Saturday, March 23, 2013

What to Do If You're Denied Insurance When You're Pregnant

The cost of any type of medical care can be expensive. If you have ever looked at your medical bill after a procedure, even a visit to the emergency room, you will find that the simplest of medical care can cost hundreds of dollars. For those with medical insurance, it can be a lifesaver when it comes to out-of-pocket costs. For those who do not have medical insurance, it can cause a stressful situation at the home, as the bills can pile, and the debt incurred can be very costly. When you are pregnant, the scare can be even worse, as it can be one of the most expensive medical care procedures available to patients. So what can you do if you're denied medical insurance and you are pregnant?

There are a few steps you should take to ensure that you have made all efforts to find insurance during your pregnancy.

  1. Keep in mind that you cannot be denied health insurance when starting a new job if your company offers health benefits just because you are pregnant.

  2. If you are recently out of work, your company may offer COBRA insurance. It will cover you for 18 months, and may require you to still pay the full premium cost. It can be a pricey option, but still less expensive than going without insurance altogether.

  3. If your income meets the necessary requirements, you may be able to apply for Medicaid. They offer health insurance to pregnant women, children, disabled and blind adults, and people over the age of 65. It's advised that you contact your state health department to find out about qualifications.

  4. If you do not qualify for Medicaid, contact your state health department for other programs that may be available to you. There are many low-cost pre-natal programs that may offer maternity services and a lesser rate.

California's Pregnancy Disability Leave Law

California's Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL) law allows pregnant women who are "disabled" during their pregnancy to take up to four months of leave from work. The term, disabled, is a bit misleading because it includes any disability related to the woman's pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition.

Further, even prior to taking time off, employer's are also obligated to make reasonable accommodations for pregnant employees such as modifying work duties, transferring the employee to a less strenuous position, or providing a modified work schedule. An employer's failure to accommodate the pregnant employee is only excusable where the employer can prove that the accommodation would be an undue burden.

To qualify for leave, the employee must be unable to perform one or more of her job functions because of the pregnancy or pregnancy-related conditions such as morning sickness or prenatal care. An employee generally must request pregnancy disability leave at least 30 days' prior to the need for leave. However, if circumstances do not permit advance notice, the employee only need give notice as soon as practicable. In response, an employer is permitted to request medical documentation supporting the employee's need for leave. The certification simply must show the date of disability, the anticipated amount of leave needed, and an explanation as to why the employee cannot work.

After the leave is complete, the employer must return to the employee to the same or to comparable position. Pregnancy leave must be treated the same as all other temporary disabilities so that policies that apply to non-pregnancy-related temporary disabilities must also apply to leave taken under the PDL. For example, pregnant employees continue to accrue seniority, have a right to participate in health, retirement, and disability plans, and any other benefits provided to employees.

In addition to leave under the PDL, California employees who work for larger employers (those who employ 50 or more employees) are entitled to an additional 12 weeks of leave under CFRA. In total, a pregnant employee may be able to maximize her leave to allow for nearly 7 months of job protected leave.

A Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

There's no denying that there are many negative forces at work in today's society. We have battles in court, battles on soil belonging to neighboring countries', gang warfare, crazy people walking into local fast food joints and randomly spraying machine gun fire, police brutality, overpopulation, starving people, AIDS, cancer, pollution, dwindling resources, abusive and neglectful families, so many people caught up in material priorities, drugged from crack to Valium, from Ritalin to Prozac. We have destructive emotions like selfishness, fear, misery, envy, depression, jealousy, distrust, hate, racism, and anger. Just thinking about all the negative influences surrounding us is depressing. Pass the Prozac, please. It's easy to overlook the existence of positive elements in our society. We need to know both extremes in order to have something by which to base our standards. There needs to be a balance. The Yin and the Yang must co-exist. This is not to say that the scales cannot tip toward one side or the other, and in a world where the scales seem to be tipping towards the bad side, who wouldn't want to add a little weight to the good?

There have been and continue to be visionaries among us. The definition of Utopian is "ideal, but impractical". The Utopia in A Brave New World boasted physical comfort and "happiness" ensured by genetic manipulation and postnatal conditioning. The inhabitants of this new world were essentially slaves, bound not by literal chains, but by mental ones.

On the subject of happiness John says to Bernard, " Well, I'd rather be unhappy than have the sort of false, lying happiness you were having here". The happiness of the new world was not true happiness since it was conditioned. Just as one who has been hypnotized to walk around clucking like a chicken may think he is a chicken, he is not actually a chicken. Similarly, a woman regularly abused by her partner, being told that she is "worthless" and "stupid" eventually comes to believe it, whether it's true or not. One who is told he is happy often enough to believe it is not actually happy, he has just been brainwashed into believing so.

Based on his research, Abraham Maslow, a Philosopher of Humanistic Psychology, formed the theory of "self-actualization". He found that in order to obtain happiness, we must first satisfy the "needs" on the lower rungs of the ladder in order to progress up the ladder to the top.

Maslow's "Hierarchy of Needs" in ascending order: 1) Physiological needs (hunger, thirst, shelter, rest) 2) Safety needs (protected from illness, elements) 3) Love (receiving and giving love, affection, trust, acceptance, family, friends) 4) Esteem needs (esteem, respect of others and self) 5) Cognitive needs (knowledge, understanding, curiosity) 6) Aesthetic needs (art, nature, balance, order) 7) Self actualizing (successful development and use of personal talents and abilities).

In accordance with Maslow's theory, Brave New Worlder's don't have the potential to be happy. They couldn't progress much past the 2nd rung of the ladder. Love was denied to them due to the "appalling dangers of family life". Their cognitive needs were not fulfilled. They could be brainwashed, but not actually learn anything. The example given was of the little boy who could recall from his sleep teaching the statement about the Nile river being the longest in Africa, but not knowing which river in Africa was the longest. They did not have independent thought. In fact, they did not have most of Maslow's characteristics of psychologically healthy people: "an objective perception of reality, independence, need for privacy, empathy, resistance to conformity, democratic characteristics, or the keenness to be creative".

Today's society is slowly but surely creeping towards being more and more controlled. Big business and Government are two powerful forces united, driven by money and power. We're still giving fingerprints as a form of ID; will DNA be next? Our spending is monitored. We have credit and debit cards; even our paper money contains a metallic strip, for tracking. We are constantly being watched by cameras on every street corner, the highway, the park, work, shopping. Animals' whereabouts are tracked by microchips that have been implanted in their bodies. Are we next? How about cloning?

Like the "orgie porgies", "feelies" and "soma", we're being given distractions to divert our attention from realities such as these. To keep independent thought at bay, Ritalin, Prozac, TV "news", soap operas, talk shows, and the internet are given to us. Advertising is stuffed down our throats. Catchy tunes reminding us how much we need this or that. The power of suggestion is strong. Mass production needs mass consumption. In A Brave New World the statements "Ending is better than mending", "I love new clothes..", "The more stitches, the less riches" were drilled into heads. Another form of distraction in A Brave New World was the constant groups of people, of strangers. This is similar to our city life. Masses of people lose individually, making them easier to lead. Churches have known this throughout history.

In A Brave New World, the Controller spoke to John of their nine year war and of how the masses were "ready to have even their appetites controlled then. Anything for a quiet life". Are we heading toward a new society? A society slowly and methodically being reformed to better serve the needs of someone in a position of power? Will we soon be willing to give up our freedoms in exchange for physical safety as in the Brave New World?

What Infertility Insurance Actually Pays For

For couples who have been trying to conceive naturally for at least 1 year (in some states) and have failed, there may be help depending upon where you live. The important note here is the state in which you live. Most states do not mandate coverage for infertility. Insurance companies do not like to cover infertility treatments because they are very expensive, particularly with IVF. Since the insurance companies work hand and hand with the state legislators, the results are obvious.

Each state has there own requirements as to who, what, when and when not, and how much infertility insurance is to be covered in the policy. Here is the way it works.

Definition of Infertility

Infertility in couples has a different definition in each state. Some require at least one year, while other states require up to five years of trying before being considered for coverage. Other states have an age limit, while others do not; Connecticut's age limit is 40 years, New Jersey's is 46.

The states that do define infertility also impose eligibility based upon how long you've been living in the state as well as how long you've been trying to conceive. Maryland requires a history of infertility for 2 years while Hawaii needs a 5 year history and Illinois only 1 year. There is also some conditions on the type of infertility that is eligible such as endometriosis, blocked or surgically removed fallopian tubes or abnormal male factors. California does not mandate that insurance companies cover IVF, while other states place no such restrictions. Insurance companies also have their own strict requirements and limitations.

Coverage of Infertility Insurance

What is covered and what is not covered also is defined by those states that mandate coverage. The procedures for infertility treatment must be covered at a licensed facility in Arkansas and they are limited to a total lifetime amount of $15,000 and that includes cryopreservation. Maryland has a $100,000 limit, a much more realistic figure for IVF's to take hold. Rhode Island has the same limit, but the insurance company offering the infertility insurance may impose up to a 20% co-payment in that state.

Ohio requires HMOs to cover infertility services when they are medically necessary, but IVF are not required by law. Texas also has a mandate, but no coverage is required, except for IVF - figure that one out. You can get in-vitro fertilization, but that's it, even though their are so many other procedures that are far less costly.

Exceptions to Infertility Insurance

Almost all states that mandate procedures make an exception for employers who are self-insured or in some states religious employers or employers with less than 50 employees do not have to provide coverage. Other exceptions also include experimental, sex change, voluntary sterilization or surrogacy.

Just because you live in a state that does not mandate infertility insurance does not mean that an insurance company operating in your state does not carry that type of insurance. The best way to treat infertility is to avoid the costly procedures and not deal with overwhelming bureaucracy developed by the insurance companies.For couples who have been trying to conceive naturally for at least 1 year (in some states) and have failed, there may be help depending upon where you live. The important note here is the state in which you live. Most states do not mandate coverage for infertility. Insurance companies do not like to cover infertility treatments because they are very expensive, particularly with IVF. Since the insurance companies work hand and hand with the state legislators, the results are obvious.

Each state has there own requirements as to who, what, when and when not, and how much infertility insurance is to be covered in the policy. Here is the way it works.

Definition of Infertility

Infertility in couples has a different definition in each state. Some require at least one year, while other states require up to five years of trying before being considered for coverage. Other states have an age limit, while others do not; Connecticut's age limit is 40 years, New Jersey's is 46.

The states that do define infertility also impose eligibility based upon how long you've been living in the state as well as how long you've been trying to conceive. Maryland requires a history of infertility for 2 years while Hawaii needs a 5 year history and Illinois only 1 year. There is also some conditions on the type of infertility that is eligible such as endometriosis, blocked or surgically removed fallopian tubes or abnormal male factors. California does not mandate that insurance companies cover IVF, while other states place no such restrictions. Insurance companies also have their own strict requirements and limitations.

Coverage of Infertility Insurance

What is covered and what is not covered also is defined by those states that mandate coverage. The procedures for infertility treatment must be covered at a licensed facility in Arkansas and they are limited to a total lifetime amount of $15,000 and that includes cryopreservation. Maryland has a $100,000 limit, a much more realistic figure for IVF's to take hold. Rhode Island has the same limit, but the insurance company offering the infertility insurance may impose up to a 20% co-payment in that state.

Ohio requires HMOs to cover infertility services when they are medically necessary, but IVF are not required by law. Texas also has a mandate, but no coverage is required, except for IVF - figure that one out. You can get in-vitro fertilization, but that's it, even though their are so many other procedures that are far less costly.

Exceptions to Infertility Insurance

Almost all states that mandate procedures make an exception for employers who are self-insured or in some states religious employers or employers with less than 50 employees do not have to provide coverage. Other exceptions also include experimental, sex change, voluntary sterilization or surrogacy.

Just because you live in a state that does not mandate infertility insurance does not mean that an insurance company operating in your state does not carry that type of insurance. The best way to treat infertility is to avoid the costly procedures and not deal with overwhelming bureaucracy developed by the insurance companies.

Altius Health Plans - Quality Plans, Customer Service, and Provider Choice

Altius Health Plans is one of the most customer-friendly health insurance companies in Utah.

Customer Service

Ever since Altius entered the Utah health insurance market, they have taken pride in their attention to customer service. Many Utah residents that have Altius health insurance through their work, insist on continuing with Altius once they leave their place of employment.

Plans & Maternity

Altius has had and continues to have competitive priced plans that are rich in benefits. Altius won't likely be the right company for you if you plan on having a baby in the near future, as their maternity deductible is one of the highest in Utah.


However Altius Health Plans boasts a large doctor network and the large independent HCA hospital network. They have done a great job managing health insurance rates and keeping them at a reasonable level. Altius Health Plans has a variety of plans ranging from those that cover office visits and prescriptions before the deductible to major medical plans with high deductible that allow the use of health savings accounts. Altius has excellent financial backing and has shown that they are in Utah to stay.

Value-Added Bonus'

One thing that Altius does that no other Utah insurance company does is they offer a dental discount plan to each one of their members who have a health insurance plan. This allows their members to receive dental services at a reduced price if they use preferred providers. On top of that, each member receives discounts on a variety of other services, such as eye wear and other health-related services.

5 Exhaustive Tips on Motherhood

Motherhood is perhaps the most cherished period of a woman's' life. Ever since she is pregnant till when she brings her baby up, she is in the most beautiful stage of life, called motherhood. However beautiful and pure it is, it is certainly hard to sail through this episode of life, without much prior insight into it. These days there are some very good motherhood guides available online. But if you are looking for a short read, which covers pretty much every aspect of this stage, then read on.

  1. Take good care of yourself during pregnancy, because what you do to yourself, is what you do to your baby at last. It is always better to have the best kind of food, as prescribed; also have a good and comprehensive workout routine which will help you during delivery and also bring about a high metabolism that will help both your baby and you. Food and exercise are the first things you have got to pay attention to.

  2. Take your doctor's advice seriously. All the pills and also other prescribed foods and drugs need to be taken. Remember this is only to help you cope up with this phase in a better manner.

  3. Be comfortable. Do not over exert and be overcome by discomfort. Always choose to be in a position that is comfortable and in clothes that are comfortable too. Shop for the best maternity clothes that you can flaunt in this period of life. Be mentally comfortable for delivery as well.

  4. After pregnancy the most important thing you have got to consider is that of your baby's protection. Of course do not forget yourself in the bargain. Do the best for your baby and yourself and also take great care. You might need some advice during this phase, all you have to do is ask someone who is experienced or just go through some online guide.

  5. Lastly, enjoy your motherhood. Have fun and make small things look beautiful and charming.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Choosing a Home Based Care Provider - What to Look For

When choosing a home-based care provider, you will be entrusting your own care, or the care of a child or family member, to someone else. This can be a very difficult decision, so it is important that you find someone from an organisation you can trust.

There are hundreds of different home-based support organisations throughout the country. So, how do you know where to start looking? Here are some points for you to consider:

What type of care do you require?

When choosing a home-based care provider, you will need to figure out which type of support you require. It may be home support, childcare, maternity care, aged care, disability support, palliative, post surgical or rehabilitation. Different providers specialise in different areas, so start by looking for a provider who will meet your particular needs.

Are they a trusted organisation?

Look for a company with a good reputation. Organisations such as the Educational Review Office (ERO), Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC), or Disability Support Services (DSS,) will often have a list of recommended home-based care providers.

Also, check if your chosen home-based support provider is accredited by organisations such as the Health and Disability Association New Zealand (HDANZ) and the New Zealand Home Health Association (NZHHA). This accreditation means, that the service they provide complies with the Home and Community Sector Standards.

Funding Options

You may have the option to seek private or public care. Discuss your funding options with the home-based support provider you contact; you may be eligible for publicly funded assistance through the District Health Boards (DHBs), DSS or ACC.

Alternatively, you can choose to pay privately, or if you have medical insurance, your insurer may fund your home-based support.

Discuss your requirements

It is important to sit down and have a discussion with your chosen home-based care provider. Ask them to put together a care plan for yourself, your child or family member, and discuss what needs to be done and how often.

Ask about the caregiver's qualifications and experience to reassure yourself about leaving your loved one in their capable hands. It is often an emotional time and process, so having all the assurances that your loved one will receive the specific healthcare and attention they need in their own home will put your mind at ease.

With a bit of research you will find a home-based care provider who is compassionate, professional and trustworthy. When you do, be sure to get in contact with one of the company's friendly staff, who will be able to talk you through your home-based support options.

Help to Get Pregnant - Desperate to Conceive But Are You Overweight Or Obese?

Trying to conceive a child? Do the doctors say that you can increase your chances to get pregnant by losing your extra weight? Loosing your weight can help to get pregnant. I know how are you feeling because I was in the same position. I was also looking for the help to get pregnant.

Being overweight or obese can be an obstacle that greatly affects your chances to fall pregnant.

How can your weight affect your chances to get pregnant:

1. Your weight may affect your ovulation.

Being overweight or obese can disrupt your regular monthly cycle, making it difficult for you to ovulate, and making it difficult to know exactly when you are ovulating. The impact of weight on ovulation has to do with the production of estrogen. Research suggests that for women who are overweight, the extra fat tissue can lead to an excess production of estrogen. This excess estrogen can then cause a hormonal imbalance that affects ovulation.

2. The sheer logistics of sex can get in the way for overweight and obese couples who are trying to conceive.

If the sperm are not able to make it all the way to the cervical mucus, whether held back by excess skin or they can't make it to a deep cervix, there are a variety of problems that being overweight can cause in the physical act of conception.

In addition, some studies suggest that being overweight and not getting enough exercise can lead to a low sperm count and/or low sperm viability in men.

Help to get pregnant = help to weight loss

I was considered obese (350 lbs.) I had irregular periods, often having two periods per month, which my doctor indicated as a lack of ovulation.

I had made some serious lifestyle changes and was down to 280 lbs. from 350 lbs. before falling pregnant. After losing just 20 lbs. my periods became normal. I followed the Strip That Fat guidelines. I focused on healthy diet and exercised. I was feeling and looking better than I had in a long time.

This helped me to get pregnant. Although I have gained 30 lbs. back during this pregnancy, it is ok. I have kept a lot of my healthy eating habits, even more important now to give my developing baby the nutrition he needs.

In conclusion:

- Women with a BMI of 35 to 40 face a probability of pregnancy between a 26 - 43 per cent less than those with a BMI of 21-29.

- Women aged 30 or over, who are also obese, would have an even greater reduction in her chances to get pregnant.

- Dieting and exercise, of course, can help to address the issue of being overweight. However dieting and exercising can also sometimes interfere with ovulation, thus a three-month maintenance window tends to be helpful.

The Best Treatment For Postpartum Depression - St Johns Wort

So you're a new mother and suffering from feelings of sadness, worthlessness, and despair? You are most likely a victim of Postnatal Depression/Postpartum Depression (PND and PPD). Postpartum depression is a highly common disease that affects one in every five new mothers. If left untreated the symptoms of postnatal depression can change your personality forever.

When I was dealing with PPD my doctor advised me to jump onto prescription anti-depressants. I was very much against this course of action. I did not know how I would react to these strong medication. They all seemed to have a high risk of dependency. I also did not like the idea of being all looped up on drugs while caring for my first newborn child.

I turned to the internet for help; I found a lot of great information out there in books and journals. I found stories of hundreds of other women who were going through exactly what I was. With the combination of the remedies I found online I was able to completely stop suffering from my postnatal depression symptoms.

The most influential thing I believe to aid in my quest to be happy again was St. Johns Wort. St. Johns Wort is a natural plant related to the mint family. Considered a weed in most of America, for thousands of years people have used to plant to help battle depression. Recently medical studies have shown that it can be as effective as prescription anti-depressants but with less cases of side effects.

Pilates by Denise Austin - It Even Helps Pregnant Women

The best aspect of Pilates is that anyone can benefit from it and achieve remarkable results. It does not require bouncing or stressing your body. For this reason, Pilates is idyllic for people who avoid exercising because of muscle weakness or joint pains. Denise Austin is the author of several books including Sculpt Your Body with Balls and Bands, which provides invaluable advice to make the best out of your Pilates experience.

There are several types of Pilates machines that can help perfect the way you work out. The most popular machine is the Pilate Reformer Machine, which provides a total-body workout.

Denise Austin is a sought after mentor and has started numerous fitness programs. Denise Austin's "Pilates for Everybody" is a very popular fitness program that goes beyond the usual focus proffered on core abdominal muscles, narrowing the workout to toned legs and arms. The fitness regime begins the program with a warm-up similar to tai chi. This is followed by abdominal-targeted matt work for about 17 minutes, toning the upper and lower-body. Denise recommends using the Dyna-band through much of the session to increase resistance and effectiveness. The program concludes with a tai chi stretch.

Pilates by Denise Austin provides valuable tips on her "Best Bun & Leg Shapers" program. The seven different exercises provided can help you get the curves that you want. It targets the buns as well as the legs to produce a shapely and firm bottom half. In another one of her fitness programs, she teams with an expert to create different routines for different days, where the work out can be done in as little as 10 to 15 minutes time. The "Get Fit Daily Dozen" contains 12 easy exercises that will only take 12 minutes. This fitness regime provides different moves that vary constantly so that you don't get bored with the same old routine. Pilates can help you lose weight by dancing as well to help burn fat and build lean muscles. Other programs help flatten the belly and slim the waistline. At least one workout is recommender per day for at least 10 to 15 minutes a day.

For pregnant women, there is a fitness program called "Fit & Firm" which focuses on 'perfect pregnancy posture,' as well as on the reshaping for the after-baby body. This program embraces breathing and core awareness as a preparatory segment with the cardio workout providing heart-healthy workouts, as it also suits the three trimesters. Using Austin's Pilates program, the body becomes sculpted from head to toe in the first and the second trimester toning. It helps sooth sore muscles and maintain core strength through the third trimester in a 20 minute refreshing workout, which helps pregnant women prepare for delivery.

Disability Insurance For Maternity Leave - Finding the Right Coverage

Short term disability insurance is the best way to create maternity leave pay, and to also protect your income in case of complications, accidents, and illnesses. If your employer provides paid maternity benefits, funds group short term disability, or makes a voluntary option available at work, consider yourself very lucky to have these options. Many working women have none of these choices available via their employer, so they begin looking for individual coverage that provides pregnancy and maternity coverage. Such an animal does exist. But you have to know exactly where to look, and then ask a simple question in a specific way to get the coverage you want. It can be done, and has happened many times.

Some working women planning a pregnancy are lucky to work for employers who provide paid maternity leave benefits - but this is a small minority in the U.S. A slightly larger group work for employers who fully fund a group short term disability program that provides income replacement during maternity leave after a normal labor and delivery. Another even larger group of women work for employers who made a voluntary employee paid short term disability option available to all employees. These women can enroll in the programs before getting pregnant, and their benefit for normal delivery will greatly exceed the premium paid, creating maternity leave pay while also providing income protection in case of complications, accidents, and illnesses. If you fall into one of these categories you are one of the lucky few.

Many women work at employers who offer none of these options. So they seek out a direct individual short term disability option that provides pregnancy and maternity leave coverage. They quickly find that it is like looking for a needle in a haystack.

Why is Individual Pregnancy and Maternity Coverage Hard to Find?

Why is it so hard to find individual short term disability with pregnancy and maternity leave benefits? Consider the math, and the answer becomes quite obvious. Short term disability insurance pays benefits for your normal labor and delivery - a planned event for many couples. The benefit paid for a c-section delivery might be four times what a woman might pay in premium annually. Plus the insurer is also on the hook for additional benefit amounts should mom experience complications before delivery, postpartum disorders that extend her maternity leave, accidents, and illnesses. In other words, working women planning pregnancies are a sure loss for insurers.

Insurers won't sell individual disability policies with maternity benefits direct, because they would lose money on virtually every policy. But they do sell individual policies through groups on a voluntary basis, if they have the opportunity to pool risks with co-workers. This means that women can get a pregnancy and maternity policy they own themselves that is fully portable.

The Simple Question to Get Coverage

Women can get the pregnancy and maternity coverage they want if they can ask one simple two part question: "Would you take money from my check and send it to the insurance carrier, and do the same for any other employees who might need short term disability insurance?" The employer gets to look like a hero and it doesn't cost them a dime!

5 Very Early Symptoms of Pregnancy Help to Confirm Pregnancy Before Missed Periods

There are few very early symptoms of pregnancy. These symptoms start to show themselves in very early days of pregnancy. There are some women who only show one or two signs of pregnancy at the same time there are some other women who show all of these 5 very early symptoms of pregnancy.

Once a woman conceives it takes around 7 to 10 days to the fertilized egg to implant in the lining of the uterus. After this time period there are 5 top pregnancy signs that signal that a woman is pregnant.

Without putting into further delay let's dive in

Excessive Urination: This is a telltale and earliest pregnancy sign. Excessive urination can be the result of any other problem like diabetes or the reaction of some medication; but it is good to consider pregnancy as one of the possible cause.

Spotting: Spotting in the late pregnancy is of great concern and must be reported to the doctor at earliest. Light spotting in the early days signals pregnancy. The color of this vaginal spotting ranges from light pink to dark brown.

Missed Period: This is the most well-known and famous sign of pregnancy. It is the clearest indicator of pregnancy. It is good to keep in mind that sometimes a woman can also miss her period because of some reason other than pregnancy. So it is only an indicator not the final diagnosis.

Nausea and Intense Cramping: This is the next obvious, well-known a clear indicator of pregnancy. Again nausea and cramping could be because of number of reasons. Nausea and cramping is not only the most famous sign pf pregnancy but at the same time it is the most misunderstood and clear sign of pregnancy. Here is not any formula that can tell that a woman id pregnant. Only the rule that applies here is that more signs of pregnancy signals brighter chances of being pregnant.

Exhaustion And Lack Of Energy: This is a sign of pregnancy that is knitted with pregnancy. This exhaustion is different from the routine fatigued feelings. The key to assess the pregnancy related lack of energy is that it is noticeable and dramatic.

No matter how much signs of pregnancy a woman is experiencing, a pregnancy test is required to confirm her pregnancy. Sometimes even the home pregnancy test can give a false negative result. In such a case it is recommended to rest for few days and then check again.

Things You Should Know About Pregnancy and Antenatal Care

Early Signs of Pregnancy

Apart from a missed or light period, you will notice a few other early symptoms of pregnancy. If you know what to expect, you will be better prepared to handle them.

  • Breast tenderness: Your breasts may feel tender and heavy. By six weeks, your breasts would have increased in size.

  • Morning sickness: Although termed as morning sickness, you can actually feel queasy at any time of the day. About 50% of women feel nauseous or vomit during the 6-12 weeks of pregnancy.

  • Bladder discomfort: You may urinate more frequently both during the day and night as your bladder fills up quickly during these early weeks.

  • Change in tastes: You develop a strange metallic taste in your mouth and you may dislike certain foods and drinks including coffee, tea, alcohol, liver and meat.

Choosing Doctor

Appointments with your doctor start out on monthly basis, slowly moving on to fortnightly and then weekly in the later part of pregnancy. So, when selecting a doctor, distance becomes a consideration. It is wise to choose a doctor near your home or workplace. Besides reducing the hassle of travelling, you will feel more confident nearing birth if you hospital is within easy reach.

Your doctor should also be someone you feel comfortable with, as he or she will become an important figure during your pregnancy - caring for your health, monitoring your baby's progress, answering your questions and allaying your fears. Some mothers prefer female doctors. Friends and relatives would gladly give you recommendations.

Antenatal Classes

Antenatal classes are especially helpful for first time parents. They generally cover pregnancy, birth and how to look after your newborn. Breathing and relaxation technique which help to reduce pain during labour will also be taught. Fathers are encouraged to attend in order to be more supportive during birth. These short courses enable you to share your experience and feelings with other mothers, often fostering warm friendship in the process. If you are interested in theses classes, check with your hospital or maternity clinic.

To give your baby a healthy start in life, begin your antenatal visits as early as possible. This enables your doctor to detect any problems and treat them early. During your first visit, your doctor will gather some information from you pertaining to:

Previous pregnancies and deliveries
Illness and allergies that you are suffering from
Medication that you are taking
Family history of genetic diseases, high blood pressure or diabetes
Your first visit will also be longer. Your urine and blood pressure will be checked. You will be weighed and measured and a blood sample will be taken to determine

  • Your blood group

  • whether you are Rhesus positive or negative

  • immunity to rubella

  • anaemia

  • syphilis

  • HIV

In addition, your doctor will conduct a general examination of your heart, breasts and abdomen. During subsequent visits, your weight, urine, blood pressure and size of uterus will continue to be monitored. Your doctor would also like to know when you first feel your baby moving.

Ultrasound scan

Besides the above routine tests, your doctor may carry out an ultrasound scan on you. This scan reveals the baby's position, growth rate, any adnormalities, presence of twins, position of the placenta. You will thrilled to see your baby on the screen for the first time. If you wish, you may request for a print of the scan.

Other antenatal tests

Depending on individual needs, other test may be necessary. For older mother ( 35 years and above), an amniocentesis may be recommended to detect chromosomal abnormalities, especially Down's syndrome. However, this test carries a risk of miscarriage. For more details, talk to your doctor.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Overcome Infertility - How Vitamin B12 Effects Fertility

As we mentioned in previous articles, infertility is defined as inability of a couple to conceive after 12 months of unprotected sexual intercourse. It effects over 5 millions couple alone in the U. S. and many times more in the world. Because of unawareness of treatments, only 10% seeks help from professional specialist.We have spent most of the time in this series discussing the conventional and Chinese medicine in treating fertility. I believe, it is the best time to change the subject by discussing how vitamin B12 effects fertility.

1. Reproductive organ enhancer
Researchers found that vitamin B12 not only is vital for the development of healthy fetus and embryo but also improves the fertility rate. Deficiency of B12 may interfere with division of cells and cells growth, leading to miscarriage and making conception more difficult.

2. Blood flow
Vitamin B12 also helps to dicrease the risk of heart disease and increases the blood flow to the body in transportation of oxygen to the body including the reproductive organ, thereby decreasing the risk of blood stagnation in the abdomen.

3. Nervous system
It is also important to boost the nervous in regulating the production of certain hormone in the body, resulting in lessening the risk of over production of certain hormone that normalizes the menstrual cycle for women.

4. Endometrium
It is said that vitamin B12 helps to boost the endometrium lining in egg fertilization, resulting in decreasing the risk of miscarriage and increasing the chance of egg implantation in artificial insemination.

5. Ovulation assisting
It is considered one of the vitamin necessary for normal ovulation. Study founds that deficiency of vitamin B12 may causes irregular ovulation or not ovulation at all, making conception difficulty for some women.

Colors You Might Want To Avoid In Your Nursery

As beautiful as the world may be thanks to all the different colors that are on the planet, decorating a nursery using certain colors is simply not advisable. Some colors won't look right; others will actually cause your child to be cranky. Even more, some colors will simply cause an eyebrow raise from family and friends. Also, some strong colors splashed over a large surface are very difficult to work with and choosing complementing crib bedding and accessories will be a real torture. If you are planning on painting your nursery a new color, try to avoid these hues.

  • Orange - In small doses, orange isn't that bad a color. If you paint your nursery in a bright orange hue, you will soon find out that it's a very aggressive color. Painting your baby's room orange will quickly overpower any soothing qualities that your room might have had. Some parents have even reported that large amount of the color orange makes their child cry more often than other tints.

  • Black - Though it can add a very modern streak to a room, painting your nursery walls black is not advisable. This is for a large number of reasons. First off, black is not a soothing color for moms or children. In fact, if you are a mother who is more likely to have postpartum depression, choosing black as your wall color can be dangerous. Moreover, it's not a typical nursery color to see, which means that if you do decide to paint your nursery walls black, you can also expect a lot of raised eyebrows. Black walls also give people the impression that the room is much smaller than it actually is. Overall, too much black (or for many people, any at all) can be a very poor choice.

  • Yellow - Many moms have said that the bright yellow color causes babies to cry more frequently than other colors. However, there hasn't been enough research on the subject to find a real correlation. It's best to treat this as an "approach with caution" color, and to stick to pastels in this tint.

  • Blood Red - Reds can be a very bright, happy color for any room. However, a bloody hue might be too dark to actually be a good choice in a nursery. If you live in a traditional town, getting a nursery in a blood red color theme will get a lot of awkward comments unless you are a real maverick with colors. It might also be a little too loud to get your child to sleep peacefully. Much like black, dark reds will make a room appear much more cramped than it actually happens to be.

Of course, the above mentioned colors are perfect to use on d矇cor elements and nursery accents in order to break the single-color monotony or to spice up the more traditional and somewhat over used color choices. A black and gray mural will add elegance to a white nursery wall and a toy set of orange jungle animals will deliver whimsy and warmth to otherwise boring nursery. Your nursery color choice depends on your personal taste but welcoming, soothing and uplifting color combination is a winning color combination.

Get Rid Of Bladder Infections During And After Pregnancy

Bladder infections during pregnancy can cause a lot of problems. Women need to take special care during and after pregnancy and any kind of infection can cause a lot of problems. Extra care and preventing the occurrence of any infection is necessary during this time. Women are more susceptible to this infection than men. Doctors attribute this to the closely placed vagina and anus in women and the short length of urethra. Also known as cystitis, this affects more than 50% of women during pregnancy. The bacteria enter the urinary tract through the urethra and stick to the walls of the bladder. The condition becomes serious if they travel to the kidneys and cause kidney infection.

It is quite easy to prevent the infection and you can get rid of it in the initial stages with some precautions.

1. Know the symptoms of bladder infections - During pregnancy watch for the sure signs of urinary infection or UTI. With the first clue, rush to get the necessary treatment. Some of the general symptoms are pain during urination, need for frequent and urgent urination, cramps or pain in the lower abdomen, cloudy urine, pain during sex, waking up often to urinate, foul smell of urine, tenderness in the urinary bladder area, and fever. Make sure that you have observed the symptoms closely, as some of these can mimic the symptoms of normal pregnancy.

2. Visit the doctor immediately- Urinary infections can cause other complications during pregnancy like pre-term labor. So get doctor's help immediately. If un-treated, the infection can spread to kidneys, and result in a very serious condition. Take the prescribed medicines regularly and as directed. Ask your doctor of pain controlling medication, if your pain is unbearable.

3. Stay hydrated - Drinking lots of water during pregnancy is necessary and more so if there is an infection. Cranberry juice is also good for flushing out the bacteria. Do not be dehydrated or there are chances that the infection could become worse.

4. Wipe the right way - It is important to wipe front to back and not the other way. This way you prevent the bacteria from the anus from entering the vagina. Hygiene is one of the best ways of staying infection free during and after pregnancy.

5. Wear breathable clothes - Do not wear tight clothes during bladder infections. Wear cotton or breathable panties and allow your skin to get air. Tight clothes can trap moisture and aggravate the infections.

After pregnancy care is absolutely necessary for women. The body is more susceptible to infection after delivery. All the above mentioned precautions should be followed by women after their pregnancy too. Women, who have had the infection once, are more chances of suffering from a relapse. Take your doctor's advice and get rid of all the traces of infection.

Where to Find Paid Maternity Leave Benefits

In the U.S. paid maternity leave benefits can be hard to find. And many women miss out. They might assume things are already in place, wait too long, or think they can easily find the right programs when needed. This does not need to happen this way. There is a simple paid maternity leave for U.S. women, but you must look in the right place: voluntary individual short term disability insurance via employers.

No U.S. Paid Maternity Leave Policy

Many industrialized nations have paid maternity leave policies in place, but the U.S. stands alone: there is no federally mandated program in place. Five states have mandatory short term disability insurance programs for most workers, but that leaves forty five states with no such program. Unfortunately, many couples assume that government mandated paid leave programs are in place. Around delivery time, they begin looking for ways to apply for benefits, but find there is no government program available to help. By then it's too late.

Others have the option of purchasing short term disability insurance at work, which will replace a portion of their income during their maternity leave. Normal pregnancy is covered when coverage begins before conception. The typical policy pays a six week benefit for vaginal delivery and an eight week benefit for c-section delivery.

Coverage Must Start Preconception

But many couples wait too long before buying coverage. They look at the premium cost and get scared away; failing to realize that the benefit for normal delivery may cover several years' worth of premium cost. Once pregnant, it is too late to purchase coverage. Or they pass up on the opportunity to enroll during their employers' open enrollment period and then during the middle of the year decide it's time to get a policy just before getting pregnant. There is only one problem: they have to wait for the next open enrollment period to sign up.

No Individual Coverage Sold Direct

The largest segment of couples have no short term disability option available at work, and many go in search of an individual policy they can buy directly. Many women are reluctant to ask their employer for maternity benefits for fear of job discrimination. But there is one very big problem: there are no individual short term disability insurance options sold directly that cover pregnancy and maternity. You may be able to find individual coverage, but pregnancy and maternity will be excluded or there will be long waiting periods. Many women seek out a direct option, only to get pregnant before finding the coverage needed.

Voluntary Employee Benefits is The Answer

This does not have to keep happening. Women can have paid maternity leave in the U.S. by purchasing individual short term disability insurance via voluntary employee benefit options. Several insurers sell individual policies with maternity coverage through employer groups on a voluntary basis. There is no direct cost to employers, and the policy is owned by the policyholder - not the employer.

So it's easy to ask employers to make the option available, and if a woman were to leave her employer, she can keep her policy. Since the policies cover accidents and illnesses in addition to pregnancy and maternity, there is no stigma attached to asking employers to offer voluntary individual short term disability insurance.

Baby's Arrival Checklist

So the BIG DAY is just around the corner and everyone else in the family is breathlessly waiting to welcome its newest member. For everyone, nine months of pregnancy may seem like forever and parents are usually excited to know if the little one will show up in time. As you settle down for the final stretch of anticipation, it is time to reflect if you have actually made all the necessary preparations for the momentous event. Here are some preparations you might want to add to your checklist:

1. Get a Baby-sitter for other kids
For parents with other children, it is important to assign someone to supervise someone to take care of the other kids while you are away. You can ask a family member or a close friend to handle these tasks, especially when it comes to fetching the kids to and from school.

2. Prepare the baby's room
Preparing for the baby's room is one of the exciting tasks every expectant mom and dad seem to relish. You will need to make sure that the baby's room or sleeping area is made as comfortable as possible, complete with all the possible equipment needed for baby care such as the following:
o Bibs
o Blankets
o Diapers
o Crib
o Formula milk
o Feeding bottles
o Pacifiers
o Carrier

4. Infant's Safety
Your newborn's safety should be considered a priority. Experts advise to have an officially approved infant car seat on your way home. After all, accidents with newborns are not totally unheard of, right? Be sure to place the infant car seat at the back as the deployment of the air bags has been known to seriously cause injury to infants. for more please visit

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Experiencing Back Pain During Pregnancy? Please, Read On

Let me first begin by congratulating you on this very exciting journey of being a mom-to-be or perhaps, a dad-to-be? Researching this article stems from my personal experience while pregnant with my sons and the relief from lower back pain that rocking provided. For our dads-to-be, understanding how the methods of obtaining relief explained below, can help the wife, or mother of your precious unborn child, can be very helpful and rewarding.

Back pain and pregnancy have been known to go hand in hand, and is experienced to some degree by most women. It is most common during the later part of your pregnancy as the weight of the baby increases and the steps outlined below explain how back pain can be eased. These range from good posture and exercise to massage therapy. Before these steps are discussed, a good understanding of some of the causes of back pain during pregnancy can help shed some light on the possibility of avoiding it. Potential causes of back pain or discomfort during pregnancy include:

Increase of hormones: Hormones related during pregnancy allow ligaments in the pelvic area to soften and the joints to become looser in preparation for the birthing process of your baby.

Center of gravity: While pregnant, your center of gravity will gradually move forward, as your uterus and baby grow, which causes your posture to change. Additional weight: As your baby grows, and pregnancy develops, your back supports additional weight.

Posture or position: Poor posture, excessive standing, and bending over can trigger or escalate pain already experienced in your back.

Stress: Stress has been known to find the weak spot in the body and as a result of the changes in your pelvic area, increased back pain may be experienced during stressful periods of your pregnancy. Now, with the understanding of some of the causes of back pain experienced in pregnancy, here are some steps that can serve as therapy in relieving your pain.

Practice good posture: As your baby grows and you compensate in some ways to avoid falling forward, thereby straining the muscles in your lower back, tuck your buttocks under, pull your shoulders back and downward, and stand straight and tall. Sit and stand with care: Sitting with your feet elevated using a rocking chair or glider, can support your back and the cushion from the glider rocker serves as a pillow behind your lower back. Change position often and avoid standing for long periods of time. If you must stand, rest one foot on a low step stool.

Lift properly: Squat down and lift with your legs (and may I add that this also helps tone your gluts!). Don't bend at the waist or lift with your back. Please, ask for help when you need it! This was one of the first lessons and tips my husband, who is a family physician shared with me. Sleep on your side, not on your back: keep one or both knees bent, and consider placing a pillow between your knees and another under your abdomen, or better still, use a full-length pillow. Sleeping on your back late in pregnancy may decrease blood flow to the baby.

Try pelvic tilt exercises: kneel on your hands and knees with your head in line with your back. Pull in your abdomen, arching your spine upward. Hold this position for several seconds, and then relax your abdomen and back. Repeat five times, working gradually up to 10. Try heat, cold or a back rub: Apply heat to your back. Soak in a warm bathtub or try a heating pad. Ask someone to help you rub your back.

Get the right gear: Wear low-heeled shoes with good arch support. Wear maternity pants with low, supportive waistband. Also consider using a maternity support belt.

Stay fit: Regular exercise can keep your back strong and may actually relieve back pain. Work with your health care provider, and if permitted, consider swimming, walking or riding a stationary bike.


Early Pregnancy Symptoms - Guide For Future Mums

Pregnancy is a way to complete the life of a woman and it would be anticipated to see that very first sign of pregnancy. If you have been sexually active and experiencing symptoms such as a missed period, breast tenderness, nausea and vomiting, and tiredness, it is important to take a pregnancy test.

Probably one of the most alarming early symptoms of pregnancy is when you have missed your period. This possible sign of pregnancy is frequently what causes women to look for much more facts regarding the other pregnancy symptoms. You can miss your period if you are affected by polycystic ovary syndrome. In this case, the menstrual periods come following several months. In case you miss your period and usually do not have any of the above stated issues check other pregnancy signs to understand other pregnancy symptoms.

Your breasts may also give you a clue that you might really be pregnant. As early as two to three weeks following conception, hormonal changes happen which makes your breasts feeling swollen, tender to touch, or sensitive. Your breasts may possibly look fuller and heavier.

Nausea when pregnant is also known as morning sickness. Nausea takes place due to the fact the potential of feeling using the sense of smell and taste of a pregnant woman gets enhanced and she can sense the urge of vomiting even with just the smell of her favourite perfume and some other foods. You will find situations that you encounter this symptom and believed that it is one of the early pregnancy symptoms. However, it may also occur due to food poisoning.

Pregnancy brings tremendous sense of tiredness. If you have a tendency to sense fatigue and dizziness with any other symptom, you should consult your health care provider. According to experts, tiredness is actually a typical early pregnancy symptom. Along with exhaustion, you could really feel exhausted at any time of the day and even accompanied by nausea. Even though pregnant women may possibly experience this without the feeling of nausea, this pregnancy symptom is also recognized as 'morning sickness'.

It really is essential to keep in mind that not all women will encounter every single of those signs and symptoms of pregnancy in the exact same degree. Even the same lady can experience various kinds of signs and symptoms in subsequent pregnancy than she had in her previous pregnancies. Remember when in doubt, be sure to consult your doctor and research about other early signs of pregnancy.

Hair Transplant - Understanding the Pros and Cons

Over the last couple of years hair transplant procedures have produced such dramatic results that people are choosing to do them with greater frequency. Many people feared getting the procedures in the past, because they were not well done. It was not uncommon to see obvious hair plugs on people who had undergone the procedure. Yet, there are still a few things about the process that are not widely known. Hopefully, these the answers to these questions will help you weight the pros and cons of hair transplantation.

How common is Hair Loss? Half of all American men will experience significant hair thinning. Unfortunately, females are not spared. Many women notice significant hair loss as they go through the menopausal change.

Are Hair Transplants Reversable? Some people believe that these surgical procedures are as easily reversed as removing a wig but this is not true. Keep in mind, many surgical procedures are necessary. Your head and hair will never look exactly the same.

How long does it take to recover after the procedure? A typical hair transplant surgery is very easy on the patient. However, this does not mean that you should get right back to your normal routine. Remember the scalp is a sensitive area and great care must be taken to keep it from getting infected.

How long before I'm done with the whole process? It is not uncommon for the whole process to take as long as one to two years. This represents a large investment of time and your should be prepare yourself appropiately. If you want to speed things up you may opt for a mega session. During a mega session thousands of grafts are added in one sitting.

What if I don't have a lot of hair to begin with? Along with hair transplant surgery, you may have to have other treatments so if you do not have enough hair, you cannot undergo the normal treatment. There are other surgeries that can help produce a similar result that can be used in conjunction. Of course, these procedures are usually far more painful.

Ok...How much is this going to cost me? Hair transplant treatments are not cheap. The price depends on the procedures you elect to have and the clinic you choose. It is not uncommon to pay $12,000 for a hair transplant. If this price is too steep you may want to try other methods to grow back your hair first. Stick to hair regrow products that contain ingredients evaluated by the FDA.

Insight Into Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression is defined by the National Library of Medicine as moderate to severe depression in a woman after she has given birth. It may occur soon after delivery or up to a year later. Most of the time, it occurs within the first three months following delivery. A new baby can bring an influx of emotions and a whirlwind of unfamiliar feelings into the household, especially for the mother. Many new moms will experience mood swings and crying spells after giving birth, but those are quite common and usually go away on their own and shouldn't cause concern. Postnatal depression is different than these common, fleeting episodes though, even though it can look similar at first. While the baby blues don't need much care to fade away, postpartum depression can be a bit more complicated, and in severe cases when left untreated, downright dangerous.

Signs of Postpartum Depression

The first thing to know about it is of course, what are the symptoms? How can you tell if you or a loved one is suffering from it? Some of the common signs are as follows -

  • Loss of appetite

  • Insomnia

  • Intense irritability and anger

  • Overwhelming fatigue

  • Loss of interest in sex

  • Lack of joy in life

  • Feelings of shame, guilt or inadequacy

  • Severe mood swings

  • Difficulty bonding with the baby

  • Withdrawal from family and friends

  • Thoughts of harming yourself or the baby

Like most illnesses, the earlier you seek treatment for your post-baby depression, the simpler it is to get a handle on. Untreated it can last up to a year or longer not to mention can cause a host of complications for the baby and mother alike, so it's definitely not one of those things you want to ignore or be too proud to admit you're struggling with. It's just not worth it. Especially in light of the fact that with proper treatment, postpartum depression usually goes away in just a few months.

Are Some Women More At Risk for Postpartum Depression?

Yes, some women are more at risk than others. Risk factors that increase the chance of developing postpartum depression include a history of depression either in the pregnant woman or in her family, a history of substance abuse, stressful environmental factors, and being depressed during pregnancy. These factors don't necessarily mean that you will develop postpartum depression, but if you or a woman you care about have increased risks, it's a good idea to educate yourself and pay close attention for signs and symptoms after childbirth.

Treatment of Postpartum Depression

After it has been diagnosed by a medical professional, traditional treatment of counseling and in certain cases medication can begin. Counseling is often found very helpful by women suffering from postpartum depression as it can teach them new, healthier ways to process and channel their feelings and emotions as well as coping strategies when they're feeling stressed or upset. Antidepressants are also proven to work for the treatment of postpartum depression, but it is important to note that these drugs will pass to your baby through your breast milk if you intend on breast-feeding. That said, there are a few antidepressants available today with minimal risk of side effects to the baby so be sure to discuss these options with your doctor if this is a route you're interesting in taking.

How to Lose Pregnancy Weight - Practical Tips to Help You Shed Those Pounds

During your pregnancy, I know you probably cringed a little every time the Doctor weighed you, but it was OK because the extra weight was necessary for your little angel growing inside you. Now that your baby is here, that extra weight isn't as necessary (although it still is a little is if you are breastfeeding) and if you are like 99% of the Moms out there, you really want to lose that weight and get your body back to the way it was before you became pregnant. In this article, I'm going to give you some easy ways to lose your pregnancy weight and start getting your body back to normal.

One big difference between losing weight after pregnancy and just losing weight in general is you really need to take baby steps (no pun intended). Dropping weight too fast too soon after birth can be harmful to your body. Remember, your body is trying to balance out your hormones, so rapid weight loss can actually be a shock to your system and make it more difficult to lose weight.

Here are some easy ways you can get your body back on track and start losing all the baby weight that you gained.

1) Breast Feed Your Baby - Aside from the obvious benefits of breastfeeding for your baby, you actually will burn about 500 calories a day from breastfeeding alone. Be diligent about reducing your food intake (from when you were eating for two) to about 2200 to 2500 calories a day. Don't reduce too much, as your body's calorie priority is to make milk for your baby (just like during pregnancy,) so too much of a calorie drop can be seriously detrimental to your health.

2) Drink Plenty of Water - Right after birth, your body will expel as much at 3 liters of extra fluid that you were carrying around (If you notice that you are running to the bathroom a lot, it is completely normal.) It is vital that you keep your water intake up, like 8-12 glasses a day. Keeping well hydrated increases your metabolism, helps keep you less bloated (better known as water weight) and will help your body function much better overall.

3) Moderate Exercise is the Best Right Now - Exercise is still very important in the weight loss equation, but low impact exercises are vital to your healing body. Walking or swimming are great low impact, calorie burning exercises. Even just walking 30 minutes a day will help you lose weight. The key is consistency. Get in the habit of going out at least 4-5 times a week. Swimming will burn more calories, but can be more difficult to keep up since you then have child care issues and the potential of having to join a club.

Fertility Tea - How Drinking Tea Can Help You Get Pregnant

Infertility teas are becoming increasing more popular for women who are trying to get pregnant Infertility teas typically contain popular herbs for infertility.

Drinking a blended fertility tea containing important ingredients such as Vitex is now regarded by clinicians to fix reproductive tissues, regain a regular ovulation schedule and balance reproductive hormones; though women worldwide have understood the benefits of the herbs in Ovulation Tea for hundreds of years.

While there is no single herbal treatment that can offer you all the benefits of an infertility tea, by combining certain natural herbs, minerals and vitamins each known for their repairing and restorative properties into a single enjoyable tea, you can be the recipient of all that an ovulation tea has to offer.

Teas for fertility and overall reproductive wellness are in general blended with natural ingredients such as:

Green tea - a known anti-oxidant that can assist you restore your reproductive health damaged by age and environmental toxins.

Red raspberry leaf - known to firm the muscles of the pelvic region and the uterus.

Chasteberry energizes hormones related with ovulation stimulating them to produce a more balanced reproductive system. Used as an herbal remedy to help women regain a regular fertile menstrual cycle.

Peppermint - a known libido booster, also taken to add additional taste to the tea. When used in conjunction with red raspberry leaf tea, it strengthens the herb.

Nettle leaf - contains numerous nutrients and Vitamins A, C, D, and K, along with phosphorous, iron, potassium, and sulfur, which are all crucial for maintaining good reproductive health and having a healthy pregnancy.

Surprisingly, infertility teas aren't expensive. But when searching for a high quality ovulation tea, check to see that it is formulated from clean herbs that are organic, is of the best quality and have no things added.

If you are looking for a drug freeway to restore your reproductive organs and uterus, help strengthen and achieve a more regulated ovulating cycle and reap the benefits of balanced hormones, then infertility tea is for you.

Known for its restorative power for years, blended conception tea has the properties to firm up pelvic muscles, strengthen your uterus, and balance your reproductive fertility hormones. By buying a natural wild-crafted high quality infertility tea, can easily boost to your overall infertility system.

Childbirth Choices - Be Informed

Giving birth is a common occurrence, but if you are anticipating it for the first time, it feels anything but ordinary. Little in life affects you profoundly as becoming a mother. Although the choices you confront may seem overwhelming, a little education, introspection and planning, can make the road much easier to navigate. Take charge of the trip by considering the following few issues.

Educate yourself on different ways of viewing birth.

Obstetricians are trained to view pregnancy and childbirth as medical conditions requiring treatment and intervention, while midwives tend to see them as natural, healthy and normal occurrences. This philosophical distinction is significant and affects how your pregnancy, labor, and birth are managed, as well as what kind of outcomes you have.

Studies confirm, for example, that many routine obstetrical interventions used during pregnancy and birthing do not improve birth outcomes and undermine a woman’s ability to give birth naturally. And a single intervention such as inducing labor may set into place an entire cascade of interventions, often culminating in a C-sections, half of which are medically unncessarily. C-sections have been skyrocketing in recent years – 32% in 2005. That means your odds are basically one in three! Many refer to this as an “epidemic.”

Obviously there are situations when technology and interventions save lives. But how a health care provider views pregnancy and childbirth – not to mention women - can dramatically impact the kind of experience you have.

Think about what kind of health care provider you want.

Obstetricians are surgical specialists and their expertise is clearly needed in high risk situations. While the majority of women in the U.S. today receive obstetrical care, such expertise is typically not required to manage healthy, normal pregnancies. In fact, outside of the United States and Canada, explains, Marsden Wagner, neonatologist, perinatal epidemiologist, and former director of Maternal and Child Health in the European Regional Office of the World Health Organization, the majority of women receive not obstetrical care, but midwifery care.

Midwives are qualified health care professionals, trained to assist healthy women with normal pregnancies and births. Some are CNMs, (certified nurse-midwives who are registered nurses with additional education in midwifery), and others are independent midwives with differing credentials. Some are CPMs (certified professional midwives) and some are CMs, (certified midwives), but both follow programs leading to national certification. And all are trained to act in emergency situations and recognize problems requiring the consultation or care of a physician.

A third alternative is a family physician. Although fewer family doctors do deliveries than in years past, approximately 25 percent offer obstetrical care for healthy women with low-risk pregnancies. Their approaches vary considerably, as does their reliance on medical and technological intervention.

Regardless of which type of provider you choose, it’s important to find the setting and practitioner with whom you trust and feel comfortable. Explore all your options, sit with the information, and then listen to what your heart tells you.

Explore different birth settings.

The vast majority of U.S. births take place in hospitals. If this is your choice, find out ahead of time what options are available and who can be with you during labor and birth. The Coalition for Maternity Services, a coalition of individuals and national organizations working to promote a wellness model of maternity care, recommends asking what happens during a normal labor and birth and finding out how often various procedures are performed, such as labor inductions, episiotomies and C-sections. A list of ten helpful questions to ask is available at:


Hospitals, however, are not the answer for everyone. Birth centers and home births offer women with normal pregnancies the option of more individualized, personal and intimate birth experiences. Many people shy away from home births fearing they are not as safe as birthing in a hospital. Numerous studies in scientific and medical journals, however, conclude that for low-risk women, planned home births are associated with fewer interventions, lower costs and equally safe, if not safer, outcomes than those of physician-attended, hospital births.

For more information on birth centers, visit the National Association of Childbearing Center’s web page at: For more information on home births, as well as midwives, go to Citizens for Midwifery at

Take a childbirth preparation course.

“The difference between taking a class and not taking one can mean the difference between a vaginal birth and a cesarean for something as simple as the positions you choose for your labor,” explains Barbara Hotelling, Past President of Lamaze International, the oldest childbirth education association in the U.S.

But look around. Some classes are designed simply to prepare you for what to expect in the hospital setting, while others aim to empower you to be active participants throughout pregnancy and birthing. Likewise, instructors’ training may differ. Those trained with organizations such as Lamaze, Bradley, Birthing From Within, and Birthworks, understand the distinction between normal birth and medicalized birth. Hotelling recommends speaking with several instructors before making a decision.

Gather support.

The focus in our culture is on the birth of a baby. Little attention is given to the birth of a mother. If at all possible, surround yourself with supportive people and think about who you would like to have with you at the birth. "Birthing women need loving, reverent support, asserts psychologist and doula, Lauren Korfine. “as they do the hard work of surrendering the life they have known and crossing over into motherhood.”

Doulas offer emotional and physical support during labor and childbirth, as well as postpartum support. Studies show that the presence of a birth doula can result in shorter labors, less need for pain medication and intervention, and lower C-section rates. It also increases women’s birth satisfaction. In other words, birthing women without someone whose only job is to support them, are likely to have longer and more difficult births. Doulas of North American (DONA) is a good starting place and has the website has a link on how to find a doula near you. Visit: or call 1-888-788-DONA.

Read and Learn.

Although the number of pregnancy and childbirth books on the market seems to grow exponentially, here are four excellent choices:

• The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth by Henci Goer

• A Good Birth, A Safe Birth by Diana Korte and Roberta Scaer.

• Gentle Birth Choices by Barbara Harper.

• Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Health Insurance Coordination of Benefits - No Double Dipping

It is hard to imagine that in the United States, where the rising numbers of people with no medical insurance is forever in the news, there are many families struggling with the opposite - they are over insured. How is it possible for someone to be over insured, you ask? The answer is simple. Married couples who both work full time are often both covered under their employers' medical insurance plans. Each spouse lists the other as a dependent under their policy. In effect, both spouses and their children are covered under two medical insurance plans. As a result, medical insurance coordination of benefits laws kicks in to regulate which insurance company pays what.

When consumers find themselves filing claims with multiple medical insurance companies, it is easy to let the temptation take over to pull some kind of profit from it. A $75 doctor visit could easily turn into two $75 reimbursement checks from the two health plan providers. The consumer uses one check to pay for the doctor visit and pockets the other payment. This double dipping could seriously turn expensive for insurance companies, especially when viewed over a population of several hundred thousand insured. To combat the problem, many states enacted laws regarding health insurance coordination of benefits.

Medical insurance coordination of benefits simply means that the two insurance companies must coordinate to determine who pays for what covered events and how much each should pay per covered dependent. For example, rather than two companies sending $75 checks to reimburse an insured for a doctor's visit, one company may cover the expense at its normal 80% rate. The secondary insurance company would then pay the remaining 20% co-pay for the insured. Likewise, benefits such as prescription drug coverage, preventative care, and hospitalization expenses would also split between the two companies.

Every state has different laws governing health insurance coordination of benefits. Each insurance company has their own policies regarding coverage for insured customers who also have additional coverage. Naturally, those policies must meet federal and state guidelines. However, the goal of these laws and policies is to ensure that consumers cannot profit from an illness or injury. While having two health insurance providers certainly implies that a consumer should have limited, if any out of pocket expenses, that does not mean they should be able to "game" the system and obtain reimbursement from numerous companies for a single expense. Such double dipping is expensive on the insurance industry, thus making premiums higher for everyone. If you need assistance in locating particular coverages at a pre-determined price, we can help save 50% on health insurance.

The Signs and Symptoms of Post Natal Depression

So what are the signs and symptoms of Post Natal Depression?

After many years of trying for a baby what a blow it was to find that after the birth of my beautiful daughter I felt utterly useless, had no energy and I was constantly questioning the purpose of life.

I had imagined that this would be the most ecstatic time of my life when everything I had yearned for such a long time (the arrival of my first child) had finally come to pass.

How wrong can you be? Instead I felt desperation and totally unable to cope on my own. My family kept rotas to keep me company and, as they though, sane!

The doctor kept telling me I had post natal depression but I was in denial and insisted something far more serious was wrong with me. For the sake of my family, and my beautiful baby, I eventually entered into a counselling program and started a course of antidepressants. I honestly thought I would never be "normal" again but I'm pleased to say that a full recovery ensued and I also went on to have another gorgeous daughter.

If you are reading this article and can relate to my experience please don't delay like I did. Go to your GP who can tell you if you have post natal depression and seek the treatment that is best for you.

If you think you could be suffering from post natal depression your symptoms could be some or all of the following:

Crying - This can be for no reason at all, over silly little things and can even be most of the time.

Low Mood - You find it difficult to show an interest in anything and you take little or no pleasure in your loved ones or surroundings.

Feelings of Guilt - You feel you are a burden on others and feel particularly guilty that you are a bad mother.

Eating - This can be either over-eating or an inability to eat.

Aches and Pains This can be problems with your eye sight, pain in your abdomen, even headaches and in particular worrying that something very serious is wrong with you.

No interest in sex.

These are only a few of many possible symptoms but do remember this can happen to anybody. Even the bubbly and chirpy Stacey Solomon who won our hearts on the X Factor and became "queen of the jungle" became a victim to this very cruel form of depression.

Are You Really Self Employed?

Benefits of self employment
There are benefits to the employer. The ease of sacking and the financial benefits of no employer's national insurance, no pension contributions, no sickness and holiday pay etc.

The main advantage to the worker is the reduction in national insurance and the ability to claim expenses such as, wages to family members, use of home, travel costs etc.

This is from the different wording of the act. Allowable expenses for the self employed need to be "wholly and exclusively for the purposes of earning the profits of the trade".

For employees they must be "incurred wholly, exclusively and necessarily in the performance of the duties of the employment".

There is also the cash flow advantage. The self-employed do not suffer deduction of tax at source. As with all planning it is necessary to commit all the figures to paper to completely understand the financial implications and result.

The statutory position
Neither employee nor employer is defined in the Taxes Acts.

Common law differentiates on the basis that an employee has a contract of employment whereas a self employed person works to a contract for service.

The difference can be explained by the example of your house being painted. Who does the work? Is it the person who quoted or someone on his behalf?

The person who quoted is clearly self-employed but is his worker an employee? Is he under the control of the man who quoted or has he sub contracted his services?

To resolve this question you must review many aspects of how that person carries out his duties. You cannot just run through the check list on the HMR&C web site but you must paint a picture from the information gathered from that review. Then review the picture and make a decision.

The indicia
Opportunity to profit
An employee is paid a set sum under his contract whereas a self-employed person can profit from his actions. He may also lose money; an employee cannot.

Employees are remunerated for the hours they work whereas a self-employed person is usually paid for the job or task he has performed so the profit is in his own hands. He can adjust overheads and time; also he can take on help to complete the contract.

Employees cannot and cannot influence their return and they take no risk.

Mutuality of obligations
The length of a contract is not conclusive one way or the other. Employees often enter short term employment contracts.

What is important is that the self-employed can decline work and in effect select the work they want to do. Employees would be sacked if they declined work. Make sure the contract is per job or for a fixed term.

This assumed importance in the case (Sp C 599 Parade Park Hotel) which is useful in determining the meaning of mutual obligations.

It means that so long as the contractor is not obliged to offer a new contract and as long as you can decline work, then mutuality of obligation does not exist.

This was confirmed in the case of Bridges and others v Industrial Rubber plc where the contractual absence of a promise to provide work and the counter promise to do it was inconsistent with a contract of employment regardless of the other conditions of the working relationship.

Make it clear in the contract that the sub contractor is responsible for his own tax and national insurance and receives no benefits e g. no sick pay; no holiday pay and no pension contributions are paid on his behalf. It would be wise for the sub-contractor to register for VAT.

A self-employed worker usually provides the tools necessary to do the job.

Employees such as tradesmen usually supply the necessary hand tools. Larger items of equipment would be provided by the employer, the self-employed sub-contractor would provide them himself even if leased.

Work standard
For any engager the standard of work performed is important. An employer will require the employee to correct any unsatisfactory work but it is done in the employer's time.

A self-employed person must perform the contract to an acceptable standard according to the terms of the contract. Any unsatisfactory work is put right in his own time and at his own expense.

It is important as to how workers are viewed by the neutral. An explanation of this item is outlined by the following example taken from the HMR&C web site.

"Someone taken on to manage a client's staff will normally be seen as an integral part of the client's organisation and this may be seen as a strong indicator of employment."

One "employer"
Most people explain that if you work for only one engager or contractor you cannot be self-employed.

I agree that the more firms worked for the more likely a person is to be self-employed. Only one engager is not conclusive of employment.

You could have three concurrent employments. A good example of one engager not preventing self-employment would be lorry drivers. If you look at the driver's door of a lorry you will see an indication of what I mean.

It is clear that if you supply the major equipment you are more likely to be self-employed.

Nothing can be deduced from part time work as both an employee and a self-employed person can work part time. A person can work for more than one engager.

He can have more than one employment; more than one engager but within the self-employed status. An employee under a contract of employment can also be self-employed at the same time.

If a subcontractor does not want to meet the cost of materials get the contractor to allow the sub-contractor to use his suppliers' accounts and enjoy the same discounts. He will, of course, meet the cost from the recharge in the contract price.

Employment contract
If a contract requires a worker to provide personal services and requires the person who engages that person to remunerate him for those services that is likely to be a contract of service and thus an "employment" contract.

Such a contract will go on to specify all the other conditions and requirements of the engager i.e. working hours, holidays, sickness, discipline, grievances etc. So avoid reference to specific days or hours to be worked.

A clause that specifies that a worker can send a substitute in his place or engage other workers to help him fulfill his obligations under the contract is very important in considering the overall balance of the factors and must be in every self-employed contract.

This is one of the strongest single indicia of self-employment. Dr Avery Jones in the case Talentcore Ltd v Commissioners for HMR&C found that the substitution issue was more important than the control factor.

Again I must stress that the actions of the parties must mirror the contract so it would be wise to ensure that substitution takes place during the life of the contract or that help is engaged. The point is that under a contract of employment it is the worker that is employed and it is his labour that is pledged. The labour of someone else must mean a contract for rather than of service.

HMR&C acknowledges that it is the right of substitution that is important. The fact that the substitution has not occurred during a contract is not necessarily relevant. However, a contractual right will be ignored if in reality the worker must undertake the work personally. Dragonfly Consultancy Limited v HMRC (2008)

Most employees are paid by the hour, week, month or are on an annual salary.

The self-employed are usually paid by the job.

I find no difficulty in turning a day rate to payment per job. Take a bricklayer; he knows from the plans how long the job will take. Let us say four days and assume his rate two hundred pounds per day. He simply quotes eight hundred pounds for the contract.

Like all the indicia no one item is crucial. It is the balance between them all. HMR&C place considerable reliance on the method of payment but as I have said it is only one item.

Make sure, for example, that he hires the necessary scaffolding!!

Financial risk
There is virtually no financial risk to an employee. The self-employed risk their money. HMR&C indicate that "The risk of making a loss is a very strong indicator of self-employment and can be decisive on its own".

Make sure you take out all the necessary insurances to include public liability and professional indemnity.

If you undertake work at home make sure with your broker that your home insurance covers any risk.

An employee is usually subject to a large degree of control although not always exercised in practice. He is also told how to do the job, although an expert such as a brain surgeon would be free of that control.

Also an employee's hours of work, the place where he carries out the contracted work and other practical items are controlled by the employer.

In the case of Market Investigations Ltd. v The Minister of Social Security the Judge said "The most that can be said is that control will no doubt always have to be considered, although it can no longer be regarded as the sole determining factor"

The self employed are free of this control. See J and C Littlewood (T/a J L Window and Door Services) and Anor v R & C Commrs. January 2009 for the importance of this subject.

The more people that know you are self-employed the better your case will be on any challenge.

Ardyss Maternity Garments

Dr Abdull-Al, an OB/GYN and contributor to the Ardyss Doctor Showcase collaborative reveals how he uses the Ardyss maternity garments for his patients throughout their pregnancies. According to Dr Abdull-Al, Ardyss maternity girdles give women the additional support they need throughout their pregnancies in the lower stomach and abdomen region, which reduces the risk of swelling to the lower extremities. Ardyss promotes these garments as useful to both mom and baby because they provide a unique therapeutic benefit that helps alleviate lower back and abdominal pain that can present problems during their pregnancy.

During pregnancy many women complain and are plagued with hip, back, bone and overall physical discomfort. Unfortunately, there have been very few products on the market that can alleviate the symptoms throughout pregnancy. These garments are particularly helpful because they were designed by an orthopedic surgeon who understands the specificity of the body and how women's bodies change throughout pregnancy. They can provide comfort from the first trimester to childbirth and will also help support and remove the additional weight from the spinal column and help balance the overall weight of the body.

The March of Dimes website reports that 67% of babies born in the United States every year are low-birth or about 1 out of every 12 babies born weigh less than 5 pounds. There is not a clear correlation between low-birth weight and prematurely born children. However, there may be many reasons for why some babies do not make it to term or what the risk factors are for delivering prematurely. There are many reasons including ethnicity (African American women are more likely to have low-birth babies than any other race), infections in uterus, placental problems, maternal weight gain, and so on.

For these reasons alone it is vital to understand when it might be appropriate to use a maternity garment. The maternity and post-partum girdle featured by Ardyss has simple benefits for women in pregnancy and can be a useful support garment for the growing and changing physiology of the body. In addition, as many physicians are aware and patients know it can take quite some time to return to pre-pregnancy weight and form. Dr. Abdul-All has used these garments for both women who have delivered normally and those who have had c-section because they will allow the body to reposition the organs and apply pressure on the lower extremities which will prevent bleeding post-surgery.

The garments are available through physicians and you have to be able to bill through your insurance. Most patients can pay for them out of pocket and then have your doctor provide a form to bill your insurance. It is important to ask your doctor before use of any medical device or product during pregnancy.

If you are interested in finding out more about the billing codes for the Ardyss garments contact me via my website for more instructions. Ardyss International is a retailer they don't specific have guidelines on medical use of garments.

Natural Way of Treating Depression and Anxiety

Suffering from depression? Some doctors prescribed Anti-Depressants, Tranquillizers and Sleeping Tablets in order to treat postnatal depression.

There are caring doctors out there but there are some who over prescribe medications.

These medications that was mentioned earlier are only be used as a last resort in order to treat depression, anxiety, or insomnia, which is already severe like for instance if a person's daily routine are being affected and when his or her problem is no longer responsive with any medication or treatment. But most of the time, people who are suffering with depression or anxiety are being prescribed with such medications which in due time becomes a problem with the patient's health. It can even lead to other complications or problems.

If you are being prescribed with strong medication, after a while since your body get used of strong medication, soon need more and stronger medication. But this could now happen if only health practitioner will spend some of time to listen to the patient's problem and try his or her best to help the patient overcome it problem but that doesn't happen, they rather prescribed drugs for patient's problem.

But the good news is that there are a lot of healthier alternatives that can work well with your depression and anxiety. This article will mention few of these alternatives, so read on.

- Exercise. A lot of people find it hard for them to do this, but you have to bear in mind that this can be helpful to you. Doing regular exercising can make you healthier, it will even increase the good feeling in your body and will boosts your self-esteem, so it will lessen the symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress. But take this note, it should be done regularly. You can give about half an hour of your day by doing walking, jogging, swimming, dancing, aerobics and so on, as long as it makes you sweat and will increase your heart beat. Actually, if you only carry on, you will find yourself enjoying it already.

- Social Support. When you are depressed, you usually just want to stay at your room and be alone. But you have to bear in mind that loneliness is one of the causes of depression, so better to go out and join groups. You may not want it, but do it anyway; this can be helpful to you. If ever you do not have any group yet, start joining a social circle, you can do it by volunteering on church, sport clubs and so on. You can try out different alternatives, besides there are plenty of social groups that you can join in.

- Talk thing out. Talking about it is one of the most effective ways to relieve your depression and anxiety. You can share your problems than just keeping it all up by yourself. Soon you will find how good it is to b relieved with the problem you have. You can share your problems with family, friends and even with counselor.

- Herbal remedies. There are a lot of herbal remedies out there that you can use to relieve and also prevent your depression, anxiety and stress. The use of herbal remedies can help you with your depression and anxiety naturally, safely and effectively. One of these herbal remedies for depression is relagen. Relagen is a 100% all natural product that efficiently addresses the different and devastating symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Parenting Book Review: (Misconceptions) Truth, Lies and the Unexpected on the Journey to Motherhood

Naomi Wolf's newest book, Misconceptions, is a testament to her own experiences and prejudices about childbirth. Ms. Wolf shares her own culturally-learned fears about childbirth but fails to recognize that this is in response to 100 years of medical society propaganda. Although she has access to research and studies documenting the safety of homebirth and non-medical midwifery, she paints birth outside an institution as dangerous. She chose to give birth with obstetricians in high risk hospitals and had cesareans both times. I think the book could have been more aptly titled, "(Misrepresentations) My Pain Phobia and Justification for My Cesareans."

I heard about this book through discussions on the internet which praised it for setting the record straight about childbirth. After looking at the book myself, however, I have come to an entirely different conclusion. It is simply another book, written to justify the unwarranted use of medical intervention and sequelae, unnecessary cesareans, and excuse bad maternity care decisions. Instead of accurately depicting birthing choices in America, Ms. Wolf used this book as a vehicle to promote her own opinions and discredit traditional midwives, homebirth, full-time motherhood and ecological breastfeeding.

Ms. Wolf places great importance on the book "What to Expect When You're Expecting", as though this is some highly regarded research book or the childbirth Bible. Sadly this book is written to promote the medical model of care and justify the many interventions foisted upon women who choose to have hospital births. She carefully goes through the many routine hospital procedures and explains the many risks and few benefits of each, yet she apparently did not believe her own research.

Those who have fought for years to eradicate the meaningless term "lay midwife" will immediately recognize Ms. Wolf's superficial understanding of birth attendants. Her repeated use of this term is a clear indicator of her lack of research and knowledge of childbirth. I half expected to see the terms "redskin" or "nigger" pop up during discussion about minority statistics.

She writes as a fact, "homebirth is now as safe as hospital birth." Now as safe? It has always been at least as safe! An entire book, The Five Standards by David Stewart, gives thousands of studies and statistics which conclude that homebirth is safer than hospital birth.

I took great offense at her term, "Naturalists," (pages 182-186) to describe anyone who would dare to promote or give birth without high-technology. She explains that this option "has been presented as so rigid .with such extreme requirements of courage and faith. It was for that reason that my husband and I would not consider it as an option." I wonder, what research led her to this conclusion? Judging from many comments which salt her book, it would seem she is her own source of "factual" information.

Anyone who promoted birth without drugs is included in this Naturalist group and portrayed as romanticizing the birthing event. Ina May Gaskin, however, is somehow exempt from this group and given the title, "The Patron Saint." It is obvious that Ms. Wolf is in awe of Gaskin, yet wasn't converted by her to better educate herself and choose a less interventive childbirth. It is also apparent that Ms. Wolf did not read the original Spiritual Midwifery book. If she had, she would have learned that Ina May wasn't exactly "a self-taught, lay midwife" but that her earliest training had come from an obstetrician (who also provided medication and instruments) and a local physician who provided friendly back-up for years. She also would have learned that the Farm clinic included a physician.

It is curious that Ms. Wolf is intrigued by free-standing birth centers and offers them up as a perfect choice for women. She is somehow under the impression that pain-relieving drugs are readily available for those who give birth at these centers, yet her depiction of Elizabeth Seton indicates a transport to the hospital for those who wish an epidural. How this is an improvement over one's own home is a mystery to me. Perhaps it is her fascination with institutions? and her phobia about pain?

Complete Mother readers will find her descriptions of breastfeeding revolting: "become someone's addiction." And quoting Sarah Hardy, "once nursing begins, bondage is a perfectly good description for the ensuing chain of events (and) lives on a mammary leash." How sad she didn't bother to go to a Le Leche League meeting or meet someone who was content breastfeeding. We can only guess that she probably was bottle fed, and lacking the nurturing of being breastfed herself, is compensating by portraying breastfeeding in a dim light.

Her social programs which would improve the world basically abdicate parental responsibilities to the government. She wants paid extended maternity leave, tax deductions and benefits to relatives who come to help the new mothers, on-site day care and nurseries, lots of hospital support programs, hospital statistics disclosure, parentless playgrounds monitored by "young people" so "an active, thoughtful mother, father. (won't be) uncomfortable at the playground." Basically she wants the government to act as nanny so she can get her work done. "Work" being something far more important than caring for her children herself.

Save yourself a few hours of frustration wading through this tripe. Instead, make a pot of raspberry leaf tea, give the older kids a fun project to do, put your feet up and put baby to breast and read the books she ignored: The Five Standards, Under the Apple Tree, The American Way of Birth, Being Born, Birth at Home, Your Baby, Your Way, Special Delivery, Labor Pains, Silent Knife, Malpractice: How Doctors Manipulate Women, Obstetric Myths Versus Research Realities, Gentle Birth Choices and back-issues of The Compleat Mother Magazine.