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Natural Awakenings Northwest Florida

Diary of a Fit Pregnancy

Jul 31, 2013 09:38PM ● By Martin Miron

Heather Blatz, fitness director at Gold’s Gym in Fort Walton Beach, is a proud mother of three. On her journey, she discovered which healthy living practices helped her with the experiences. She is happy to share lessons from her most recent birth with the community, saying, “I only gained 20 pounds, and am happy to say I love the way I look and feel. I have tons of followers on Facebook and Instagram and am always open to reaching more people.”
 
How did the three births compare?
As I approached the last week of my third pregnancy, I began to reflect upon my first two and relate all three experiences. I was active prior to the birth of my first child, but for some reason took the lazy route during pregnancy. This resulted in a tiring, 22-hour labor that wore me out physically and mentally. I was 23 years old and not a happy camper. I gained 45 pounds and went from a size three to a size 12.
 
In the second pregnancy, I maintained a healthy exercise program due to my career change and becoming a physical trainer. What I did not do was focus on eating. The exercise kept my pregnancy gain to 30 pounds and my labor was a total of five hours at the hospital. This was definitely a better experience, and I was determined to make the third pregnancy even easier.
 
What did you do differently?
The day John and I found out I was pregnant with baby girl number three, I decided to take 100 percent action on eating well, monitoring my activity and maintaining a healthy body. This definitely includes a good exercise program. Mine consisted of a few weight training days per week, depending on how my body was feeling, as well as four or five days per week of cardio and “Flow” at Gold’s Gym.
 
The benefit of my exercise program was that the cardio not only helped me stay active and moving, but it helped me digest my food more easily, as well as give me energy on “tired days” and minimize the nausea I felt continuously. I felt better on the elliptical trainers and arc trainers than I did when I just walked on a treadmill, because those machines took a lot of impact pressure off my joints and bladder.
 
Which kinds of exercise did you find most helpful?
Weight training helped me stay strong and stabilize my body. Anytime you weight-train, your core is engaged, and keeping my core tight minimized the pressure on my spine as my belly grew. The Gold’s Gym Flow class is a combination of yoga, Pilates and t’ai chi. It has kept me flexible and reduced tons of pain from the tightness any pregnant woman feels as they progress month-by-month.
 
How about diet?
I believed that nutrition was key this time around. Cravings can be monitored and we can be smart about them. I designed a new eating plan every trimester. This included eating five or six healthy meals, including fruits and vegetables, lean protein and healthy fats—tons of healthy fats. I shared my nutrition on my Facebook almost weekly. I also decided to not let my pregnancy posture and the aches and pains of pelvic pressure and spinal alignment take over my body.
 
How can expectant mothers gain an advantage right from the start?
I believe that finding a good obstetrician is of great importance. When I was pregnant with number two, I searched for an OB that would take into consideration that I exercise regularly and was able to advise me on any of my exercise and calorie questions. I may be an expert on exercise and nutrition, but pregnancy has not been part of my professional studies! Continuing professional guidance will not only ensure a great and healthy pregnancy experience, but a safe and confident pregnancy, as well.
 
For appointments, call Blatz at 850-863-3222.
 
Martin Miron is the editor of Natural Awakenings.
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