3 Tips for Running a Business While Pregnant

Being pregnant comes with lots of challenges: swollen feet, morning sickness, the inability to engage in certain physical activities, and the fact that you’re literally growing another human being. That’s no easy task, and running a business on top of that physical stress makes it even harder.

 

Thankfully, in today’s day and age, women can often do both throughout the term of their pregnancies. Here are a few ways that might help:

 

Bring pregnancy into the conversation.

Often, talking about pregnancy and maternity is considered a no-no in a corporate setting. Women who are pregnant are not acknowledged as such; it’s just not as important in comparison to team-building exercises or the latest numbers in a report. However, given how taxing a pregnancy often is, even at its best, make pregnancy and maternity talk part of the conversation. Introduce the topic and don’t look back.

 

This will also help make it easier for colleagues who become pregnant in the future. Pregnancy doesn’t have to be and, more to the point, shouldn’t be a taboo.

 

Review parental leave policies thoroughly.

Start-ups, in particular, are not known for their generous time off for new mothers, but they are often known for wanting to implement considerate policies for both new mothers and fathers alike. If your company doesn’t have a formal policy in place yet because it’s so young, get those details squared away now rather than waiting until your third trimester.

 

Keep in mind the transition back to work, too, as new parents move back into the workforce. It’s an adjustment going from full-time parent to a full-time employee, and allowing for that period of time will only be to your benefit and your employees’.

 

Remind yourself that you can’t do everything.

No one likes doing this. We all want to be the one who can do it all, but the truth is, we can’t, and it’s better to recognize that now. Being pregnant will require flexibility in your expectations of yourself and of your work routine. Working twelve hours a day is a lot to ask, so be upfront and honest with your team about your limitations. Doing so will keep you healthier in the process because you will be taking care of yourself and your baby, rather than stressing yourself out trying to finish one last report. Prioritizing your daily tasks will make your life so much easier.

 

The bottom line: your body is going to need certain things to successfully grow a baby, and your job is to listen to it, especially if you’re running a business at the same time.

 

Disclaimer: As always, make sure to speak with your medical practitioner about the best practices for you.

Top 3 Questions You’re Embarrassed to Ask Your OB-GYN

top-3-questions-embarassed-to-ask-ob-gyn-dr-lori-gore-green

For first-time and veteran mothers alike, pregnancy can bring up a variety of questions that might feel a little awkward asking out loud. The good news is that most women have had those same questions at some point and that there are answers from trained professionals.

 

Here are some questions about pregnancy you may have wanted to ask but felt too nervous to do so:

 

How Likely Is a Bowel Movement During Delivery?

This fear comes up frequently with new mothers, to the point where they can become so fixated on not having a bowel movement that it inhibits their ability to push.

 

It’s actually extremely common to have a bowel movement during labor, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. There’s a simple reason why it happens: the same muscles a woman uses to push a baby out of her uterus are the same ones she uses when having a bowel movement. With the added weight on her colon and rectum as the baby moves through the birth canal, it’s a very natural bodily reaction.

 

While it may seem embarrassing, keep in mind that childbirth is a very private affair. Doctors are not only undaunted by this, but generally expect it. They’re trained professionals and their primary concern is making sure the mother and baby are healthy throughout the entire pregnancy and delivery.

 

Will My Vagina Be Stretched After I Give Birth?

Not really. Believe it or not, vaginas have muscle memory. The vagina is also made to accommodate childbirth; in other words, it stretches during childbirth and then contracts to its normal size. If a woman wants to strengthen her pelvic floor muscles, there are Kegel exercises, though make sure to check with a doctor first before trying them.

 

Why Does Sex Hurt After Birth?

Having a baby is hard work! With childbirth comes natural trauma to the vaginal area, and it needs time to heal. It’s natural for the sex drive to decrease, given how exhausting caring for a newborn can be. On top of that, if mothers choose to breastfeed, that can change her hormone levels as well, particularly her estrogen levels. This can lead to problems with lubrication. One potential solution is to use a lubricant, as well as giving the body time to adjust postpartum.

 

If the pain continues to exist months after birth, however, it’s best to speak to a doctor to make sure there aren’t any lasting issues.

Nutrition Advice for Women

vegetables

Vegetables are an extremely important part of your daily nutrition and can give you increased health benefits.

Maintaining a healthy diet is vital for feeling good and having energy to get through your day, and plus, it keeps you looking your best.  For women in particular, eating healthy food reduces PMS, boosts fertility levels, fights stress, is beneficial for pregnancy in many ways, and helps reduce menopausal symptoms.  No matter how old you are, eating nutritiously throughout your lifetime is important, and there’s no better place to start than right here, right now.  Here are a few nutrition tips for you to kick start your healthy eating habits:

First, make sure your diet is properly balanced.  A lot of women think that depriving themselves from certain food groups will boost weight loss.  While that may be true, it is only true temporarily, and in the long run will have negative effects on your body.  So, make sure that your diet is well-rounded and contains whole grains, vegetables, healthy fats, protein, and fruit.  To start, you want to think about eating lots of leaves and foods that are plant-based.  Legumes, along with beans and grains, are great at keeping yourself feeling full because they are filled with fiber, an extremely important item in your diet that will keep you from overeating.

Next, make sure you are getting your calcium fix.  As women, bone loss is common (osteoporosis), so you want to make sure that you are getting an adequate amount of calcium each day.  Apart from dairy products, which can actually have a negative impact on bone loss in the long run, focus on eating foods like broccoli, kale, and brussel sprouts.  If you aren’t a veggie person, learn to become one.  Increasing the amount of vegetables you eat each day will leave you feeling awesome, and if you don’t believe this – try it.  At least for a week, you’ll be sure to see a huge difference in the way you feel.

The next tip might be upsetting, but it’s important to cut back on caffeine and alcohol.  Especially during the winter when there are a plethora of holiday events and the last thing you want to do in the morning is leave your cozy bed and face the cold.  But, caffeine consumption and alcohol consumption can both lead to bone loss, so try your best to limit yourself to one glass of alcohol and one cup of caffeine per day.  Of course, there are going to be exceptions depending on your schedule, but as a lifestyle change this is really rewarding advice.

Lastly, be sure to get enough iron incorporated into your diet – many women don’t get enough.  This is particularly important during menstruation when women tend to lose a lot of iron.  Eating red meat, poultry, lentils, almonds, and spinach are all great sources of iron.  So when it’s your time of month, be sure you fill your diet with iron.  And remember, too much red meat is not good for you, so try to limit yourself to red meat only twice a month.

For more information on nutrition and health advice for women, read this article published by Help Guide.

Hormone Treatment Options – Bioidentical Hormones

Bioidentical Hormones

Bioidentical Hormones are identical in molecular structure to the hormones naturally occurring in women

A trial completed by the Women’s Health Initiative, otherwise known as the WHI, combined estrogen and progestin—as Prempro—for hormone therapy, with the aim of preventing later life ills.  However, the trial was stopped shortly after it started, in 2002, due to the fact that the hormone users were found to have a higher risk of breast cancer, heart disease, stroke, and blood clots.  This risk was found to be small; however, clinicians decided that even the minimal risk involved was too much to risk continuing the hormone treatment.  As a result, many of those participating in the trial found that the typical treatments involved with menopausal symptoms—such as hot flashes and sleeplessness—returned worse than possibly ever before. While hormone therapy is still considered the best treatment for these symptoms, many women are concerned about possible side effects and, as a result, are seeking alternatives, according to an article recently completed by Harvard Health Publications.

Several alternative choices in treatment are presented in the article.  Often, women pursue such treatments that are referred to as “natural” alternatives.  However, the article cautions that that term can be used loosely.  Technically, Any product whose principal ingredient has an animal, plant, or mineral source can be considered natural.  One example is in the form of the soy plant, which is the source of supplements that some women take to ease menopausal symptoms.  In addition to this, it’s also used to make the estrogen in the FDA-approved hormone drug Estrace.  However, seeking the use of soy plants is a risky endeavor, despite being the “natural path of choice; soy supplements aren’t regulated and haven’t been rigorously tested in humans, making it relatively impossible to know whether they’re safe or effective treatment options.

Another possible alternative discussed is bioidentical hormones.  This treatment plan was prompted by the pursuit of natural treatment options, as bioidentical hormones are identical in molecular structure to the hormones naturally occurring in women.  They are, however, not found naturally; are made, or synthesized, from a plant chemical extracted from yams and soy.  Even knowing this, the process is often referred to as “natural hormone therapy,” as bioidentical hormones act in the body just like the hormones naturally produced and occurring.  Despite the fact that the composite used to produce bioidentical hormones muddles the natural, the treatment is still able to maintain the title, as the body can’t distinguish bioidentical hormones from the ones produced by the ovaries.  The treatment has several benefits, namely allowing the estrogen levels to be monitored more precisely and, therefore, allowing treatment to be individualized accordingly.  However, skeptics alternatively counter this argument, saying that it hardly matters, as no one knows exactly what hormone levels to aim for; therefore, opponents of the treatment believe symptoms, not hormone levels, should be treated and monitored.

Top Medical Center Undergoes Traumatic Event

Dr. Nakita Levy, Gynecologist at Johns Hopkins, Committed Suicide after Investigation for Recording Patients.

Dr. Nikita Levy, Gynecologist at Johns Hopkins, Committed Suicide after Investigation for Recording Patients.

In a recent article by The Boston Globe, Johns Hopkins is said to have to pay a $190 million in a gynecology settlement. A gynecologist at one of the world’s top medical centers, Johns Hopkins Health System, was fired after 25 years for secretly used tiny cameras to record and take pictures of his patients. Because of this, Johns Hopkins has been forced to pay $190 million to 8,000 women and girls that have been affected by this doctor’s actions. Dr. Nikita Levy was spotted by a female co worker with his pen like camera that he used around his neck and alerted authorities. Roughly 1,200 videos and 140 images where stored on his computers at home. After being investigated by authorities, Dr. Levy committed suicide.

Many women and girls were “brutalized” by this recent finding. Many had issues sleeping, they were unable to work, and ended up needing counseling. In the preliminary settlement which was approved by a judge on Monday, this was said to be one of the largest cases on record in the United States. Even though this case has been closed and never produced criminal charges, it still threatens the reputation of Johns Hopkins.

Lawyers working on the case state that thousands of women were traumatized even though their faces were not visible in the pictures and videos that were recovered. According to attorney, Howard Janet, 62 of the victims were young girls whose chaperones were sent out of the exam rooms by Dr. Levy, breaking hospital protocol. It is the hope of Johns Hopkins that the pictures are never leaked and that the victims involved in this recent case will achieve some sense of closer soon. Looking forward for the future, Johns Hopkins hopes that people will not think of the institute in a negative light after this recent case since the institute does so much good for the community.

Controversy Over Necessity of Pelvic Exams

Pelvic exams may not be a necessary procedure during an annual gynecologist exam for women who are not pregnant.

Pelvic exams may not be a necessary procedure during an annual gynecologist exam for women who are not pregnant.

The yearly trip to the gynecologist can be a dreaded event for many females.  Pap smears are unpleasant and can often be only the tip of the iceberg, as many doctors also include pelvic and rectal exams as well.  However, according to an article completed by the Daily News that summarizes a new series of guidelines released by the American College of Physicians, the pelvic exams may no longer be a necessary procedure to inflict upon women who are not pregnant.

In the procedures involved in the yearly check up with a gynecologist, women are often subjected to pelvic exams under the pretense that the ordeal can help in finding possible signs of ovarian cysts, sexual transmitted infections, uterine fibroids and early detection of cancer.  However, according to findings published by the ACP in their journal Annals of Internal Medicine, the routine pelvic exam has not shown to benefit as it was previously thought to.  The exam is now believed to rarely detect important disease and doesn’t reduce mortality in the average risk woman who is not pregnant.  In fact, the examination is often associated with discomfort for many women, including a round of potential false positives and negative exams, along with additional unnecessary costs.  However, this finding does not apply to pap smears, which are believed to still be beneficial.

The researchers with the American College of Physicians are not the first to suggest that pelvic exams could be excluded from the routine trip to the OBGYN.  Carolyn Westhoff was the first to suggest eliminating the procedure, with an article published in 2011.  The article indicated that if the woman was experiencing none of the typical concerning symptoms—such as discharge, abnormal bleeding, pain, urinary problems or sexual dysfunction—the procedure was very unnecessary.  She, in turn, approves of the announcement made by the ACP.

However, Westhoff and the ACP are not without their opponents.  The guideline is expected to stir up quite a bit of controversy. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology remains in favor of the annual pelvic exam, as it allows doctors to fully explain a patient’s anatomy to them—including a reassurance of normality and an ability to answer any questions.

World Health Organization Increases Access to Safe Blood for Pregnant Women

Women lose a large amount of blood during pregnancy and childbirth.

Women lose a large amount of blood during pregnancy and childbirth.

In a recent article published by FIGO, the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics, The World Health Organization (WHO) is making an attempt to further reduce maternal mortality rates by providing better access to safe blood. WHO is targeting this call to governments to improve access to safer and cleaner blood. During pregnancy, after pregnancy and during childbirth, severe bleeding is the world’s leading cause of maternal deaths. This severe bleeding can unfortunately kill a healthy woman in as little as two hours, unless she receives appropriate careas soon as possible.

The World Health Organization is taking action to make sure that these child bearing women receive clean blood transfusionsto keep them healthy.

The World Health Organization is taking action to make sure that these child bearing women receive clean blood transfusionsto keep them healthy.

With increasing the access to safe blood, a large number of women’s lives could be saved with the help of blood transfusions. However, in order to have a blood transfusion, there needs to be access to safe blood for the doctors to use and this is where the problem lies.  According to WHO director, Dr. Margaret Chan, “If all facilities provided safe blood for transfusion, many of these mother’s lives could be saved.” This being said, there is still a major need and shortage for safe blood to provide to patients. This continues to prove to be the main contributor to high maternal mortality in many countries.

Many hope that World Blood Donor Day will draw attention to issues surrounding blood supplies to women who are in desperate need of healthy, clean blood. It will be marked as a global event in Colombo, Sri Lanka in order to raise awareness in other countries.

Study Finds that Hormone Treatments Extend Survival of Lung Cancer

Hormones may be utilized for several purposes.

Hormones may be utilized for several purposes.

A study was recently conducted by Ann G. Schwartz, PhD, MPH, of Karmanos Cancer Institute of Detroit, Michigan.  Schwartz was the lead author on the study, which sought to observe the potential connection between hormone use and lung cancer outcomes in women.  The findings of the study were published in the March issue of the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer’s journal—the Journal of Thoracic Oncology.  An article recently completed by Science Daily summarized the study and the findings.

Four hundred and eighty five women were included in the study.  At the start of the study, baseline data was collected, which included the stage of the disease at diagnosis, treatment type (surgery or radiation), smoking status, age, race and educational attainment.  Once this data was gathered, the only factor taken under consideration was the use of hormone therapy and its ability to predict the survival outcomes in women with lung cancer.  Some women were treated with just estrogen; others were given a combination of estrogen and progesterone.  On average, women diagnosed with lung cancer without any hormone therapy as treatment survive 37.5 months.  Those who are given hormone therapy survive, on average, eighty months.  Specific averages for patients given just estrogen survived approximately eighty-three months, while those who were provided with a combined treatment of estrogen and progesterone survived eighty-seven months.

From these findings, Schwartz was able to declare that reproductive and hormonal factors do influence women who have been diagnosed with non-small all lung cancer.  However, she disclaims that research in this field is limited and that further studies would be required to observe the effect these treatments could have on long-term sufferers from lung cancer.