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Women’s Health

Robert Johnston – Exercises for Pregnancy

Robert Johnston – Exercises for Pregnancy

We’d like to introduce to you, our resident expert on physical exercise and training. Robert Johnston. The following is a transcript for a Q & A session that we recently did: (H3 = Healthy3, RJ = Robert Johnston) (H3) How did you get involved in personal training? (RJ) Coming from New Zealand I have always been interested in sports as a child, but developed an interest in exercise in my teenage years when everyone was growing taller and bigger than me. This lead to joining a gym with my friends and training and developing programs to gain our goals. My interest has never gone away and I found myself writing programs for my friends and correcting their technique came naturally. When I left University I struggled to find work in my field so I went for a job in a very large gym in Auckland. There I was exposed to so much more training philosophy’s and physiological methods, as the gym had all top of athletes (Professional/Olympic/Amateur/Sundays best) and Exercise Fanatics. I spent 3 years at the Gym then moved to London, Uk and have been working as a Personal Trainer since 1998. I tend to view my attitude to training is it can be fun and enjoyable and not just a dull, painful slog that drives so many people away. My major specialities Fat Loss, Boxing, Sports Specific and Strength Training. But I am interested in all that will help in the quest for physical Fitness as you would expect. (H3) What can women do to increase their chances of conception, in terms of physical exercise? (RJ) Being underweight or overweight can delay the time it takes a woman to conceive. A woman’s weight before getting pregnant is often an overlooked factor in fertility. Keeping a healthy weight can help with conception.Time to conception was increased fourfold in women with a BMI below 19.  Pre-pregnancy BMI of 25-39 – considered overweight or obese — had a twofold increase in the time it took to get pregnant. A BMI less than 19 (18.5 to 24.9 is considered normal) is even worse. (H3) Is it a good idea to diet whilst trying for a baby, so as to minimise weight gain during pregnancy? (RJ) As long as you eat a...

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High Fat Diet Increases Breast Cancer Risk

High Fat Diet Increases Breast Cancer Risk

This month is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and it is worth noting that diet can have a big impact on this illness. Women who have had a diagnosis of breast cancer are strongly encouraged to cut out high fat dairy foods such as cheese, cream, whole milk and full fat yoghurt. So does a high fat diet affect the risk of breast cancer? A study of 1,893 breast cancer survivors, over a period of 12 years, has found that women who had one or more servings of high fat dairy food a day, had a 49 per cent higher risk of dying from breast cancer than those who eat little or no dairy fat. Michelle Holmes, associate professor of medicine and epidemiology at Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health, who was not involved in the research, commented that it was a very well conducted study. She said that it advanced the understanding of how diets can affect breast cancer, but it is a decision for each woman. Low fat versions and other food sources will provide the same nutrients as full fat dairy foods. The researchers found that total dairy intake did not influence the results, but high fat dairy such as whole milk, full fat cheese and cream, or foods made with these ingredients did have an impact. Not surprisingly women who continued to eat a high fat diet had a 64 per cent greater risk of dying from all causes, such as cardiovascular disease. The researchers suggested that oestrogens in milk might be the problem, as these hormones are stored in fat. Lower fat versions of dairy food therefore have a lower content of oestrogen. The researchers also found that foods containing other saturated fats such as chocolate, coconut, nuts and vegetable fats did not increase the...

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Homeopathic remedies for morning sickness

Homeopathic remedies for morning sickness

Morning sickness is a condition that affects more than half of pregnant women. The nausea can be mild or lead to vomiting. This can often be the first sign of pregnancy as it usually starts from the 6th week of pregnancy and lasts until the 12th week. It can affect some women throughout the whole pregnancy. There are several homeopathic remedies that are extremely safe, and can be very effective in treating this condition. Many pregnant women suffer with morning sickness, especially during the second and third months of pregnancy. Many of these women will experience nausea without the vomiting. Although it is called morning sickness, it can affect pregnant women at any time of the day. Homeopathic remedies for morning sickness can really benefit these women. Morning sickness usually wears off by the 14th to 16th week of pregnancy, but a few women can continue to suffer after this time. This is called hyperemesis, and can result in severe vomiting which causes dehydration, weight loss and chemical imbalances and requires urgent medical treatment. Severe vomiting will require rehydration treatment with contain salts and minerals that are essential for the body. The remedies below should be taken in the 30c potency, up to four times a day, for 7 to 10 days. Nux Vomica. This is a good natural remedy for nausea, which improves after vomiting. Nux Vomica is a good remedy especially if the patient wants to vomit but cannot, and this causes the problem to continue. There is usually also a sour taste in the mouth in the morning. The nausea can be made worse by strong odours or pressure of clothes at the waist. The pregnant women may feel better with hot drinks. Ipecacuanha. This natural remedy is indicated when the patient has continuous nausea which is not relieved by vomiting (opposite to Nux Vomica). Sepia. This alternative remedy is very effective if the patient’s nausea symptoms are accompanied by feelings of irritability, tiredness and weepiness. Arsen Alb is for sickness that accompanied with diarrhoea and a burning sensation in the stomach. The sickness may be better for having warm drinks. The patient may also be irritable and restless. Nat Mur is for sickness that is associated...

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Breast Milk Boosts Children’s Immunity

Breast Milk Boosts Children’s Immunity

As this week is officially World Breastfeeding Week, an annual event, endorsed by WHO and UNICEF, this article highlights some of the benefits of breastfeeding. Breast milk has been found to contain more than 700 species of beneficial bacteria. Spanish scientists have used a technique based on DNA sequencing to identify a set of bacteria in breast milk called microbiome. The scientists analysed samples of Colostrum, which is the first secretion of the mammary glands (breast milk) after birth. They found more than 700 species of microorganisms, which is more than were originally thought. The study was published in the ‘American Journal of Clinical Nutrition’. The most common bacteria that were found in the colostrum’s were Weissella, Leuconostoc, Staphylococcus, Streptococcus and Lactococcus. “We are not yet able to determine if these bacteria colonise the mouth of the baby or whether oral bacteria of the breast-fed baby enter the breast milk and thus change its composition,” said the authors. The study also found that mothers who were overweight or those who put on more than the recommended weight during pregnancy had fewer species of bacteria.  The researchers also found that women who had a planned caesarean section (C-Section) delivery had fewer species of bacteria in their breast milk than the mothers who had a vaginal birth. The study did however find that those mothers who had an unplanned C-section delivery had a bacterial composition that was similar to mothers who had a vaginal birth. These findings could lead to more work regarding childhood allergies and autoimmune diseases. The researchers are hopeful that these findings could lead to improved childhood nutrition. “If the breast milk bacteria discovered in this study were important for the development of the immune system, its addition to infant formula could decrease the risk of allergies, asthma and autoimmune diseases.” the authors...

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Can Grape Seed Extract Protect Against Norovirus?

A recent study has found that grape seed extract can reduce the severity and potentially provide as good a protection as Norovirus vaccines, which are being lined up as part of a mass vaccination programme to prevent this illness in babies. Scientists from Ghent University in Belgium have discovered that grape seed extract may be a genuine alternative to the vaccine. This is potentially very good news for parents who are worried about the possibility of giving another vaccine to their newborns. The researchers found that low doses of grape seed extract attacked the lining of the virus which prevented replication. At higher doses, the researcher found that the grape seed extract destroyed the entire virus protein. The report stated, “This provides evidence that (grape seed extract) could effectively damage the (norovirus) capsid protein, which could reduce viral binding ability and infectivity...

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Safe Exercises during Pregnancy

Safe Exercises during Pregnancy

Being pregnant does not mean you have to totally stop exercising but you do need to avoid doing high impact exercises. It is hard to find out which exercises are safe for during pregnancy so I have made a list of a few exercises that can be useful if you are expecting a baby. Have a Swim Swimming is a good form of exercise as it works on the whole of your body by toning up your physique, increasing your endurance and keeping you agile. You won’t feel how heavy you’ve got during your pregnancy as the water supports your weight.  It is very therapeutic too. Aqua aerobics is a good way of incorporating swimming and low-impact aerobics together. Go for a jog I doesn’t matter whether you jog on a regular basis or not.  Ensure that you wear the right type of trainers and jog a little slowly than normal. Do a little Yoga Yoga is a very relaxing exercise which stretches your body. Obviously, not all of the positions are suitable for expectant mothers. Go for a slow Walk This is a less energetic form of exercise that can build up your stamina and improve your breathing and posture. Keep-fit Exercises Doing high-impact aerobics would not be a good idea while you are pregnant. If you are intending to start a new class you must tell the instructor that you are pregnant, otherwise try and find an antenatal class. Riding a bike If you are not used to riding a bike you can always try using an exercise bike. For one it is safer because you cannot fall off and it improves resistance and muscle tone. Again, keep the pace to a moderate...

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Homeopathic treatment for heartburn in pregnancy

Heartburn in pregnancy can be quite distressing and cause a lot of discomfort for women at this time. It is caused by the pregnancy maintaining hormone, Progesterone, which causes the valve at the top of the stomach to relax, which allows small amounts of acid to rise up into the oesophagus. This results in a burning sensation and usually affects 50% of all pregnant women. The normal cause of this is the upward pressure of the womb on the stomach. Homeopathis treatment for heartburn in pregnancy can really help to ease the discomfort. The symptoms can be reduced by eating small meals at frequent intervals, rather than larger meals. There are a number of homeopathic remedies that can be very effective in treating this problem. Examples are: Nux Vomica may help if there is also a bitter metallic taste, a bloated full feeling in the stomach. There is also a feeling of fullness and sluggishness. Sulphur. This homeopathic remedy will help if the heartburn is worse in the morning, and there is a craving for sweet foods. There may also be belching with a sour taste, and drinking milk will make the heartburn worse. The homeopathic remedy, Phosphorus, is indicated if there is a craving for ice cold drinks, which are vomited up. There may also be a craving for salt, spicy foods and chocolate, which can all aggravate the heartburn. It would be recommended to consult a qualified homeopath during the early stages of pregnancy to maintain an optimum level of health throughout the pregnancy. This will help to ensure both mother and baby, are in a good state of health throughout the...

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Is iodine essential during pregnancy?

Is iodine essential during pregnancy?

Pregnant women need to ensure that they eat foods that contain iodine, but is iodine essential during pregnancy? Researchers have discovered that a lack of this mineral can result in children having lower IQ and reading ability. A study of more than 1,000 pregnant women found that two thirds were found to be deficient in iodine. The results found that the lower the amount of iodine, the lower the IQ and reading ability. The study was conducted at Bristol and Surrey universities and was published in The Lancet. The researchers used samples from the “Children of the 90’s” project. This was a long term research project involving 14, 000 mothers during 1991 and 1992. Their children’s health and development has been followed since.   Iodine rich foods Iodine is only required in trace amounts in the body. This mineral is essential for physical and mental development. Iodine is also required for a healthy thyroid. Foods that are high in iodine are:  Dairy foods Seafood Mushrooms Sea salt Spinach Soy beans Garlic Sesame seeds Kelp The researchers said that women who were planning a pregnancy and pregnant women should ensure they get enough iodine through diet (above), but they warned against taking kelp supplements, as they can have excessively higher doses of iodine. Women who don’t consume these foods can should consult your pharmacist or GP before staring supplements. Signs of deficiency This is quite rare in developed countries, but as the result of the study found, this deficiency is becoming more common. Iodine is used by the thyroid gland to produce the hormones, thyroxine and tri-iodothyroxine. These hormones control our metabolism and energy levels. Hypothyroidism can be caused by a lack of iodine, and can cause fatigue, dry skin, weight gain and reduced mental clarity. Supplements Many vitamin companies produce iodine supplements, but should be taken under the supervision of a nutritionist or GP, especially if hypothyroidism has been...

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Is it safe to take antidepressants during pregnancy?

Is it safe to take antidepressants during pregnancy?

People are always asking “Is it safe to take antidepressants during pregnancy” and there is a lot of confusing information, but recent research has given some clear results. Researchers have found that women who take antidepressant medications such as Prozac and Seroxat during pregnancy are at a higher risk of giving birth to children with life threatening cardiac problems. This risk has been found to double in women who take SSRI (selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor) antidepressants. These are the most commonly prescribed class of antidepressants in the UK. The study which was conducted at Centre for Pharmacoepidemiology at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm Sweden the babies are at a higher risk of persistent pulmonary hypertention. This condition causes a rise in blood pressure in the lungs which can lead to heart failure. Researchers reviewed 1.6 million births between 1996 and 2007 in Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Norway and Iceland.  The results found that out of the 11,014 mothers who used antidepressants in late pregnancy, 33 babies were born with persistent pulmonary hypertention.  17,053 mothers took antidepressants in early pregnancy, out of which 32 babies were diagnosed with the cardiac condition. Dr Helle Kieler, of the Karolinska Institutet, who was the lead author of the study, said that even though the risk of developing pulmonary persistent hypertension is low, doctors should weigh the risks of not prescribing antidepressants.  She said ‘As the risk of association with treatment in late pregnancy seems to be more than doubled, we recommend caution when treating pregnant women with SSRIs.’ Researchers from the Motherisk Program Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto and the School of Pharmacy at the University of Oslo have echoed the results of this study. Researchers from Denmark and the US have found that the risk of heart defects increases to 60% in infants born to women taking SSRI medications. Doctors in the UK are generally cautious about prescribing any medications during pregnancy, although some women may not be aware of being pregnant while taking prescription medications. There is a suggestion that antidepressants are over prescribed in the UK. Latest figures show that approximately 39 million prescriptions for antidepressants were issued in 2011, compared to 20 million in 1999. There are other non-medical therapies...

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Homeopathy for Childrens Sleep Problems

Homeopathy for Childrens Sleep Problems

Most young children (newborns through to toddlers) will unfortunately suffer with sleep problems at some part of their lives. Babies,under 6 months, will generally wake up during the night due to hunger, so feeding patterns may need to be looked at. Persistent sleep problems will have an impact on parents and the child. Your child may also be suffering with colic or nappy rash.These conditions can be treated naturally with homeopathic remedies. For example, nappy rash can also be relieved by applying natural creams containing Calendula. Homeopathic remedies should only be given after you have eliminated all of the possible causes of the sleep problems. Sleep problems can even be the result of not having a consistent routine. The following homeopathic remedies can be given up to three times at night. The first dose can be given one hour before the scheduled bedtime. Subsequent doses can be given at 30 minute intervals for up to 2 doses. These remedies should be given in the 30c potency. Chamomilla is one of the main remedies for babies and young children. This homeopathic remedy is regularly prescribed for colic and teething. Chamomilla should be considered if your child is very irritable and wants to be carried. Nux Vomica can be given if the child wakes up at around 4am, and cannot be calmed. The child may fall asleep without any problems. In this case you can give a dose of the remedy 30 minutes before bedtime, and repeat the dose if the child wakes. Coffea is a well known homeopathic remedy for sleep problems in adults. This remedy is usually indicated for sleep problems that result from being over excited. Aconite should be considered if the child has had a shock or fright. This homeopathic remedy can help to negate the effects of fright or shock. Homeopathic remedies can be prepared in the form of drops, powders or granules for young children. These remedies can be purchased from specialised homeopathic pharmacies such as Ainsworths, Helios or Weleda. I would recommend consulting a homeopath or pharmacist at these pharmacies for specific advice.If the symptoms persist you should consult your GP or homeopath. We hope you found this article on “Homeopathy for Childrens sleep...

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Is stress in pregnancy transmitted to babies?

Is stress in pregnancy transmitted to babies?

A pregnant woman can pass on her stress to her unborn child through the placenta. According to researchers, this can lead to disorders such as autism and schizophrenia, which are more common and serious in male offspring. Read on to learn more about stress in pregnancy… Dr Tracy Bale, lead researcher from the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine in the U.S said, “Almost everything experienced by a woman during a pregnancy has to interact with the placenta in order to transmit to the foetus.” The researchers found a marker that appears to signal to the foetus that its mother experienced stress. Research was conducted on female mice that were exposed to mild stresses during the first week of pregnancy. An enzyme called OGT was found to be present at lower levels in the placentas of the stressed mice than in the unstressed mice. Research also found that male offspring had lower natural levels of OGT than the female offspring. Further investigation also found that lower levels of OGT affected changes in over 370 genes in the brains of unborn mice. Researchers suggest that these findings are likely to translateto humans.  These results suggest that OGT may protect the brain during pregnancy. “We want to get to the point where we can predict the occurrence of neuro-developmental disease,’ said Dr Bale. “If we have a marker for exposure, we can meld that with what we know about the genetic profiles that predispose individuals to these conditions and keep a close eye on children who have increased risks.” There are a number of natural remedies and exercises thatcan help to reduce stress levels during pregnancy. These natural treatments are extremely safe, but should be done under professional supervision. Homeopathy can help to gently treat stress and many other conditions during pregnancy. Please consult a qualified homeopath or a homeopathic pharmacist with your specific symptoms. This will enable the homeopath to prescribe the most accurate remedy for your symptoms. Nutritional supplements that contain B vitamins can also help reduce levels of stress during pregnancy. You should consult your GP or pharmacist before starting nutritional supplements. Exercises such as yoga can help to increase relaxation,muscle strength and tone, and improve breathing...

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Can Fish Oils During Pregnancy Prevent Baby Eczema

Fish oils have been found to protect unborn babies from eczema. The Australian scientists have discovered that mothers who took omega 3 supplements were less likely to have babies with eczema. Studies have found that taking omega 3 supplements during pregnancy also resulted in a 50 per cent less chance of developing intolerance to eggs. Researchers at Adelaide University carried out the study on 706 pregnant women with a family history of allergies. Half of the women were given fish oil supplements to take three times a day from the 21st week until full term. The other half of the study group were given vegetable oil as a placebo. Scientists used Efalex Mother & Baby, which is a high strength omega 3 mixture. So the results of this study are only applicable to this health supplement. The British Medical Journal (BMJ) commented that more research is required to see if fish oils can protect against asthma and hay fever. We hope you found this article “can fish oils during pregnancy prevent baby eczema” useful. Please let us know by rating it...

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