Saturday, September 28, 2013

Should I Take Medication for My Postnatal Depression?

Whether your journey here has been slow and torturous or brutally quick, you have arrived at a diagnosis of postnatal depression. If you have self-diagnosed, through a variety of research and checklists, your next step may be to decide whether or not to take this to your doctor. If it was your doctor who helped you come to the conclusion that you are suffering from PND, they will have run through your treatment options and are waiting for you to decide which route to follow.

Please note that I am NOT a medical practitioner, and the suggestions I make below are all dependent on your seeing a GP for professional guidance.

I'm scared to see a GP - they'll make me take drugs!

No ethical medical professional will ever force you to go down a treatment route that makes you uncomfortable or goes against your wishes. Just because you present with symptoms of PND does not mean they will force you to take brain-altering medication. They will give you the facts - how they normally treat women with PND, what the pros and cons are of each type of treatment, success rates, etc. If they do not readily offer this information, ask. You may find it helpful to prepare a series of questions and take them with you in a notebook. Sometimes talking to a stranger about our rawest emotions can be overwhelming and it's easy to forget what we really want to know.

How do I know if antidepressants are right for me?

Honestly? You won't know until you try. Sometimes our resistance is really about coming to terms with the fact that we're not very well. It can bring up a lot of guilt and shame and sense of failure.

"If I was a good mother I wouldn't need to take medication to feel better".

"As a new mother I should be blissed out on love for my son/daughter - if I start popping pills it means I don't love my baby enough".

It might seem hard to separate the issues, but your anxiety about motherhood and a sense of failure or guilt needs to be addressed while you are getting better. Taking antidepressant drugs does not mean you are a bad mother. Seeking help to improve your psychological wellbeing is actually a sign that you care enough about your baby to be emotionally there for them. This is the case whether you take medication or choose an alternative route. What matters is that you are actively helping yourself to improve your situation.

If I choose to take antidepressants, won't I get hooked?

A lot of people worry about this one. I certainly did before deciding to give them a go. It's true that you need to take your medication for a sustained period of time for it to be effective. Many GPs will recommend you continue for six months after you feel better to ensure the symptoms don't return. During this time (typically a year or two) your body will get used to the chemical mix in your system. So it's normal to worry that you will become dependent on them to feel normal. Talk to your GP upfront about your worries. They should be able to tell you the likelihood of experiencing difficulty reducing your dose or any withdrawal symptoms people may experience.

It used to be very common a few decades ago to experience difficulties coming off medication - but scientific advances, combined with a wide range of different types of antidepressants on the market, mean that it's less of an issue. Your GP should also be able to tell you how they help others reduce their dose, and how long their patients tend to take before coming off them completely. Fear of becoming dependent is perfectly legitimate, but don't let it paralyse you into inaction.

What reactions can I expect when I first take them?

Depending on the type of antidepressant you are prescribed, you may experience a variety of symptoms, from insomnia and heart palpitations to fatigue and restless legs. Your GP should let you know before you start your course what physical and psychological reactions you might expect. Most reactions last just a few days, and should level out within the week. If they continue beyond this time, or you experience severe anxiety or mood swings, go back to your doctor, who may try you on a different type of medication.

It's normal to feel frustrated if this occurs - having made the decision to take antidepressants, you want them to take effect as quickly as possible, and trying different types can feel like you're taking one step forward and three steps back. But if you find the right one, you should start to feel your mood lifting after about 10 to 14 days. When you're desperate, that can feel a lifetime away, but if you can ride it out, there should be light at the end of the tunnel.

What if I decide not to take antidepressants?

If you research the various types of medication your GP suggests and decide not to go down that route there are other avenues open to you to help you feel better. A non-exhaustive list of options includes:

Alternative remedies -The best known and researched is St John's Wort, a herbal compound that has been shown to have similar mood-lifting properties of chemical antidepressants with fewer side effects.

Food and exercise -Good nutrition and exercise will help improve low mood in those with mild anxiety or depression. Foods said to improve depression include garlic, oily fish, brazil nuts and coffee (in moderate doses). To make a difference to mood, exercise should increase the heart rate, such as swimming, running or walking fast. Bear in mind, however, that recent research has shown that exercise only helps mild to moderate depression and has no effect at all on severe depression.

Talking therapies- Many people taking conventional antidepressants will benefit from talking therapies such as counselling or CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) and they should be seen as complementary to all types of treatment, rather than a straight alternative. However, if you are sure you do not want to take any kind of medication, it is important to acknowledge and treat your condition in some way. Talking to someone about your feelings should help you identify areas of change and see more clearly what action you can take to turn things around.

Taking medication for postnatal depression is very common, but please remember it doesn't mean you have failed as a mother. Rather, it can offer you the emotional resilience to see your situation more clearly and work out what actually needs to change in your life, providing your with the energy and motivation to carry those things out. Once you are able to make those changes, your need for medication will reduce, and your ability to accept and manage your emotions and behaviour will radically improve.

Increasing Support of Breastfeeding Mothers

Earlier this year, researchers in Scotland examined the disjunction between the idealism of exclusive breastfeeding and the reality that many families experience. The World Health Organization recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life for all babies. Other organizations, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics, recommend that all babies consume breast milk for the first 12 months of life for maximum developmental and immune benefits. According to the Scottish study, most women find these goals unrealistic, despite the known long-term benefits of breastfeeding for both mom and baby.

Breastfeeding can reduce the incidence of diabetes, asthma, obesity, ear infections, upper respiratory infections, and SIDS. In fact, the World Health Organization has been quoted to call colostrum-the breast milk that a mother makes in the first few days after a baby is born-"baby's first immunization" because of the immunological benefits that it confers to newborns. According to the authors of Breastfeeding Made Simple: Seven Natural Laws for Nursing Mothers, "exclusive breastfeeding for six months by 90% of U.S. mothers could prevent 911 infant deaths and save the U.S. healthcare system US$13 billion." Research has also shown that babies who have been breastfed excel in speech and language development and have higher IQ levels. Breastfeeding also provides myriad health benefits for mothers as well-there is a significantly lower incidence of aggressive breast cancer, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, ovarian cancer, and diabetes in women who have breastfed.

If a mother and her infant have so much to gain from breastfeeding, why are exclusive breastfeeding rates at 6 months postpartum only at 15% in the U.S., according to the CDC? Despite much promotion of the benefits and joys of breastfeeding, these low rates are likely due to a lack of support within in the infrastructure of the health care system and in our communities at large. In fact, the mothers interviewed in the Scottish study said that the lack of support from healthcare providers, family members and friends contributed to their decision to stop breastfeeding before their baby was 6 months old.

The unfortunate reality is, not all healthcare professionals fully support breastfeeding and what's more-not all healthcare professionals are knowledgeable or skilled in providing breastfeeding support and counseling during nursing challenges. Many women receive some education in breastfeeding prenatally say, during a childbirth education class, but then get very little continued counseling during the postpartum. Furthermore, the women in the study are right when they said that many healthcare providers paint a rosy picture of breastfeeding, choosing only to speak of the beautiful bonding experience that the mother-baby nursing dyad has during breastfeeding or the long term health benefits. Too few of us actually talk about the common challenges and pitfalls that a woman may face while establishing breastfeeding out of fear of discouraging new mothers from getting started. In the end, however, the women who are challenged by getting a good latch, sore nipples, pumping at work, or getting chided in public while nursing often feel blindsided by these challenges or feel guilty about not achieving the "ideal picture" of a breastfeeding mother. These are but a few of the challenges that breastfeeding mothers may face.

To say that many women are not getting the support that they need from their communities to continue exclusive breastfeeding until 6 months postpartum would be an understatement. While some companies support breastfeeding by having on-site lactation consultants, clean places for expressing breast milk, and on-site day care centers, many employers still do not have good systems in place to support a mother who needs to express her milk every few hours to maintain her milk supply for her growing baby. Despite the fact that many states have laws that protect a woman's right to express milk in a clean place other than a bathroom-for up to 3 years after the birth of their baby-some women are asked to pump in the tiny stall of the company bathroom. Others struggle to get the break time that they need to express milk every few hours to prevent engorgement which can lead to a breast infection.

Breastfeeding mothers have been escorted off of airplanes, asked to leave restaurants and courtrooms, and shuffled into dressing rooms of major department stores while breastfeeding their infant. The reasons cited? Some members of the public find breastfeeding lewd, offensive or inappropriate. In Maine, the law states "a mother has the right to breastfeed in any location, whether public or private, as long as she is otherwise authorized to be in that location." Raised public awareness of the rights of nursing mothers is greatly needed to encourage mothers to continue breastfeeding and maximize the health benefits for her and her baby.

So where do we go from here? First we need to change the cultural attitudes around breastfeeding in the U.S. Breastfeeding our babies is the way that nature intended for us to nourish and nurture our offspring. There are often a number of key moments in the first 6 months of a baby's life where mothers are faced with the decision to persevere through the nursing challenges or to switch to formula or exclusively feeding solid foods. However, more support from knowledgeable, skilled healthcare providers who utilize a non-judgmental approach to counseling that extends beyond the first 6 weeks postpartum is paramount during these critical times. Let's be open and honest about the realities of breastfeeding-which can be hard and frustrating at times and beautifully transcendent at other time. By supporting one another, we can chip away at the goal of exclusively breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life day by day, one feeding at a time.

Best Hospitals in Singapore

No matter where you go in Asia, Singapore is renowned for having some of the best medical care in the world. If you happen to get sick or become injured while you are in Singapore you can be sure that you will receive top-notch care.

Basically, you ca not go wrong in any of the hospitals in Singapore. This country boasts one of the world's longest longevity rates as well as one of the lowest infant mortality rates. There are both government and private hospitals. All are of good quality, but the government hospitals are less expensive. The downside is you are more likely to have to wait for treatment. Although the private hospitals are more expensive, you will be treated quickly and efficiently.

I would like to give a brief overview of some of the better hospitals in Singapore.

National University Hospital is one of the most famous and largest hospitals in Singapore. It is connected with the University of Singapore and ranked among the top six in the world in 2000 by WHO. Its current strengths are in the fields of cardiology, cardiothoracic and vascular surgery. You will find NUH on 5 Lower Kent Ridge Road. NUH has a whole department, the International Patient Liaison Centre which caters to foreigners seeking treatment at their hospital. Their 24-hour help line is (65)6779 2777.

Changi General Hospital serves the eastern part of Singapore. In June 2005, this hospital received Joint Commission International accreditation. At CGH, you will find an International Medical Services team that is trained to assist you in getting the treatment you need.

Mount Alvernia is another good choice, founded in 1961 by an order of Franciscan nuns. Today the hospital is still not-for-profit. This hospital specializes in mother and child care. Mount Alvernia has a 24-hour walk-in clinic and emergency room. If finances are an issue this might be the hospital for you to consider.

Tan Tock Seng Hospital was founded in 1844 through the philanthropy of Mr. Tan Tock Seng. It is the second largest hospital in Singapore. Due to its central location its accident and emergency room is the busiest in the country. It is also accredited by the Joint Commission International for keeping up with high medical standards. It is also a member of the National Healthcare Group. It may not be terribly user friendly for the foreigner.

Singapore General Hospital is the oldest (founded in 1821) and largest hospital in Singapore, located on the grounds of the Outram Park. This hospital is a government run hospital which means the costs are kept low. This does not mean that quality suffers; the nursing staff recently received the distinctive Magnet Recognition from the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

Thomson Medical is best known for its high quality maternity care. They also have a department devoted to caring for the International patient. In addition, they have a Korean Service department dedicated to the needs of the Korean expatriate community.

Gleneagles Hospital is one of several excellent private hospitals managed by Parkway Health in Singapore and other parts of Asia. Gleneagles focuses on providing user-friendly services, along with quality care, specialists' expertise and modern technology; it is conveniently located near the Botanic Gardens and not far from the US embassy. Another Parkway Health hospital is Mount Elizabeth Hospital which specializes in cardiac surgery and neurosurgery.

You may want to consider Raffles Hospital another private hospital which especially caters the Japanese community. You can expect five star treatment and accommodations as well as a five-star price. This hospital gained notoriety for its landmark surgery in separating Siamese twins. Raffles makes available traditional Chinese medicine for those seeking that type of treatment.

I hope you do not have to use this information, but you never know when knowing where to find a good hospital will come in handy.

Choosing Your Maternity Coat

When you think about the length of time that you wear maternity clothes, not just for the length of your pregnancy but also the time after your pregnancy before you return to your normal weight, you will probably need your maternity clothes for nine months at the very least. and you will probably wear your maternity coat for even longer. So make sure when you choose your maternity you go for something that is not only going to look great this season, but is going to look great and keep you warm throughout the year.

The most common mistake pregnant women make when choosing maternity coats is to just buy a standard coat in a bigger size. However, by doing this, you are buying a bigger size over your entire body which can make you look bigger than you actually are and will do nothing to flatter your changing shape. The shape of a good maternity coat actually incorporates your expanding tummy so that you have the space to grow where you need it but is tailored in at other points to actually flatter your shape and keep you looking trim.

For a traditional and very versatile style, opt for a long length trench coat design. Choose one with detail either in the collar area or under the bust and look out for darts and tailoring in the back which will draw the back of your coat in to provide a flattering silhouette and a great shape to your body. Deep dark colours are great for versatility and wearing with any outfit for any occasion, and if you find you need to brighten your coat up, just add a light flowery scarf and you will see the style of your coat transform.

This seasons most popular style is again the puffa jacket. It is soft and comfortable and ideal for wearing all year round. Take care to choose your pre pregnancy size to get a good fit, unless you are carrying twins or have gained more than the standard 30 pounds, at which point you will probably need to go up a dress size. The key with a good puffa jacket is to make sure you get the length just right. A maternity style will be cut a little longer to incorporate your bump as it grows so that the jacket does not ride up and miss the bottom of your back, but there are also puffa coats which cost about the same and can be incredibly flattering for a pregnant physique.

To get the very best value for money, make sure that you shop around for all your maternity clothes. Use internet comparison sites to buy your clothes to make sure you are getting the best value for money and look out for sites which give special offers and voucher codes for discount at major maternity wear retailers.

Whether you opt for your traditional style or try to mix things up when you are pregnant, a good maternity coat is going to complete any maternity outfit and is going to make you look great and keep warm throughout your pregnancy, so start considering your coat today and make sure it is a good one!

9 Myths About Sperm Banks

Modern technology has allowed for many medical miracles in a variety of fields. One medical development allows for any woman to have a child, regardless of her relationships or status.

Sperm banks, like European Sperm Bank USA, are a major source for women and couples of all forms to help in the conception of a child.

There are, however, a few misconceptions about what sperm banks are and how they work. Here are some notable myths about the sperm bank industry and artificial insemination:

Myth #1: "Sperm banking is a new and unknown technology"
False. This form of conception technology has been around for almost half a century now. The first two sperm banks were opened in Iowa City, Iowa and Tokyo, Japan in 1965.

Myth #2: "Few people ever use this method"
False. Approximately one in eight infertile couples require the use of donor sperm to conceive. One type of insemination procedure uses a syringe to place semen into a woman's vagina to assist her in getting pregnant. Another procedure, called intrauterine insemination, is most common. A physician uses a thin, flexible tube called a catheter to place the sperm into the woman's reproductive tract.

Myth #3: "Few children are born with this process"
False. American medical experts say the number of donor inseminated births is somewhere between 4,000-5,000 births per year.

Myth #4: "A man's sperm count will be the same each time it's examined under a microscope"
False. A man's sperm count will vary. The number of sperm and motility can be affected by: time between ejaculations, illness, and medications.

Myth #5: "Age is not one of the main reasons behind secondary fertility"
False. Many couples have no problem conceiving their first child while in their 20's, yet struggle conceiving a second child when they are in their 30's.

Myth #6: "The entire process from conception till birth is different"
False. For women who use a sperm donor, treatment by a doctor will be no different. Conception achieved with donor sperm is no different from conception by using partner sperm, and it is also no different from conception achieved by sexual intercourse.

Myth #7: "Infertility is not a medical illness and treatment is not covered by insurance"
False. Infertility is a medical illness and treatment is sometimes covered by insurance.

Myth #8: "Sperm banks are not required to follow strict regulations regarding donor testing and screening"
False. All sperm banks, including European Sperm Bank USA, are required by the FDA to test donors before taking full units of semen in order to screen for any potential problems. Donors are tested for sexually transmitted diseases, any genetic disorders and virility of the sperm.

Myth #9: "There is little chance I will conceive"
False. Health experts say the chances are good for a woman to conceive using artificial insemination. A woman's reproductive potential declines with age. But as long as there are no infertility factors related to the woman, 60-70 percent will be pregnant after six to nine months of insemination treatments.

The Role of Childbirth Classes

In the midst of ever changing maternity care, it is vital, now more than ever, to know how to increase your odds of a safe delivery. So, what makes for a positive, healthy birth experience?

Minimal pain?

The latest in technology?

Most parents have had both minimal pain and the latest technology and yet the majority still tell their "horror birth story" and come away with negative side effects from interventions that can impact them, spiritually and physically, for weeks or even years.

Obviously, that's not where the answer lies.

Why Childbirth Classes?

The birth of a baby represents the birth of a family; therefore, it's only logical that there's more to having a satisfying birth than merely the physical experience. The mental, emotional and social spiritual aspects of birth are as equally important as the physical. There is more to a healthy outcome than the survival of the mother and baby. If the intangible needs are met for parents-to-be, they will better meet the needs of their babies, much more so than the "experts" can.

Studies show that a positive, healthy birth is not measured by how much pain a woman experiences, but by how well informed she felt, how in control of the decision making she was, and the quality of her labor support. In order to achieve a high level knowledge, informed decision making, and skilled labor support, education is essential. The way to attain the highest quality childbirth education in the limited time that pregnancy offers is to seek out experienced, well-informed childbirth education classes.

How do you know if the classes you've chosen are the best offered? Here are a few questions you can ask to help you make your decision...

Is the provider of the childbirth classes independent or contracted?

Independent means that no hospital or care provider is paying them. They are not censored in teaching or have vested interest in "selling" you any procedure because of someone else's policies.

What is the class length?

You obviously receive and retain more information and skills in a 8 week or more class series than a weekend or 2 week "crash course."

What is the training, experience, and philosophy of the class provider?

Look for an educator that stays well informed of current findings, is well read, attends conferences, and teaches from a view point that supports your goals; i.e. if your goal is a natural, unmedicated birth it makes sense to seek classes that emphasize normal, healthy birth and provides in depth comfort techniques and coping measures.

Making the effort to become well-informed of childbirth itself, and typical birth practices and options, is truly an investment with lifelong rewards of better health and memories that will stay with you forever.

Don't be left with the feeling, "If only I had known more or made different choices, would my birth have been more satisfying or healthy?"

Take responsibility and provide yourself and baby with the best possible experience by seeking out quality childbirth education classes.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Getting Over Anxiety Depression

People mostly rely on their brain when conducting day to day activities and in the process it becomes drained and exhausted. Due to the ever growing demands at the workplace people tend to overwork and also have very little time off for relaxation. This often leads to breakdowns, anxiety and depression. It decreases a person's efficiency at work and thus makes the situation even worse. On the other hand there are ways that one can easily rid him or herself of depression and be on his way to being productive.

Anxiety depression is a state where a person behaves in an irregular manner and is not able undertake simple day to day activities properly. This is triggered by an ongoing exposure to stress. Stress at the workplace is the main reason behind anxiety depression. People need to be determined to take on the pressure and not succumb to it. It is tough to maintain your composure but you must try to do the same and eventually you will succeed.

When you really want to get over the anxiety depression problem you need to really motivate yourself and think towards getting rid of it. Analyze your situation with the help of a friend and consult a qualified psychiatrist who can accurately diagnose the problem for you. The various types of depression are:

Manic or Bipolar depression - An abrupt change in one's metal state for instance, from joyous and relaxed to a grim state of mind can signal depression.

Postpartum depression - An expectant mother may feel anxious about her new baby and feel stressed as a result of the extra responsibility that she has to take on.

Dysthimia - It is a condition of moderate depression; not so serious but should be treated as soon as possible.

Cyclothemia - This is one type of illness which a person with a hectic lifestyle suffers from. Although rare, there are sudden changes in one's mood.

Seasonal Affective Disorder - The name suggests that it is seasonal (in winters, summers, spring). More people have been found to feel that they are stuck in a rut in winters. It is also characterized by sudden changes in mood.

The above types are the conventional types but the type which people most suffer from is anxiety depression. Anxiety by itself is completely normal human behavior. You may get anxious about your exam next morning or your dream date. Being anxious actually helps you to cope with the increased stress levels. On the other hand anxiety depression cannot be ruled out as just "nerves". It is a serious illness and can be due to hereditary reasons.

Various types of anxiety depressions are characterized by unique symptoms. GAD or Generalized anxiety disorder is a severe form of anxiety depression in which a person becomes unreasonably paranoid even when there is no reason to be so. The anxiety levels remain on a high, person suffers from lack of sleep and feels tired easily. They have a strong feeling of depression which is curable but takes time and will from the patient. Average anxiety depression is not that complicated as GAD and can be cured comparatively easily.

In both cases a reputed therapist should be consulted and care should be taken to complete the course of medicines prescribed with treatment.

Postnatal Depression - A Major Form of Clinical Depression Which Affects 5-25% of Women

There are a large number of women who suffer from the Postnatal depression. It is also known as Postpartrum Depression. This is one of the major types of clinical depression as well. By and large from 5% to 25% women are affected with the postnatal depression.

There are various symptoms which will help you in recognizing postnatal depression. These Symptoms of post natal depression can occur anytime within the first year postpartum. Some of the symptoms of the postnatal depression are mentioned below.

o Inability to be Comforted: The patient will always feel restless. There will be no comfort level for the patient. The patient will never be happy.

o Exhaustion: The patient will suffer from tiredness and exhaustion. She will feel like sleeping always.

o Emptiness: The patient will feel that something is missing in her life. She will not be able to enjoy the positive environment around her.

o Inability to Enjoy Things One Previously Enjoyed: She will dislike the things that she had liked earlier.

o Social Withdrawal: The patient will withdraw herself within her room and will not interact with anyone else.

o Low Energy: Energy levels will be low for the patients. She will always look as she has not eaten anything or she will look extremely tired.

o Easily Frustrated: The patient will be frustrated easily and will also fight over small and minute things. Feeling Inadequate in Taking Care of Baby

o Sadness: A sense of sadness will prevail over the patient always. She will looked extremely depressed at the first sight itself.

o Hopelessness: The patient will feel that she has lost everything in her life.

o Low Self-Esteem: She will also loose her self respect.

o Guilt: Guilt will take over the happiness that has had gained when she had conceived the baby.

o Sleep Disturbances: The patient will not be able to sleep properly in the night.

o Eating Disturbances: The food habits of the patients will be changed. She will not like eating things which she used to love earlier.

A lot of research activities as well as experiments going on which has resulted in the development of medications as well as remedies for the people. Some of the major postnatal depression treatment includes the following:

o Medical evaluation in order rule out physiological problems: The patient should be taken to a doctor who will help in diagnosing the disease and offer proper medication.

o Cognitive behavioral therapy: Psychotherapy is advised by the doctor which is one of the best medicines in this case.

o Possible medicines: All the possible medicines should be given to the patient so that she will be able to recover fast.

o Support groups: family and friends are the best support groups. The husband should take special care of his wife.

o Home visits/Home visitors: Family members as well as relatives should also visit the patient so that she can cope up the depression.

o Healthy diet: Tasty and delicious food should be offered to her so that she is tempted to eat. Her favorite dishes should be on the platter.

o Consistent healthy sleep patterns: Sleep is an important part of the treatment of the postnatal depression. The family members should take care that the patient gets ample sleep and follows a regular sleep pattern.

Who Suffers From Depression?

Depression can affect anyone, no matter what their age, lifestyle, family history or gender. The causes are wide ranging and can be triggered by a number of factors or events in a person's life. Sometimes it does not have a cause or trigger. While it can affect anyone, the effect on some people or demographics may vary. Research in to the demographics of depression sufferers has shown that:


  • Women are twice as likely to suffer from depression as men;

  • Women may be at higher risk of suffering depression partly due to hormonal changes brought on by puberty, menstruation, menopause, and pregnancy

  • Women are twice as likely to suffer from anxiety or phobias than men and when the anxiety is present alongside depression, treatment can be a great deal more complicated

Interesting Fact

Depression is a real mental illness, not a sign of weakness. Some of the world's most famous and powerful leaders have suffered from it, including Winston Churchill, Abraham Lincoln and Mahatma Gandhi.


  • Although women are more likely to suffer from depression, men are more likely to commit suicide - this may be because men are more reluctant to seek help (NHS, 2009);

  • Men are more likely to use alcohol or substance abuse to cover their condition and many will go undiagnosed.


  • Depression can affect people of any age, including children;

  • Studies have shown that 2% of teenagers in the UK are affected by depression (NHS, 2009);

  • Approximately 1 in 10 children under the age of fifteen has a mental health disorder such as depression. The difference between girls and boys is smaller than the difference between adult men and women

  • The rate of mental health conditions tends to increase in adolescence.


  • Older people may lose loved ones and have to adjust to living alone. They may become physically ill and unable to be as active as they once were. These changes can all contribute.

  • Many older people are not diagnosed with depression and do not seek help for their condition;

  • Approximately 1 in 5 elderly living within the community suffer from depression, while 2 in 5 living in care homes will struggle with this disorder


  • People with a family history of depression are more likely to experience it themselves (NHS, 2009)

  • It is estimated that 420,000 Britons are challenged with work related stress that is making them ill with conditions such as depression and anxiety.

How Pregnancy Pillows Help You Sleep Better in 10 Great Ways

Your obstetrician or midwife will tell you to sleep on your side, preferably your left, for optimal pregnancy positioning at night. If you are lucky they will suggest a pillow under your knees for comfort. But that is about all you get for advice on pregnancy sleep ergonomics; usually you are left with something to the effect of, "you'll feel better once the baby is born." If you have months to go and spend hours every night tossing and turning, waking up feeling worse than when you when you went to bed, here are some valuable suggestions for you.

The secret to ensuring a better night's sleep when you are pregnant is alignment through pregnancy pillows. That means your body needs to be straight and there should be no pressure on key joints, muscles or ligaments. Below are 10 great tips to help you get aligned at night for better sleep:

1. Start out by making sure it is easy to get in and out of your bed. If you need to change the height to make getting in and out comfortable, do so. This is a safety suggestion as well as making your night-time space more ergonomic.

2. Use a cervical curve memory foam pillow. Your neck should be straight, not angled towards the bed or the ceiling. For side position this might mean a thicker pillow than you are used to, especially if your shoulders are wide.

3. Have a pillow just for your arm and hand to rest on. This keeps your hand and wrist elevated to reduce swelling and carpel tunnel symptoms. It also lifts your arm slightly off your chest to promote easier breathing.

4. If you have heartburn, try elevating your head with a wedge. Make sure the wedge is long enough to go all the way to your hips, otherwise it bends your spine in a way that is uncomfortable and will hurt at the waist.

5. Use a wedge pregnancy pillow under your belly, to reduce strain on the uterine ligaments.

6. Equally important as the belly wedge, a similar wedge tucked behind your low back on the other side keeps your spine aligned, not sinking in towards the mattress. This also helps prevent you from rolling on to your back in your sleep.

7. Use one or maybe two pillows between your knees to support your leg from your knee to your feet, making sure it is thick enough. How thick? You want to make sure your thigh is parallel with the bed. This will reduce strain on the muscles and ligaments that cause low back strain and sciatic pain in your hips and legs.

8. If this position does not remove your pain, try using pillows stacked under your top leg with your knee bent. Leave your other leg straight on the bed. This position also reduces the pressure on your lower hip joint against the bed.

9. Make sure your leg pillow is long enough to also support your whole foot. Supporting the foot will reduce swelling; leaving it dangling off the pillow will actually increase the swelling.

10. Ideally, you want your pillows organized symmetrically, so when you turn over at night you do not have to pull them with you from side to side. The faster you can turn and resettle, the faster you can get back to sleep!

Now you know how to get a great night's sleep when you are expecting a little one. Best wishes to you, and sweet dreams!

A Look At Why Women Experience Low Sex Drive

There are a number of reasons why many women experience low sex drive. Low sex drive can be brought on by many physical problems. The most severe medical issues related to low sex drive are disorders that affect the neural (nervous) system or cause nerve damage, such as Diabetes, Multiple Sclorosis, Parkinson's Disease, and stroke.

If you have poor circulation, blood won't flow properly to the genetalia, and will not only make arousal more difficult, but can inhibit your natural lubrication, making intercourse painful and unpleasant. This can also happen as a result of Urinary Tract Infections (UTI), STD's, and liver disorders. Alcohol can aggravate these conditions, increasing with age, as can smoking.

Hormones play an important part in sexual interest, and any type of hormonal imbalance will also affect sex drive. Women who are nearing or experiencing menopause, are pregnant or postnatal, or who have had a full or partial hysterectomy, may experience low sex drive, as a result of fluctuating levels of the hormones estrogen and prolactin.

Certain medications, including birth control pills, blood-pressure pills, and anti-depressants, can cause hormonal imbalance and low libido as well. Androgens, such as testosterone, decline in women with age, but there is still much debate about whether or not low levels of testosterone have anything to do with a decrease in libido and treating a woman who is experiencing low libido with testosterone can prove effective for some.

Excess weight and inactivity are other common causes of lessened sexual desire. Being overweight contributes to many physical and mental issues, including fatigue, depression, insecurity, and more importantly, high cholesterol, breathing difficulties, and heart strain.

Any of these, alone or combined, can have a major negative impact on sex drive. Exercising often, even if it's only a 20 minute walk every other day, can greatly improve your overall sense of well-being, and libido.

For some women, low sex drive stems from a psychological or emotional issue. The most common complaint is stress. Since women are emotional creatures, stressful situations can and often do affect every aspect of our lives. Marital or relationship problems, financial struggles, life crisis, anxiety, problems at work, excess weight, religious repression, guilt - there are endless factors that can cause stress and, in turn, a decline in sexual interest.

For a much more detailed explanation which takes you step by step into the causes of low sex drive in women and an in-depth look into some of the best vitamins and herbs for low sex drive in women, please see:

While there are several medical options that help improve low sex drive, you may only need to look as close as your personal habits and your kitchen.

Aside from frequent exercise, there are many foods and spices that will not only make you healthier, but will make you feel better, improve your mood, and raise libido. Remember: anything that is good for your overall health is good for your sex drive as well.

A low-fat, well balanced diet, including things like cold water fish, such as salmon, a lot of vegetables, and avoiding high-sugar, starchy foods, junk foods, and sodas, is a great place to start. Spices such as cumin, cayenne, and curry warm your body, and will also act as a kind of aphrodisiac. So, try putting a new spin on the term "romantic dinner," and see what you can cook up, both in - and out - of the kitchen.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

What Every Woman Needs to Know About Hypothyroidism During Pregnancy

During pregnancy a woman's thyroid hormones take on newfound importance. For the first 10-12 weeks of gestation, the developing baby depends solely on its mother's production of thyroid hormone to meet its developmental needs.

After that the baby will begin to produce thyroid hormone on its own, but still depends on the mother's adequate dietary intake of iodine in order to make thyroid hormones.

If a woman is suffering from hypothyroidism, of which Hashimoto's disease is the most common cause, even at a subclinical level, her baby could be seriously affected. Further, because many of the symptoms of hypothyroidism -- fatigue, weight gain, constipation -- mimic those of pregnancy, the condition can be incredibly easy to miss.

Health Risks to Baby from Mom's Hypothyroidism

If your body is not producing enough thyroid hormone during pregnancy both your health and your newborn's could be at risk.

When left untreated, hypothyroidism can lead to preeclampsia -- a potentially serious condition involving high blood pressure -- placental abnormalities, low birth weight infants, stillbirth, miscarriage, anemia, and postpartum hemorrhage (bleeding).

In the baby, thyroid hormone is essential for normal brain and nervous system development, so low-functioning thyroid in the mother may lead to cognitive and developmental disabilities in the newborn. Even mild subclinical hypothyroidism during pregnancy may lead to subtle brain abnormalities in the child.

For instance, research published in the New England Journal of Medicine revealed that children born to women who had untreated hypothyroidism during pregnancy were nearly four times as likely to have lower IQ scores, and also were significantly more likely to have problems with attention, language and reading.[1]

Because the effects may be most severe when hypothyroidism is left untreated during the first trimester... a time when many women may not even realize they are pregnant yet... it's often important to get your thyroid checked prior to pregnancy.

Thyroid Screening for Pregnant Women Remains Controversial

A debate is raging over whether or not thyroid screening should be a routine part of pregnancy care. As it stands, pregnant women are NOT routinely screened, as the potential health benefits have been deemed inconsequential in relation to the costs of testing millions of pregnant women each year.

The exception is those at high risk of thyroid disease. Women with the following thyroid risk factors WILL be routinely tested for thyroid problems during pregnancy:

  • Family or personal history of thyroid disease

  • Goiter

  • Symptoms of thyroid disease, including anemia or high cholesterol

  • Type 1 diabetes or other autoimmune disorders

  • Have received radiation to the head or neck as part of a medical treatment

  • History of miscarriage or premature delivery

  • Infertility

The concern is, however, that since many women may be suffering from hypothyroidism on a subclinical level, they may miss out on being screened and never know they have the condition.

In fact, a new study in the journal Clinical Thyroidology revealed that over half (55 percent) of pregnant women with Hashimoto's disease would be missed if only high-risk criteria like those listed above were examined.[2]

Another concerning issue has to do with thyroid antibodies. It's recommended that pregnant women be tested for thyroid problems if they test positive for thyroid antibodies, as this can be a sign of impending thyroid problems.

Research suggests that 3 percent to 20 percent of women have circulating thyroid antibodies during or shortly after pregnancy, and this increases the risk of becoming hypothyroid during pregnancy. However, thyroid antibodies are not normally a part of routine testing for pregnant women.

What Should You do if You're Pregnant or Thinking of Becoming Pregnant?

First, be aware of the signs and symptoms that you may have low-functioning thyroid:

  • Fatigue

  • Unexplained weight gain

  • Cold intolerance

  • Dry skin

  • Joint and muscle pain and stiffness

  • Muscle weakness

  • Constipation

  • Thinning hair

  • Heavy or prolonged menstrual periods and impaired fertility

  • Depression

  • Slowed heart rate

If you notice any of these symptoms, insist that your health care practitioner check your thyroid function, ideally before you become pregnant.

However, it's very possible to have subclinical hypothyroidism and not experience (or notice) any symptoms at all. In fact, it's estimated that about 13 million Americans have hypothyroidism but have never been diagnosed. You could be in this group even if you've had your thyroid levels tested, as conventional lab tests to diagnose the disease can be misleading, labeling thyroid hormones as within the normal range when a problem still exists.

So if you suspect that you may have a thyroid problem, find a knowledgeable health care practitioner in your area who will work with you to determine if a problem is present. This is of crucial importance if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, as your baby's healthy development during the first trimester of pregnancy depends on your healthy thyroid function.

Keep in mind, too, that pregnancy places an increased demand on your thyroid gland. Because of this, if you are currently being treated for hypothyroidism you may need to adjust your treatment plan to account for this extra demand. Again, it is imperative that you work with a practitioner who understands the complexities of thyroid function, including during pregnancy, for your health and the health of your baby.


1. New England Journal of Medicine 1999 Aug 19;341(8):549-55.

2. Clinical Thyroidology Volume 22 Issue 11 November 2010 "Over half (55%) of the pregnant women with clear abnormalities suggestive of autoimmune thyroiditis with or without thyroid insufficiency would be missed if only the high-risk criteria are examined."

Assurant Life Health Insurance Products

Assurant Life is a nationwide health insurance provider operating in the individual, family and small group marketplace. They are best known for their consumer health coverage. Assurant offers several health packages to choose from with varying benefits, deductibles, and coinsurance options.

Plan Descriptions

Benefits offered will vary depending on the state where the prospective insured resides. In most states, two health savings account plans and three traditional plans are offered.

High deductible, catastrophic plans are very affordable for consumers on a tight budget. Additionally, monthly rates will be locked in for two years when a high deductible plan is selected. The SaveRight PPO HSA and the RightStart PPO are good choices for those who want basic coverage at a competitive price.

The MaxPlan, CoreMed Plan and One Deductible PPO HSA are better options for those who desire more comprehensive coverage. Naturally, these three plans are more expensive, but will offer comprehensive coverage should the insured have a claim. Doctor's office co-payments and prescription drug coverage are offered with the MaxPlan and CoreMed Plan. Consumers also have several benefit options available including preventive care, dental and vision coverage, first dollar accident benefits, and/or a rx drug discount card.

Maternity Coverage

A competitive niche for Assurant Life is their maternity plans. Consumers can select a maternity specific deductible ranging from $1,000 to $10,000 (with most plans in most states). The deductible will not be subject to the overall health insurance deductible. This way, the insured can tailor the medical coverage to fit their needs.

The waiting period to conceive is only three months in most states. This is very reasonable wait when compared to coverage offered from most other carriers. Like all health insurance companies, this rider cannot be purchased if the proposed insured is already pregnant.

Health Network Options

Assurant is also unique in how the networks are structured. Typically, consumers can select from four or five networks in their state. Some networks are nationwide while others are regional. With several to choose from, it is not difficult to find a network that includes a desired doctor or hospital. Additionally, clients can change networks while the policy is in force. This is advantageous for those who are moving from state to state or need the services of a new doctor or hospital.

In summary, Assurant is a reputable health carrier offering both catastrophic and comprehensive plans to the public. Those who desire maternity coverage and/or robust network options should consider their offerings. Working through an experienced agent, consumers can enroll in a suitable plan for themselves, their family, or their small business.

Maternity Insurance Made Simple

Why Can't I Find Maternity Insurance?

Unless you happen to live in one of the five guaranteed issue health insurance states (NY, NH, MA, VT and ME) or you currently have a group health insurance plan, finding maternity insurance coverage will be like looking for a needle in a haystack. Most major carriers have eliminated the option to add maternity coverage. Those that did not eliminate this feature, charge $200 to $300 a month extra for this add-on. Plus, there is a waiting period before you can become pregnant of up to 12 months.

To add insult to injury, the plans still have out of pocket deductibles and coinsurance. A few plans make you think they have a maternity option and charge you a nominal amount for it (around $100) but you later find that the benefit was extremely limited and you are generally getting back what you paid them or less. Hold on, I am not through with my ranting yet.

If you have had a prior c-section or a complication to pregnancy, they will not sell you the maternity rider at any price.

Does It Pay To Have Maternity Insurance Coverage?

Once you sit down and do the math, you start to wonder if maternity coverage is worth the bother. Let us say that you buy a plan and it costs you an additional $200 a month. They tell you that you have to wait 12 months before you can become pregnant. Let us further suppose that after waiting 12 months it takes you three more months to conceive. Afterward, assuming you are human, we have another 9 months of pregnancy. There is a total of 24 months that you paid $4,800 extra for in premiums. The plan might have deductibles and coinsurance of another $2,500 to $5,000. The cost for having a baby with health insurance is $7,300 to $9,800. If it takes longer to conceive, the bill goes up.

What most people do not know is that complications to pregnancy are covered by most health insurance plans even if you do not have maternity coverage. So, the hospital portion of a c-section is covered regardless. Look at all of the restrictions maternity insurance coverage puts upon you:

  • You cannot become pregnant for up to a year and if you do you forfeit the maternity coverage.

  • You still pay somewhere between $7,000 and $10,000 out of pocket with the coverage.

  • You have to choose one of the few companies that offer this rider. This might mean that you are paying more for your other health insurance with less coverage.

Alternatives to Maternity Insurance

Instead of purchasing maternity insurance there are other plans available that can reduce your maternity expenses. Remember that complications to pregnancy are probably covered regardless. You can always contact the author for more information.

Advocacy Services - Over time, we have found that this service can negotiate extremely low rates for both pre-natal and delivery services, including lab fees. They do this day in and day out and have done this tens of thousands of times. This is the only alternative for someone who is already pregnant (other than group health insurance).

Limited Benefit Plans - These are guaranteed issue health insurance plans that cover maternity the same way they cover having your tonsils out. They provide a certain dollar amount for doctor visits and hospital costs. The operative word is limited. These plans are not available in all states. However, they can provide a great alternative to maternity insurance. There are a number of these plans at different price points.

Recently, we found a plan that will pay close to $7,000 for a two day hospital stay for maternity. The catch is, you must be employed when the plan begins. You do not have to remain employed, however, and your spouse can take the plan and put you on it as a dependent. It is very cost effective.

Group Health Insurance - Just about all group health insurance plans cover maternity. If you are self-employed it can be difficult to find a true group health insurance plan. We do have information for Group of One health insurance plans that are available in about 15 states. They cover maternity and, if you currently have health insurance, will cover you even if you are already pregnant.

The Maternity Insurance You Want and the Maternity Insurance You Can Get

What most of you reading this article would like to find is a plan that pays all or most of the medical costs associated with having a baby. But, unless you are fortunate enough to have a fantastic group health insurance plan, it is highly unlikely. I urge you to consider some of the techniques I described in this article.

We're Pregnant! It's a Tree!

An expectant mother burst to laughter and tears as her hyper-excited husband broke the news to his friends--after finally getting the ultrasound result of his wife--confirming the existence of a six- month old baby boy in her womb. The couple considered the pregnancy nature's miracle: She is forty-three, he is forty five. In their six years of marriage, the couple sought natural alternatives to get pregnant. She refused Assisted Reproductive Technologies, which her doctor prescribed. She is needle-phobic and easily nauseated inhaling or taking medicine. He is a considerate husband who fully supports his wife's request to follow the natural ways to get pregnant. The couple called the entire process, a tree-planting pregnancy, much like taking care of a plant requiring diligence and determination. The couple's efforts were both rewarded when nature responded positively... they now have... a tree... err, a baby.

In the advent of available, medically sound technology to assist reproduction and pregnancy, women who have problem with infertility and the inability to conceive can now undergo treatment/therapy to ensure pregnancy. The Inability to conceive proved to be the outcome of advance female age according to various studies and medical research. Female ovarian reserve, which is responsible for a woman's fertility potential, diminishes as women approaches the age of 30 and above.

The chances of getting pregnant is slim among female with advance age; statistic shows that among healthy 30 years old women, there is a 20% chance of getting pregnant per month; the probability is lower among women 40 years old and above which is estimated at 5% chance of pregnancy per month.

Still, forty something women tried their chances by engaging to a clinically and doctor prescribed procedures and fertility methods. Many aspiring mothers are successful in this endeavor although medical research found increasing maternal risk when female got pregnant at an advance age even with the assurance and availability of medical technology. Some, like my friend mentioned above, could hardly follow the strenuous process of an Assisted Reproductive Technology; hence, the natural ways to get pregnant is the best option.

Natural remedies such as herbal and homoeopathic treatment that enhance fertility in women have positive effect for hormonal system, improve sex drive and protect reproductive organs. Herbs that help balance hormone are now available in capsule, beverages and food to stimulate glands to produce sex hormones (estrogen, progesterone and testosterone.)

Traditional Chinese herb called Cimcifuga racemosa are now valued due to its potency to help improve hormone functioning and its unique property to prevent miscarriage and can also be used as therapy for menopause-related conditions.

Siberian Ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosis) is also another herbal remedy that helps in correcting hormonal imbalance; improve libido, as well as enhance sexual pleasure and the overall improvement of systemic reproductive health.

My couple-friend opted to grow these medicinal herbs in their garden to symbolically support their cause for a naturally- induced pregnancy.

Planting trees maybe a more successful endeavor than conceiving a baby through natural remedies, but it is worth a try for those "mommy wannabes" who are not amenable to undergo procedures of artificial, medically approved technologies in the market today.

Find Out If You Have Depression

Sometimes do you feel low for no reason at all and then ask yourself am I really suffering from depression? Just because you feel this way it really is not reason enough to go to your doctors and request some kind of antidepressant.

Finding out about the symptoms that are associated with depression is the best way to find out if you are suffering from this illness and with so many resources around us today, finding out should not be a real problem.

Sometimes we can just find that things are just not going right for us in our life, and you may only feel this way for a day or two, but simply feeling this way for a few day wont mean that your suffering from depression. You should look at your family background because this could be a good indication in finding out if you do suffer from this illness.

Studies have shown that a vast majority of people who suffer from these symptoms had relatives that have suffered from depression and passed on this genetic defect illness to their family members. However you may be suffering from this illness from a breakdown in a relationship which may be the cause for you feeling this way or even losing a job which can knock your confidence and will cause you to feel down and make you feel that you at the end of the road.

Giving birth is another cause which is called postnatal depression and can leave some new mothers in such a state that simply taking care of themselves and their new born child can just become such a hard task. Searching around your local library or using the internet can be a starting guide for how you can tackle this problem, remember your not the alone because help is at hand but you have to take the first step and ask for it.

Help Getting Pregnant - Miracle Babies Are Born Every Day

Despite the initial feeling of helplessness, women may still find help getting pregnant by discovering natural solutions to a woman's infertility. Before you spend thousands of dollars on fertility treatments, explore your natural options. Holistic, natural methods to get pregnant have proven high success rates.

Alternative or natural methods for help getting pregnant combine body and mind therapies. The focus is on restoring balance to your body that supports a healthy pregnancy and the birth of a healthy baby.

One approach, based on Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), is recognized as an effective treatment for female infertility. This methods includes acupuncture, herbal medicine, and dealing with the intense emotional energy of getting pregnant.

The goal of acupuncture is to open the blocked energy that prevents fertilization. This is also believed to help restore the balance among body organs, especially in the reproductive system. Keeping your organs, tissues, hormones, and cells working healthfully can help to get you pregnant.

On the other hand, some herbal plants when ingested can increase the chances of pregnancy. A combination of female curative herbs including red raspberry, alfalfa, dong quai, blessed thistle, and black cohosh, target a woman's reproductive system. TCM herbs are used to strengthen the entire endocrine system and naturally increase fertility.

Keep in mind that these forms of treatment can take a long time before being effective. Expect to faithfully use them for a period of approximately three to twelve months for results. You want to get started now. The extra bonus is that you will be getting healthier and you will start to notice a difference in the way you feel.

Just as important are thoughts and emotions when trying to get pregnant. A woman's inability to get pregnant can be very stressful not only to herself but also to her partner. You have probably heard that stress you don't need now only makes conception harder. Stress can cause the body's hormones to go out of whack.

Rounding out a holistic approach to getting pregnant are yoga, massage, guided imagery, fertility enhancing supplements, and a fertility diet.

Know this - miracle babies are being born everyday. So don't give up on your dreams of a loving family with wonderful children you can call your own. You deserve to be happy so don't let any cause of infertility rob you of your happiness. Never be a victim to the unwanted pain brought to you by the unhappy event of female infertility. Take control. Do something proactive today!

Pregnancy Complete Care - Conception, Pregnancy and Beyond

Infertility is an increasing western condition. Currently 1 in 7 couples have difficulty conceiving. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has been used for several thousand of years to treat issues of infertility. Since the aim of TCM is to "normalize," "harmonize," and "to bring into balance," these ideas are brought to bear on the problems associated with male and female infertility.

Optimum nutrition is also a vital element of reproductive health for both men and women. A nutritional therapist not only works to improve the diet, but also addresses other important factors such as how efficiently the body digests, absorbs and utilises nutrients, to ensure the diet is of maximum benefit.

Boosting fertility naturally

Acupuncture and nutritional therapy can be used to prepare for pregnancy, address issues that may contribute to infertility and be of benefit during pregnancy. They also complement other forms of fertility treatments, including IVF. Specifically, these two therapies may be beneficial by helping to:

1- Reduce stress hormones that interfere with ovulation
2- Regulate hormones- better egg quality
3- Improve ovarian blood flow- increases ovarian response
4- Improve ovarian function- more follicles
5- Strengthen the immune system- overall health and wellbeing
6- Increase blood flow to the uterus- improving endometrial lining (implantation)
7- Improve sperm count, motility and morphology
8- Reduce side effects from hormonal treatments
9- Increase birth rate (reduces chance of miscarriage)- study links sperm quality to miscarriage

What is Chinese Medicine?

Chinese Medicine is the oldest, continually practiced, professional and literate medicine in the world. The written literature of this medical system stretches back 2500 years. Currently, one quarter of the world's population makes use of it; therefore one can say that modern Western medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) are the two dominant medical systems in the world today.

How does Chinese Medicine work?

The basis of Chinese Medicine is the re-establishment of balance and harmony within the body. This balance is re-established by supporting the body's healthy energy and attacking any unhealthy energy.

What methods are used to re-establish balance within one's body?

The main professionally applied methods of re-establishing balance are Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture. Chinese herbal medicine may be prescribed for internal use or applied externally. Acupuncture seeks to regulate the flow of Qi, or natural healing energy, and blood within the body. In addition, Chinese medical practitioners may use Chinese massage and prescribe some remedial or preventive exercises, and they frequently counsel their patients on diet and lifestyle.

What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is the gentle insertion of a hair-fine needle into specific points on the body called acupoints to stimulate the flow of Qi. It has been practised in China for thousands of years. In essence, acupuncture therapy aims at the improvement of the overall wellbeing of the patient rather than the isolated treatment of specific symptoms. Sometimes, instead of inserting a needle into an acupoint, a TCM doctor or an acupuncturist may choose to apply heat to the point, or stimulate it with very low voltage electricity (no more than is generated by a flashlight battery). These techniques are called Moxibustion and Electro-Stimulation. They can be regarded as variations of acupuncture and may be used to further stimulate the natural healing power of the body.

Is acupuncture safe?

Acupuncture needles used in the UK are all sterile and disposable. They come in sterile packets, are used once, and then disposed of. Acupuncture treatment is drug-free, and avoids side effects and dependency. However, you should always give information about all pre-existing conditions, the names of all medications you are taking, whether you are or could be pregnant, and if you have a cardiac pacemaker or cosmetic implants. The TCM doctor will then be able to evaluate your specific situation to ensure the best results for your treatment.

Does acupuncture hurt?

We hardly notice when a mosquito bites us. This is because mosquitoes have a very thin sucking tube. Similarly, an acupuncture needle is very thin and it hardly hurts when the needle is inserted into the acupoints. It takes ten to fifteen acupuncture needles to fit into one conventional hypodermic needle. In addition, an experienced TCM doctor can attain a high level of skill in gently inserting these tiny needles into the skin with minimum discomfort to patients.

Can acupuncture be effective when other treatments have failed?

Absolutely! Each medical system has its own areas of greatest effectiveness. Acupuncture excels in those areas in which conventional Western medicine comes up short. For example the treatment of chronic diseases, pain control, and the treatment of stress-related disorders are three areas in which acupuncture is most effective.

How many treatments will be needed?

This depends on the duration, severity and nature of the complaint. You may need only a single treatment for an acute condition. A series of 5-10 treatments may resolve many chronic problems. Some degenerative conditions may require multiple treatments, dietary modifications, specific exercise regimes, relaxation techniques, self-massage, perhaps in combination with Chinese herbal medicines, all of which may help to increase the effectiveness of acupuncture.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Two Major Hospitals in Tashkent, Uzbekistan

Tashkent translates to the "stone city". This city is the capital of Uzbekistan and one of the oldest cities in Central Asia. Tashkent has many mosques and religious sites and is often referred to as the cultural capital of the Islamic world. The city is modern, but maintains much of its heritage as well. The health care sector in Tashkent is in a developing phase and you have to look to major private hospitals for quality health care. This is a note on some of Tashkent's leading hospitals.

Tashkent International Medical Clinic situated at 38, Sarikul Street is a famous hospital in the international community of Tashkent. A well-known chartered non-governmental organization in the country established this center in 1994. The clinic is specifically designed to provide medical service at global standards to the international community in Uzbekistan. The staff members of foreign embassies, international representatives, along with other expatriates and their families in Tashkent are regular visitors to this hospital. It provides good diagnostic and therapeutic service in fundamental medical specialties. It employs an internationally trained staff and all the hospital services are readily available in English and other languages.

The dental unit treats all types of dental, oral disease and facial injuries. They also have an orthodontist on staff. Complete vaccination programs are also available. The center offers many health promotion programs and packages including weight control, immunizations, antenatal and postnatal care. It has a modern emergency center that has physicians accredited by the U.S. in advanced life support. It also offers medical evacuations to members. It has a good pharmacy and laboratory. Additionally, the clinic possesses ECG, modern X-rays, Pulmonary function test, audiogram and ultrasound diagnostic facilities. Tel: 998 71 291 0142

MDS-Services hospital is another modern hospital and is situated on Botkin Street in Tashkent. This private hospital founded in 2004 offers effective medical service by employing many well-trained doctors. It has well equipped departments in all medical specialties. It has clinics for diabetes, infertility, epilepsy, allergy, obesity and more. The therapeutic department on the second floor has 12 beds. The language of service is Russian and Uzbek.

An operating unit featuring two operation theaters offers effective surgical service in all major areas. It is known for advanced video laparoscopy and endoscopy. It has a modern emergency department, ambulance services and an intensive care unit. Tel: 269-7085

Addiction to Chocolate When You Are Pregnant - Is it Healthy?

Chocolate is not only delicious, but also worthwhile. Indeed, while it is regularly eaten for pleasure, there are potential beneficial health effects of eating chocolate. Even, today, some 50% of women reportedly claim to prefer it to sex even though this response may depend on the attributes of the interviewer. However, can mother pregnant consume it continuously?

Basically, chocolate is safe to consume by everyone including a pregnant mother. However, it is better for her not to consume it too much because it can reduce her consumption of nutrient food that she really needs. Besides, chocolate includes high caloric food that causes overweight.

Actually, what you should alert for is not the chocolate, but other compound substances like sweetener that can cause your body to be fat. Besides, chocolate also contains quite high caffeine standard. A piece of cake contains 10 milligram caffeine. Of course, it is not sufficient for you to eat a piece of chocolate, right?

On the contrary, some doctors suggest a pregnant mother to limit her consumption of caffeine not more than 200 milligram per day. However, some literature state that chocolate is safe to consume by a pregnant mother.

A research mentions that consuming it can help her to reduce the risk for her to get the pregnancy poisoning. But, mainly, consuming it can arouse pleasant and happy feeling to her.

The most important thing for her is choosing dark chocolate that contains more chocolate than other compound substances. Besides, dark chocolate is not too sweet, so she does not need to worry about her weight.

Life in Portugal: Having Children in Portugal

Portugal is an excellent place to raise children. Whether you are planning to move with your kids in Portugal or you already live here and want to have children in the near future, take the time to do proper research before making a decision. Language brings up many questions for families who are moving with children to another country. Since there are only a few international schools in Portugal, it is recommended that your child learns the Portuguese language. Raising kids in this country has the benefit of free preschool education, low university fees, and universal healthcare.

Pregnancy and Birth in Portugal

Many families who move to Portugal decide to have children at some point in their lives. The communities are safe and supportive. The educational system is good. Prenatal care is free and depends on the type of insurance purchased. You can opt for public, private, or subsystem insurance. If you have private insurance, you can choose a clinic where to give birth, as well as a specialist to assist you. Mothers who have public insurance are assigned to an obstetrician in the hospital, with whom regular appointments would be made.

This European country has a National Vaccination Plan (Plano Nacional de Vacina癟瓊o), which is free of charge. Children born in Portugal are given vaccinations at birth against hepatitis B and tuberculosis. Any baby born on Portuguese territory has to be registered at the Civil Registry Office (Conservat籀ria do Registo Civil) within 20 days of birth.

Children born in Portugal to foreign parents can not receive Portuguese citizenship unless the mother and father have lived in this country for ten years. If the parents are citizens of a country with Portuguese as an official language, the ten year requirement is reduced to six years.

Most women in Portugal give birth at clinics and hospitals, and can have a C-section instead of a natural birth. They are allowed time off work for pre-natal appointment as many times as necessary. There are several non-profit organizations and public institutions offering free information to new mothers, including SOS Gr獺vida (SOS Pregnancy) and Ajuda de M瓊e (Help to Mothers). Women can also attend breathing classes ands other courses designed to help them deal with the physical demands of the pregnancy. Natural childbirth has become increasingly more popular in the last years. Water births and home births are available too.

Is Portugal Suitable for Raising Kids?

Knowing how the childcare system works in Portugal is essential. Any child born in this country has to be registered at the Civil Registry Office within 20 days of birth. Pregnant women can not be fired from their jobs without a prior agreement from the Commission for Equality in Work. In the last years, the number of public daycare facilities has increased. Additionally, working mothers have the right to flexible paid maternity leave.

When it comes to finding a school for your children, you have three options: boarding schools, private schools, and state schools. The expat communities in Algarve and Lisbon boast a large number of private schools. State schools will most certainly lead to quicker integration. All children must attend school between the ages of six and 15. Sports, in general, are encouraged. Children also have access to a wide range of cultural activities that include theater, music, and English classes.

Are You in Need of Postpartum Depression Treatment?

The research that Texas low cost health insurance has done regarding the need for postpartum depression treatment yielded surprising results. Postpartum depression treatment starts with asking yourself a couple of questions. Have you recently become a new mother? Does "motherhood" seem quite different than what you have read in books and magazines? Do you feel extreme sadness since the child was born? How about a lack of interest in your own life or your baby? You could be suffering from postpartum depression and in need of postpartum depression treatment. In the event that you are suffering from postpartum depression, there are generally two forms of treatment. The first being counselling (a combination of interpersonal and/or cognitive behavioral counselling) which has proven to help individuals take control of the way a person thinks and feels. Counselling also helps an individual to focus on the changes associated with having a newborn. The second form of treatment is antidepressant medicine. Antidepressant medicine relieves the symptoms that are associated with the depression.

Women (and men) typically prepare for the birth of their new child by squirreling away diapers, decorating rooms and possibly even starting college funds. However, many do not prepare themselves for the changes that they are about to experience within their bodies nor do they prepare for the way they can be affected by loss of sleep and hormonal changes. Life's normal balancing act is magnified by infinity when a new mother must not only handle household chores, lifestyle adjustments, lack of sleep, crying day and night but she must also deal with the possibilities of being viewed as an unfit mother.

Postpartum depression typically sets in within 4 weeks of childbirth. Although, depression is typically only in 10 percent of women, it is important to prepare for potential depression. In preparing, family members can be on the lookout for mood swings and a big indicator is a general disinterest in the child. If these issues exist, the mother should seek professional help and discuss postpartum depression treatment.

It is widely viewed that postpartum depression and the need for postpartum depression treatment exist only in women. However, the Texas low cost health insurance research has shown that it exists in males as well. The more popular term when a male experiences postpartum depression is paternal postnatal depression. Typically when fathers experience paternal postnatal depression it happens within one month to one year of the child being born. Generally, a distinction must be made between "daddy blues" and paternal postnatal depression. The rule of thumb would be based on the length of time the father experienced "blues". If the father is experiencing heavy (unusual) depression within a year of becoming a new father he is potentially experiencing paternal postnatal depression. Keep in mind, depression of two or more weeks due to any circumstance is reason to seek the advice of a physician or mental health specialist. Causes linked to paternal postnatal depression include loss of or lack of sleep. This is gut wrenching due to the fact that loss of or lack of sleep is almost synonymous with newborns. Additionally, the Texas low cost health insurance research noted that hormonal changes occur in men after they become new fathers. There is potential for testosterone levels to decrease and estrogen levels to increase. With these internal changes happening and a new father having no clue of what is going on inside him, there is added potential for paternal postnatal depression (postpartum depression). To further compound issues, Texas low cost health insurance has found that there is a stigma associated with men who seek mental health assistance. They are many times considered to be weak or frowned upon. That being the case, the depression can go undetected and unfortunately lead to other issues.

Postpartum depression treatment should not be viewed as "treatment for the weak." In fact, in preparation for that new baby, couples should add to their list "watch out for depression signs". It is virtually impossible to stop hormonal changes without proper medication. This absolutely does not mean that a person who is experiencing postpartum depression or paternal postnatal depression must medicate in order to handle the depression. However, persons(s) are more likely to "bounce back" with the assistance of a professional (who may prescribe medication). Postpartum depression treatment could also include cognitive behavioral therapy for both parents. In fact, once an individual has identified a professional, he or she should discuss behavioral therapy or interpersonal therapy prior to medicating.

Finally, stay in tune with your body! When your body and mind are reacting in ways that are not normal you should seek the attention of a professional. Better safe than sorry. Who knows, you may be experiencing postpartum depression. Know that you are not alone.

Stay tuned and stay informed!

Health Care Reform May Provide Infertility Insurance Coverage For a Select Few

The recently passed Health Care Reform Act nearly created a windfall for couples trying to conceive who do not have infertility health insurance coverage. Beginning in 90 days after passage of the act, a national high risk pool will be created. Pre-existing conditions (such as infertility perhaps?), must be covered, and the premiums must fall in the same range as plans for people with varying risk levels. Could this mean affordable infertility health insurance for couples whose employers do not currently offer such a plan? It comes close to doing just that. And perhaps a select group of couples will emerge as winners from this new legislation. The majority must be more creative.

The Health Care Reform Acts calls for the creation of a national high risk pool that is meant to provide a temporary solution until the state run exchanges are up and running. People with pre-existing conditions will be eligible to enroll. Some issues are clear, while others are not. One fact is clear: many couples diagnosed with infertility issues have pre-existing conditions, and their current health insurance plan provides no coverage.

What is less clear is whether the high risk pool with cover infertility treatments. States will be given some leeway in the creation and operation of the plan. Fifteen states currently have laws mandating some form of insurance coverage for couples coping with infertility. Even with these laws in place, there are many loopholes, leaving large portions of their infertile population without any coverage. It is possible that some of those states will include infertility coverage for people in this pool. If you live in one of those states, and your employer's plan does not offer coverage, stay tuned.

Should the high risk pools cover infertility, it should be quite a bargain for couples trying to conceive. The law requires that the premiums for these plans be no more than would be charged for a standard population with varying risks. In other words, you may find a plan with infertility coverage that is actually affordable - because the insurers are being forced to sell you a policy at a loss. Without this mandate, insurers would price such policies so that premium exceeded benefits paid, making it terribly expensive to get coverage.

Should couples trying to conceive drop their employer sponsored health plan that offers no infertility coverage, and move to a plan from the high risk pool? This choice makes sense for only a very small portion of the population. First, you would want to verify that the pool covered infertility. That is likely to be the case only in the states with a fertility mandate, and at the time this article was written it is just too early to tell. Second, the law will enroll only applicants who have been uninsured for six consecutive months. You would be taking huge risks to your health and finances to go without insurance that long just to get your IVF covered.

The one segment that may benefit: couples trying to conceive, without any health insurance coverage today. If this describes your situation, check into your state infertility mandates, and research what is happening in your state's high risk insurance pool.

For the rest of you, consider supplemental health insurance. Your benefit for normal pregnancy may greatly exceed your premium paid. Use the excess to offset your infertility treatment costs.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Protein and Pregnancy - From Conception to Weaning, Protein Needs Increase

Every healthy diet begins and ends with three components: protein, fat and carbohydrates. Every food that is eaten can be categorized into one or the other of these groups. All three are important in the diet; however, they should not be eaten in the same amounts. Your doctor or health care provider can help you to determine the best diet for you, which becomes even more important during pregnancy and afterward if you intend to breastfeed your baby. Yes, your caloric needs will increase, even if you are already overweight when you find out that you are pregnant, however, you will need to make sure that you are firstly, gaining the right amount of weight, and secondly, adding the right nutritional compounds to your diet. Not only will you be eating to help your baby grow and develop, you will also be eating to keep yourself healthy and strong. The diet type of each pregnant woman will change from trimester to trimester, with each part of the change being especially important for the growing embryo.

Protein: Before Conception to the End of the First Trimester

The average, healthy woman should be getting between.4 and.8 grams of protein per kilogram of her body weight, depending on her activity level. If she is doing light to moderate exercises two to three times per week, she can up the level to around.5 grams. On the other hand, if she is doing very intense exercise that lasts between 30-60 minutes four days a week or more, she should up the protein intake to around.8 grams. A woman who is body building, training for a marathon or a similar activity may need as much as 1.2 grams of protein. Once she becomes pregnant, her need for better nutrition, including additional protein, will increase as well.

The average woman will need a minimum of 60 grams of protein per day during her pregnancy, or more if she is carrying twins. This additional protein is needed for not only the physical growth and development of the baby, but for the development of the placenta, amniotic tissue and maternal tissues. A mother's blood volume increases by about 50%. Protein is needed to create these new blood cells as well as for circulating proteins. (Source: Medio-Consult Nutrition Services)

Women who are having problems with morning sickness during the first trimester of pregnancy may benefit from having a high protein, high carbohydrate diet. However, they should limit the amount of fat, especially in the form of fried foods. The carbohydrates should be complex, such as those found in vegetables and whole grain foods. (Source: Nancy E. Polatty, RNC, JS, JD, CNS, of the University of Nevada at Reno)

For women who are especially troubled by morning sickness, it might be easier to split meals into smaller portions and never go longer than two to three hours without eating. If you want to add a small snack in between meals, opting for a liquid protein supplement is a good idea.

Second Trimester

During the second trimester, the additional blood volume, as well as the expanding uterus and increased levels of the hormone estrogen, can cause edema, especially in the legs, feet and hands. One of the easiest ways to combat this is by increasing the protein intake. There is a misconception that the minute you find out that you are pregnant you need to start piling on the protein. This is simply not true - your increased needs progress slowly during the pregnancy and for different reasons. In month one through three, the need was to help establish the embryo, placenta and amniotic sac. The additional protein also worked to help combat the physical discomfort of morning sickness that plagues many women. For the rest of the pregnancy, protein needs will remain at this level so that the baby continues to develop and grow strong.

Third Trimester

Your need for protein continues during the final three months of pregnancy for a number of reasons. First, eating a diet that is high in protein, vitamins and minerals can minimize the development and appearance of any stretch marks. Second, you will need the additional protein for the energy required for labor and childbirth. By now your intake should be up to the recommended 60 grams per day, however, your own doctor might suggest a different amount based on your own nutritional needs.

Lactating New Mothers

Immediately after birth and for around six months or so afterward, you will continue to need more protein than you normally do so that your body can continue the process of repairing itself after the trauma of birth, as well as to make the breast milk that your baby will need to be healthy and strong. There is no formula that is more perfect than your own milk for your growing baby, and your protein intake will make sure that it provides all of the nutrients that he needs as well. There is no higher time of need for protein than in the first six months following birth, when the recommended daily allowance is 2.2 grams per kg of body weight. After age six months, the amount drops slightly to two grams and then slowly decreases as the child grows. Remember that not only is this the time period of the greatest protein need, it is also the time of the greatest growth of your baby as well. The baby that started his life at between 7 and 9 pounds (the average is just over 8 pounds) will enter his first year weighing twenty pounds or more.

The breastfeeding mother must make sure that she is getting around 500 extra calories per day as well as enough liquids to make sure that she is making enough milk (baby should wet six to eight diapers each day and be steadily gaining weight). In addition, mom should be getting an extra 20 grams of protein per day while she is breastfeeding.

Protein needs for mothers will slowly decrease as she loses weight, however, the doctor will give recommendations for proper nutrition for the postpartum period. Because this is a time in a mother's life that is very hectic, she may not be taking the time that she needs for proper nutrition. While getting nutrition from whole, freshly made foods it best, it may not always be possible. Using a protein supplement that is fast to consume, not loaded with a lot of additional sugar and which gives plenty of absorbable protein is a good option.

Mothers who have any special health concerns will need to be monitored by their doctor more carefully and will have different protein and nutrition needs. It is important to follow the advice of your doctor or other medical practitioner.


Medio-Consult Nutrition Services

Nancy E Polatty, RNC, JS, JD, CNS, University of Nevada at Reno from the book: Ask a Nurse: From Home Remedies to Hospital Care Edited by Geraldine Bednash, PhD. RN, FAAN. Simon and Schuster New York New York 2001

So Blue After the First Baby

A happily married couple in Florida awaits the birth of their first child after 9 months of pregnancy. The attending surgeon and the Tampa Bay Midwife do an excellent job. All goes well and the child is born without complications. All accept the behavior of the "new mommy" to her husband and to her child. Symptoms of depression masked with irritability set in. Misunderstandings occur and harsh arguments follow in the ensuing weeks. What has happened to the sweet woman in a seemingly normal event such as childbirth to make her husband misunderstand? The woman has developed postpartum depression, a psychological condition that has become the subject of medical gatherings throughout the U.S. like the one in Florida called "Maternity Care Tampa Bay".

Postpartum depression needs to be understood before it can be prevented. So what is postpartum depression? Postpartum depression is essentially clinical depression that accompanies childbirth. Clinical depression or Major Depressive Disorder is characterized by a loss of interest in previously pleasurable activities that is coincident with low mood and low self-esteem. This loss is known as anhedonia. The disorder frequently affects women but could also affect men especially those who become new fathers. The incidence is lower in men however between 1.2% and 25.5%. After carrying their first child, women are most susceptible in the first few months following delivery. Studies reveal a female prevalence ranging between 5%-25%.

While the symptoms of postpartum depression usually occur in the first few months, they can manifest anytime in the first year following delivery. Women complain of intense sadness and fatigue in performance of daily activities. There is hopelessness, low self-esteem, guilt and even a sensation of being overwhelmed by circumstances. Disturbances have been noted in both appetite and sleep cycles. Some cases are even resistant to counseling. Mental functions like speech and writing are impaired and spells of intense anger, frustration, panic attacks and anxiety occur. The sex drive is seriously reduced.

While all the causes of postpartum depression remain elusive, a number of elements have been determined as predictors of the illness. A history of depression seriously predisposes to this illness. This also includes any depressive episode during pregnancy. General stress in life especially, when the mother is single or, if married, unsupported by her spouse is a contributory factor.

Recognizing postpartum depression as a disease entity will lead to better understanding and much needed comfort from spouses and prevent unnecessary conflict borne of misunderstanding. Smoking should be discouraged. Screening for postpartum depression, which is regular in Canada, could be carried out worldwide. This way, risk factors can be quickly identified and corrective measures can be taken. Appropriate exercise and a balanced nutrition seem to play vital roles in preventing postpartum depression in particular, and depression in general. Experts suggest the inclusion of the following in a woman's diet: Omega-3 fatty acids, proteins, Vitamins especially of the B class and proper hydration. With recognition, proper dietary measures and moral support we can prevent the occurrence of postpartum depression.

Autoimmune Thyroiditis - How to Diagnose and How Long to Treat

Majority of patients in the age group of 12 to 25 years attending the out patient clinic of the Department of Endocrine Surgery, Government General Hospital,Chennai ( a tertiary care Hospital in South India) are suffering from Thyroiditis. Most of these patients seek medical aid when they develop a diffuse goiter. Some of them presented with palpitation and tremors without thyromegaly but the majority of patients presented with diffuse goiter in Hypothyroid state.

Investigations done to confirm the diagnosis: (1) FT3,FT4,TSH (2)Thyroid antibodies: Antimicrosomal antibody (TPO) and Anti thyroglobulin antibody(ATG) and (3) Fine Needle Aspiration Cytology

Thyroiditis is confirmed by positive Antimicrosomal Antibody titre (AMA). All Thyroiditis patients with diffuse goitre had elevated serum TSH with decreased FT3 & FT4 confirming Hypothyroid status.Hence,they were all treated with thryoxine 50 to 100mcg OD. Patients who presented with palpitation and tremors had elevated FT3 & FT4 associated with decreased TSH confirming that they were in the toxic phase of thyroiditis.Hence, those patients were treated with beta blocker propranolol.

AntiThyroglobulin antibody titre was used to differentiate Toxic phase of thyroiditis from Graves' disease. Toxic phase of thyroiditis is due to increased liberation of stored hormone in to the system, due to follicular damage and not due to increased production of thyroid hormone.Patients in toxic phase of thyroiditis developed severe hypothyroidism when treated with antithyroid drug carbimazole for a few weeks.

FNAC is a very useful investigation to confirm Thyroiditis. Cytology revealed Lymphocytic infiltration in all patients with thyroidtis.

AMA(TPO) titre became negative in most of our patients over a period of 12 to 18 months. Hence the treatment was given for the same period. Negative AMA(TPO) titre is an indication to withdraw the medical treatment.

Hubbie Help: Simple Ways A Husband Can Help A Pregnant Wife

Having a pregnant wife can be a stressful time for both the husband and the wife. The wife, though, bears the brunt of pregnancy's trials. A responsible husband should try his best to ease the burden off his spouse during this high-stress period.

Here are a few simple ways to help your pregnant wife through these troubling times:

1) Look Out For Her Health, Both Mentally And Physically

Your wife's health is very important. Pregnant women experience many changes, both physically and emotionally as they progress through their pregnancy. These changes can be sometimes not noticeable to the woman herself. Expecting fathers can be a big help by learning about the pregnancy progress and watching out for his partner's health. This can be done by encouraging her to eat a proper diet and avoiding cigarettes, alcohol and the use of unnecessary drugs.

A proper diet for a pregnant woman is for her to eat a variety of nutritious foods. Sharing in her diet would be helpful in having your pregnant wife maintain it. Focus on eating vegetables, fruits, grains, dairy products and meat. This can even go beyond the pregnancy and actually become a habit. Eating healthy is good for your body and your growing children may learn to adopt nutritious eating habits from you.

Smoking and alcohol have been both proven to have detrimental effects for children in the womb. If your wife is addicted to either, help her to quit as soon as possible. Also, second-hand smoke is also a great danger. Keep away from the smokes or quit altogether. This goes the same for alcohol; it's never wise to tempt your wife by drinking while she can't. As for unnecessary drug use, try to ask a doctor first before using any over-the-counter drugs to make sure no negative side-effects can result from it.

You should also take note of your wife's moodswings. Try helping her deal with her temperamental nature during her pregnancy. Be understanding. When she's depressed, cheer her up. When she's angry, calm her down. When she's insecure, have long talks with her to reassure her that you love her and your unborn child. Assisting your wife through these trying times is one of your primary duties as a husband.

2) Physical Activity

Exercise is another way for a husband to help his pregnant spouse. It can be fun and stress relieving. Remember to check with her doctor about an exercise regimen before beginning. Choose exercise that are not too strenuous or dangerous. Taking long walks with her would be an excellent choice; the scenery would relax her and your companionship would do wonders for her your relationship.

Also, helping with the housework is a great way to help your pregnant wife. Try doing the chores that involve heavy lifting or strenuous work. Have her skip any household job that requires the use of aerosols or products with strong fumes, like cleaning the bathroom or painting. Taking care of the family pet should also be your job. Quite a few animal-related sicknesses are a threat to your pregnant wife and unborn child's safety.

3) Preparing for Child Birth:

Taking childbirth preparation classes can hep you get ready for the big event. It also gives you the opportunity to discuss pregnancy with other pregnant couples in a less stressful environment than a doctor's office. Meeting other expecting couples also gives you the chance to swap stories and share the joys of the pregnancy.

Childbirth classes operate on the belief that the more you know about the pregnancy process, the less anxious you'd feel and the more you'd feel that you and your wife are in control.

There are three types of childbirth preparation classes. The Lamaze method is probably the most popular: it concentrates on helping to ease the pain of childbirth through breathing exercises and by educating the expecting couple. The Bradley method focuses more on educating the couple and giving the husband a more active part in the birthing process. The Leboyer method's primary interest is in the unborn child itself; trying to make it more comfortable for the baby both inside and outside the womb.

Whatever method you choose, the classes usually last from five to nine weeks. Check with your doctor or the local hospital on what classes are offered. No matter what method you and your wife choose, they all help your pregnant wife, and yourself, greatly with dealing with the pregnancy.

4) Take Care Of Yourself, Too:

Focusing on your wife is important, but try to take care of yourself, too. It wouldn't do for your wife to see you as a nervous wreck. Pay attention to your own moods, needs and worries. Talking with your pregnant wife about your concerns can ease some of that worry. Discussion with your wife can help ease the stress and assist you both in weathering the ups and downs of the pregnancy.

Hopefully, these simple pointers help you on your trip towards fatherhood and help you and your wife to experience and appreciate the joys of pregnant life more.

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