Category Archives: women’s health

Postpartum Fitness Tips

A common question among new mothers is how long after giving birth can they get back into their pre-pregnancy fitness routine? While you may think you’ll be able to quickly get back to the way you lived before being pregnant after you give birth, you may want to think again. After giving birth you may suffer from bad posture, general fatigue, and an achy body amongst other things. This means doing many common activities you did before pregnancy, such as exercising, may be difficult to adjust to for a bit. The pregnant body takes around 40 weeks to form, and in some cases, it can take almost as long as that to get completely back to your pre-pregnancy body. At the end of the day, your doctor will let you know when you’re okay to start working out again, but when you do begin it’s important you approach it safely. Here are a few tips to help you out in postpartum fitness.

 

Ease Into It

It’s important that you take your time when getting back into your fitness routine. Pushing yourself too much so soon after birth can actually threaten your overall recovery. Many doctors will recommend that you avoid exerting yourself for about 2 weeks after giving birth. After that, a good way to start is by taking a 5-minute walk and seeing how you feel.  As long as you feel okay and there isn’t any bleeding or aching, you’re likely fine to take a slightly longer walk the next day and continue slowly building how long your walks are over time. After you build this up for about 2 weeks, you can move into gentle upper-body stretching or even take a postpartum exercise class.

 

Be Careful If Breastfeeding

Not every mother breastfeeds but if you are and you want to get back into fitness, it’s important you’re even more careful than usual. Weight loss shouldn’t be as much of a concern the first few weeks after giving birth until you’ve built up a stable milk supply. Some of the weight will naturally disappear during the first few days due to your body relishing the extra fluids it needed while pregnant. It’s also important you eat correctly if working out and breastfeeding, as breastfeeding mothers need an additional 500 calories a day than non-breastfeeding mothers.

 

Get Plenty of Rest

Getting rest and not overexerting yourself is more important than ever after having a baby. It’s easy to become sleep-deprived after having a baby, especially if your baby is waking up multiple times throughout the night, not letting you get a full night’s sleep. If this is the case, it’s important that you’re careful about overworking yourself. Exercise does have the potential to provide you with more energy but if your body is already lacking then it’s more likely it will just add to your exhaustion.

This article was originally published on DrLoriGore-Green.com

Food You Should Eat To Increase Fertility

While making a baby is rather straightforward, that doesn’t mean people don’t struggle with actually getting pregnant. A percentage of women in the United States struggle with getting pregnant all of the time, so and while that percentage seems small, the number is still rather large. Luckily, there exist several ways in which women can work on boosting their fertility when they’re trying to conceive. One of the easiest things to do is adjusting your diet, so here are foods you’ll want to try eating if you’re trying to get pregnant.

Healthy Sources of Fat

While eating too much fatty foods can be detrimental to your healthy, there are plenty of healthy fatty foods that are great for boosting your chances of pregnancy. In particular, you’ll want monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat, which is commonly found in nuts, seeds, avocados and smaller, oily fish such as anchovies.

No Skim Milk

Dairy products typically aren’t the best thing to consume when you’re thinking of getting pregnant, but skim milk and other low-fat dairy products are especially harmful. A little bit of dairy here or there isn’t the worst, especially if it’s something you really enjoy, but be sure to always partake in the full-fat kind.

Get Plenty of Iron

Getting enough iron is always good for you and has been shown to help increase your odds of getting pregnant. You’ll want to make sure you partake in foods such as tomatoes, spinach, beans and much more if you’re looking for something high in iron.

Try Complex Carbs

You’ll want to eat plenty of complex carbohydrates that take time to be digested, such as whole fruits, beans and non-starchy vegetables. These foods are important, as having a high or mismanaged blood sugar has typically been associated with not being able to get pregnant. It’s also important that you don’t cut out carbs all together, because this will make the body think it’s not getting enough food, which will trigger survival mode.

 

This article was originally published on DrLoriGore-Green.com

What Every Woman Should Know About Postpartum Depression

Whether or not a woman plans on having a child or not, it’s important to understand what postpartum depression is and how it works. It can affect many women, including yourself and the women you care about. There is a lot of misinformation surrounding postpartum, which is why it’s imperative to know the facts from myth to better help the women who are affected by it.

What is Postpartum Depression?

Not to be confused with “mommy blues”, which can last two to three days, postpartum depression affects women who have just gone through childbirth and are experiencing an emotional emptiness longer than two weeks. This kind of depression can make it harder for mothers to care for their children and not feel connected to them. It should not be taken lightly and is a very serious mental illness that involves the brain, affects your behavior, and physical health. Whether mild or severe, postpartum depression affects one in nine new mothers.

The Causes of Postpartum Depression

The biggest trigger for postpartum may be hormonal changes. Levels of the female hormones estrogen and progesterone are the highest when a woman is pregnant. These hormone levels drop significantly back to normal within the first 24 hours of giving birth, which can lead to depression. Women who have a history of depression are also at risk for postpartum.

Symptoms to Be Aware Of 

There are many symptoms a woman can display that are signs of postpartum depression. Although symptoms vary from one woman to another, common symptoms are sadness, loss of hope, despair, frequent crying, feeling unable to care for the baby, loss of ability to do basic chores, inability to bond with the baby, loss of memory, and trouble focusing. When a woman is showing the symptoms of postpartum, only a doctor is able to give a diagnosis.

Treatment Options

When diagnosed with postpartum depression, there are two main treatment options available. The first is taking medication to cope with postpartum. Antidepressants directly affect the brain by altering the chemicals that regulate mood. A doctor may also suggest hormone therapy to help regulate estrogen levels. The second treatment option is going to a psychiatrist, psychologist, or mental health professional for counseling. This option helps women suffering from postpartum depression make sense of toxic thoughts and give them the strategies they need to cope.

What To Know About Being Pregnant During COVID-19

The world has changed quite a bit since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States in full force. Most places require masks to be worn in public and social distancing measures have been taken in public spaces as well as places of business. This can be nerve wracking for people, especially if you’re pregnant during these wild times. While not much evidence has been found saying that pregnant women need to be more worried than others, it’s still fair if you’re someone who is constantly worried. Here are a few things you might want to know about being pregnant during the pandemic.

Risk Of Transmitting The Virus To The Baby?

While it’s certainly possible for a new born baby to contract the virus, there has been no evidence that points towards the baby being affected while it’s still in the womb. Research has shown that newborns may be less likely to catch any serious forms of the virus, as well as show symptoms of it. Regardless of this, it’s important to protect not only yourself while you’re pregnant but the baby when it’s first born, so be sure to take precautions when first bringing the baby home.

Should I Change Labor and/or Delivery Plans?

Being in a hospital during a pandemic can be extremely stressful, especially as so many of them have suffered from overcrowding. This may make you think you’ll have to change your deliver and labor plans, but the first thing you should do is sit down and speak with your doctor about it. Many hospitals are adjusting things in order to limit the chance of exposure for patients such as expecting mothers, and many believe that delivering in a hospital is still the safest course of action regardless of the state of things.

What Should You Do If You Think You Have COVID-19 or Have Been Diagnosed?

If you think you’re sick, you’ll want to seek out the advice of your healthcare provider. If you actually get diagnosed with the virus, you’ll want to not only speak with your OB-GYN but also read what the CDC has to say about having the virus while pregnant. This will likely mean quarantining yourself as much as possible, only going out for medical care, and avoiding congested public places such as transportation.

This article was originally published on DrLoriGore-Green.com

4 Signs Women Should Talk to Their Doctor About Painful Sex

Sex might feel like a topic you rarely bring up, especially with a doctor, but it’s perfectly normal. Pain during sex might not be something you want to talk about at all, but sometimes it’s necessary and never something you should be ashamed of. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, three out of four women will experience pain during sex during their lives. The problem is common, especially during menopause, but there are signs you should talk to a doctor if they occur.

Lube Doesn’t Help

When sex gets uncomfortable, lubricants are typically the first line of defense. Vaginal dryness is a common cause of uncomfortable sex, so if lubricants aren’t helping, there may be  different underlying cause, such as hormonal changes, medications, or stress, that your doctor is best suited to identify.

Pain is Accompanied By Bleeding

For some women, bleeding after sex is not uncommon for women who still get their periods. However, if the spotting or bleeding happens simultaneously with the pain, it can mean something more serious. Sexually transmitted diseases or vaginal trauma due to intense dryness can cause bleeding, so it’s best if you check in with a doctor to discover the cause and a solution.

Painful Urination

If burning or itching occurs when you urinate you may have a yeast infection or a common bacterial infection called bacterial vaginosis. While some infections can be treated with over the counter solutions, it’s always a good idea to consult a doctor first, especially if the infection requires a round of antibiotics.

Intense or Long-Lasting Pain

It can be tough to know when to contact a doctor, especially when pain is your only symptom. If you experience consistent discomfort or intense pain, it’s definitely time to talk to a physician. If your pain is also accompanied by trauma such as cuts or abnormal discharge, consult a doctor immediately. No matter your concern, it’s 100% okay to bring up your questions or concerns with a doctor at any time during the process.

Common Causes of Menstrual Irregularities

No two menstrual cycles are alike. Every woman’s body is different, therefore every woman will experience their own different cycle. Although women often share similar period symptoms, each cycle is unique. However, sometimes a cycle can be so different that it can be irregular. There are many causes for menstrual irregularities every woman should be made aware of:

Pregnancy

The most common cause of menstrual irregularities is pregnancy. Pregnancy puts a woman’s period to a halt for nine months after conception. There may be a bit of light spotting, but this is a common sign a woman may be pregnant. Other symptoms are nausea, breast soreness, and fatigue.

Birth Control

Another way to cause menstrual irregularities is by taking birth control. Hormonal birth control pills and hormone-containing intrauterine devices (IUDs) can cause irregular bleeding during a woman’s cycle. An IUD can also cause very heavy bleeding.

Perimenopause

As a woman get older, her body begins to go through major changes. When her period stops due to her age, this is called menopause. The time between their period coming to a stop and entering menopause is called perimenopause. This can cause them to have a very irregular period, sometimes going months without bleeding. Women can also experience hot flashes, mood changes, difficulty sleeping, and vaginal dryness.

Being Overweight

It’s important for men and women to stay healthy. Being overweight can cause many health issues. For women, it can lead to menstrual irregularities. When a woman is overweight, their obesity impacts hormone and insulin levels and interferes with your menstrual cycle.

Eating Disorders and Extreme Weightloss

It’s important for your body to find a healthy balance. Obesity isn’t the only weight issue that can lead to an unhealthy menstrual cycle. If a woman has an eating disorder or is experiencing extreme and rapid weight loss, it can interfere with their body producing the hormones needed for ovulation.

Stress

Mental health can have a major impact on the body. For women, stress can be a major factor when dealing with menstrual irregularities. Research has found that stress can interfere with a woman’s menstrual cycle by temporarily obstructing the part of the brain in charge of controlling the hormones responsible for regulating your cycle.

What is Postpartum Depression ?

Childbirth can be an emotional experience for new parents. As you settle in with your bundle of joy, you might encounter something unexpected – depression. Postpartum depression is often left undiscussed but affects many parents. What separates this from postpartum “baby blues”? Sometimes a rare but more severe condition called postpartum psychosis can develop. 

Defining Postpartum Depression

By definition by the National Institute of Mental Health, postpartum depression is a mood disorder that can affect women and birthing parents after childbirth. New parents often experience “baby blues” after childbirth, where they might experience mood swings, crying spells, anxiety, and difficulty sleeping. The symptoms of postpartum depression may be similar but tend to be more severe and last longer, sometimes interfering with your ability to care for your baby and complete other daily tasks.  

Symptoms

Parents can experience depressed mood or severe mood swings, excessive crying, and difficulty bonding with their baby. Other common symptoms include changes in appetite, social withdrawal, and sleep disturbances. Symptoms will usually begin within the first few weeks after giving birth but may begin earlier (during pregnancy) or later, up to a year after birth. More severe symptoms may occur, such as thoughts of harming oneself or the baby, and these require serious and immediate attention. 

Causes

Physical changes and emotional issues play a role in postpartum depression, but there is no single cause for the condition. Hormonal changes after childbirth, such as dramatic drops in levels of progesterone and estrogen, may contribute to postpartum depression. Your risk of developing postpartum depression may increase if you have a history of depression or other mood disorders.

Treatments

Fortunately, postpartum depression is treatable.Treatment and recovery time will vary depending on your individual needs and the severity of the depression. Your medical provider will work on treating the underlying causes and may refer you to a mental health professional. Generally, treatment for depression includes psychotherapy, medication, or both. It is important to continue treatment even after you begin to feel better, as stopping treatment too early may lead to relapse.  Left untreated, postpartum depression can last for many months or longer. 
This post was originally published on DrLoriGoreGreen.org

Foods to Avoid During Your Period

Women everywhere know the struggle each month of dealing with their menstrual cycle. As if it’s not enough to handle the pain, bloating, and cramping, there’s also the emotional fatigue that can sneak up. What a plethora of women don’t know is that you can use diet to help relieve some of your period symptoms.

To improve reproductive health doctors recommend avoiding certain foods and drinks. Don’t worry though, the restrictions are only for the week of your period!

Salty Food

Bloating is very common for women on their periods. However, salty foods can cause even more bloating and gas. If that can be avoided by all means do! Things such as potato chips, popcorn, pickles, and other snacks have a lot of sodium and though cravings are a very real thing, try to refrain. Your body will thank you.

Saturated/Trans Fats

Another source of pain during the menstrual cycle can be caused by the saturated fats in certain meats and dairy products. Avoid eating burgers or drinking whole milk during your period and pain and inflammation can often be lessened. French fries, doughnuts, and other heavy carbohydrates are also best to avoid.

Caffeine

It’s sad, but caffeine is in a lot of the things we enjoy, such as coffee, soda, and chocolate. Just remember, it’s only for a week! Caffeine can raise our anxiety levels and create agitation and trouble sleeping so it’s best to lay off the frappuccinos and candy bars until your menstrual cycle ends.

Sugar

Though we often crave sugary candy during this time, it’s best to stay away. If you’re already feeling bloated candy will surely make it worse. Instead, opt for fruit that has natural sugar. Though candy might help elevate your mood short term, it will wear off and leave your body feeling as bad as before.

Alcohol

If you’re not celebrating with friends and family during your menstrual cycle it’s best to refrain from drinking alcohol. The loss of blood can lower your blood pressure which can heighten the effects of alcohol. Drinking alcohol can also increase your flow, making your period heavier.

Overall, trying to eat healthier (at least during your menstrual cycle) can improve your mood and help to alleviate some of the period pain.

Constantly Evolving: How the Female Body Changes During Pregnancy

Pregnancy delivers a host of changes to a woman’s body. Some are visible and commonly expected, such as weight gain and an expanding belly; others are less well-known, such as increasing breast size. Some changes are well-known but invisible, such as backaches, morning sickness, and an enlarged uterus. Awareness of the changes, both visible and invisible, can help you prepare for your body’s adjustments during pregnancy.

Oral Health

A common pregnancy complaint is bleeding gums, which can open a portal to oral infections. With the immune system tamping down, it is vital to practice good oral hygiene. This will prevent the gums becoming inflamed, or gingivitis. While some women are nervous about visiting the dentist while they are pregnant, it is safe to receive dental X-rays with the caveat that the belly must be shielded properly from radiation.

Nails and Hair

Hair and nails tend to grow faster during pregnancy. An increase in estrogen creates an increase in the hair follicles’ growing phase, often creating a result of healthier and thicker hair. Hair may also increase in less desired places, such as the stomach, upper lip, nipples, and back. This excess hair is shed after giving birth. Nails tend to become more coarse in texture, causing them to become more soft and brittle. This can lead to nails splitting more easily. Like hair, the nails have a tendency to grow faster during pregnancy.

Skin

Three main skin changes are possible during pregnancy: stretch marks, a rosy complexion, and pigment changes known as chloasma or melasma. Stretch marks tend to itch and are purplish, pinkish lines that are particularly prone to appear on the breasts, posterior, thighs, and abdomen. The rosy complexion, or pregnancy glow, may appear due to the skin receiving an increase in blood circulation. Pigment changes, or pregnancy’s mask, are another common occurrence due to melanin increasing.

Heartburn

During pregnancy, the muscles that are used to break down food grow more relaxed. Changes in hormones also contribute to slowing down this process. Further, food remains in the stomach for a longer duration to allow the body more time for absorption of nutrients. Each or all of these factors can be the cause of heartburn or make it worse.

Originally posted on DrLoriGoreGreen.org.