Before & After Baby: fitness, food, sleep & support

Written by: Jenna Zaffino

It seems to take an army of support and information to feel like you are equiped with what you need before and after the baby arrives!  The Helios Center For Movement recently brought in the “Armed Forces of Perinatal Wellness!”, sponsored by Neighborhood Parents Network of Chicago, to share advice on movement, nutrition, pregnancy myths, and sleep training for both mother and child. 

Our army of experts included: Helios Owner, Jenna Zaffino, Nutritionist Jasmine Jafferali, OBGYN Dr. Javier Fajardo, and sleep-specialist/pediatrician Dr. Dan Weissbluth gave insight to new parents and parents-to-be for a wholistic experience .

Important tips for Perinatal Wellness:

#1. Movement & Fitness with Jenna Zaffino of Helios Center For Movement (Pre & Post Natal Pilates Programs in Roscoe Village) 

  • Including breathing exercises into your pre/post natal fitness routine will work your core muscles as well as contribute to stress reduction and mental well-being.
  • Doing a few more repetitions of any exercise past your level of discomfort will help physically and mentally prepare you for the muscular endurance needed for delivering a baby.
  • It is important to understand the role of your pelvic floor for support during pregnancy, function during delivery and resiliency postpartum.

#2. Nutrition & Food with Jasmine Jafferali (More nutrition services at

  • The healthiest snacks include a balance of protein, fiber and good fats to help curb cravings and balance blood sugar.
  • Portion control is the key to maintaining a healthy weight during pregnancy and returning to a fighting weight postpartum.
  • Jasmine’s new App, Snack Smart Solutions, is a quick way to get creative and healthy with your snacks.

#3. Pre-Natal Care with Dr. Javier Fajardo ( specializes in personalized medicine for women)

  • Keep an open and constant communication with your OBGYN during pregnancy– work with someone you can keep in contact with regularly via phone or email .
  • Create a birthing plan that fits your individual needs.  Consider what makes you comfortable, vs. using someone else’s template.
  • There are several options for pain management during labor: nothing, iv meds, acupuncture, acupressure, hot showers and epidurals.  Discuss your preferred options with your OB doctor beforehand to ensure a smooth delivery day.

#4. Infant Sleep with Dr. Weissbluth ( specializes in pediatrics, sleep training and pre-post natal care)

  • Avoid information overload.  Find a pediatrician that you trust and/or invest in ONE book that covers the bases.
  • Prepare for sleep early on.  A healthy sleep routine starts in the first week of baby’s life.  The sooner you start, the sooner everyone will benefit.
  • Embrace teamwork.  Avoid “supermom syndrome” and allow all of the fantastic people in your life help to lighten your load. 

#5. Support & Connections with Neighborhood Parents Network (NPN is the go-to resource for Chicago parents from pregnancy through elementary school)

  • Make sure you have a way to connect with other expectant and new parents - from Expectant Parent events to intimate must-have New Moms Groups
  • Access experts on everything from trusted childcare to school search - from the Parent University speaker series to an active Discussion Forum where you can connect with the answers you need 24-7
  • Get out of the house, even for a short walk around the block, and slowly start to explore the city with your little one - visit NPN's calendar for great events and Parent Perks for special offers
Posted on March 07, 2013 at 9:36 PM