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Pregnancy

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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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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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 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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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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The Effects of Stress During Pregnancy

A new study has found that stress during pregnancy can shorten the length of a pregnancy and increase the chance of miscarriage. Researchers found that mothers-to-be, who are highly stressed during the second and third trimesters at a higher risk of giving birth prematurely and miscarrying baby boys. This is the first study to highlight the effect that stress can have on individual sexes. These findings suggest that the extra risk to boys starts earlier in pregnancy. The results of this study are from an investigation into the effect of stress after the 2005 Tarapaca earthquake in Chile. This earthquake was measured at 7.9 which is classified as “disastrous”. The results of the research found that women who lived closest to the site of the earthquake during the first trimester had shorter pregnancies and had a higher risk of delivering pre-term.  The normal average for pre-term births is on average 6 out of every 100 births, but for the women that were exposed to the earthquake, this increased by over 3%. This equates to over 9 out of every 100 births being pre-term. The researchers also found that fewer baby boys survived pregnancy through to delivery. Although this study was conducted on women exposed to the natural disaster, the researchers claim that there could be implications for pregnant women who are exposed to more “normal” stressful situations. Stress at any time of your life can have detrimental effect on your health, but stress during pregnancy this can have an added effect on the baby. Stress during pregnancy can cause an increase in blood pressure, increased heart rate and a negative effect on your immune system. It is important to manage and prevent stress during pregnancy. This can be achieved through relaxation techniques such as breathing exercises, yoga and regular gentle exercise.  Cutting down on caffeine will also help the body reacting to stress. Many health companies promote vitamin supplements for throughout pregnancy. I would recommend a product that contains a mix of B vitamins, as these will help to support the adrenal glands and keep your stress levels low. We hope you found our stress during pregnancy article useful. Please let us know by rating it...

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Top tips to avoid leg cramps during pregnancy

Top tips to avoid leg cramps during pregnancy

Leg cramps are very common during pregnancy and can be very exhausting. There a number of factors such as nutritional deficiencies, a build up of acid in the muscle fibres, changes in circulation and electrolyte imbalances that can cause this condition. The extra strain placed on the legs by the weight of the baby can also cause leg cramps. Leg cramps at night can be painful and can wake you up. This can lead to you not getting enough rest, which can cause a cascade of problems. On a positive note, there are many simple and effective ways of treating and avoiding leg cramps. Top Tips to Avoid Leg Cramps During Pregnancy: 1. Make sure you get enough exercise. Walking for 15-20mins a day will stimulate the circulation through your legs. You can also do calf stretches. Stand an arms length away from a wall, keeping your feet flat on the floor. Place one foot two feet behind the other, and push against the wall. Hold this stretch for 20 seconds and repeat with the other leg. You can repeat this twice on each leg. This stretch should ideally be done before bed. 2. Prop your legs on a pillow when sleeping. This will improve circulation and blood flow. Elevate your legs when sitting down. 3. Try not to stand in one place for long periods. 4. Increase your intake of Calcium and Magnesium. These nutrients will help to relax the muscles and prevent leg cramps. Extra Calcium can be obtained from dairy foods, dark green leafy vegetables, almonds, cabbage and seafood. Magnesium is found in bananas, apples, lentils, pulses, brown rice and whole grains. If you are still getting leg cramps at night, try supplementing with 100mg of Magnesium Citrate an hour before bed. 5.  Do not point your toes downwards. To relieve calf pain, stretch your feet, with your toes pointing upward. Homeopathic Remedies to Treat Leg Cramps The tissue salt, Mag Phos 6X, should be taken alongside the indicated remedy below. Mag Phos is one of the main remedies for relaxing cramping muscles. This tissue salt will often work more rapidly when the tablets are taken with a sip of hot water. These tablets should be...

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Natural Supplements for Morning Sickness

Natural Supplements for Morning Sickness

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. There are natural supplements available that can help to ease the symptoms of morning sickness for many 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. It is not yet clear why severe nausea and vomiting occurs, but there is a potential link with high levels of the hormones, oestrogen and human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG). This hormone is produced by the placenta in large quantities until the end of the first trimester. Other possible causes of morning sickness are stress, anxiety, tiredness and low blood sugar levels. There are a few measures that you can put in place to prevent morning sickness that are safe to use during pregnancy. Make sure that you give yourself plenty of rest and time off work if necessary. Overdoing things in the early stages of pregnancy will increase stress levels and possibly also increase blood pressure. Eat little and often. Regular small meals are easier to digest and will also help to maintain even blood sugar levels. You should incorporate foods with a low glycemic index (GI) into your diet. These foods will keep your blood sugar levels at a consistent level, so you don’t suffer with energy dips throughout the day. Whole grains, porridge, beans, pulses, fruits and vegetables are examples of low GI foods. It is generally better to avoid fried and spicy foods, as they usually make the symptoms worse, although if you have been sick, don’t worry about following a balanced diet. It’s more important to eat something at this stage. You should also keep hydrated with water, fresh juices and herbal teas. There are a few natural supplements that can help to treat morning sickness. Ginger is the most commonly used herb for sickness in pregnancy....

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Natural remedies for headaches during pregnancy

Headaches are a very common complaint during pregnancy, mainly due to the hormone imbalances. Headaches can also be caused by tiredness, dehydration, sickness and lack of exercise. Cutting down of caffeine can also cause headaches in the short-term. This will pass after a day or so, and your energy levels will increase after withdrawing caffeine from your diet. During pregnancy you are limited on medications that you can safely take, but there are many natural remedies for headaches during pregnancy Headaches may also be the result of a cold or sinus pain around the forehead. If your headaches persist, please consult your GP as it may be a sign of high blood pressure. Conventional painkillers have recently had their safety questioned in pregnancy, so are best avoided at this time. Many of these medications are not recommended in pregnancy. You can help to prevent these headaches by doing regular exercise and getting fresh air throughout your pregnancy. It is also important to get plenty of rest, and not to get stressed or worked up. Yoga is an excellent way to stay relaxed and get good regular exercise throughout your pregnancy. Diet and making sure that you stay adequately hydrated are very important at avoiding headaches. Avoid too much fried foods as these can trigger headaches. Foods with a high glycemic index (GI) will raise your blood sugar levels quickly and then cause a sudden dip. This process can trigger headaches, especially during pregnancy. Foods with a high GI include white bread, jacket potatoes, chips and white rice. You should aim to eat small regular meals to maintain your blood sugar levels. Foods with a low glycemic index (GI) will also help to maintain your blood sugar levels. Examples of low GI foods are wholemeal bread, low fat yoghurt, fruits, beans and vegetables. You should aim to drink at least 8 glasses of water a day to stay hydrated. There are a number of complementary therapies that can be used to treat headaches during pregnancy. Homeopathy has many remedies that can be taken safely throughout pregnancy. The prescribed remedy will depend on your specific symptoms, and the cause of your headaches. I recommend that you consult a qualified homeopath or...

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Cold and Flu Remedies During Pregnancy

Cold and Flu Remedies During Pregnancy

Being pregnant does not make you more likely to develop a cold or flu. It is more important to keep your immune system healthy, by eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, and getting enough rest.  Complementary medicine offers a wide range of safe remedies for colds and flu that can be taken safely during pregnancy. Pregnancy can throw up a host of conditions such as backache and heartburn, but having a cold or a bout of flu can really bring you. The conventional painkillers and cold medicines are not safe during this time. Antibiotics are not effective and are also not recommended during pregnancy, and conventional decongestants should be avoided as they can harm the health of mother and baby. This is where complementary remedies can really help you recover faster and more importantly safely. Not all natural remedies are recommended as some of them have not been tested as yet. I would advise pregnant women to avoid herbal medicines, such as Echinacea and Propolis as their safety in pregnancy cannot be confirmed. Homeopathic remedies, biochemic tissue salts and certain nutritional supplements can be taken effectively and safely throughout pregnancy. You can take several natural remedies to maintain your immune system throughout the winter months. This will help you to prevent catching a cold or flu. Vitamin C can help support your immune system. A dose of 500mg a day will be sufficient to supplement your diet. The homeopathic remedies Anas Barb 200c and Aconite 200c are very effective if taken at the first sign of a cold or flu. These remedies can be made up as a combination remedy at one of the specialist homeopathic pharmacies. It is a good idea to keep this remedy with you, especially during the winter months. This combination can help to shorten the length of a cold and flu and help you get back on your feet. Probiotics such as Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium bifidum are beneficial bacteria that are normally present in the digestive tract. Probiotics are naturally found in the body and they have a number of important functions in the body such as supporting the immune system.  An added benefit to taking these probiotics in pregnancy is that they...

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