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Exercise advice for new moms

Features reporter Andrea Weigl, who is on maternity leave, writes:

At my six-week checkup, my doctor cleared me to start exercising again. Typically, moms who have had a vaginal birth get cleared at the six-week mark, while moms who had c-sections may have to wait another two weeks.

I sought advice from a few local experts about what new moms can do during their six-week waiting period and how they should ease back into exercise after they get their doctors’ approval. Our experts are Carol Figuers, a professor and physical therapist at Duke University School of Medicine; Marybeth Winstead, owner of Healthy Moms of the Triangle; Jennifer Kedrowski, owner of Stroller Striders in Raleigh; and Jo Balcome, a postnatal exercise instructor at Rex Wellness Centers. I also compiled a list of resources for postpartum exercise classes across the Triangle, which appears at the bottom of this blog post.

Weight control for nursing moms

Reporter Andrea Weigl, who is on maternity leave following the birth of a daughter, writes:

Soon after I returned from the hospital with my daughter, I reached out to local experts for advice on what new moms should be eating to stay healthy but also to eventually lose their pregnancy weight. I also asked if there was any special advice for breastfeeding moms.

Universally, the experts said new moms should not restrict what their eating for the first four to eight weeks after childbirth.

Where the baby weight goes

Reporter Andrea Weigl, who is on maternity leave following the birth of a daughter, writes:

Let me first say: Every woman’s body is different. Every woman’s childbirth is different. Every woman’s postpartum weight loss experience is different. I am chronicling my own experience here but am making no claims that my experience is typical or unusual. I really have no clue what to expect since this is my first child. I have been warned by many friends that it took nine months to put the weight on and will take nine months to take it off. That is my expectation. I also expect it will at least take that long to get back into shape since my exercise routine really stalled as my pregnancy progressed. 

A new baby and a new outlook on food

Features reporter Andrea Weigl writes: My husband and I welcomed are celebrating the birth of our baby this morning, a beautiful 7-pound, 11-ounce daughter. I promised to chronicle my efforts to lose my pregnancy weight on the "Turning the Scales" blog. I figured writing about my weight loss efforts would encourage me to lose the weight as quickly as possible.

Migraines during pregnancy may increase risk of stroke

Women who suffer from migraines during pregnancy are 15 times more likely to have a stroke than women who do not have the condition, researchers at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, Duke University and UNC-Chapel Hill report today.

In addition to an increased risk of stroke, pregnant women who have migraines are two times more likely to have heart disease and more than three times more likely to have blood clots and other vascular problems during pregnancy.

The study appears in this months' issue of the British Medical Journal.

"Women with persistent and severe migraine during pregnancy should be aware of their risk factors, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, history of blood clots, heart disease and prior stroke,” Dr. Cheryl Bushnell, a neurologist at Wake Forest Baptist and lead investigator of the study said in a prepared statement. “There also seems to be a relationship between migraines and preeclampsia, one of the most common and dangerous complications of pregnancy.”

The study also found that women who were 35 or older when they delivered were more likely to have migraines during pregnancy.

"While some women experience relief from migraine headaches while pregnant, others have migraines that are more frequent and severe,” Bushnell said. “The reasons these severe migraines are associated with stroke and vascular disease is not clear but it may be that some women do not compensate as well for the increased vascular stresses of pregnancy, such as increased blood volume, stroke volume and heart rate. Regardless of the cause, active migraine during pregnancy should be viewed as a potential marker of vascular disease.”


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