on avoiding a C-section and every workout was specifically designed with that goal in mind. On January 22nd Megan accomplished her goal when she gave birth to daughter Audrey and son Calen who weighed 6 lbs. 9 oz. and 7 lbs. 15 oz. respectively. We are so proud of you Megan!

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Baby-Steps Partners up with “First 5 San Diego”

We are proud to announce that “Baby-Steps Perinatal Fitness” and “First 5 San Diego” have joined forces on a mission to help provide children with the brightest futures imaginable.

Without a doubt, a child’s experience from the prenatal period to age five are the most critical to a child’s development. These years shape a child’s success in school and in life. First 5 San Diego has been hugely influential in shaping children’s futures by educating parents and others on how to help children during these early years. Their goal is to help ensure that every child in San Diego County enters school ready to succeed.
Baby-Steps was recognized in contributing to this goal by providing enriching and educational prenatal exercise opportunities for moms-to-be. Research has proven time and time again that exercising throughout pregnancy improves your child’s neurological, mental and physical development. Recent research also shows that children of exercising mothers consistently score better in reading comprehension, arithmetic and problem solving subjects than children of mothers who were sedentary during pregnancy. These results go hand-in-hand with the values, vision and mission of the “First 5 San Diego” program and gives parents the power to help their children fill their window of potential.

Read on for an in depth look into “First 5 San diego” :

Values, Vision, Mission and Core Functions

The values, vision, mission and core functions of the First 5 Commission of San Diego County are the starting point for action and investment at the regional and community levels.  At the most basic level, theses statements articulate how the Commission approaches the work that it does, and what it strives to accomplish through its efforts.


In all that it does, the Commission holds to these values:
  • Children: We honor and celebrate children and every child.
  • Parents: We support the role of parents as the child’s first and best teachers.
  • Communities: We believe strong communities help create healthy children and families.
  • Inclusion: We embrace and serve the diversity of San Diego’s communities.
  • Partnership: We collaborate to create a seamless system of care and support for children and families.
  • Results: We are committed to achieving real and sustainable results, demonstrating accountability, and attaining measureable outcomes.


The ultimate goal of the Commission’s work is that all children ages 0 to 5 are healthy, are loved and nurtured, and enter school as active learners


The First 5 Commission of San Diego County leads the San Diego community in promoting the vital importance of the first 5 years of life to the well-being of children, families and society

Core Functions

The Commission conducts its mission through these key functions:
  • Funding services and activities to achieve desired results.
  • Advocating for policy change at local and state levels.
  • Acting as a catalyst and leader for coordinting, integrating and leveraging existing resources.
  • Building community and organizational capacity to support families.

Overarching Goal

Strengthen the relationships essential for the healthy development of young children.

These relationships are embedded in health, learning, family and community settings or environments



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