Fitness expert Jillian Michaels is ready to help mommies-to-be (and their babies!) stay healthy and happy.
Her new book, Yeah Baby! The Modern Mama’s Breakthrough Guide to Mastering Pregnancy, Having a Healthy Baby, and Bouncing Back Better Than Ever, provides tips to keep moms and their unborn children in shape for success.
“Every parent deserves access to the most honest, sound, current information to utilize and nurture their own health and that of their baby,” Michaels, whose book will be published by Rodale in November, says.
“That’s the purpose of this book: To empower readers with all the knowledge, facts, and cutting-edge research, so they can personalize this process, craft their own pregnancy and birth decisions, and make the right decisions for them and their babies.”
Mom to daughterLukensia, 5, and son Phoenix, 3, Michaels, 42, tells PEOPLE about her partner Heidi‘s pregnancy and the experiences that inspired her new step-by-step guide to a healthful journey — and why you might not want to eat your placenta.
PEOPLE: Tell us about your new book!
Jillian: The book is really about revolutionizing the pregnancy space. When you look at the books that are currently selling, those books are extraordinarily outdated. When my partner became pregnant, I started to learn all of these things that nobody was telling us about environmental toxins, toxins in our food, that are not only harmful to full-grown, fully developed adults, but imagine what these things can be doing to your unborn baby.
When you look at the landscape, we’re seeing allergies in kids, we’re seeing autism, we’re seeing childhood cancer, we’re seeing autoimmune diseases in our kids skyrocketing over the last 20 to 40 years. And at some point, we have to stop and ask, “Why?”
The goal of this book is to give your kid the best jump start in life. It’s about removing things that can hurt the developing baby, putting things in that give the developing baby every opportunity to get their best foot forward, the best jumpstart and have the hottest and healthiest mommy possible.
PEOPLE: Was Heidi’s pregnancy your research or did you prepare when she found out she was pregnant?
Jillian: That was definitely the impetus, so because we’re a same-sex couple, we can’t just try to get pregnant, obviously. You have to go to the doctor. When we went to the doctor, she was like, “Oh, I’m so glad you came. You have to go to this doctor, that doctor, this doctor, that doctor. We need to check your thyroid levels, we need to do X, Y and Z.” I was like, “Wait a minute. What?!”
How are people not telling women there’s so many things you need to check, look out for, prep your body for before you get pregnant to set yourself up for success along the way? And that was the very first step.
Then, we went to the doctor and it was just artificial insemination. Heidi wasn’t infertile and that’s when the whole, “Oh, take this drug, take that drug, take this drug,” and I was like “Wait a minute! She’s ovulating, she has eggs, she’s young. Why are you pushing all these drugs on us?”
They gave Heidi a multivitamin and when I read the ingredients, it had propylene glycol, red number 40, trans fats and I was like, “This is basically every known carcinogen in food in a pill. How is it possible you’re giving this to a woman who’s pregnant? Do any of you even know what these things are and how toxic they are?” Propylene glycol is in butane, it’s in lighter fluid. It’s gnarly — it’s the last thing you want to be ingesting when you’re pregnant.
Everyone tells you, “Watch out for the cheese!” Meanwhile, cases of listeria are one in a gazillion. And if you go to France, they’re eating a wedge of brie at six months pregnant.
A photo posted by Jillian Michaels (@jillianmichaels) on Feb 22, 2016 at 7:51am PST
PEOPLE: It seems to be very health and family-focused as you help expecting parents navigate the healthiest way to live while pregnant and post-baby. But can we expect anecdotes about your own family?
Jillian: Absolutely. I even start out talking about why I wrote the book. We go trimester by trimester with what happened in our household, what was going on with Heidi, what happened in delivery, we go over all the various delivery options, all the facts about them.
We even cover the trend of placenta eating, which by the way, no, you should not eat your placenta! Mother of God! There is zero evidence to suggest that that in any way, shape or form it would mitigate any postpartum depression. In fact, when they’ve tested the placenta, because the job of the placenta is to block toxic things from getting to the baby — for the most part, that’s one of the functions of the placenta — they found heavy metals. I mean, it’s arsenic. It’s like “No. No, no, no, no. No! Noooo.”
(A 2015 study conducted by Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine determined there “hasn’t been any systematic research investigating the benefits or the risk” of placentophagy, or eating the placenta. Another 2015 study conducted by researchers at Dartmouth College concluded that placenta “reflects arsenic exposure in pregnant women [and] fetuses.”)
A photo posted by Jillian Michaels (@jillianmichaels) on Jan 18, 2016 at 6:41am PST
PEOPLE: And for your kids, how do you make fitness fun for them? We know Lukensia rides horses, but how else do you get them moving physically?
Jillian: To be honest, we have a kind of running joke with our friends that our kids have a social network and it’s called “outside.” The truth of the matter is that kids should be outdoors playing. If you live in an area where you get snow right now, they should be outside building snowmen and having snowball fights.
Right now in SoCal, it’s 90 degrees. Our kids are swimming, they’re outside playing on the jungle gym, they’re at the park playing hide ‘n’ seek, they’re riding their scooters, they’re riding their bicycles around, playing. Kids should be outdoors playing.
Kids shouldn’t be working out or having workout programs and we do that by limiting their screen time. They get a half hour of screen time a day and the rest of the time, they’re outdoors playing. … That’s how it’s supposed to be for kids.
— Blake Bakkila