Saturday, February 16, 2013

Hospitals - Various Types of Services That Are Provided

For proper diagnosis or even to perform various types of surgeries, at times it gets important to admit people in hospitals. In some of the major cities in the US, like Pocatello (Idaho) and Idaho Falls (Idaho) you would find that most of the doctors are, in one way or the other, affiliated with one or more hospitals. Such healthcare facilities provide different types of services that mainly cover both inpatient and outpatient procedures and surgeries.

In almost all hospitals you would find that there are various types of services that are offered. Some of them are:

  • Maternity: In most of the hospitals, in some of the major cities in the US, like Pocatello (Idaho) and Twin Falls (Idaho), you would find maternity care being provided. Such healthcare institutions have rooms that have all the necessary facilities for expectant mothers to give birth to their babies, nurse them, and also to recover from the delivery. For pre-mature babies you would also find newborn intensive care facilities.

  • Surgery: Surgery facilities are one of the most common things which you would find in almost all hospitals. They have all the necessary equipments to perform any type of surgeries like transplants, dealing with broken bones, and also heart surgeries. Some hospitals employ full-time surgeons, whereas some have affiliated doctors to take care of surgeries. Some of the most common surgical services include nursing care, anesthesiology services, and rooms for both pre and post-operations.

  • Emergency Care: You would notice in a number of major hospitals, availability of provisions for emergency care for a number of serious cases. There would be a number of emergency rooms where staffs help the patients to stabilize till they are good enough to be shifted to a room and finally released after proper treatments.

  • Nursing: In any healthcare facility, you would find quite a number of nurses being employed. They have to work in various sections of a hospital and have to take care of the regular needs of those patients who stay in the rooms of the healthcare facility.

If you are looking for reliable hospitals - Pocatello (Idaho) and Hailey (Idaho) are some of the cities in the US where you can visit Bingham Memorial Hospital. They strive hard to improve the overall health status of the community. In case you want to know more about their numerous services, feel free to check out their official website.

How to Get Pregnant Easy - A Couple Tips to Help You Conceive Faster

If you have decided it is time to start your family, then congratulations! You are taking a path that is very noble and it will be a very fun adventure. Now, you probably want to know how to get pregnant easy and you want it to happen pretty quickly. There are some things that can be controlled and some that cannot. Here are some tips to help you.

First, if you have been taking birth control, and you are obviously stopping, you need to know that it can take as long as 18 months for you to be in an optimal position to conceive a child after birth control. It can also happen very quickly and birth control is only 99% effective because you can actually conceive while taking it so you are probably looking at anywhere from 2 months to 18 months or longer.

Second, you need to know that there are things you can do to increase your odds of getting pregnant faster. You can start by picking up a guide online or in your local bookstore that is filled with different secrets to help you conceive faster. Now if you go to the bookstore they will probably not let you return the book if it does not help, but with an online guide you get a full money back guarantee if you are not satisfied.

Third, you can start by tracking your ovulation. This will give you optimal chances each month to get pregnant and is not a hard thing to do. There are a handful of ways to do this including ovulation tests and trackers. You want to make sure you have intercourse on the days you are ovulating and if you do this you will give yourself a better chance of actually getting pregnant.

Last, you need to know the best ways to increase your ovulation period and to increase your chances of conception. Sure pregnancy is something we can't completely control, but that does not mean you cannot give your body the best possible chance to conceive and you can do this by learning how to get pregnant easy.

Jobst Compression Stockings May Help Prevent Leg Discomforts During Pregnancy

As you begin to put on more water weight from your pregnancy, you may begin to notice that your feet and ankles will become swollen towards the end of the day. You may begin to suffer from nightly leg cramps and the onset of varicose veins. All of these symptoms are normal in a pregnant woman, but there are ways to help prevent and even stop them.

The extra weight and the extra work your body does for the growing baby can cause leg cramping, swollen feet and ankles, and varicose veins. You should try and avoid standing and sitting in one position for long periods of time. This will just add to the symptoms. Because of the extra stress to your legs, ankles, and center of gravity (body's core), your blood has trouble being pumped back to your heart. The slow return of the blood in the legs can cause swelling and some blood will accumulate in the veins and cause unsightly varicose veins. Refraining from excessive walking and physical activity can help relief some of the discomforts, but one of the best options is to wear compression stockings before the symptoms begin.

Compression stockings are not your everyday pair of socks. They are a medically proven way to relive pain caused by minor leg issues. They work by assisting in the circulation of the blood in your legs. They offer gradual compression to you leg. The compression starts tight at the ankle and gradually lessens up the leg. This compression provides support and allows for better blood circulation. Using compression stockings before you begin seeing symptoms can be a great option. This will allow the circulation of blood as you put on more weight and help prevent some of the discomforts and the severity of varicose veins. The stockings can also provide relief on the symptoms that have already occurred as well. Some elderly people are recommended to wear the stockings every day as a precaution and to help with existing symptoms.

How to Deal With Post Pregnancy Depression Without Prescription Drugs?

Giving birth to a child is a very emotional and unique experience for a mother. But still 1 in 10 mothers develop post pregnancy or postnatal depression. Generally it develops in the first four weeks after child birth. It can sustain even up to one year. Its symptoms include poor appetite, low mood, poor concentration, less energy etc. Mother may get bad thoughts about killing herself or her baby.

Treatments for post pregnancy depression-


Short counseling sessions given by trained health visitors can be very helpful to treat postnatal depression. These sessions can run for several weeks. You can explain your problems to the counselor and he/she can help you to take decisions. In some cases it is very helpful.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)-

This therapy is a combination of two therapies- Cognitive and behavioral. In Cognitive therapy, therapist helps you to understand your pattern of thinking. The aim of this therapy is to change your thinking pattern. The therapist helps you to identify your false and harmful ideas which can make you depressed.

Behavioral therapy aims to change your particular behavior which is harmful for you. Briefly, CBT helps people to change their way of thinking and behavior.

Interpersonal therapy-

This therapy helps you to understand any kind of problem in your relationship you're your spouse, family, friends and other members. It also helps you to understand how these relations may relate to your depression.


Regular exercise like jogging, brisk walking, swimming and some yoga can help you to a great extent.

Cough Syrup Fertility Miracle - Can Cough Syrup Help You to Get Pregnant?

If you have been struggling to get pregnant, or if you are just starting to try for your first baby there may be a secret ingredient to help increase your chances of conceiving. What is this surprising fertility miracle? Believe it or not; cough syrup. Fertility experts are not all in agreement but there is some scientific evidence that proves cough medicine may actually help women conceive. But there are a few things you need to know about cough syrup and pregnancy.

The key ingredient you want to be on the lookout for when choosing a cough medicine for fertility purposes is guaifenesin. This ingredient can help you get pregnant by thinning your cervical fluid. This allows the sperm to pass through your cervix to the egg more easily.

Why does guaifenesin work so well? It is a common ingredient in cough medicine or other expectorants that relieve congestion by thinning and liquefying mucus in your lungs. It actually does this on all mucous membranes in your body so it can thin your cervical fluid too. Make sure you pick a cough medicine with guaifenesin as its only active ingredient.

You must be tracking your ovulation for it to help. If you are not producing much cervical fluid when you are ovulating then guaifenesin may be what you need to conceive. The key to this is tracking your ovulation and checking your cervical fluid; that is the only way to know when the appropriate time to take the guaifenesin. Of course some women just take the cough medicine throughout their entire ovulation period but it tends to work best on women who produce some quantity of cervical fluid.

If you choose to try using cough syrup to help you get pregnant be sure guaifenesin is the only active ingredient. It bears repeating because a cough medicine with an antihistamine can actually decrease cervical fluid. So again, choose the right cough syrup. Fertility chances can decrease if you choose the wrong one. Take two teaspoons three times per day while you are ovulating.

Maternity Health Insurance Coverage Explained

Planning a family is a thrilling and exciting time for any young couple. Choosing the perfect name, designing the nursery, and shopping for baby clothes are just a few of the things that a couple in the early stages of building a family must go through. But have you thought about maternity health insurance? If you are planning a pregnancy in the near future then you will need all-important healthcare coverage that comes with a maternity health insurance policy.

You can find the most competitive insurance quotes for pregnant women in your area by comparing prices from several different insurance providers. You choose the company that you want based on pricing and coverage.

NOTE: Keep in mind that most insurance companies do not offer maternity coverage to mothers who have already begun their pregnancy.

When shopping for your the policy, make sure that it includes the following coverage:

-Doctor's visits
-Hospital stays
-Ultrasound and sonogram exams
-Tests and lab work
-Vitamins and medicine for prenatal care
-Delivery (oftentimes the most costly aspect of a pregnancy)
-Options for coverage of any complications that can arise such as C-sections and premature birth)
-Check-ups for the newborn

Maternity Health Insurance Crucial To A Successful Delivery

Either that or some kind of healthcare coverage is necessary for a happy and healthy baby boy or girl. If you are already pregnant and need coverage then look into the numerous options of government and state funded agencies designed to help expectant mothers get the healthcare coverage they're entitled to. But if you are planning a pregnancy then talk to an insurance agent about customizing your insurance policy today.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Natural Remedies for a Baby Cough So You BOTH Can Get Back to Sleep

If your baby has a cough and it is keeping you both from sleep, you will want to do what you can to treat it so you can both get back to bed. One of the problems is that babies are not old enough or strong enough for most over the counter type cough treatments, and so the following is a look at some of the natural remedies you can use to help ease your baby's cough and symptoms so that you can both get back to sleep:

Start out by clearing their nasal and throat passages so that they can breathe well. Then begin by nursing your baby. Breast milk is not a dairy product, and will not add to their congestion. Increase nursing to help give them antibodies to fight the cold, and to help them feel comfort. If you are not breastfeeding, try a non-dairy formula to help them get plenty of fluids and the comfort most babies get from feeding.

After they are well fed, try giving them a warm bath. This will often loosen the congestion making it easier for the baby to breathe. You can even consider adding a few drops of an essential oil into their tub so that they breathe in the vapors and get the benefits of doing so. Also, increased body heat makes sleep come easier. You will want to soothe them, and help them feel relaxed and comfortable. If you need to suction their nose again, do this before the bath so that they have a time to calm down before they go back to bed.

Get them out of the tub and dry them off completely. Then, rub their chest and back with an herbal rub. You make this by combining a few tablespoons of olive oil with a few drops of essential oils. A good combination for a baby with a cough is some eucalyptus oil and some rosemary. The vapors from the eucalyptus will loosen the mucus and congestion, and the rosemary (lavender works well too) will help calm them so they can rest. Get them dressed, and swaddle them in a blanket, and then lay them in their crib, with a blanket under them to help prop them some to help make breathing easier.

Turn on a humidifier in the room to help keep their congestion lose so that they can sleep. Put a few drops of an essential oil in the humidifier for better breathing. Good options include eucalyptus, sage, rosemary, or peppermint oil. The vapors from these oils will help keep their passages clear.

If this does not work, then consider mixing a saline solution (salt water), and putting a few drops in their nose, as they might have really dry mucus membranes, making for discomfort that keeps them from sleeping.

Health Insurance - Kaiser Health Plans

Kaiser plans are available through Kaiser Medical Insurance, a leading HMO company that boasts over eight million members. Any quality plan includes coverage for several basic medical needs such as doctor appointments, maternity care, examinations such as physicals, hearing and vision tests, emergency care, hospitalizations and prescription drug coverage of some sort. Kaiser plans include these benefits and sometimes more in the variety of plan options they have available to applicants. Offering quality health insurance coverage at affordable prices, Kaiser health plans offer both individual and group plans.

Healthcare is something no family should be without. It only takes one serious illness or injury to throw a family's financial future in serious jeopardy. With adequate health insurance coverage, this does not have to happen and the family can weather medical problems with the focus on getting well instead of worries about paying for the medical bills incurred. Kaiser health plans not only provide quality, affordable health insurance policies, but they focus on the overall health and wellness of their customers. Kaiser health plans have worthy preventative medicine goals that work in tandem with gaining maintaining good health with exercise and nutrition.

While there are many, many health care insurance plans available, Kaiser health plans is committed to providing what consumers need in medical coverage at an affordable price. There is no need for ridiculously high premiums that cause families to struggle with paying for their health insurance coverage. By ensuring their health care plans are affordable, Kaiser health plans help families be able to obtain the insurance coverage they need to get healthy and stay healthy. Preventative health practices include coverage for wellness doctor visits and screenings for vision, hearing or physical issues on a periodic basis. These types of things help ensure optimal health and well being.

Preventative health is a strong point with many HMOs these days and Kaiser health plans are no exception. By helping people get better, learn how to stay well and thrive with good overall health, this reduces the overall medical costs for everyone, from the patients to the doctors to the health insurance companies such as Kaiser health plans. In order to better serve the public, Kaiser has set up their website so that applicants can visit it to learn plan overviews, quotes and even apply for health insurance coverage there. Optimized overall health is the key to healthier, happier lives and lower overall health care costs.

If you need assistance in locating this coverage, please visit our website at and leave your contact information so we may respond to your request.

Genital Warts - Development and Management During Pregnancy

Genital Warts are caused by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) which invades through any breach in the skin within vicinity of sex organs. It is for all practical purpose a sexually transmitted disease (STD). The development and consequent symptoms of genital warts during the period of pregnancy would be identical to a woman who is not pregnant, and the development of lesions would be identical too. In both cases, these lesions are visible and can be felt, cause tremendous itchiness, create blood spotting, and sometimes an abnormal vaginal discharge.

Women have also complained of a burning sensation and bleeding after sexual intercourse. Now, if the woman is pregnant, there are internal hormonal changes, and the stress of pregnancy itself brings down her self-immune system to fend off any infection. Any sexual act during this period renders the woman highly vulnerable to pathogens, and the HPV takes full opportunity to invade.

Once the cauliflower-shaped lesions of genital warts make their appearance, it would be highly advisable to consult the obstetrician. Till such time, avoid touching the genital warts, and take proper hygiene measures to prevent their spread to other parts of the body as the causative HPV is highly contagious. The healthcare counsellors too may want to check and advise on either a treatment regimen, or the measures for delivery, depending on the stage of the pregnancy.

Let us be clear that genital warts have not known to cause infertility in either women or the men. However, a pregnant woman does suffer bouts of depression from anxiety of the risk to her unborn child. This may sometimes result in miscarriage or even premature delivery, though the connection has not been medically established. In fact, the mode of vertical transmission from to-be mother to unborn child has not been clearly understood, though there are evident reports of spread of infection during prenatal and postnatal period.

That means the threat exists even post delivery. In most cases, through proper observance and labor management, most infected women have delivered HPV-free and healthy babies. However, the genital warts do to an extent reduce the normal elasticity of the vaginal wall in preparation for birth, which can result in an extended labor necessitating the resultant delivery through a caesarean section.

During the term of the pregnancy, especially during the first and third trimester, any form of medication is as it is best avoided. Similarly, for the woman having developed genital warts during pregnancy, any form of medication is contraindicated. The main reason is that there are no reports to indicate that the effect of the drugs or of any medication would not compromise the safety of the unborn child.

At the most the doctors can adopt a counter-measure through cryosurgery for removal of genital warts during pregnancy. This removal is necessary as the warts would induce excessive bleeding during a normal delivery. But most obstetricians would prefer to adopt the caesarean section delivery as the HPV type 6 and 11 in the vaginal lesions could pose an infection threat of the life threatening 'laryngeal papillomatosis' to the new born. However, no controlled studies have been conducted to confirm that the caesarean delivery is a fool-proof method.

Mother, Child and Depression

"I remember my mother's prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life."
These are a few words said by Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865). Mom is the first word uttered by a child, the guardian angel "Mom" is the sole source of love and affection to the child, and the security and warmth of her lap remains there for a long time, even if she is not there, giving us strength and urge to live when we are need it most. The centre of his life is his mother, so, her love, care, smiles, tears, anger, frustration, depression, prayer... affect the child. A child's intellectual and social development flourishes closely around his mother, influenced by her immensely. A cheerful mother makes everything seem so perfect for him, in the same way the behaviour of a depressed mother may give an impression that he is unwanted and he is not able to make her happy. That creates confusion in a child's mind about his worthiness and he also may become depressed.

Depressed mother's depressed child and a bleak future...
Research studies show that parental depression is a major risk factor for anxiety, depression and troublesome behaviour in the children and make them violent at the same time. Children of depressed mother are more vulnerable to be victimized by depression than those of normal mothers. The children of mothers suffering from depression during postnatal period are found to be fighting with their peers more often and resulted in injuries followed by suspension from school. "Although it appears that violence is not an inevitable outcome of postnatal depression, it is one that is made more likely under conditions of continued adversity. Early and recurring exposure to maternal depression puts children at risk for the overt pathway toward serious violence" says researcher Dale F. Hay, Ph.D., of Cardiff University. The severity of mother's depression has more impact on the child than the chronicity of the mother's depression no matter what is the age of the child. The reason being, a child finds it difficult to regulate attention and emotion from a mother who is depressed. The feeling of lack of love and attention makes the child angry and inattentive, so the propensity to violence increases. The loss caused by his psychological condition is so serious that the whole future of this depressed and angry child remains at stake. A mother's depression strangulates his childhood's innocence and faith, and his whole future may be ruined afterwards.

Psychological help for both mother and child is necessary
This is a strong acknowledgement of environmental influences on the child's mental health. The depression in the mother or in the family should not creep into the child. The importance of psychological help under the given circumstances is beyond question. Both mother and child should be treated with medications of depression, like therapies and antidepressants, for obvious reasons. Children respond more quickly to environmental changes and psychological therapies. If a mother is depressed due to problems in the marital relationship, it is important for the child's normal growth that the couple considers psychological help for the same. For example if a father does not protect the child from his mother's assaulting and do not cover up for the attentions he needs from his mother, the child may turn to a timid and panicky person who would be frightened by darkness, a close door, nightmares and a list of similar aspects. The connotation more simplified is, the depressed mother needs to treat herself for the sake of the child. Taking antidepressants, something like Xanax, during the postnatal months prove to be helpful in cognitive and temperament development of the child. At the later stage, if the depression continues with the mother, psychological therapies from a psychiatrist becomes very important for the normal mental health of the child.

My Mom is the best!
If you ask a child who is the best, he would answer instantly with a big confident smile, "My Mom is the best!" A simple memory of the mother brings smile to his face. A mother's depression may take away that precious smile forever. Let every mother save that smile, and save the future of the child.

Corporate Wellness: Planning and Implementing an Effective Employee Wellness Program

Employee Wellness Programs are being implemented to promote health among employees. Employee Wellness Program (EWP) goals are to educate, inform and bring awareness to individual health and safety. Companies use wellness programs as a way to increase productivity and morale while, decreasing healthcare costs, absenteeism and presenteeism. Businesses large and small are facilitating activities and programs that focus on preventive health and health maintenance. Employers are also working to improve employees' quality of life and quality of work.

These programs range from lunch and learn sessions and personal nutrition consulting, to providing quiet rooms and fitness studios. Employees are motivated to participate through strategic marketing (allowing employee involvement in planning) and recognition. Employees track progress in many areas including blood pressure, blood glucose, body mass index, eating habits, physical activity level, and use of stress management techniques. Data is gathered through testing and reporting. Programming is now branching out and being presented in diverse ways including blogs, e-newsletters and online reporting.

Corporate wellness program design includes the following steps:

1. Identifying employee health conditions and needs- This can be learned/discovered by conducting health risk appraisals on employees and analyzing company data such as health care costs, rate of employee absenteeism and its overall affect on company's workers' compensation claims. National health data may also be used and compared to general employee demographics to obtain common health needs areas.

2. Assessing employee willingness to participate in an employee wellness program- This is achieved by gathering information in the form of a survey covering what motivators, days/ times for program implementation and program areas that employees would prefer.

3. Planning and presenting the program layout- Share program format and processes with managers, company stakeholders and decision makers for buy in and support. Be sure to highlight how the program will benefit the company's bottom line. Focus on mission and program goals. Include a projected budget. Work in evaluation methods and health screening procedures.

4. Implementing a marketing campaign and EWPs- Marketing can include paycheck stuffers, poster flyers, and a health fair rally or kick off. Programming can involve physical fitness programs, smoking cessation programs, pre/postnatal programs, self care programs and financial wellness programs among many other programs.

5. Evaluating the success of the program- Appraise employee participation and satisfaction along with post health screening. Analyze results factoring in employee successes, failures and a benefit to cost effectiveness if possible. Periodically make adjustments to program as needed.

Companies are increasingly moving toward taking a role in employees' health and well being. Executives and human resource managers should strongly consider reviewing the company's current wellness program. EWPs should reflect the company's genuine support for employee health and honor each employee's value to the business operation.

5 Foods You Should Not Eat During Pregnancy

Maintaining a well balanced diet and staying on top of your nutrition during pregnancy is key to your health and the development of your baby. Whilst it is okay to have junk every so often, there are foods that you may usually indulge in that you should avoid for the safety of your little one. Here are 5 foods you should take care to avoid during pregnancy:

  • Soft and blue veined cheeses, such as stilton and brie: Eating soft or blue veined cheeses during your pregnancy will increase your risk of contracting listeria. Listeria is a form of bacteria that can potentially be very harmful to your baby and listeriosis is a disease that may remain symptomless up until a few weeks after you have consumed a food product that may expose you to it. There is no risk of listeria from harder cheeses (such as cheddar) or from cheeses that appear to be 'soft' such as cottage cheese.

  • Fish high in mercury, such as swordfish or marlin: You must avoid fish that is high in mercury such as swordfish or marlin during your pregnancy altogether. Consuming large levels of mercury whilst pregnant can hinder the development of your baby's nervous system. You should also reduce the amount of tuna you consume to 2 portions a week (i.e 2 small tuna steaks)

  • Pate, including vegetable pate: Pate, including vegetable pate, may be a firm favourite at certain times of year (i.e Christmas!) but it is essential that you avoid it during your pregnancy. Pate is another food product that carries listeria and it is not due to the raw meat element, it is because of the way it is prepared and stored.

  • Raw or partially cooked eggs: Raw or partially cooked eggs should be avoided as you and your baby have an increased risk of contracting salmonella. This includes soft cooked scrambled eggs, fried eggs with a soft yolk, soft boiled eggs, poached eggs and other ways of cooking eggs that will leave the yolk or white 'runny'.

  • Raw shellfish: During your pregnancy you are at an increased risk of exposing yourself to illnesses such as food poisoning or salmonella, which will then be passed on to your baby. Eating raw shellfish (i.e oysters) exposes you and your baby to such harmful diseases. It is however safe to eat prawns, shrimp and other popular types of shellfish that are well cooked.

Remember to take extra care with your food when eating out and ensure the place you eat in has good food hygiene practices.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Pregnancy Weight Loss - Losing That Baby Fat

Having a baby and giving birth are both wonderful life passages that women can experience. However, along with carrying a baby inside for some 40 plus weeks comes the not-so-nice feeling of pregnancy weight loss. The desire and challenge to lose those baby fat can be trying while coping to raise a newborn.

As part of being pregnant, a woman puts on weight as the fetus grows and her body readies itself for childbirth. Unfortunately, this extra weight doesn't vanish with the delivery of her baby. Like in any weight loss pursuit, there needs to be a conscious effort to lose baby fat.

Physically and emotionally, the mother can be at odds with taking care of her baby's needs and her own. Hormonal changes after giving birth can affect how she feels. Plus the stress that arises from baby's demands and sometimes even family pressure (like differing views in bringing up children, for example) can often take the toll on pregnancy weight loss.

Fortunately, there are methods to lose weight which are not difficult to focus on while tending to the baby. In this article, we look at a couple of simple ways that can help with pregnancy weight loss.

Breastfeed Your Baby

Whenever possible, breastfeeding a baby is always preferred as it provides the baby with natural immunity (from the colostrum in mother's milk) in addition to essential vitamins and nutrients. The good news is that breastfeeding can actually help in weight loss.

To produce breast milk for the baby, the average mother utilizes between 500 to 800 calories a day -- this is a great way to burn calories without doing much physical activity. After all, going to the gym is probably difficult in the first year after baby is born as the mother deals with many different responsibilities.

Breastfeeding is definitely a good start on losing baby fat. It augments well any additional steps that a mother may want to take to lose weight, e.g. making the effort to eat well and doing regular exercises.

Stay Relaxed and Realistic

There is a natural tendency to want to lose weight fast, baby fats or not. However, women should be mindful not to sabotage their pregnancy weight loss plan by doing irrational things such as emotional eating caused by anxiety over losing weight slowly.

After all, that extra weight was put on over some 9 months; so it might take a while to lose it all. When this relaxed view is taken, a planned approach to weight loss can then happen within realistic expectations. This avoids the frustration associated with not seeing fast results.

As a benchmark, medical experts suggest a loss of 2 pounds a week is reasonable. Assuming a woman gained 30 pounds during pregnancy and shed 14 after childbirth, she's got another 16 pounds to lose. So a rough gauge for that to happen is 8 weeks. Setting an expectation of roughly 3-4 months is probably fair and objective.

Take It Easy

It is understandable that a mother would want to look the way she did before she got pregnant, and she can't wait to restore her figure. But it is important to accept that weight loss takes time and a realistic approach is always better. Staying relaxed helps the woman set fair goals and take everything in her stride.

For Both Women And Men, Rates Of Major Depression Are Highest Among The Separated And Divorced

For both women and men, rates of major depression are highest among the separated and divorced, and lowest among the married, while remaining always higher for women than for men. The quality of a marriage, however, may contribute significantly to depression. Lack of an intimate, confiding relationship, as well as overt marital disputes, have been shown to be related to depression in women. In fact, rates of depression were shown to be highest among unhappily married women.

Reproductive Events

Women's reproductive events include the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, the postpregnancy period, infertility, menopause, and sometimes, the decision not to have children. These events bring fluctuations in mood that for some women include depression. Researchers have confirmed that hormones have an effect on the brain chemistry that controls emotions and mood; a specific biological mechanism explaining hormonal involvement is not known, however.

Many women experience certain behavioral and physical changes associated with phases of their menstrual cycles. In some women, these changes are severe, occur regularly, and include depressed feelings, irritability, and other emotional and physical changes. Called premenstrual syndrome (PMS) or premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), the changes typically begin after ovulation and become gradually worse until menstruation starts. Scientists are exploring how the cyclical rise and fall of estrogen and other hormones may affect the brain chemistry that is associated with depressive illness.

Postpartum mood changes can range from transient "blues" immediately following childbirth to an episode of major depression to severe, incapacitating, psychotic depression. Studies suggest that women who experience major depression after childbirth very often have had prior depressive episodes even though they may not have been diagnosed and treated.

Pregnancy (if it is desired) seldom contributes to depression, and having an abortion does not appear to lead to a higher incidence of depression. Women with infertility problems may be subject to extreme anxiety or sadness, though it is unclear if this contributes to a higher rate of depressive illness. In addition, motherhood may be a time of heightened risk for depression because of the stress and demands it imposes.

Menopause, in general, is not associated with an increased risk of depression. In fact, while once considered a unique disorder, research has shown that depressive illness at menopause is no different than at other ages. The women more vulnerable to change-of-life depression are those with a history of past depressive episodes.

Specific Cultural Considerations

As for depression in general, the prevalence rate of depression in African American and Hispanic women remains about twice that of men. There is some indication, however, that major depression and dysthymia may be diagnosed less frequently in African American and slightly more frequently in Hispanic than in Caucasian women. Prevalence information for other racial and ethnic groups is not definitive.

Possible differences in symptom presentation may affect the way depression is recognized and diagnosed among minorities. For example, African Americans are more likely to report somatic symptoms, such as appetite change and body aches and pains. In addition, people from various cultural backgrounds may view depressive symptoms in different ways. Such factors should be considered when working with women from special populations.


Studies show that women molested as children are more likely to have clinical depression at some time in their lives than those with no such history. In addition, several studies show a higher incidence of depression among women who have been raped as adolescents or adults. Since far more women than men were sexually abused as children, these findings are relevant. Women who experience other commonly occurring forms of abuse, such as physical abuse and sexual harassment on the job, also may experience higher rates of depression. Abuse may lead to depression by fostering low self-esteem, a sense of helplessness, self-blame, and social isolation. There may be biological and environmental risk factors for depression resulting from growing up in a dysfunctional family. At present, more research is needed to understand whether victimization is connected specifically to depression.


Women and children represent seventy-five percent of the U.S. population considered poor. Low economic status brings with it many stresses, including isolation, uncertainty, frequent negative events, and poor access to helpful resources. Sadness and low morale are more common among persons with low incomes and those lacking social supports. But research has not yet established whether depressive illnesses are more prevalent among those facing environmental stressors such as these.
Depression in Later Adulthood

At one time, it was commonly thought that women were particularly vulnerable to depression when their children left home and they were confronted with "empty nest syndrome" and experienced a profound loss of purpose and identity. However, studies show no increase in depressive illness among women at this stage of life.

As with younger age groups, more elderly women than men suffer from depressive illness. Similarly, for all age groups, being unmarried (which includes widowhood) is also a risk factor for depression. Most important, depression should not be dismissed as a normal consequence of the physical, social, and economic problems of later life. In fact, studies show that most older people feel satisfied with their lives.

About 800,000 persons are widowed each year. Most of them are older, female, and experience varying degrees of depressive symptomatology. Most do not need formal treatment, but those who are moderately or severely sad appear to benefit from self-help groups or various psychosocial treatments. However, a third of widows/widowers do meet criteria for major depressive episode in the first month after the death, and half of these remain clinically depressed 1 year later. These depressions respond to standard antidepressant treatments, although research on when to start treatment or how medications should be combined with psychosocial treatments is still in its early stages.


Even severe depression can be highly responsive to treatment. Indeed, believing one's condition is "incurable" is often part of the hopelessness that accompanies serious depression. Such individuals should be provided with the information about the effectiveness of modern treatments for depression in a way that acknowledges their likely skepticism about whether treatment will work for them. As with many illnesses, the earlier treatment begins, the more effective and the greater the likelihood of preventing serious recurrences. Of course, treatment will not eliminate life's inevitable stresses and ups and downs. But it can greatly enhance the ability to manage such challenges and lead to greater enjoyment of life.

The first step in treatment for depression should be a thorough examination to rule out any physical illnesses that may cause depressive symptoms. Since certain medications can cause the same symptoms as depression, the examining physician should be made aware of any medications being used. If a physical cause for the depression is not found, a psychological evaluation should be conducted by the physician or a referral made to a mental health professional.

Types of Treatment for Depression

The most commonly used treatments for depression are antidepressant medication, psychotherapy, or a combination of the two. Which of these is the right treatment for any one individual depends on the nature and severity of the depression and, to some extent, on individual preference. In mild or moderate depression, one or both of these treatments may be useful, while in severe or incapacitating depression, medication is generally recommended as a first step in the treatment.11 In combined treatment, medication can relieve physical symptoms quickly, while psychotherapy allows the opportunity to learn more effective ways of handling problems.


There are several types of antidepressant medications used to treat depressive disorders. These include newer medications--chiefly the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)--and the tricyclics and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). The SSRIs--and other newer medications that affect neurotransmitters such as dopamine or norepinephrine--generally have fewer side effects than tricyclics. Each acts on different chemical pathways of the human brain related to moods.

Antidepressant medications are not habit-forming. Although some individuals notice improvement in the first couple of weeks, usually antidepressant medications must be taken regularly for at least 4 weeks and, in some cases, as many as 8 weeks, before the full therapeutic effect occurs. To be effective and to prevent a relapse of the depression, medications must be taken for about 6 to 12 months, carefully following the doctor's instructions. Medications must be monitored to ensure the most effective dosage and to minimize side effects. For those who have had several bouts of depression, long-term treatment with medication is the most effective means of preventing recurring episodes.

The prescribing doctor will provide information about possible side effects and, in the case of MAOIs, dietary and medication restrictions. In addition, other prescribed and over-the-counter medications or dietary supplements being used should be reviewed because some can interact negatively with antidepressant medication. There may be restrictions during pregnancy.

For bipolar disorder, the treatment of choice for many years has been lithium, as it can be effective in smoothing out the mood swings common to this disorder. Its use must be carefully monitored, as the range between an effective dose and a toxic one can be relatively small. However, lithium may not be recommended if a person has pre-existing thyroid, kidney, or heart disorders or epilepsy. Fortunately, other medications have been found helpful in controlling mood swings. Among these are two mood-stabilizing anticonvulsants, carbamazepine (Tegretol®) and valproate (Depakote®). Both of these medications have gained wide acceptance in clinical practice, and valproate has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for first-line treatment of acute mania. Studies conducted in Finland in patients with epilepsy indicate that valproate may increase testosterone levels in teenage girls and produce polycystic ovary syndrome in women who began taking the medication before age 20.12 Therefore, young female patients should be monitored carefully by a physician. Other anticonvulsants that are being used now include lamotrigine (Lamictal®) and gabapentin (Neurontin®); their role in the treatment hierarchy of bipolar disorder remains under study.

Most people who have bipolar disorder take more than one medication. Along with lithium and/or an anticonvulsant, they often take a medication for accompanying agitation, anxiety, insomnia, or depression. Some research indicates that an antidepressant, when taken without a mood stabilizing medication, can increase the risk of switching into mania or hypomania, or of developing rapid cycling, in people with bipolar disorder. Finding the best possible combination of these medications is of utmost importance to the patient and requires close monitoring by the physician.

Herbal Therapy

In the past few years, much interest has risen in the use of herbs in the treatment of both depression and anxiety. St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatum), an herb used extensively in the treatment of mild to moderate depression in Europe, has recently aroused interest in the United States. St. John's wort, an attractive bushy, low-growing plant covered with yellow flowers in summer, has been used for centuries in many folk and herbal remedies. Today in Germany, Hypericum is used in the treatment of depression more than any other antidepressant. However, the scientific studies that have been conducted on its use have been short-term and have used several different doses.

Because of the widespread interest in St. John's wort, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is conducting a 3-year study, sponsored by three NIH components--the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Institute for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, and the Office of Dietary Supplements. The study found that St. John's wort was no more effective in treating major depression than placebo (inactive sugar pill). Another NIH study in underway looking at St. John's wort for the treatment of minor depression.

The Food and Drug Administration issued a Public Health Advisory on February 10, 2000. It stated that St. John's wort appears to affect an important metabolic pathway that is used by many drugs prescribed to treat conditions such as heart disease, depression, seizures, certain cancers, and rejection of transplants. Therefore, health care providers should alert their patients about these potential drug interactions. Any herbal supplement should be taken only after consultation with the doctor or other health care provider.


In mild to moderate cases of depression, psychotherapy is also a treatment option. Some short-term (10 to 20 week) therapies have been very effective in several types of depression. "Talking" therapies help patients gain insight into and resolve their problems through verbal give-and-take with the therapist. "Behavioral" therapies help patients learn new behaviors that lead to more satisfaction in life and "unlearn" counter-productive behaviors. Research has shown that two short-term psychotherapies, interpersonal and cognitive-behavioral, are helpful for some forms of depression. Interpersonal therapy works to change interpersonal relationships that cause or exacerbate depression. Cognitive-behavioral therapy helps change negative styles of thinking and behaving that may contribute to the depression.

Electroconvulsive Therapy

For individuals whose depression is severe or life threatening or for those who cannot take antidepressant medication, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is useful.11 This is particularly true for those with extreme suicide risk, severe agitation, psychotic thinking, severe weight loss or physical debilitation as a result of physical illness. Over the years, ECT has been much improved. A muscle relaxant is given before treatment, which is done under brief anesthesia. Electrodes are placed at precise locations on the head to deliver electrical impulses. The stimulation causes a brief (about 30 seconds) seizure within the brain. The person receiving ECT does not consciously experience the electrical stimulus. At least several sessions of ECT, usually given at the rate of three per week, are required for full therapeutic benefit.

Treating Recurrent Depression

Even when treatment is successful, depression may recur. Studies indicate that certain treatment strategies are very useful in this instance. Continuation of antidepressant medication at the same dose that successfully treated the acute episode can often prevent recurrence. Monthly interpersonal psychotherapy can lengthen the time between episodes in patients not taking medication.


Reaping the benefits of treatment begins by recognizing the signs of depression. The next step is to be evaluated by a qualified professional. Although depression can be diagnosed and treated by primary care physicians, often the physician will refer the patient to a psychiatrist, psychologist, clinical social worker, or other mental health professional. Treatment is a partnership between the patient and the health care provider. An informed consumer knows her treatment options and discusses concerns with her provider as they arise.

If there are no positive results after 2 to 3 months of treatment, or if symptoms worsen, discuss another treatment approach with the provider. Getting a second opinion from another health or mental health professional may also be in order
Here, again, are the steps to healing:

o Check your symptoms against the list on page.

o Talk to a health or mental health professional.

o Choose a treatment professional and a treatment approach with which you feel comfortable.

o Consider yourself a partner in treatment and be an informed consumer.

o If you are not comfortable or satisfied after 2 to 3 months, discuss this with your provider. Different or additional treatment may be recommended.

o If you experience a recurrence, remember what you know about coping with depression and don't shy away from seeking help again. In fact, the sooner a recurrence is treated, the shorter its duration will be.

Depressive illnesses make you feel exhausted, worthless, helpless, and hopeless. Such feelings make some people want to give up. It is important to realize that these negative feelings are part of the depression and will fade as treatment begins to take effect.

Along with professional treatment, there are other things you can do to help yourself get better. Some people find participating in support groups very helpful. It may also help to spend some time with other people and to participate in activities that make you feel better, such as mild exercise or yoga. Just don't expect too much from yourself right away. Feeling better takes time.


If unsure where to go for help, ask your family doctor, OB/GYN physician, or health clinic for assistance. You can also check the Yellow Pages under "mental health," "health," "social services," "suicide prevention," "crisis intervention services," "hotlines," "hospitals," or "physicians" for phone numbers and addresses. In times of crisis, the emergency room doctor at a hospital may be able to provide temporary help for an emotional problem and will be able to tell you where and how to get further help.

Listed below are the types of people and places that will make a referral to, or provide, diagnostic and treatment services.

o Family doctors

o Mental health specialists such as psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, or mental health counselors

o Health maintenance organizations

o Community mental health centers

o Hospital psychiatry departments and outpatient clinics

o University- or medical school-affiliated programs

o State hospital outpatient clinics

o Family service/social agencies

o Private clinics and facilities

o Employee assistance programs

o Local medical and/or psychiatric societies

Best Compiled Tips For Pain Management During Pregnancy!

During pregnancy, labor pains are unbearable for many women, especially those enjoying luxurious lifestyles. The pregnant lady is between life and death at the time of delivery. Any untoward incidence can happen if proper care is not taken to manage the labor. Nowadays, lots of women experience pain throughout the nine months and more precisely at the time of child birth. Mostly, pains in the stomach, back, and legs happen frequently. The lifestyle of the lady contributes a lot to the frequent occurrence of the back pain and early labor.

Take Precautions
The doctor suggests you numerous recommendations and remedies for taking care of these discomforts during different pregnancy stages. It is always better to take precautions rather than painkiller pills during such circumstances. It is widely acknowledged that women that lead luxurious lifestyle experience more labor pains than those who adequately do a workout daily. So, make a habit to do small and less tiresome exercises on daily basis. Sometimes, the inexperienced nurses take these pains as true labor pains and create a much miserable conditions for both the child and the mother. Not every pain is an indication of the child birth and hence, you should carefully manage the pains with respect to the time and accordingly involve the hospital staff.

Understand and Evaluate Pains
The actual labor pain starts form the spine or back and spreads all around. The fake labor pain emerges from the abdomen and is irregular. It is of utmost importance to evaluate the pains during the pregnancy. There are several reasons that attribute to a difficult delivery of the child. The false labor is one of them. The untrained nurses and hospital staff misjudge the type of the pain and create unwarranted tense situations for the whole family. It is very crucial to evaluate the correlation between the type of pain and the pregnancy stage before coming to any conclusion.

Avoid These Factors For Easy Delivery
Some important factors that relate directly to a tiresome and difficult child birth are listed here;
1. If you feel constipation, then it can lead to troubles during the delivery of the child. So, you should take remedies for treatment of constipation.
2. The urinary bladder should be empty. If you feel like urinating then do so as often as you wish.
3. The size and position of the head of the child in the womb is also one of the factors that determine the level of pains that you will experience during the delivery.

In the condition of actual labor, you should walk slowly in the room. This is going to benefit you a lot in bearing the pain. This exercise facilitates the easy delivery of the child and considerably relieves you from the back pain.

In order to deliver the baby with minimal discomfort, it is advisable that every day of the pregnancy be managed carefully and enthusiastically.

Pregnancy - 10 Sure-Shot Signs Indicative Of A Positive Pregnancy

Should you ask any married woman what brings an ultimate sense of fulfillment, she would probably reply, "carrying one's developing child within one's womb"! But there is a big "BUT" to this desire too - the timing has to be exactly right for a pregnancy!

Just one missed monthly period may create a feeling of panic about untimely motherhood in some women, while regular monthly cycles may worry others who are desirous of having a baby. So, how does a woman find a surefire answer to her question - "Am I going to have a baby?"

Well, experts on such matters have narrowed down the 'signs of pregnancy' to about 10. The woman who is 'feeling that she is going to be a mother' can check for any of them. A note of warning - it is possible that in rare cases, a woman may not be able to find any of these signs at all. Also, the various signs differ from one woman to another.

(1) The first question put forth by any gynecologist is, "Have you missed your period?" Now this will bring a positive answer from those females who have been having regular menses all their life. What about those women whose cycles have never been regular? It is definitely hard for them to distinguish between an irregular cycle and a missed period.

(2) Some women experience such regularity in their menstrual cycles that they are faultlessly correct to the date every month. So they can consider a 'urine pregnancy test' even if their cycle is delayed by one day. This test is so accurate that a positive result can be expected within a fortnight after fertilization! More accurate is the 'blood pregnancy test', which indicates a result within a week and a half after fertilization.

(3) If a woman has conceived, she is going to feel 'nauseous' for no reason at all and even have 'vomiting spells' one week after conceiving.

(4) The 'basal body temperature' does come down before the menstrual cycle actually begins, but rises once ovulation takes place. If the temperature does not come back to normal after the cycle, the woman is enceinte.

(5) Different hormones are released in high quantities, tending to cause the intestines to relax and bring about 'constipation' effects.

(6) If fertilization has taken place, the newly-formed embryo settles against the uterine wall roughly a week to 10 days later. So 'spotting' can take place. The color is light pink, unlike regular menstrual bleeding. And as the uterus is getting itself readied into the correct position to accommodate the growing fetus, the mother-to-be begins to experience 'cramping'.

(7) The 'areolar areas' (the rings of color around the nipples) tend to become larger and darker, indicating positive pregnancy. The minute bumps present here and there in these areas may also become larger in size and their number may increase.

(8) Three weeks into pregnancy, the 'breasts and nipples' begin to feel tender.

(9) Carrying the weight of a baby that is growing day by day, as well as managing all the bodily changes is not an easy task for the woman with child. The first 2 to 2-1/2 months can be quite 'wearisome'.

(10) Lastly, pregnancy brings about 'urinary urgency'. The reasons attributed to this are'the pressure being exerted on the bladder by an enlarging uterus, as well as more blood (somewhere around 35% to 60%) being sent to the kidneys on account of hormonal secretions, dilating blood vessels and pressure of blood flow.

The Traumatic Aftereffects of Difficult Childbirth Experiences Misunderstood by Doctors

Many women have difficulty giving birth and have been traumatized by this sometimes life-threatening experience. Trauma after a troubling birth experience can have a devastating impact on the post partum or post natal period. Birth trauma can be caused by multiple factors and is usually accompanied with: blame, shame or guilt. Trauma after childbirth leaves the same sense of post traumatic stress that can occur in any other unhealed traumatic situation. The aftereffects of Post Traumatic Response (PTR) are both emotional and physical ailments, trouble bonding with the child, failing marriages and a fear of having more children.

Women often say, "I'm not sure if my case is severe enough." But then they say they're still having recurring nightmares nine years after the birth of their child...or that they've never bonded to their child. Some women who think they haven't had any of the symptoms are the ones who are the most severely traumatized.

The symptoms of PTR include classic post traumatic stress disorder symptoms such as hyper-vigilance, nightmares, anxiety, depression and heightened startle response. Also, there's usually disturbance in the sexual relationship with the partner. Sometimes it's due to a physical condition--fourth degree peritoneal tears, a fractured pelvis, etc.
Part of the problem is that these women are often misdiagnosed as having postpartum depression. They have anxiety, depression, and they're very fearful--That's usually all a doctor asks and that's all the women say.

But the symptomatology won't match PTR unless the professional asks the right questions. Questions specifically relating to PTR are:

o Is there an increase in your startle response?

o Has your sense of safety been impaired/shattered?

o Are you avoiding people or places related to childbirth?

o Do the smells associated with childbirth catapult you back to the delivery room? When a woman can't bear to go past the hospital or go to that doctor, or won't talk about the delivery, is a strong indication that she is suffering with PTR to childbirth.

o Have you experienced flashbacks, irritability, panic attacks, hyper-vigilance, nightmares, avoidance, anger, mood swings, numbed emotions, difficulty sleeping, disconnected from self, baby and partner, unexplained sadness, indifference and a sense that something isn't 'right.'

Like Post Traumatic Stress, Post Traumatic Response to childbirth needs professional attention specifically focused on healing the trauma. The Association for Pre- & Perinatal Psychology and Health - P.O. Box 1398, Forestville, CA 95436 Maureen Wolfe, C.N.M., Executive Director Telephone/Fax: 707-887-2838 can provide referrals and information.

Foods For A Fertility Diet

Infertility is an issue that millions of couples struggle with everyday therefore there are many doctors and other sources out there that claim to have the solution. For many, infertility ends with fertility treatments but for some, more homeopathic remedies are sought. There are some ways that you can boost your fertility when trying to conceive that do not require medical intervention and one of them is changing your diet.

For those that are struggling with infertility, it may be necessary to come up with a fertility diet that works for you and your body type. When trying to become pregnant, dieting, consuming alcohol, and other substances may make it impossible to conceive. For those trying to become pregnant it is often necessary to increase caloric intake, alter the foods that you are eating, and figure out what makes you feel good.

When it comes to dieting, it may be detrimental to be eating a low calorie diet that is restricted in fatty acids as it will take essential nutrients and fatty acids for a fetus to take hold and properly grow within a womb. Whole grains, full fat dairy products, monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, Omega-3 Fatty Acids, fresh fruits and vegetables, and plant proteins can all help to increase your fertility. Each of these foods has benefits of their own that can help you to conceive.

Whole grains help to promote healthy insulin function as they do not greatly affect your blood sugar, having healthy insulin levels can help increase fertility. Dairy products have long since been a solution for uncomfortable menstrual symptoms as it helps to ease ovulation which is essential for conception. Fats like monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, and Omega 3s help to reduce inflammation and can also help with insulin levels. Fresh fruits and vegetables give you essential antioxidants that make conception bit easier and can help reduce birth defects and other pregnancy problems. Lastly, plant protein, this is high in iron which is essential for fertility and can help make conceiving much easier.

Using these foods together in a healthy diet can help you to conceive and can also help to insure a healthy pregnancy if continued through the duration. You can find recipes and diets online or in health magazines and books. You may also want to talk to your doctor about vitamins and other food additives that may help increase fertility naturally rather than using fertility treatments.

Please Mum, Can I Have Some More?

It's dinner time. Everyone is seated at the table. The entrée this evening is grilled chicken, wild rice and delicious, fresh mixed veggies. You've been slaving in the kitchen for who knows how long to make sure dinner is delicious, healthy and pleasing to the eye. And your kids want nothing to do with it. Depending on your parenting style, there are a few ways the rest of the scenario plays out: bargaining, force-feeding, table dismissal or downright pleading with your kids so they'll get a little fat on their bones. Sound familiar?

If you're tired of the evening (or morning or afternoon) battle of the wills over what's on the table, perhaps it's time for a different approach. Anyone who has ever observed a child knows that they cooperate much better when they have a say in the matter. This is especially true with food. Children, like all humans, need to feel valued and most are eager to share their opinions when someone asks. So, rather than bearing the burden yourself, get some help from the kids and they'll be much more likely to devour what you prepare.

Make a menu
Making a menu is a really fun way for your kids to be involved in meal planning. This may be something that you do already, but involving your kids can turn a mundane task into a fun learning opportunity. Little kids, especially can use this as a fun craft time and create their own restaurant-style menu so they can visualize their choices and feel more involved. Sit down at the table together and brainstorm. What are your favorite meals? What are theirs? Maybe your kids love to eat squash but you rarely buy it or maybe they'd be more willing to eat corn if it was served with mashed potatoes instead of the rice that usually goes with it.

This will be a great time to research new recipes together and try out something new. Listening to each other is key so you'll know exactly what healthy foods they enjoy. This doesn't mean that you have to only eat what they want, but why not let them plan an entire meal once a week? If it's not as healthy as you want it to be, so what, that's what the rest of the week is for. A little give goes a long way.

Cook together
This requires some patience. Depending on the size of your offspring, their level of involvement can range from pouring some stuff into a bowl, to full preparation of a side dish. Not only does this give you some fun bonding time together, but they'll also be learning. This is a good time to practice reading and fractions. Not to mention the fact that cooking is an extremely valuable skill that all people should master before leaving the nest. Most kids take pride in things they've made and are eager to share it with others; food is no exception. Just prepare yourself before you start - this will probably not go as quickly or as cleanly as you would like. But it will all be worth it when they dig into their special dish and you don't have to nag about eating "just one more bite."

Grow your own
Not only do kids like to cook their own food, but they like to grow their own food. Nurturing a seed into a delicious, healthy vegetable provides a sense of pride and accomplishment. They'll be excited to see the whole cycle of seed to food. Not only that, but fresh produce usually tastes so much better than food that has been trucked in from hundreds of miles away. That boost in flavor alone might just whet your children's' appetite for more greens. If growing outside isn't possible, research indoor growing at the library together. Or take them grocery shopping and give them their own list of items to hunt for. This is a great time to teach them about smart shopping and staying within a budget. Learning opportunities abound when kids are included in household decisions.

Whether it's a short trip to the grocery store or a fun, menu-making craft at the table, getting kids involved in family meals is a snap. Not only will it be a learning opportunity for them but it can be a great stress-reducer for you when they eagerly eat the meal that they helped to prepare. They might not devour peas and onions just yet, but with time, I'm sure you'll notice a change in attitude at the family table.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Transverse Abdominis - The Spanx of Your Abdominal Muscles

Spring is here and summer is around the corner. Many people equate this time of the year with beautiful weather, vacation, warmer temperatures, less clothing, and the beach. I think you know where I am going with this. We are entering the dreaded bathing suit season!

If you are looking to firm up your stomach, prevent or reduce low back pain, prepare for childbirth or postpartum recovery, or just want to look good on the beach, continue reading. The following article will teach you the importance of strengthening your transverse abdominis muscle so that you can begin flattening your stomach this week.

Are you wondering what the transverse abdominis is?

The transverse abdominis, also known as the TVA muscle, is the deepest innermost layer of all abdominal muscles and is located underneath your rectus abdominis (the six-pack stomach muscle). The transverse abdominis muscle runs horizontally across the abdomen and is recruited almost anytime a limb moves.

The transverse abdominis assists in the breathing process by assisting in exhalation and helps compress the internal organs. However, its main function is to activate the core musculature and stabilize the pelvis and low back prior to movement of the body. It acts as a natural "weight belt" or muscular girdle by resisting flexion of the lumbar spine. In return, the TVA keeps the cervical spine in a neutral position during core training and helps to improve posture, muscle balance, and stabilization. A strong TVA provides a solid foundation for any movement.

So why care about the transverse abdominis?

Since the TVA acts as a muscular girdle, it stabilizes your pelvis and provides more support against outside forces. It protects against repetitive physical stresses from various motions your body makes such as twisting, bending, running, squatting, etc. A strong TVA will help you transfer force more efficiently through the muscles, rather than through your back and joints, thus aiding in the prevention and reduction of aches and pains caused by related forces.

That all sounds good, but what about that bikini/beach ready body that was mentioned in the first part of this article?

Not only does a developed transverse abdominis muscle help protect your back and joints during movement, but a strong and well developed TVA also equates to a tighter, slimmer waist.

How does the TVA aid in a flatter stomach and what is the difference between the rectus abdominis and the transverse abdominis muscles?

If you have ever seen a fit individual with a washboard or "six-pack" stomach, they most likely have very developed rectus abdominis muscles. The rectus abdominis muscle is the most superficial of all abdominal muscles. It runs vertically and has the main role of flexing the body forward. Whenever these muscles are developed, they grow outward. This can be good, but depending on your total body fat percentage, this can also be bad. If you have a very low body fat percentage, this can create the infamous six pack stomach look. However, if you have a higher body fat content and a layer of fat over these muscles, your stomach may look as if it bulges outward. It may not even matter that your rectus abdominis muscles are well developed and strong. If there is fat over these muscles, you will look more bulky in your stomach region. Building your rectus abdominis muscle and not focusing on strengthening other areas is analogous to letting out your belt.

While the rectus abdominis muscle responds to strengthening exercises by developing outward, the transverse abdominis muscle develops inward and in effect, as mentioned earlier, is analogous to tightening your belt or wearing a muscular girdle. It is like the Spanx of the abdominal muscles! So, regardless of your current body fat percentage, developing the transverse abdominis muscle will help flatten your tummy and ultimately help you feel better in your clothes. For those who have a lesser body fat percentage, a developed TVA muscle will create excellent definition and frame around your stomach so that you will look and feel better without looking bulky or too muscular. Remember, this is true as long as you eat a well balanced, holistic and nutritional diet geared towards your body-type, participate in cardiovascular activities 4-5 days per week, and strength train your entire body, not just one part.

What causes a weak transverse abdominis and what are some problems associated with weakness in this muscle?

In many cases, inactivity and a sedentary lifestyle can cause weakness in the transverse abdominis. Surgical procedures that involve cutting of the abdominal wall can also create a dysfunctional TVA. Caesarian sections, hysterectomies, hernias, and child-birth are just some of the procedures that can be responsible for this weakness. During such surgeries, the muscles, nerves, and tissues are cut causing a loss of neurological impulse. After these surgeries, your brain will try to recruit your stomach muscles to wake them up, but they oftentimes do not answer. A lack of neural drive to the core muscles can create the belly to push outward, creating a "pooch belly." This pooch belly will be more pronounced the weaker your TVA is and/or the heavier you are as an individual.

A weak TVA can further create poor body movement quality and instability, which oftentimes leads to early degeneration of bones and joints. Exercises geared towards strengthening the TVA muscle aid in reconnecting the nervous and muscular systems so that the stomach muscles can function properly again and rid of the pooch belly.

Another cause of a weak transverse abdominis is improper training of the core. For the vast majority of us, abdominal training has involved flexion and extension (bending) movements that focus almost exclusively on the rectus abdominus. For many years, people have been taught to train the wrong muscle during abdominal exercises. How many times have you been told to focus on flexion and extension exercises to strengthen your core? By doing crunches and other bending exercises for your stomach muscles, you are essentially only shortening the rectus abdominis and in effect pushing out the abdomen, not pulling it in, which can cause problems if you are not also training your TVA.

How do you get a stronger transverse abdominis?

If you dread or despise crunches, you are in luck. To develop and strengthen the transverse abdominis, you will not have to do any flexion or extension exercises. To build strength in your TVA muscle, you will need to know how to activate it through a series of "draw-in" abdominal maneuvers. "Drawing in your abdominal muscles" is a conscious process and takes a lot of practice, but once you get it, you will see great results.

For many people, learning to draw in the abdominals is a difficult process. Most people are used to working their core by developing the rectus abdominis muscles through conventional methods such as crunches, sit-ups, and other flexion/extension exercises which push out the abdominal wall. The concept of drawing in is the exact opposite of rectus abdominis training. It is the process where you pull in your abdominal wall.

The lying draw-in maneuver is just one of several exercises that can be used to train the TVA, the most important abdominal muscle in your body. It is a great one to add to your fitness program, as it will help you fine-tune your body and abs so that you can feel confident and sexy in your clothes, bathing suit, bikini and swim trunks this summer! To learn how to do this TVA exercise, type in "lying draw in maneuver" into your favorite search engine and click on the links listed for more information.

Good luck,

Recurrent Miscarriage, Fertility Issues and Post Natal Depression - Find Out How to Address These

Over the years I have discussed thyroid antibodies with patients and how it relates to their fertility. When suggested to some physicians that these should be tested due to various studies about thyroid antibodies and fertility issues, I have heard them say, "Not worth the time or money. If TSH is normal, then thyroid antibodies can't be elevated."

But now, to my pleasant surprise in the New York Times there was an article by a prominent doctor in the United States that has been studying the relationship of thyroid antibodies to fertility issues for years. Apparently he sees in a certain percentage of patients that the thyroid antibodies can be elevated with normal TSH and seem to be correlated to miscarriage as well. His conclusions have been the same conclusions in several studies around the world.

How they treat this issue in one study out of Italy, I believe, was with thyroid medication, i.e. thyroxine. This treatment changed the miscarriage rate of those with elevated thyroid antibodies to similar numbers seen in women who do not have thyroid antibodies. So a huge difference was made through this treatment.

However, its important to look at other reasons for elevated thyroid antibodies and address those to not only improve fertility but to optimize thyroid health for the future. If thyroid antibodies are present for a long period of time (i.e. if the body continues to make antibodies which attack the thyroid, a disease called Hashimotos) then the thyroid is likely to fail and need medical support for life or in some cases the thyroid is surgically removed. So if you can do things to avoid surgical removal and the failure of the thyroid why not atleast try.

Other areas that should be assessed and addressed along with or instead of utilizing thyroid hormones like thyroxine, are diet and adrenal health.

It is common for gluten sensitivity or gluten intolerance i.e. Coeliac Disease to be associated with elevated thyroid antibodies. So if your antibodies are elevated, make sure you remove gluten from your diet.

It has also been demonstrated that adrenal insufficiency and thyroid antibodies are associated with one another. Your adrenals sit on top of your kidneys and help you respond to stress. But too much emotional and or physiological stress can take its toll on these endocrine glands. Therefore supporting and promoting optimal adrenal health with stress management, herbs and other nutritional supplements is extremely important in improving thyroid health, cardiovascular health and fertility as well as post partum health too.

If you haven't had them already, have the thyroid antibody tests (there are 2 or 3), TSH, FT4, and FT3 to assess thyroid function and a morning serum cortisol test to begin to assess adrenal function. If these levels are on the middle to bottom half of the normal range then further tests would be warranted OR if you are fine in the morning and exhausted by the middle of the day then further assessment of adrenals through saliva tests are also warranted.

Remember your cortisol levels are associated with your progesterone levels (this is true of thyroid hormones as well). Therefore even if you don't have elevated thyroid antibodies if your progesterone levels are not optimal or the lining of the uterus is thin, the thyroid and adrenals should be assessed and addressed if needed.

By improving the health of the thyroid (in both men and women) you can improve fertility, decrease the risk of postpartum depression and decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease in the long term. Sounds like a good plan to me.

Reiki and Miracle Pregnancies

Reiki is quite popular and most people commonly experience during Reiki treatment a sense of peace and relaxation, often combined with a pleasant sense of security and of being enveloped by a faint wave of energy. But even this is not experienced at all times. Therefore, this might be used for those wanting miracle pregnancies.

It is a form of Japanese or Asian medicine. When someone is treated with Reiki, they are taken back to a state of unification with the harmony of the universe. This harmony, which is capable of reaching the smallest of its cells allows it to become full and healthy again, thus enhancing the woman's natural ability to heal itself. Thus, it is beneficial to couples with infertility problems looking for miracle pregnancies. Reiki is both powerful and gentle. Often, when energy levels are low or blocked, the immune system is weakened and more susceptible to disease.

Reiki energizes women preparing for miracle pregnancies on several levels simultaneously:

-In the physical plane through the warmth of hands
-On the mental plane through the thoughts
-On the emotional level through love

Reiki can be used by those hoping to conceive as it can help relieve pain and illness. Not only may it help in achieving miracle pregnancies, but it can also help in skin problems, flu, fatigue, backache and headaches. This form of Japanese medicine is based on allowing the body to correct itself, heal itself, and provide strength to the immune system to help the body fight disease. Reiki helps the body to help restore physical balance by removing blockages. Some women may fail to get pregnant or achieve miracle pregnancies because of a blockage in their fallopian tubes. Reiki can also rid the body of toxins that have been stored.

Reiki encourages the examination of the woman's emotional life, releasing negative emotions while collecting positive and love, and self-confidence. Reiki flows to where it is needed in a healthy, balanced and natural way. Imbalances in the body can affect the health and can be caused by many situations that occur in our lives, such as emotional or physical trauma, negative thoughts and feelings such as fear, anxiety, worry, doubt or anger, nutritional depletion, destructive lifestyle behavior, bad relationships, and self-neglect. Many doctors who are not naturopathic will also tell you how important your emotional and mental health can be for your physical health.

When women are hoping to achieve miracle pregnancies and receive Reiki during pregnancy, she will find this is beneficial for herself and the baby who will develop when it is conceived. The steps within this form of Asian medicine can help women receive the strength and health as they continue to try for miracle pregnancies. Thus, it can also be used when it is time to give birth, as it helps develop labor more naturally and stress-free.

Small Businesses: Why Outsourcing to a Virtual Assistant Can Save You Time and Money

When you become self-employed, your business becomes your responsibility and its failure or success rests with you. When you've been used to being an employee, the mental shift in becoming a business owner can be therefore be quite overwhelming. As well as bringing in fee-paying work, you have to also be the managing director, the marketing director, the administrator, the IT expert, the graphic designer and the person who makes the coffee. One way to lessen the load is to learn how to outsource.

You probably started a business because you're good at offering a service or a product or you spotted a gap in the market. You probably didn't start a business because you have a burning desire to spend hours doing paperwork! Why not free up your precious time so you can spend it actually making some money, by delegating the everyday running of your business to a trusted assistant?

You won't have to worry about providing a desk, or any office equipment, or training or even tea or coffee! Unlike office-based secretaries or temporary workers, virtual assistants work from their own well-equipped home offices. If using technology isn't your strong point, there's no need to worry: a good VA will be up to speed on the latest equipment and software, and how best to use it. You won't have to worry about, bureaucratic red tape and employment law issues. Nor will you have to pay your assistant's National Insurance contributions, sick pay, holiday pay or maternity pay. Even if you only want a one-off project completed, most VAs will be able to work ad-hoc hours and charge you accordingly - there's no need to get tied into a monthly retainer contract if you only want a few hours of office support.

Not sure whether a virtual assistant would be able to help you? VAs provide a plethora of services, many of which are included in the list below:

Typing and transcription

Word processing

Creating and formatting

Excel spreadsheets

Desktop publishing

Scanning documents

Diary management

Making and receiving calls

Making and receiving telephone and internet bookings

Mail merges and mail-shots

Database management

Content creation and management

Copywriting and copyediting

Proof reading and editing

Email marketing and newsletter creation

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)


Article writing

Website design and management

Social media management

Book keeping and accounting

Online marketing

Setting up and maintaining affiliate schemes

When you find a VA who's a good 'fit' for your business, you will be able to have the same person working with you on different projects and who gets to know their business as well as you do. Your virtual assistant has a vested interest in helping you become successful: the more work you get, the more work your VA gets!

Maternity Leave And Health Insurance

It can be extremely difficult to obtain; to find out your options, you really need to speak with an experienced health insurance broker. It's not totally impossible to obtain, but there are some qualifications and restrictions that aren't understood by many insurance applicants.

Why is maternity leave difficult to obtain? If you happen to be the beneficiary of group health insurance that has maternity leave as one of the benefits, then you are in fairly good shape. However, if you are searching for individual insurance, you're well aware that maternity leave often isn't covered under common insurance plans. Again it is not totally impossible to get, you just need to be aware of the parameters of your coverage. Coverage for maternity leave is difficult to obtain, as many insurance companies would prefer to decline offering this kind of benefit on an individual basis as opposed to a group medical insurance situation.

Employers are required to treat pregnant women the same as other workers who can't perform their usual work for a period of time. For example, if the boss allows a worker medical leave for a broken arm or pneumonia, pregnant women must get leave under the same terms and conditions. Leave of this nature is protected under the auspices of a federal act, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

Note that the federal act does two things. First, it requires certain employers to provide parenting, family and medical leave for qualified employees. Second, it sets the cap for unpaid medical leave at a maximum of twelve weeks for qualified employees. The key is being qualified. A person must be working at a company with 50 or more workers, and must have worked there for at least one year and at least 1,250 hours during the year before taking leave.

This kind of leave does apply equally to men or women and covers situations like birth or adoption, acquiring foster children, taking care of a seriously ill family member or dealing with a serious health situation. Those using FMLA leave provisions are not entitled to the same benefits while on leave; however, benefits acquired prior to the leave stay with the employee.

To find out how an individual may apply for maternity leave benefits, as well as the qualifications and requirements, contact your local insurance broker for information.

40 Weeks Of Pregnancy Information - An Overview In The Form Of A Week By Week Guide

Week by week pregnancy information is necessary and such information helps the would-be mothers and her partner to cope with this exciting period of their life. There are many anxieties and issues a would-be mother confronts during the pregnancy cycle and a few weeks beyond that. If the women have week by week information related to all aspects of pregnancy, the pregnant woman and her family is aware about the various physical and emotional changes that are expected during the stipulated time frame.

Pregnancy Calculator Week By Week

The pregnancy calculation, for the above-mentioned purposes, is done such that the pregnancy weeks are counted from the first day of LMP i.e. the Last Menstrual Period. Therefore, as per this calculation procedure, in the first two weeks of pregnancy, there actually is no pregnancy. The eggs do not fertilize till about two weeks and the baby is therefore actually expected within 38 weeks of fertilization.

Stages Of Pregnancy

The 40 weeks of pregnancy are divided into three stages viz., first trimester pregnancy, second trimester pregnancy and third trimester pregnancy. The first trimester includes weeks 1 to 12, the second section includes weeks 13 to 26 and the last trimester stretches form week 27 to the day of delivery, which is approximately around week 40. The maximum a pregnancy period could stretch is week 42.

All 3 sections of the pregnancy wheel are divided keeping in view the specific characteristics shared by the weeks. The first few weeks, for example are considered as extremely sensitive and therefore are marked as high-risk weeks. The second trimester charts out the baby's development in a spectacular way. The third trimester, besides continuing to provide information about the baby's development, also prominently includes the drastic changes the mother's body undergoes in an attempt to prepare for final pregnancy delivery.

Expected Pregnancy Due Date

There is no precise pregnancy calculator that can perhaps chart out the exact pregnancy due date. All that pregnancy due date calculators can do is possibly generate an expected date of delivery and in only very few instances is this pregnancy due date correct. There are various circumstantial factors affecting pregnancy birth and even the most learned of health care practitioners would not predict any specific date.

The Overall Structure Of Weekly Pregnancy Information

The ideal week-by-week pregnancy information or guide should cover the entire 40 weeks and each week should enumerate the minutest development the baby undergoes. The information further should include the changes mothers experience and the way their body transforms to give birth to a newborn. The 40 weeks of pregnancy further touch upon various pregnancy and childbirth related issues like, what kind of maternity clothes to buy, pregnancy exercise, baby shower favors, early pregnancy symptoms, how to get rid of stretch marks, etc. Concisely a good week-by-week pregnancy guide should encapsulate all that your pregnancy puts you through.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Early Pregnancy Symptoms To Support Pregnancy Doubts

If you are trying to get pregnant, early pregnancy symptoms are your best guide. If this is your first pregnancy, we will help you pinpoint the early signs of pregnancy so that you can perform a pregnancy test and arrange a meeting with your doctor.

If you can't wait no longer to find out, here are some of the early pregnancy symptoms that you should watch out for:

The most obvious early pregnancy symptom is often the changes in menstrual cycle. For some women, they will notice that their period is delayed. This is a reliable measure if you have a regular period. This period is not always a sign of pregnancy but it can be for many women who notice it if they monitor their periods. Missing a period can also be caused by stress, medications, or hormonal imbalance.

Headache is also common during pregnancy. This develops when the growing size uterus starts compressing arteries in your legs and causes your blood pressure to drop causing headaches. In the first weeks of pregnancy, a woman may feel fainting. This symptom is caused by low blood sugar that because it is used by the embryo as source of food inside the womb. Take healthy snacks to avoid fainting.

Heightened sensitivity to aroma is early pregnancy symptom. It is also known as food aversion which makes you loathe some of your favorite aroma. If you have this symptom and smells any of the fumes that triggers it such as gas, mowed grass, different types of foods, cigarette smokes etc., may trigger nausea and vomiting. This usually disappears on the second trimester of pregnancy.

Another classical early sign of pregnancy is breasts changes. This symptom may cause your breast to increase in size and sensitive to touch. The areola or the brown skin around your nipples may also become darker and bigger.

If you experienced some of the early pregnancy symptoms, you can start performing a pregnancy test, which too you can conduct yourself with the help of a home kit. If you are doubtful of the results, it is always the best choice to consult your doctor.

You should go to the clinic and test yourself if you want to be sure that you are pregnant instead of relying to an early pregnancy symptom. There are many pregnancy tests that are reliable and can be performed at home without the help of any paramedics. These tests are so sensitive that it reveals pregnancy by dipping a strip in to the first morning urine of women who has conceived just 15-20 days ago.

Postnatal Care for Dogs

Your dog is fully capable of caring for both itself and for its pups, after birthing. However, you should do what you can to help lessen the strain, as birthing for dogs is as tiring and draining as it is for humans. Think about it this way: if you had just given birth, you'd probably like to have a little help and support!

The most important thing to do after your dog gives birth is to bring your dog and the puppies to the vet. Going to the vet early on can save you and your dog a lot of grief later on. The vet will check for complications and possible problems after birthing.

After your dog has been declared fit and healthy by your vet, you should bring the dog home and continue to monitor its activities closely. Your dog will be easily tired so you should restrain it from going out, but not prevent it from doing any exercise. You will need to continue to feed your dog properly, and your dog will still require more than the food it was accustomed to before it got pregnant. So, feed your dog with the right amount of dog food, and do not neglect to give your dog plenty of water either. Give it time, and your dog will gradually start to recover its previous energy levels.

New mothers will feel the urge to defecate more often than normal, so you should be sure to keep your dog's kennel clean, with a ready newspaper on which to defecate. You also should not neglect brushing your dog's hair regularly, because she will probably be shedding more hair than usual.

Mentally And Emotionally Prepare For Your New Baby

New Mother's-To-Be worry about all the wrongs things. They worry about getting fat, they worry about how they will raise their baby, they worry about their baby's being ugly, they worry about which diapers are best, and they worry about finding the right toys and clothes for the baby. Their thoughts are self-centered.

More than anything else, prepare yourself mentally and emotionally. This new life will place demands on you like you've never experienced before. Your thought pattern will instantly change from self to baby exclusively.

You are going to experience pain, frustration, loneliness, anger, and a myriad of unpleasant feelings. Some feelings will be hormonally base, and others situationally valid.

A new baby gives absolutely nothing back for all the care and work you put forth. The baby only takes. That's their job. This will continue for at least 4 to 6 full months. Will you have the fortitude, perseverance, and patience this requires? My aunt bluntly told me when I was pregnant with my first child that if you give the baby all you can when it's small, you'll save yourself heartache when it's older because sooner or later he or she will demand all you attention. Buckle down and get it done early.

A baby has built-in radar. If you're upset, the baby is upset. Even if you talk gently and quietly to the baby, but inside you're me, the baby will know. Will you be able to remain calm and loving inside when nothing but chaos surrounds you? Read everything you can that teaches you calming mental and physical techniques.

Your sense of who you are packs its bags and leaves for a very long time. Can your self-esteem handle this? Establish during your pregnancy who you are. Write down all that defines you. Place emphasis on the positive points. List your interests, accomplishments, and talents. You will be doing yourself a favor if you refer back to these lists when the new baby arrives, and you're feeling your identity slipping away. Keep a few items from your list active during the first few months with baby. If that means reaching out to others to simply lend a kind ear....Do it.

Religiously find a few minutes every day to focus on the positives that have occurred. Write them down. Set your goal for 5 per day. Make this a daily habit. It's your choice to either view this experience as a negative or positive.

You've heard this before; but, adequate sleep is everything. The old adage, "Ain't Nobody Happy When Momma Ain't Happy," is as true today as it has been since the beginning of time. I don't care what you have to do in order to find that extra hour or two...find it. Ask or demand, if necessary, your husband take over. He can do this. You honestly are not the only one capable of caring for baby. If possible, hire a sitter or ask a family member or friend for two hours whenever possible. Put the guilt away and care for yourself. A Super Mom is not a good mom. A Super Mom is an exhausted mom. Good moms are happy moms. Find that extra time for yourself.

If you find yourself avoiding your baby, thinking hurtful thoughts toward the baby or yourself, crying hours on end, or feeling seriously depressed, this is not normal. You may be suffering postpartum depression. Immediately seek professional help. You'll find you aren't alone, and there is excellent help available.

You've been told that with a new baby your life will never be the same. This is true; however, it's also true that no new day is identical to yesterday. Resist falling into the juvenile thought pattern of, "It's always going to be like this." Life constantly changes. Stay off the pity pot and move forward.

You will find that your husband will continue to expect your undivided attention. He simply doesn't get it. Accept this. It's normal and your best way to handle this is to give him attention in ways he doesn't expect. Have him sit alone with you on the sofa (even if it's for 5 minutes and snuggle all the while telling him he's the best thing that ever happened to you and how much you appreciate him; hug him unexpectedly; or, simply take ten quiet minutes and listen (with honest interest) to what's on his mind. He needs to feel acknowledged and validated. I'm not saying you will enjoy this, but he will feel less neglected and repay you with the extra hand you need. Dads are not moms and never will be. Their role with the new baby is quite different than yours. It never has been and never will be a 50/50 proposition.

Prepare yourself well if you're planning on returning to work after the baby is born. Make advance plans for baby's care. Know that leaving your baby in the care of someone else is going to hurt. Your baby is your heart with little arms and legs running out into this big old world. You can lessen the hurt by finding care for the baby with someone you trust and know is gentle and kind in spirit. Take ample time in finding the best place possible for baby so that you can do your job and not spend the entire day worrying.

Forget the extra pounds, the toys, the diapers, and the cute little clothes. You have a big job ahead and preparing well mentally and emotionally will go a long way toward making this new and exciting chapter of your life joyful and fulfilling.