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Pregnancy – Calcium

Calcium is an essential mineral for a human body, we all know that. It is THE bone builder mineral. It also is an essential nutrient and plays a vital role in nerve and muscle function. However its absorption in the body is insufficient (only 30-40% of Calcium is absorbed in the intestines), plus losses are rather high. That is why the recommended daily intake is high to ensure that body gets sufficient Calcium.

Calcium needs Vitamin D for maximum absorption. One of the reasons Calcium supplements are fortified with Vitamin D. On the other hand Iron and Zinc hinder the absorption of Calcium. And coffee, soft drinks (!) and excessive intake of protein and sodium can deplete calcium levels (as their act as diuretics).

Pregnant and lactating women need more Calcium as the recommended daily allowance as we pass this essential mineral to our babies (growing skeleton, bones, nervous system…..). Before pregnancy I didn’t consumed that many dairy products and supplemented with Calcium supplements (after suffering stress fracture in my hip beginning of 2013). At the start of the pregnancy I was careful what I was putting into my mouth and eliminated pretty much all supplements (apart from folic acid). I tried to get all the nutrients from the food. Which didn’t quite worked out. See my blog Pregnancy Cravings.

But there is something else Calcium plays an important role in. Going through my nutrients book last night I came across this interesting fact. Calcium is a calming mineral and promotes sleep. How interesting!? Pregnancy does rob you from a decent sleep, no matter what stage of pregnancy you are. But especially at the end when you are too huge to move, too many trips to the toilet, worry about things, the list is endless. You are so tired that you don’t even know what a good night sleep is anymore. I know I know it will get worst once baby is here.

Anyway back to Calcium……

When I discovered the reason for my cravings for bread and butter (Calcium deficiency), I started to take Calcium supplements again. I usually take it just before I go to bed as I eat high protein diet during the day. However in the last 3 months my dairy consumption has been increase (cravings!). I do eat a fairly large amount of yogurts, cheese and butter on a daily basis. So I only started taken Calcium Supplements every other day. (things starting to fall into places…..)
Thinking back about the same time, 3 months, where I started having very, very bad night sleeps. Some night I get 3-4 hours of decent sleep, some nights none. I just couldn’t figure out why? I didn’t see the connection.
Last night I started the experiment, does Calcium really promotes a good night sleep? Not sure, but I will see how it goes over the next few nights. Might not be as true as I would wish for, as I am only few days away from due date. But it is worth trying.

Plus it makes perfect sense to me, why it is recommended to drink a glass of warm milk (with a cookie) before bed! Genius…..

Our main sources of Calcium are dairy products such as milk, cheese, yogurt. But there are great alternatives such as green leafy vegetables (spinach, kale) or sardines. Check out this article: Dairy-Free Sources of Calcium.

Irina

 

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Posted by on 15 April, 2014 in Health & Wellbeing, Pregnancy

 

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Pregnancy – Foam Roller

Being a runner Foam Roller has became my best friend. Anyone who is using it knows the benefits of foam roller and how amazing it feels and of course painful at the same time. Hence the motto: No Pain, No Gain!

The benefits of using foam roller are endless. Not only is it a cheaper way to get a “deep tissue massage” which is available at any time, it also has following benefits:

– Range of motion
– Balance
– Core stability
– Body Awareness – you are more aware when something doesn’t feel quite right!
– Range of motion
– Flexibility
– Coordination
– Focus
– Body relaxation – one of the main reasons I continue to use foam roller during my pregnancy.

I continue to use foam roller during my pregnancy. Even at this late stage of pregnancy (39 weeks today though with more care due to Relaxin Hormone). It really helps me with sore muscles especially legs. I think that is why I don’t suffer that much from cramps in the legs, calves and water retention.

I use foam roller either first things in the morning (warm from bed and after little warm up session), after a bath or shower, or of course after training.

Following Foam Roller Massages I use (or did) during my pregnancy:

Upper Back Massage
Great for posture and relieving upper back muscles tension (you know growing breasts pulling you down and ruin your posture!). Also opens your chest, which means more oxygen supply. I did stop doing this massage after 6 months into pregnancy. Bigger bump meant I was too heavy and it didn’t feel good or safe for me to continue.

Hamstring Massage
Does what is says. Continue doing until this late stage of pregnancy. Promotes blood flow and relieving muscles tension.

Calf Massage
One I really recommend and love doing. With continuously weight gain calves do get a battering. Continue doing at this late stage of pregnancy.

Inner Thigh Massage
Only did this massage type until 5 months pregnant. Became too uncomfortable for me to continue due to growing bump. Just didn’t feel right or safe.

Quad Massage
Great for tight muscles. Also promotes blood flow and helps with water retention. Though do with care, growing bump (nearly touching the floor!). Only do it if you feel really safe. I only do it if I am not too tired and have the confidence that my arms with support my weight.

IT band Massage
Relieving tension in the upper thigh. I stopped doing this massage after 6 months. Became too heavy and didn’t want to put more pressure on my hip/pelvis.

Gluteal Massage
Improves blood circulation to the legs, helps with water retention and of course releases tight gluteal muscles (and I find it forms nice bum :)). I continue to do it. I sometime also use the blue ball (see picture below).

Roller Squat
It does have several benefits. First squatting, you can go really deep down which improves your leg strength (important to carry all the extra weight during pregnancy). Second gentle back massage, depending how deep you go from the upper to lower back. I also found it help me with the posture and opening my chest for better breathing.

You can find loads of videos on YouTube on how to perform each foam roller massage. Important is that your muscles are warm, you feel confident and have the strength to hold your own weight (which can be tricky with ever so growing bump and weight gain).

Also see our blog Self Massage for Runners

Friends for Life!

 

Foam Roller

Happy Foam Rolling! Be safe, be healthy!

Irina

P.S. I prefer the orange foam roller. It gets really deep into the muscles.

 
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Posted by on 14 April, 2014 in Health & Wellbeing, Kit, Pregnancy

 

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Signing back in

We both have been very quiet the last few months. Not intentionally but sometimes things don’t quite go to plan. But that one is a very pleasant surprise.

Last August we’ve found out that we were pregnant! Wow! We talked a lot about family planning and trying for some time but it just didn’t want to happen. I was training like mad for my series of Half Marathons in July, September and October. Plus taking up an acting up role, I was stressed out. So I put it all down to rigorous training, high demanding job and a very, very  hot summer. I ignored all the signals, completed Frome Half Marathon at the very early stage of my pregnancy in extremely hot conditions (well extremely hot for UK I would say). I took my PB that day. Felt great! Couldn’t’ wait for next one. Plus I became hungry for full Marathon. And then BOOM!

It took 3 pregnancy tests to convince me that I was pregnant! Plus first visit to midwife and couple more weeks after that. Probably when we had our first scan it hit me hard. Seeing teeny tiny human shape inside you and the heartbeat, growing, breathing moving, was very emotional and amazing moment for both of us!

Now we are 2 weeks until due date. Our emotions are mixed. Super excited, terrified, happy and absolutely cannot wait to meet our little one.

Over the next few weeks (too ambitious of me?!) I will capture and share with you my pregnancy journey. How things went? My training schedule, nutrition, emotional roller-coaster and realisation that that we will be a family! I will be a mum! All I can say now is that my priorities have changed, my mind adapted, I gained pretty healthy weight and I CANNOT wait to be able to sleep on my back and lie on my stomach again!

Happy reading!

Irina

Happy, Healthy and Huge!

photo

 
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Posted by on 5 April, 2014 in Health & Wellbeing

 

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