Exercise

Mamas on Bedrest: Care for your legs to prevent blood clots

May 23rd, 2014

Greetings Mamas!!

TGIF and Happy Memorial Day weekend! This weekend marks the official start of summer in many areas of the northerm hemisphere. As promised, below you will find resources for taking great care of your legs to prevent blood clots from forming while on bed rest. I am giving a HUGE shout out to Mama on Bedrest Sarah for posing the following question to me on our community Facebook Page:

“Any suggestions as alternatives for compression stockings? I can’t do anything that increases abdominal pressure but can’t afford the compression stockings. I do get up several times a day but only to get water and use the bathroom. But I’m still worried about dvt.”

This is a FANTASTIC question and one that all Mamas on Bedrest should be concerned about. Pregnancy in and of itself increases a woman’s risk of developing a blood clot in her legs due to elevated levels of estrogen which enhance blood clotting. (Same thing they worry about when women are on the pill!) Add in bed rest inactivity and Mamas on Bedrest are prime candidates for deep venous thrombosis (DVT) or blood clots to form in the legs and then travel to the heart, lungs or brain to do deadly damage.

Sarah was prescribed compression stockings and that is an excellent recommendation-except they are expensive. Compression stockings can cost anywhere from about $80 on up. They are typically only available by prescription. So what is Sarah and other Mamas like her to do?

1. Exercises. I produced an entire video blog showing how to do leg exercises on bed rest as well as how to massage the lower legs.

2. Massage. While rubbing your own legs is good, Oh much better it feels to have someone do it for you! If your partner is willing, have him/her gently massage your lower legs. (see vlog for details). If you have access to a prenatal massage therapist in your area, or a really good massage therapist who knows lymphatic drainage techniques, a professional massage would be even better!

3. Support hose. Now I can’t speak for other areas of the country, but it is heating up here in Texas and the thought of wearing compression stockings or even support hose is daunting. However, if they are lifesaving-what’s a bit of heat? Sarah mentioned that she could not afford the compression stockings. However, she could do the next best things and wear support hose. These do place a bit of a squeeze on the legs, but not nearly the amount of pressure Compression stockings do. Hence, they are cheaper. Good brands that I know of are Gold Toe and Jobst. I highly recommend ordering products from Special Addition Maternity and Nursing boutique here in Austin if you can’t find products in your locale. They have an entire online shop and you can actually call and they can help you get fitted OVER THE PHONE!!! They can tell you (or a friend or family member) how to measure your legs and then help you select products that will suit your needs and purse!

4. Drink plenty of water. Contrary to what you may be thinking, Staying hydrated will actually help reduce swelling. You body won’t feel like it needs water and hold onto water so tightly (i.e. swell). Also, lowering or avoiding salt altogether is also helpful.

5. Make sure your prenatal supplements are really working for you and your legs in particular. Leg cramps, restless legs and blood clots are all very common during pregnancy. When you have the proper balance of vitamins and minerals in your diet, you are less likely to experience these leg problems or you will experience them to a lesser degree. To avoid leg cramps, restless leg syndrome and blood clots, make sure you have plenty of the following nutrients in your diet:

Calcium. Calcium aids in muscle relaxation allowing certain molecules into your muscle tissue.

Magnesium. Like Calcium, magnesium also aids in muscle relaxation and works in concert with Calcium. Many vitamins will include both minerals either in a 2 to l ratio (Calcium to Magnesium) or will have the minerals present in equal amounts.

Vitamin D. Vitamin D aids in calcium absorption as well as decreases overall inflammation that may be occurring. While many prenatal vitamins contain vitamin D, few if any meet the newly suggested requirements of up to 4000IU recommended by the March of Dimes and the Institute of Medicine for pregnant women.

Fish Oils-Fish oils contain essential Omega 3 and Omega 6 Fatty Acids which help prevent blood clots. However, if you have any sort of clotting disorder or bleeding disorder, you may need to avoid this supplement. Check with your doctor to see if it is safe for you to take fish oils.

Was this information helpful to you? If so, let me know in the comments section below. Do you have other tips and solutions to leg problems during pregnancy? Submit those in the comments section below as well. If you have specific questions, feel free to e-mail me at info@mamasonbedrest.com. If you want to discuss more, you can schedule a Complimentary 30min Bedrest Breakthrough session. 

Be well Mamas and Happy Memorial Day (In the US!!)

Mamas on Bedrest: Relax Your Back!

January 22nd, 2014

Hi Mamas!

It’s video Wednesday! After receiving yet another e-mail asking about how to relieve back pain while on bed rest, I thought that it is time to do a review of how best to support your back while on bed rest. Be sure to check out our other helpful videos on our YouTube Channel, and if you have questions, suggestions or comments, please share them in the comments section below.

Mamas on Bedrest: 5 Tips for Holiday Eating While on Bedrest

December 9th, 2013

ks15442wMamas, The holidays are upon us and once Thanksgiving hits, its a veritable feeding frenzy until New Year’s and the annual resolution to lose weight and get into shape! I’d like to suggest that since you are on bedrest, you pace yourself. Unlike other years, you aren’t able to offset those holiday goodies with a brisk walk or a trip to the gym. And the added sugar and salt can have serious consequences on your body in the form of constipation and swelling. So go easy and remember these 5 tips for holiday eating while on bedrest.

1. Watch your salt intake. Salt is a staple in cooking and gives food flavor and texture. However, added salt can cause you to retain fluid leading to excessive swelling in your hands and feet which can be more pronounced if you are on bed rest. Added salt can also worsen pregnancy induced high blood pressure and pre-eclampsia. Watch salty snacks such as salted nuts and nuts. And if you are in my neck of the woods, the land of Honey Baked Hams, limit the amount you eat. It may taste good going down, but the added salt can have serious negative effects for you long term.

2. Maintain or even increase water intake. The above being said, be sure to stay hydrated and drink lots of water. While eating salty snacks and foods increases during the holidays, those of us in the colder climates are also running the heat. The air is drier and can cause dehydration. Remember, try to drink half your weight in ounces in water daily. The means if you are 14o lbs, try to drink 70 oz of water. The additional water will help dilute and flush out added salt, help reduce swelling, keep your kidneys happy and your skin from feeling so tight and dry.

3. Limit sugary treats. I say this tongue in cheek because my kids and I are about to embark on our annual cookie bake. We do share the cookies with folks as gifts, but a number are consumed by us! As I say to my children, have enough to have a taste and no more. I know this is hard. Who wants to watch a movie and eat only 1 or 2 cookies? But look on the bright side, you’ll have more to eat in the coming days and less to lose when bed rest is over (and it really does end, I promise!!).

4. Increase your fiber intake. And this doesn’t mean extra servings of peacan pie! One thing you may have noticed being pregnant is that your bowels slow down. This is so that your intestines can draw out the maximum amount of nutrients from your food to give to your baby. For you, this often results in constipation and bed rest does nothing to help this. With the added sweets and yummies during the holidays, try adding some fiber to your diet in the form of nuts and grains. There are some wonderful holiday trail mixes and nut mixes available and they make wonderful gifts at are easily ordered and shipped online.

5. Move. Whaaaaaat???? “But I’m on Bedrest!” You still need to move and its even more critical because you are on bed rest. Each hour you should do a full body stretch series to keep your muscles activated and toned, and to stimulate your circulation. If you don’t know what exercises to do, there is a complete series in our Bedrest Success Kit. You can access them when you join our mailing list. Also, there are several videos of modified exercises for Mamas on Bedrest on the Mamas on Bedrest YouTube Channel. Bedrest Fitness is also available and you can obtain a copy by sending an e-mail to info@mamasonbedrest.com or on Amazon.com. Every hour move your body.  Movement is one of your best allies. Be sure to use it during the holidays!

Bedrest adds a complicated twist to the holiday. Just be sure your eating doesn’t complicate your bed rest. Happy Holidays!!