Saturday, March 2, 2013

How to Take Care of Yourself While Pregnant - 3 Great Tips

If you are a woman who is pregnant, you need to know what you can do to protect your child and your own body from harm. Being pregnant means that you automatically have to start living differently in many different aspects, including what you eat, drink, and certain activities that are important to avoid. If you really want to make sure that you and your child are sheltered from harm, carefully review the information listed below.

1. One important thing for any pregnant woman to remember is that the food that goes in your body on a regular basis will have a profound effect on you and your baby. The healthier you eat, the better your chances will be of birthing a healthy baby boy or girl. Make sure to get plenty of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and wholegrain foods into your meals. This will keep things like morning sickness to a minimum. Pregnant women often get the urge to eat strange combinations of foods that might not be good for them, but try to resist at all costs.

2. Another important thing to consider is that the less you are out in the sun, the better. Even women who aren't pregnant are more likely than men to get skin cancer from being in the sun too much or a tanning bed, so avoid both of these as much as possible. If you must go outside on a sunny day for a prolonged period of time, always make sure that you wear the proper amount of sunblock on your skin.

3. Finally, it is important to just take it easy. The more you relax and rest at home, the better the entire process will be for you and your unborn child. Pregnant women who are 5 or 6 months into their pregnancy are often cautioned to take it easy as much as possible, because stress can have a very negative effect on both of your bodies.

Being a New Mother - How to Cope When You Are Exhausted and Depressed

Mothers, especially a new one, experience great joy when they cradle their newborn babies in their arms. No matter how painful the delivery process was and how tired she may be, a mother immediately yearns to bond with her baby and looks forward to the experience of motherhood.

Unfortunately, in many instances, the trip back from the hospital with the baby can also be the beginning of a nightmare for a new mother. When previously her thought of motherhood is centered on taking care of a cute and smiley little one, now, she may feel that she is being saddled with an 'uncontrollable' baby. Exhaustion and lack of sleep coupled with a fussy baby can easily trigger such a switch in emotions.

Sometimes, the problem is also compounded by the lack of help from the spouse, especially when he is not always home due to work commitments, resulting in the mother having to shoulder the burden of childcare on her own. This caused resentment to build up and together with the exhaustion, they become a potent combination for quarrels to take place. The downhill slide into further unhappiness and depression is but a step away in such a scenario.

If you are one of those mothers who is feeling this way, there are a few things that you can do to make the experience of motherhood more fulfilling.

1. Take the Initiative to Learn If you have a fussy baby and are at a loss on how to handle the situation, be proactive and search for solutions. For example, many babies like to be rocked to sleep and the moment you put them down in their cot, they will start crying incessantly. Take a step back and do not be consumed by anger or sadness. Instead look for the reason behind the problem and find out whether there are solutions that could possibly work for your baby. Talk to other parents and check if they have encountered the same problem before. Alternatively, the internet is a rich source of information and there are many websites that offer valuable advice on a wide range of issues when it comes to baby care. If you take the initiative to learn, you will have a better idea of what to expect and what you can do to cope, thus, lessening unnecessary pressure on yourself.

2. Be Flexible - We are all creatures of habit and sometimes, this may not necessarily be a good thing. For instance, you may have a list of chores that you need to do each morning but are now finding it difficult to squeeze in all of the tasks before your baby wakes up for the day. If that is the case, redo your list and move your chores around. There is no fixed rule to say that you have to do the laundry at a particular time of the day, is there? Similarly, if you have not vacuumed the floor for the third day in a row, so be it. If you are tired, get yourself some rest when your baby nods off and leave the not-so-urgent chores for another time. Try to be flexible and organize yourself around your baby's schedule.

3. Communicate with your Spouse We all know that communication is a vital ingredient in any relationship. But it is also something that is very easily overlooked, especially when a baby arrives, as our time and attention are now fully diverted towards the baby, sometimes to the exclusion of everything else. Therefore, you have to make time to talk to your spouse and tell him your feelings and difficulties, if any. Encourage him to be more involved in taking care of the baby and more importantly, learn to let go and let him take charge if he is willing.

4. Look at the Bright Side - If you are at the bottom now, then tell yourself that the only way to go is up. Be positive because the difficult moments do not last. After all, your baby will grow and all the problems that you are facing now will most probably not be there within months or even weeks. For example, if you are forced to wake up every two hours each night now to feed your baby, remind yourself that you will probably be waking up only once a night or even not at all, in another two or three months' time. The difficulties will disappear as time passes and before you know it, your child would have left babyhood behind to graduate into a toddler.

Yes, being a mother is not easy, what more if you are new to the task. But whatever negative feelings you may have, learn to put them aside. Do not dwell on them. Instead concentrate on bringing up your baby to the best of your ability by adopting the few suggestions above and/or whatever means that may be helpful. If you learn to enjoy your baby, you will find motherhood a much more pleasant and fulfilling experience.

Payroll Solutions - A Contractors Guide

Sometimes there is more to a Payment solution than meets the eye!
IR35 has added to the complexity of taxation legislation and forced many more contractors to seek specialist tax advice. Unfortunately, a lot of this advice can be misleading, offering short-term gains with high risks.

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) are actively investigating some of the practices used by contractors to minimise their tax payments (tax avoidance) and may well examine each of your contracts individually rather than take your earnings as a whole. Therefore, as a contractor you need to be very careful when you choose your payment solution.

Pay as You Earn (PAYE)

Avoids the entire IR35 headache and is the HMRC compliant standard. The PAYE system is a method of paying income tax. Your employer deducts tax from your wages or occupational pension before paying you your wages. Wages includes sick pay and maternity pay.

This means that you pay tax over the whole year, each time you are paid. Your employer is responsible for sending the tax on to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

Contractors that work through an employment agency and receive all income via PAYE
Agencies, only pay a reduced rate as they still have to pay out National Insurance, holiday and sick pay costs, together with the additional administrative burden of running a payroll and complying with current employment legislation.

Personal Service Companies (PSC) / Limited Companies

PSC's are commonly one man bands, processing income as part salary and dividend payments. In the past, contractors used this method to exploit tax loopholes and improve tax efficiency. Contractors set up a limited company and pay themselves via a minimum wage and dividends.

However, this method is now classed as risky because:

Contracts inside IR35 dividend payments are simply NOT viable anymore.
HMRC view minimum wage/dividend options as tax avoidance and may impose PAYE.
If there is no "goodwill" in the company, a contractor may be seen as receiving "disproportionate return on initial investment" and dividend will be taxable as PAYE.
(according to section 447 of the ITEPA, 2003)

Outside IR35: if a dividend payment takes a contractor over the 40% tax threshold they will face an end of year tax liability.

You will find many agencies and clients will not allow you to use this method until you've had your employment contract reviewed by a IR35 specialist, which can cost upwards of £150 per contract assessed.

Umbrella Company

An umbrella company acts as employer to independent contractors who work under a temporary contract, usually through an employment agency.

Since the introduction of the Managed Service Company (MSC) legislation in the budget 2007, the only way an independent contractor can comply with this requirement is to set up his or her own personal limited company or use an umbrella company.

An umbrella company issues invoices to the recruitment agency (or client) and, when payment of the invoice is made, will typically pay the contractor through PAYE (although historically the term has also been used for salary and dividend type payment structures).

Umbrella Companies are fast becoming both the choice for both contractors and agencies alike:

-Company pays the contractor via PAYE on the total contract sum and uses a HMRC approved dispensation to offset business expenses.

-IR35 is irrelevant as all income is paid as PAYE.

Composite Companies

There is no legal or tax law definition of the word "composite company". However, this term is commonly used in the context of service providing companies to the contracting industry.

The word "composite" means "made up of various parts" and in the context of contractors, is represented as a service providing company, through which many contractors place their contracts.

A mixture of salary & dividend payments now, could be viewed as blatant "tax evasion" by the HMRC, according to section 447 ITEPA, 2003:

-Company provides administrative services, invoicing and receiving payment for work carried out - eases burden for contractor.

-Contractor paid a small salary plus expenses, remaining income paid via dividends.

Popular in the past, this option was viewed by the government as 'tax avoidance'. New legislation introduced in the budget 2007 means that it's now looked upon as blatant 'tax evasion' for workers Inside IR35.

If you are deemed employed, this option should no longer be pursued.

Employee Benefit Trusts (EBTs)

Once an attractive option, the 2002 Pre-Budget Report announced immediate legislation to counter the avoidance of Tax and National Insurance contributions (NICs) through the abuse of EBTs.

Contractor works under company receiving basic salary, usually 20-30% of contract value, with balance paid into an offshore trust from where it is loaned back to the contractor.

Loan is in foreign currency so avoids IR35, taxation and NI.

HMRC has now closed the loophole on this scheme and EBTs can no longer operate.

Tax relief is now only allowed on PAYE payments made by the trusts, i.e. the lower salary figure, and not on loan.

The HMRC Anti-Avoidance Group has set up a team to project manage these cases to ensure that the tax outstanding is collected systematically and consistently.

Foreign Loans

Foreign loans are a legal means of "avoiding" Tax and National Insurance, however Gordon Brown announced in his budget on 17th March 2004 the intention to introduce a scheme which will force any Company setting up and marketing "tax avoidance schemes", to register with the HMRC.

As with most tax law, the measures are not at all clear. For example who defines "the obtaining of a tax advantage"? Presumably anything we do which does not involve us paying the highest amount of tax possible could be covered by this? The penalties for not registering or notifying will be up to £600 per DAY.

-Loans made to contractors in foreign currencies and repaid (often at very low rate).
-Must be operated in conjunction with an offshore company, not taxed on profits.
-Offshore companies are scrutinized by HMRC and all dealings would be challenged and taxed as income if received by a UK resident.

In short, this tax avoidance scheme is under so much scrutiny that for the average contractor the hassle and risks involved are just not viable.

Offshore Schemes

Offshore schemes are classified as any financial setup where income is moved outside the UK to avoid paying the host countries rate of Tax and National Insurance contributions. Payments are usually made as distributions, loans and dividends.

The Inland Revenue's Special Compliance Office is gearing up for a crackdown on offshore umbrella companies and other tax avoidance schemes designed for solo contractors caught by the unpopular IR35 legislation.

The HMRC have warned contractors not to rely on schemes they have developed to get around IR35, as they could crumble when examined.

All income generated in the UK by a UK resident must be declared - whether received or not - and is subject to IR35 criteria and taxation.

HM Revenue & Customs now have power to view details of around 100,000 UK-domiciled clients of Offshore Schemes.

Investors with undeclared offshore accounts are being urged to come forward and HMRC is proposing to offer reduced penalties for a limited period, although investors will still have to pay their tax bill plus interest for up to 20 years.

An offshore account is a high risk option.

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Acupuncture & Chinese Herbal Medicine For Treatment of Gynecology Related Problems - Bridge the Gap!

Traditional Chinese medicine includes acupuncture and the use of Chinese herbs formulated specifically or your condition. For 5000 years, gynecology related conditions have been effectively treated with the use of TCM. Western medicine as were know it has only been in existence for 200+ years.

Doctors in these ancient times were referred to as "breast doctors" or doctors who treated diseases "under the skirt." They relied solely on asking questions about the patient's signs and symptoms, taking the pulse and examining the patient's tongue to determine their pattern of disease and treatment protocol. In those days, extreme cultural conservatism prevailed and exams were not permitted.
Women's reproductive health includes a long life span. Everything from puberty related issues, menstrual irregularities, fertility, pregnancy, post partum, through menopause. IN TCM there is a strong correlation between the brain and reproductive centers, the heart and the uterus.

In fact, theory states that the "Heart houses the Mind." TCM treatment includes a broad and comprehensive understanding of how these elements relate in the treatment of disease-whether is physical or emotional.

TCM uses a holistic approach and unifies physical and emotional issues.

Western medicine, on the other hand, sees a dichotomy between the body and emotions. In fact, Wikipedia defines "gynecology" as the medical practice dealing with the health of the female reproductive system (uterus, vagina, and ovaries). So what happens to the rest of our bodies and mind? Hopefully we are seen as more than that. But are we?

Western medicine uses a linear approach to solving problems using medications as their first line of defense. If you tell your doctor you are unhappy, or depressed, out comes the prescription pad!

Conditions commonly treated with TCM:
• Amenorrhea (absent periods).
• Anxiety.
• Cervical dysplasia.
• Depression, irritability, moodiness.
• Dysmenorrhea (painful periods).
• Endometriosis.
• Fibroids.
• Genital herpes.
• Genital warts (HPV).
• Infertility.
• Hormonal migraines.
• Insomnia.
• Irregular periods.
• Long or short periods.
• Heavy periods.
• Premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
• Peri-menopause and Menopausal symptoms.
• Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).
• Pregnancy related issues.
• Post Partum.
• Spotting at times other than at menstruation.
• Skin rashes, acne.
• Thyroid conditions.
• Chronic yeast infections.
• Urinary Tract infections (UTI).
• Vaginal itching.

TCM's view of the organ systems differs when compared to that of Western Medicine. The Kidney system, for example, is responsible for reproductive development, aging and reproductive problems. The Spleen system is responsible for making Qi (vitality/ energy) and Blood. Since the Heart and mind are interconnected energetically and through pathways son the body, it is an important aspect of calmness, wellness, and an even emotional state. The Liver system travels through the reproductive areas, through the breast, through the chest are to the head. PMS signs are usually due to blockages in this system.

TCM seeks and treats the root cause, rather than masking symptoms. By treating the symptoms, Western medicine prolongs illness by prescribing medications which really never addresses the true problem. Why not rid yourself of the ailment once and for all?

TCM looks at the effects of your lifestyle, nutritional choices, and stress as factors which help or hurt your problems. Your TCM practitioner discusses options and choices to improve your health and wellness.

TCM has early detection systems that treat illnesses before they actually show up on a diagnostic test. This aspect is often underutilized and educating patients on how TCM works enhances patient care.

TCM supports the immune system, reduces stress, improves vitality and helps you with your sense of well- being...naturally. Avoid chronic illnesses if you can keep yourself healthy and strong.

Acupuncture is now covered by many insurance companies. Check your coverage and take advantage of being healthier more naturally without the harsh side effects of drugs.

Bridging the gap between Western and Eastern care improves your quality of life. Explore TCM for any of your health problems. By using the best from both worlds you can feel better. You are much more than ovaries and a uterus!

Your first wealth is your health.

Postpartum Depression - Causes and Symptoms

Postpartum depression affects one in every five new mothers. Many women are unprepared for the reality that they may face when dealing with the symptoms. The most important aspect of dealing with any disease is understanding what is causing these feelings. Postpartum Depression is unique in that there are many factors that can cause it.

After you give birth your body experience a huge drop in estrogen and progesterone. This is thought to be one of the many reasons for postnatal depression. Your thyroid also begins to create less hormones, this can cause feelings of exhaustion, depression, and increased sleep. The hormones produced by your You may also experience changes in your blood pressure, immune system and rate of metabolize.

A new child will also affect you emotionally. The lack of sleep associated with a new born can be overwhelming and when in this state all of your emotions may be accentuated. It is not uncommon for new mothers to feel unattractive, worthless, an anxious. Some new mothers also have feelings that they have lost control of their life.

If you have a history of depression or mental illness you are at a higher risk of developing Postpartum Depression. Older siblings, a fussy baby, trouble with breastfeeding, and issues with your personal finance can cause unwanted stress that can make you suffer worse. It is important to have the support of loved ones around you.

All of these factors have a varying degree of significance in how bad your Postpartum Depression will be.

In-Depth Look at Diabetic Retinopathy

As a primary eye care practitioner, I am continually astonished by the number of diabetes patients I see who have either never had a dilated eye exam or feel they don't require one (or at least not as often as I recommend). Then there are people with diabetes who are shocked to find out that their eye or vision problems are related to their diabetes. As an eye doctor, I am very aware of the link between diabetes and the potential for eye problems including blindness. One of our jobs as an eye care provider is to talk to our diabetes patients about the associated ocular health risks and dangers they may face as a result of their condition. One eye disease all people with diabetes should be aware of is diabetic retinopathy. If you are already aware of this disease, then I am offering a reminder of how important it is for your to understand the symptoms, treatments and what you can do to avoid this diabetes-related vision complication.

It is at this point I recall the alarming statistics that come across my desk on a weekly basis. One of the most disturbing statistics to me is that diabetes is the primary cause of blindness in Americans 75 years of age or younger and the primary cause of new cases of blindness, most commonly from diabetic retinopathy.

Diabetic retinopathy is when diabetes affects the retina, the inner light-sensitive tissue lining the back of the eye. This is called diabetic retinopathy. We like to think of the retina as the film in a camera. If it is damaged then the picture is never developed or seen - that is why retinopathy is the main threat to vision.

There are four stages of diabetic retinopathy:

  1. Mild nonproliferative retinopathy: This is the earliest phase which can begin after diabetes has affected the circulatory system of the retina. The walls of the retinal capillaries become weakened and microaneurysms form, which are small balloon-like outpouches of the petite blood vessels. Microaneurysms can leak blood, forming small dot-like hemorrhages, as well as fluid leading to swelling or edema in the retina.

  2. Moderate nonproliferative retinopathy: In this stage, the disease progresses or worsens, and there is blockage of the nourishing blood vessels of the retina.

  3. Severe nonproliferative retinopathy: As more blood vessels are blocked, the retina becomes deprived of oxygen or what we call "ischemic." In order to uphold adequate oxygen supply, the retina sends a signal to the body to grow new fragile blood vessels in an attempt to bring in nourishment.

  4. Proliferative retinopathy: Once these new blood vessels are formed, this is known as neovascularization and the condition has converted to proliferative retinopathy. Proliferate indicates growth or flourishing of the new blood vessels not only along the retinal surface, but also growth into the vitreous gel which fills the inside of the eye. Since these vessels are fragile and delicate they leak and bleed (hemorrhage) causing obscured vision, blind spots, and if left untreated, blindness from retinal detachment.

These stages are important to understand. However, it is just as or even more important to understand there is the possibility of macular edema, which is usually the primary cause of vision loss in diabetics. The macula is a very important part of our visual system and is where straight-ahead, detailed vision occurs. When fluid leaks into the center of the macula from damaged blood vessels, as described above, the macula swells and is what we term macular edema. Macular edema can happen at any stage of diabetic retinopathy, but it can more likely occur as the disease advances, so much so that roughly half of diabetics with proliferative retinopathy (Stage 4) also have macular edema.

Symptoms of retinopathy vary, but what is most concerning is that often there are no symptoms, especially in the early stages. You can develop both macular edema and proliferative retinopathy and still see fine. The best way to prevent vision loss is early detection and timely treatment. Everyone with diabetes, type 1 or 2, is at risk and should have a comprehensive dilated eye exam at least once a year. If retinopathy is present, an eye exam may be needed more often and treatment may be recommended to prevent progression. Also, women with diabetes who become pregnant should have an eye exam within the first trimester, and should be watched closely thereafter, even into the first year postpartum. This does not apply to women who develop gestational diabetes as they have no increased risk for developing retinopathy.

The likelihood of developing diabetic retinopathy goes up the longer you have diabetes, but 40-45% of Americans diagnosed with diabetes have some stage of retinopathy. The best thing someone with diabetes can do to slow the onset and progression of retinopathy is to control their blood sugar, as shown by the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial. In addition, controlling elevated blood pressure and cholesterol in addition can reduce the risk of vision loss, as hypertension is a major risk factor for developing macular edema. That is why I ask all of my diabetic patients what their last blood sugar reading was, as well as their Hemoglobin A1C, their blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Treatment for diabetic retinopathy depends on the stage and specific problem. Often your eye care professional will rely on special tests, fluorescein agiography, macular OCT imaging and even retinal photography to monitor progression and make decisions on appropriate treatment. More often than not, you will be referred to a retinal specialist to assess the need and type of treatment. Proliferative retinopathy is treated with a scattered laser treatment over a wide area called PRP (panretinal photocoagulation). Macular edema is treated with focal laser treatment to the area surrounding the macula. Both are effective and have high success rates in reducing vision loss, but they do not cure diabetic retinopathy. You will always be at risk for new bleeds. At times bleeding can be severe and requires a surgical procedure called a vitrectomy to remove the blood from floating in the center of the eye. Other possible treatments may be needed if the initial ones aren't effective, or further complications such as retinal detachment arise.

As you can see, diabetes can take a toll on your eyes and I cannot stress enough the importance of being proactive and maintaining proper blood sugar levels. If you are one of the more than 18 million American children and adults affected by diabetes, I recommend you schedule regular eye exams to reduce the possibility of ocular complications. The earlier a problem is caught, the greater the success of treatment.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Making Weight Loss a Successful New Year's Resolution

Weight loss is one of the most popular New Year's resolutions, but it can also be one of the hardest to achieve and maintain if not approached appropriately. It is true many people lose weight each year as part of their New Year's resolutions, but it is also true that many of those people later gain some or all of that weight back. To make weight loss a successful goal in the new year, weight loss should be seen as creating a lifestyle change, rather than a temporary race to shed pounds.

Whether you want to lose 10 pounds or 100 plus pounds, successful weight loss is about lifestyle modifications. The key is to start slow and set realistic goals for yourself. A good place to begin is to cut down on sugar. Excess sugar in the body that does not get burned ultimately turns into fat. Maybe you know you already consume too much sugar such as sodas, desserts and snacks, or maybe you don't realize how much sugar you are really consuming. Many products contain more sugar than you realize. Read the labels of all food and drinks you consume to see how much sugar is in your regular diet. Chances are you can cut out some sugar.

Eat regularly. One mistake people make when trying to lose weight is skipping meals. This is unfortunate because skipping meals only starves the body of the healthy nutrients that it needs to regulate itself and be sufficient in losing weight. If your schedule keeps you from eating meals at regular meal times, try to carry healthy snacks to space throughout the day. Healthy snacks every few hours such as a cup of yogurt, a quarter cup of almonds, a piece of fresh fruit, or other easy healthy snacks will help you keep your metabolism on target and keep you from crashing.

If you are unsure of how to begin your weight loss program or how to stay on track, you may want to try a medical weight loss program under the care of a Board Certified Bariatric Physician. A Bariatric physician is a medical doctor who is specially trained in weight loss management and in the treatment and management of related medical conditions.

A program under a doctor's care can help you fulfill all aspects of weight loss and take into account your age, genes, medical history, metabolism, and lifestyle choices, which all play a role in weight loss and weight management.

New Year's weight loss resolutions can be frustrating but they don't have to be. With the proper guidance and support you can change the way you look and feel for a lifetime.

How Does Social Networking Affect Your Healthy Eating Plan?

Learn How To Eat

Healthy eating begins with learning how to eat, which can defend you again heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and depression, and can boost your energy, sharpen your memory and stabilize your mood. You can find people on health related social networking sites discussing a range of healthy food choices and you can learn how to plan ahead to create and maintain a satisfying, healthy diet. Such topics discussed include healthy eating tips.

  • Eating with others has many social and emotional benefits than eating in front of the TV or computer.

  • Take time to chew your food slowly and enjoy mealtimes.

  • Ask yourself if you are really hungry or actually really thirsty. Have a glass of water to see whether you are only thirsty instead of hungry. During a meal, stop eating before you feel full.

  • Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, be sure to eat breakfast, and eat smaller meals throughout the day.

Drink More Water

People found on health related social networking sites advise others to drink more water. Water helps flush our systems of waste products and toxins, yet many people go through life dehydrated, causing tiredness, low energy, and headaches. It's common to mistake thirst for hunger, so staying well hydrated leads to a healthier lifestyle.

What About Exercise?

When it comes to preventing, controlling, or reversing diabetes, consider exercising. Regular exercise maintains your weight and can improve your insulin sensitivity. One of the easiest moderate-intensity activities is walking for 30 minutes five or more times a week, swimming or riding a bike. You can discuss with others on social networking sites your exercise achievements and compare results.

Eat In Moderation

The most common advice seen on social networking sites is not to deprive yourself of the foods you love, but eat them in moderation. Try not to think of certain foods as off-limits. When you ban certain foods or food groups, it is natural to want those foods more, and then feel like a failure if you give in to temptation. Think smaller portions. If you are drawn towards sweet, salty, or unhealthy foods, start by reducing portion sizes and not eating them as often. You may find that you are craving them less or thinking of them as only occasional indulgences.

Eat The Rainbow

Eat a rainbow of fruits and vegetables. Colorful and deeply colored fruits and vegetables contain higher concentrations of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants and different colors provide different benefits.

  • Greens, such as broccoli, and Chinese cabbage are just a few of the options, all packed with calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, zinc, and vitamins A, C, E, and K.

  • Sweet vegetables, such as corn, carrots, beets, sweet potatoes, yams, onions, and squash

  • Fruit such as berries, apples, oranges and mangoes, are satisfying way to fill up on fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants.

Healthy Carb Options

Healthy carbs are digested slowly, helping you feel fuller for longer, while keeping your blood sugar and insulin levels stable. Healthy carbs include whole grains, beans, fruits, and vegetables.

Unhealthy carbs digest quickly and cause spikes in blood sugar levels and energy. These include white flour, refined sugar, and white rice that have been stripped of all bran, fiber, and nutrients. Blogs found on social networking sites document peoples experience on carb intake.

Eat Healthy Fats

Eating healthy fat nourish your brain, heart, hair, skin, and nails. Foods rich in certain omega-3 fats can reduce cardiovascular disease, improve your mood, and help prevent dementia. Unhealthy fats like saturated fats and trans fats should be reduced or eliminated from your diet. There are various healthy fats to consider and remain in your diet, and these include:

  • Monounsaturated fats that are derived from plant oils like canola oil, peanut oil, and olive oil, as well as avocados, nuts like almonds, hazelnuts, and pecans, and seeds such as pumpkin, sesame.

  • Polyunsaturated fats, including Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, found in fatty fish such as salmon, herring, mackerel, anchovies and sardines oil supplements. Other sources of polyunsaturated fats are unheated sunflower oil, corn oil, soybean oil, flaxseed oil, and walnuts.

Guidelines To Protein

Protein aids to the building blocks of our body that provides growth and energy, while maintaining cells, tissues, and organs. A lack of protein can slow growth, reduce muscle mass, lower immunity, and weaken the heart and respiratory system. The different types of protein include beans such as black beans and lentils, nuts such as almonds and walnuts, and soy products such as tofu and soy milk.

Calcium Equals Healthy Bones

Calcium-rich foods are one of the key nutrients that your body needs in order to stay strong and healthy. The recommended calcium levels are 1000 mg per day, 1200 mg if you are over 50 years old. Good sources of calcium-rich foods include dairy products such as milk and cheese, vegetables such as leafy greens and celery, and beans such as black beans and kidney beans.

Cramps During Early Pregnancy - Tips To Help Reduce The Pain

Cramps during early pregnancy are something that happens to many women. Your body is changing and getting ready for your baby to grow.

Many women will experience mild cramps during the first few weeks of pregnancy. In fact, a lot of women think that they are getting ready to start their periods because they feel cramping. This article will teach how why you cramp in early pregnancy and when to call your doctor.

Your uterus consists mainly of muscle and other surrounding tissues that enable it to expand during pregnancy and to contract when it's time for childbirth. These actions are triggered by hormones.

  • Some women may feel light cramping when the fertilized egg implants itself into the uterine wall. This can take place as early as six to eight days after fertilization. You may experience some light bleeding or "spotting" when the egg implants itself.

  • Another reason for cramping in early pregnancy is that hormones have triggered your uterus to expand to get ready for the growing baby. These cramps may be uncomfortable and feel a lot like period cramps. This is perfectly normal as long as they don't become severe and are accompanied by heavy bleeding. Cramps are most likely to occur after sexual activity or when your bladder is full.

  • The round ligaments support your uterus. As your uterus grows the round ligaments must expand to support it. This may cause a feeling of cramping or a dull ache in your lower abdomen. It should go away with rest. However, if the cramping becomes severe and is accompanied by heavy bleeding, fever, or any other unusual symptoms, contacts your doctor right away.
There are ways to treat cramps during early pregnancy. A good way to relieve cramping is by applying heat. A heating pad to the lower abdomen works wonder for cramps but be careful to not get it too hot. You may take acetaminophen for pain relief if needed. Sometimes this will help take the edge off of the cramps. But ibuprofen or other NSAIDS should not be taken during pregnancy. Never take any drugs unless it is allowed by your doctor.

Take care of yourself by getting plenty of rest and eating right. The changing hormones in your body can slow down digestion and make you constipated, which can cause abdominal pain. If you feel that you may be constipated, increase your fiber and water intake.

Finally, another way to help relieve cramps in pregnancy is to abstain from sex. Sex does not hurt you or the baby but may increase the cramping and cause some spotting. The combination of cramping and spotting can make you think that you are having a miscarriage.

Cramps during early pregnancy are quite common. Cramps should be mild and never unbearable. However, if they become severe or are more prevalent on one side and are accompanied by any other unusual symptoms, let your doctor know right away.

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Make Your California State Pregnancy and Maternity Leave Benefits Work Harder

Can you pay your bills for 18 weeks on a 45% pay cut? Ask yourself this question if you are planning a pregnancy and work in California.

Why is this question vital? California has state mandated pregnancy, maternity leave, and paid family leave benefits which can extend for up to 18 weeks. You will be receiving 55% of your income - or less - during this time. Many couples can't afford having mom away from work so long.

18 Weeks of Pregnancy & Maternity Benefits

Here's how California allows you up to 18 weeks of maternity benefits for your normal labor and delivery.

  • 4 weeks before your delivery via California SDI

  • 8 weeks after your delivery (c-section delivery) via SDI

  • 6 weeks of paid family leave so you can bond with your baby

It's possible that your pregnancy may encounter complications requiring you to leave work before the standard four week period. In this case your total time away from work will exceed the eighteen week barrier.

What's your CA Maternity Income Gap?

California State Short Term Disability Insurance caps your weekly benefit at 55% of income or $959 per week - whichever is less.

If your income exceeds $90,669 per year, you hit the cap. In this case divide $959 by your weekly gross pay to determine how big your pay cut will be for 18 weeks.

Are you Covered?

Government workers, teachers, domestic workers, non-profit employees, contract workers, and employees who claim a religious exemption often are not covered. The California short term disability insurance plan mandate covers private workers only.

Fill the CA Maternity Leave Gap

If you are planning a pregnancy, you have an opportunity to buy additional income protection to cover your normal maternity labor and delivery!

Supplemental Short Term Disability Insurance can fill the gap in your CA maternity leave pay. It pays pays an additional six week benefit for your vaginal delivery, and an eight week benefit for your c-section birth. Your maternity leave benefit may greatly exceed the premium you pay.

  • Create maternity leave income

  • Spend more time bonding with your baby

  • Worry less about paying your bills

At no additional cost, you are also covered in case of:

  • Pregnancy complications

  • Delivery complications

  • Premature birth

  • Accidents

  • Illnesses

Pregnancy and maternity leave benefits are payable only when coverage begins before conception. Don't delay!

Help - I Am Overweight and Pregnant!

What if you are a woman with a weight problem? Suppose your Body Mass Index indicates you to be moderately obese or worse. What course of action should you take? You would like to drop some weight both for you and the baby but aren't sure how dieting will affect your pregnancy.

First off see a doctor. Any action you take to lose weight should be discussed with a physician, either your own, if you have one or call the local hospital to inquire about a doctor or a nearby free clinic where you could talk to a health professional for free. If you have no doctor and the hospital can't assign you to one or you can't afford one, ask for the Director of Social Work at the hospital whose job it is to point out alternative services. 

Don't be surprised if the doctor you talk to recommends you gain weight. It is a function of pregnancy and shouldn't be short-circuited by an unreasonable diet. Eat as well as you can.  Use healthy foods to fill you up. It isn't uncommon for overweight women to drop some weight in the first trimester due to morning sickness. But as with all pregnancies, the mother will gain weight just from the fetal development. It is common for women to drop more weight right after birth than they accumulated during pregnancy.

As far as exercise goes, swimming and walking are excellent for both mother and baby. Each can be done at your own pace and both of them encourage healthy circulation and can be done by anyone. 

If you have no insurance, then see Medicaid. They can't deny you service because pregnancy is specifically covered under Medicaid. One advantage that you will get with Medicaid is that once you are on it, they extend it to the baby for its first year of life.

Two of the things you must stay away from as a expectant mother are alcohol and caffeine. Eat lots of protein, calcium and high-nutrient food such as whole grains. Drink lots of water and eat lots of small meals, up to 5 or 6 a day. Remember you are eating for two however you must eat smart. Eliminate non-natural processed food as much as possible. It is critical that as an expectant mother you make the right food choices. Being pregnant changes your metabolism. Sometimes expectant mothers will actually lose weight because their metabolism changes so much.

Two things you should consider as an expectant mother is taking pre natal vitamins and eating lots of green food. Green foods such as spinach, lettuce or broccoli are excellent sources of folic acid. 

Being overweight and pregnant can be tough but the thing is that whether overweight or not, an expectant mother should gain weight. It isn't a good idea to try to lose weight during pregnancy.   

Eat good foods, get some exercise and your body will do the rest. Just don't get caught up in the whole I am eating for two so I can eat whatever I want. 

Major Medical Insurance Vs Catastrophic Insurance

Health insurance is one of the most important purchases you will make in your life. It rates up there with buying a home and paying for your child's college. Medical insurance is an important financial tool that can protect you from trouble in the event you begin experience major health problems. There are a number of plans available which makes choosing the right plan a challenge. Two of your choices worth considering are major medical insurance and catastrophic insurance. Each of these plans provides you with benefits in different ways and at different prices points. Here is some information about each to help you decide which one is best for you.

Major medical insurance is the most common type of insurance on the market. It provides coverage for the widest range of medical services possible. Typical services covered include hospital room and board, surgeries, doctor's visits, nursing services, anesthesia, outpatient services, ambulance service, lab tests, x-rays, medication, blood transfusions, home health care, casts and splints, and medical equipment rentals. This type of insurance covers you whether you have the common cold or need extensive medical care to help you improve. For this coverage, though, you will be paying a good amount of money for your insurance premiums.

Catastrophic insurance, on the other hand, is much less expensive than major medical insurance. This may be due to the fact that it is a somewhat limited health plan that requires you to pay a high deductible before the benefits will kick in. Typically, catastrophic insurance will cover hospital visits, diagnostic and lab tests, surgery, and a few other medical services. Mental health and maternity care are usually left out. Most people who get this type of plan will pair it with a health savings account in which they deposit money to help them pay the high deductible.

Major medical insurance is your typical health insurance that is good for people looking for head to toe coverage. If you have a preexisting condition, a family, or like the security of having full coverage then major medical is right for you. Catastrophic insurance, on the other hand, is better for people who are healthy and only want insurance that will cover them in case of an emergency. In either case, save yourself time and money in the search for the best price on either of these plans by using an insurance quote website. You will be able to compare plans and rates side by side which will assist you in make the best health insurance decision for your needs.

Physical Therapy Schools - Choosing The Best

Have you been thinking about a career change? Continuing your education and becoming a physical therapist could be just the change you need. What is involved in becoming a therapist and is it worth your time?

Job Opportunities

Many people do not realize the physical therapists have a broad range of employment opportunities. If your local hospital is the only employer, you imagined for this specialty you are missing out on a number of options.

Schools- assist disabled children
Hospice- improve quality of life
Research- improve information and create new programs
Nursing Facility- assist elderly
Sports- injury recovery
Physical Fitness Centers

Income and Growth

As you can see physical therapy is a field with many different job potentials, but before searching for a physical therapy school, you may want to know a little more about income potential and job growth. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for the 2010-2020 is much higher than all other occupations at 39%. This is due in part to the fact that baby boomers are aging and staying active later in life.

What can you expect to earn as a therapist?

Top 10%- more than $107,000 annually
Bottom 10% less than $53,620 annually
Median- $76,310 annually

As to be expected there is quite a range between the bottom earnings and the top, but in comparison with many other job fields the potential is fantastic.


Before you can apply for current physical therapists positions, you will have to continue your education. Most accredited programs require applicants to first obtain a bachelor's degree, though there are some programs in which graduating high school seniors can participate.

In order to sit for your licensing exam you must have graduated from an accredited program, of which there are 212 programs approved by CAPTA. Which school you attend will of course depend on your location and specific needs. Every state in the union except Alaska and Hawaii has an accredited program.

Pros and Cons

Working in this field has its pros and cons:


No shortage of jobs (now or in the future)
Less stress than other medical field positions
Flexible schedules may be possible
Long hours are uncommon


Frequent bending and kneeling
Acute care can mean working around infectious diseases
Hospice care can be emotionally taxing
Private practice can have a high demand for meeting productivity quotas

Final Thoughts

If you are looking for a career that involves helping people and has a good long-term outlook, becoming a physical therapists is a good option. Over the next decade or so positions in this field are going to grow faster than most career options. Job security, personal fulfillment and decent wages all add up to a very attractive opportunity.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Pregnancy Beauty Treatments - Is Sunscreen Safe During Pregnancy?

The effects of UV rays on the skin are well documented. Skin cancer, premature aging, and sun spots are all linked to sun exposure and overexposure. Sunscreens are the best option to block UV rays from damaging the skin, but are sunscreen products safe for use during pregnancy?

Sunscreens block UV rays by including one of three ingredients - oxybenzone, zinc oxide, or titanium dioxide. Oxybenzone is the ingredient pregnant women want to avoid. In some research studies, oxybenzone has been linked to low birth weight in female infants. While these studies could not pinpoint oxybenzone as the sole reason for low birth weight, there is no reason to put your baby at risk if there is a viable alternative that is considered safe for use during pregnancy.

The reason oxybenzone cannot be pinpointed as the cause of birth defects is due to its effect on the skin. This chemical is used to help other chemicals absorb through the skin. Unlike zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, which lie on the surface of the skin, products with oxybenzone permeate the skin allowing chemicals to absorb into the bloodstream.

In 2008, the Environmental Working Group found just shy of 600 sunscreens that contained oxybenzone including Hawaiian Tropic, Ocean Potion, Aveeno, and Blue Lizard. Some of the products considered unsafe were not sunscreens, but rather facial and body lotions marketed with SPF protection.

Pregnant women should read labels for lotion, skin care products, lip balm, and lipstick. Surprisingly enough, the chemical can also be found in perfumes and hair conditioners. Oxybenzone has been linked to allergies, damage to cells, and disruption of hormones. A study performed by the CDC found traces of oxybenzone in 97% of participants. Women and young girls were found to have higher concentrations potentially due to use of skin care and beauty products.

Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide can be found in stores alongside sunscreens and products containing oxybenzone. These are considered safe during pregnancy. Before buying any skin care products, pregnant women should read all product labels.

Common Causes of Female Hair Loss - Telogen Effluvium

Female hair loss, especially telogen effluvium is on the rise. Telogen effluvium, also known as diffuse hair loss is one of the most common types of hair loss affecting young women and even teenage girls.

Telogen effluvium can be suspected if there is a noticeable increase in the amount of hair being shed on a daily basis. With telogen effluvium the hair loss usually occurs fairly evenly throughout the scalp, rather than in one particular area.

A well-known method to check for telogen effluvium involves the pull test. Grabbing a small section of hair and gently pulling should render one or two hairs in the hand. If more hairs are released on a consistent basis telogen effluvium can be suspected.

Telogen effluvium occurs when there is a disruption in the hair growth cycle. This can be caused by a physiological stress, hormonal change or any insult or injury to the body. The hair growth cycle is very sensitive to changes. Even a slight disturbance can cause the hair loss cycle to become disrupted. When this happens more hairs than usual retreat to the resting phase, where fall out will occur two to three months later. When excessive hair loss occurs one must think back to the previous months to see if there were any possible associations.

Some of the most common triggers for telogen effluvium type hair loss in women include:


Many new mothers are surprised to learn that postpartum hair loss is very common. The unique hormonal surge during pregnancy along with the increased blood circulation enhances the condition of ones hair. The growth cycle is extended and very few hairs retreat to the resting and shedding phases. After childbirth the dramatic decrease in hormones trigger excessive shedding.


Any medication can cause hair loss, even if it's not listed as a symptom. If the body has a hard time adjusting to the medication hair loss may occur. Discontinuing a medication can also cause hair loss, as the body may also have to adjust to the absence of the medication,


Surgery creates a shock to the system which the body must tend to and deal with. Any surgery can trigger hair loss. Anesthesia and medications that go along with the surgery can also contribute to hair loss.


Any change in diet can cause hair loss, especially if it is deficient in calories and nutrition and results in rapid weight loss.

These are just a few of the many possible causes of telogen effluvium. Women who experience excessive hair loss should explore all possible causes. Most cases of telogen effluvium can be reversed or improved by correcting the problem and using natural methods to stimulate new hair growth and minimize hair loss.

Premature Babies: Combining Two Methods to Save a Fragile Life

Sitting restlessly, watching her child fight for his/her life from inside the incubator case. Wires are hooked up to machines and tubes surround this helpless baby body. The expression on her face is one of confusion and sorrow because of what her newborn has to endure. She knows there is nothing she can do for her child, she's disappointed in herself because she can't fulfill her duties as a mother. However, incubator care in conjunction with an alternative method such as Kangaroo Mother Care proves to be the best technique in ensuring the best possible outcome for a premature infant's health and future.

Mothers of preemies are more susceptible to depression because of the endangered health of their babies. Because of hormonal changes in the body and elevated emotions are high, 10 to 15 percent of women are diagnosed with Post Natal depression.

About 12.8 percent of all births are premature in the United States. These babies are generally born anywhere from 28-36 weeks into gestation. Premature babies aren't able to thrive in this world because of severe birth defects such as breathing problems, heart conditions, anemia and hemorrhaging. These tiny babies have to overcome much in order to live. This is why the incubator was established to mimic being inside the mother's womb. The air and temperature inside the incubator is monitored to insure that the baby is at the proper environment in order to thrive. Since the baby is not well enough to breast feed from it's mother special tubes need to be attached to the baby to allow for essential nutrients to flow throughout their bodies. These nutrients will help the babies heart and lungs grow as well as improve vital antioxidants in order for them to fight off future infections.

The first incubator was built by a man named Alexandre Lion in 1891. The Lion incubator was kept warm by a water boiler mounted on the outer wall of the incubator. Fresh air would travel into the incubator by an electric fan that was blowing through a large pipe on the outside of the building. The air was then moistened by a layer of absorbent wool. This air then passed over the hot coils of the water heater. The process allowed premature babies to live in a steady warm temperature while in the incubator. This revolutionary medical device did not make its debut in a hospital or doctor's office. Instead incubators were taken to the TransMississippi and International Exposition where they were first put on display by a man named Martin Couney. He had originally seen Alexandre Lion trying to promote the incubators in Berlin when it had gained much popularity. Martin Couney decided to bring his show to America. He used incubators to attract large crowds that were curious and entertained by viewing the small babies that were in the see-through glass boxes. Couney charged admission for people to see the babies that were being taken care of. Even though the show was in a fair, doctors and nurses were working to take care of each and every baby. Before, the incubator was invented mothers would give birth at home and if the baby was born prematurely, the doctor would do nothing to save the child. Doctor's did not feel any responsibility to help the baby because it was too weak to live. The survival rate for premature babies in the 1900s was less than 15%. With the incubator exhibits at the famous World Fair or the Couney's Park Luna Exhibit at Coney Island, survival rates for premature infants jumped to about 85%. It was not until the 1940s that hospitals began to use incubators to help premature babies.

In 1978, there were little to no incubators in Colombia so Dr. Rey and Dr. Martinez had to start a new kind of care called Kangaroo Mother Care. Infection was spreading throughout preterm infants and the doctors had to find a way to keep the babies warm and protected from infection. The doctors decided to try to use a mother's body as an incubator just like how a kangaroo keeps her baby in her pouch. They felt that technology could not replace a mother. Incubators could be used to support and help premature babies, but not replace a mother and her touch. In the early 1980's UNICEF noticed what the doctors in Colombia were doing and appraised the effect that Kangaroo Mother Care was hands on for premature infants. UNICEF is a strong supporter of breast feeding babies and with Kangaroo Mother Care this action is strongly encouraged. Because, UNICEF recognized the efforts of the Dr. Rey and Dr. Martinez in Colombia, this practice slowly spread to third-world countries such as Africa, Vietnam and Brazil. In fact, this type of care for premature infants has become so useful that it has been paired hand in hand with Incubator care. This type of care is still relatively new and experiments are still being done to explore the full effects of skin to skin care between mother and baby.

Mothers who give birth to healthy full-term infants are able to feel the effects of the "golden moment". This special moment happens because the mother releases a hormone from her body called oxytocin, which induces bliss and relief. This feel-good drug does not only affect the mother but also the baby (these effects can also be felt during an orgasm). The drug causes a love-at-first sight moment and can be critical to a mother and baby bonding. This moment is not essential to bond with your baby, but it is a definite plus with the mother and baby's relationship. These released hormones are powerful and both mother and baby are attracted to each other chemically. The hormones also help the baby "sniff" out the mother's nipple to begin breast-feeding for the first time. Pediatrics recommend skin-to-skin contact for these crucial baby moments. If, these moments are robbed by hospital policy or the baby is taken away to be cleaned do not worry. There will be many other chances to bond with your newborn baby. The most important information to know about bonding with your baby is quality time, not the quantity of time. Babies are most comfortable with the scent of their mothers, also the mother's breast milk tends to soothe the baby and reduce his/her stress.

Depending on the mother, the anesthesia (epidural) that is administered in cesarean section may cause her to be drowsy. In this sleepy state she is most likely not able to care for her baby properly. Although this may be disappointing for the mother, this does not mean that the premature baby needs to be taken to the NICU. According to a study by Christensson, Fagerberg, Erlandsson and Dsilna, fathers can step in and take an important role in the development and bonding with the baby. The study was carefully done with 29 families. Fourteen families would wrap a baby and place it in a cot with their father beside them, the other 15 families would have the baby naked and placed on their father's chest. The father's in the cot group were not able to pick up their child at all. The scientists would both observe the actions of each group by how much infants cry by attaching a microphone close to their mouths. The results were that the babies in the skin-to-skin group were significantly less than babies that were kept in a cot. The skin-to-skin group had a mean score of 13.4 seconds per 5-minute period while the cot group had 33.4 seconds per 5-minute period. The cot group cried less as time passed but the skin-to-skin group decreased rapidly after being put skin-to-skin with their fathers, within the first 15 minutes. Also, skin-to-skin contact showed infants in a drowsy state within 60 minutes of contact with their father while the cot group only achieved this state with 110 minutes. This type of care is recommended for the care of preterm infants when the mother is not present. During the separation of mother and baby the father should be considered the primary caregiver.

Premature infants have the hardest time trying to adapt to the outside world. Their immune systems are weak and they are not strong enough to fend off infections and temperature changes. Also, the premature baby is not as developed. They exhibit signs of lower cognitive and motor skills. This can cause mothers to have problems bonding with their child. Incubators can make social interaction with their children even more difficult. Kangaroo Mother Care is helpful in this instance to aid in the bonding and health of a premature baby. The simple touch of a mother and baby will stimulate growth and development of the infant's brain and bodies. This important touch has a high possibility with breast feeding your infant because of the skin to skin contact. The more time a mother can have to hold her baby and gaze into his or her eyes will help her feel less depressed and she will perceive her infant as less abnormal. Women who tend to their child using Kangaroo Mother Care were more able to talk about their feelings, positive or negative. Kangaroo Mothers shared their strong emotions with their care givers and support groups. Premature mothers had feelings of great disappointments and loss of a normal pregnancy. Also, guilt over their child's stressful and painful life so far. These emotions slowly started to fade as Kangaroo Mother Care was administered and mother and baby began to acquaint themselves. Because, mother and infant begin to build a strong relationship, mothers have increased self esteem and more joy. They are fully confident in taking their infant home and caring for them.

Scientists did a study to compare Kangaroo Mother Care against incubator care for thermal regulation. Hypothermia is common in low birth weight infants. Premature babies use half of all their energy trying to maintain body temperature. This takes a toll on premature babies because they don't have enough energy to fend off infection and support body development. KMC has shown to improve blood oxygenation, lower infection rates. The babies cry less and are alert for a longer period of time. This also leads mothers to breast feed for a longer period of time and mothers to stay in the hospital for a shorter period of time. The study was done in Nigeria from May to July 2001. Thirteen infants were tested in this experiment. Because this study was done in a third-world country the results will be even more effective in first-world situations. Low body weight infants were observed to have fewer episodes in KMC than in incubator care. Some cases of hyperthermia were documented for babies of Kangaroo Mother Care. Hyperthermia is when the body temperature becomes too high and above the norm. Because the incubators were in a third-world country the electricity would shut off and babies temperature will become irregular. Kangaroo Mother Care is better for third-world mothers because they are able to regulate their babies' body temperatures more easily.

The last key to a successful Kangaroo Mother Care treatment is full support from the close family. Both mother and father should participate in the care for their own infant and build their relationship with their newborn together. The transition from hospital to home can be a tough one. There are no nurses to take care of you and doctors to constantly monitor you throughout the day. Many mothers of premature infants may see this as a daunting task but thankfully Kangaroo Mother Care prepares mother and father exactly for this moment. Kangaroo Mother Care should empower them with confidence that they can take care of and raise their child even though he or she was born premature.

In 2008, a group of researching scientist wanted to test out the hypothesis that Kangaroo Mother Care creates a climate in the family, which enhances infants' performance on the developmental quotient scale. They used the HOME (Home Observation for Measurement of the Environment) test in determining whether or not Kangaroo Care mothers create a better overall environment for the premature baby then a traditional care mom whose baby was treated in an incubator. The father's involvement in the raising of his premature infant greatly affected the home environment of the baby. The information was gather by an interview composed of 45 yes or no questions. Of the 45 questions, 18 of the questions can be answered by simple observation and the other 27 require an interview. The results of the interviews and observations suggested that Kangaroo Families (mean =.28) compared to Traditional Care families (mean = -.51) provided a more developmentally oriented caregiving environment. Kangaroo Families are also more open and welcoming into their home opposed to the traditional care group. High father involvement had a huge positive impact in the family atmosphere. When fathers are more involved the families are more stimulating and open to neighbors and mothers have more positive interactions with her infant. There was a strong association between HOME scores and the infants' developmental quotient, indicating that infants benefit more from a positive home environment. This study promotes the idea that both parents should take a part in Kangaroo Mother Care for the full effects to take place in their premature infant. Mother and Father will gain strong bonds with their premature baby by continuously providing care and support for each other and their child.

Kangaroo Mother Care consists of three key components the kangaroo position, breast feeding and family support. The first key to help develop a premature baby after birth is to position the baby on the mother's chest if the infant is healthy enough. This should mimic the same body-temperature regulation as an incubator. This skin-to-skin contact will allow the mother to realize that she is able to take care of the premature baby despite the child's size. The second key is breast feeding and the importance of touch. This component is important to stabilize the babies health and start a special bond between both parents and infant. Kangaroo Mother Care allows parents to feel that they are no longer helpless to their premature infant's situation. They can now feel responsible and the connection between infant and parents are now stronger. This special closeness between mother and baby will allow the mother to heal psychologically but also help regulate the baby's temperature and heart rate. Breast feeding has also been shown to improve neurological development and IQ. The final and most important key to the long-term development of a premature infant is family support. This key is essential for both mother and infant. The father's role in family support is significant to the overall home environment. Mother's become more receptive and aware of the infant. With both parents working in unison with one another to promote the health of the premature infant the family environment will become more stimulating and positive. A strong home environment will cause the premature infant to grow and mature faster than traditional care infants.

Kangaroo Mother Care can be used in a variety of different scenarios. The lowest level of care that KMC can be administered is to setting with little to no neonatal care for the premature infant. This environment may be a birth that has taken place at home or in a country where there are little to no incubators. Kangaroo Mother Care can also be applied in middle to low income countries. The hospitals in these countries may only have a limited amount of incubators for premature infants. Therefore, with no space left infants will need to be taken care of by a human incubator, their mother. In high-income countries where access to numerous amount of incubators are readily available Kangaroo Mother Care is not needed because of an insufficiency but to establish a bond between mother and infant; also to encourage breast feeding. Premature babies are able to be quickly stabilized in an incubator and then taken out to reunite with it's mother. This moment will allow mothers and infants a time to lower their stress levels and bond on a deeper level. The quicker a premature infant can be returned back to their mother, the more of a bond they can establish before they are discharged home.

7 Pregnancy Tips To Help You Conceive

It is important to have a healthy body and mind ready for conception. This means reducing toxins and bad habits from your lifestyle. This not only goes for the female but also the male. A man's sperm take months to develop before ejaculation and therefore a toxin free lifestyle is important too.

Most doctors believe in a holistic approach to maximizing a TTC couple's likelihood of conceiving a baby naturally, below are a number of simple steps both partners can take to assist the path to getting pregnant. These steps have been developed taking into consideration generally accepted health professional advice as well as recognized health research.

1. Smoking

According to the Health Insite, (Australian Government initiative) smoking is an important risk factor for the three diseases that cause most deaths in Australia: heart disease, stroke and lung cancer. Smoking has also been linked to cancers of the mouth, bladder, kidney, stomach and cervix, among others. Smokers are also at increased risk of having reduced lung function from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Using tobacco has been linked to a variety of other conditions, such as diabetes, peptic ulcers, some vision problems, and back pain. Smoking in pregnancy can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth or premature birth. Smoking can negatively affect sperm and your fertility.

2. Stress Management

Trying to conceive can be a stressful time in a couple's relationship. Stress negatively affects fertility in many ways. Look for ways to reduce stress in your life. Perhaps try yoga, mediation, swimming; look for something you will enjoy and that you feel is relaxing. Most importantly, fun and laughter will help with a happy mental state. Try and create a fun environment for sex, enjoy love making rather than focusing on it as a task.

3. Weight Management

It is important throughout all times in our life to maintain a healthy weight range. So of course being a healthy weight around the time of conception is an important step. Both being underweight and overweight can reduce fertility. Look at a balanced diet with lots of grains, fruit, vegetables and small amounts of organic meat and fish; perhaps seek a dietitian or nutritionist advice. Regular exercise combined with a healthy diet should help to create healthy body and mind.

4. Alcohol Consumption

Alcohol can affect fertility. The Australian National Research advises against drinking alcohol before and during pregnancy. Drinking alcohol can increase the risk of miscarriage and abnormalities in the baby. Alcohol can also affect healthy sperm so it is advisable for men to reduce their alcohol consumption.

5. Medication/Drugs

It is best to discuss with your GP or specialist about any medications you are taking that may affect fertility. It is also important to review any over the counter medications you and your partner are taking as they may also affect fertility and sperm count.

6. Other Toxins

Your home or workplace may be potential sites for toxins that may be damaging to fertility and pregnancy. Seek the advise of a healthcare practitioner to identify and sources and provide treatment for the elimination of substances.Workplace and home environment substances could include: pesticides e.g. DDT, dibromochloropropane, chlordecone, ethylenedibromide, chlorpyrifos (Dursban) herbicides e.g. Dioxin fungicides hydrocarbons e.g. vehicle emissions, benzopyrene, PCB chemical solvents e.g. xylene, acetone, trichlorethylene, petroleum distillates, paint thinners and strippers, glycol ethers found in paint, solder vapors toxic smoke from burning synthetic and plastic based compounds textile dyes dry cleaning chemicals lead, mercury, cadmium gasoline, oil-based paints, cleaning solvents, adhesives exposure to radiation can be toxic to a pregnancy.

7. Foods To Avoid When Trying to Conceive

Peas: A chemical in peas have anti-fertility effects for both men and women. Scientists discovered that the birth rate in Tibet was considerably lower than other parts of the world. The cause was found to be peas, a staple food for the population. In clinical trails performed in the USA women were given the chemical (in capsule form) found in peas and pregnancies dropped by 60%. In men sperm rates were slashed by 50% too.

Soy Products: Soy foods contain a natural source of estrogen which can be beneficial but if you are trying to get pregnant any excess in estrogen can cause hormonal imbalances. The result is often interference with ovulation and egg production. It is therefore wise to avoid all forms of soy foods when you are trying to get pregnant.

Ways to Get Pregnant - 5 Top Ways to Help You Get Pregnant

What are the best ways to get pregnant? Perhaps you've been asking this question for months or years. If so, then it's crucial to know the best methods for becoming pregnant. This will help to maximize your chance of achieving success. Some methods work more effectively than others, and here are some of the best ones:

1. Exercise (at the right time).

We all know that exercise is healthy. But it can also help you to become pregnant when you do it at the right time! The key is to know when you should start exercising, in order to boost your chance of becoming pregnant.

2. Consider acupuncture.

When most of us think of acupuncture as just "sticking needles into the body," it can be effective in cleansing your body-and thus preparing it for conception. And if you're not too keen on acupuncture, you could choose acupressure as an alternative. A massage can provide many of the same benefits as acupuncture-and ultimately be one of the best ways to get pregnant.

3. Balance your hormones.

This is one of the most crucial steps to take, in order not only to become pregnant, but also to ensure that your baby will be safe and healthy. Hormones are crucial for assist our bodies' organs to function properly. In fact, you can take natural supplements to maximize the balance of your hormones. This is a safe and natural way to accomplish that mission.

4. Sometimes you shouldn't follow your doctor's orders.

While 99% of the time you should, one of the best ways to get pregnant is to avoid his or her advice if it involves unnatural fertility drugs.

5. Drink plenty of water.

While you should be doing this anyway, it's especially crucial if you want to boost your chance of becoming pregnant. This will help to keep your organs responsible for digestion, clean as a whistle.

Loans For Pregnant Women - Getting Ready For Your Baby

Different people have different aspirations, different dreams, and different plans. However, not all aspirations or dreams can be just a reach away for some, given their financial standing in the society. A good example of this would be pregnancy. Specially in today's time, not all moms-to-be - whether they be single or married, young or at the right age, or even working or not - are financially ready and have the means to meet their dreams or plans before giving birth.

The good news is, with the need for financial aides for such situations, it's no longer much of a sacrifice for mom's-to-be because a lot of financial companies these days have come up with special type of loan intended to help women, especially pregnant women. These types of loans are designed to help them cover not only the cost of hospitalization expenses, but also including the doctors fees during and post hospitalizations, and other bills that are required during and after pregnancy. We all know that a considerable amount of cash is required to meet all these expenses. This is something that not many parents have a savings for, especially for unexpected pregnancies. These offered loans are thus a welcomed change and a great way to help women get the loads of their back for both financial and health reasons. Pregnancy includes a lot of stress and pressure, and added problems will simply not work well with their situations.

Most of these available loans are against collateral security. If you have a property or an own place to stay, you can use it to serve as your collateral to meet any amount of expenses related to your pregnancy. This is surely a great option and problem solver considering the fact that its repayment period is as flexible and can go up to 25 years, especially when it comes to buying stuff that is needed and preferred for your baby. This is something a lot of mothers would really appreciate and consider a great relief.

Not everything goes smoothly during pregnancy, and complications can happen. It is one of those situations where you won't really know what will happen, so it is only practical and essential to prepare. And cash is a very important thing to have during these times, just in case any emergency treatment or procedure is needed. With a convenient secured loan plus and a flexible repayment period, you're not only ensured that funds are ready, but it also ensures you that it will not effect much of your lifestyle or savings negatively.

There are also loans available for pregnant women that are unsecured and don't require any form of collateral security. These loans however, tend to include smaller amounts only. And since the lenders' risk is higher in this type of loans, the interest rates are also higher, and the repayment terms will involve shorter deadlines as compared to secured loans. But considering the idea that no collateral is to be required, this is a great alternative.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Top 10 Benefits of Aromatherapy

A lot of people are aware that aromatherapy can provide a wide range of benefits that can improve the present health condition of a person. In major places like United States and England for example, they would regard the benefits of aromatherapy as something which is very much related to alternative medicine techniques. While on the other hand, those countries which accept aromatherapy as part of their medical procedure would regulate them the way they would do with their medical practices.

Here are the top 10 benefits that aromatherapy can give, read along and you will be pleased on how much it can help:

Benefit # 1: Aromatherapy Helps The Medical Field

In France, this method is use in order to complement the traditional medical practices which they would normally do to address the need of their body. In this place, essential oils are given by physician in order to target harmful organisms which can lead to viral, bacterial, or fungal infections. On the other hand, in United States they would make use of the scents in order to alleviate symptoms of illnesses. This is why a lot of people are familiar with products like Vicks or Halls cough drops that effectively relieve clogged sinuses as well as throats. Aromatic chemicals compounds like eucalyptus and menthol can lessen symptoms associated to colds.

Benefit # 2: Aromatherapy as Stress Reliever

When one mention aromatherapy, the first thing that will ring in one's ear is that it can relieve everyday stress. Aromatherapy is mostly given in order to lessen symptoms of stress among people. A good example of this is the basil oil which is normally given to calm down the effects of depression.

Benefit # 3: Aromatherapy and Behavior

It has been shown that aromatherapy can improve the condition of the mind hence giving some effect to the behavior of a person. According to study conducted among mice, the animal tend to become calm the moment they were exposed to aroma of sandalwood, lavender, and other oils sprayed on them while they became extremely irritable when exposed to thymol, orange terpines, and other aromas.

Benefit # 4: Aromatherapy Can Improve Sleep

A study shows that elderly people were able to "sleep like babies" the time when they were exposed to lavender aroma. These people are suffering from sleep difficulty disorder and had to consume sleeping pills in order to get to sleep before the use of the scented oil.

Benefit # 5: Aromatherapy Relieves Postpartum Discomfort

A study conducted to 635 women shows that postpartum discomfort can highly lessen during the 3rd or the 5th when a woman would apply lavender oil into their perineal area (between the vagina and the rectum)

Benefit # 6: Aromatherapy Heals Colds

It has been noted that consuming chicken soup when you are suffering from colds can highly improve one's condition. Now, there was a further study that was conducted in order to find out whether the effect of chicken soup is because of the action of the hot steam on the nostrils or if it is the aroma of the chicken soup that can actually cure the colds away. The results indicate that it is because of the steam hence suggesting the effectiveness of aroma.

Benefit # 7: Aromatherapy Improves Male Sexual Response

It has been observed that Circulation to the male sexual organ was substantially improved by means of the treatment of licorice or lavender together with pumpkin pie. Doughnut that contains black licorice is also known to be effective. Men that are known to be sexually active responded greatly to cola, lavender, as well as oriental spice while on the other hand older males would rather go for the fragrance of vanilla. This clearly states that aromatherapy is an efficient therapy to address the problem of male impotency.

Benefit # 8: Aromatherapy makes a Person more Alert

It has been shown that people who were exposed to rosemary were able to have a decrease in frontal alpha and beta power which simply suggest that there is an increased in alertness. Furthermore, they also experienced lower anxiety levels and they can perform math computations faster.

Benefit # 9: Aromatherapy for Pain Management

A lot of people would make use of clove bud which is a very potent essential oil in reducing bodily pain. Be sure to use the oil with care and don't forget to dilute it first if you wish to use it for massage or as a lotion.

Benefit # 10: Aromatherapy Heal Wounds

You can make use of tea tree oil to clean the wound first then apply essential oil helichrysum in areas near the wound but not on the wound itself in order to promote healing faster and safer. Keep in mind that the faster the wound heals the lesser scarring will take place.

Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) - What Exhibits Low Thyroid Function to Causes PMS

As we mentioned in previous article, premenstrual syndrome effects over 70% to 90% of women before menopause in US and less for women in Southeast Asia because of their diet. Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) occurrence have more than double over past 50 years due to the acceptance of its as medical condition and caused by unhealthy diet with high in saturated food. Premenstrual syndrome is defined as faulty function of ovaries related to women menstrual cycle, it effects the women physical and emotional state and sometimes interference with daily activities as resulting of hormone fluctuation. The syndrome happens in one or two weeks before menstruation and then declining when the period starts. It is said the symptoms can be so severe that between 10-15% of women have to take time off work, costing businesses millions of dollars a year. In this article, we will discuss what exhibits hypothyroidism to causes PMS.

I. Definition
Hypothyroidism is either caused by Hashimoto's thyroiditis as hypothyroidism or by a lack of the thyroid gland or a deficiency of hormones from either the hypothalamus or the pituitary.

II. What exhibit hypothyroidism to cause Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
1. Diet
Hypothyroidism can be caused by low levels of Iodine in the diet causing high levels of thyroid stimulating hormone resulting in swelling or hyperplasia of the thyroid gland.

2. Sporadic inheritance
Hypothyroidism can pass through from generation to generation caused by genetic defects including recessive, dominant and sporadic inheritance patterns.

3. Postpartum thyroiditis
Postpartum thyroids is a resulted of inflammation of thyroid gland as resulting of fluctuating thyroid function after childbirth for some women. This inflammation may significant damage to the thyroid and hence the hyperthyroid phase will be followed by the development of hypothyroidism.

4. Wolf-Chaikoff effects
Hyperthyroidism also can be caused temporarily intake of high amount of Iodine in treating hyperthyroidism.

6. Chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis
Also known as Hashimoto's thyroiditis, it is caused by malfunction of immune system resulting in the body own T cells attack the thyroid cells or a lack of the thyroid gland or hormones deficiency from either the hypothalamus or the pituitary gland.

Kangaroo Mother Care Is Something Mothers Do Prior to Birth in the Womb

When parents understand that KMC starts from conception it's much more probable that they will continue on after birth. The idea of KMC is about bonding, transitioning both mother and child to the life they have after pregnancy, and about keeping babies healthier. Babies that are held and cared for in this manner tend to develop physically healthier as well as emotionally healthier. There are numerous reasons for this.

KMC techniques provide a sense of stability and security for both the mother and the baby. Each of them has been in a state of togetherness for almost a year, and when it's time for each to start the separation process, it's healthier to allow it to happen gradually over time rather than as a sudden awakening. Babies that are cared for with KMC tend to cry less, grow faster, and end up with a stronger immune system.

If parents understand that KMC start from conception then they have every chance of carrying through after birth. If you think about the mother's natural stance when she is in her third trimester of pregnancy, it is easy to see how the body responds to having a baby nestled along the front of the body. The natural curve of the body allows for easy transitioning to KMC and it becomes easier for mothers to bond while limiting the feeling of being overwhelmed with certain issues like housework or daily duties.

The general state of the mother is often passed on to the infant. Since KMC starts from conception, the mother's sense of loss and separation could very well be transferred onto the baby without the use of this method. The emotional state of the mother can be influenced by how well she connects with her child and how strong the bonding process is. Because bonding actually starts while the baby is in the uterus, the natural extension of the process can be easily handled and seen as a simple step toward natural development. Most parents who see this are able to maintain the KMC technique through its natural course and thus allow for the easy and natural development of the baby to mother bond.

By maintaining the contact, allowing both bodies and minds to adjust, and by minimizing feelings of being overwhelmed fewer mothers who use the KMC method experience post natal depression and are often more energetic as they continue on with their daily lives. They feel better because they are not experiencing trauma. Without the trauma of giving birth it is likely that the transition into motherhood will be a much smoother one.

There are advocates and there are those that feel that even though KMC starts from conception that it isn't necessary to continue on with the practice after the baby has been born. It is essential that the mother has the freedom to experience this technique in her own right in order to ensure that each of the individuals in the situation are experiencing the best possible transition.

Breastfeeding Benefits for Mothers

Breastfeeding is the most natural way of nursing an infant. In the early 1900s, the numerous health benefits of human milk were not known; but today we are aware of all its health promoting properties, not just for baby but also for mother.

o Nursing baby requires a lot of energy, especially when baby experiences a growth spurt and demands very frequent feeding. As such, breastfeeding is nature's easiest diet because it uses an extra 500 to 1,000 calories a day. If the mother eats healthily this is the chance to shed those unwanted pounds.

o By feeding baby, the body releases the hormone oxytocin which helps contract the uterus during the first few days after birth. This is extremely helpful as it stops residual bleeding and the uterus regains its former shape much quicker.

o Several studies have shown that breastfeeding is related to developing breast cancer; if a woman has breastfed she is at lower risk for pre-menopausal breast cancer.

o Continuous infant feeding prevents contraception by stopping ovulation. This phenomenon has been called "exogestation" - gestation outside the womb - because the female fertility system is programmed as if it was still pregnant. Baby's suckling sends a message to the body which indicates the baby's developmental stage: the more baby feeds the higher is the contraceptive protection; however, if baby is breastfed less frequently (less than every two hours), contraceptive protection may be much lower.

o The risk of developing ovarian cancer, osteoporosis and hip fractures in later life has also been shown to be significantly lower when breastfeeding.

o Women who have breastfed are less likely to develop heart disease too, as they tend to have higher levels of good cholesterol (HDL) in their blood.

o Mild forms of postnatal depression may be reduced or even prevented because the body's hormones make mothers feel more positive overall.

o Breastfeeding is cheaper: it does not require you to buy a lot of equipment and the savings in formula milk can add up significantly.

Most importantly, nursing mothers all agree that feeding baby is accompanied by an extremely warm, comforting feeling which helps strengthen a deep rooted bond. While baby suckles hormones are released into the mother's body which calm and relax her in order to make it a very positive experience, especially when she feels tired or stressed.

Preparing for Baby's Arrival - Tips to Ensure a Well-Planned Pregnancy and Delivery

You are going to have a baby, how exciting! Whether or not this is your first pregnancy, it can be a bit nerve-racking. How can you best prepare for baby's arrival? Are there things that can be done to minimize fears and frustrations of being ready? As a parent you want the best for your child, the following list, though not comprehensive, is a good start when trying to figure out how to get ready for your unique baby girl or boy.

  1. DON'T PANIC: First and foremost, DON'T PANIC! Having a baby can be stressful, but does not need to be such. Whether your pregnancy was planned or not, the best thing you can do for yourself and your baby is to NOT PANIC. After the discovering your pregnancy, you can make the rest of the pregnancy and the beginning stages of parenthood a low-stress and exciting experience. As you learn to control your life, in areas you can control, you will be better able to stay calm and relaxed. The less stressed you are, the better it will be for your baby and your family.

  2. PACK A BAG: Generally this is a well-known to-do item, but it is still worth mentioning. Usually you do not have to stay in a hospital gown after delivering your child. You may find it much more comfortable to be in your own pajamas or other 'comfy' clothes. Make sure you have all the toiletries you would need for an overnight stay (or two) at a hotel. Though the hospital may have what you need, the costs are usually much more than you bringing them on your own.

  3. TRANSPORTATION: Do you want to have your baby borne in a taxi or on a city bus? Probably not. Transporting yourself to the birthing location is one thing to think about. Will your spouse be able to take you? What about a backup plan for transportation in the event your spouse is unavailable? Preparing for the homeward bound trip with your precious newborn is something you need to prepare for.

    Make sure the car seat is not expired (yes car seats have an expiration date). Make sure it is secured properly and that if it has an arm to carry the car seat that the arm is secured properly in the position specified by the manufacturer (most, if not all, car seat carriers should be fully down and below/behind the head of the car seat). If the vehicle roles, a carrier arm could collapse on your child and cause severe damage.

    Many hospitals, birthing centers, and even fire stations offer car-seat inspections and hold training to help teach expectant parents how to properly secure a car seat.

  4. ANIMALS: Do you have animals at home that typically live indoors? The most common are dogs and cats. You may want to consider investigating the breed of animal and how it typically responds to newborn children. Dogs may be aggressive, until they have been taught that even the baby is master of the domain/household. A cat may turn and spray your child if not properly introduced. Our dogs were introduced one at a time to our newborn children. Both dogs wanted to sniff and then lick the heads of the baby. After that, our babies were old news. Your animals are not the same as ours. Plan according to the temperament and breed of your pets.

  5. PEDIATRICIAN: Having a pediatrician already selected will make things much easier for you and your child. After the delivery, your child's pediatrician will visit your newborn a couple times to make sure he/she is in optimum health. Follow-up visits can also be scheduled with your pediatrician's office. Though you do not necessarily need to select a pediatrician (the hospital will usually provide one that is one call for the hospital stay), it will make future visits with a familiar face and practice easier for you and your child. Also, by choosing a pediatrician before your child's birth will ensure a less stressful experience afterwards when your child needs to go to regularly scheduled checkups and for less-common emergency checkups.

  6. CHILDCARE: If you will be going back to work after a maternity break, having pre-selected day-care is another way to reduce the stress of raising a child. Selecting day care earlier will allow you to better screen and interview candidate individuals and/or centers. It will better allow you to do first-hand observations in how the center takes care of newborn infants. You can interact with other parents who leave their children at the same location.

  7. FEEDING OPTIONS: Decide, before-hand, on whether you will be nursing or bottle-feeding your child. Both have their individual benefits. As for nutritional needs, both are similarly comparative, though there are skeptics and many homeopaths that purport nursing is better, it really is more of a personal decision as the nutritional benefits are virtually the same and perhaps even better with formula. There is some belief that the skin-to-skin contact associated with nursing is good stimulation for your child, but skin-on-skin does not needs to be only through nursing. Generally there is cost savings with nursing, and it is easier to carry around as you generally have ample supply wherever you are.

    We used formula for both our children; both are very intelligent and have a wonderful relationship with both daddy and mommy. A benefit to formula is that feeding is not just a motherly task. The father can take the opportunity to bond with the child as he feeds baby. Some of the fondest memories of our children's daddy is of him singing and rocking them to sleep while they feed on formula.

    Again, whether you nurse or bottle feed your child is a completely personal decision and you should not feel bad choosing one over the other. On a similar note, if you choose to nurse, it may not come as easy as you would like. Understand that it will take practice by both mother and baby to master the art of nursing.

  8. BORROW OR BUY: The first year of your baby's life will be expensive. Generally, going from a household of two to a household of three does not just require a lifestyle change, but also a financial lifestyle change and obligation. Speak with friends, relatives, church associates, or community forums to determine what items you should really purchase for the first year of baby's life as opposed to things that could simply be borrowed. For example, a baby stroller, or cradle may be something that could be borrowed. A crib that can convert to a toddler bed or adult bed may be something worth purchasing. Some baby clothes also may be able to be borrowed rather than purchased. Baby will be a shock on the pocketbook, minimizing wherever possible can help.

  9. CLASSES: Many birthing centers and hospitals offer free or low-cost classes to help new-expectant parents learn how to best prepare for your newborn child. Make use of these services. At minimum they can help put your mind at ease in what you can expect and what you can do to do to prepare. They often provide information about birthing options and your right to have a plan followed by nurses, doctors, and/or other medical staff.

  10. MAKE A DECISION LIST: To help you stay calm throughout the pregnancy and afterwards, make a list of the things that can be decided prior to baby's arrival and taking him or her home. Some things to consider when making this list include (not an exhaustive list, just a sample):

    - Will you find out the gender?

    - Name ideas for both genders. Ultra sound gender determination is not 100% accurate. If you would like help finding unique names for girls and boys do a search on Google or other reputable search engine. There are ample websites dedicated to baby names.

    - Birthing location: Birthing center, hospital, home, etc.

    - If a boy, will you want him circumcised?

    - Cloth diapers or disposable diapers (not much cost savings in cloth as a result of how much cloth diapers cost and the associated maintenance of the diapers)

Though the list is not comprehensive, it should give expectant parents ideas how to prepare for the arrival of their newborn baby. Remember the most important thing, DON'T PANIC! Using lists, and being prepared in the things you can prepare will help you overcome many fears and frustrations sometimes associated with first-time pregnancies.