Browsing Category

Uncategorized

Babe In My Heart, Blogs, Uncategorized

Hedgehog Healing

September 19, 2017

Written by Nicola Salmon, guest blogger
As I was sat across from my doctor the most unexpected words came out of her mouth, “You’ll never be able to have children.” At 16, I just thought that my irregular periods were down to growing up but after three years and several different investigations, I was given the diagnosis of PCOS (a metabolic and hormonal disorder), given the contraceptive pill and sent on my way.

It’s funny where life takes you, after suffering from PTSD later in life, I had acupuncture and it turned my life. I decided to study acupuncture as it intrigued me so much and as I was studying I learnt about lots of different ways I could look after my body. Not just with medicine, but with food, movement and other natural remedies. Throughout that journey I made tiny shifts and tweaks to my lifestyle, which over time improved my health and menstrual cycles.

My 3 lifestyle tweaks

I switched away from drinking tap water after I found out that it contains small amounts of oestrogen. With my hormones as imbalanced as they were, I decided to help it out by trying to reduce external sources.

This also led me to choosing organic grass fed meat and dairy when I could afford it as cheap cattle and other animals are pumped full of antibiotics and growth hormones which again affect hormones in our bodies.

The third biggest shift I made was reintroducing fat in my diet. I was absolutely shocked to discover that fats are the building blocks of hormones. Being on a low fat diet since I was about 13, it was no wonder that my body struggled to create the right amounts of each hormone. Healthy fats such as dairy, coconut oil, olive oil, avocado and nuts are such a great was to eat healthy and tasty food.

My story has a happy ending.

We had no troubles conceiving our 2 boys despite my constant worry and fear that having children would be so difficult for us.

In the end it was those tiny tweaks and shifts that helped my body heal. It wasn’t a complete diet overhaul. I didn’t suddenly start running marathons.

The problem is that these tweaks won’t work for everyone. We all have unique bodies, environments, histories and mindsets which means that you need to find your own tweaks to your optimal health. Sounds really hard right?

I promise it is really simple. All you have to do is listen.

Your body has all the information. Every sign and symptom is a sign post to tell you where to look. You can start right away by grabbing a pen and paper. Write down:

  • your sleep (when, how much, what was the quality)
  •  your food and drink (no calories counting! What you ate, when you ate and how you feel)
  • your energy throughout the day
  • your mood throughout the day
  • your movement throughout the day
  • where you are in your cycle right now
  • anything else your body is telling you (aches, pains, dizziness, dry skin etc)

Then the fun begins. Over time you’ll start to notice patterns. You’ll notice how your sleep affects your mood, or if you have a coffee after 3 you’re wired til midnight. Maybe you’ll notice that you get bloated 3 hours after eating bread or that when you don’t drink enough water your eyes get sore.

Really get curious about how your body works and you’ll be amazed by what you find. Then you can experiment. Start trying to do things a little different and notice how your body responds.

If you want a quick guide to get started with fertility journaling, you can download my free 7 day nurture fertility journal here.

Babe In My Arms, Blogs, Uncategorized

Understanding Post Partum Depression

August 21, 2017

•By Dr. Kendra Segura, Guest Blogger

The birth of a baby is a time of joy and precious memories. For some women, however, it can be anything but joyous; instead it is filled with self-doubt, and overwhelming guilt.

Unfortunately, it is still shameful, these days, for a mother to admit feeling overwhelmed, depressed, or irritated, following the birth of their child; and they feel too ashamed to ask for help. After all, a “good mother” is expected to be completely selfless, and have no other feelings except joy and love for their child. But with postpartum depression affecting 10% of mothers, it can no longer stay a shameful secret. We have to get the word out, to ensure those good mothers get the help they need.

The importance of awareness
It is encouraging to see more and more celebrities coming out and saying, “Hey! I am having a hard time adjusting, and I need help”; among them are Brook Shields, Kendra Wilkinson, and more recently Chrissy Teigan who stated — “It does not discriminate. I couldn’t control it. And that’s part of the reason it took me so long to speak up.” This is great, because it helps to bring about awareness to the disease. More awareness not only helps patients, but also the medical professional. Physician offices are now becoming more equipped to detect and treat post-partum depression. Most physicians administer a survey at the 6 weeks post-partum visit to screen for depression. On the same note, health care providers are taking more initiative on identifying patients that are feeling overwhelmed, and many schedule closer follow-up, as early as 2 weeks post-partum, instead of only at 6 weeks, depending on their patient’s risk factors. All of this is a great start, but more awareness is needed so that, hopefully, one day, no mother will feel ashamed about asking for help.

What’s normal?
So, is it normal to feel depressed or to have “the blues” after giving birth? Yes, it is. Normal physiologic changes in the mother, after the birth of a child, can simulate symptoms of depression, such as changes in sleep pattern, energy level, or appetite. A benign condition that many are familiar with is postpartum blues, which occurs 2-3 days after childbirth, and resolves within 2 weeks’ time without intervention. And that is one big difference between postpartum depression, and postpartum blues – postpartum blues resolves on its own; so if symptoms last for more than 2 weeks, doctors often begin suspecting postpartum depression.

Symptoms of postpartum depression
Besides feeling depressed, anxious, or upset, mothers suffering from post-partum depression may feel angry with the new baby, their partners, or their other children. They also may: cry for no clear reason; have trouble sleeping, eating, and making choices; question whether they can handle caring for a baby. The manifestations of the disease that make the news, of course, are the extreme cases where the patient harms themselves or the infant due to suicidality or associated psychosis, but these cases are far and few between. Many patients with postpartum depression have debilitating symptoms, but suicide or infanticide is very rare.

How is postpartum depression diagnosed?
Postpartum depression is a clinical diagnosis – meaning there is no fancy, million dollar test for the diagnosis; your doctor may order some lab tests to rule out other possible medical problems, but, really, the diagnosis of postpartum depression is based on the doctor’s careful assessment. Besides asking about some of the above-mentioned manifestations of the disease, physicians will often focus on the timing of symptoms. Postpartum depression can occur up to 1 year after having a baby, but it most commonly starts about 1-3 weeks after childbirth. As mentioned before, symptoms that resolve on their own, within a couple of weeks, are usually of no concern. Besides the timing of symptoms, the severity of symptoms can also help doctors make the diagnosis. Women with postpartum depression can have INTENSE feelings of sadness, anxiety, or despair that prevent them from being able to do their daily tasks. Keeping a log or diary of your symptoms can help your doctor diagnose or rule-out postpartum depression.

What causes postpartum depression?
It is still, unfortunately, not entirely clear what exactly causes postpartum depression (another reason for more awareness!!). What we think right now is that postpartum depression is caused by a combination of factors – “the perfect storm” of a sudden drop in the level of hormones (estrogen and progesterone), combined with common stressors surrounding pregnancy and delivery. One common physiologic stressor that seems to increases the risk of postpartum depression is a lack of sleep. Social stressors also increase the chance for postpartum depression, and these include: a lack of a support system, stressful life event (recent death of loved one, a family illness, etc.), a major lifestyle change (moving to new city, change of job). A history of depression itself is also a risk factor for developing postpartum depression. There is also some evidence that postpartum depression can have a genetic component to it (meaning, some people may inherit a higher risk of developing the disease). As an example, there have been studies that show siblings of postpartum depression patients tend to have a higher chance of getting the disease as well.

What is the treatment?
The very first step of treatment is getting help right when you need it. You do not need to wait for your 6 weeks’ post-partum visit to get help. Even if you don’t think you have a problem, if your significant other or family members are concerned about your mental health, get help ASAP.

Treatment may involve “Talk therapy” (psychotherapy), one-on-one or in a group setting. Others patients may need medication – antidepressants that can help restore the balance of chemicals in the brain to balance mood, or a combination of both.

As with any disease, prevention is the best ‘treatment’. If you have a history of depression or postpartum depression, please, please inform your health care provider. You may be referred to have talk therapy during your prenatal care and if you are on antidepressant, you may be advised to continue your medication.

Additions Resources:

Postpartum Support International

National Women’s Health Information Center

BIO
Dr. Kendra Segura is an obstetric/gynecologist practicing in Southern California. She completed her residency in Rochester, New York. She also has a Masters of Public Health earned at Loma Linda University in Southern California. She has worked for the Los Angeles county health department, where she performed disease surveillance and health education.

Dr. Kendra feels that her God-given purpose extends beyond patients that she encounters in the office, or in the hospital. She desires to reach the women she will not see in the above settings, through various forms of media. Her mission to is inform the uninformed, and misinformed.

What The Fertility

Subscribe to our exclusive content, blog updates and be the first one to know about our awesome giveaways !!!