Saturday, August 3, 2013

Post-Traumatic Stress - A Soldier and His Wife's Story

Anyone who has suffered traumatic events has "stress." And, by expanding the terminology of PTSD, I think of all my EFT clients as having some form of "post-traumatic stress." And while military personnel have received the most attention in this regard, this is not exclusively a military problem. As an EFT practitioner, I work with the effects of past traumas with every client.

Traumatic events cause immediate disturbance in our energy system. The body downloads the trauma as in a cellular "jolt" or electrical shocks that ignite the sympathetic nervous system response. Without help with a release, this reflex will stay in the "on" position and cause a chain of aberrant emotional reactions, none of which involve inner peace or balance. As in postpartum depression, the severity of PTSD is dependent, to some extent, upon how much anxiety the person had before the traumatic event, perhaps explaining why some people are affected more than others. The more anxiety a person has internally, the less able they are to handle the overload.

This article is an example of how EFT rapidly and effectively helped one soldier and his wife, Nolan and Julia. They were already in the system for PSTD treatments but without the results they had hoped for. Julia took the initiative to find a better solution for their problems, off base. She had heard about how EFT was being used to help war veterans, and without even knowing where to begin, she Googled "EFT El Paso" and found my name.

In my opinion, this initial step of seeking help outside the base is, in itself, empowering. By removing one's self from the "cattle herd mentality" (Nolan's own words), it served to put some self-control back into their lives. Everyone has that choice. You can stay in one place and tread water, or you can find your own life preserver. In other words, "If what you're doing isn't working, do something else."

Nolan is a 35-year-old soldier, has been in the army for seven years, and had three combat deployments. Not long after returning from his third deployment to Iraq, Nolan checked himself into the William Beaumont Hospital for severe anxiety, having the feeling of wanting to "walk away from everything. " With thoughts of going AWOL from the army and his own family, he rationalized they would do better without him because he felt like a failure. He was admitted for "passive suicidal thoughts" and spent nine days on medications for insomnia, anxiety, depression, and art therapy to "express his emotions," all with no result. In fact, by his estimation, the anxiety medications "really, really freaked me out" by intensifying colors and lights. Nolan also said he lived his daily life like he was still deployed, always on alert. He couldn't get close to or trust anyone, including his wife, and expected her to leave him eventually. The thought of yet another deployment was overwhelming.

When Nolan and Julia came to my office, they had viewed a YouTube EFT demonstration, but never saw it used in person by an experienced practitioner. Nolan was quiet, inexpressive. After my grand EFT explanation, sat through his first tapping round only to say that it looked silly and was "just another bunch of crap." We addressed those beliefs next because it is strange looking and different from anything he'd been exposed to before. It is also a very important component during a treatment to express any internal resistance that stands in the way of the real healing work. After one tapping round of "this looks like a bunch of crap," he felt more relaxed, and it was easier to get through his prepared list of specific events. I had asked, during the initial phone consult for him, to prepare a list of bothersome memories to work on.

Even though he had been having problems falling asleep and staying asleep for more than an hour at a time, Nolan informed me that he had run out of his sleep medications two days prior. I knew once we chiseled away at the big chunks, sleep would follow, so we did not tap directly on his sleep problem.

Some of his main issues were as follows:

  • The highest priority on the list was the recurrent image of his fellow soldier, an acquaintance, laying dead with his brain hanging out of his head.

  • Because the next events happened serially, I asked for the first time each specific event (bothersome memory) happened.

  • The first time he had to kick in a door in Iraq. (He was a door kicker).

  • The sound of the first mortar fly-over.

  • The sight and sound of the first mortar hit. (Loud noises made him agitated and angry.)

  • Anger about feeling used, just following orders as a door kicker, and putting his life on the line. (Nobody cares). Note: see why later.

  • The first visual memory of deplaning in Iraq, and the fear levels when he thinks of it now.

I thought it was a highly productive session, ending with Nolan feeling sleepy, a common physical relaxation response, and a good indication of issues being cleared.

On their ride home from my office, his wife noticed that his demeanor had changed and his face took on an appearance of complete relaxation, as if he had just returned from a well needed vacation.

Once we cleared out the current traumatic events, childhood issues came to the forefront. He had unresolved childhood issues involving his mother, who was indifferent and unavailable, and who had eventually abandoned her whole family, i.e., "she didn't care," just as the Army "didn't care" what happened to him. We addressed those issues at our second hour-long session. As it often happens, getting the worst memories out of the way allows similar issues to generalize away very quickly. After working on the issues about his mother, trust in his wife came back to balance.

After two sessions of EFT, Nolan feels he is completely over his PTSD and his life overall has improved tremendously. In his own words, here is his progress report.

"The image of my fellow soldier who was shot and killed in Iraq, that I couldn't get out of my head, was completely gone after about 10 minutes of EFT. It's been a couple of weeks since our first session, and if I do think of him now, it's when he was alive and healthy."

"I didn't like the fact of how I felt the army had just used me being a door kicker; I was just following orders and putting my life out there. I've gotten over that anger as well."

"El Paso used to disturb me because some of the areas look like Iraq, but now, it's just El Paso, and we didn't even cover that in our session, it's what put me in the hospital in the first place, I was always on alert-because of the visual reminder."

"I was on sleep medications and having a real hard time going to sleep and staying asleep, even while I was hospitalized. I stopped taking the medications altogether, and now I'm sleeping the whole night every night. It's really great sleeping better. I handle stress a lot better now, and I don't need any of my medications. I feel calmer, and haven't had any anxiety problems since."

*Note: Its important to note that by law I cannot and do not advise any of my clients to stop their medications, and always refer them to their medical doctors for supervision.

Nolan and Julia attended our EFT Level 1 workshop shortly after his second session. Although she went there to support Nolan, during that time Julia discovered the roots of her own issues, and why Nolan's issues pressed so many buttons inside of her. One of them was the look on his face when he was heavily medicated. As a gift to all our attendees, we offer them a free half hour session with me as a jump-start on their own Personal Peace Procedure.

Julia, having had a close look at her husband's PTSD symptoms, was reminded of the daily traumatic stresses she endured as a child living with a heroin addict mother. Nolan's facial expressions, under the influence of psychotropic drugs was, to her, eerily similar to her moms when she was high. Highly resilient naturally, she had been suppressing her past throughout their marriage until the drugged face of her husband pushed an old button.

This is Julia's own testimonial after her half hour private session.

"I now feel like I'm more "at one" with myself-more balanced, I don't feel so scattered. After the session, I went home and felt just like Nolan did when he left from his first session. I could see how relaxed he was, and for me, everything was just slower, like life just slowed down. I felt more content, and for the very first time in my whole world, I was able to start and finish a task. At first, I was very reluctant to say anything to anyone because it almost seemed too quick and too good to be true! I was able to feel content, focus in on one thing at a time and finish it. And it happened again the very next day. By the third day, I was on the phone to my dad and telling him I had actually started and finished five different projects around my house, and it was a really good feeling."

In my world, I consider myself a leader, and I can "fake it" by assigning other people on the teams that I'm on to make up for my weaknesses, so I don't appear so scattered. At home, my own family knows that I'm all over the place and for the first time ever, I know what balance feels like."

"Internally, I've always had quite a bit of anger, and I can say now, those levels are now down to about a 3, I might even say a 1 or a 2, and I feel very relaxed and excited for my day. Overall, I feel very relaxed. It's been great!"

"I've had really bad attention problems. I couldn't finish anything and felt scattered and always overwhelmed. When we were at the EFT class, I was able to see more clearly how just much discontent I've always felt. My attention problems were so bad that I could never sit down with my husband and watch a movie-but I watched one the other day-very unusual!"

"I have never been able to wake up my three kids after infant/toddler age. It's been a huge issue that I don't feel like I was ever aware of until my husband's PTSD showed up, and they started medicating him, which caused flashes of old memories seeing the drugged look on his face. Sleep faces remind me of my mother who was a heroin addict. My father who raised me was a pothead. I grew up hating sleep because it meant that I was alone and isolated."

"My oldest child is 13 years old, and I have never been able to go to her room and wake her up seeing her sleepy. Once my children got to that age I would yell at them from a distance "It's time to wake up!" If I didn't get immediate responses from them, and if they weren't lined up like soldiers at the top of the stairs at attention, then I was irritated, mad, and then yelling for having to wake them up myself. The hostility would surface, but I thought I was doing them a big favor by restraining my real anger. After my first session, I found the habit of standing at the top of the stairs to wake them still there, but the anger is completely gone."

"Before my first session and after the EFT workshop, I went all the way up the stairs just to test it. It took more time for me to get mad. With each step I could feel it building internally, I thought, "I'm going to see the sleep face" and a few seconds later I could feel the hostility build. After my private session, I told myself I'm going up there again, I did it, and I was fine. I was able to have a conversation with my daughter and had a zero intensity of anger. I was absolutely able to stand there and look at her groggy face! My daughter and I look just like my mother, it was unbelievable that I was able to stand there and have a conversation with her while she was waking up. Its sad to me that I used to get angry at my own daughter. In ten years I have never been able to see her wake up! This is huge progress! The only thing remaining is for me to get rid of the weird habit of going to the edge of the stairs."

"I never realized I hated looking at my kids sleeping-who says that? After this all unraveled with EFT I realized that my problems were very deep-I was really running from my mom's sleeping face, I've been running for years."

Specific events we worked on:

I was afraid mom wouldn't wake up.

I was alone when she nodded off.

I felt betrayed each time she got high.

Mom didn't love me.

Mom didn't see me.

Sleep means lazy.

Nolan and Julia now have EFT as a tool to handle the normal, ongoing stresses of life and to explore releasing long-held blocks to their happiness. They are part of a small but growing number of military PTSD victims who have taken the initiative to remove themselves from the rigidly conservative and ineffective approaches used by the Army.

The old guard has always resisted new approaches, and perhaps rightfully so since much that is "new" turns out to be of little use in the long run. Today's soldiers are in the unique position of purposely placing themselves in stressful situations. In many of these situations, they react to activities that are unnatural (freedom to kill humans and destroy property without corporal punishment). When they return home, they are expected to come back to "normal" and function "normally" again.

With almost 20 years of a track record in the treatment of stress-related conditions, EFT deserves more than a second look, it deserves to be recognized as a true "weapon" in the fight against PTSD. As essentially a self-help technique, it could be taught to soldiers and used in the field as needed. In the meantime, even though acceptance is slow and progress in treating PTSD conventionally even slower, EFT will forge ahead as a powerful treatment for those willing to move outside the "system" for their own sakes. As long as we're here, there will be help for anyone who seeks it.

Unemployment Health Plans - Cover Your Family If You Lose Your Job

Unemployment figures are not encouraging these days. If the current financial woes are not corrected soon, experts predict more job losses on the horizon. You can read other articles on how US jobs will be affected. My concern is that many more families may lose their health benefits when they lose their jobs.

Of course, most of us have heard of COBRA laws. This law provides for the continuation of a group health plan for several months after a job loss. However, not all companies fall under the COBRA laws, so not every employee is protected. In addition, covered employees will probably find out that their premium will be much more expensive. This is because the company does not have to contribute to the plan any longer, and the ex-employee will be responsible for the entire amount. I have talked to many people who lost their jobs, and they were shocked to see just how much their company had paid for their health insurance. It would not be unusual for an employee contribution to jump from a few hundred dollars a month to over a thousand dollars a month.

Another option is to look at individual health insurance plans. For healthy people, especially fairly young people, premiums can be more affordable than group rates. This is because the companies are usually allowed to cherry pick their customers, and so they only have to take people who are healthy. That way, they can keep the rates low. Some minor health conditions may cause a higher premium, while major health conditions can result in declines though.

So I would always advise a person with health issues to try to keep their group coverage if they can. However, I would advise a healthy family, especially one in their 30s or 40s, to compare individual health insurance rates. An exception to that would be a case where the mother of the family may become pregnant, or already is pregnant. Many individual health insurance plans do not include maternity coverage unless the pregnancy causes complications. In general, pregnant women will be covered better under a group health plan. In some states, individual health insurance companies will decline any family with a pregnant family member.

Now some states do have other protections for lower income families, or families with a pregnant females. It is worth looking into these plans if other options are not available or not affordable. Even though these plans are for lower income families, in some cases the income range goes into middle income. For instance, one state's children's health insurance program does cover pregnant mothers too.

Of course, another option is to try to find any job that offers health insurance, even if it is not the perfect job. In the best case, unemployed people would want to use their time to find a better job that suits their skills and personality. However, if you have a health problem that requires health insurance, it may be best to go out and get coverage by working in a lower paying job that includes a good group health plan. I think it is too bad that this is the case, but it may be reality for some people.

Help For Lower Back Pain in Pregnancy

A lot of women are forced to deal with agonizing back pain in early pregnancy. And it usually happens even before they start gaining extra weight.

It makes sense this would happen once the mother starts gaining weight. But why does this happen before the size of the baby starts affecting the lower back? This is usually caused by the hormones that start preparing the spine for the changes that occur during pregnancy.

Don't be worried about gaining weight when you are pregnant. Added weight is normal, to account for both for the baby and your supporting the baby. But since most of this extra weight is in your midsection, it puts added stress on your back. You certainly don't want to avoid gaining any weight, as this may be dangerous for the baby. But there are ways to help reduce the stress on your lower back.

So, when changing position on bed, lying down, climbing the staircase or sitting on a chair, be careful! Move slowly. Get your entire body into a good position before moving. Otherwise you may may feel a sharp pain on one side that is often felt in the buttocks or hips. There are even moments when the ache just immediately vanishes but only for awhile and suddenly comes back when you do not even expect it!

Prevention is definitely the key to avoiding major back problems during pregnancy. Here are 5 tips to help you minimize the stress of carrying your baby:

- don't stay in the same position for too long
- go for short walks several times a day
- make sure to squat down when lifting anything (this is good advice even when you're not pregnant)
- use meditation or yoga to relax
- visit a chiropractor or massage therapist (it's a good idea to start before you get pregnant)

And try to avoid gaining any extra weight - a certain amount of weight gain is healthy for the baby. But too much is bad for your back!

Health Insurance - Some Things You Might Not Have Known About HumanaOne Health Insurance

With all of the different options that we have for health insurance companies and coverage in Utah, not many people know about HumanaOne and what plans they offer. So, we are going to go over what sets them apart, things you may not have known and see if they might be a good fit for you. 

Did you know that Humana is one of the largest health insurance providers as well as one of the largest publicly traded healthcare companies in the country?
Did you know that they have one of the largest healthcare networks in Utah?
Did you know that none of their plans cover maternity? 

Did you know that they offered a very good dental plan?
Did you know that they have some of the most affordable plans while also having superior coverage in Utah?
Did you know that they offer unlimited prescription coverage on some of their plans? (Unlike other carriers and plans that will limit the amount of prescription dollars they will cover each year)
Did you know that because they have a national network, if you travel out of Utah, you will be able to find in-network doctors and facilities? 

Did you know that many doctors that are in the IHC network will also be in the HumanaOne network?
Did you know that by using a local independent health insurance agent that is in Utah, and by making sure that he appointed with all of the main carriers here, that he will be able to show you how HumanaOne compares to them? He will be able to show you what is good and bad about their plans and see if it is a good fit for you, your family or your small business. The best part is that you get their expert advice for free! 

So when you are looking into health insurance in Utah, make sure you educate yourself on your options and see if HumanaOne might be a fit for you.

Signs Of Pregnancy - Few Explanation Of What They Are

Congratulations! You might be pregnant because you're reading this. The next thing you want to do is check the probable signs of pregnancy that you may encounter during pregnancy. Your body is like a multi-part machine which is delicately tuned to provide signals all the time. Pregnancy makes a lot of changes to your body's usual day-to-day functions and if ever you're pregnant, your body will inform you through early pregnancy symptoms!

What follows are the number of signs that you might encounter during pregnancy:

1. You need to check whether you have a missed your period. Actually, it's not a definite sign of pregnancy since the reason why it occurred can be due to some other reasons. Among the causes apart from pregnancy can include acute overproduction of progesterone and estrogen hormones, stress, and irregular period. These factors are the other causes that can delay or cease this normal process of the body.

2. Morning sickness is a common pregnancy sign, but you have to confirm that it is not caused by the food you ate. Hormonal changes in your body are thought to be the main culprit of this pregnancy sign. As a matter of fact, most doctors say that morning sickness is an excellent indicator of your baby's well-being and pregnancy condition. If your morning sickness is accompanied with vomiting, be sure to keep hydrated.

3. Odd food cravings is an additional early sign of pregnancy. Food aversions vary from woman to woman. This may include craving for green mangoes, peanut butter, ice cream, cakes, etc. Remember to be careful with your pregnancy diet. Even though this symptom is not conclusive, this is one of the most common pregnancy indicators. Make that appointment with your doctor to ensure that you'll be able to deliver a healthy baby.

You'll find a number of other symptoms that have been witnessed already by many. This might include increased basal body temperature, exhaustion, headache and so on. You may also experience one particular sign of pregnancy at a time or possibly a mixture of two, 3 or perhaps more than that.

If you think you will be unable to cope with all of the pregnancy-related issues, it would be great to arrange an appointment with your health care provider. It really is no use to keep on struggling with what's proving to be too much for you to deal with. Leave it to your health care professionals. The time you feel the very first sign of pregnancy, it really is best to put in all your efforts.

Figuring Base Salary For Information Technology Jobs

Before considering any type of job the first thing a person considers is how much it is going to pay them and if it will be enough to realistically support their lifestyle. There are several high paying IT positions that are available and pay very well. In order to figure up the salary for information technology related positions one must consider a few different factors.

The ever growing demand for information technicians, one would assume the salary would increase. Often this is not the case as it's now a popular career choice for young people. Many technologically literate people are cropping up straight out of college which has the opposite affect on the median salary.

There are still several great paying jobs available and if someone knows just what to look for, they can cash in on this informational craze. The best thing a person can do is acquire a specific skill that will set them apart from the rest of the people who are qualified to do the same position. By standing apart with a specific skill, a person automatically increases their chances of getting the job just by being unique and hopefully indispensable.

Location is also a big factor in figuring up how much a job will pay. One job in one part of the world may pay an entirely different median amount than the exact same job in another part. It's been reported that Washington DC is currently the highest paying city when it comes to IT positions. It is closely followed by New York and Boston.

Lower paying areas include Atlanta, Houston, Chicago, and Dallas. It's important to figure in the cost of living when comparing it to the salary to be earned. Another thing to consider are the benefits that come in addition to the pay. Insurance packages and retirement plans are important to have along with maternity and or paternity leave for those who plan on having children.

For a comprehensive management position, one can expect to make around seventy thousand dollars at entry level. This is a high demand job and involves a lot of generalized duties. Typically an IT manager will over see the entire functionality of the business and their entire technology department. There are many duties associated with this job and good knowledge of several different specialized area will be required. With the option of advancement up the career ladder, a top out salary is around one hundred and twenty thousand dollars.

More specialized positions have different starting pays. An IT Vendor Relationship Manager will handle the business associations with computer and network providers. They will earn anywhere from $80,000 to $140,000 a year. Another popular position is the Information Technology Director. They will handle all the aspects of handling the computer networks and policies within a company. This position may pay anywhere from $115,000 to $205,000.

It's clear to see that people who choose an IT job must be well qualified and educated in all aspects of IT and it's inner workings. Only the highest trained professionals will garner top dollar pay. With such a high salary for information technology jobs, the competition is increasing and more and more people graduate college seeing only the highest paying positions. For some it may be better to seek employment with a smaller corporation and gain valuable experience before tackling the big businesses.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Reasons Why You Can't Get Pregnant

The miracle of life truly is something special, but there are sometimes when getting pregnant naturally is a lot harder than one might expect. There are several reasons for a someone not getting pregnant. It could be some of your daily activities (or lack thereof), what you're eating, you're physical and mental state. Here are some reasons why you might not be getting pregnant.

It is suggested that if you aren't getting pregnant, you should make an appointment with the doctor so you can go through the proper tests to see if there's a bigger issue than the ones listed below.

Not Enough Sex

Sometimes in life there are things that just take precedent over another. That could be career or just focusing on daily life. If you find yourself having sex once a week, it's probably not enough to get pregnant. Take some time to making sex an enjoyable time. This shouldn't feel like a chore or a responsibility. A baby should be brought into this world with love and not as a duty or responsibility.

Not Having Sex At The Right Time

The best time to have sex is when ovulation happens. This is when the egg (ovum) is ready to meet the sperm of your spouse and get fertilized. It's best to have plenty of sex a week before and after you ovulate.

Smoking And 2nd Hand Smoke

Cigarettes are filled with tons of dangerous substances that cause cancer so it's no wonder that it doesn't help you to get pregnant. This may seem like an obvious answer, but there are some people out there who just can't kick the habit. Maybe knowing that smoking can be a deterrent to getting pregnant might help you quit.

Be aware of your surroundings and watch for the 2nd hand smoke as well. You might not be a smoker, but it doesn't help to be inhaling the smoke. Also for men, smoking lowers your sperm count.

Alcohol Consumption

Whenever you drink more than 4 drinks within a week this could reduce your chances of getting pregnant by 30%. Drinking causes you to lose your appetite and also lose your energy.

Unhealthy Eating

So much is tied into what we eat. You know how the saying goes. "You are what you eat". This doesn't mean that you should just eat nuts and berries and lose ton of weight. This just means to have a more balanced diet. Taking vitamins, minerals and some food supplements will you help with a healthy pregnancy as well.

Obesity / Too Skinny

If you happen to be overweight or obese, controlling your weight and taking it down to normal levels will significantly help increase your chances to get pregnant. The menstrual cycle is affected by obesity. Obesity can make the menstrual cycle unpredictable or irregular.

The same goes for being too skinny. A lack of a good appetite will cause a huge loss in energy which you will need for a healthy pregnancy. You're body will need lots of energy and will be going through a lot of changes physically. You need to be prepared to go through the changes. It will make the whole journey that much better if you are prepared.

Watch The Caffeine

Be careful to control how much coffee or tea you're drinking. 1 cup a day might be okay, but you should be careful not to have more than that. Studies have shown that caffeine causes infertility in women and lowers the sperm count for men. It has also been known to be the prime suspect in babies with low birth weight and also increases the chances of a miscarriage. Just be careful with the caffeine. The maximum daily recommended intake of caffeine is 200 mg while pregnant.

Exercise More

It's hard to stay in a routine of exercise even when you're not trying to get pregnant, but it's hard to deny the benefits of working out and staying in shape. You don't have to exercise, but an hour a day of simple exercising will do wonders for your energy level and will also improve on the quality of sex.

Don't Focus Too Much On Conceiving

It's human nature to be addicted to things. Everyone has their vice. For some it's gambling, cooking, working out, career and yes... getting pregnant. Focusing too much on getting pregnant is never good. You shouldn't be stressed thinking about and hoping to get pregnant. The more you think about it, the more pressure there is and the enjoyment of being pregnant is taken away.

The more you worry about not getting pregnant, the bigger addiction or obsession of wanting to get pregnant. Stress is never good for the mind or body. Obsessing over getting pregnant easily adds stress that you don't need. The unwanted stress will cause irregularities in your menstrual cycle and could also affect your ovulation process. And it could also affect the sex life you're having with your partner.

Wondering why you can't get pregnant or how to get pregnant easily sometimes can't be answered all in one shot. It could be a number of factors that will cause infertility in women and in men. While getting pregnant sometimes can be a lot harder than it seems these points should be taken note. It's also highly suggested that you go to your doctor and talk with them about your issues of not getting pregnant. After a meeting with the doctor you might be more educated on why you can't get pregnant or you might get some new ideas on ways to increase fertility so you can get eventually get pregnant.

Getting Your Baby to Sleep Through the Night Easily and Safely

How many times have you gotten up during the night only to get up again an hour later because your baby won't stop crying? It's a common situation among new parents or those with babies aged 6 months or more - getting their babies to sleep through the night but finding it impossible to do so. And the bags and dark circles under your eyes when you look at the mirror in the morning do nothing to make the situation easier.

However, thanks to enterprising and innovative souls who understand that parents need enough rest as well, a new technique called controlled crying has been conceptualized. Also known as "camping out" in some countries, the technique was designed to help infants settle down to a regular routine, with as little stress and fuss as possible.

Controlled crying is where parents wait for their babies to settle down in specific time intervals. These time intervals increase gradually and during this time no rocking, no picking up or patting is allowed and significant results are usually seen in a matter of days. Camping out on the other hand, is when one or both parents stay in the room with the baby without picking them up, patting or rocking them and gradually distancing themselves at varying time intervals in a period of days or weeks until the baby is fully able to sleep on their own.

While there over a thousand and one tips for baby sleep that you can read online, like playing soothing music, regulating the room temperature or dimming the lights, most parents have been found to stick to the tried and tested cry it out method - that is, letting their babies cry themselves to sleep. However, concerns about babies being put through unnecessary stress and trauma that could scar them psychologically and physically, the technique has been found to be most effective in helping babies and parents sleep through the night.

While it may seem that letting babies cry themselves to sleep makes for bad parenting, studies conducted on children between the ages of 8-10 months show no significant negative or harmful effects on them and in fact, has even been found to be a good strategy to employ in managing postnatal depression. This is because the better baby sleeps at night the less anxious mothers feel and as such, tend to relax more, knowing that their baby is settling nicely, with the positive effects lasting until the baby reaches the age of 2 years old.

This controlled comforting technique is also evident in online step-by-step guides that are introduced online, guides which also include how to wean babies away from the bottle, dummies and all-night nappy changes. These guides will also teach you how to read the tone of your baby's cry so you can support them emotionally while they learn to sleep independently. With these guides, parents learn as well that babies who sleep well during the night are happier babies in the morning.

But then again, however successful or effective controlled comforting techniques are, it is still a matter subject to parents' discretion because even though the technique has been proven to be effective among infants aged seven months old and above, there is no proof that it is the same for babies six months old and below so the effects cannot be generalized. The only thing is that it is effective and will not have any long-term harmful effects on your child psychologically, emotionally or physically.

Foot Health During Pregnancy

Podiatrist's encounter many foot problems during and after pregnancy. From cramps and itchiness to swelling and aching, our feet can often feel very uncomfortable throughout pregnancy and following the birth. Hormonal changes and natural weight gain have a huge impact on the body and the feet bear the brunt of the major changes that a woman's body will go through.

Swollen feet, swollen ankles and arch and heel pain are the main causes of foot pain in pregnant women. Muscles and ligaments stretch and soften because of an increase in the ovarian hormone relaxin, which makes your feet more prone to ankle and ligament strains on a daily basis.

The choice of footwear can also be a factor in the cause of foot problems during pregnancy. A shoe with a heel of approximately 1.2in (3cm) is recommended as they will help to shift the weight further forward on the feet. This can help to reduce any pain or discomfort. Wide fitting and supportive shoes will minimise discomfort and help to avoid long term damage. Choosing a shoe with a strap can help the shoe to stay in place although fiddly straps can sometimes cause problems in later stages of the pregnancy when you may struggle to reach your feet.

If high heels are a must they should only be worn occasionally or when you know you will be able to sit down through the day. On a daily basis, a supportive shoe should be worn.

When shopping for shoes try to shop later in the day as feet can swell throughout the day. Ensure that the shoes fit well before you leave the shop as it is a common myth that you can break in a pair of shoes - this is not true. Shoes with a round or square toe are recommended. If you are buying boots, make sure that there is room in the calf area as they calves can swell. Choose a boot with a side zip fastening as they will be easier to take on and off - this will be much more appreciated towards the end of your pregnancy!

Keeping active is also recommended to help reduce the risk of cramps and swelling. Do check with your midwife or GP before starting an exercise program.

If you do experience arch pain or general foot pain make an appointment with your Podiatrist to see how he or she could help you. If necessary an orthotic device can be prescribed to make your feet feel much more comfortable - as any pregnant woman will know, this may provide much needed relief.

Understanding Postpartum Psychiatric Issues

Spring is soon to arrive, with it new beginnings. A time of birth and rebirth. A time associ簫ated with joy but also a time to be mindful of other forces.

Women have the unique quality of carrying and giving birth to the new hopes and dreams of the human species. This is a time that has both great expectations of hope and bounti簫ful joy for all. These expectations however may be altered or only briefly experienced. The postpar簫tum period may be influenced by several psychiatric issues. These include: "Baby Blues", postpartum depression and post簫partum psychosis.

During the postpartum peri簫od up to 85% of women experi簫ence some form of mood dis簫order. 10-15% of these women experience a more disabling and persistent form of mood disorder called postpartum depression or even psychosis.

The mildest form of postpar簫tum dysfunction is the so called "Baby Blues". These generally consist of a week long period of mood lability with heightened irritability, anxiety and tearful簫ness. Symptoms tend to peak around day 4 or 5 postpartum and gradually remit. This does not usually interfere with child簫care, maternal bonding or harm to the newborn.

Of a more serious nature is postpartum depression. This occurs in 10-15% of the general population.

The principal phenomeno簫logical symptoms of this include: a depressed mood as manifested by: hopelessness, lack of interest or joy- especially in areas to do with daily activities of childcare; feelings of emptiness, height簫ened anxiety, which may include obsessional concerns about the baby's health and well-being.

A prior history of depression, genetic predisposition towards depression, prior postpartum issues or those who experience depression during pregnancy represent those with the highest risk.

The risk of most concern is the mother's loss of any inter簫est in daily child care activities which may progress to having negative feelings towards the newborn. If this continues it may progress to having negative or intrusive thoughts and fears about harming herself, her child or both. These tend to be more obsessional than actual urges to do real harm.

Other negative and qualita簫tive changes may occur- i.e., increased or decreased sleep and energy, worthlessness and guilt without adequate reason, appetite variations up or down, significant decreases in concen簫tration and restlessness.

The other principal area of postpartum concern is much less common, but much more serious - Postpartum psychosis. Although some research shows that this can occur up to one year postpartum, most cases occur within a 2 week and up to 3 month postpartum period. This illness presents with the potential for many psychotic symptoms, i.e. hallucinations of any sensory organ, delusional mistaken beliefs or illogical thoughts, sleep and appetite dis簫turbance, agitation or anxiety to very heightened levels, episodic mania or delirium, suicidal or homicidal thoughts or actions.

Women at greatest risk are those that have a prior history of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, other psychotic disorders or a history of a prior episode of the illness with another child.

Occasionally women with postpartum psychosis, like other forms of psychotic disease are not always the first ones to notice it or may be unable or unwilling to communicate their experiences or fears. The need for help may need to be communicated by a support - i.e. fam簫ily, friend or professional. This help must be via a trained professional.

What needs to be done?

Q. What causes post簫partum depres簫sion?

A. Like other forms of depres簫sion, there is no single cause, but rather a combination of fac簫tors. These include genetic family histories, structural and chemical changes in brain function lead簫ing to endocrine (hormonal) and immunological alterations. Significant increases of estrogen and progesterone during preg簫nancy are precipitously followed by significant decreases in about 24hrs. postpartum. A clear depressive factor. Thyroid hor簫mones follow this pattern also. Life events experienced as stress簫ors combine to cause symptoms and illness.

Q. What about the demands of motherhood itself?

A. These can clearly contribute. For instance: postpartum physical fatigue from the delivery itself as well as sleep interrup簫tion or deprivation caring for the newborn; stressors about being a "good mother", loss of who or what you did or thought of your簫self before, feeling less attractive, lack of free time and simply over簫whelmed with all the challenges of a new baby or babies. Women who are depressed during preg簫nancy have a far greater risk of depression after giving birth.

Q. Can one just wait it out and let it pass?

A. Definitely not. Postpartum depression and certainly psy簫chosis are very serious psychiatric disorders requiring psychiatric treatment as soon as possible. Some women are embarrassed or ashamed to feel these things at a time when they're supposed to feel happy. How will they be perceived- as unfit parents perhaps? Denial may occur.

Q. What can happen if women don't seek treatment?

A. Nothing good- either for mother or child, i.e. Poor birth weight or prematurity, rest簫lessness for both, poor sleep for both, missed pre and post natal care, substance abuse, poor bond簫ing of mother-child and simply not being able to meet the needs of your child. In psychosis, sui簫cide/homicide risks can occur.

Treatment for these issues are available by competent, experi簫enced physicians. Medication is generally helpful and required. If these are needed during pregnan簫cy, the salient risks and benefits are assessed and weighed. Several modalities of psychotherapy and support groups are also very helpful. Rarely, hospitalization may be necessary. These interven簫tions may be life saving for both mother and child.

All children should have the benefit of a healthy caring mother. All mothers deserve the opportunity to have rewarding pregnancies, births and maternal experiences. These illnesses can insidiously deprive both mother and child and do serious harm. If there are concerns, symptoms or caring observations of trouble, seek trained psychiatric care at once. Don't struggle alone in fear, shame or silence.

Silence - A Vital Form Of Communication

The proverb 'Silence is Golden' is very relevant in the current scenario. In the world of chaos and confusion with blaring horns, loud noise and ringing phones all around us, silence can play a key role. Silence also speaks a language which has to be interpreted and understood. In any conversations silence plays a key role which at times even communicates more than word would say. Silence is quite hard and mysterious to describe. On the one hand it is the quietness and total lack of audible sound or speech. On the other side silence can indicate emotions, such as awe, horror, anger or indifference. Placing the index finger in front of closed lips is most widely recognized gesture of silence. The gesture can be demand silence without raising once own voice. Silence can serve many functions in any conversation and how you manage it determines your aptness and sophistications. Managing silence in conversation is important part of emotional intelligence.

It has been observed that allowing silence in a conversation put pressure on the other person to speak and fill in the communication gap. Silent moment are awkward for most of us, except when we are with someone we are close to, like close friend or spouse. HR professional sometimes use extended silence in interviews with the intention that candidate will 'spill'- i.e. saying exactly the thing they didn't want to say. There is an unspoken pressure to keep conversation flowing and they tend to read hidden meaning.

The impact of silence in communication is different in different cultures. The right to silence is a legal protection enjoyed by people undergoing police interrogation or trial in certain countries. In Japan, silence is an integral part of individual communications skill. In contrast, for American silence is an uncomfortable road block in a conversation. Americans communicate to exchange, to achieve something. Because of the nature of normal conversation in the US allowing an extended silence can be perceived as rudeness. It can also be meant that way. Refusing to reply to the other person is a way of ignoring them estimating silence as weapon to defeat unwanted.

When we experience anger, fear, or embarrassment our thinking gets impaired and for that moment we may be unable to speak or not be in a position to find words, or so scared that we become speechless. Some people 'flooded' with these emotions and are unable to respond. Our words block in these moments and can't pronounce a single worthy word which could express us perfectly.

Silence can indicate respect. A young person may be expected to approach an older person or person in authority and remained silent until recognized, acknowledged and spoken to. Many people among us are shy and reserved, we tend to think before we speak and silent become a part of conversation. Good listeners know how to do this, and it can be learned. Silence in speech can be the result of hesitation, self-correction, or the deliberate slowing of speech for the purpose of clarification or processing of ideas.

Excellent communicators can allow silence when it effective or called for; can avoid being pressured into speaking with silence is used as tool to manipulate the conversations. Cultivating the art of graceful silence is one of the characteristic of successful people. We should offer silence as gift or sign of respect; interpret the silence of other appropriately; understand how other cultures use silence thus mindfully regulate the use silence; and are comfortable with silence and understand it's many uses.

Help to Become Pregnant - 7 Ways to Help Get Pregnant

With frequent unprotected sex, most healthy couples conceive within one year. Others need a bit of help - help to become pregnant. Are you frustrated that you are not pregnant yet? Especially when it seems like getting pregnant is easy for everyone else but you?

Things to help get pregnant:

1. Have sex regularly.

If you consistently have sex two or three times a week, you're almost certain to hit a fertile period at some point. For healthy couples who want to conceive, there's no such thing as too much sex. For many couples, this may be all it takes.

2. Have sex once a day near the time of ovulation.

Daily intercourse during the days leading up to ovulation may increase the odds of conception. Although your partner's sperm concentration will drop slightly each time you have sex, the reduction isn't usually an issue for healthy men.

3. Foods to help get pregnant.

Maintain a healthy weight, exercise regularly, eat healthy foods and keep stress under control. The same good habits will serve you and your baby well during pregnancy.

4. Consider preconception planning.

Your doctor can assess your overall health and help you identify lifestyle changes that may improve your chances for a healthy pregnancy. Preconception planning is especially helpful if you or your partner have any health issues.

5. Vitamins help to get pregnant.

Folic acid (vitamin B-9) plays an essential role in a baby's development. Taking a prenatal vitamin or folic acid supplement beginning at least one month before conception through the first trimester of pregnancy can reduce the risk of spina bifida and other neural tube defects by up to 70 percent.

6. Quit smoking and do not drink alcohol!

Tobacco changes the cervical mucus, which may keep sperm from reaching the egg. Smoking may also increase the risk of miscarriage and deprive your developing baby of oxygen and nutrients. If you smoke, ask your doctor to help you quit before conception. For your family's sake, vow to quit for good.

Alcohol is off-limits if you're pregnant - or hope to be.

7. Certain medications and pills - even those available without a prescription - can make it difficult to conceive. Others may not be safe once you are pregnant.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Pregnancy Miracle Reviewed - Will it Help You Get Pregnant?

So you're struggling to get pregnant - and you want to know if the pregnancy miracle course works? Well, I have the answer for you in a minute but first, here is my story. I am 42 and me and my husband have been trying to have a child for about ten years now.

You see we went to the fertility clinic and I was told that I had an inhospitable environment basically my uterus was rejecting my husband's sperm for some reason. We kept on trying anyway but sadly it just never seemed to happen for us. But then a friend of my husbands recommended the pregnancy miracle course to us and as we were willing to try anything we thought we would give it a go.

I am happy to say that 18 months later we have a wonderful baby boy!

This pregnancy miracle course is based on using ancient Chinese holistic therapies which allows the pregnancy to be as natural as possible.

It's a fact that getting pregnant naturally and reversing Infertility can never be achieved by attempting each problem one at a time.

If you've ever tried to tackle your Infertility by using a one-dimensional treatment like hormone pills, sexual positions, or even changing your foods and failed it's probably because you've attempted only one aspect of your condition the key is to target your infertility by every possible angle.

I finally understood why I was struggling to get pregnant!

- I had an ovary cyst which was interfering with my fertility and preventing me from getting pregnant. You see since my reproductive system was intelligent enough to know that my internal was unsafe for a baby. It was making it nearly impossible for me to get pregnant.
- The natural approach has taught us how to reverse the infertility the holistic way. Which I must say was a very pleasant and relaxing experience from the beginning of my pregnancy right through to the very end when I gave birth to my beautiful baby boy Jake.

So I guess the only question left is will pregnancy miracle work for you?

What Those Who Have Recovered From Depression Know That Those Who Have Never Suffered, Don't!

There is a most definite payoff that comes with having recovered from depression. It is generally not spoken about because those people who have recovered from depression are too busy enjoying life. When I say 'recovered from depression' I mean really, really recovered from depression. I don't mean having felt better than last week when life seemed a little dark. No, what I'm talking about is those people whose backs were against the wall whilst being pinned up by their demons with the hand of the devil around their necks, holding tight enough to squeeze the life out of them without mercy. And now? Now those people are 100% at ease with life in the knowledge that if the devil ever returns, they know exactly what to do to stop it in its tracks and send it packing. When you have conquered your worst fears, life is a breeze.

When I was in the 'devil showed me no mercy' position, I knew my choices were limited. I was also aware that time was not on my side; I needed immediate help and I needed full-on help. I have met many people who have walked this same road and have come out the other side. We meet regularly and we talk about our lives. We clear the stuff that blocks us up first and this leaves room for rewards to flow our way. We laugh at most of life and giggle amongst ourselves. We are a contented tribe but we always search for more of life's goodies. We know they are there, albeit in a different identity from before we recovered.

What makes us different to others is that in order to slay our demons, we have had to turn ourselves inside out. We needed to inspect every bug that was hidden under the rocks of our denial and then oust them. If we left one behind, we knew it would re-incarnate itself into The Thing out of John Carpenter's film. Whilst we were pinned against the wall we didn't feel we had a choice; it was fight or die. We had to spend a couple of years scrutinizing our every move in order that we could adjust our behaviour accordingly to bring about a better response from the world. We had to write, question, discuss, alter, grieve, modify and eventually evolve into people who were integrated with themselves. We wouldn't have chosen and we didn't ask to go through this self-inspection. We did it because it was the only open door we could see at the time so we ran for it with the energy we would have found if someone had screamed 'fire!!' and pointed to the exit.

Having recovered from depression, I have received gifts which are sometimes beyond my comprehension. I have an innate 'in-tune ness' with myself which allows me to understand what I should do next. At the same time I grasp the essence of the power of the moment and I recognise that is where true bliss lies. I no longer have the unremitting babble in my head which condemns my humanness and rejoices only when I achieve it's goal. There is no judge and jury sat on the other side of the road as I walk out of my house singing 'We will, we will judge you' to the tune of the song by Queen of near enough the same name. I don't have to face the face the world any more with a 'mask of perfection' to cover up my feelings of isolation. I now find that I present myself to the outside world as I feel on the inside. I don't have an innate fear of authority any more in the sense that I used to feel like a small child in a world of big adults. Oh, and I no longer feel guilty when I see a policeman! I know that the future will be taken care of in spite of my best efforts to try and control it. I let up on criticising those around me which leaves me enjoying their idiosyncrasies rather than telling them what to do next. I know that changing my friends or lover is not going to solve any problems because my problems sit within me. This is the most liberating discovery as I am no longer passive to other people's directive.

I am not driven to succeed materially any longer as I have learnt that feeding my 'neediness' with 'things' leaves me feeling empty. But I am driven to discover and fulfill my true potential. A great part of that is, when I choose to, being honest about myself. I now tell people how I feel at that moment, what I like about them and what I struggle with and why, in a way that is inviting to others. Their reactions to me are a world apart from the reactions I received as a young woman with 'p*** off' written across her forehead. The conversation with another in which we exchange feelings and experiences about being in each other's company is the most awe inspiring, breathtaking and humbling interchange that I know of. Yes it is scary because, as a society, we never do it - in fact we run from it. But, when I get the courage to converse with another in this way I feel I am at the centre of life because I am facing my most scary moment which is to show my honest self. The payoff? I no longer fear other people and the world. I am secure in the knowledge that I am an inherently good person and I can take care of myself. I feel a vibrancy in life which fills me with wonderment. I don't tolerate drivel and dishonesty. I only ever compromise myself through choice.

Is someone you know deeply depressed? Don't pity them but understand that their time has come to challenge their own demons and, if they take up the challenge, they will manifest into themselves into someone who is prepared to stand away from the herd, speak their mind, give up judging those around them and, most of all, will be full of joy. It's our little secret.

Butterflies And Hiccups - A Guided Pregnancy Journal

Butterflies & Hiccups (New Beginnings Production Company, 2002)was conceived by Laurie J. Wing during her two pregnancies when she could not find a comprehensive journal for those who do not like to blank journal-keep.

Butterflies & Hiccups is a guided pregnancy journal that allows you to document everything you experience during your nine months of pregnancy. The questions are designed to elicit thought-provoking responses from the moment you find out you are pregnant up until you bring your baby home. This type of pregnancy journal is not just for the mom- and dad-to-be, but when your baby gets older, Butterflies & Hiccups makes for good story time reading. Kids love to hear stories about themselves, especially when they were hiccupping in their mommy's belly and how much they would kick and make their moms crave crazy foods.

The connection between Mom and Baby begins before a child is even born. How many pregnant women ask their own moms if they felt this way or that way during their pregnancy and how many moms actually remember the details of their pregnancies?

Here are 10 of our favorite journaling prompts from Butterflies & Hiccups:

o If you heard the baby's heartbeat, how did you react?

o Have people started treating you differently now that you're pregnant? How so?

o How many times have strangers touched your belly?

o Have you felt Braxton-Hicks contractions yet? If so, describe the feeling?

o Have you had any daydreams about your baby?

o What's the best piece of pregnany/birth advice you have received so far?

o Estimate how many times you have had to recite your due date so far.

o What are your thoughts about returning to work after the baby is born?

o Have you been nesting? If so, what have you done to prepare for the baby's arrival?

o What's the craziest question you wanted to ask your practitioner, but were too embarrassed to ask?

Butterflies & Hiccups provides a section each month for practitioner visits to document the first time you heard the baby's heartbeat, your first ultrasound, questions or concerns for your practitioner, special tests and other important issues addressed at your practitioner visits. "I wish I could prescribe this book to every pregnant woman!" says Dr. Donnica Moore, a women's health specialist who recently appeared on Oprah and The View.

Pregnant women know the many different symptoms that occur during pregnancy from morning sickness to breast changes and heartburn. Each month you can document how your symptoms changed throughout your pregnancy.

Your baby's development progress also is exciting to follow. As you learn about pregnancy and your baby's development, you can write about the different stages. There is room to include a photo each month of your growing belly. The weight measurement chart allows you to record your weight each month and, if applicable, you can document the dad-to-be's weight gain.
Butterflies & Hiccups offers reminders including a hospital bag checklist for Mom and Baby, a birth plan checklist for you and your practitioner and questions such as "Did you strap an infant car seat in your car?"

Many women are on bed rest due to complications during pregnancy. There is a special section for the expectant mom on bed rest to record her experiences while also offering a section of things to do while on bed rest since lying in bed could get boring when it is for any length of time.
While the journal asks questions about registering for baby gifts, there is also a baby shower section that allows you to record the memories of your baby shower along with the theme, menu, games, guests who attended and a gift list, if desired.

Butterflies & Hiccups throws in a bit of humor to make journaling a little fun and frivolous. Here are some of our favorite humorous prompts:

o Is it difficult to polish your toenails or tie your shoes as your pregnancy progresses?

o Have there been any UMPs (Unidentified Moving Parts) across your belly?

o Have you ventured out in a maternity bathing suit yet, weather permitting?

o Have you received unsolicited advice or comments about pregnancy?

o Do your rings still fit?

o Has your shoe size increased?

o Are you feeling clumsy?

The "Fun Ideas to Pamper Yourself" section offers just that - ideas to pamper yourself during your pregnancy. After all, your body is going through some major changes while you are providing nourishment for another little life. You deserve a little special treatment!

There are blank pages within the journal for you to add your own special thoughts. If some questions or pages do not apply to your pregnancy or life situation, simply use one of the blank pages to journal. The same goes for the holiday section. Since families celebrate different holidays, this section can be tailored to reflect the holidays and beliefs of your own family and how you celebrated during your pregnancy.

Julie Tupler, R.N., B.S.N., certified personal trainer, certified childbirth educator and president of Maternal Fitness, works with pregnant women on a daily basis and says, "Butterflies & Hiccups is a beautiful, yet thorough journal to help you remember those wonderful moments in time - for many years! I recommend it to all my pregnant moms."

Different Health Benefits of Jasmine Flower Tea

Jasmine flower tea is usually made of green tea and is flavored with aromatic jasmine flowers. The full bodied floral scent and its combination with the flowers make them very attractive to tea enthusiasts. The savory taste makes it very satisfying to the person's palate. Jasmine teas are usually available in Chinese markets because it was the Chinese people who started the aromatic teas. When you visit some restaurants, you will find these jasmine teas being served hot.

Jasmine flowering tea has different varieties. The most common varieties are green tea and oolong tea. Oolong teas originated in China. They are flavorful and fragrant, and with a complex flavor. This tea is an herbal tea because it has the capacity to settle the stomach. They are perfect drinks after eating because it helps in the fast digestion of the food. This tea is a semi-fermented tea which crosses between green and black teas. The black tea's flavor has the ability to overcome the jasmine, but it tends to be tannic. It can be consumed plain, but others have the alternative of adding sugar to enjoy a sweeter tea.

There are many health benefits that jasmine teas offer. These are:

• Jasmine is good for digestion. Most people encounter digestion problems that may lead to constipation and diarrhea. With the help of this amazing tea, one can say goodbye to these digestion issues.
• Jasmine tea is an excellent defense against certain cancer illnesses.
• Most green teas consist of polyphenols that are rich with antioxidants, and antiviral properties. This means it delays the process of aging, keeping a person look younger and vibrant.
• Jasmine flower tea reduces the risk of high blood pressure and cholesterol.
• It is an effective prevention for respiratory problems like heart attacks, arterial sclerosis and strokes.
• It helps maintain good intestine by blocking the growth of bad bacteria. It then produces good bacteria that are good for the body.
• Jasmine reduces the risk of blood clotting and aneurism.
• It boosts the immune system, making the body free from any ailments or diseases. It fights bacteria and viruses that could cause certain diseases.
• It prevents different types of allergies
• It protects the teeth from tooth decay and cavities. It provides proper oral care that our teeth needed.
• Jasmine tea is a wonderful anxiety and stress relief.
• Lastly, jasmine tea is an effective treatment for food poisoning like cholera, piccolo and dysentery.

Jasmine flower tea is an amazing tea that offers many health benefits to people. It is also an effective anti-depressant that helps people to calm and relax. This tea is useful for pregnant women to relieve them from nausea during their pregnancy. They can also utilize it to fight post-natal depression. It also relieves muscle and back pains, so they could be use for body massages to relax the body.

Want Help Getting Pregnant? Acupuncture and Herbs Helped Me Overcome Infertility!

My journey with infertility began like many women I've met through the years.

For my husband and me, we just thought that our difficulties getting pregnant was something that would "go away" on its own. So we kept trying to conceive, and as the months went by, nothing was happening. After about 10 months without result, I started to panic.

When I talked to my OB/GYN doctor about my concerns, she agreed we should both be tested to see if our problems had to do with either my husband's low-sperm count (potentially), or maybe my ovulation schedule.

We did some testing, determining that both of us were functioning normally--which pretty much was depressing!

Something was wrong, it seemed to me, and to be told that nothing was wrong got us pretty frustrated.

Well, like a lot of women I know, I kept turning up the intensity of the procedures my doctor could offer. I had tests to see that my tubes weren't blocked, we moved to IUI (Intra-Uterine Insemination) with hormonal shots to start, stop and force my ovulation and menstrual cycle. And at some point, as the months of unsuccessful attempts added up, I started feeling like a guinea pig.

Plus, my hormones were out-of-whack and I was just feeling terrible. Depressed one day, crabby the next. It was getting rough, and stressful (both emotionally and financially).

So, one day I was talking to another girlfriend of mine, and she told me about acupuncture, and said it helped her get pregnant.

Since our next option was going to be to try IVF (which is very expensive!) my husband and I agreed to try acupuncture for a while, just to give it a try and see if something new wouldn't be better than what we'd been trying.

Through a clinic near me, Acupuncture & Natural Health in Saint Cloud, Minnesota, I started working with a Licensed Acupuncturist by the name of John Miley (L.Ac.). who specializes in infertility and fertility issues, as well as women's health imbalances.

To make a long story short, Mr. Miley started me out with a program designed to restore my body's natural ability to conceive. In his way of looking at things, which is the Traditional Chinese Medicine way of looking at the body, I had various imbalances in my system that were blocking my ability to conceive.

He had me start on a nutritional program, mind-body relaxation techniques that I could practice each night at home, and scheduled me for acupuncture one to two times per week.

I can't even tell you how much better this program made me feel!

First of all, John listened to what was going on, and had been going on in my life since we started trying to conceive. We talked about my stress levels, my diet, my pattern of "stuffing" my emotions, and the overall depression that I'd been feeling since we realized we were not conceiving a child as "planned".

Within a few weeks, I noticed I felt more emotionally balanced. I was actually feeling "calm" for the first time in over a year! And my body started to change--no more menstrual headaches, and I was ovulating on time, which was huge for me.

And then it happened...five months after I started working with Mr. Miley's infertility program, we conceived. Just out of the blue, it "happened". And I remember one time talking to John and he said, "Our main objective is to get your mind-body balance back where it needs to be, so your entire body can work as one unit, to conceive. When we get to that point, you'll be much more likely to conceive" ( --he said something close to that, anyway).

Sure enough, it was true for us.

Looking back, I am grateful for the testing we did with our OB/GYN because it told us that things were working. However, I am even more grateful that I explored an alternative approach to infertility and found someone who specialized in natural alternatives to conventional infertility treatments like IVF.

I'd encourage any couple to investigate this type of fertility support program if they're having trouble getting pregnant. It is cost effective and can be life-changing. Just make sure the person you are seeing is a licensed acupuncturist, with Nationally recognized training in acupuncture and natural medicine (look for the initials L.Ac. behind that person's name).

And if you live near St. Cloud MN, be sure to check out John Miley's site! He also has programs that he develops for people who don't live close to him. I'm sure he could help you out. He' been very good to us.

Good luck finding your path to pregnancy. Keep the faith. You'll get your answers.

Tips on How New Mothers Can Banish Loneliness

One of the biggest problems you face as a new mother is the feeling of being isolated. Perhaps you are accustomed to interacting with others at work or perhaps you have a group of friends you're accustomed to seeing often. Then when you delivered your baby, you were surrounded by friends, family and other visitors.

Now, suddenly, it's just you and your baby. Your visitors have trailed off, your colleagues are busy with their jobs, your friends aren't used to modifying their plans to accommodate a baby, and you are left wondering if you will ever interact with another adult again. The transition from being socially engaged to being alone with your baby can feel overwhelming to a new mother. Sometimes the feelings of isolation can be compounded by other postpartum emotions. You want to be careful to make sure that you don't give in to your loneliness.

Finding a social support group, especially one made up of new moms, will allow you to share experiences and milestones. Additionally, you can seek feedback and affirmation on frustrations or concerns that you have. Even if you just laugh together about your new motherhood experiences, you will build your confidence and relieve stress.

If you don't have success in finding new friends right away, don't despair. Many new mothers are just like you: overwhelmed, busy, and unsure about where to look for support. Be tenacious in your efforts and they will pay off.
You can change feelings of isolation to elation, and loneliness to laugher.

Survival Tip 1
Join a play group. You are not alone in your feelings of solitude. Many new mothers experience feelings of isolation and loneliness. Don't worry; your baby doesn't have to be old enough to "play" in order for you to join a group. If you can't find one in your area, start one yourself.

Survival Tip 2
Start a new hobby. Explore something you've always wanted to try-pottery, painting, joining a walking group or a book club. Not only will you feel better because you're engaging with other adults in your day, but you will also feel more positive about yourself because you are creating something meaningful to you.

Survival Tip 3
Call your friends. Just because it seems as if they are moving on with their lives without you, doesn't mean they won't jump at the chance to have lunch with you or take a walk with you and your new baby. Sometimes taking a little bit of initiative is all it takes to rekindle a relationship.

Survival Tip 4
Volunteer in the nursery at a coop, a "mother's morning out," or in your church. You can keep your baby with you and at the same time socialize with other mothers who are volunteering or picking their children up. Very soon you'll meet women who are mothers, and just like you, they are looking for companionship. If you can't find a group like this, start your own babysitting exchange. You'll be able to have a few hours to yourself at the same time you're meeting new mothers, just like you.

Survival Tip 5
Go to the park. You will not only enjoy the fresh air and the exercise, but you will also meet other mothers who feel just like you do. Be bold and strike up a conversation with another mother. Smile and make eye contact with everyone you meet.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Help! Why Am I Not Able to Get Pregnant?

After having spent a good part of one's life attempting to prevent an unwanted pregnancy, it seems a cruel trick by Mother Nature when an individual or couple discovers that they are unable to conceive.

There are many reasons why a couple may be unable to get pregnant; some are simple fixes, while others are more complex and may lead to the need for medical assistance.

The Timing Is Off

The average woman with a normal menstrual cycle is only fertile for a few days out of each month, in the period around ovulation. This occurs roughly two weeks after the end of menstruation, but can be earlier or later than this.

In order to pinpoint the time of ovulation, it is vital to keep a chart of BBTs, or Basal Body Temperatures. It may take two to three months to be able to anticipate the correct time of ovulation. Over-the-counter Ovulation Predictor Kits can also aid in determining ovulation.

Diet Dilemmas

Some foods can cause a couple to have difficulty conceiving. Caffeine and alcohol are the most common culprits, as is an excess of body weight. Women who are over- or underweight have a tendency to have more difficulty conceiving than those who are of a healthy weight.

Check your BMI (body mass index) and attempt to fall within what is considered a healthy range. Smoking tobacco and the use of illegal drugs can also inhibit fertility.

The Stress Test

Nothing is more infuriating than hearing someone say, "Just relax and you'll get pregnant," but for some, that is true. Occasionally the hormones triggered by the stress of trying to get pregnant can affect the ability to conceive.

Taking some time off from "the baby dance" can provide much needed relief that can sometimes lead to a much wanted pregnancy.

Choose the Right Private Medical Insurance For You and Your Family

A For-Profit Enterprise In The United States
Except for seniors that qualify for Medicare, or the poorest of Americans that have access to Medicaid, people in the United States purchase health care coverage from private, for-profit companies.

Up until recently, Americans could simply choose not to purchase health care coverage. This is changing with the recent passage of the "The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act" by the U.S. Congress. Starting in 2014, most Americans will have to be covered by a health care plan purchased from the private health care insurance market.

Health Insurance Is A Good Idea...How To Start
Irrespective of whether medical coverage is mandated by law or not, it is a smart choice to have it and to make sure that you purchase the right plan for you and your family.

Making the right choice when purchasing a private medical insurance plan depends upon three sets of information for you to assess before making a decision.

The first one is easy - are you offered health care coverage through your employer? More on this below.

Next is for you to make a thorough assessment of your current and near-term medical care needs.

After understanding the coverage you and your family need, you should know the parts of health care insurance that will add up to be costs taken directly out of your pocket when you and your family receive care.

This article will take each of these considerations in turn.

Plans Offered Through Your Employer Can Be Your Best Bet
Is health care coverage offered as an employee benefit where you work? If so, then you usually do not need to look any further for the right medical plan for you and your family.

You will almost always get the best deal in healthcare coverage that meets your medical needs by assessing and choosing from among the plan options offered from your employer. Individual premiums and other out-of-pocket expenses for the members of an employer plan are determined based on the group, not each individual member.

Because the group represents a better risk for the insurer, each individual member benefits through lower out-of-pocket costs for receiving medical care. An easy mistake to make with this option is missing the deadline set by your company for open enrollment each year. Pay attention to the due dates for making your choice of plan, or you may have to wait a year to get coverage that is offered by your employer.

Employer Plan Or Not, Make The Right Choice For You
Irrespective of whether you have access to health care coverage through your job, or if you must purchase it directly from the individual health insurance market, making the right choice for you and your family begins with a good understanding of your medical care needs - and this includes forecasting probable needs.

For example, a young, healthy, 20-something year old single man doesn't have the same forecast of health care needs as a 40-something husband and father of young children.

The single fellow may simply need to forecast that there is a slight chance he could be in a car accident resulting in serious bodily injuries - for which he would want to be insured against major financial loss. The husband and father of young children might forecast the possibility of another child on the way or that his young children will need both routine and illness care from a physician.

While maternity or well child care is not important to the single man with no plans of marrying in the next year, it is very important to the man whose wife could be pregnant before the year is up. An individual or family's anticipated medical needs determine which plans are not a good fit.

Not Understanding Your Out-Of-Pocket Costs Is Expensive
Once you understand where you will buy coverage, i.e. through your employer or directly from the individual market - and your medical needs are forecast - the next task to prepare for making the best coverage purchase is to know the terms used in health care plans that describe your out-of-pocket costs for receiving care.

Knowing these terms will help you know what you can expect to pay directly and what the insurance plan will cover. This way, you can balance your forecast of medical needs against your direct cost in order to make the best financial choice for medical care. These terms are covered next.

Health Insurance Terms You Should Know
The premium is what you pay for the insurance coverage. This is calculated as a yearly charge but, especially in the case of an employer plan, can be paid in monthly increments.

You will most likely pay a higher premium for a comprehensive plan that covers items like maternity care or well child doctor visits. However, compare the premium you pay each month (or that is deducted from your paycheck) with your remaining out-of-pocket costs. A good rule of thumb is that the more comprehensive plans will charge a higher premium but your costs for expected services during the year are more predictable.

Co-payment is a fixed amount, e.g. $15, that you pay out-of-pocket for a specific medical service like a doctor visit; your plan pays the rest of the cost. A co-payment is usually associated with a health care plan that requires you to use a network of doctors and other health care providers where the plan has prearranged fees.

The catch is that you have to use a doctor in the network to take advantage of paying only the fixed co-payment charge. However, if you need predictable health care expenses, this should not be a problem.

Co-insurance is a percentage of the medical services you receive, e.g. 20%, that you pay out of pocket; your plan paying the remaining 80% in this example.

You usually have more choice of doctors or other health care providers with this type of arrangement, but you can end up paying much more out of pocket if you seek medical care often. Your yearly costs with this type of plan are less predictable when compared to a comprehensive managed care option.

Another financial term you need to consider is out-of-pocket maximum. This is the most your plan will require you to pay directly for medical services in a given year.

A deductable is the amount you must pay out of pocket before your plan will start paying anything for medical services you receive.

Pay attention to the lifetime maximum. After reaching this amount, your plan will no longer pay anything for medical services you may need.

Summing It Up All Up
In summary, choose health care coverage through your employer if it's offered as a benefit; forecast the health care services needed by you and your family; and know the basic terms of the health insurance business to choose the best plan at the best out-of-pocket cost for you.

Taking Vitamins to Help Get Pregnant - A Simple Supplement Guide For Women

If you have made the decision to have a baby, you want to make sure you are in the best possible health prior to conception. In addition to moderate exercise and a healthy diet, taking vitamins to help get pregnant is a very effective way to make sure both you and your baby will get the proper nutrition needed right from the start. There are several vitamins and minerals can assist you in becoming more fertile and speed conception.

Folic Acid- This is probably one of the most important supplements to take both before conception and during pregnancy. Folic acid is used to prevent birth defects of the spinal cord. The spinal cord develops in the first 28 days after conception, often before a woman even realizes she is pregnant. Doctors commonly recommend 800mcg of folic acid daily. In addition to supplements, you can find this vitamin in dark green leafy vegetable (like spinach) whole grains, fortified breads and cereals. In addition, using these vitamins to help get pregnant boosts your own fertility.

Zinc- Studies have shown that using zinc vitamins to help get pregnant can be very effective. By getting 15-30mg total a day; zinc helps a woman's body use estrogen and progesterone more effectively. Make sure not to overdo it though- high levels of zinc can be toxic. So check your prenatal vitamin for dosage amounts. Zinc can be found naturally in meat and seafood.

Vitamin E- Often prescribed for couples undergoing invitro fertilization, vitamin E is well known for boosting fertility for both men and women. This is one of the most commonly used vitamins to help get pregnant. Taking the recommended dosage of 400-800 IU can help increase egg quality in a women. Studies where both partners have taken this vitamin showed a significant increase in fertility for both sexes. Vitamin E can be found in wheat germ, sunflower seeds (and oil) as well as broccoli and spinach.

Other vitamins and nutrients- Studies have shown that simply taking a prenatal supplement can help you become more fertile. In addition to providing you with the nutrients needed for your own health, and your baby's development, several vitamins are also well known for boosting fertility. Make sure your prenatal has the following: calcium, vitamin c, vitamins b6 and b12, selenium, Omega 3 fatty acids, and vitamin A. Taking these vitamins to help get pregnant will ensure well balanced reproductive health.

How Do I Care For A Pregnant Labrador Retriever?

Us Labrador Retrievers do require a lot of care, even more so if you have the wonderful opportunity to care for a mother-to-be of Labrador Retriever puppies! However, it's very important not to forget that caring for a pregnant Labrador Retriever is a huge responsibility, since you are responsible for the well-being of the unborn puppies as well. A Labrador Retriever will be very appreciative of your care, and we will do much better if you research the best care methods. If you learn about how to care for a pregnant Labrador Retriever, you will be able to dramatically improve the quality of life for her future puppy litter.

Female Labrador Retrievers are very similar to human females, as they will give many key signs that signal they are pregnant. Your Labrador Retriever may seem listless, and she might not show as much enthusiasm at mealtimes. Decreased appetite is a common sign that a female Labrador is experiencing the early stages of her pregnancy. Of course, this will make you worry, so it should be a good opportunity to visit the veterinarian! This is the equivalent of "morning sickness" in a pregnant female dog, and normally will disappear some time after the first trimester. During this time, it is highly recommended to start giving your pregnant Labrador Retriever some prenatal vitamins.

Swelling of the tummy is another key sign that your female Labrador is pregnant. This seems like a fairly obvious sign, but many people mistake it for their dog becoming overweight. During this time, some dog owners even stop feeding their female Labradors their normal food, or begin a weight loss program. This can harm the unborn puppies! Even if your female Labrador Retriever has been spayed, it's still possible for her to become pregnant. The spaying operation is usually very successful, but should not be assumed to protect your dog 100% against pregnancy. If your female Labrador Retriever is beginning to become a bit chubby around the middle, be sure to take her to the veterinarian first, before making any assumptions of whether or not she is pregnant.

During the second and third trimester of your Labrador's pregnancy, she may begin to engage in a behavior commonly known as "nesting". This is the same type of behavior that some human mothers experience before giving birth. With this behavior, your female Labrador Retriever may begin to constantly rearrange or paw at her bedding. She may also carry some of her favorite toys or treats over to her bed area. It's best to let her alone when she does this, as she is simply preparing her sleeping area for giving birth to her puppies. Most female Labradors will display nesting behavior soon before giving birth.

When you have confirmed your female Labrador Retriever's pregnancy with your veterinarian, there are many important prenatal care steps that should be followed. Since your Labrador is now also supplying nutrients for her unborn puppies, it's highly recommended to start giving her a prenatal vitamin. Try to give her the best prenatal vitamin that you can find, since cheap or poorly formulated prenatal vitamins can actually be deficient in important vitamins needed by your dog and her puppies. A good prenatal vitamin can be purchased online, from a pet supply store, or prescribed by your veterinarian.

After your female Labrador Retriever has gotten over her "morning sickness" of the first trimester, she'll begin to eat... a LOT! The average pregnant female Labrador will consume from two to three times her normal food amount. It's much better to divide her meals throughout the day, to ensure the maximum absorption of the nutrients found in the food. At this time, it is also wise to switch to a premium high-nutrient dog food, of the best quality that you can comfortably afford. Remember, your female Labrador is supplying nutrients for the proper development of her puppies, and it's your job to help her get all of the nutrition she needs.

Since Labrador Retrievers are very affectionate, we will need additional attention when going through a situation such as pregnancy. Try to keep your female Labrador as comfortable as possible, and don't forget to schedule regular check-ups during her pregnancy with your veterinarian.

Tips And Tricks To Help You Get Pregnant

It seems that many women are trying to get pregnant and finding it isn't as easy as they thought. It takes more than having a lot of sex to conceive, despite beliefs otherwise. The truth to the matter is that each healthy couple really only has a 20 to 25% chance of falling pregnant each ovulation period. However, some tips and tricks may help improve your chances.

Anything that is going to make it harder for the sperm to reach the egg is something that decreases your chances. When trying to make a baby, leave the lubricants, oils, and other similar products out of the lovemaking. Even saliva may slow saliva down, so hold off on oral sex. Although some products do not contain spermicide, they may have something else in them that could affect or harm sperm.

Take your vitamins and herbs. Certain herbs can help a woman who has problems with her ovulation cycle by regulating it. In addition, some can improve sperm count and quality. A healthy body is a body ready for pregnancy, so eliminate all the unhealthy habits like drinking and smoking to give your body the best chance possible to conceive.

Stay out of the hot tub if you want to have baby making sex. Spicing up the lovemaking is a good thing, but doing it in hot water is not. That can decrease the production of the sperm and slow it down. Plus you have to think about all the water you are in; you want the sperm swimming in the uterus not the hot tub.

Choose your sexual positions wisely. While you avoid sex in the hot tub, also avoid sex in the shower. The reason behind this is simple gravity. You are standing, so sperm doesn't even have a chance to get to the egg before gravity pulls it out. The same can go for woman-on-top sex and sitting sex. Choose positions that increase your chances like doggy-style, side-to-side, and missionary.

After the sperm has been released, the man needs to keep his penis inside for as long as possible, and as deep as possible. The woman must also continue to lie on her back for five minutes or so. Both of these actions keep sperm from leaking out, increasing the chances of conception. For an added boost, the woman can lift her pelvis, keeping it elevated to help sperm stay in.

Timing is everything. You can eat all the right foods, use all the right positions, and tilt the pelvis for hours, but none of it matters if you are not having sex on the right days. The woman's cycle must be determined to find out which are her fertile days. Once that is determined, then sex needs to begin two or three days before ovulation and continue right up until the period arrives. This makes sure that there is always sperm inside waiting and ready for the egg.

You do not have to be a rocket scientist to get pregnant, but sometimes you do need to increase your odds with a few tips and tricks. Using a combination of the tips mentions, like a healthy diet, the right sexual positions, and timing can help improve your odds of conceiving. It is important to remember that while you do things to increase your chances, you avoid those things that don't.

Menstruation Disorders - Dysmenorrhea - Damp Wind's Tonic Herbs in the TCM Perspective

Girls in Southeast Asia have learnt in their early women life from grandmother wisdom that they do not engage in any activity, distorting their regular period. Menstrual disorder should be treated immediately, otherwise, it may cause a wide range of women diseases, such as infertility, according to Traditional Chinese medicine. Damp wind is considered as a condition of excessive fluids accumulated in the body's organs and tissues, after a prolonged period of time of eating cool and cold foods or/and engaging in activity that requires to be presented in a damp-cool environment. Under extreme conditions, it causes rebellion Qi attacking the lower part of the body, including reproductive organs and joints.

1. Wei ling xian (Clematis recta)
Wei ling xian has been used in improving the circulation of the clematis meridian by expelling the wind-damp caused by blockage of the channels, after a prolonged period of fluids accumulating in the women's lower part of the body, thus relieving menstrual cramps and pain.

2. Qin jiao (Bitter root or macrophylla root)
Qin Jiao has been used in strengthening the meridian gallbladder-liver-stomach by improving the stomach's food digestion and smoothing the qi absorption of the spleen, thus decreasing the rebellion qi flow of the lung and liver causes of menstrual disorder, such as menstrual cramps and pain.

3. Du huo (European angelica and garden angelica)

It has been used in smoothing the qi flow of the kidney-bladder meridian by strengthening and smoothening the kidney qi, improving the functions of the kidney in fluid distribution and blood flow to the reproductive organs, thereby lessening the risk of development of damp wind, disturbing the lower parts of the women's body.

4. Mu gua (Stephania root )
Mu gua has been used in TCM in improving the function of the meridian liver-spleen, thereby smoothening the qi flow to the spleen and liver, resulting in reducing dis-harmonization of the stomach and spleen in food absorption.

5. Fang ji
Fang ji has been used in treating the meridian bladder-spleen-kidney blockage. By smoothening the qi flow of the spleen and kidney and increasing the bladder function in urinary secretion, the herb decreases the risk of dampness accumulation in the lower part of the body. It also helps to expel the wind from the body, thus reducing the damp wind causes of abdominal distention.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Dealing With Low-Back Pain During Pregnancy

You're having a baby! Congratulations! Though you might have found out recently, or be coming close to delivery, you're probably experiencing many physical changes and discomforts. Low-back pain is an extremely common complaint for pregnant women, at all stages of pregnancy. In fact, more than half the population of pregnant women goes through a period of low-back pain at some point. The causes are primarily hormonal changes and a shifted center of gravity.

Many women will be surprised that they feel back pain so early in their pregnancy. Progesterone, a hormone produced early in pregnancy, is responsible for much of this low-back pain. This hormone, which is essential to embryo implantation and gestation, softens the ligaments and disks in your back as well. This reduces the support required by your upper body, often resulting in muscle spasms and cramps in your lower back.

Further on in your pregnancy, your body increasingly produces the hormone relaxin. This hormone is essential to labor and delivery; as the name implies, relaxin relaxes the joints in your pelvis, which enables the baby to pass through the birth canal with ample room. However, the hormone can lead to inflammation and pain in your other joints, as it may cause other joints in your body to move abnormally.

Several changes resulting from the growth of your fetus can contribute to low-back pain. As your uterus expands from the growth of your fetus, your abdominal muscles are pushed beyond their usual limit, in order to accommodate the surplus growth. This effectively keeps your abdominal muscles from helping to support proper body posture, transferring the additional weight from your torso to your lower back.

As you carry your child to term, your center of gravity undergoes significant change. On average, a woman will gain 7-8 pounds of weight from the baby itself, 1-2 pounds of placenta, 2 pounds of amniotic fluid, and 2 pounds that can be attributed to uterine tissue. The outcome of all this extra weight is that the center of gravity shifts forward, putting still more strain on the lower back.

Back pain is a serious issue, however common it might seem in pregnancy. Talk to your healthcare provider if you experience any low-back pain, to be confident that you are not suffering from an undiagnosed, deeper condition. Dull backaches, felt low and in rhythmic intervals, might indicate labor. Many women have "back labor," which just means that they feel the labor in their back. Another possibility, if you suffer from severe back pain, particularly if accompanied by a fever, may be infection.

There are many things you can do to prevent and manage low-back pain while pregnant:

  • Exercises that focus on stretching, like pelvic tilts.

  • Standing straight and tall, maintaining your shoulders down and back, and aligning your buttocks under - all the elements of proper posture.

  • Try not to stand for extended periods of time, though, if that is unavoidable, you can take some of the strain off by elevating one foot on a small object like a box or step stool.

  • Try placing a small pillow behind your lower back while you are sitting.

  • Beware of high heeled shoes! Flat shoes with adequate arch support are a much better choice.

  • For a little extra support, find maternity pants with a wide elastic band that you can wear under the belly.

  • You can find maternity belts, or girdles mean specifically for expecting women in healthcare and maternity stores. You may also find that your insurance company covers such a purchase when prescribed by your healthcare provider, so check in with them.

  • Keep a pillow between your legs at night, sleeping on your side. Also, if possible, use a firm mattress that supports your back better than softer ones.

  • You might try using a maternity pillow, a specially designed pillow for pregnant women that can alleviate some strain in your back.

  • Remember the adage: lift with your legs and not with your back. Of course, try not to lift heavy things at all.

  • Rather than carrying a single big load, divide larger bundles into smaller, manageable portions.

  • Keep fit! If your healthcare provider thinks it's wise, try walking or swimming.

  • See if you can find a trained pregnancy masseuse. You might discover that your partner or friend can provide adequate relief with gentle rubbing or kneading on the sore spots on your back.

  • Warm compresses can be effective. A heating pad set to its lowest point, an adequately warm bath, or arranging yourself on your hands and knees in the shower to direct warm water at your lower back, may all offer relief.

  • Look into chiropractic care, which is considered safe and may benefit many women - of course, discuss this possibility with your doctor first.

  • Also look into acupuncture treatment - again, only after consulting your doctor.

  • Acetaminophen - the active ingredient in Tylenol - is a painkiller safe for use by pregnant women.

Naturally, you won't find a "magic cure" that will instantly relieve your back pain, whether you go to a chiropractor or not. On your search for a treatment option that leads to a pain-free life, you are in charge of your decisions. As oftentimes back pain is the result of discrete moments of strain or injury, you may discover that it takes weeks to discern a change in your conditions, so you must remember to be patient.

No matter what the individual symptoms of your pregnancy are, make sure to note all the details in your changing physical condition. Don't let anything unusual just slip by your attention that you would have ignored in normal circumstances - remember, you have to worry for two, now. Especially for first-time mothers, get ready to experience dramatic, surprising changes to your body, regardless of how much research you've done. This is to be expected. Stay focused on your body, treat low-back pain seriously, and take pleasure in the process of being an expectant mother!