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6 Steps to Pregnancy Glow

Dear Friends & Readers,

The Summer of 2013 has been very busy and we’re not just talking about a much deserved/much needed facelift for this website. Family News Flash: the Pirate and I are having a little girl! I could have told you in many different ways from taking a picture of a bun in the oven (like my friend Aarti did – cutest idea) to screaming it from the top of my office rooftop as soon as I peed on a stick (apparently in some Countries they still do that). But I opted for a different approach: sharing my experience and the quest for the elusive “pregnancy glow”, the Holy Grail look that makes, morning sickness, stretch marks and finally a screaming infant, totally worth it! I confess, I was a little clueless at the beginning of my pregnancy, but fortunately I have great friends who provided useful advice and made my quest for the “pregnancy glow” a whole lot easier.

1) Get all the Vitamins you Need

A glowing body is a well-nourished body, so take your vitamins mama! I confess I have been taking prenatal vitamins for a long time. Some of you may remember that last year I decided to cut my hair in a shoulder length bob. Bad idea. My friend Holly mentioned that prenatal vitamins make your hair and nails grow much faster. So I went to Whole Foods and asked for a recommendation. It turns out that prenatal vitamins often make moms-to-be nauseous. As if they need any help with that! Nature already provides some interesting moment of self awareness: the sense of smell is heightened and pretty much anything can make us sick…. So I looked for prenatal vitamins that could be taken on an empty stomach (for the days I rush to work without thinking of having breakfast) and I tried New Chapter Prenatal Perfect. No stomach problems, no nausea and most importantly my hair did grow back faster (and no chipped nails). I liked these vitamins so much I kept taking them ever since last year and will do so until the baby shows up.

2) Don’t Stuff Your Face

You know when they tell you that you need to eat for two? That’s not only incorrect but it can be dangerous for you and the baby. Sister, there is a pretty large gray area between stuffing your face and starving: pregnancy is not a good moment to go on a diet, but it’s the best moment to start thinking about what you put in your mouth. Let’s be honest: we are what we eat, do you really want your child to be made of fried chicken? I don’t! It’s not just the concept of gaining too much weight (because you don’t want to gain too little either) that is scary, it is the potential collateral damage to your and your baby’s health. Your body is busy making another human being and you need to get as much whole unprocessed food as you can. But genetics give to the baby first and then to you. You want to preserve the glow by eating healthy so your baby gets the best but you do too! If you have just eaten, stay away from the donuts and muffins in the office, stay away from the chocolate stash in your desk drawer…. Drink some water, stay hydrated and then decide if you still want to eat. Water, that’s the biggest ally for the pregnancy glow!

3) Reduce Nausea & Upset Belly

Morning sickness makes you green and that is the exact opposite of the pregnancy glow. There are many ways of fighting it, some include medication, others eating certain types of food. But I was wondering if there were alternative remedies that didn’t involve a trip to the drugstore or the grocery store. So I went to my vegan resource, a friend who is VERY vegan…. as in, if it ain’t vegan she ain’t touching it. She always gives me good advice from vegan recipes to vegan remedies. So far I have been really lucky with very limited problems and symptoms, but I had to ask her a remedy to reduce nausea and upset belly, you know… just in case it happens to me too. She recommended Ginger tea or supplements and Peppermint Tea or supplements. So far I haven’t used them but I am carrying the pills in my bag, you know…. just in case!

4) Protect Your Face

Little known fact, pregnant women with raging hormones are more prone to sunburn and sun damage. When my friend Isabel was pregnant and visiting from Brazil we went to a drug store and she bought enough SPF to choke a horse. For a person who is exposed to the sun every day of the year, it was a lot! So I asked and she told me that her Brazilian Dermatologist told her to protect her skin even more than before. So, the day after I found out, I started slathering on my face a huge amount of SPF. Considering that I am already overly protective of my skin you would imagine it’s overkill, well, I don’t want to take any chance as I am planning on keeping my skin sin damage free for as long as possible. My current favorite SPFs are V-Beaute’ Day JobClarins UV PlusLa Roche Posay Anthelios 60, just to name a few. For a sneak peek at my pregnancy beauty regimen, click here.

5) Stay in Good Shape

Working out always gives people that healthy glow, but what about pregnancy? Well, if you’ve never worked out before your pregnancy, this is not the right moment to start; if you are like me, an “early rising gym rat” (because seriously people, I have the appetite of a trucker, I would be 3 times larger if I didn’t lead a very active lifestyle), you will probably be wondering what type of work out will allow you and your baby to be happy and healthy throughout the pregnancy. I have an answer for you: the Tracy Anderson Pregnancy Project. If it’s good enough for the Gwyneth Paltrows and Victoria Beckhams of the world, it’s good enough for me! I never tried the Tracy Anderson Method before but I knew it was based on light weights, mat work and elongating movements focusing on the small muscles. What I like about the TAPP is that there are 9 disks, one for each month of pregnancy and the Tracy you see in the workout videos was actually pregnant. Every month you get a different routine aimed at preserving your shape as you grow. So far I have really enjoyed the workouts: Tracy may be an otherwise demanding personal trainer, but during her pregnancy workouts she constantly reminds the viewer to do what feels good and not push themselves too much. But you all want to know: does it work? Well, let’s say that at 16 weeks people can barely notice that I am pregnant. Yes I have a bump but thanks to TAPP I haven’t lost my shape (yet). Of course that may be due to my incredibly good genes and even better doctors! No more kettlebells for me, I think I will be hooked on the Tracy Anderson Method even after my pregnancy.

6) Fight Stretch Marks

Stretch marks are to be expected during and after a pregnancy, but you want to make sure that these badges of honor are reduced to a minimum and you keep toned glowing skin all over your body! I was a little concerned in the beginning because I have stretch marks from when I was a fat kid (shudders) and they aren’t pretty. Some of them may have mellowed in the past 20 years but I don’t look forward to having many more than I already have. But the growing bump and hormonal imbalances cause the skin to dry and stretch.  Help came in the form of my friend Lidsay, who is also a contributor to this website who has THE SOFTEST SKIN. I seriously thought it because of her good Canadian genes, but she told me it’s cocoa butter! She has been using it during her pregnancy and gave her the softest skin while preventing stretch marks. There is only one problem… my husband, the Pirate, can’t stand the smell of cocoa butter. When I put it on, he says I smell like a “rotten candy bar” (thanks, dude, that’s so sweet). So I did some due diligence and found 3 options Mamma Mio Tummy Rub, Basq Advanced Stretch Mark Body Butter and Mustela Stretch Marks Survival (Bust and Belly).  I confess I bought all of them and I am using them on rotation. They are all very moisturizing but sink right into the skin. And when you have little time to get ready in the morning, you really need a balm that allows you to put your clothes on right away!

Ciao!

[Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, my friends who provided advice for this post never went to Med School either. Before you take any supplement or engage into any physical activity while pregnant, please consult your doctor.]