The Importance of Protein During Pregnancy

  There are so many women having babies nowadays, that there is focus on health and pregnancy nutrition for mothers, now more than ever before.  Many women want to make sure that they’re eating all the right foods, getting enough exercise, and that they are paying attention to pregnancy nutrition, to make sure that they are healthy, and that they have the best childbirth experience possible.  And of course, they want to make sure that they produce healthy babies.  As such, women want to know the type of things that they should be putting into their bodies and from what food sources.  One thing that they are realizing is that they need to fill their bodies with protein.

There are many benefits to eating foods with protein when a mother is pregnant.  For one thing, protein helps to keep the mother lean.  While it’s true that a woman should gain enough weight to support her pregnancy, and it’s true that weight gain can’t be helped, she should make sure that she’s not gaining too much fat or too much water weight.  On the other hand, if she gains weight via lean muscle, this is a good thing.  Protein goes a long way to help a mother feel full so that she’s getting the pregnancy nutrition that she needs, without eating too many of the wrong foods that can cause health issues and discomfort.

Eating a diet rich in protein also helps to stabilize the mother’s blood sugar.  It’s common for some women to develop gestational diabetes, which is of course is dangerous for mother and child.  When she eats a diet that is rich in proteins, the proteins stabilize the blood sugar, which in turn prevents spikes and dips in one’s blood sugar.  If the mother experiences spikes and dips in her blood sugar, she’ll get symptoms such as dizziness, fainting, weakness, nausea, and hunger pangs.  Since she might experience these symptoms as a part of pregnancy, she doesn’t want to experience them any more than she has to.  They will make her uncomfortable, or they might even cause her to become bedridden.  On the other hand, when her blood sugar is a healthy and stabilized, she’ll feel full of energy, and she’ll be able to endure her daily task.

Proteins are made from amino acids, and amino acids are necessary for a strong and healthy placenta, as well as the production of red blood cells.  The placenta is the membrane that forms in the uterus, and it’s literally the lifeline between mother and child.  The placenta is where the baby gets its pregnancy nutrition, as well as its oxygen supply, so it’s very important that the mother is producing and maintaining a healthy and stable placenta.

With regards to where a mother can get her sources of protein, there are several.  She can get lean proteins from seafood such a shrimp, up to twice a week.  Many new mothers might be concerned about seafood during their pregnancy, but they simply need to make sure that they are eating sources of seafood that are low mercury.  She can also get sources of proteins from lean meats such as beef and chicken.  She should eat lean cuts of beef and chicken, and stay away from lunch meats.  This is because lunch meats are processed with a lot of sodium and nitrates.  These chemicals cause water bloating, pain, and how possibly high blood pressure.  She can also get her proteins from sources such as raw nuts and nut butters, eggs, and certain plants like leafy greens to ensure pregnancy nutrition.

A mother can get her pregnancy nutrition information online, or from her doctor and dietitians, to make sure that she’s having the healthiest pregnancy and childbirth experience possible.

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Another Baby-Steps Birth Announcement

I am proud to announce that on Sunday March 6th at 9:34am my wife and I welcomed our second little boy into the world. His name is Cade Akeno Van Herpe and the way he came into the world couldn’t have been more different than it was with our first. Let me start by saying that my wife Juliann is a champion. After only 4-hours of labor she delivered our son naturally. By naturally I don’t mean vaginally, I mean no epidural. Anyone who has delivered with an epidural knows that epidurals RULE! I have heard epidurals described as sweet, warm, honey coarsing through your veins, systematically eliminating any ounce of pain you may be feeling while your child gets ready to split your pelvis wide open. By the time we checked into the hospital she was already 8cm dilated, which made the decision to forego the epidural a relatively easy one. Ten very painful minutes and three extremely violent pushes later our second little monster came into the world kicking and screaming weighing 6lbs. 14oz. and has been the most mellow baby ever since. I am so proud of my family and especially my wife who is the strongest, most determined and beautiful woman I have ever met. I am one lucky man.

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(Must Read!) Benefits of Prenatal Exercise

The benefits of working out during pregnancy are numerous, though relatively unknown to the general public. Recent research has done away with the old way of thinking where pregnant women were scared to even lift a laundry basket. It’s important to remember that pregnancy is a physiological state, not a disease. Look at every other species on the planet during pregnancy and you will see that they continue their day-to-day acivities as if nothing has changed. (Example: A mountain goat doesn’t stop scampering up and down mountains just because she is pregnant.) Yet for the last century we humans have decided that the duration of pregnancy would be better spent on our backsides for fear of harming the baby. I would venture to say that the worst thing you could do to your developing baby (given that you have a normal healthy pregnancy) is undertake a sedentary lifestyle! Sitting on your butt and eating whatever you want is a sure fire way to gain tons of unnecesssary weight while putting you and your baby at risk for gestational diabetes. In addition, to optimize the healthy development of your placenta you need daily exercise. The placenta is responsible for transporting oxygen and nutrients to and from your baby. The better developed the placenta, the more nourished your baby will be. Not only that, but the groundbreaking field of epigentics is beginning to show that the first 9-months of a baby’s life in utero has life long health implications. What would you give to be able to eliminate your child’s chance of developing cancer, diabetes and heart disease before they are even born? This is just the tip of the iceberg, but some powerful stuff indeed. Read the list below for other benefits associated with exercise during pregnancy and ask yourself, ”am I taking the necessary steps to ensure my child’s health for the future?”.

Prenatal Benefits

  1. reduces or eliminates pregnancy related discomforts
  2. prevents and treats gestational diabetes
  3. improves calcium absorbtion, preventing hypertension, preeclampsia and future osteoporosis
  4. relieves tension, stress and possible depression
  5. increases your general strength, improving your ability to carry your larger belly
  6. reduces the strain on your upper back and neck
  7. reduces the strain and pressure on your lower back and sciatic nerve
  8. prevents “round shoulders” and improper posture
  9. increases energy
  10. improves immunity
  11. prevents excess weight gain
  12. boosts self esteem (better looking pregnant body)
  13. gives you a more positive outlook on your pregnancy and motherhood
  14. strengthens, tones and gives you better control of your pelvic floor muscles during labor
  15. improves your endurance, fitness level, and muscle control, for a faster, easier and less painful labor
  16. prevents or reduces the risk of labor complications
  17. reduces your chance of needing a C-section

Postpartum Benefits

  1. minimizes sretch marks
  2. minimizes postpartum blues or depression
  3. minimizes present or future urinary incontinence
  4. allows for faster recovery from pregnancy and labor
  5. reduces back strain from carrying and nursing your newborn
  6. increases energy and allows you to keep up with your baby
  7. gives you time for yourself
  8. improves your child’s health
  9. keeps your child calmer
  10. minimizes your child’s chance of having a weight problem
  11. improves your child’s neurological, mental and physical development

Still need convincing? Call me at 858-997-8286 or e-mail me at so that I may recount to you the many successes that we have seen  first hand in our Baby-Steps Fitness Program.

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Baby Steps Birth Announcement!

Congratulations to first-time parents Karly and Stephen Lobbin who welcomed their adorable daughter Caroline Elizabeth into the world on January 9th.  She was born at without complication, weighing in at a healthy 7lbs. 15oz.

We are proud of you Karly. All of your hard work has paid off. Everyone at the gym is looking forward to meeting little Ms. Caroline!

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Modish Maternity

All preggos take note: the absolute best place to shop for clothes to accomodate your ever expanding belly is Modish Maternity.

Modish Maternity is more than just a boutique that promises chic, affordable maternity wear.  Every time I have stopped by Modish Maternity they have provided incredibly helpful service that makes it easy for me to choose something that I know my wife will love.  The store is frequently praised by our Baby-Steps clients, and we feel fortunate to have them located just around the corner from our fitness studio.

Modish Maternity is owned and operated by Tammy, a mother of two small children, who  understands that being pregnant doesn’t mean you can’t still look great. After years of working in the Maternity Fashion industry she has successfully delivered an exciting boutique that makes you wish you were always pregnant.  Strike that.  Makes you want to continue shopping there even after you deliver your baby.  Get up and go check it out for yourself!

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Baby-Steps Birth Announcement!

Charlie Joe Mandelbaum- Born December 24 2010 at 6 lbs. 4 oz. and 20 inches long.

Big props to Sonia who was ultra-consistent with her prenatal workouts, had a great delivery and has resumed light postnatal workouts only 3-weeks following Charlie’s birth. Talk about bouncing back fast!

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Feed Your Fetus: Healthy Foods for Pregnancy

 Chicken-Berry Spinach Salad


  • 6 Strawberries (Halved)
  • 8 Blackberries
  • 10 Blueberries
  • 1/3 Sliced Red Onion
  • 5 Leaves Fresh Basil
  • 2 Cups Spinach Leaves
  • 2 tsp Sliced almonds
  • 1 [10oz.] Can White Chicken Breast (Drained)

Combine berries, basil, onions, and spinach and then toss with your favorite balsamic vinaigrette dressing. Top with almonds and  chicken breast. Yields 2 Servings.

Not only does the chicken breast and almonds in this recipe up your protein intake, but the berries provide crucial antioxidants and phytonutrients. In addition the spinach provides folic acid, iron, calcium, magnesium, vitamin A, vitamin K, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Vitamin B2, Vitamin E, Zinc and dietary fiber, all of which are essential to sustaining a healthy pregnancy.  Enloy this salad and have peace of mind in knowing that you are providing the absolute best building blocks for your baby’s development. Enjoy!

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Feed Your Fetus: Healthy Foods for Pregnancy

 Peppered Turkey Burgers

Choose any lean ground turkey from your local market and prepare to get creative. Turkey tends to be a bit bland on its own, so feel free to add a pinch of salt and pepper(or cilantro or chili-pepper for a little extra kick) to the patties before cooking. Once cooked add lettuce, tomatoes, avocado and a slice of cheddar cheese and serve on a toasted whole wheat bun. The turkey alone provides nearly 40% of your daily protein requirement and is a great source of iron, while the cheese adds crucial calcium to your diet. In addition, avocado is a great source of healthy monounsaturated fat and the tomatoes provide lycopene which acts as a powerful antioxidant. Last, but not least the whole wheat bun adds fiber that helps keeps you more regular. All of this adds up to a meal super charged with nutrition for your developing baby, and tastes amazing to boot. Eat up Mama! 

Serving Suggestion: If you are feeling bloated skip the salt and cheese, to cut back on your sodium intake.


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TIME Magazine Article

Imagine being able to reduce your child’s risk of cancer, diabetes and obesity before they are even born. Read this TIME Magazine article to find out how:                

  How the First Nine Months Shape the Rest of Your Life

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Pregnant Mother’s Diet Impacts Infant’s Sense of Smell, Alters Brain Development

Put down the Potato Chips and click the link below. Your baby will thank you later.
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