Aspen Birth Center Blog

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The magnificent seven....prenatal exercises

November 24, 2014
"Is it safe to exercise while pregnant?"
This is one of the most commonly asked questions I hear among active, healthy pregnant women, especially those living in the outdoor culture of the Aspen and Roaring Fork Valleys. For the most part, the answer is "yes" and it is actually recommended to do so.  There are instances and medical reasons that may make it dangerous, and you should always check with your Obstetrician before starting any type of exercise program during your pregnancy. Some examples of medical conditions may include: asthma, heart disease, or diabetes. Exercise may also be harmful if you have a pregnancy-related condition such as: Bleeding or spotting, low-lying placenta, threatened or recurrent miscarriage, weak cervix, previous premature births or history of early labor. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology ACOG recommends 30 minutes or more of moderate exercise per day on most if not all days of the week, unless you have a medical or pregnancy complication. If you were physically active before your pregnancy, you should be able to continue your activity in moderation. Don't try to exercise at your former level; instead, do what's most comfortable for you now. Low impact aerobics are encouraged versus high impact. The pregnant competitive athlete should be closely followed by an obstetrician.

According to ACOG-Guidelines for exercise during pregnancy below:
Benefits of exercise may include:

  • Helps reduce backaches, constipation, bloating, and swelling
  • May help prevent or treat gestational diabetes
  • Increases your energy
  • Improves your mood
  • Improves your posture
  • Promotes muscle tone, strength, and endurance
  • Helps you sleep better

What forms of exercise are safe during pregnancy?
Walking is a good exercise for anyone. Swimming is great for your body because it works so many muscles. Cycling provides a good aerobic workout. Aerobics is a good way to keep your heart and lungs strong. If you were a runner before you became pregnant, you often can keep running during pregnancy, although you may have to modify your routine.

What sports should be avoided?
In general, activities in which there is a high risk of falling, such as gymnastics, water skiing, and horseback riding, should be avoided. Some racquet sports also increase the risk of falling because of your changing balance. Other sports to avoid include the following: Downhill snow skiing—Your change in balance may put you at greater risk of injuries and falls. Also, you may be at risk of altitude sickness. Contact sports, such as hockey, basketball, and soccer—These sports can result in harm to you and your baby. Scuba diving—Scuba diving can put your baby at risk of decompression sickness, a serious illness that results from changes in the pressure surrounding the body.

Stop exercising and call your health care provider if you have any of these symptoms: Vaginal bleeding, dizziness or feeling faint, increased shortness of breath, chest pain, headache, muscle weakness, calf pain or swelling, uterine contractions, decreased fetal movement, or fluid leaking from the vagina.

"NO time..." or "Not an athlete", you say? Good news! The following exercises are likely safe for everyone and simple to incorporate into your busy lives!

"The Magnificent Seven" examples taken from a variety of helpful websites..Enjoy!  Heather Knott, RN-IBCLC                                                                
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The stuff that makes us human...

November 18, 2014
The human infant is a helpless creature at birth. He is immobile, he cannot follow his mother like a Giraffe, and his mother does not leave him in a nest for extended periods, while she hunts for food. Unlike some other primates, he cannot even hold on to or cling to his mother. He must be carried if he is to go from one place to another. He requires years of development before he can care for himself. A baby's helplessness and immature development requires care. Nature has provided the perefect sources to match his need – the human mother and father.  There are a multitude of retail products out there that allow you to safely wear your baby, and are a wonderful way to fulfill and nurture this need.

Why is it we feel compelled to expect our human infants to have capabilities that other mammals have, but we are lacking?  

Dr N. Blurton Jones studied the question of whether humans evolved as, or are by nature, one of the species of mammals that cach(i.e. hides) the infants in a safe place, returning periodically to feed them, or whether they are one of the carrying species like monkeys and apes, in which the mothers carry their infants wherever they go and feed them frequently. He compared humans with members of caching species of mammals on the one hand, and with higher primates,which are carrying species on the other. He concluded from a number of anatomical, behavioral and physiological comparisons, including the composition of the milk, that humans are indeed pre-adapted to be a carrying species. Such species breastfeed their young frequently. (Blurton Jones 1972). 

 "Babies are perceived from the moment of birth as separate individuals. As with all mammals, human gestation does not really end with birth. The nurturing process after birth, although it is genetically and biologically continuous with the process before birth, is unfortunately not automatic. In humans, the mother can choose, and be influenced by others within her culture, to discontinue being a part of this process. Have you evr considered that the care of infants and children became a cultural process, greatly influenced by the socioeconomic organization of a society. Sometimes, I feel like babies are not cared for in ways that fit them, but in ways that fit their society.  Babies need tenderness. They do not grow well without it. It is the stuff that makes us human." - The Human Baby, James Kimmel, Ph.D.

Heather Knott, RN-IBCLC
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Get your Influenza vaccine!

November 7, 2014
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), most people who get the flu will have mild illness, will not need medical care or antiviral drugs, and will recover in less than two weeks. Some people, however, are more likely to get flu complications that result in being hospitalized and occasionally result in death. Pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus infections and ear infections are examples of flu-related complications. The flu also can make chronic health problems worse. For example, people with asthma may experience asthma attacks while they have the flu, and people with chronic congestive heart failure may experience a worsening of this condition that is triggered by the flu. The list below includes the groups of people more likely to get flu-related complications if they get sick from influenza.

People at High Risk for Developing Flu-Related Complications:
  • Children younger than 5, but especially children younger than 2 years old (
  • Adults 65 years of age and older (
  • Pregnant women (

Even though Ebola has been the highlight of recent news articles, the "real scare" of  flu and cold season is among us.  According to doctors, and a recent story on ABC news, with the recent data about Ebola, it is even more important to get your flu vaccine now!  Chances are about a thousand times higher that you will get a common bug or a virus, than you will Ebola, so please consider protecting yourself now. Local emergency rooms will be flooded with sick patients, worried about the symptoms they are having. Fewer flu cases could mean fewer Ebola "false alarms".

So your pregnant, you say? Congratulations!  According to the CDC, pregnant women do need influenza vaccine, and it should be the injectable version, and not the live attenuated 'Flu-mist". Please read the fact sheet from the CDC and the  infographic sheet if you have questions about the safety of flu vaccine during pregnancy. 

If you are a breastfeeding mother, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynocologists (ACOG) strongly recommends breastfeeding mothers receive the 'Flu-mist"or the injection, whichever is appropriate.  Heather Knott, RN-IBCLC
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