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UTIs in Pregnancy & Postpartum

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are unfortunately very common during pregnancy and postpartum. Your urinary tract includes your urethra, kidneys, and bladder. Pregnancy causes changes to the urethra, hormones, pressure on the bladder, prolapse, a weak pelvic floor, and a harder time staying clean, these are all factors that can cause infection. Pregnancy is also a state of immunocompromise, meaning you have a lowered ability to fight infections and diseases.

It’s rare that a UTI will cause problems with your pregnancy and usually, they are easy to treat. But when you’re pregnant or have a newborn, it’s the last thing you want to think about.

How Do you get a UTI?


These infections happen when outside bacteria get into the urethra or develop in the urinary tract. Symptoms of a UTI can include,

  • Persistent urge to urinate
  • A burning or painful sensation while using the bathroom
  • Only peeing in small amounts
  • Cloudy, red, pink, or brown colored urine
  • Bad smelling urine
  • Pelvic pain or pressure
  • Pain during sex
  • Incontinence
  • Chills, fever, nausea, vomiting

Obesity, diabetes, a weak pelvic floor, organ prolapse, age, disabilities, and injuries can also all make UTIs more common.

How to Avoid UTIs 


  • Drink enough fluids
  • Adopt a healthy diet
  • Go to the bathroom regularly
  • Wipe from front to back
  • Use a mild soap
  • Pee and rinse off after sex
  • Wear clean, breathable underwear
  • Don’t wear clothing that is too tight
  • Avoid long or soapy baths

UTIs while Pregnant or Breastfeeding 


Talk with your doctor about your UTI. UTIs are common and safe to have while pregnant and breastfeeding (not that you want them!). The important thing is making sure they don’t spread into something more serious.

Kidney infections (pyelonephritis) can happen when your UTI is not taken care of or because your urine is not being properly drained from the kidney to the bladder due to pressure from pregnancy and hormones. Pyelonephritis can cause an infection of your blood (sepsis), respiratory problems, and preterm labor if untreated.

Your doctor will prescribe antibiotics that are safe for pregnancy and breastfeeding. Make sure you take all of the doses, even if you start to feel better. Learn the signs of a UTI and do what you can to prevent them!

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Fecal Transmission of COVID-19

Fecal Transmission of COVID-19


The outbreak of COVID-19 has everyone covering their faces, washing their hands and practicing social distancing. Those that are pregnant are even more cautious. This is wise because pregnancy weakens the immune system making you more vulnerable to sickness. One of the most concerning parts of our situation is that so little is known about the virus. This makes every precaution worth while, especially when it comes to the health of your baby.

The World Health Organization states that COVID-19 is transmitted through respiratory droplets containing the virus or the virus being suspended in the air. This is why staying away from people, facemasks and sanitising are so important. But exposure to COVID-19 isn’t limited to the routes everyone is talking about.

COVID-19 – Not Just Respiratory


Some patient results listed in Nature Reviews Gastroenterology & Hepatology found that

those that are no longer testing positive for Coronavirus in their respiratory system are consistently still testing positive in rectal swabs. 

A study in the American Journal of Gastroenterology found that 99/204 patients stated digestive problems as their main issue (diarrhea, vomiting, nausea) resulting from their COVID-19 infection. There have even been patients that did not exhibit signs of respiratory problems that have tested positive in their rectal swab. Not all patients experience the discomfort in their stomachs either. Unfortunately that means even if you aren’t having trouble breathing or having stomach issues, you could still have the virus.

Researchers say that the virus could stay around longer in the digestive system than in the respiratory system. The City University’s Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering published that toilets can spread left behind bacteria far into the air and the surrounding objects through droplets from flushing. 

How COVID-19 reacts with the gastrointestinal tract and is spread through fecal matter and even in water are still some of the unknowns.

Pregnancy and Stomach Problems


The issues a normal person might face if they contract the virus are horrible. If you are pregnant, the worry of course increases. Gastrointestinal issues and pregnancy are of concern when it comes to pregnancy. A study published in the Open Forum for Infectious Diseases found that in a sample of 527 pregnant women experiencing diarrhea, a small gestational age was increased by approximately 20%.

Dehydration from diarrhea can lead to serious health complications and even be fatal for both mother and baby. Dehydration can affect how nutrients are carried throughout the body and negatively impact breast milk production. Dehydration can also lead to low levels of amniotic fluid. Amniotic fluid is essential to your baby’s development and can increase the chance for preterm labor. 

The Bottom Line


Nobody knows all of the facts about COVID-19. The new research being done on the virus and fecal matter illustrates that taking more safety measures is better right now. In addition to your respiratory defenses you should also be taking care in the bathroom.

  • Don’t use public restrooms

  • Wash your hands thoroughly after the bathroom

  • Put your toilet seat down when flushing

  • Clean and disinfect your bathroom and toilet often

  • Don’t hug the toilet if you’re experiencing morning sickness






CDC Recommendations/Higher risk of respiratory infections:⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣

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A Rainbow After Loss

Rainbows remind us that there is hope and beauty after a storm. It is no wonder why the term rainbow baby is used for babies born after a miscarriage, stillbirth or infant loss. It is fitting that meteorologist Dylan Dreyer publicly announce that her recent pregnancy is going to give her a lovely rainbow baby!

The pain and grief that comes with her loss took another emotional toll when she had to hide it. Dylan reveals, “I’m devastated, and I have to go to work on the ‘Today’ show and be happy and smiling and pretend like nothing’s wrong.”

Researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University and Montefiore Health System, found that feelings of guilt and shame are prevalent with men and women that have experienced this type of loss. Out of 1,000 US adults surveyed, 47% reported feeling guilty, 41% felt they had done something wrong, 41% reported feeling alone and 28% reported feeling ashamed. Only 45% felt they had received enough emotional support from the medical community.

We applaud Dylan for acknowledging this devastating event and speaking to the fact that everyone’s situation and feelings are valid and can coexist. She says, “My sadness doesn’t take away from anyone else’s happiness and my sadness isn’t minimized because someone else has a sadder situation.”

28% of those surveyed that had suffered a miscarriage said that celebrities’ speaking about their loss had lessened their feelings of isolation, 46% said they weren’t as lonely when friends told them about their own miscarriages.

“…miscarriage is very common but rarely discussed, many women and couples feel very isolated and alone after suffering a miscarriage. We need to better educate people about miscarriage, which could help reduce the shame and stigma associated with it,” said Dr. Williams. “We want people who experience miscarriage to know that they’re not alone—that miscarriages are all too common and that tests are available to help them learn what caused their miscarriage and hopefully to help them in subsequent pregnancies.”

A storm leaves droplets of water that act like tiny prisms to reflect pieces of light into something magnificent. Your unique story of pain is like those millions of raindrops that can refract a brilliant light in the world – no matter if you are creating your own rainbow or easing the effects of the storm for someone else.

For resources and support please visit, 

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Sleep Tips for Pregnancy

Sleep Tips For Pregnancy Image

Pregnancy is the beginning of exciting changes in your life and body. Unfortunately, each trimester comes with unique sleep challenges that you’ll need to address. We’ve laid out some sleep tips that are helpful during pregnancy and after along with a break down of the sleep challenges you’ll face in each trimester.

Sleep Tips for Anytime

Sleep Environment

A sleep-supportive bedroom should be dark and quiet. You might need blackout curtains or a white noise machine to reduce outside distractions. Pregnancy can also cause you to feel too hot so try to keep the temperature between 60 to 68 degrees.

Bedtime and Bedtime Routine

The human body loves consistency so try to keep a regular bedtime and create a relaxing bedtime routine for yourself. Meditation, gentle yoga, and a warm bath are a few ideas you might want to consider.

Turn Off Screens

Electronic screens emit a bright light that suppresses sleep hormones. Turn them off two to three hours before bed to stay on track for your bedtime.

Sleep Challenges by Trimester

First Trimester

Once you get pregnant, your progesterone levels skyrocket causing daytime sleepiness. Though the fetus is still small at this point, nighttime bathroom visits start because implantation puts extra pressure on the bladder. Additionally, you may experience pelvic pain and tender breasts that make it hard to get comfortable at night.
First Trimester Sleep Tips
  • Nap: A short 15 to 30-minute nap won’t interfere with your sleep at night and can counteract the fatiguing effects of progesterone.
  • Limit Your Afternoon Fluid Intake: Stop drinking fluids about four hours before bed to prevent nighttime disruptions. However, make sure you stay well hydrated the rest of the day.
  • Address Morning Sickness: Morning sickness can strike any time, including bedtime. An empty stomach can aggravate symptoms so keep some crackers or pretzels on hand

Second Trimester

In general, the second trimester is when you’ll have the easiest time sleeping because fatigue and morning sickness subside. You now enter the world of heartburn and leg cramps.

Second Trimester Sleep Tips
  • Avoid Acidic and Spicy Foods: Acidic foods like lemons and tomatoes are common culprits of heartburn, but spicy foods can be triggers too. Watch your chocolate, caffeine, and carbonated beverage consumption as well.
  • Stay Upright After Eating: If possible stay upright for four hours after eating to prevent sleep disruptions. You may need to sleep with a pillow behind your back to keep that upright position during the night.
  • Stretch Leg Cramps: Your partner can help you stretch out leg cramps or you can use the wall. If you use the wall, make sure clear a path before bed so you don’t trip in the dark.

Third Trimester

During the third trimester, leg cramps continue and the need to urinate increases due to the growing pressure on your bladder. Pelvic and back pain become a comfort issue at this point. Twenty percent of pregnant women also develop sleep disorders like restless leg syndrome and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). While restless leg syndrome will disappear after pregnancy and poses little risk to your baby, if you suspect OSA, characterized by loud snoring and pauses in your breathing, talk to your physician. The hormone surges that accompany OSA can be harmful to your baby.

Third Trimester Sleep Tips
  • Reduce Nighttime Fluids: Reduce your fluid intake starting four hours before bed.
  • Iron-rich Foods and Prenatal Vitamins: Restless leg syndrome has been linked to iron deficiency so make sure you’re taking your prenatal vitamins and increase your intake of iron-rich foods.
  • Sleep on Your Left Side: Sleeping on your left side increases circulation to your baby and improves your breathing and circulation. You can also try sleeping with a pillow between your legs to reduce discomfort.


You might have to make some habit or schedule changes to get more sleep, but it’s worth it. Adequate sleep will allow your body to focus on the important work of growing another human being. We hope these sleep tips assist you during your pregnancy and beyond!

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Veganism & Pregnancy

the pregnant vegan

Ellen DeGeneres, Bill Clinton, Ariana Grande, Peter Dinklage, Jennifer Lopez, Alec Baldwin, Stevie Wonder, Miley Cyrus, Jared Leto, Brad Pitt, and Madonna all have something in common. Yes, they’re all famous, but they are all also known vegans.

5% of people in the United States identify themselves as vegetarian. 2% consider themselves vegan. Now, two percent doesn’t sound like a big deal, until we note that two percent of the U.S. population is an estimated 6 million people.

Vegetarians are those who avoid meat, while vegans avoid meat, poultry, fish, eggs, milk, cheese, and other dairy products altogether, opting for a strictly plant based diet (fruits, vegetables, beans, grains, seeds, and nuts).

The term “vegan” was coined in England in 1944 by Donald Watson and five other non-dairy vegetarians when they gathered to create a new word to describe this new subcategory of the vegetarian diet and lifestyle. Dairyban, vitan, and benevore were all early candidates, but ultimately the group settled with a combination of the first three letters and last two letters of the word vegetarian — “vegan.”

The Vegan Society describes Veganism as “a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.”

Main Street Vegan notes that we are currently in a boom time for veganism with the rise of popular vegan related publications like Skinny Bitch and The China Study timed with the release of influential documentaries like EarthlingsVegucated, Forks Over Knives, Fat, Sickly & Nearly Dead, and Cowspiracy. Not to mention the exponential growth attributed to the rise in vegan blogs, podcasts, and social media.

Veganism is at an all time high, but with substantial popularity comes substantial critique. Kat Von D, tattoo artist and cosmetic company founder of Kat Von D Beauty recently shared a glimpse of this while sharing her pregnancy with the online world.

This is my body. This is our child. And this is our pregnancy journey. -@thekatvond

“[I]f you don’t know what it’s like [to] have people around you think you are ridiculous, try being openly vegan. And, if you don’t know what it’s like to have the entire world openly criticize, judge, throw uninformed opinions, and curse you – try being an openly pregnant vegan on Instagram, having a natural, drug-free home birth in water with a midwife and doula, who has the intention of raising a vegan child.. ” Von D captioned under an Instagram photo of her cradling her pregnant belly.

Is it safe to eat vegan while pregnant?

The short answer, yes.

The longer answer is still yes. It is relatively safe for Mamas to be vegan during pregnancy, but like every pregnancy, there are risks that can occur when Mamas don’t pay special attention to their diet, with or without meat and dairy.

the vegan plate guide to healthy diet

Medical experts, including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and the American Dietetic Association (ADA), all greenlight plant-based eating. They believe that the diet can be healthy and nutritionally adequate with proper planning. They all heavily advise that vegan moms pay attention to their nutrition intake so that all the proper nutrients are being consumed as nutritional deficiencies are more pronounced during vegan diets because pregnancies require specific amounts of certain vitamins and minerals.

“There’s no stage in life where nutrition matters so much as it does during pregnancy. After all, you’re providing the nutrition necessary to support two lives,” writes Reed Mangels (PhD, RD) at the top of his vegan pregnancy diet guide.

Mangels notes that the nutrients a pregnant vegan woman should especially be aware of are: protein, vitamin B12, folic acid, iron and zinc, iodine, omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, and vitamin D. OB-GYNS will monitor these nutrients during pregnancy regardless of whether the person is vegan or not. The trouble being that the standard diet most doctors base their nutritional assumptions on include the regular consumption of fish, meat, and some dairy. Meaning those who eat a vegan diet need to scale up from the normal recommendations. Women who do not eat meat during pregnancy are especially at risk for iron and B12. The good news is that these nutrients as well as the others listed can all be fulfilled with the aid of supplements, fortified food, and high quality prenatal vitamins.

Iron, for example, is a mineral that helps red blood cells deliver oxygen to the fetus and also protects pregnant women from anemia, and is found in high concentration in red meat, pork, fish, and eggs. But plant based sources like prune juice, blackstrap molasses, spinach, raisins, and iron-fortified cereals are also great iron-rich options. To help absorb the iron contained in food it’s recommended to eat vitamin c-rich foods as well, such as red peppers, citrus fruits, strawberries, and sprouted grains.

Luckily, there are many guides available online to help Mamas find vegan alternatives to all the nutrient requirements. Always always always consult with your doctor about your dietary needs if there are any changes in your diet that you are unsure about.

To all our mamas out there who are vegan or thinking about the vegan pregnancy route, yes, a vegan pregnancy is possible! However, like every part of the pregnancy journey, be extra mindful and open to what your body needs.

Written by Joyce Torres

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Can Inflammation Teach Us About Pregnancy Stress?

inflammation and stress postpartum
inflammation and stress postpartum

Presented this past week at the Society for Neuroscience Meeting in San Diego, CA, researchers from the Ohio State University presented some groundbreaking research that may link stress during pregnancy to increased inflammation, a major indicator of Postpartum Depression.

Lead author of the study, Benedetta Leuner, explained how areas of the brain that are used for mood regulation showed signs of inflammation in rodents that were used as models for Postpartum Depression after being exposed to stress during pregnancy with their pups.

On average, between 15 and 20% of women will be diagnosed with Postpartum Depression, meaning a larger number of those who suffer silently may be even larger. Despite the significant population of moms who have PPD, still very little is known about the exact cause. Doctors and medical professionals know that it is most likely to manifest from a complex matrix of indicators such as traumatic delivery, pain, history of depression and anxiety, medical conditions, and lack of support. But researchers from OSU indicate through their study that stress, and the inflammation generated by stress, may play a larger role that previously thought.

Leuner noted that studies have been done on the immune system and inflammation to better understand how it affects mood. Though much of the inflammation levels were being tested in the blood, and the results were mixed.

The subjects that exhibited external signs of stress, like anxious behaviors and decreased awareness of their pups, mimicked behaviors that are often found in women who are struggling with depression themselves. And when compared to other rats who were not stressed during their pregnancy, the test subjects were found to have inflammation markers on their brain tissue that indicated stress had affected the mood center, or medial prefrontal cortex. Additionally, Leuner and her team noted that the presence of stress related inflammation might change how immune cells in the brain function.

As opposed to previous studies, there was no inflammation found in the blood of the subjects, which could lead to better research on how the immune system and stress plays a role in mood disorders, specifically PPD.

Stress is often a major culprit behind the exacerbation of many illnesses and diseases like headaches, heart conditions, diabetes, and sleeping disorders. And as most moms can tell you, pregnancy on its own can be a trying time for mental and physical health, especially if a woman already has a medical condition. Inflammation has been a hot topic lately as researchers slowly discover all the ways it can negatively impact a body. To help combat high inflammation levels, most doctors recommend cutting out and adding specific foods, such as the following:

Foods to Avoid:

  • refined carbohydrates, such as white bread and pastries
  • French fries and other fried foods
  • soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages
  • red meat (burgers, steaks) and processed meat (hot dogs, sausage)
  • margarine, shortening, and lard

Foods to Increase in Your Diet:

  • tomatoes
  • olive oil
  • green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, kale, and collards
  • nuts like almonds and walnuts
  • fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines
  • fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, cherries, and oranges

courtesy of Harvard Medical

Obviously diet is not the cure-all for stress related illnesses, as many stressors can be caused by environmental factors. But an inflammation reduced body can at least aid in better mood regulation and help combat Postpartum Depression.

By Anna Pederson

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Diet During Pregnancy

Food During Pregnancy

One of our favorite moments here at Mama Strut is when we get to collaborate with thought-leading mamas trying to help other mamas. There’s a lot of confusion around how to eat when pregnant and there is so much information to take in. That’s why we decided to ask an expert in nutrition and mama-to-be to help shed some light on diet during pregnancy.

“Natural, organic and unrefined foods speak a language your genes understand. And when your food communicates nicely with your genes, they’ll express themselves properly and healthily so you can begin feeling that you’re actually living and not just surviving.” ― Thorbjörg HafsteinsdottirIntroducing Anna

Welcome! My name is Anna, and I run the website and the Instagram @TeachEatRepeat. I am an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, and I help women reduce symptoms of inflammation, like bloating, stomach distress, and weight gain, through small food and lifestyle changes. I used to be a classroom teacher, and it was while teaching I discovered I had an autoimmune disease, and as a result, discovered the power of whole foods in my health.

When my husband and I were thinking about getting pregnant, I delved into the WIDE WIDE world of pregnancy nutrition, to see what I could do to get my body ready to conceive and also carry a healthy and happy baby. While there are MILLIONS of suggestions, and pieces of advice out there, I think there are a few main tenants that can really help put you, your baby, and your family on the road to success.

Did you know that the pre-natal environment you provide for your offspring through what you eat, drink, breathe, or stress about is what your child will come to expect of the world he/she is about to enter?

It literally shapes them for life.

Deep Breath. I said that, but I also want you to relax. Millions of healthy babies are born to moms who are malnourished because of circumstance, eat fast food every day, and who don’t exercise. That said, when you know better, you do better. My goal with this article is to help you find the balance between ideal and sustainable—perfect nutrition and what’s workable in your real, everyday life.

Your motto during pregnancy should be: do YOUR best. (In fact, I would argue that pre-natal nutrition is perhaps MORE important than during your pregnancy). Don’t compare your fitness or diet to anyone else’s because everyone’s body handles pregnancy differently, depending on what her unique little baby needs. In your first trimester, you may not be able to stomach a lot of these foods, and that’s okay. Chronic stress about not eating a healthful diet is going to be WORSE for your baby than eating a pizza, or chicken nuggets, or a bagel (can you tell I speak from experience?)  Focus on what you CAN eat, and try to make it as high of quality as possible. Only want mac & cheese? Try the brand “Banza” which is made from chickpeas, so it contains more fiber, protein and vitamins than other pastas!

The Breakdown

There are so many ways you can consider pregnancy nutrition: by macronutrient values, by micronutrient values or even by categories of food. But I’d rather you focus on food quality. Focus on, real and whole foods, (closest to the way nature made them.) Think of skin, not package! If your great grandmother wouldn’t recognize it…don’t eat it! Here are the foods you should focus on:

  • Vegetables – nutrient-dense, low in calories, low in fat, loaded with water and full of phytochemicals (compounds in plants thought to have anticancer and anti-inflammation properties). Vegetables give us LIFE. (Organic is best)
  • Fruits – loaded with many beneficial compounds, nutrients, flavonoids, antioxidants, phytochemicals, and polyphenols (micronutrients that we get in plants that can help with digestion, weight management and lifestyle disease prevention). They are nature’s sweet treat. (Organic is best)
  • Whole grains and starchy vegetables – a major source of complex carbohydrates, dietary fiber, minerals, and B vitamins. They help stabilize our blood sugar and provide all kinds of benefits to the body and brain
  • Legumes (beans) – supply our bodies with many important nutrients, antioxidants, fiber and phytochemicals. They are high in protein and when combined with grains, they make a complete protein.
  • Nuts and seeds – loaded with fiber, phytochemicals, protein, healthy fats, and polyphenols.
  • Unprocessed foods – the more natural the better. Stay away from boxed foods as much as possible. They are loaded with all kinds of junk.
  • Organic – (meats, eggs, fish, vegetables, fruits, milk, nuts, beans, etc.) Organic is a labeling term that indicates that the food or other agricultural product has been produced through approved methods that integrate cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity. Synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, irradiation, and genetic engineering may not be used.
  • Fermented foods rich in probiotics – For example Kefir, miso, kimchee, sauerkraut and yogurt. Be careful of added sugar in flavored yogurt or kefir.
  • Meats from grass-fed animals and eggs from cage-free, organically fed chickens – higher in omega 3, rich in DHA, vitamin A, D, E, K, higher in CLA (fat- burning) and higher in tryptophan, which helps with sleep and mood.
  • Good fats – cold pressed olive oil, wild fish, virgin coconut oil, avocado, nuts and seeds. If you have a hard time digesting nuts or seeds, you can soak them for 6-7 hours. Get your omega 3’s!
  • Fiber-rich foods – 20-30 grams a day from complex carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables.

This is a huge list. When composing your meal, try to think….Do I have a…

  1. Protein
  1. Green veggie
  1. Starchy veggie or fruit
  1. Source of healthy fat

If you do, your meal is healthy, and you don’t need to worry about counting anything. I wish you a healthy, and happy pregnancy! For more information, please visit my website or email me at I look forward to hearing from you!

The materials and content within this blog post are intended as general information only, and are not to be considered a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This article is going to focus on real, whole-foods, rather than supplements or individual nutrient recommendations. Your dr. can tell you how much of each nutrient he or she recommends, as the recommendations are generally standard, but only your dr. can read your blood tests and know what you’ve got enough of or what you’re lacking.