Saturday, April 20, 2013

Are Beauty Products Toxic to Your Pregnancy?

Being pregnant is not a reason to stop feeling beautiful. Many common beauty treatments, however, are not approved for use during pregnancy and should be replaced with alternative beauty regimes until baby is born.

Hairspray, Gel, and Mousse - Some hair care products contain an ingredient called phthalates. This chemical has been linked to birth defects in animal studies and some human studies. The FDA does not recognize this ingredient as being unsafe during pregnancy due to lack of conclusive evidence, but the chance is worth changing up hair care products while pregnant.

Sunscreen Safety - UV rays are touted as a major cause of premature aging and skin cancer. Pregnant women may believe they are protecting their skin with sunscreen and SPF facial and body lotion. They could be wrong. Oxybenzone, a common ingredient in skin care products, may be linked to low birth weight in female infants and cell damage.

Soap and Shampoo - Two of the common ingredients in soap and shampoo are sodium laurel sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate. The names may look similar, but the effects on the body could not be any different. Sodium laurel sulfate is generally considered safe for use during pregnancy, though skin irritation has been an issue for some pregnant women. Sodium laureth sulfate, on the other hand, may bring 1,4-dioxane along with it. 1,4-dioxane is a known carcinogen.

Lotion and Skin Oil - The first ingredient in many skin lotions is water. While this is a safe ingredient, high concentrations of water often used as a filler ingredient require chemical anti-bacterial agents to prevent bacterial growth in the product. If your lotion ingredients start with water and then move onto ingredients with chemical names and tons of syllables, chances are the lotion is not safe during pregnancy.

Acne Treatments - Accutane and Retinoic Acid - Fighting adult acne can include using Accutane or other retinoic acid based skin treatments. While effective at fighting skin breakouts, these products are considered category X for pregnant women. Under no circumstances should Accutane or retinoic acid be used during pregnancy.

Retinoids - Accutane is a retinoid used for treatment of severe acne, but other medications containing retinoids are used to treat psoriasis and certain forms of blood cancer. The March of Dimes offers the iPledge program where women who are of childbearing age can pledge they will not become pregnant while taking these risky medications.

Skin Bleaching - Skin bleaching creams contain hydroquinone. This ingredient is listed as a category C pregnancy risk. This means animals have had fetal side effects associated with consumption or use of hydroquinone. Though no human studies have proven human fetal birth defects, women should err on the side of caution when choosing skin care products during pregnancy.

There are healthy alternative beauty treatments approved for use during pregnancy. When in doubt about a beauty product, contact your obstetrician or take the product to your next prenatal check-up. Many skin care products contain toxic and risky ingredients that can affect fetal health for a lifetime.

Financial Survival Guide for Pregnancy Bed Rest

Bed rest is a common practice designed to help stabilize a variety of complications that may crop up during your pregnancy. Most times the period of rest is short, and you may resume normal activities such as working. In some cases, the period of inactivity may be much longer and may require hospitalization. Below are a few tips to make this time more affordable so you can relax more and worry less. Stress can worsen any health issue. Don't let financial worry get in your way.

Your gynecologist may prescribe bed rest to improve your chances of having a healthy pregnancy. Common medical reasons precipitating rest at home include: high blood pressure from pre-eclampsia or eclampsia, cervical changes, vaginal bleeding, pre-term labor, high order multiples, diabetes, and placenta disorders such as placenta previa, and placenta abbrevia. Your period of inactivity may last a week, a month, or in rare cases the entire length of your pregnancy. In more severe cases you may be admitted to the hospital for monitoring.

If you have a full-time job a prescription for bed rest may create some unexpected financial concerns such as: how long will I get paid, will I be able to keep my job, and how do I cut my expenses. Finding good answers to these questions can dial back some of the financial pressures. Don't ignore the advice of your doctor because you can't afford getting the rest you and your baby need.

Replacing Your Income

Many couples rely on both incomes to make ends meet in their family budget, and leave little financial cushion. Often an extended period of time away from work may translate into lost income. Check on your number of accumulated sick days, and look into any short term disability insurance coverage you might have. Most policies will cover complications of pregnancy, provided that your coverage started prior to conception. Check to see what your monthly benefit amount might be: some policies will cover up to 璽?色€?of your salary. Five states have mandated programs that can help: California, Hawaii, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island.
Keeping Your Job

Missing a few days here or there rarely results in job loss. But when months of work are missed, your employer may consider hiring a replacement. The Federal Family Medical Leave Act provides for up to twelve weeks of job protected leave. If your combined bed rest along with your maternity leave after delivery exceed the twelve weeks, you may be at the mercy of your employer. Not all employees or employers are bound by this legislation, so make sure you meet the qualifying criteria. Ten states have laws which the amount of leave and/or populations covered. Check to see if these apply.

Cutting Your Costs

Your bed rest may also translate into added expenses - which may come at a time when you can least afford them. You may need special medical monitoring equipment, extra doctor visits, or home adaptations. Many insurance plans come with co pays that add up quickly. A hospital indemnity plan may fill the biggest gap: a stay in the hospital. Check your policy for admission benefits, daily benefit amounts, and policy language surrounding re-admission for the same or similar medical condition. Keep track of all your medical expenses as these are tax deductible. Use your employer's flexible spending account whenever possible as your tax savings will almost always be highest using this vehicle. When your baby is born, you can increase your annual election, as this is a qualifying life event.

How to Afford Surrogacy

Making the decision to find a surrogate mother is not an easy one, both emotionally and financially. By the time a typical infertile couple comes to the conclusion that surrogacy might be the best way to grow their family, they have already spent countless amounts of money on various infertility treatments. And surrogacy is the most expensive infertility treatment of them all!

A typical gestational surrogacy can run anywhere from $30,000 on the low end, to upwards of $100,000+. In addition to the surrogate's compensation, intended parents need to account for clinic fees, medications, attorney fees, agency fees, maternity care, travel expenses and any other expense that occurs in a pregnancy.

So how are intended parents able to afford it? The truth is, surrogacy is financially out of reach for most couples. The ones that do choose surrogacy usually make incredible sacrifices in order to afford it.

Saving in Advance
The most practical method of affording surrogacy is to save in advance. Intended parents can sacrifice vacations, new cars, and other high-cost items in addition to saving every spare dollar and employment bonuses.

The problem with this is the sheer amount of time it takes to save up these kinds of funds. Couple that with the fact that many couples going through infertility are older parents to begin with, and you can see why this option is unattractive to many.

Some intended parents choose to take a second mortgage out on their homes or to take on some other sort of financial loan to afford surrogacy. It is even possible for some of them to borrow money from a family member. The downfall to this option is bringing a baby or babies into their lives on top of heavy debt.

Choosing Traditional Surrogacy
Gestational surrogacy can be very expensive, but a lesser expensive alternative is traditional surrogacy. Since a traditional surrogate mother becomes impregnated via artificial insemination, the in vitro fertilization fees are non-existent.

Some traditional surrogates will do home inseminations, eliminating the need for a clinic altogether. This can save the intended parents tens of thousands of dollars. The baby, however, would not be the biological child of the intended mother.

Trimming Fees
There are several fees intended parents may be able to trim, or even eliminate, when looking at surrogacy. Choosing to find a surrogate mother, either gestational or traditional, without the services of an agency is one option. Another option is to find a surrogate with a good health insurance plan.

There is also the option of finding a surrogate with low, or even nonexistent fees. Though it may seem impossible, there are many, many surrogates who would be willing to accept a low compensation to help another family achieve their dreams. In addition, sometimes a family member or close friend can act as a surrogate mother for the intended parents free of charge.

Egg Donation
Another option for surrogacy involves the intended mother becoming an egg donor herself. If her eggs are of good quality, and her infertility problems stem from her inability to carry a child, she might be able to receive compensation as an egg donor for another set of intended parents.

This is actually more common than most people realize. The compensation for a couple egg donations, added to a couple's savings and other options, may make surrogacy a financial possibility. The intended mother may even decide to go through a shared cycle to reduce her fees for the egg retrieval in relation to her surrogacy.

Those outside the surrogacy community may have trouble understanding the mindset behind these phenomenal sacrifices. But to those who have been struggling with infertility for a very long time, even with the financial hardship, surrogacy is dream come true.

Are You Pregnant With No Insurance? Health Care Reform May Help

For years Medicaid was the only option for women who became pregnant but had no health insurance coverage. Medicaid is designed for low-income workers, so many women find that their income is too high to qualify for this benefit. Health care reform has created another option, but like Medicaid it's not for everyone. But when you need adequate coverage to ensure the health of you and your baby, something is better than nothing.

With passage of the Healthcare Reform Act pregnant women without insurance have a new option: the high risk pool. The act calls for each state to set up a temporary insurance plan for people with pre-existing conditions who have been uninsured for at least six months. The plans will remain in place until December 31, 2013, when a new more permanent option will become available.

These high risk pools do not come with income limits as does Medicaid. Medicaid has income qualifications for categorically and medically needy groups. Contact your local state office for income guidelines. If you can qualify, Medicaid is your best option as it begins coverage almost immediately and will cover your prenatal care needs.

For those who do not meet the Medicaid income guidelines your state high risk pool is a new option. You must be a U.S. citizen or national or lawfully present in the United States, and you must have been without any creditable coverage for at least 6 months, and you must have a pre-existing condition. Your pregnancy is a pre-existing condition.

In most states your office visits, prenatal and maternity care, hospital care, and some certain infant formulas will be covered. This plan is administered by each state, but the plan is federally subsidized so the premium costs may be lower than what you might find elsewhere where pre-existing conditions preclude you from getting coverage.

The drawback to this plan is the six month without creditable coverage requirement. You and your baby need care right from the beginning. But if you are locked out of individual coverage because of your pre-existing condition, and earn too much to qualify for Medicaid, you can at least get adequate coverage during the most critical stage of your pregnancy: your last trimester.

Understanding the Care Quality Commission's Service Types

All health and social care providers are required to register with the Care Quality Commission to demonstrate that they are meeting the standards laid out by the CQC. The standards that you are required to meet and are expected to demonstrate before you can gain registration, vary depending on the service type that you as an organisation, individual or partnership, are classified as.

The Care Quality Commission has defined 28 different service types in all and it is essential that you determine which 'type' or 'types' you are classified as before you begin the CQC registration process. Failing to identify the correct categories could mean that you fail to realise certain standards that are expected of you, which in turn could result in your application being rejected. It is important to note that you may fall into more than one category and in this instance you need to address all of the standards defined within all of the categories that you fall within.

The following details all of the service types available, their associated codes, as used by the CQC, and an example of the kind of provider that may fall within each of the categories:

1. Acute services - ACS

  • Maternity hospitals

2. Hyperbaric chamber services - HBC

  • Type 1 hyperbaric chambers

3. Hospice services - HPS

  • Adult hospices

4. Long-term conditions services - LTC

  • Complex care and support provided to individuals with physical or neurological illnesses that are unlikely to improve

5. Hospital services for people with mental health needs, and/or learning disabilities, and/or problems with substance misuse - MLS

  • Child and adolescent mental health providers

6. Prison healthcare services - PHS

  • Young offenders institutions

7. Rehabilitation services - RHS

  • Rehabilitation units

8. Residential substance misuse treatment / rehabilitation services - RSM

  • Crisis intervention units

9. Community healthcare services - CHC

  • District nursing

10. Doctors consultation services - DCS

  • Slimming clinics

11. Doctors treatment services - DTS

  • Travel vaccination centres

12. Dental services - DEN

  • NHS Dental practice

13. Diagnostic and/or screening services - DSS

  • Health screening centres

14. Community-based services for people with a learning disability - LDC

  • Community learning disabilities teams

15. Mobile doctors services - MBS

  • GP out-of-hours providers

16. Community-based services for people with mental health needs - MHC

  • Community mental health teams

17. Community-based services for people who misuse substances - SMC

  • Community drug and alcohol teams

18. Urgent care services - UCS

  • Walk-in clinic

19. Care home services with nursing - CHN

  • Nursing home

20. Care home services without nursing - CHS

  • Residential home

21. Specialist college services - SPC

  • Personal care and accommodation provided by a college for young people with learning and/or physical disabilities

22. Domiciliary care services including those provided for children - DCC

  • Domiciliary care agency

23. Extra care housing services - EXC

  • Care provided within purpose built accommodation

24. Shared lives (Formerly adult placement) - SHL

  • Care provided by a trained individual, couple or family, inside or outside of the home

25. Supported living services - SLS

  • Care provided to a person living in their own home

26. Ambulance services - AMB

  • Patient transport

27. Blood and transport services - BTS

  • NHS Blood and transport

28. Remote clinical advice services - RCA

  • NHS Direct

The examples given above are by no means an exhaustive list and the range of organisations that need to be regulated by the Care Quality Commission is extensive, so if you provide any form of health or social care services then you will almost certainly fall within one of the above service types.

Tummy Tuck and Pregnancy - Your Questions Answered

Many women wonder when the best time is to have their tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty, surgery performed. This is a very important consideration for all women because pregnancy has such a profound effect on all women's bodies.

What effect does pregnancy have on a woman's body?

Pregnancy causes weight gain in the abdominal area both from the baby itself, but also from fatty deposits which the body makes during pregnancy. All of this weight contained in the lower abdominal area causes the skin and muscles to expand and stretch. The results are often many issues, including; fatty areas which cannot be removed through diet and exercise alone, hanging skin, stretch marks, and issues having to do with the abdominal wall muscles themselves.

One of the biggest reasons women choose to have a tummy tuck performed is due to the stretching and bulging of the muscles of the abdominal wall itself. This muscle budging can cause the abdomen to protrude outward and appear to be fat even when no excess fat is present in the area. Unfortunately, there simply is no exercise which can rectify the problem; the only solution is to have a procedure performed to fix the bulging and stretching muscles.

Just as with the issue of bulging abdominal muscles, the only way to remove the sagging abdominal skin from pregnancy is through a tummy tuck. Simple liposuction can deal with fatty deposits, but nothing other than an abdominoplasty can remove the sagging skin. The good news however, is that a tummy tuck will remove the lower abdominal skin where most stretch marks occur. This means that post-operation they will be gone as a nice byproduct of the surgery.

When is the best time to have a tummy tuck if you are a mother?

If you are a mom who is interested in a flatter stomach, like you had before your children were born, the best time to have abdominoplasty performed is clearly when you are finished having all of your children. By waiting until you have had all of your children, you can ensure that the effects of your surgery will be long lasting.

Can I have one if I have had a C-section surgery in the past?

If your children were born through C-section you are indeed still a good candidate for a tummy tuck. Interestingly enough, you will likely find the abdominoplasty will be less painful than your C-section surgery was and your recovery will likely be faster as well.

Is it dangerous to get pregnant after a tummy tuck?

It is not dangerous to you or your child if you get pregnant after having a tummy tuck. However, the pregnancy can reverse all of the changes made by your abdominoplasty and cause you to need another one following the birth of your child.

Because having a tummy tuck can be a fairly expensive surgery to have, and it is generally not covered by medical insurance, most women choose to wait until they are done having children to have their abdominoplasty performed. By waiting until after pregnancy, you can ensure that your stomach will stay flat and tight throughout your older years.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Health Insurance in Pennsylvania - AdultBasic As an Affordable Option

Like most U.S. states, Pennsylvania has certain provisions for it's residents who fall into lower income groups. One such provision focuses on offering affordable health insurance for individuals and families. In Pennsylvania there is a program known as AdultBasic for people who earn income below a prescribed level. This program focuses on providing health coverage at very little cost (there is a $35 monthly premium) to the applicant.

Originally started in 2002, the coverage insures most lower income people between the ages of 19 and 65 who meet certain eligibility criteria. It also covers against pre-existing conditions and is available to U.S. citizens who have resided in Pennsylvania 90 days prior to enrollment.

This medical insurance is comprehensive major medical coverage and is administered by various private insurance carriers throughout Pennsylvania (Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, Keystone Health Plan East and First Priority to name a few). Some of the benefits covered by the plan which carry no additional cost are:

- Hospitalization (unlimited days)
- Physician Services (primary care and specialists)
- Emergency Services
- Diagnostic Testing (e.g. X-rays, mammograms and laboratory tests etc.)
- Maternity care
- Rehabilitation and skilled care (in lieu of extended hospitalization)

Other services which carry a small co-payment are:

- $ 5.00 co-pay for each visit to your family doctor
- $10.00 co-pay for each visit to a specialist
- $25.00 co-pay for each visit to an emergency room (waived if admitted to the hospital)

Another convenient aspect is the ability to apply online. To help guide you along with the process I recommend contacting a licensed local health insurance broker for further information.

What to Eat While Pregnant

According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, what your spouse eats right before and during your pregnancy can affect the health of your growing baby. Even before she starts trying to get pregnant, you should take special care of her health.

Make sure she eats healthy meals and snacks and take a multivitamin every day. If you are both unsure about eating healthy during pregnancy, talk to your doctor.

Does my spouse really need to "eat for two?"

According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, your spouse will need additional nutrients to keep her and the baby healthy, while she is pregnant. But, that does not mean she needs to eat twice as much. She should only eat an extra 300 calories per day. A baked potato has 120 calories. So getting these extra 300 calories doesn't take a lot of food.

Make sure she does not to restrict her diet during pregnancy either. If she does, the unborn baby might not get the right amounts of protein, vitamins, and minerals. Low-calorie diets can break down a pregnant woman's stored fat. This can lead to the production of substances called ketones. Ketones can be found in the mother's blood and urine and are a sign of starvation.

Why do pregnant women crave certain foods?

According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, the desire for "pickles and ice cream" and other cravings might be caused by changes in nutritional needs during pregnancy. The fetus needs nourishment and a woman's body absorbs and metabolizes nutrients differently while pregnant.

These changes help ensure normal development of the baby and fill the demands of breastfeeding once the baby is born.

Other Nutrients Does My Partner Need For a Healthy Pregnancy

Folic Acid: According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Pregnant women need 400 micrograms (400 mcg) of folic acid every day to help prevent birth defects. Folic acid is also important for any woman who could possibly become pregnant. Folic acid is a B vitamin that helps prevent serious birth defects of a baby's brain or spine called neural tube defects. Getting enough folic acid can also help prevent birth defects like cleft lip and congenital heart disease.

An easy way to get enough folic acid is to take a multivitamin every day. Most multivitamins sold in the U.S. contain enough folic acid for the day. But be sure to check the label! Choose a multivitamin that contains 400 mcg or 100% of the Daily Value (DV) for folic acid. Getting enough folic acid is most important very early in pregnancy, usually before a woman knows she is pregnant.

So, at least one month before your partner tries to become pregnant you should make sure she is getting enough folic acid. Women who are already pregnant need to get enough folic acid every single day. Another way to get enough folic acid is to start your spouse eating a serving of breakfast cereal that contains 100% DV for folic acid, every day. Check the nutrition label on the box of cereal to be sure. It should say "100%" next to folic acid. Orange juice, spinach and legumes are also good sources of folic acid.

Iron: Pregnant women need twice as much iron - 30 mg per day - than other women. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that pregnant women start taking a low-dose iron supplement (30 mg/day) or a multivitamin with iron beginning at the time of their first prenatal visit. Ask your doctor what she recommends.

Prenatal vitamins prescribed by your doctor or those you can buy over-the-counter usually have the amount of iron your partner needs. But be sure to check the label to make sure. Pregnant women should also eat lots of iron-rich foods. Some good sources of iron include lean red meat, fish, poultry, dried fruits, whole-grain breads, and iron-fortified cereals. Pregnant women need extra iron for the increased amount of blood in their bodies. Iron helps keep blood healthy. Plus, your baby will store iron in his body to last through the first few months of life. Too little iron can cause a condition called anemia. If your spouse has anemia, she might look pale and feel very tired. Your doctor checks for signs of anemia with the routine blood tests taken at different stages of pregnancy. If your doctor finds that she has anemia, she will give special iron supplements to take once or twice a day.

Calcium: Pregnant women aged 19 to 50 years should get 1,000 mg/day of calcium. Younger pregnant women need even more - 1300 mg/day. Most women in the U.S. don't eat enough calcium. So many pregnant women will have to change their diets to get their fill of this important mineral. Low-fat or non-fat milk, yogurt, cheese or other dairy products are great sources of calcium. Eating green leafy vegetables and calcium-fortified foods like orange juice and breakfast cereal can also provide calcium. If your partner's diet is not providing 1,000 mg/day of calcium, talk to your doctor about taking a calcium supplement.

Water: Pregnant women should drink at least six eight-ounce glasses of water per day. Plus, pregnant women should drink another glass of water for each hour of activity. Water plays a key role in your partner's diet during pregnancy. It carries the nutrients from the food she eats to your baby. It also helps prevent constipation, hemorrhoids, excessive swelling, and urinary tract or bladder infections. Drinking enough water, especially in the last trimester, prevents dehydration. Not getting enough water can lead to premature or early labor. Juices also contain water.

But juice also has a lot of calories that can cause one to gain extra weight. Coffee, soft drinks, and teas with caffeine actually reduce the amount of fluid in the body. So caffeinated drinks do not count towards the total amount of water your spouse needs every day.

Taking Tablets to Help You Get Pregnant - A Girl's Guide to Common Fertility Supplements

If you wish to help increase your chances of conception, or are suffering from infertility, you may be considering taking tablets to help you get pregnant. There are an abundance of options to choose from. The following are the most commonly available to women looking to boost their fertility.

Clomid- This medication is one of the most commonly prescribed tablets to help you get pregnant. Clomid works by stimulating the brain to release two hormones usually produced naturally- LH and FSH. Together these two hormones tell your reproductive system to ovulate, producing healthy, mature eggs ready for fertilization. This medication is commonly prescribed to couples who are experiencing diagnosed infertility, and have been unable to conceive after a year of actively trying to get pregnant.

Herbs- There are several types of herbal tablets to help you get pregnant. Herbal supplements work in a variety of ways to help increase your fertility. Among the most commonly used are:

  • Evening primrose oil- Evening primrose oil works by making helping your body produce fertile cervical mucus. Cervical mucus aids the sperm in surviving its journey through the uterus and fallopian tubes, ensuring a supply are waiting to fertilize the egg after ovulation.

  • Red Clover Flower- An herb that produces chemical known as isoflavones. Isoflavones are similar to estrogen, and helps to balance a woman's reproductive hormones. This herb can also be helpful for producing an environment in the womb that is more sperm friendly, by balancing the alkaline and acidity levels.

  • Chasteberry- Also known by its scientific name of vitex, chasteberry helps to regulate the menstrual cycle. This herb is particularly useful for women who suffer from PCOS, or irregular periods.

Prenatal supplements- Studies show that simply taking a prenatal vitamin increases a woman's fertility. Prenatal vitamins provide you with the nutrients you and your baby need for healthy development. Vitamins and minerals such as calcium, folic acid, iron and the various b vitamins are all necessary to your baby's development. In addition, prenatal vitamins also supply nutrients that are well known for boosting your chances of conception. If you are taking prenatal tablets to help you get pregnant, make sure to look at the content label for the following: Zinc, Selenium, vitamin E, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, and vitamin A.

Specialized Fertility supplements- Many companies have formulated fertility supplements to combine the best prenatal vitamins with fertility enhancing herbs and nutrients. Common brands include Fertilaid, Fertilcm, and Fertilitea.

It is important to note that while both Clomid and traditional vitamins have FDA approval, the benefits of herbs and fertility supplements have not been fully evaluated by the US government yet. Be aware of the possibility of negative interactions with current medications or health conditions. You should always discuss any drug or supplement you take with your doctor and immediately report negative side effects. Taking tablets to help you get pregnant can be a very effective way to increase your chances of conception when used responsibly.

Essential Items to Help You Stay Comfortable While Pregnant

As your unborn baby develops and your body begins to grow, remaining comfortable on a day to day basis can become quite a challenge. There are certain essential items and items of clothing that can help you stay comfortable during your pregnancy. I have a few recommendations based on my own experiences that expectant mothers should find helpful.

Comfortable maternity clothes that fit loosely and do not restrict movement or mobility are a must. Skirts and dresses that do not bind are somewhat easy to find in maternity shops and at most major chain and department stores. You do not need to go crazy and buy a closet full of new outfits, but having a few loose fitting, dependable maternity outfits to wear when you are craving comfort is a plus. Some women use maternity belts for support while pregnant, but I prefer maternity tights. Maternity tights provide support, look somewhat fashionable if that is important to you, and can keep you warmer during the Fall and Winter months.

Comfortable shoes are at the top of my list for must have items as well. Forget heels or any shoes that are not flat and cushiony. Getting around is difficult enough and ill fitting or high heeled shoes can lead to major discomfort and even dangerous consequences such as falling down while pregnant.

Your breasts are likely to increase by one cup size or more so be prepared to go bra shopping once or twice while pregnant. Finding a good bra that fits well and is comfortable can be tough, but the staff in maternity stores or bra shops can be helpful.

Heartburn and acne are somewhat common during pregnancy and both can cause you some discomfort. Heartburn is easily remedied with Rolaids and the like, but speak with your doctor before taking anything while pregnant. The acne is often the result of hormonal changes, not dirt, so don't overdo it with the acne treatments and talk to your doctor before using any acne remedy, even the over the counter or all natural ones.

My final recommendation for staying comfortable while pregnant is more pillows. Getting a good night's sleep is next to impossible if you can't get comfortable. With a growing baby and expanding belly, sleeping poorly is not uncommon. The large body pillows are great for snuggling up to or even just having an extra pillow or two can make a huge difference.

When you're pregnant, staying comfortable is important, but it becomes more difficult as your delivery date approaches. With just a few simple, moderately priced items available just about anywhere, you can make your pregnancy a lot more comfortable.

Identifying Differences Between TED Hose & Compression Stockings

More and more individuals require either a TED Hose or Compression Stockings due to a variety of popular conditions, Diabetes, poor circulation, excess fluids (water retention) and D.V.T (Deep Vein Thrombosis) which is a blood clot in a deep vein, usually in the leg(s), both a TED Hose and a Compression Stocking will alleviate conditions related to the mentioned conditions. Medical professionals often identify both TED hose and compression stockings by the same title, TED hose, but there is a significant difference between them.

TED hose is frequently given to patients when they are in the hospital or medical facility. TED hose are designed for individuals that are non ambulatory, or lying down 95% of the time. The compression starts in the calf and decreases as it goes up the leg. The reason the compression starts in the calf, when we are lying down fluid tends to travel no further than our mid leg. The stockings will help push additional fluid from that position up through the lymphatic system, then out the body. TED hose are usually white in color and available as a thigh high or knee high style. Normal compression generally lasts two weeks; this is why when you're in a hospital or medical facility they consistently change your TED hose. In contrast to TED hose, compression stockings offer an array of styles and color choices; therefore they are both fashionable and comfortable. Compression stocking styles vary from knee high, thigh high, pantyhose, and maternity pantyhose.

Compression stockings are available in a sheer material, trouser sock, and athletic sock styles. Compression begins in the ankle and decreases as it goes up the leg. Individuals who have the ability to sit, stand, and walk have gravity working against them, gravity pulls away additional fluid from the upper and mid leg to the ankle and foot, thus eliminating swelling problems among others. When wearing a medical grade compression stocking, the compression begins at the forefoot and decrease as it goes up the leg pushing any extra fluid up and out of the area. Normal compression lasts six months giving the user more time before having to obtain replacement(s).

Certain circumstances allow a person to gain assistance with the purchase of compression stockings. Individuals whom are being treated for an open wound and/or ulcer have the opportunity to gain coverage from insurance as long as all necessary documentation has been made available to the provider. Typically, this consists of a prescription from your physician as well as a CMN (Certificate of Medical Necessity) completed by a wound care specialist. Most insurance differ in regards to coverage and reimbursement, be sure to check with both your doctor and your insurance to see if you are eligible to receive these products.

How To Deal With Depression For Women?

According to studies, women are twice as likely as men to be diagnosed with depression. There are many reasons for this. Fortunately, depression is a mental illness that is curable if the correct mediation or therapy is administered to the sufferer. Thus, it is important that women understand the causes and the appropriate ways on how to deal with depression.

One most obvious reason that may make women more prone to depression is the levels of the sex hormones oestrogen and progesterone. Women have a higher level of these hormones and the levels change during the menstrual cycle, throughout pregnancy and childbirth and at the menopause. For instance, premenstrual syndrome or commonly known as PMS, can result in anxiety and depression prior to the menstruation period. Treatment used for PMS include hormone therapy and water tablets (diuretics), but they often do not work very well. The best way to deal with such depression is to give support and understanding to your affected spouse or partner.

In addition, the levels of oestrogen and progesterone are very high in pregnancy and drop dramatically after the birth. This sudden change can sometimes trigger depression. About half of all new mothers go through the maternity or baby blues, 15 percent get mild to moderate postnatal depression and a small percentage may even suffer from severe depression.

So how should you deal with pregnancy or postnatal depression? One effective way to treat postnatal depression is through the use of antidepressant drugs. Most antidepressants can be taken while breast-feeding. When a woman is being treated for postnatal depression, it usually helps if her counterpart can become involved and understand what is happening. In the cases of severe depression, doctors may recommend electroconvulsive therapy in addition to the antidepressant medication. This depression treatment works quickly and enables the new mother to get on with bonding with her child.

Women are more likely to seek help for depression around their middle years. It is widely believed this is due to menopause. There are, of course, a number of other changes that may play a role in triggering depression. Common reasons may include the poor relationship with their partner or kids, deteriorating health or sudden retrenchment. Typically, this form of depression can be treated with common antidepressant drugs such as Dothiepin.

If you wish to know more about effective clinical depression treatment, major causes of depression and the complications resulting from depression, you can visit this comprehensive site : Guide To Living With Depression

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Chiropractic Adjustment During Pregnancy

While chiropractors are generally concerned with the overall health of the spine and body, the field has many things to offer pregnant women. All chiropractors are trained to treat pregnant women, but some have received special designations, due to advanced study and practice in that field. Look for those with a DACCP or CACCP certification, in addition to being a member of ICPA and Webster certified, which means they have been specifically trained to deal with breech positions.

A chiropractor is a great resource for stretches and strengthening exercises for your back. She will know exactly what works best for pregnant women. When performing chiropractic adjustment during pregnancy, a good practitioner will have proper equipment to accommodate pregnant women. They will have tables equipped to accommodate her belly and know that serious pressure on the abdomen needs to be avoided.

With all of the changes that occur in your body during pregnancy, there is a good chance that your spine will become misaligned at some point, simply due to the pressure of your growing stomach, and hormonal changes that cause softening and stretching of tissue. A chiropractic adjustment during pregnancy can establish pelvic balance and realign the spinal column.

This can lead to a reduction in back pain, as everything is brought into alignment so that pressure on soft tissues is relieved. The primary goal is to prepare the mother for birth. Her body should be functioning optimally, with everything in the correct position.

Soft tissue can be manipulated as well through massage and pressure point work. This reduces spinal stress, keeps the muscles relaxed and flexible and results in reduction of muscular aches and pains.

Some additional benefits realized by chiropractic care are controlling symptoms of morning sickness, reducing labor and delivery time, avoiding a potential caesarean section, relieving back, neck and joint pain, and bringing about a healthier pregnancy in general. Additionally, if a baby is in the breech position, the Webster Technique can be used to establish balance in the pelvis and make it possible for the baby to turn to the correct position.

There is some evidence that regular chiropractic care during pregnancy will actually reduce time spent in labor. In addition, it appears that chiropractic patients have less postpartum pain as well.

Currently, many medical professionals believe that regular adjustments with a good chiropractor are highly recommended. Chiropractic adjustment during pregnancy ensures that the pelvis is balanced, creating extra room for the baby, and reducing pain throughout the body, as the spine is brought back into alignment.

Chiropractic care has become so popular for treating pregnant women, that there are even programs available to help cover the cost of treatments. Chiropractic care is still relatively inexpensive compared to most medical options, so you will probably find it quite affordable, even without assistance.

Since many medical options are not available for pregnant women who are dealing with back pain and other issues, chiropractic adjustment during pregnancy can yield a number of benefits, both in terms of immediate symptom relief and long-term health of the mother and baby.

Care of Pregnant Women

In the termite kingdom the queen is the most valued, loved and respected, if you watch them you will observe that everybody seem to be working to feed the queen because they understand that the queen is the mother of them all. In our own human kingdom, the story is different when we look at it from general global perspective. In the culture where I grew up women were treated like slaves and even when they are pregnant, they are still expected to do the necessary job of serving their husbands in all things. In this type of culture I can say, let us learn from the termite kingdom. Thanks to civilization, things are changing very fast to the benefits of our women.

I want to use this medium to encourage every husband to show real love and care to their spouses. the greater the love that you show, the more the impact of it is felt by your baby. Our pregnant wives deserve love and respect, they deserve our attention and care. They are carrying in their womb our future generation of human being who will continue to represent us on planet earth. We need to help them, in so many ways, and in this write up I am just going to mention three points I believe every husband and father should take note in showing love and affection to their pregnant wives.

The first point is that you should make her happy and glad, it is time to communicate with her, stay with her, ask her questions, and make her feel loved and accepted by you. Making a woman happy is not limited to buying things for her, it get to the point of taking her out and making her see the genuineness of your love and concern. Many husbands have failed in their responsibilities as husband due to the fact that they did not understand the simple rule of communication which is very vital to the success of every relationship on planet earth. The truth is that even our relationship with God can not fare well in the absence of good communication. As the man, the role you are to play during your wife's pregnancy can determine the health of both mother and child in the days to come.

The second point is that you should help her in household chores, help her to make the bed, get some things in the kitchen, make some food. You will really do well to constantly surprise her with prepared table. You may even decide to take her outside for lunch and so on. This is a very crucial point and should be given due consideration for the good health of your soon to come baby. In my culture, the woman is made to do all the work even during the advanced stages of her pregnancy and most of the times she must do some very tedious and hard work that is not healthy for a woman at that stage of pregnancy, no wonder such cultures have a very high rate of infant and maternal mortality. Please help your wife and do not allow this evil come upon her and your un-born baby, you are responsible for helping to keep both the mother and the child well and alive.

The third point is that you should show a lot of concern about her health. Be really interested in her medical results, check the scan results, ask questions, be excited about the sex of the baby no matter which sex you are expecting. Make it an habit to always pray together, eat together and be ready always to give her a helping hand. When she is not happy or discouraged, you should help her, assure her that all will be well with her and the baby. This will go a long way to heal her and strengthen her to face the huddles and be able to deliver safely without much problems. May the good Lord help you to be faithful.

Uncovering Income Sources For Widows

The death of a spouse creates a difficult transition in any person's life. The emotional effects
can be devastating while the financial impact of each can be equally debilitating. Most women
outlive their husbands by several years. Additionally, it is no secret that women face more
difficult retirements than men. A myriad of factors, including longer life spans, earnings
disparity, and interrupted work years for maternity have all contributed to this reality. In fact,
the Social Security Administration reports that nearly 20% of unmarried women age 65 or older
live below the poverty line, compared with 5% of married elderly women. Given that, it is
important for widows to identify all potential sources of income that they may have at their
disposal when they need it most.

Social Security

When an individual pays Social Security taxes, what they are doing, in effect, is earning
"credits" toward their future benefits. The longer you work and larger your income during your
working years, the higher your benefit. Many women take time off of work to have children and
raise families, while some return to the work force, others do not. In both circumstances, some
women may fall short of earning enough of the "credits" to qualify for higher retirement
benefits. Consequently, women's social security incomes are often much less than that of their

Individuals (regardless of sex) that qualify for Social Security retirement benefits have a choice:
they can claim their benefits either as a spouse or a worker. This feature may offer women a
great advantage. For a spouse who has never worked a "paid job" or for one who has earned
insufficient credits to qualify for their own "worker" benefit, they are eligible to receive 50% of
the eligible worker spouse's full benefit. This is known as the "spousal benefit". Or, if you have
worked but your spouse's benefit is higher than yours, then you can claim the aforementioned
spousal benefit.

For widows that have lost their husbands, the wife can receive her own worker benefit or 100%
of the husband's benefit, whichever is greater. A surviving spouse who has reached full
retirement age (65 to 67 depending on birth year) is eligible for full benefits. Reduced benefits
(roughly 72% of the full benefit amount) are also available for a surviving spouse as early as
age 60. However, starting in 2005, the age at which the 100% widow's benefit is payable will
be gradually increased to age 66 by 2011 and age 67 in 2029. Widows with minor or disabled
children qualify for more benefits, but it that discussion is beyond the scope of this article.

A word of warning, if you remarry before age 60, you cannot receive widow's benefits as long
as that marriage is in effect. If you remarry after age 60, you will continue to receive your
(husband's) benefits.

Employer Retirement Accounts

Defined Contribution Plans

Retirement benefits, for many couples today, are often the most substantial assets in the
marital estate. This asset can play an integral role in the life of both a widow and divorcee.

The distribution options available for employer sponsored qualified plans may vary. While
some plans allow for the beneficiaries to receive distributions over time (like in the survivor
annuity options to be discussed in the next section), others may be forced to pay distributions
to the surviving spouse all at once. The spouse, however, can roll over the entire distribution
into her own plan, unless the distribution is not an eligible rollover distribution for some other
reason (ie. to the extent it is a required distribution).

Defined Benefit Plans

Defined benefit plans provide monthly income for the life of the participant. Traditionally,
pension plan benefits were paid to the retired worker upon separation from service as a single
life annuity. Upon the workers death, benefits would stop; leaving many surviving spouses
(mostly women) without that stream of income.

In 1984, ERISA updated its joint-and-survivor law and made the 50% joint-and-survivor benefit
the standard benefit for married individuals, whereby 50% of your monthly annuity would be
paid to your annuity beneficiary upon your death. In the past, the retiree could choose to
provide survivor benefits; however, under the revised law, written consent of the spouse is
needed to decline the 50% joint-and-survivor benefit.

Many plans offer 50% and 100% percent joint-and-survivor options. The 100% joint and
survivor option is a type of annuity takes into account the combined life expectancy of the
worker and the spouse, and often is paid out over a longer period of time, the worker's monthly
pension payment is usually less than it would have been if the worker and the spouse had
declined the survivor benefit. So, under the 100% percent option, the joint benefit is reduced
more than under the 50% percent option, but there is no reduction in benefits after the retiree
dies, that is, the surviving spouse receives 100% of the joint benefit.

Another factor to consider is the fact that many workers nowadays change careers and/or
employers several times throughout their working years. Oftentimes, employees may find
themselves vested in pension plans unbeknownst to them (or their spouse). Surviving spouses
are encouraged to inquire about any pension benefits due to them at both existing and
previous employers where their husbands have worked.


The cash flow options under the IRA rules depend on the type of beneficiary identified in the
account. Surviving spouses have the greatest flexibility in terms of their distribution options.

Inheriting an IRA from a spouse gives you flexibility not available to other beneficiaries.
You can put the IRA in your name or you can roll over the funds into an IRA you have already
set up. The IRS will treat this as if the inherited IRA assets were yours all along.

Assuming that you are younger than 70 ½, as a spouse not only are you not required to take
any distributions from the inherited money, but it also means that you can make additional
contributions to the IRA (assuming you qualify). Converting the IRA into your name will also
allow you determine your own beneficiary.

For surviving spouses who are younger than 59 ½ and depend on the income from the IRA for
survival, leaving the IRA in your spouse's name is the best option. It allows you to take
distributions without incurring a 10% early withdrawal penalty. But, because the IRA remains in
your deceased spouse's name, the future beneficiaries cannot be changed.

As a spousal heir, one of the flexibilities of an inherited IRA is that you can split the account.
So, let's say you needed some current income from the account (which you will be forced to
take for the rest of your life), but don't want to exhaust the whole account, you can split the
inherited account into one that generates income (stays in deceased spouse's name) and the
other (converted to your own IRA account) to grow, deferring distributions until your RMD age.

Insurance Policies

Life insurance proceeds can be one of the single biggest financial benefits for a survivor
beneficiary. The obvious beneficiary of a life insurance policy is likely to be a surviving spouse
(and children, if applicable), whether directly or through a trust. Most life insurance policies are
purchased outright by the individuals. But, life insurance benefits are also often available
through employers. Widows should check with the decedent's employer, previous employers,
mortgage lenders, professional organizations and unions to ensure that they claim any benefits
owed to them.

In summary, when it comes to money matters, all options and resources must be carefully
considered. Any woman dealing with the harsh reality of a husband's death is well advised to
seek professional guidance. In addition to their financial planner, legal advice from an estate
planning attorney to help them assess their needs and the most appropriate distribution
strategies going forward. The right decisions and proper planning can make a world of
difference in your financial survival.

Sources: Institute for Women's Policy Research; U.S. Department of Labor; and the Social
Security Administration

Caring For Babies of Diabetic Mothers - With Tender Loving Care

Caring for babies of diabetic mothers could be easier if preventive measures are undertaken during prenatal care. This is an essential part to achieve a healthy pregnancy and delivery. It includes careful management of the diet, checking the blood sugar level and the proper use of insulin. Maintaining the blood sugar at normal level will lower the risk to the baby.

The babies need special treatment. The kind of treatment will depend upon how controlled the diabetes is during the latter part of the pregnancy. It will also depend on the condition during the delivery process while the mother is in labor. The baby's doctor will base the specific treatment on the following:

  • baby's medical history and health status as a whole
  • extent of the diabetes
  • baby's tolerance of the type of treatment
  • prognosis on the condition's course
  • mother's preference and opinion

The baby's blood sugar level will be closely monitored. How do they do this in one so young? They actually have three options. They may draw blood from a heel stick. Or they may draw blood with a needle in the arm of the baby or they may do so through an umbilical catheter.

They may have to administer glucose to the baby as a first feeding in the form of a mixture of water and glucose. Some may need to be given glucose intravenously. With the baby's blood sugar being closely monitored, they will be able to watch for hypoglycemia to happen again.

If the baby is under respiratory distress, a breathing machine may be used to give oxygen. Also if there is any injury sustained during the delivery, they will be attended to and taken cared of. The same will be done with any problems occurring with birth defect. At the same time the caretakers will watch for low calcium level.

To see if appropriate care is given, CEMACH which is acronym for the Confidential Enquiry into Maternal Child Health checked on this. Their findings showed that a lot of diabetic mothers in Wales, England and Northern Ireland have their babies admitted to a special care unit. Apparently, this is due to hospital practice policies.

They found that over 50% of the babies admitted were preventable because there was no medical indication for the admission. In some cases they said the reason was because the babies were not kept adequately warm. This only leads to the separation of babies and parents.

The Diabetes in Pregnancy released its findings on the care for baby after birth. The findings of a national enquiry also indicated there were obstacles to breastfeeding although this has been proven to be best in caring for babies of diabetic mothers as well as for those of non-diabetic mothers. These were:

  • Early feeding in the labor ward was not given to 25% of the newborn.
  • The first feed given to 2/3 of the babies was infant formula.
  • The reason to use infant formula feeding was the mother's choice not to breast feed.

The recommendations are as follows:

  • Diabetic mothers should be advised about the advantages of breastfeeding.
  • Babies should stay with the mothers right after birth as long as there are no postnatal complications. This helps set up breastfeeding and control the babies temperature.
  • Breastfeeding should be encouraged during the first hour of birth although support should be given to the all mothers in the their feeding choice.
  • Health care teams should be trained better with improved guidelines on how to manage the caring for babies of diabetic mothers.

The Chief executive of CEMACH, Richard Congdon, said that although they were able to identify problems in their national inquiry, most babies of diabetic mothers receive high quality care. But breastfeeding should be encouraged and the same is true for the babies to stay with their mothers. This will be better in caring for babies of diabetic mothers.

10 Top Tips To Get Rid Of Tummy Fat Fast

Ever wondered why it is so hard to lose weight, shape up and get rid of that unwanted tummy fat? Do you feel self-conscious, frustrated and unsure how to get back in shape? Then check out my 10 helpful tips to get rid of tummy fat fast.

1. Correct Nutrition - This may sound all too familiar, but a balanced diet, with enough fresh fruit, vegetables, carbohydrate and protein is critical for good health and weight management. Yet so often, when fat-fighting with fad diets it's all too easy to lose sight of the nutrition basics that really work. You can lose stomach fat healthily - just by eating the right foods more often.

2. Body Shape - Women's bodies vary enormously and come in every size and shape. What's important, however, is recognising and accepting your inherent shape, then toning to target problem areas. You can't alter your fundamental body shape, but you can get rid of tummy fat and hone the wobbly bits, feeling better about your body all round - you can make significant improvements to your silhouette. Consider these three archetypal shapes: apple, pear and runner bean. One way to ascertain which you are, if you're not already aware, is to ask yourself which areas of your body are most difficult to spot-reduce - tell-tale areas include the backs of the arms, cellulite on the thighs and bottom (pear), chubby tummy fat and waist (apple) or, for the runner bean, a lack of curves.

3. Power Walking - Get rid of tummy fat through power walking - this helps to melt away unwanted fat as it raises your metabolic rate, boosting your body's calorie-burning potential. Start by power walking for 20 minutes at a time, three times a week. And remember, the more you walk, the more energy you'll have. All you need to do is plan your route then get started - and believe me, once you get going, you'll love the stimulus to your mind and body.

4. Age - The reason you may find it harder to get rid of tummy fat as you get older is down to changes in your basal metabolic rate (bmr). This drops by 2 per cent for every decade of your life. Also, you lose 3.2kg (7lb) of lean body mass with every decade, which is replaced by fat. Therefore, as you get older you need to change what you do to stay fit, slim and toned - you need to do more exercise to turn back the clock.

5. Surgery - Abdominoplasty, or simply, a tummy tuck, is getting popular nowadays. A lot of people want to get that perfect abs without the effort. If you want to undergo such a procedure, it is important that you consult and discuss with a medical expert what you can expect during and after the procedure.

6. Exercises - Apart from doing cardio for 20 to 30 minutes a day to burn calories, tummy exercises will increase the number of calories you burn away. When you are in better shape, you will feel stronger, and are able to exercise more intensely for longer periods of time, thus increasing your tummy fat-burning capabilities. Incorporating tummy exercises, such as sit-ups and crunches, to your basic cardio regimen will help strengthen your core. A stronger core, or midsection, will help you to build lean muscle mass. It is this lean muscle that helps you losing tummy fat faster.

7. Sleep - Recent studies have shown that if you're sleep deprived, you're less likely to reduce weight. Lack of sleep affects the hormones that control appetite, making you hungry. Studies have shown that, on average, people who are overweight are those who tend to get the least amount of sleep. Health professionals recommend around 8 hours a night.

8. Attitude - In the willpower culture of sport and fitness, the influence of our emotional patterns can often be neglected. We can be guilty of sabotaging our own efforts because it is easier to put other people first or because we lack confidence in ourselves. It's therefore vital to care for your emotions as you would care for your body - allow yourself time for goal-setting and make sure you reward your efforts.

9. Postnatal - Getting rid of tummy fat and into shape after having a baby need not be a struggle, even when time for yourself and sleep are limited. Postnatal exercises benefit your mind and body, promoting better posture, less muscle tension, more relaxation and, above all, abdominal muscle tone. There are a lot of people who have been keeping a flat tummy all their life and enjoy a slim profile. But in times of pregnancy, your body figure can drastically change, making it harder to lose stomach fat. How can you prevent the pregnant tummy look and lose tummy fat after giving birth? Pregnancy is a very sensitive stage in a woman's life, therefore it is important to consult your doctor frequently and ask them if you can do a certain exercise and until what stage of your pregnancy you can do so. If you would like to know more, I have also reviewed The Fit Yummy Mummy system for losing tummy fat after having kids, which you may find interesting and helpful.

10. Equipment - Plan for working out and losing tummy fat by gathering the clothes and gear you need to help you feel motivated and look good. Getting organised in advance helps to reconfirm your commitment to yourself and increases the chances that you will get rid of tummy fat and to keep it off.

Cramping During Late Pregnancy - Four Possible Reasons Why Pregnancy Cramping May Occur!

Bleeding and cramping during pregnancy do not always indicate severe pregnancy issues even though no woman wants to see or feel them. Although keeping your health care provider in the loop at all time is highly advisable, it is also recommended that you endeavor to thoroughly understand what the causes of these signs and symptoms may be before actually experiencing them. This article will reveal four of the most common causes of cramping during late pregnancy.

1. Ectopic pregnancy may be the reason why you are cramping and bleeding. Ectopic pregnancy is characterized by the development of the embryo in the fallopian tube instead of the uterine wall. Ectopic pregnancy is a life threatening condition and should not be treated lightly. Its symptoms include, but are not limited to, the following; pain on one side of the abdomen, and cramping in the pelvis, and so on.

2. Having a miscarriage may also cause you to cramp during late pregnancy; this type of cramping is often accompanied by bleeding. It may also be possible for you to have a miscarriage without cramping therefore the importance of knowing what the signs of a miscarriage are cannot be overstated; these signs include, but are not limited to; bleeding from the vagina, cramping around the pelvis, and tissue that proceeds from the vagina.

3. If you experience your cramps after the first trimester, it may be indicative of placenta problems. These include; placental abruption (which is when the placenta separates from the uterine wall), Pre-term labor (this is characterized by any labor beginning before the 37th week of pregnancy), and Placenta previa (which occurs when the uterus covers your cervix partially or completely due to the placenta being positioned too low).

4. The process whereby the embryo embeds itself into the wall of the uterus is referred to as implantation. It is normal and common for this process to cause cramping and bleeding. The APA (that is, the American Pregnancy Association) says that bleeding due to implantation may occur within the first 6 - 12 days after fertilization of the egg - which is a process commonly referred to as conception. This bleeding, which may last for a couple of hours or up to two days, appears as a light spotting. Ironically some women may not experience cramping caused by this condition at all or may only experience very light cramping.

Note that you must endeavor to keep your health care provider in the loop (that is, knowledgeable) concerning your experiences during pregnancy especially as it pertains to cramping or bleeding in particular. Avoid inserting anything into the vagina while bleeding including tampons. If possible, try to abstain from sexual intercourse until you have ascertained the cause of your cramping during late pregnancy. You could monitor the frequency and volume of bleeding by wearing a pad, that way you will be able to let your health care provider know what your observations are.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Very Early Symptoms of Pregnancy Help to Detect Conception Before Missed Periods and Pregnancy Test

Are there any very early symptoms of pregnancy that can help the women to detect the conception before pregnancy test and missed period? Certainly YES; as there are some women who are able to detect it the moment conception takes place. These women are able to do so as they have a fair knowledge of signs of pregnancy.

Below are mentioned 3 very early symptoms of pregnancy. These signs enable the women to detect her conception before missing the periods.

Basal Body Temperature: Women are generally aware that basal body temperature rises during ovulation. However, only few know that if this temperature stays elevated after ovulation then this is a sure indicator of pregnancy. The woman only needs a basal thermometer for monitoring changes in the body temperature.

Enlarged and Tender Breasts: Hormonal level rises drastically in early pregnancy. These increased levels of hormone give different signals. In the early days the body is not prepared for these hormonal changes. The obvious reaction of these hormonal levels is the change in the size and shape of the breasts. The breasts start giving a fuller feeling soon after conception. Though some women feel tenderness in their breasts just before menstrual periods; however in pregnancy the tenderness in breasts is an exaggerated version of PMS.

Tiredness: Another earliest sign of being pregnant is tiredness. At times it becomes difficult to distinguish between general exhaustion and pregnancy fatigue. Doctors believe that tiredness is also linked to the changed hormonal level. This feeling fades away when the body gets familiar to new levels of hormones.

China's Social Security System: Maternity Insurance in China

As part of China's efforts to reform the healthcare landscape in the country, large changes to the basic structure of the social security apparatus have been drafted in order to modernize the financial infrastructure supporting the health care system. This has included a number of mandated social security mechanisms, including maternity insurance.

The maternity coverage that is provided through the social security system in China is mandatory. However, while the central government issues the mandate, it is up to each municipality to organize and manage the maternity coverage for their area. This means that while different cities will have maternity insurance offered as part of the required social security structure, the particulars such as contributions and benefits may vary.

Although it is up to local municipalities to set rates and organize the collection of funds for their maternity programs, the system itself is structured around employers, whether public agencies, institutions, private enterprises or businesses. Each business or organization must register their employees with the relevant local authority managing the maternity insurance fund; failing to do so may result in fines and additional measures from the local maternity insurance regulatory authority.

Maternity Insurance Contributions

The cost of contributing towards the local municipality's maternity fund is borne solely by the employer. Employers must contribute a certain percentage of their total wage bill towards the insurance fund. It is up to the local municipality to set the rate of contribution for employers within their purview, however most cities have set the rate at between 0.5 to 1 percent of the employer's total wages. In some cases, the rate of contribution towards the municipal maternity fund may be higher or lower based on how the municipality has decided to manage the program and fund.

Maternity Insurance Benefits

The Chinese social security system for maternity provides employees covered under the plan with a number of benefits. Mothers go on maternity leave which is generally 3 months in length. During her maternity leave the mother will receive a predetermined amount as a maternity allowance, which is paid to her out of the insurance fund and not by her employer. Previously, the maternity allowance paid out to the mother would be fixed relative to her salary, however a new law promulgated in mid-2011 requires that mothers should receive payments that are equal to the average of all wages paid by their employer. However, many municipalities require time to restructure their local maternity insurance structure and funds and some may not have adapted to the new policies.

Depending on local regulations and rules, other benefits may be offered as well, such as a lump sum at the time of birth to assist the mother in dealing with associated costs. Fathers may also receive a short period of paternity leave, although it is usually limited to a few days of paid leave.

Some cities have already reworked their municipal health insurance plans to take account of the new rules, with Beijing being the most prominent among them. The city of Beijing reworked their maternity insurance laws in late 2011 to take account of the fact that there are many women in important positions in businesses or organizations both public and private. Beijing has included in their new maternity insurance system the provision that if a mother's wage is greater than the average salary of the company, then the employer must make up the difference between the maternity allowance and the mother's monthly wages.

As other municipalities rewrite their local maternity insurance coverage policy to bring themselves into line with the changes sought by the national government, some may or may not adopt similar policies to Beijing. While both maternity leave and allowance are guaranteed by the maternity insurance provisions of the national social security directives, details of benefits or additional benefits such as lump sums to assist with the costs of childbirth are decided at a local level by the municipal maternity insurance authority.

Five Ways to Collect California Maternity Benefits

California has the nation's richest and most extensive state mandated benefits for pregnancy and maternity. There are at least five ways you might need to utilize these benefits. But while these benefits are rich compared with what other states offer, you could still be left in financial distress. Be sure to supplement these benefits before getting pregnant.

1 - Pregnancy Disability before Delivery

Twenty five percent of pregnancies will encounter one or more complications. Should this happen to you, your doctor may order you to stop working to take bed rest. California short term disability will replace up to 55% of your income during this time.

2 - Help at Home from Your Spouse

If your pregnancy complications are severe, you may need some assistance while at home - especially if there are young children at home that require attention. Should this happen to you your husband may need to leave work to provide care to you and/or your children. California Paid Family Leave will replace up to 55% of your husband's income for up to six weeks.

But now you will be dealing with two simultaneous 45% pay cuts. Can you afford this?

3 - Maternity Leave Income

When you deliver your baby you will need time to recover and will be unable to work. California short term disability will replace up to 55% of your income for six weeks for a vaginal birth, and eight weeks for a c-section delivery.

4 - Baby Bonding Time

After you recover from your delivery, you may want to spend additional time at home bonding with your baby. The California Paid Family Leave provides an additional six weeks of partial income replacement during this time. Also, your husband may choose to take time from work and is eligible for six weeks of partial income replacement as well - provided he did not exhaust these benefits before delivery.

5 - Postpartum Disorders

Many women develop postpartum disorders that result in a longer recovery time. Should this happen to you, you may not be able to return to work as quickly as planned. California short term disability will continue to replace up to 55% of you income during the time.

Get Supplemental Coverage before Getting Pregnant

California maternity benefits may pay out in five different ways, but only 55% of your income is being replaced. Purchase supplemental insurance before getting pregnant to replace a higher percentage of your income, and to help out with left over medical bills.

The Benefits of Fish Oil For Depression Treatment

There have been numerous multi-vitamin supplements manufactured but using Omega 3 oil supplements from fish has been around much longer. The use of fish oil for depression seems to be beneficial in the relief of symptoms. The right oil must be used to get the most benefit. Studies have shown that a decline in fish consumption is related to an increase in depression.

High quality ethyl EPA oil from fish can aid in the improvement of both mood and depression symptoms. There have been several studies done to support the evidence that fish supplement oil depression treatments are effective.

Dr. Andrew Stoll did a study at Harvard University in 1999 and reported that the symptoms of manic depression, otherwise known as Bipolar disorder improved with firsh oil. This is a type of depression characterized by reoccurring periods of mania and depression or both. The study took thirty patents with bipolar disorder and a history of relapse and gave them either fish supplement oil or olive oil. The study was cut down to four months from nine when the patients that were given fish supplement oil showed a dramatic reduction in depression symptoms and a longer remission time than those that were given the olive oil.

Fish oil for depression underwent another study in 2002 by Peet and Horrobin. Ethyl EPA's antidepressant effects were tested, and it was determined that a gram a day was effective in treating symptoms. A dose of fish oil for depression was given every day for twelve weeks to some participants, others were given a placebo. Those that got the fish supplement oil showed improvement in their condition.

Fish oil depression benefits were proven once again when the supplement was given in addition to regular medication to a suicidal depression patient. The symptoms of the depression and the suicidal tendencies both showed improvement. The EPA performed structural changes to the brain and there was an indication that the efficiency of depression medication was enhanced with fish oil depression treatments.

Postnatal depression is higher in countries where there is a lower fish intake in the diet. The omega 3's in fish supplement oil are very important both to the developing fetus and the newborn baby; when the mother does not get enough fatty acid the supply becomes depleted because all available fatty acids are given to the baby. This depletion is what contributes to the postnatal depression. A fish oil supplement depression can aid in reducing the risk of postnatal depression.

EPA and DHA are the main ingredients in fish supplement oil. The purer the EPA contained in the fish oil depression treatment the more the symptoms of depression are reduced. There is more DHA in the brain, and EPA is more important to nerve stimulation and function; while DHA is required for structure.

The benefits of fish oil for depression have been shown in numerous studies, and people all over the world continue to benefit. With a reduction in suicidal tendencies, postnatal depression and the reduction of required medication, fish oil depression treatments seems to be a natural way to battle the challenges of depression.

Dubai Medical Insurance

Are you headed on a trip to Dubai? Whether it is for a short or an extended period of time, you might want to get medical insurance to keep you covered. If you believe that getting international medical insurance would be expensive, you need not worry. There are companies who can give you a customized medical plan, free consultation, and a quotation before you commit to anything. You can take advantage of insurance policies that include inpatient and outpatient coverage, maternity, dental, chronic conditions, emergency evacuation, emergency reunion, repatriation, and so much more. Prices can vary but they can also be pegged at a price that is affordable to you. These policies can be renewed at your convenience.

You can purchase an individual plan, just for yourself. These plans are customized specifically for your medical needs. They are very flexible and annually renewable. If you are traveling with your family, there are also policies that can cover every member. Policies can be customized individually according to your needs.

If you were sent by your company to Dubai and you are not the only one going on a trip, it would be best that the company provide the group plan that would have a general policy covering everyone in the trip. You can look at the level of coverage you can might need and whether or not it would cost less than getting individual insurance. There is coverage that would protect you on trips outside of Dubai as well.

International health insurance companies have a wide connection of associates and partners with the best medical organizations worldwide. By taking advantage of international medical insurance, you gain access to these facilities as well. And you are guaranteed world-class service wherever you may go. For more information, you can check out specialized sites on the web.

Physical Therapy Exercise

When we are in pain of any type, or other problems take place with the body, such as decreased range of motion, the first and most critical thing to accomplish is to assess via the use of a physician or other health care professional why that pain is taking place. This is often done using MRI or X-ray to find the problem and other means by which to correct it.

Determining a way to deal with the pain and the underlying causative factor is imperative. If your pain is due to the aging process or to an accident, or even from simple stressing of muscle groups, treating your injury or disease process may involve the use of another type of health care provider who is a motion specialist.

Physical therapy providers are well-versed in helping you to get the best range of motion that you can and to minimize the pain that you are feeling. It is their task to assist you in learning how to work with your injury, to strengthen the muscle groups and to alleviate the pain so far as possible.

Professional physical therapists are health care providers who have a degree from physical therapy schools. They are experts in the human body, having learned how to help you get the best range of motion and the least amount of pain. This is done by prescribing physical therapy exercises for you which will help you to get back to optimal health.

Additionally they are often involved in helping you to get a better gait and will assist you in training to walk or to work with any restrictions that you may have.

It is quite likely that you will be given special exercises to help you to accomplish the best and most full movement of your body, while lowering the pain. Not only exercises are prescribed in most cases, but also other types of therapy.

These treatments may include a combination of therapeutic massage, special exercises, hot and cold treatment, and even treatment with TENS units to help you to decrease the pain that you are feeling while improving your overall fitness and getting your muscles and joints back into shape.

Our bodies may not always work the way that we hope they will. In some cases, learning how to work with limitations that we have and how to accomplish the tasks which are necessary with those limitations is difficult.

The trained physical therapy professional can help you to get the most out of your body despite your physical limitations and to help you to use your muscles most effectively.

Artificial Insemination Cost - Is It Affordable?

Artificial insemination is a medical procedure in which sperm either from a sperm donor or a woman's partner is placed inside of the cervix with the hope that pregnancy will occur. It is imperative that women looking to improve their chances of getting pregnant with this method carefully consider artificial insemination cost. For some women, pregnancy happens naturally without any outside help. For many others, however, infertility issues can get in the way of becoming pregnant and having the children that they always desired. These issues can occur because of age, endometriosis, a partner with a low sperm count or a number of other causes. Although it is just one option for women looking for a little help with getting pregnant it has become a pretty standard treatment option for women dealing with infertility issues.

Fertility Testing and Basic Costs

Usually, the first step in getting artificial insemination and determining the cost is finding a qualified specialist. A visit to a reproductive endocrine fertility specialist can cost several hundred dollars just for the initial visit. Before a patient receives artificial insemination, the specialist will usually complete a number of other basic tests to help diagnose abnormalities within the reproductive tract or other issues affecting pregnancy. One common artificial insemination cost at this stage is the use of a pelvic ultrasound, to check the fallopian tubes, uterus and ovaries. The ultrasound can cost anywhere from $200 to $500.

Another possible evaluation treatment that can affect is a hysterosalpingogram (HSG). An HSG is a radiological test usually performed in a hospitals radiology department to check for blockages in the fallopian tube as well as for polyps, fibroid tumors and pelvic scar tissue. The specific price for the procedure does vary but is often over $1,000.

Increasing The Chances of Getting Pregnant

To increase chances of success, the clinic doing the treatment may closely monitor the woman's menstrual cycle through blood hormone level tests, and ovarian kits - which all mean a higher artificial insemination cost. Fertility drugs are also commonly used along with artificial insemination to help regulate reproductive hormones and trigger the release of eggs during ovulation. Take for instance, the generic drug clomiphene citrate, the common fertility drug is often given for several months to regulate ovulation and increase the chances of artificial insemination being successful. The generic version of the drug, clomiphene citrate, can cost less than $20 per cycle, while a brand name version can cost as much as $100 per cycle.

Total Costs

The treatment itself can cost $700 per session in some cases and women usually need several treatments. With the cost of fertility drugs, ultrasounds and various other expenses and tests involved before insemination can occur; women or couples could pay as much as $10,000!

To make the process of trying to create life even more difficult, many health care insurance companies may not pay for fertility treatments like artificial insemination. If insurance does cover the procedure, it usually only covers certain aspects of the treatment. Additionally, insurance coverage may only be for those with a diagnosed medical condition such as endometriosis and for women in certain age ranges. For some women, an infertility cure program can eliminate high artificial insemination cost and allow women to get pregnant naturally.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Overtime - One Of The Risk Factors Of Depression

Long hours have become the new normal in this faltering economy, leaving the worker (as usual) to pay the price. A recent study suggests what many people working these long hours could tell you... routinely putting in 11 hour days is one of the risk factors of depression - doubles the risk in fact - compared to those who work the more traditional eight hours each day.

Long days at work take a toll on your body, but there's also evidence of impacts within the brain as well. Overtime and depression have not been studied to any great extent so the team examined over 2,000 British workers (average age 47) who didn't have mental health issues at the start of the research in 1991.

Almost six years passed before nearly 70 incidences of serious depression were identified by mental health screenings given to the workers. Those whose working hours topped more than 11 hours a day had a two times greater risk of being diagnosed with depression compared to those who spent under eight hours at work each day.

Now there are lots of things that put you at risk for depression - genetic factors, physical or emotional issues and prolonged stress. All those hours at work give you fewer opportunities to relax and likely less sleep as well. You don't have time to exercise and your own self-care slips. The long workdays can also cause problems in close relationships with friends and family, and this itself can also bring on depression.

The most likely candidates for depression were younger women who were in the lower job grades, used alcohol in moderation and had also been diagnosed with a chronic condition. Should you be worried? Here are some warning signs to watch for:

- Trouble sleeping

- Changes in appetite

- Fatigue or loss of energy

- Feeling stressed or worthless

- Being irritable and impossible to satisfy

- Not taking pleasure in activities that usually bring you joy

- More mistakes at work

- Trouble organizing things, concentrating or making decisions

- Suicidal thoughts or acts

If you, or someone you love, has three or more of these symptoms and they last for at least two weeks, depression is most likely the cause. Recognizing you're in trouble, and in need of help is important - the first step toward getting better.

Even if you love what you do, the long hours you're on the job can still trigger a depressive episode, but it may well take longer to show up. Eventually however, researchers believe that workaholics too will show signs of depression.

It's hard to know if these results would hold for workers doing other jobs, but it certainly points out the fact that working long hours can play a part in depression. Since you usually can't cut back on working hours, here are some simple ways you might cope...

- Try to alternate periods of high stress with times of less pressure or with shorter hours.

- Listen to your favorite music as this boosts levels of dopamine, the feel good chemical in the brain.

- Don't skip vacation time or days off.

- Try a random act of kindness to your boss, co-worker, a vendor.

- Look for humor in daily goings on, circumstances beyond your control.

- Make time for sleep and don't skimp on exercise.

The research on long working hours as one of the risk factors of depression appears online.

IVF Cost in Thailand

With the prices of IVF skyrocketing in the US, Canada, Australia, Europe, and the UK, especially for people whose insurance doesn't cover for fertility treatments and gestational surrogacy, traveling abroad for medical care is becoming an affordable option for many people. How much cheaper, you ask? On average, getting fertility treatment in Thailand costs about 1/3 to 1/2 as it does back home.

All the fertility hospitals and clinics are located in the bustling capitol city of Bangkok. I've visited several Bangkok hospitals during some previous vacations. The level of knowledge and care I received was the same or better than I received in the United States. Additionally, the beauty of Bangkok and Thailand's beaches are another reason one should consider fertility treatment there.

IVF is the most common fertility treatment sought by foreign patients. Pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, or PGD, also has attracted many people to Thailand, in part because the procedure is prohibited in many countries. However, clinics in Thailand can perform PGD because the country's Medical Council only has advised against the procedure. Many people seeking PGD come from Australia, which does not allow sex selection, and others come from China and India.

So Why Go To Thailand for IVF?

Thailand has a long history of what is known as modern medicine. Western medicine was introduced to the Kingdom of Siam in 1686. The first hospital was built in 1878 in Petchaburi province and in 1887 the first hospital was built by the Thai Government (Siriaj Hospital). Chulalongkorn University was established with the Faculty of Medicine in 1916, and the Ministry of Public Health was established in 1942 to regulate medical services and public health for the people of Thailand.

Thailand offers medical centers that have the latest and best medical technology, and their medical staff have been trained and practiced in the west. And on top of the great medical care these centers offer a level of hospitality that is unseen in the west. Thailand is well known as a modern medical center as skilled surgeons and reasonable rates combined with cheap luxury hotels and non-stop shopping make it a great destination for fertility treatment. Thailand offers the best environment with the most experienced surgeons in the world.

Couples choosing Thailand as their destination for IVF treatment are attracted to Thailand's because:

繚 World-class health facilities

繚 Affordable healthcare

繚 Proven success rate

繚 Opportunity to travel to beautiful white sandy beaches to recover

The reasons behind the low cost of fertility treatments in Thailand?

繚 The lower cost of labor

繚 Malpractice, insurance and administration equate to doctors focusing on providing high quality healthcare and not paying out astronomical fees as seen in the US.

Doctors in Thailand are normally educated, trained, and certified western countries, such as the US, UK, and Australia, and have chosen to return to Thailand to practice in world-class facilities.

These facilities in Thailand have acquired accreditation from well-known international organizations such as JCI, JCAHO and ISO to express the dedication to conforming to international standards of healthcare and excellence.

So with all of these advantages, why not consider Thailand your destination for affordable IVF treatment. Contact to learn how you can save on IVF treatment in Thailand.

Health Insurance During Pregnancy - Finding Out Your Coverage

Your newborn needs to be taken care of on arrival. When you choose a good maternity hospital, you also need to have good insurance during pregnancy. Costs of normal delivery are comparatively lesser as compared to a cesarean section. It is not only the delivery expenses that you have to consider. There will also be various examinations, tests and various other expenses which need to be looked into besides the delivery charges. Once you have planned the pregnancy, the best thing to do is investigate details about and find out more about your coverage.

Covering financial hassles during pregnancy:

Pregnancy as well as delivery involves a lot of hassles financially and after the baby is born there are a lot of visits to be made to the pediatrician, getting the baby immunized etc. Due to any reason if you have to give up your job while you are pregnant, you may find it strenuous to maintain your budget. Not many women get themselves insured when they are pregnant and it may become difficult getting insured after they're pregnant. As per the rules of many providers any pre-existing pregnancy related condition is considered as a 'category', which has its own fine print. Many a times, emergency medical treatment is needed, because of which many healthcare providers hesitate to cover pregnant women.

Waiting periods could extend over a couple of months and higher premiums are required to be paid in health insurance coverage for pregnancy. A better idea would be to obtain a health insurance policy before you get pregnant since then the premium amount is not very high. An important issue to be considered however is the duration of the waiting period. Once a woman is pregnant, she has to go for periodic checkups, tests and diagnosis of the trimesters on a regular basis which cannot be avoided at any cost and this makes consideration of special health care insurance still more important.

Individual and group health insurance plans:

Many of the health insurance companies also charge something called the optional rider which is a kind of extra premium. Each time a premium is paid, the optional rider also has to be paid but you have the option of dropping the rider, for which you need to understand details of health insurance during pregnancy - finding out your coverage, and other essentials of the fine print.

Employers these days provide health insurance coverage to all those employees who have worked for a specified number of years in the company. This includes maternity coverage. Make necessary inquiries with officials at your company so that you can obtain coverage while you are pregnant. Once you obtain such health insurance you don't have to worry as all medical bills and all expenses related to pregnancy are covered by the health insurance plan. Many companies also provide group insurance which is comparatively less expensive than the individual health insurance plan. Just in case you change your job, the old insurance plan can be continued at the new company you will be joining, once provisions for timely payouts are made.

How to Increase the Production and Supply of Breastmilk Naturally

Breastfeeding is a special time in the life of both mother and child and experts agree that breastmilk is far superior to artificial feeding, which is associated with a general decreased state of health and more infant deaths from diarrhea in both developing and developed countries.

The World Health Organization recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life, with solids gradually being introduced around this age. Supplemented breastfeeding is recommended until the age of two.

Studies show that in addition to the bonding that mother and baby experience, breastfeeding is associated with increased intelligence in later life and significantly lowers the risk of many illnesses including:

  • sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)

  • middle ear infections, colds and flus

  • childhood leukemia

  • childhood onset diabetes

  • asthma and eczema

  • dental problems

  • obesity

  • psychological disorders

Breastfeeding is also beneficial for the mother in the following ways:

  • Helps the uterus return to its pre-pregnancy size and position

  • Reduces postpartum bleeding

  • Assists in returning to pre-pregnancy weight

  • Reduces the risk of breast cancer in later life

Unfortunately even though mothers may choose to breastfeed, they often experience difficulty in the supply and production of breastmilk. They may also unknowingly have a problem with low quality breastmilk which can result in the baby not being completely satisfied with feeds.

Breastmilk production and supply are not the same thing and each is influenced by different factors. A mother can have either a problem with production (usually hormonal, obstructive or due to improper feeding habits) or supply (most often due to poor nutrition or weak constitution) or both. Sometimes there can be no problem with supply or production of breastmilk but the quality of breastmilk may not be sufficient to satisfy the baby. Traditionally modern medicine only accepted problems of insufficient production but now with advances in technology that enable us to measure the quality of breastmilk it is now accepted that these three problems mentioned above are all real conditions that need to be addressed appropriately in the breastfeeding mother.

In order to understand how to address problems of low breastmilk or insufficient lactation we need to understand how and when breastmilk is produced and what factors are involved in the production, supply and quality of breastmilk.

How and when breastmilk is produced

Breastmilk is produced under the influence of certain hormones that are released after birth, these include prolactin and oxytocin. The release of these hormones is directly related to the act of the baby suckling on the breast which in turn stimulates the nerve endings present in the areola of the breast and cause the release of these hormones by the pituitary gland. Prolactin causes the alveoli or glands within the breast to take nutrients from the blood supply and turn them into breastmilk. Oxytocin on the other hand is responsible for the contraction of cells around the alveoli and subsequent release of the breasmilk through the breast ducts and out through the 15 to 20 openings in each breast.

There are a number of factors that can affect production and therefore result in no or insufficient breastmilk, these are categorised as follows:

  1. Problems with secretion of either prolactin or oxytocin

  2. Obstruction of the breast ducts

  3. Fatigue and/or stress resulting in the inability of the muscles to contract and release breastmilk

Problems with hormonal secretion

It is rare that insufficient lactation can be caused by a problem of the pituitary gland, more often cases of non-secretion are due to insufficient stimulation of the nerve endings by the baby not latching or sucking appropriately or indeed not suckling at all in cases where the baby may be unable to feed or the mother is unable to. In these cases it is encouraged to use proper posture and also use a pump in between feeds to encourage breastmilk production.

Obstruction of the breast ducts

Obstruction of the breast ducts is a fairly common occurrence and usually is associated with inflammation of the breast (mastitis) but may be due to other causes such as injury or previous surgery to the breast etc. Fortunately it is easy to treat, a doctor could prescribe an anti-inflammatory or you could use natural herbs such as mu tong or fenugreek which has been traditionally used to open the breast ducts, reduce inflammation and promote milk production and flow. Some of the natural supplements to increase breastmilk contain these ingredients and will be discussed later in this article.


Fatigue and stress can play a part in any illness and is a common occurrence postpartum. For some this may even be serious enough to be considered postnatal depression. Both stress and fatigue can affect the function of both prolactin and oxytocin as energy is required for all bodily functions to occur including contraction of the muscles responsible for promoting the flow of breastmilk. Mothers should get sufficient sleep and also eat healthy to combat fatigue. Stress can be eased by getting help in managing the baby from friends and family. Some natural postpartum supplements can also assist in reducing fatigue and stress. These will be discussed under the supplements section.

The quantity and quality of breastmilk is largely influenced by the health and nutritional status of the mother. Studies have shown that nutritional status affects more the quality than the quantity of breastmilk so that often a mother will be producing enough milk but the quality and nutritional value of that milk may not be sufficient to provide optimal growth for the baby. Often the body will be able to provide sufficient protein and fat content for inclusion in breastmilk by taking this from the mothers blood supply and if necessary by breakdown of the mothers own protein and fat stores. However the inclusion of vitamins, minerals and other essential substances will be directly affected by the mothers intake of these substances. Besides a healthy and varied diet, dietary supplementation is also recommended to increase the production and supply of quality of breastmilk, especially so when the mother is experiencing insufficient breastmilk quantity to begin with. In the next section I discuss some available postpartum herbs and supplements for increasing breastmilk production and supply and which are the best to use.

Herbs and dietary supplements to increase breastmilk production and supply


Perhaps the most commonly used herb for increasing breastmilk is fenugreek, however it is not the best and certainly not the safest to use. Fenugreek is known in herbal medicine as a herb that is hot in nature, influences the liver and stimulates contraction of smooth muscle, hence its use in low breastmilk conditions where it encourages contraction of the breast ducts and therefore release of breastmilk. You will note however that this is not the only reason for low breastmilk and therefore despite its high use it is not very effective in most cases and has a number of side effects that should be noted:

  • It may cause nausea, diarrhea and stomach cramps.

  • Fenugreek can also cause a maple syrup odor in urine and sweat.

  • Fenugreek can interfere with iron absorption so people with anemia should avoid it.

  • It can alter balances of various forms of thyroid hormones.

  • Fenugreek can aggravate asthma, allergies, and diabetes

  • Fenugreek should be avoided by women who are pregnant since it is known to stimulate uterine contractions in animal studies and can therefore lead to miscarriage

Fenugreek is useful where stress may be a significant factor in causing low breastmilk however we do not recommend that it be used alone due to its other effects described above. In fact traditionally herbs were more often combined with others so as to limit their toxicities and harmful effects while retaining their beneficial ones. For this reason we recommend one of the two synergistic formulas below for low breastmilk and in fact the second supplement can also be used as a general postpartum supplement.

Mothers Milk Tea

This tea is something you can make at home and is a combination of fenugreek, fennel, coriander, blessed thistle and aniseed. Though it is better than using fenugreek alone, the tea still retains as its primary function the ability to stimulate smooth muscle contraction. It does however contain aniseed and blessed thistle which have the ability of improving digestion and therefore indirectly improving breastmilk quality as well. For more information on mothers milk tea see:


Lactaboost is a relatively new supplement for postpartum mothers but is based on ancient chinese wisdom as well as recent scientific evidence that supports the use of this formula for nursing mothers. It is not only good for increasing quality and quantity of breastmilk as well as treating production problems, but it also has other benefits for mother and baby which include:

  • Assists with postnatal depression, weakness and fatigue

  • Enhances babies digestion and eliminates colic

  • Assists with weight loss and return of the uterus to normal after birth

Traditional Chinese Medicine places a lot of emphasis on proper postnatal care and over a period of hundreds of years developed and refined herbal formulae for that purpose. Lactaboost is based on a number of these formulae and is supported by clinical research that confirm the benefits of it improving and increasing breastmilk.

It contains a number of different herbs including ones that can:

  • Relieve mastitis and open the breast ducts (Caulis Akebia, Platycodon root)

  • Enhance breastmilk quality and quantity (Angelica Sinensis, Ophiopogonis Radix)

  • Strengthen the digestive system (Astragalus, Glycyrrhizae Radix)

  • Assist with sleep (Caulis Akebia)

  • Relieve cramps and colic (Vladimiriae Radix)

This supplement however while safe to use during nursing should not be used while pregnant and caution should be exercised in cases of hypertension.

More information here: Lactaboost

Other therapies

Sometimes the above approaches may not work and it is then useful to consult with a lactation consultant and/or other natural therapist who can work on an individual basis with you in order to prescribe a regimen, remedy or diet plan etc to address your specific condition.

As an example a practitioner of Chinese Medicine will take a history, look at your tongue and feel your pulse in order to determine what the root of the problem is. In cases of low breastmilk this may be due to liver qi stagnation, blood deficiency, liver fire causing mastitis or kidney and digestive weakness. After making a diagnosis the practitioner would compose an individualised formula to treat the root condition and may also add ingredients known to treat the branch or manifestation of the root problem.