Saturday, February 1, 2014

The Secrets in Having a Healthy and Happy Baby

The bond between a mother and her baby starts at the moment of conception. This is the stage where they begin to respond to each other. What a mother feels has a direct effect on her baby. Her actions and reactions at this point can affect the development of her unborn baby. It is advised that during pregnancy, the mother must constantly feel happy and content so that the baby will feel the same way. This is where the role of a father starts. While women are responsible for the overall development of the unborn child, men must ensure the emotional stability of their partner. It is primarily their responsibility to love, to care, to secure and to understand their partner.

There are several ways to ensure your baby's good health and happiness even at the stage of pregnancy.

1. Think Happy Thoughts. Keeping a positive attitude on things while conceiving is important. A mother and her baby do share the same emotions. This is because of the hormones that are connecting the mother and her baby. The hormonal imbalances due to emotions and a mother's feelings will be shared to her baby as well.

2. Watch the tone of your voice. A baby would not be able to decipher what an action means but would depend on facial expression. In the same way, an unborn child responds to voice tone rather than speech. A baby can feel the love and care when talking in a loving tone. Studies show that instrumental and lullabies can even help relax an unborn child.

3. Take good care of yourself. The health and development of the baby is dependent on the mother. By taking good care of yourself, you are also taking care of your little one.

The big question that goes out to all the couples would be, "Are you ready to take care of your delicate little baby?" Having all the help you can get is important at this stage. There are pregnancy books that will share tips and techniques in caring for yourself and your baby - Not only while conceiving but also after you give birth. A highly recommended sample of a book under this category would be "Pregnancy Miracle". It provides a step by step procedure of everything you need to know from ways to conceive naturally to having a healthy and happy baby.

5 Natural Cures For Depression - Which One is Right For You?

Everyone's looking for natural cures for depression and why wouldn't you be? They offer hope of providing relief without the side-effects of anti-depressant medications, and they may even be able to treat the depression's underlying cause.

Let's take a look at 5 natural cures for depression:

1) Omega 3 Supplements: Omega 3 is a fatty acid that we have to get from our diets because our bodies can't make it. Many people living in the western society suffer from a deficiency of this fatty acid because of our poor diets and the way our food is produced. An omega 3 deficiency can be involved in depression, autism, Alzheimer's disease, violent behavior, obsessive compulsive disorder, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and postnatal depression. Omega 3 fish oil supplements can treat this deficiency.

2) L- Tryptophan or 5HTP: L-tryptophan and 5HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan) are amino acids which help make serotonin in the body. It is believed that depression is caused in many cases by a serotonin deficiency. L-Tryptophan or 5HTP supplements may help raise your body's natural level of serotonin and therefore improve your mood.

3) Adrenal herbs: Adrenal herbs such as ginseng can also be used to treat depression. These types of herbs are most effective in those people that are suffering from depression because their adrenal glands are overworked, worn out or stressed out. If stress was or is a contributing factor in the onset of your depression you may need to get your adrenal gland's function tested and treated. Adrenal herbs are one way in which the adrenal glands can be supported.

4) SAMe: SAMe (S-adenosyl-methionine) is a molecule that is involved in a key process in the body known as methylation. Methylation is known to help balance neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine. When the methylation cycle in the body is over or under active it can lead to depression, anxiety, panic attacks, addictions and suicidal tendencies. SAMe can help some people with depression that are 'undermethylators', but the problem is that it can have negative affects on those that have an overactive methylation cycle.

5) Remove foods from your diet that your are allergic or sensitive to: One often overlooked cause of depression is food allergies and sensitivities. By diagnosing those foods that you react to, and then removing these from your diet, it can alleviate or even cure your depression. Consider doing an elimination diet to find out what foods are affecting you. Alternatively, have a food allergy or sensitivity test performed.

So there's just a sample of the natural cures for depression that are available. I know it can be overwhelming choosing which natural supplement or strategy to take, not to mention time consuming, frustrating and expensive. Another problem with supplements is that if you don't take them at the right dose (even if they are the right supplement for you) they still might not work. So would you like some advice?

The fastest way to find effective treatments or cures for depression is finding out whether your depression has a physical or biochemical cause. Biochemical causes of depression are so often overlooked and doctors unfortunately don't spend the time ruling them all out. The great thing however is that once a physical cause of your depression has been discovered it can be treated specifically. For example, if you are found to have an omega 3 deficiency then an omega 3 supplement would be the best treatment to start with to help resolve your depression. For those that have a hormonal deficiency that is contributing to your depression, if you define what hormone is out of balance (thyroid, estrogen, testosterone etc.) you can then find the right herb or hormone medication to treat it.

Natural cures for depression can work. The biggest challenge however is finding out which one is right for you.

Tips For Pregnancy: Considering Fertility Treatments To Get Pregnant

If you have been trying to conceive without any success, it may be time that considered the various fertility treatments for pregnancy. There are various fertility treatments available for women who are trying to have a baby, with some having a greater success rate than others. Some are also riskier than others. Here is how to go about it when trying to get pregnant.

The first step that you should take when trying to conceive through fertility treatments is to talk to your partner. This is important for various reasons. The first reason is that most of these treatments can be very expensive. As a result, it is important that you and your partner be on the same page as far as the financial repercussions are concerned. You will also be in need of the moral and mental support through the period when you are trying to conceive since some of the treatments may cause a lot of stress. There is also the added strain of demanding treatments that call for commitment. Having your partner on your side will make the process of becoming pregnant manageable.

Speaking with a medical professional whom you trust is advisable before visiting the fertility clinic. When trying to conceive, most women usually make the mistake of going to the fertility clinic without consulting with a medical professional. This is a mistake since fertility clinics have a vested interest in the various fertility treatments that they offer. They are usually motivated to promote the fertility treatments and thus may end up not giving you a clear picture of the risks involved and the success rates of the treatments for pregnancy. A medical professional whom you trust will give you a clear picture of the treatments and he or she may even suggest better alternatives. When trying to conceive, a physician can also give you recommendations of good specialists or clinics in the field.

Before visiting a fertility clinic or specialist, develop a list of questions that you may wish to ask. This will help you to make sure that you have all your worries, concerns and expectations addressed during the real visit. On visiting the clinic, you should also tell them your history so far as trying to conceive is concerned. Talk to the specialist about everything concerning your heath and efforts of getting pregnant. You should also ask about the various treatments for fertility that the clinic or specialist offers. Do not forget to ask about the prices, insurance requirements, side effects of the treatments and the visits required. This will be important to remember. You should however not be obligated to commit to any particular treatment before you are ready. Trying to conceive may be a challenge, but fertility treatment and clinics may be the solution to your problems.

Making Decisions About Maternity Insurance Plans

Making Decisions about Maternity Insurance Plans

Personal health care insurance policies that cover maternity expenses including OB/GYN and the high expenses for new baby ward tend to be much more expensive than similar policies that do not don't consider pregnancy expenses a covered expense. Some of our policy holders pay as much as four hundred extra every month for coverage for pregnancy costs.

Maternity Insurance: When should you add or drop coverage?

In a perfect world, you should be able to add maternity coverage just before you conceive and drop it the day after your final visit with your post pardum visit. However the issue of pre existing conditions and unplanned pregnancy can make your choice of when to change to another health insurance plan more difficult.

Pre-existing Conditions and Pregnancy Coverage

Pregnancy insurance cannot necessarily be added or dropped at any time. If you want to save money by eliminating your maternity coverage and buying a health insurance coverage that does not cover the medical expenses you incur because you are pregnant, you may have a tough time if you have a medical condition. This is also the case when you want to move to an insurance plan that covers maternity. A current pregnancy is considered a preexisting health condition Therefore, if you are pregnant when you apply for your policy or on your policy's effective date, you will be turned down by most private ,medical insurance companies.

A Maternity Insurance Strategy

Many families will do better when they buy with separate policies. Often a plan that will cover maternity will have other coverage which they will find unnecessary. Often the wife should get separate health insurance plan than her husband and the rest of the family.

This works well for most families. However, larger families will usually do better when they purchase one healthcare. Other factors sometimes make a difference. A good personal health insurance broker should be able to help you decide which option is best for you and your family.

Should you buy Maternity Insurance Now?

Not knowing when or if you might have an unplanned pregnancy and when or if you will develop a medical issue which thereby makes it impossible to get an underwritten medical insurance plan makes that a difficult question to answer. I hope that the the article you are reading makes it easier to make an informed decision. Without the ability to know the future, making a perfect decision is not possible.

Post-Natal Care For New Mothers In Asian Cultures

Practices have also evolved over time and are quite different from those of a generation ago, especially in Chinese culture. In the nineteen forties and fifties, a new mother used to be confined to her bedroom during the confinement period which begins from the moment the baby is born until the baby reaches full moon or is a month old. She could not wash her hair during that period and could not leave the house for fear of wind entering her body and cause her to have aches and pains later on in life.

The confinement period was an enforced period of rest for the new mother so that she could recover from the ordeal of childbirth and recover her strength. A woman with specialized knowledge of herbs and confinement food is employed to look after the mother's diet and to look after the baby day and night so that the mother has proper sleep and rest. She will stay with the family for the whole month and is paid a tidy sum for her services. Such services were in great demand and an expectant mother would book way in advance to ensure that when her delivery time is at hand, there would be someone to look after her needs and the baby.

These days, there is some flexibility. After ten days or so, the new mother may wash her hair using special bath water. Her bath is usually water boiled with a concoction of certain herbs that will draw out the wind from her body. No cold water or water straight from the tap is used.

Special food and wine are included in her diet. Chicken and wood ear fungus cooked in sesame oil and lots of ginger and glutinous rice wine is a daily staple. She can take only certain vegetables and fruit such as apples, guava and papaya. She is also given special soups which will promote breast milk production if she is breast feeding. Everyday, free range chicken is steamed with special herbs in a double boiler to get the pure chicken essence. This is especially nutritious and invigorating.

However it can be quite hard to acquire such personalized services nowadays as many of those women specialized in caring for the baby and new mother have retired and are no longer available. A new niche market has sprung up where women entrepreneurs have opened up confinement homes.

These homes offer confinement services to new mothers who want to ensure that they have enough sleep and rest which they may not get at home if they have young children in their families or if there is not enough room in their houses. These homes offer single rooms which give you privacy, or twin bedded rooms. The market price varies from a few thousand dollars to more, depending on the type of room you choose. Everything is taken care of, all meals provided and the baby looked after day and night. Baby diapers and formula ( if the mother is not breastfeeding ) are also provided. These homes are run professionally like a business and the experienced confinement ladies also impart their knowledge of rituals and taboos. Traditional massage is also available.

Many Chinese new mothers are availing themselves of this confinement home service because of its convenience. Depending on the size of the home, it can accommodate up to eight mothers.

However, in Malay culture and I believe the Indian culture too, the traditional practices are more strictly adhered to. There is also the confinement period where the new mother has to rest and partake of a special diet and herbal baths. Lemon grass and ginger feature because of their properties, especially dispelling wind from the body.

The new mother in Malay culture has traditional massage that will reduce the wind in her belly and I remember the lady who came to give me the massage, used a hot brick wrapped in a towel to warm my belly before massaging with some oil. After that a long piece of cloth specially sewn, was wrapped round my tummy to flatten it. I was not allowed to take a bath during my first confinement. The purpose of the massage is to drive the wind out, to shrink the uterus and to give me back my waistline. This traditional massage is still practiced today and the new mothers of Malay ethnicity also consume jamu ( specially prepared herbs )which will help them to regain their strength and figure. Being Chinese, I didn't take jamu but followed the Chinese diet under the strict eyes of my grandmother and confinement lady.

At the end of the confinement period, the new mother is left to her own resources. Those who are working may still be on maternity leave and would use this time to bond with their babies. The Chinese usually have a big celebration where a dinner party is organized to introduce the new-born to relatives and friends. One tradition still observed by some families today is the giving out of red eggs, a slice of roast pork and yellow ( derived from turmeric )glutinous rice. If a dinner is held, then only the red eggs are given. In return, the baby receives an ang pow (red envelope containing money). In the yester years, when the price of gold was still affordable, the new baby would be given gold jewellery by close relatives.

Features of an International Student Health Insurance Plan

It is almost foolish to go abroad and not have a visitors' medical insurance. The reason is simple. The costs of the country you are visiting might be relatively higher than your home country. Your medical coverage doesn't extend to foreign countries which means you are practically without a medical insurance when you are abroad.

With higher chances of falling sick in a new country, one is adding lot of unpredictability to their budget by not taking up a visitors medical insurance which is available from a small time period of about 5 days to a long duration of up to 1 year.

If you are a student studying abroad, especially in a more expensive country, you might find it hard to get financial air and private loans for your studies itself. Adding your medical costs will be a huge burden.

An international student health insurance plan has many benefits at very low premium. Different types of students like research scholars, exchange program members and full time and part time students have different discounts.

An international student health insurance plan offers coverage with monthly payments and more than suffices for all the requirements of school and government.

The student plan enables coverage as huge as $300000. Besides this, students also get coverage for prescription medication which means they do not have to worry about going to doctors for preventive measures and suspecting illnesses.

Coverage for Sports and Pre-existing conditions - Two major benefits

The international student health insurance is valuable because it provides coverage for pre-existing conditions as well which is usually not available for most other policies. Similarly sports benefits and accidental injuries while playing sports are also covered which is a huge plus for the students.

This plan has other benefits too. That includes the ability to renew the plan and also manage the plan online. The application process is very simple and hence the policy is available very soon. There is a waiting period of 12 months on pre existing conditions, though which might differ from the rules of the school.

Other Benefits

If you have an international student health insurance plan you need to pay a deductible of only $100 which gets halved in the health center for students. The student also gets around $350 for every injury or illness in case of hospitalization. Else the student receives a sum of $100 for injury.

Students also get 50% of actual charge for medication through prescription. The international student health insurance plan also includes maternity and newborn care if conception of the child is one a date after the coverage's effective date. This also includes costs due to pregnancy complications or miscarriage expenses.

The insurance plan is very good for students especially because it covers sports and also minor health problems involving dental issues or mental issues.

These considerations e.g. pregnancy and complications during that period make the insurance plans suitable for students and are very beneficial for a minor cost of around $30 per month which most students can afford.

Friday, January 31, 2014

I'm a Woman and My Hair is Thinning in the Front at the Bangs - What Should I Do?

The other day I received an email from someone who said that she had noticed a lot of thinning of the hair in her bang area - so much so that you could see the white of her scalp where her bangs met the top of her head. She asked me what could be causing this and what she should do about it. I'll tell you what I told her in the following article.

Things That Can Cause Your Hair To Thin In The Front: The first thing that I asked her was if she had noticed any increase in the amount of hair that she had been shedding or losing. As the bangs are often more sparse to begin with, this can be one of the first places that you notice over all thinning or shedding. And, telogen effluvium (TE) is a condition that occurs because of changes in your body. In females, common culprits are changing hormones, stress, pregnancy, giving birth, going off of birth control pills, thyroid issues, and other things. Typically, it takes a couple of months between the stress or change on your body until you start to notice more hair coming out. As I said, the bangs are one place where you will start to see the thinning first since this area has less hair to begin with. If you have this condition, you will often know it because you will shed hair all over - not just in the front. And, you will see more clothes on the floor, on your clothes, and in your brush.

Genetic Hair Thinning In The Front: Men's genetic thinning will often manifest itself in the temples when we are talking about the front of the scalp. Women though, often notice a thinning in their bang area. This is due to hormones also, but it's often not a lack of hormones or even an excess or hormones. It is a sensitivity to the normal presence of hormones that increase as we age. It doesn't' happen to everyone. Generally speaking, you will have a genetic tendency toward this sensitivity and the front of the scalp (as well as the crown, temples, and part line) are particularly susceptible to this.

What You Can Do About Thinning In The Front: First off, you need to pinpoint why this is happening. If this is run of the mill TE, then generally what you have to give is just time in cases like giving birth or stress. However, if this is due to medical or other condition that you can treat and improve then you should certainty do that. This is important because this condition is not likely to improve if you don't treat it or don't treat the correct cause of it.

If it is a genetic issue that we are talking about, then you will have to work on reducing your sensitivity to the androgens which are the cornerstone of this issue. Many people will try to eliminate their presence from the scalp, but this is really impossible. Your scalp will continue to produce them and as long as the sensitivity is there, you will still have the problem. It's far better to work on both reducing them (if your levels are too high to be healthy) and on reducing the sensitivity.

Also, you will want to take a look at and then reduce any inflammation. Often, the inflammatory process is present in both TE and in androgen driven loss. There are many natural substances that work well for this. (Tea tree oil, emu oil, lavender, etc.) Finally, you will want to really focus on stimulating your scalp to reproduce healthy hair in that area. Once the androgens are being treated, you must pounce on this window of opportunity to stimulate the follicles because the longer that they are not producing adequate regrowth, the harder it becomes to reignite this process.

In the meantime, there are powders that can cover the white of your scalp like topik and couvre. They do help. And, you can try growing out your bangs so that the area where scalp meets bang isn't so noticeable. But, this things will only take you so far. Eventually, you will need to take the next step and figure out what is causing this and fix it.

Menopause and Mood Swings: You Don't Have to Live With Them

Hormones play a role in mood swings during menopause. Your body is undergoing a large number of hormonal transitions. Estrogen influences the production of a mood regulating neurotransmitter known as serotonin. Not only does it increase the sensitivity of serotonin receptors, it also increases receptor levels. All can lead to the mood changes commonly associated with this stage of life.

PMS & Postpartum Depression

If you have had symptoms of PMS (pre-menstrual tension) in the past, you are more likely to suffer from mood swings and hot flashes along with other hormonal changes. Women who suffered from postpartum depression (depression that occurs in the first few months after childbirth) or noticed emotional changes during pregnancy may be more predisposed to menopause and mood changes. Hormone treatment options are available and should be discusses with your doctor if you fall into this category.

Sleep Disturbance And Menopausal Symptoms

Sleep deprivation can increase symptoms of menopause and mood changes and anyone who wakes up from night sweats may be suffering from this. Further, as you get older, you are more likely to suffer from a sleep disturbance.

If you are under stress, this can affect normal sleep patterns. Ideally, you need to get at least seven hours of sleep each night to keep mood swings from becoming an issue during menopause. Learn how to better manage your stress and speak to your doctor if sleep is an issue, so you can get a good night's sleep and reduce those mood fluctuations.

Diet, Menopause And Mood Swings

Your diet may be playing a role in the mood swings. If you are taking in too much sugar, you will often find that your mood tends to fluctuate more. This is due to the roller-coaster effect that too much sugar has upon insulin regulation in the body. The same is true if you are taking in stimulants such as caffeine or if you consume alcohol. Some simple changes to your diet may be all you need to have your mood levelling out again.

Many things can play a role in Menopause and mood swings. Hormones, a lack of sleep and an improper diet are just three of them. You can greatly improve your mood by eliminating certain foods from your diet. You can reduce stress by learning relaxation techniques, which in turn will greatly improve your sleep. Menopause does not have to be a trial if you know what to do and where to seek help.

Baby Tips For the New Dad

If you are a new dad, your probably freaking out right about now. That cute little baby seems so calm and serene right up until the point of the late night wails that awaken you out of your deep slumber. Not only does your wife become more frazzled but, you feel virtually inept and helpless as to how you can assist your breastfeeding wife and this little bundle of joy. You need guidance, without having to feel like less of a man by asking others for advice. So here are some tips as to how to care for your new baby:

1. First, you must realize that the first couple of months may make you feel second in line. Only the mother can breastfeed, and her maternal instincts are kicking into overdrive by trying to care for the baby's every need. However, new dad, you may not be able to breastfeed the baby, but you can still feel important by changing the diapers, rocking the baby to sleep, caring for a crying baby, and etc... Do not let yourself feel second in line. Not only will you feel better about your parenting skills, your wife will greatly appreciate the help.

2. Since the baby's routine in the first couple of weeks is to eat, sleep, cry, and poop every couple of hours, alternate caring for the baby with your wife. You both will benefit greatly from this tagged team effort. You will not only get more sleep, you both will be less irritable and happier loving parents. If you work during the day, when you get home, watch the baby so she can sleep for a couple of hours. At night, let her care for the baby for a couple of hours so your refreshed for work. Make sure you offer this to your wife! This is a no lose situation. (Just remember, from here on out you will get less sleep than you ever had before the baby!)

3. This next one is very important. Not only has your wife's body changed in many ways, she may be suffering from the postpartum blues as her emotions act like a roller coaster. Simple things like telling your wife how beautiful she is, and how proud you are of her being such a great mother will make her feel happier, and lessen the brunt of insults that may fly your way. And if your caught in the cross hairs of these emotions, let the emotion-filled words slide right off your back and continue to show your love to her. This is the true test of being a good husband, dad, and a man.

4. Finally, no manual in the world can tell you how to raise the perfect child. You may learn what the best food to feed your baby is, or the latest safest toys, but parenting comes from first-hand experience. Everyone makes mistakes and no one is perfect. Not your wife, your mother, father, or even you. Stop trying to live up to these idealistic fantasies of how to be the perfect dad. He does not exist. What you can do, is make a conscious decision to love your child endlessly no matter what, and to support him or her through thick and thin. Just try your best and at the end of the day hopefully you can learn from your mistakes.

Umbrella Companies: A Tax Guide

Every penny counts in this day and age, and getting the most out of your earnings as a contractor is now more important than ever. Joining an umbrella rather than an agency payroll can offer a number of benefits and help you save money in the long run.

Tax efficiency.

Administrative assistance in dealing with taxation issues can save a lot worry for the contractor. An Umbrella Company can give you the assistance you need, leaving you free to pursue your professional talents, and help to avoid some late nights too.

Joining an umbrella payroll can also help you make the most out of reclaiming on-the-job expenses which may be difficult or even impossible if you are engaged as an agency employee instead.

As contractor accountants Umbrella Companies can make sure that you are meeting all the right tax obligations and will arrange for tax contributions to be taken out of your pay and handed straight over to HMRC.

Moving on to an umbrella payroll can give you the benefits of acting as part of a limited company without the responsibilities, administration costs or extra hassle. As specialist contractor accountants Umbrella companies can also help you to deal with smoothing out any problems with IR35 legislation.

If you choose to operate under an umbrella you will still need to pay income tax, Employee and Employers National Insurance contributions, under the PAYE system. However your Umbrella Company should be able to help you get tax relief on some of your expenses and legally save money on your taxes in the long run.

There are other benefits of working for an Umbrella Company too, such as holiday, maternity, paternity and sick pay based on your rate of earning, helping you to deal with both the planned and the unexpected. However, you will not always qualify for these payments, so you should check with the company of your choice.

To join an Umbrella Company you will usually have to pay a small regular fee through periods of work. Costs will very from company to company.

Working as a contractor can be very rewarding, giving you more autonomy to choose when you work and who you work for, as well as offering more flexible working hours. An Umbrella Company can give you the assistance and support that you need to help you through some of the more difficult issues of self-employment and allow you to focus on what you do best as a contractor.

Don't Spread the Depression Virus

Did you know that depression affects approximately 18.8 million American adults in a given year? The holidays can be particularly difficult. Those who have struggled with depression say that they'd rather be physically sick than depressed, those who've never been depressed should count their blessings! But I can guarantee that you still have felt its icy fingers of impact, because someone you love is probably suffering from depression right now.

One of the fastest-growing markets for anti-depression medication is for preschoolers, it is estimated that at least four percent of preschoolers-that is over one million-are clinically depressed. It's as if they are catching a virus of depression from their teachers, parents, older siblings, or caregivers. The rate of increase in depression among school-age children is even more astonishing at 23 percent.

Just last week I was sitting on the couch looking at my Christmas tree. I wanted one more look before I started to take it down, so I turned on the lights and sat there for a few minutes. It's just an artificial blue spruce, about six feet tall, with tiny white lights and white garland. It really is nothing but a bunch of "bling."

I thought about my older daughter's question on Christmas Eve. We'd gone to her house and the first thing she asked was, "did you put up a tree?" What a strange question for a grown daughter with a family who has two trees in her own big house, why would she wonder if we'd put up a tree?... And then I'd remembered my younger daughter's question earlier in the month, she was checking on our house while we were away and she wanted to know if she could turn on our Christmas tree lights. She, too, has a lovely family with their own tree. So, what was so important about their parents having a Christmas tree?

I continued to think about the tree and all the memories it conjured up. I really do have an excuse to be a little depressed, I thought. I've lost my job, a job I really loved, and I miss my friends and associations from that job, and the income. But, in spite of the memories, and no assurance for the future, I feel joyful; it's explainable only in the fact that I have faithfully followed my eight-question depression-busting plan. Using these questions to check my attitude and behavior I put myself back on track every time I feel the slightest twinge of depression.

Eight-Question Depression-Busting Plan

1. Nutrition, am I eating the right things? Things to avoid are sugar, preservatives, and highly-processed food. These foods may y let you down, leaving you with food cravings, and feelings of guilt for eating too much.

2. Exercise, am I getting enough exercise? Exercise gives your brain an opportunity to rejuvenate. This actually will elevate your mood and give you a sense of well being.

3. Water, am I drinking enough water? Water carries necessary nutrients to all parts of your body and flushes out toxins.

4. Sunlight, am I getting enough sunlight? You may be a borderline seasonally-affected depressant; it is hard in the winter with shorter days to get enough sunlight. Taking additional vitamin D and using a light; box may help.

5. Temperance, am I being temperate in all that I do? Another word for temperance is balance. Am I being balanced in all that I do? Am I working too hard? Am I eating too much? Avoid harmful substances altogether.

6. Air, am I getting fresh air? Air that is full of mold spores and dust can precipitate illness, which leads to cold remedies and pain killers; it is now believed that acetaminophen may cause feelings of depression.

7. Rest, am I getting enough rest? Sleep, often hard to come by in our fast-paced lives, maybe the most important activity you're missing. Known to help control appetite, you can loose weight just by getting enough sleep. So avoid too much stimulus (exercise, exciting TV shows, caffeine), and establishing a bedtime routine, even if you don't sleep, stay there for eight hours.

8. Trust in your Higher Power, am I spending time in the word? Am I filling my soul with faith or fear food? Until you make feeding your spirit the same priority as feeding your body you will struggle with depression. It is a natural response to the unpredictable world in which we live.

Try this plan and you too, can stop the spread of depression.

References and Further Reading

National Institute for Mental Health, The Numbers Count: Mental Illness in America, Science on Our Minds Fact Sheet Series

Study published in Psychiatric Services, April 2004. Reported in our health news archive: Pill-Popping Pre-Schoolers and Even Toddlers Get the Blues.
Harvard University study reported in Harvard Mental Health Newsletter, February 2002.

How Pregnancy and Death Relates to Infidelity in Marriage - You Need to Know This!

Does Your Risky History Put You At Risk for A Sexual Affair?

Family situations and personal challenges are unbelievably influential in whether or not someone is going to cheat, but what about personal risk? Does depression increase the possibility of your husband cheating? What if he loses his job, or someone close to him dies?

According to Christian relationship expert Dave Carders, situational factors definitely influence a person's potential to cheat on their significant other. "Often there are situational factors that weigh heavily into the initiation of [infidelity]," he writes in his bestselling book Close Calls. "Two of these areas are high-risk times and high-risk behaviors."

High-Risk Times

High-risk times refer to great times of stress and change in relationships. Many times, these times are life-altering and require major adjustment on one's part in order to fully absorb the changes that are made to their routines.

Death or Loss

Death of a loved one is a common high-risk time for people. Research has indicated that spouses and couples actually experience an increase in their sex life following the death of a loved one.

Many times, both parties in the marriage or relationship will experience difficulty connecting because they're both in mourning during this period. They may preserve their energy in order to work through the day instead of expending effort in consoling one another.

As we've discussed before, men have a real pattern of using sex to comfort themselves. If they're not getting emotional support and care from their wives at home, there's potential for them to seek outside refuge in the arms of another woman, as having sex will still release oxytocin, which comforts them and makes them feel less "alone" in times of need.


There are several reasons why pregnancy carries an increased risk of infidelity in men. First and foremost, a man is adjusting to the fact that the relationship isn't all about him anymore; he now has to share the spotlight with another person, his own child. Second, he has to spend an extra amount of time catering to the woman carrying his child for the approximately 9 weeks or so that she's carrying the child.

To add to this, women usually go through a lot during their pregnancies. Hormones shift and change, and women can become emotionally unstable, sensitive and possess lower libidos, resulting in a lack off sexual desire. In turn, the changes which take place in the female's body, such as weight gain, make her less visually appealing to her husband, and therefore divert his sexual desire away from her.

Once the baby comes, pressures of being a new parent add strain to the relationship. Many women experience postpartum depression, while others become completely consumed with the baby and lose desire to connect with their partners. Resentment, stress and the need to "get away from it all" can cause an otherwise great man to cheat - all because he wants attention that he feels is no longer readily available to him.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Five Important Tips For Fetal Development

In my work in family medicine, I see a lot of expectant mothers. I'm often surprised at how much misinformation is out there about proper nutrition during pregnancy, and in particular about Essential Fatty Acids during pregnancy.

Essential Fatty Acids are so-called because they move oxygen through our blood, they help in cell and brain development, and they keep organs and tissue healthy. One of the most crucial Essential Fatty Acids for fetal development is Omega 3 docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). This Omega 3 (not to be confused with Omega 3 EPA or ALA) is the primary structural component of brain tissue.

What follows are five important tips for fetal development:

1. DHA is a basic building block for your baby's brain. The Omega-3 DHA is a critical component n the development of your baby's brain, spinal cord, eyes, and nervous system. Adequate amounts of DHA help to prevent allergies in children who are at risk for them, and also increases birth size and weight. It also increases your baby's coordination and motor skills.

2. Your body naturally gives all its DHA to your fetus. It's part of the miracle of birth - your body instinctively gives your fetus all the resources it needs for optimal fetal development, even if that means that it robs you of the nutrients you need. For most mothers who are deficient in DHA, this manifests itself as postpartum depression, or in brain shrinkage (also known as 'mommy brain'.)

3. Mothers who got more Omega 3s in their last trimester had smarter babies. A recent study of over 11,000 pregnant women in England showed that mothers who got more Omega 3s during pregnancy had babies with higher IQs and better social development, including fewer incidences of ADD. Infants who had insufficient supply had lower fine motor skills, less developed communication skills, and social behavior issues that could be measured for years after birth.

4. Baby's development continues through breastfeeding. If you choose to breastfeed, you are the only source of nutrition for your baby. Since your baby's development is continuing rapidly at this time, it is critical that you are getting enough DHA to supply your baby with enough for optimal growth, without depleting your reserves to critical levels. If you are deficient, discuss using an Omega 3 enhanced baby formula with your physician.

5. Prenatal vitamins generally do not contain Omega 3. It is a source of unending frustration to doctors, but prenatal vitamins rarely contain DHA. With more than 98% of women not getting enough Omega 3 in their diet to properly support themselves and their developing babies, it is very important that women are aware of this lack and are looking to make up for it through diet or supplementation.

Most women are conscious of the FDA's recommendation that expecting mothers and children avoid certain types of fish. This is because of a risk of mercury contamination, found especially in large fish that feed on other fish.

One way to avoid mercury contamination during this critical time of development is to take an Omega 3 supplement. It is vital that you ensure you are getting a molecularly-distilled supplement that is certified by independent parties to be pure and free of toxins.

Also, ensure that you are getting the recommended dose of Omega 3 for expecting mothers.

Contractors - Employee Benefit Trust Vs Umbrella Company

It has been the tradition for contractors to refuse efforts to make them into regular PAYE employees. Contractors enjoy additional earnings and a more flexible working schedule (should they choose of course) However, they haven't had the same benefits given to full time, permanent employees. That is where an Employee Benefit Trust (EBT) steps in. Umbrella companies offer statutory benefits to contractors, which include:

  • Holiday pay

  • Maternity and paternity leave benefits

  • Statutory sick pay commensurate with regular employees

  • Guaranteed minimum wage or above and minimum weekly hours

  • Redundancy payments

  • Contractors may have no employee rights with their clients, but an umbrella company (EBT) that genuinely employs its contractors provides the full range of employee's rights.

All umbrella companies are not the same. The Pay As You Earn (PAYE) model sees the worker as an employee for income tax purposes. The agency deducts National Insurance Contributions and income taxes before payment to the contractor, even though the contractor isn't an actual employee. Other companies claiming to be umbrella companies provide the contractors an employee benefit trust paid into an offshore account. Neither offshore accounts nor agency PAYE models may give contractors employment rights. Many companies offering EBT style solutions claim to save contractors money.

Legitimate umbrella companies such as Parasol, Equity Incentives, Streets LLP, etc., which do provide an "actual" employment model for their contractors, follow all employment benefits specified by statute. They are usually members of recognized trade bodies and regularly pass vigorous membership compliance requirements. Those companies under trade body membership, provide contractors ongoing holiday pay.

Legitimate umbrella companies act as a "regular" employer. Now when a contractor needs a mortgage reference, he has a company that can give one, and an HR department to process the request. Support for grievances and disciplinary procedures are also provided if questions come up between the contractor and the client.

Quality employee benefit trust companies have stringent requirements for their contractors. This ensures that the contractor hasn't gone beyond expense limits with past clients or left tax bills unpaid. After working with an umbrella company for a period of time, that company will increase minimum payments to the contractor at times when they aren't in statutory redundancy pay or in a contract.

Reputable umbrella companies make benefits available, provide stability, and support for the contractor that regular contracting doesn't. This arrangement still offers higher earnings and a more flexible schedule than a permanent, full-time job. The contractors needn't worry about office politics, or fighting for the next promotion.

California Pregnancy Disability - 7 Months With a 45% Pay Cut

California has the nation's richest pregnancy and maternity benefits. Four separate laws combine to provide up to seven months of partially paid, job protected leave should the need arise. But the partial pay of 55% means a 45% pay cut during this time. You can better survive a seven-month job hiatus by purchasing supplemental disability insurance before getting pregnant.

Four separate California laws combine to create up to seven months of job protected, partially paid leave. The California pregnancy disability protects your job for up to four months before your delivery should you experience complications. The CA Family Rights Act provides a fresh set of twelve weeks (nearly three months) of job protected leave after your delivery. The California State Disability Insurance (SDI) and Paid Family Leave provide partial income replacement during your pregnancy disability, and maternity leave.

Both the state disability and paid family leave provides a maximum of 55% income replacement up to a hard dollar cap of $987 per week in 2010. At minimum you will be facing at least a 45% pay cut during this time. If your income exceeds $93,316 annually, you will hit the hard dollar cap and your pay cut will exceed 45%.

Seven months at a 45% pay cut can severely damage a family finances, especially when the additional expenses of feeding, clothing, and raising a newborn get added into the picture. Purchase supplemental short term disability insurance before getting pregnant. Your normal labor and delivery will be a covered benefit, and you will close the gap on your big pay cut should the need arise for seven months of missed work.

Avoiding Top Two Bad Habits to Help You Get Pregnant

Two of the major reasons why a woman has a low chance of getting pregnant is having a high level of stress and smoking too much cigarette. When you are planning to get pregnant, it is best to stay away from stressful activities and vices.

Having a high stress level can lessen the chance of a woman to get pregnant significantly. This is according to research. There is a study that shows, stressed women are less likely to get pregnant compared to calm women. So, if you try to get pregnant, you should stay away from stressful activities and do more relaxing activities like yoga.

Here are simple tips to get pregnant, relax and unwind. Do this with your partner when you are planning to get pregnant. The more relaxed you are the higher the chance for conception. You should go out with your partner for yoga, exercise, and even a good vacation. With this there will be a big chance for success when you try to get pregnant. Counseling and meditation may even be great for other people.

Eating the right food can also help lessen the stress and increase the chance of getting pregnant. Eating fruits and vegetables is advisable if you are planning to get pregnant. Drinking the right amount of water is also very helpful.

When you try to get pregnant, you should be calm. Because stress may affect some of the most vital hormones and organs in your body needed for conception. That is why increasing the sexual pleasure may also help reduce stress.

After knowing how important it is to be stress-free when planning to get pregnant, knowing how important it is to avoid vices is next. Alcohol, illegal drugs and cigarettes must be avoided in order to increase fertility.

Among these three vices, cigarette smoking is one of the leading reasons for infertility. It affects, not only the woman's, but also the man's fertility. It may also lead to miscarriage and other complications during pregnancy.

If you are planning to get pregnant, one of the most important tips to get pregnant is quit smoking. Smoking does not only affect your health, but your infant's health as well. Cigarette has many toxins that may enter your bloodstream which may eventually lead to your reproductive organ where your baby may be. The nicotine is one of the major elements of the cigarette which is very harmful to you and your baby. It can narrow down veins including the umbilical cord. This means you are taking away oxygen from your baby.

Lowering your cigarette habit is not enough, because the slightest intake of nicotine can already affect your blood vessel harming your baby or lowering your fertility. When your baby is born, there will be in bad condition. Like being underweight, having lung problems or having deformities.

If you are planning to get pregnant, you should first plan on how to quit smoking. There are many different programs that can help you quit smoking. But ultimately, it is your own decision whether you will quit or not. Just make a decision on what is more important to you, your cigarette or having a baby.

Second hand smoking is also bad for your fertility. It is also very bad for your baby. So stay away from people who smoke. If your partner is smoking, he should also be disciplined enough to quit. He must do this for his family's sake.

When you try to get pregnant, you should be healthy. Staying out of stress and avoiding vices are the best things to do to stay healthy.

Staying healthy may increase your chance of getting pregnant. All you have to do is follow these tips to get pregnant, to have a successful conception and delivery.

There are many other reasons for infertility and each has their own corresponding treatments. You may approach your doctor for more information and a more precise recommendation or advice.

Why is Pregnancy a Pre Existing Condition?

If you have ever applied for health insurance while pregnant then you have likely had to ask your insurance agent, "Why is my pregnancy a pre existing condition?" Read on to get some guidance on what you need to know about pre existing conditions, pregnancy, and finding health insurance while pregnant.

Can You Get Health Insurance While Pregnant?

Usually if one becomes pregnant without medical insurance then they are not eligible for insurance coverage until after the pregnancy. There are some situations where someone who is pregnant can buy health insurance after they are pregnant but generally speaking if one chooses to get pregnant without maternity insurance or even regular medical insurance then they will stay without insurance until they have the baby.

Why Can't Someone Get Health Insurance During Pregnancy?

The reason why expectant mothers cannot purchase maternity insurance (and why even when one does purchase maternity before being pregnant and there are waiting periods) should be pretty clear when you consider the analogy of car insurance. Just like someone cannot go without car insurance coverage and then total their car in an accident and purchase comprehensive collision coverage after the fact to pay for the already totaled car one cannot wait until they are pregnant and then decide to get pregnancy insurance. The responsible thing to do is of course to buy a maternity medical plan before getting pregnant just like the responsible thing to do is to buy car coverage before getting in an accident and not after the fact.

What Options are Available for Those Who are Expecting?

While pregnancy is considered a pre existing medical condition just like other things that will will in all likelihood require medical attention there are still some options available for those who are already pregnant and without insurance. Discount plans, community medical care, and prepaid hospital plans are all things to consider.

If you are not yet pregnant then be sure that you find great maternity medical insurance ahead of time so that you can be covered. If you are already pregnant and without coverage then don't despair because although you are not in an ideal situation there are still options available to you.

Best Books on Pregnancy Reviews

Best Pregnancy Books
There are many pregnancy books on the market and below you will find some of my favorites along with links to access them for purchase.

As any pregnant mom will tell you these guides are designed to be there for reassurance that everything is OK and YOUR pregnancy is on track. If you are interested in understanding how your unborn child is developing each week or you want to know what is actually happening with the changes in YOUR own body than these books can be excellent resources along the way.

Read these reviews of the best pregnancy books around and choose a guide or two that will go with you on your journey from conception through labor and eventually the welcome birthing event!

What to Expect When You're Expecting, 4th edition by Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel

A perennial New York Times bestseller and one of USA Today's 25 most influential books. It's read by more than 90% of pregnant women who read a pregnancy book. Featuring a new look, a fresh perspective, and a friendlier-than-ever voice. Filled with up-to-date information reflecting not only what's new in pregnancy, but what's relevant to pregnant women. Detailed week-by-week fetal development section in the monthly chapters, an expanded chapter on pre-conception, and a brand new one on carrying multiples. Overflowing with tips, helpful hints, and humor (a pregnant woman's best friend), this new edition is more accessible and easier to use than ever before.

New Active Birth by Janet Balaskas

A pregnancy book that enables you to have the active birth you want. With this book, you can learn to develop all your body's resources to deal with the instinctive experience of childbirth. Fully updated and extended with new information - including Water Birth and Recovery After Birth. It offers prenatal and postnatal exercises with step by step photographs. It presents a detailed section covering every aspect of Active Birth at home and in the hospital.

Birth Stories by Katrina O'Brien

Share other women's birth stories with this pregnancy book that tells you like it is. From natural birth at home to unexpected birth in the outdoors to planned Caesareans, these touchingly personal and funny tales illustrate how the method of arrival is less important than the love the child finds when it finally arrives.

The Mother of All Pregnancy Books: The Ultimate Guide to Conception, Birth and Everything In Between by Ann Douglas

The ultimate guide to conception, birth, and everything in between. Unlike all those other bossy, tell-you-what-to-do titles, this funny, entertaining guide presents parents with all the facts on such hot topics as pain relief during labor, episiotomy, and circumcision, and empowers them to make informed personal choices. It's packed with tools you won't find anywhere else, including:

Up the Duff by Kaz Cooke

This pregnancy bible gives you the low-down on pregnancy and birth. Lots of factual information about the babies growth, what to expect etc. Absolutely hilarious.

Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy by Mayo Clinic

Would-be mothers looking for precise, accurate information from a reputable source will appreciate this pregnancy guide from the celebrated Mayo Clinic. week by week accounts of the baby's development, entries on how pregnancy can be affected by dozens of previous health conditions (such as HIV and diabetes), self-care tips for side effects like nausea and back pain, sidebars that explain the difference between identical and fraternal twins, etc. charts that indicate how to handle "troublesome signs and symptoms" during each three-week period. Another stellar feature is the book's even-handed series of "decision guides," which help parents make those hard (and even guilt-inducing) choices about breastfeeding, circumcision and whether or not to go back to work.

Your Pregnancy Bible by Dr Anne Deans

This pregnancy book gives practical and reassuring advice during pregnancy. Written by a team of specialists, filled with everything parents need to know about the optimum environment for a developing baby and safeguarding the mother. The book contains special fold-out sections on each of the trimesters and the birth process, week-by-week images of the developing baby, sympathetically illustrated chapters dealing with all aspects of pre-natal care, labor preparation, delivery experiences and care of the newborn, as well as comprehensive reference sections on medical treatments and procedures in both pregnancy and the post-natal period.

Conception, Pregnancy and Birth by Dr Miriam Stoppard

A comprehensive pregnancy guide to everything from conception to birth. Widely accepted as the definitive guide to pregnancy and childbirth. Stunning photography and information covers the latest developments in pregnancy and birth, from up-to-date research on how your stress levels can affect your unborn baby to developments in delivering your baby. Miriam Stoppard, MD is one of today's most popular medical personalities and has published over 40 titles.

Feeding the Bump by Lisa Neal

A pregnancy book that clearly outlines pregnancy nutrition. Divided chronologically into pre-conception, first, second and third trimesters and postpartum/breast-feeding. Provides women with all the information they need about their own and their unborn child's nutritional requirements and the best way to fulfill them. Tried and true remedies for common complaints such as morning sickness and heartburn, along with more than 100 easy-to-follow and absolutely delicious recipes. This is a must-have resource for all women wanting to maximize their unborn child's health, and their own, through what they eat.

Belly Laughs: The Naked Truth about Pregnancy and Childbirth by Jenny McCarthy

McCarthy applies her in-your-face manner and blue humor to the subject of pregnancy and childbirth in this little piece of fun. She recounts her journey to motherhood with utter abandon; discussing topics that those other books tend to treat too gently, such as enemas, pubic hair growth, and sex in the ninth month. Women who find these topics too embarrassing to bring up now have a place to read about them in a frank and open discussion. Like a gossipy girlfriend, McCarthy brings you in and makes you laugh; there's a certain comfort in knowing that even a sex symbol gets stretch marks and balloons to 200 pounds during pregnancy.

Bonding with Your Bump by Dr Miriam Stoppard

A guide-book about falling in love with your baby before birth. Presents advice and guidance on how to fall in love with your baby before birth. Building that special relationship with your baby starts before birth. Forming a close, early bond can make a real difference to your baby's wellbeing, your feelings as a parent and in creating a loving environment for when baby arrives. up-to-the-minute research with enlightened and compassionate wisdom explains why mother-baby bonding is so vital. Learn to understand and cherish your unborn baby. This book guides you through this extraordinary time: from hearing your baby's heartbeat for the first time, to the first magical days post birth.

The Pregnancy Bible: Your Complete Guide to Pregnancy and Early Parenthood Editors: Joanne Stone MD, Keith Eddleman MD

The Pregnancy Bible covers the complete sequence of fetal development in utero week by week. Full color photography with many life-size photos which are reproduced from state-of-the-art ultrasound images. Written in an easy-to-understand style that will especially appeal to first-time parents.With 300,000 copies sold, it is the most attractive and complete guide to this important event in parents' lives. Includes authoritative information about the latest developments affecting the well-being of an expectant mother and her baby. Specifically, these include:

  • New CDC recommendations about mercury and fish

  • Update on nuchal translucency screening

  • Update on screening for genetic disorders

  • Updated information about loss rates after amniocentesis

  • New information about 3D/4D ultrasound

  • Recent trends in cesarean delivery "on demand"

  • Update on Downs syndrome screening.

The Natural Way to a Better Pregnancy by Naish & Roberts

An easy-to-follow pregnancy guide to pre-conception health. Did you know that the food you eat, the environment you live in and the lifestyle you lead in the months before you conceive a child can have a profound effect on the wellbeing of your baby? Preconception health care, as outlined in this book, can prevent miscarriage, premature and stillbirths, congenital abnormalities and has a better than 80 per cent success rate in the treatment of infertility. Did you know that by following its simple principles, you can actively help ensure your baby will be content and alert, won't suffer from colic, feeding problems or other common ailments, and will be less likely to suffer from allergies, asthma or behavioral problems? Complete, easy-to-follow guide to preconception health for BOTH prospective parents. Written by a Naturopath, herbalist, hypnotherapist and bestselling author who runs Australia's only clinic dedicated to helping people conceive happy, healthy babies naturally.

The Complete Book of Pregnancy and Childbirth by Sheila Kitzinger

One of the most celebrated British authors on the sociological and anthropological aspects of birth, breast feeding, and early parenthood. This book guides readers seeking a woman-centered birth experience through the newly researched alternatives now available. five major sections: Early Weeks, Physical and Emotional Changes, Anticipating the Birth, the Experience of Birth, and You and Your Newborn, Candid information about what mothers need to know, ranging from ways to navigate the technical landscape of hospital births to making the personal choices of a water home birth. Encourages readers to construct a birth plan, make their own space, and choose an effective birth companion. With revised appendices and 300 updated photographs, drawings, and diagrams, this guide is a valuable resource for all.

The Working Woman's Pregnancy Book by Marjorie Greenfield

Dr. Marjorie Greenfield draws from her experiences as an obstetrician and working mom and from more than a hundred interviews with mothers ranging from factory workers to high-powered attorneys, to create a unique resource for working women. This up-to-date guide addresses all the subjects you would expect to find in an authoritative book on pregnancy plus issues of special concern to the 60 to 80 percent of women who hold jobs during their pregnancies:

  • Is my workplace safe for my developing baby?

  • When should I tell my employer that I am expecting?

  • How can I handle the discomforts of pregnancy when I need to work?

  • What laws will protect me when I take medical leave?

The 100 Healthiest Foods to Eat During Pregnancy: The Surprising Unbiased Truth about Foods You Should be Eating During Pregnancy but Probably Aren't by Jonny Bowden PH.D. C.N.S., Allison Tannis MS

Eat the best foods for your baby's development! Nutrition is never more critical than during pregnancy. What you choose to put on your plate affects you and your baby's health not just in utero but for years to come. Backed up by the latest nutritional research, this guide debunks pregnancy food myths and uncovers a number of surprising food choices that are superfoods for expectant mothers. This one-of-a-kind nutrition reference guide is also packed with helpful quick-reference charts and sidebars, highlighting healthy (but no less delicious!) substitutes for commonly craved foods like ice cream and potato chips. You'll also discover the most up-to-date research regarding pregnancy dilemmas, such as how to get more omega-3s from fish in your diet while avoiding mercury. Its pregnancy nutrition made easy!

Babycare Before Birth by Zita West

A pregnancy book that shares the wisdom of a fertility expert and midwife. Bringing together fascinating new research that shows during pregnancy a woman can make a dramatic difference to her unborn baby's health, well-being, development, and all-round future potential by making small adjustments to her diet and lifestyle, this amazing book explains how to give your baby the best possible start in life.

What to Expect: Eating Well When You're Expecting by Heidi Murkoff

Provides moms-to-be with a realistic approach to navigating healthily and deliciously through the nine months of pregnancy-at home, in the office, over the holidays, in restaurants. Thorough chapters are devoted to nutrition, weight gain, food safety, the postpartum diet, and how to eat when trying to conceive again. 150 contemporary, tasty, and healthy recipes that feed mom and baby well, take little time to prepare, and are gentle on queasy tummies. Comes with a light, reader-friendly tone while delivering the most up-to-date information.

What to Expect Before You're Expecting by Heidi Murkoff

In the same fresh, contemporary voice that has made the 4th edition of What to Expect When You're Expecting so successful, Murkoff explains the whys and wherefores of getting your body ready for pregnancy, including pregnancy prep for both moms and dads to be. Filled with information on exercise, diet, pinpointing ovulation, lifestyle, workplace, and insurance changes you'll want to consider, and how to keep your relationship strong when you're focused on baby making all the time. There are tips for older couples; when to look for help from a fertility specialist--including the latest on fertility drugs and procedures--plus a complete fertility planner.

Eating for Pregnancy: The Essential Nutrition Guide and Cookbook for Today's Mothers-to-Be by Catherine Jones, Rose Ann Hudson

A volume that combines both recipes and nutritional advice aimed specifically at the mother-to-be. Balancing optimum and unnecessary weight gain with the required dietary needs for a healthy lifestyle. Addresses the requirements of diabetic, vegetarian and vegan diets. A chapter is dedicated to the vegetarian diet. Each section contains recommended pantry items for the recipes. Makes full use of convenience and semi-prepared ingredients to provide simple yet flavorful dishes. Advice on vitamins, health hazards and goals. Each recipe is preceded with the nutritional goal for baby and mother-to-be and followed by tips for cooking, storage, health, special diets as well as complete meal ideas, variations and the approximate nutritional content.

The Natural Pregnancy Book: Herbs, Nutrition, & Other Holistic Choices by Aviva Jill Romm M.D.

Reading this book is like having your own personal herbalist and midwife at your side. One of the first books to explore botanical medicine and pregnancy. Follows the woman's journey from conception to birth, focusing on natural health. Describes herbs that can promote and maintain a healthy pregnancy (along with those you should avoid during your term) and the basics of a healthy diet, with an emphasis on natural foods. Complete guide for the woman who envisions a safe pregnancy without technological intervention, as nature intended.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

How to Treat an Ovarian Cyst During Pregnancy - Methods to Get Rid of Your Cyst, Even While Pregnant

When you have to treat an ovarian cyst during pregnancy, it can be difficult. Traditional treatment methods are not available or are especially dangerous to you. Even pain management is more complicated. So how do you successfully treat an ovarian cyst while you are pregnant?

The traditional methods of treating an ovarian cyst are prescribing birth control pills or surgically removing the cyst. Birth control pills are out of the question while you are pregnant. If the cyst is especially large, dangerously positioned, or has solid components, you may need to get it surgically removed. This is generally done during the second trimester using laparascopy.

The rest of us afflicted by an ovarian cyst during pregnancy are left to wait and see if the cyst will clear up on its own. Fortunately, for most women, it does, though it may take a few months. However, there are natural methods you can use to help it on its way.

Controlling the Pain

First, if you have ovarian cyst pain, you need to control it. Pregnancy itself can be uncomfortable enough as it is. You can use over the counter medicine containing acetaminophen to help you. However, never use medications containing ibuprofen. This can severely harm your unborn child.

You can also try to manage your pain naturally. Hot compresses and water bottles can help relieve the tension in your abdomen, which will lessen the stress on your ovary. This should take some of the pressure off and ease your pain. You can also try other relaxation methods, such as prenatal yoga or herbal teas.

Getting Rid of the Cyst

In order treat an ovarian cyst during pregnancy, you need to first cleanse your body. While you are pregnant, you will want to avoid most herbal supplements, as those can be harmful to the baby. However, just drinking plenty of water and improving your diet can help cleanse the liver.

Make sure to drink filtered water, as most tap and many bottled waters can contain trace amounts of hormonal medication. This can actually make your cyst worse. Also, soft plastic bottles contain BPA, which has been linked to undescended testicles in newborn boys. BPA mimics estrogen in your body, which may aggravate the ovaries. Try to drink from glass or metal containers, and avoid microwaving or freezing plastics.

Watch out for Complications

The two most common complications with ovarian cysts are ovarian torsion and ruptured cysts. Both require immediate medical treatment.

In ovarian torsion, the weight of the cyst causes the ovary to twist, which cuts off its blood supply. This will feel like debilitating pain in the side the cyst is located. If this happens, contact your doctor right away.

If you have a sudden increase in pain or a sharp intense pain in one side followed by a steady burning sensation, your cyst may have burst. This also may be accompanied by vaginal bleeding. If this happens, contact your doctor right away. You'll need to be put on antibiotics to prevent infection and monitored to make sure you don't have internal bleeding.

Considering Your Options - Giving Birth at Home

In recent years, one of the most controversial topics related to pregnancy and birth is home birthing. Many debates have been heard about whether a woman should give birth in the comfort of her own home or whether she is taking unnecessary risks by doing so.

Those who support giving birth at home claim that up until the twentieth century, most women gave birth at home even in the western world and that it is therefore not such a big deal. But those who are against it argue that it is extremely risky because if something went wrong, the emergency technology that is available in most hospitals is not found at home. If there is a crisis, time is often of the essence and the delay could make a huge difference.

So who is right or wrong? And where do you want to give birth? At home or in the hospital?

Natural Home Birth - Why Home Sweet Home May be Best

A woman may choose to give birth at home because it seems to be the most natural choice. In your own home, you are in familiar surroundings, without the clinical, alien atmosphere of an anonymous hospital bed. You can arrange the d矇cor of the room where you will give birth yourself. If you want music playing, that's fine - and the choice of music is all yours. There are no rules about how many people can be present. Whereas some hospitals will limit the number of people to being one other person, making you choose between your husband, a doula, your mother, or your best friend, if you are having your baby at home, no such formality exists.

Some women even want their children to be around, although this is a controversial issue and very much a personal choice. Others, while not having their children in the room during the actual birth, are relieved at not having to be away completely when they have a baby, and their children can be among the first to see the new baby soon after birth.

Giving birth at home also allows you to regulate your choice of pain relief. As most women who have home birthing only want natural pain relief, the lack of an epidural or pethidine does not bother them. They are more likely to use breathing exercises, bean bags, or have a waterbirth. A midwife who specialises in such techniques will guide you on the equipment that you need and how to use it. You can also use more unconventional methods, such as hypnobirthing. As long as you produce a coherent birth plan and discuss everything fully with the midwife before the actual labour, you can be extremely independent in your choices.

Another important factor in choosing a home birth is the proliferation of hospital "superbugs" that are not so easily cured with antibiotics. Many women would prefer not to take the risk of catching such a disease after birth and therefore opt to deliver at home.

Home Birth Risks

With all of the above benefits of a home birth in mind, it is still vitally important to take into account all of the inherent risks of having a baby at home.

As mentioned earlier, the main concern about giving birth at home is how safe it is for the mother or the child. In actual fact, if the pregnancy is risk free and everything goes according to plan, a home birth does not have to be dangerous. If the midwife is properly qualified and the usual safety and hygiene conditions are adhered to, there is no reason for it to go wrong. The problem is, however, if something during the labour or delivery goes wrong. If the baby goes into distress and the mother needs an unplanned caesarean section, for example, the time delay in getting her to the hospital can lead to fatal consequences.

A British study found that home births were safest among women having their second or subsequent baby without any complications.

The Legality of Home Birth

Of course, all of these arguments are very interesting in theory, but your final decision will ultimately depend on the regulations governing home births in the country where you live.

Australia, for example, has adopted a more open policy about home births, but there are variations between the states. For example, in Western Australia, health coverage was expanded to cover home births, and NSW, the Northern Territory, and South Australia also provide funds for independent home births.

However, Medicare and PBS do not provide funding to any Australian home birth services. Therefore, if you do decide to follow the route of birthing at home, you may well have to pay a considerable amount of the cost. And since July 2010, regulations regarding the professionals providing this service have been tightened up. A private, non-registered attendant at a home birth is liable for prosecution. However, it is not so easy to become registered in Australia because many private midwives are unable to obtain insurance or to apply to become recognised health professionals.

These policies have been a source of controversy in Australia, with demands to offer regulated home birthing services.

In the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada, however, it is not so difficult to have a home birth and policies appear to be more open.

This does not mean, however, that it is impossible to have a home birth in Australia. In fact, various resources have been set up and there are many midwives who do offer this service.

A Breakdown of Things to Consider About Home Birthing

If you are considering a home birth, here is a comprehensive list of things to consider:

  • Do you really know what a home birth entails? It might be helpful to watch a home birth video first.

  • What kind of home birth do you want? Some women go for unassisted home birth, which essentially means tha the midwife is there as a safety net, but you do most of the work yourself. You may, on the other hand, prefer a midwife who is more proactive.

  • Have you considered your own personal risks? If you are going through a problematic pregnancy or there is a problem with the way that your baby is lying, it may not be such a good idea because you may need emergency help that you can't get at home. Before booking your home birth, you are well advised to discuss this issue with your doctor to find out whether this option is realistic for you or your baby.

  • What are the home birth options available to you? Contact a home birth association to find out. They will also provide you with support.

  • Can you afford the cost of a home birth midwife? Remember that many of them are private and you will therefore need to be able to afford their services.

  • Once you have found a midwife, check out her qualifications. Is she officially registered? Are her services covered by your health insurance? Ask her for references and speak to as many mothers who have used her as you can. If you find that she is evasive when you question her or that she refuses to provide references, leave it. You only want the best care for yourself and your newborn baby.
Once you have made your decision, we hope that everything goes well. May you have a safe and healthy delivery, no matter where you decide to give birth to your baby.

How to Induce Labor Naturally?

Congratulations! You're going to have a baby! If you are reading this, you are probably reached the advance stages of your pregnancy. By now you might be tired to wait your baby to arrive - especially if your baby has reached - and passed - his estimated delivery date (EDD). You might also feel exhausted due to the day-to-day aches and complaints regarding pregnancy. I am happy to tell you that there is good news! As long as your professional pregnancy care provider agrees, you can induce your labor naturally and help things along without medical labor induction.

Inducing your labor naturally is a great alternative to using other forms of induction. Most of the natural labor induction remedies don't cause side effects to worry about, your baby's health won't be placed in unnecessary jeopardy, and you won't suffer any ill consequences. Some of the best ways to naturally induce labor are also safe and simple. Two common ways that you can induce labor naturally are by walking, and sexual intercourse. Some women may feel more pressure when they walk. This is due to the force of gravity and the baby's head descending into the pelvic region. In fact, when many women are in labor, their midwife or health care provider will have them walk to increase or speed up labor. You can do this on your own, before labor even begins.

Sexual intercourse is also known for inducing labor naturally. When a woman experience orgasms, the body releases hormones involved in childbirth, among other functions. A group of hormones that stimulate labor to start by ripening the cervix is Prostaglandins. These may be in synthetic form through a medical prescription, but you can bypass the medical alternative and access Prostaglandins naturally. Semen contains Prostaglandins and when you partner ejaculates during sexual intercourse, the Prostaglandins in the semen will help soften and ripen the cervix, therefore inducing labor.

When women climax their bodies release the hormone Oxytocin. Oxytocin helps the uterus to contract and will strengthen the intensity of your contractions. Therefore, you can see that sexual intercourse helps stimulate or induce labor from hormones released in both the man and the woman. In fact, the medication known as Pitocin is used to induce labor and strengthen contractions and it is a synthetic form of Oxytocin.

Another method of inducing labor naturally is nipple stimulation. Nipple stimulation also releases Oxytocin. Please remember, however, to apply nipple stimulation according to instructions from your midwife or doctor because vigorous nipple stimulation could cause to very strong labor contractions.

Additionally, there are many herbs that have been used for centuries to help induce labor. Before using any herbs, you should consult with your health care practitioner or midwife. Evening Primrose Oil, Blue and Black Cohosh, False Unicorn Root, and Red Raspberry Leaf are some of the most popular herbs that are used to naturally induce labor. Before using any herbs, be sure to let your health care provider know.

Evening Primrose Oil can be very helpful in ripening the cervix due to the Prostaglandins it contains. Evening Primrose Oil is applied by inserting an oil capsule into the vagina. It is extremely important not to use any herbs for inducing labor naturally during the early part of pregnancy, as these can have serious consequences.

Finally, one of the safest natural labor inducing remedy is acupressure. Acupressure for labor is among the most studies ones and proven to be safe and effective. Because the technique is simple, this labor acupressure could easily be used at home.

Best Infertility Insurance - Essential!

Infertility is an expensive condition. Precisely because finding the right infertility treatment and infertility tests for you and your partner entail long and numerous procedures. Before infertility can be diagnosed, one will be required do undergo a fertility work up, which includes physical exams, medical history review, and laboratory examinations. These procedures are often complicated and are too specific that they would require specialized care. Understandably, the costs of these examinations and procedures will amount to a lot of money.

Most couples who have been diagnosed with infertility would choose not to pursue treatment due to the ballooning costs. A typical IVF procedure will cost about 4,000 USD, excluding IVF drug fees. As both partners will require a unique fertility assessment and fertility plan, fertility clinics would offer individualized treatments and procedures. These fertility packages are designed to address specific requests and meet specific budgets.

Speak with your fertility specialist regarding packages to help you maximize your insurance coverage. Don't hesitate to ask your employer if infertility is covered by your insurance plan.


A medical insurance on your infertility treatments will prove to be a huge help, should you decide to pursue the treatments. However, Infertility Insurance is quite limited and its availability is even dependent on the state you live in. There are some states that mandate infertility insurance coverage. Under this mandate, your state requires insurance providers to provide infertility coverage as part of their plan. Other insurance companies will provide this option at a very reasonable price.

Infertility insurance ideally covers for fertility diagnosis and treatments including IUIs, IVFs, and artificial insemination and assisted reproductive technological procedures. As insurance providers vary their coverage, some would cover for diagnosis and treatments, some for diagnosis alone and others for both but with restrictions.

In some states, like California, it is mandatory that both are covered, with the exception of IVF. In Illinois, a more comprehensive insurance coverage is available, covering your consultation trips to specialists, diagnosis tests and treatments up to four (4) IVF procedures.

Most employers include infertility in their choice for medical insurance policies and would be able to tell you the exact coverage and the limitations of your particular plan.

If you are still looking for an insurance company to cover for your medical needs, make sure that you keep the following tips in mind:

  • Read about your state's laws and requirements about infertility insurance coverage. This way, you would be armed with enough legal knowledge whether specific treatments are to be included in your policy.

  • Make sure the insurance plan you are looking into will cover consultations, diagnosis procedures and some treatments, if not most treatments.

  • The insurance premiums that you would be required to pay would not be too costly.

  • Check if the insurance will cover directly for the costs or if they have provisions for refunds.

Infertility treatment may be a long and expensive process, but if you find the right insurance coverage for you and your partner, you would certainly be better able to fight it out.

Your fertility centers will help you find the right treatment packages that will suit your needs and your budgets. Most fertility centers will provide you with free counseling and advice for these.

Postpartum Depression

Postnatal depression is another clinical term used for the disease, which is comparatively less frequent in men. Women suffer from this disease in first few months after the delivery of a child.

Patients suffer from psychological symptoms like fatigue, insomnia, emotional outbursts, feeling of loneliness etc. Most of the times women who suffer from this disease ignore treatment or clinical consultation which may lead to severe mental imbalance. Lack of vitamins can be a cause for this disease. Hormonal changes during pregnancy are also responsible for this psychological imbalance. But this is not the only factor responsible because hormonal medicinal treatment cannot help in such cases. Family members and group can help the patient to come out of this disease. Psychiatric treatment and clinical consultation is the right way to fight it.

Patients of this disease suffer from many mental problems like low self esteem, lack of confidence, fatigue, short temper, and frequent outburst of emotions, sessions of crying, irritability, sleeplessness, and feeling of loneliness, severe and continuous headache.

"Baby Blues "is a common emotional imbalance faced by many women after birth of child. Low mood and spirit is a sign of "Baby Blues." This mental state is sometimes found in fathers too.

The change in schedule, lack of sleep, responsibility of a newborn baby etc. are some causes behind "Baby Blues" it is not considered a serious mental disorder as it prolongs for some weeks and proper rest, balanced diet, adequate sleep, support of friends and family can help in this case.

Postpartum depression is a serious mental disease because it harms body too. If proper treatment is not available at right time, it may have severe consequences for the patient.

Childcare stress, prenatal anxiety, habit of smoking, single parenthood, economical problems and unplanned pregnancy etc. are some harmful factors responsible for this disease.

Formula of feeding is also a cause to depress women in first few days of their maternity. History of depression is also a major cause behind postpartum depression. Sometimes it could be a hereditary disease so such so that patients have to be careful in the period of their pregnancy.

Prenatal depression can also co-relate to postpartum depression. Problems in holding pregnancy, severe stomach aches, lack of vitamins, deprived care and attention, unwanted pregnancy are the causes for prenatal depression. Such patients develop a tendency to hate the newborn baby. They neglect breastfeeding the newborn infants. It causes many physical problems too.

Lack of social support may lead this disease to become a serious long-lasting mental imbalance.

Psychiatric treatment and counseling sessions can help in recovery. Sometimes, depression pills are also prescribed for fast recovery. Balanced food habits, affectionate surrounding of friends and family, proper sleeping hours, meditation, healthy relationship with your partner, proper habits of caring and feeding baby etc. can make your lifestyle a happy one. Proper parental help in babysitting too helps a lot in this regard.

Becoming a mother is a divine bliss of Mother Nature. Accept it with proper care and a great joy! Have a happy maternity!

The Harmful Effects of Smoking While Pregnant

Smoking during pregnancy is more common than many of us would like to think. There are some women in today's society who want to quit, but honestly don't know how. In other instances, there are a very few women who don't care to think about their unborn child and the health risks that are involved.

There are some women who are not aware of or don't understand how serious this matter is, or how serious is can become. With proper information, some expecting mothers may be willing to stop cold turkey or seek help for their addiction.

The Dangerous Side
Many mothers believe that they are safe because they aren't consuming or addicted to hard drugs, such as crack or cocaine, but in this instance, one isn't better than the other. Smoking cigarettes while you're pregnant can cause more problems than any mother can imagine. Some women are curious and want to know what's the harm in smoking while you're expecting. A lot of people aren't aware that cigarette smoke contains more than 2,000 different types of chemicals. Needless to say, these chemicals are not beneficial to the mother or her baby. Nicotine and carbon monoxide are the two ingredients that are found in cigarettes that are to blame for several pregnancy complications. In this instance, a few complications include premature birth, stillbirth, and low birth weight.

The Effects
Even though a few cigarettes here and there are a lot safer than one or two packs per day, it's crucial to the wellness of the mother and the baby for the mother to quit smoking altogether. As far as the weight and size of the baby is concerned, smoking can greatly affect this factor. Here, if the mother smokes a pack per day throughout her pregnancy, she will be putting her baby at risk to weigh half a pound less than it normally would. Here, if the mother had a two packs per day habit, the baby could weigh one pound or more less than it actually should. In this situation, there are a few mothers that will welcome the fact of having to deliver a small baby, but this could have long-term negative effects.

The Body and Lungs
When a baby is underweight, they have a body to match. Here, a baby's lungs may not be fully developed or able to operate on their own. Here, the baby will have to remain on a respirator during the first week or more of their lives. Due to the fact that the baby of a mother with a smoking addiction may have delayed development of the lungs, this can cause serious problems for the child later on during the course of their lives.

The Heart
For expecting mothers who smoked heavily during their first trimester, the baby will be at a greater risk for heart complications. In this event, it's best to quit smoking as soon as you find out that you're expecting. If you feel that you aren't able to quit, seek guidance from your doctor and programs that are set in place to help a person quit smoking.

The Brain
Contrary to popular belief, smoking while you're pregnant could have several long-term effects on a baby's brain. In this instance, the child could have behavioral issues, a low IQ, and even learning disabilities. The entire nine months of pregnancy is an important part of a baby's life. Every week of pregnancy marks an important milestone of growth and development.

The Solution
There are several methods that an expecting mother can use to quit smoking successfully. It's a good idea to ask your friends and family for help. In this situation, your close friends and loved one can create the awesome support group that you need to help you quit smoking once and for all. If you don't live close to any of your friends or relatives, join a group for smokers and make new friends. A lot of people feel better when they have a friend along for their tough journey.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Postpartum Depression Signs, Who is at Risk?

Knowing what the Postpartum Depression signs are can help women, doctors, and even husbands quickly identify and treat this problem. Left too long, this illness can cause a number of problems, including a lack of bond between mother and child, and possibly even the loss of the mom/dad relationship that is vitally important to the well being of children throughout their lives. Women at risk for postnatal depression can be identified early (even during pregnancy) by determining whether the woman has a history of depression. Some of those at risk are:

· Fatigue & Postnatal Depression - Fatigue could be a red flag for women at risk for postpartum depression. After delivery, getting enough rest continues to be very important, as severely disturbed sleep might place women at risk for postpartum depression and child abuse.

· Patients with diabetes

· Women who have had major depression in the past

· Women with a pattern of seasonal depression

· Women with difficult pregnancies

· Women who are having financial problems

· Women whose pregnancies were unplanned

· Women who went through a divorce, separation or loss before or during pregnancy

· Women who had complications during delivery

Many of the symptoms of the illness are so similar to the symptoms of sleep deprivation that most moms, and even doctors, can mistake the diagnoses. Left untreated, the symptoms can worsen into clinical depression and even postpartum psychosis. Postpartum depression signs begin with the pregnancy and knowing these signs can help determine whether the symptoms are just a result of sleep deprivation, or if they are more serious.

7 Unique After Pregnancy Exercises

For women, having a newborn child is probably the happiest moment of their lives, but with it, it also brings certain unfortunate things such as the weight they gain during their pregnancy. For most new mothers, exercise often seems like the last thing they feel like doing, as they try getting their new routine down. However, more than ever, now is the time that new moms should become active because their metabolism will easily rise, and they will conveniently shed extra weight. In fact, exercising after pregnancy can also provide new moms with much-needed energy and will help them reduce tension and stress. All in all, it is true that new mothers should wait at least six weeks after pregnancy before they do any exercises. However, there are certain exercises that women can do within hours after giving birth, which will help them feel better and regain their strength.

1. Breathing

Breathing is necessary, but it is also an excellent exercise for new moms. After a woman gives birth, within the first few days, breathing can feel different as their organs go back to where they originally were. This breathing exercise is deeper than others. New moms should start by practicing slow breathing in with their hands place low on their abdomen until they start feeling their hands moving, then they should slowly exhale. This exercise should be repeated 5 to 8 times. This will help them feel better emotionally and physically.

2. Arm and Legs Circles

This is quite a simple exercise that new moms can easily do. They should lay down in bed and hang their legs over the side or lift them up a bit and rotate both feet around 8 to 10 times. Doing both sides is important, and this should be repeated with the arms as well.

3. Leg Slides

Doing this exercise can help new mothers to focus on their legs, especially after an epidural, and blood clots can also be prevented with the help of this exercise. They should sit up in bed and bend their knees. They should extend on leg by sliding it out. While sliding the leg back up, the other leg should be extended at the same time. This should be repeated 10 to 12 times for every slide. This should be done as a gentle sliding and not as a fast movement.

4. Kegels

Even if they had a cesarean birth, exercising their pelvic floor can prove to be beneficial. The blood flow is increased by it to help heal sutures, and the muscles are stored to their pre-pregnancy shape. Kegel exercises also help with bladder control as well. It has been reported by some new mothers that they cannot actually feel the muscles, but doing kegel exercise is still okay.

5. Neck Stretches

New moms often complain of having a stiff neck because of baby holding and breastfeeding. After pregnancy, new moms should relax their neck every day a few times. The neck should be dropped forward. This way, the neck will be pulled down and stretched by the weight of the head. For a good stretch, this position should be held for 5 to 10 seconds. Then the head should be lifted; the right ear should be dropped to the right shoulder, and the position should be held for 5 to 10 seconds. This should be repeated on the other side.

6. Pelvic Tilts

To do pelvic tilts, new moms should bend their legs and rest their feet on the floor while lying down on the floor. The abdominals should be slowly tightened, and the pelvis should be rolled upward. The glutes should not be squeezed too much, instead the movement should be initiated with the abs and breathing should be even. When doing pelvic tilts, the pelvic floor should not be tightened, since pressure might be placed on it, and it might get stretched further.

7. Isometric Contractions

This is a move that can be done by new moms with their baby. They should bend their knees and keep their feet flat on the floor while lying down and their baby on their belly. The abs should be squeezed and pulled in like a sponge while inhaling and lifting the baby up. Then the baby should be lowered while exhaling. This should be repeated 10 to 16 times.

After getting stronger, new moms can also progress to difficult exercises as well. Nonetheless, the 7 exercises mentioned here are easy, simple and will definitely help women who have just given birth feel better.