How To deal With Stress During Pregnancy

Being pregnant can be the most exciting time of your life, but it can be the most stressful also. You are at the mercy of out of control hormones and you worry about the pregnancy, the childbirth, the health of your baby and everything else that comes your way.
When you are pregnant you need to take good care of yourself and your unborn baby. This includes trying to reduce the stress in your life. But how do you reduce stress? This article will give you a few good tips on reducing stress while you are pregnant.
The first thing you should do is to take a long look at your life. How many activities are you involved in? How many hours a week do you work? What are you expected to do around the home?
If you have a full schedule that has you running every minute of the day, you need to slow down a little. Figure out which activities you can drop and try to cut back at work if possible. Learn to say no. Stop feeling like you have to say yes to every request that someone makes of you. The most important thing right now is to take care of yourself and your baby.
If you are the type of person who must feel in control at all times, get ready to give up some control. When you are pregnant you have to realize that things may happen that are not in your control. Morning sickness may be severe. You may have a high risk pregnancy that requires bed-rest. Learn to expect the unexpected while pregnant. It will be good practice for when the baby comes.
Don't listen to the horror stories that other people feel obligated to tell you now that you are pregnant. Every woman has their own pregnancy story and she tends to embellish it with each telling. If you take every story to heart and worry about it happening to you, your stress level will go through the roof, which can be very bad for you and the baby. Only listen to the advice of your health care provider.
Now is a good time to learn relaxation techniques and meditation. A light exercise program under the supervision of your doctor can help with stress also. Make sure you give yourself permission to relax. Read a book, go to a movie, take a nap when you feel tired. You have a tiny life depending on you, so pamper yourself a little.
Give up on being a perfectionist. Do your best but don't let feelings of guilt overcome you for not being perfect. Your house should be clean but it doesn't have to be spotless. You don't have to cook a gourmet meal every night. Give yourself a break.
Being pregnant will be an experience you will never forget. For some women it will happen only once. Reduce the stress in your life, slow down and enjoy being pregnant!

Make Him Call You After Flirting With Him

It finally happens! You're at a bar and you stumble upon a nice, attractive and single fellow. The flirting leads to the number exchange and while he's imputing your digits you cross your fingers hoping, just hoping, that he gives you the next day call. Surprisingly enough he makes contact, but not in the form you expected. Much to your misfortune your guy is a texter, who would rather tediously punch in 'Sup. How's it goin' than vocally converse.
Now, you may be wondering why texting is such bad thing. It saves a ton of time by letting you get straight to the point and what's wrong with being high-tech? Well, everything. Texting is a cop-out, a way for guys to escape the awkwardness and jitters that come along with sober conversations. Some men have even been known to have full-on relationships based on the letter punch in.
So if you have met a texter that seems to have potential, but just can't get past his digital habit, here are some tips to get him to call.
He texts, you call.
You receive a message that says: Hey. What are you doing? You know he must be by his phone if he just punched this in. Call him. Odds are that he won't pick up, but he will at least get the message that you like to use the phone for its original purpose. And if he texts you back after the phone call, you know it's time to delete him from your contacts.
Emphasize words like "talking" in your messages to him.
So the virtual conversation is coming to a close. He texts: Talk to ya later. Now your usual response to this phrase would be, Yeah, talk to ya soon. But this implies that texting is talking. It's not. Instead write something like, Yeah, let's chat later, which implies that actual talking has yet to occur (but you want it to).
Make texting irritating so that he has to call.
So, he's made it clear that he doesn't enjoy calling, but you can make him loathe texting too. Katherine, 22, decided to play a prank on her texter. Every time he would text, Are you going out tonight? She would reply, Who is this? Immediately he would call her, flustered and frustrated. Another option is to answer every text with a question until he realizes that if he had called, he'd already be done with the conversation. Although these tactics may be reminiscent of your third-grade antics, they will probably get him to dial your number.
If all else fails, don't respond.
Rachael, 24, used this method when she just couldn't take any more of her guy's texting. If he wasn't going to call, then she was not going to respond. Texting, she says "is a sign that he isn't interested enough to call, invest time or energy in me. So, I do not respond to the text messages." After a while, he ended up calling her and they started talking...really talking.
Now don't worry too much if your ideal guy just sent you a text. Not all is lost. A combination of texts and calls can actually enhance your relationship. Because really, how great is it to get a text during the middle of a hectic work day saying Can't wait to see you tonight! If he can just get the hang of dialing, he may be worth keeping in your contacts after all.
So why do guys really prefer to text? They explain.
"Texting allows a guy to test the water before he embarrasses himself with a phone call." --Matt, 20
"With my friends, I call because I know it's going to end quickly. With girls, it's a different story. You call her and you can be subjected to 40 minutes of talk time. Texting keeps it brief." --Bryan, 24.
"When I text, I have more time think about what I'm going to say so I can look cooler." --Sam, 32.
"Texting cuts out the chance of awkward silence in conversation." --Kevin, 23.
"You can edit and play around with what you say before it gets sent. You can sound funny, smart, hot, etc. Heck, you can even have someone else write it. It helps to just get the foot in the door because everyone sounds dumb on the phone." --Roger, 25.
"Texting keeps your fingers in shape." --Aaron, 23.
"When you text it's less personal and it makes the relationship less serious." --Nico, 23

Dressing And Grooming That Could Kill Your Image

Leslie Barrie

Everyone’s heard about the key items that should be in a closet: black trousers, a classic pump, a white oxford shirt, etc. But what about those items that should not be in there— the ones that tempt you to betray your fashion sense and keep you from looking like your usual, put-together self? Yes, these items may be comfort pieces, but most likely they fit like anything but. So rid yourself of them now before you pull an Eve and pick that red apple. Check out our list of items to purge.
Booty shorts.
Jessica Simpson could pull them off in Dukes of Hazzard, but, then again, it was a movie. Translating this trend to real life is a different story. Short shorts can be pulled off successfully—think loose-fitting nautical pairs for spring, but it’s the unsuccessful versions that we see the most of. If you are unsure if short shorts are right for you, take it as a sign and stick to their adorable cousin, the Bermuda. Still holding on? Walk a lap around your bedroom. If have to yank them down more than once, it’s time to give them the boot. Because when you step out of the house, don’t think that everyone around you is oblivious to your pain. It’s visible.
Cropped tops.
Unless you’re at the beach or in your PJs, don’t forget that showing off your stomach is definitely circa 1998. Put your baby tees in your pajama drawer and store your skimpy “going out shirts” in the attic. If you’re not ready to toss them out just yet, try layering the shorter top over a longer tank.
Shoulder pads.
You’re not a football player. And if by some slim chance you are, you wouldn’t wear your game gear to the office, would you? Maybe you think that shoulder pads make you look “serious,” but, really, it’s unflattering and frumpy. Cut them out now.
Low rise pants.
Skinny jeans in. Low rise out. Please help humankind and wear either a long top with these pants or ditch them altogether. Do not use Britney Spears as your fashion muse and keep your extra-extra-low-rise-plumber-crack pair around.
Feathered jeans.
They’re a lose-lose. Not only do bleach marks give the jeans an inexpensive look, but the whiskers make you appear wider in the thigh region. Any pair with appliqu├ęs is also not okay. Rhinestones and decals just make it look like you went a little crazy with the glue gun.
Netted tops.
You would think this one would be obvious. And yet you still see this MAJOR fashion don’t at clubs and on the pages of celebrity magazines. Leave the nets to the fishermen. We don’t want to see your bra. Even if it is a cute color.
Scrunchies and hair claws.
Use these for at-home purposes only. They were cool when you were in the second grade, but now they look, well, elementary. It you need a way to hold up your hair when you’re straightening, curling or blow-drying then, by all means, scrunch away. But the minute these accessories see the light of day, you’re entering the fashion danger zone. If they match your outfit, it’s still a no.
Pleather.
Either opt for the real deal or, if you’re against animal products, don’t even go there. It looks cheap—probably because it is. People easily recognize that it’s fake, so don’t try to pass it off as pleather without the “p”.
Bad beach wear.
Just because you’re going to the beach, doesn’t mean you can get away with wearing anything. Cover-ups can be especially terrible. Just remember, see through = not a do. And make sure to buy a swimsuit that fits. One-piece swimsuits are really in this season, so don’t rule them out!
Skin-tight white.
Tight white pants show off everything. Capri and short versions show even more—and not in a flattering way. If you still have these in your closet, you need to either opt for a shape that gives you some more room or rethink the color. Anthropologie, J-Crew and many other retailers have some great, relaxed pairs for spring and summer. If the main fabric is spandex, chances are they need to be retired.
Getting rid of these items doesn’t mean you have to throw everything in the trash. Your booty shorts may be someone else’s Bermudas. So be a good samaritan and donate them to the Salvation Army or thrift shop. Because if you don’t, you won’t have room for that adorable spring dress you’ve been dying to buy.

Stay Slim Avoiding Meat?

Allison Firestone

“I became a vegan slowly,” recalls Tammy Jackson, 22. “I gave up red meat after I developed a serious aversion to beef after a bad burger experience and because of all the negative stuff I’d read about the beef industry—hormones, antibiotics, sanitation issues and so on.”
While only about 2.5% of Americans don’t eat meat, the surge in vegetarian products over the past few years shows that there’s an increasing interest in meat-free lifestyles. In-n-Out and Burger King now offer a vegetable burger. And it seems like every grocery store carries soy milk and veggie alternatives to steaks and hot dogs. But besides peace of mind when you think of all those cute little farm animals you’re saving, what do meat-free diets really do for our bodies? Do they contribute to healthy weight loss? Are they all they’re cracked up to be?
You are what you eat.There are three main categories that meat-free lifestyles fall into:
* Lacto-Ovo-Vegetarian: This describes the majority of the US’s veggie population. Meat, poultry and fish are excluded, but eggs and other dairy products are still consumed. * Lacto-Vegetarian: Same as above, minus the eggs. * Vegan: All animal products are excluded, including meat, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy products. About 1/3 of meat-free dieters are vegans.
It’s not as easy as it looks.According to a recent survey conducted by vegetarian newsletter Jupiter Rising, 72% of non-meat-eaters shun animal products for moral reasons. “Being a vegan makes me feel connected to those less fortunate than myself. I’m trying to be conscious of how my consumption patterns affect other people,” says Jackson. She points out that eating just five ounces of flank steak has a profound effect on the environment; it takes 40 acres of grass to support one cow.
But what about the rest of the self-declared non-meat-eaters? Heather Correy, 23, gave up meat when she was 16: “I thought it would be an easy way to lose weight. I figured hamburgers and steaks were fattening, so if I barred myself from eating them I’d be skinny in no time. Boy, was I wrong!” Correy’s misguided attempt at weight loss had her replacing protein with high-fat and high-starch alternatives, like cheese and extra servings of garlic bread and linguine. “One year later I was 10 pounds heavier and anemic,” says Correy. Anemia is often caused by a lack of iron, and iron is primarily found in meat. When someone’s anemic, they’re often tired, light-headed and suffer from weakness and headaches. Ever since reintroducing lean meats like chicken and fish into her meals, Correy has both begun feeling better and lost the excess weight. So does meat-free not necessarily mean healthy?
“The problem, as I see it, is that most people struggle with consistently eating a ‘healthy’ diet whether they are vegetarians or carnivores,” says Sue Dieffenbach, Registered Nurse and Certified Nutritional Consultant. According to Dieffenbach, the only difference between a healthy carnivorous diet and a healthy vegetarian diet should be the primary source of protein. That’s it.
So where’s the protein?Women need about 45 grams of protein a day, which is roughly equivalent to a six ounce chicken breast and an egg. So how can non-meat-eaters get the protein they need? Dieffenbach maintains that all essential nutrients can be obtained from a vegetarian—or even a vegan—diet. All it takes is informed planning. “The key point, for both meat and non-meat-eaters alike, is to focus on nutrient-dense whole food choices and avoid nutrient-poor processed and fast foods,” she advises. This means Correy’s cheesy, starchy meals are out and meals like Jackson’s are in: “A vegan diet is centered on grains, legumes, beans, veggies and fruit. Foods such as tofu, mushrooms, sunflower seeds and flax are all high in protein, but many people don’t know this,” says the vegan. Since non-meat-eaters usually consume far more wholesome, natural foods and (hopefully!) much less saturated fat than most people, there are many health benefits associated with these lifestyles: lower blood pressure, lower rates of heart disease, type two diabetes, hypertension and colon cancer.
“Healthy” pitfalls.Jenny Geyser, certified personal trainer, nutrition and lifestyle coach, cautions young women considering meat-free diets to beware of overdosing on certain overly processed products. “They tend to consume far too much soy and processed soy products, which lately had been shown, through many studies, to possibly be harmful.” Informed veggie gals should avoid all processed soy, including the “soy protein isolate” found in powders, bars and all those fake soy hot dogs, soy patties, ice creams and so on. Geyser cautions: “There has been much research coming out to show that these are not healthy food choices!”
How do you do it right, then?Well, now that you know how to do it wrong, how do you start heading in the right direction? Jackson, Dieffenbach and Geyser all agree that the best way to approach a meat-free diet is to become informed. Read up as much as you can on the subject and, if possible, consult with a nutritionist or dietician. “Vegans must be even more careful about planning their meals to avoid creating deficiencies of certain vitamins and minerals, especially vitamins B12 and zinc, which are commonly found in animal products,” says Geyser. Most experts suggest that vegans take a B12 supplement.
Bottom line? If it’s weight loss you’re after, shunning meat is unnecessary and may even set you up for more food-based difficulties. But if it’s something you really care about, it’s worth the extra effort. Just ask Jackson: “I’d say that the major health improvement, for me, has been self-respect and a true love for food. Too many women cannot enjoy eating because of body image issues and regret. I get to love what I eat.”

Medifast - 5 Questions To Ask Yourself

Susan Milligan

If you are considering Medifast, here are 5 questions to ask yourself to be sure this weight loss program is right for you. If you are already on the Medifast program, these questions will help you determine whether you will keep the weight off for the rest of your life.5 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Starting Medifast
1. Are you tired of the yo-yo dieting game and ready to do something about it for the last time? 2. Are you willing to eat differently than your family or friends? 3. Can you eat every 3 hours? 4. Are you ready to permanently change your thoughts and ideas that food is fuel for your body rather than a form of entertainment? 5. Are you willing to changed your home environment and the way you prepare meals for the rest of your life?
The Medifast weight loss program works. I'm living, breathing proof of it and I've met several hundred people just like myself recently that proves that I am a typical Medifast weight loss story. But there are certain commitments and mindset changes that are needed to ensure success with Medifast.
Although following the program is easy and losing weight is easy, sometimes changing our mindset is the most difficult. Fortunately, those people who start the Medifast program with the help of a Take Shape For Life Health Advisor are getting a jump start on the road to success.
Have you ever been on a diet before? If you answered Yes, have you ever had a coach help you through it?
Most people would answer No. So let me ask you a 6th question ... If you answered No, then wouldn't it make sense to change your behavior so that you can answer Yes to my 6th question and answer Yes to the 5 questions I asked previously?
If you are reading this page and are considering Medifast than obviously what you have done in the past to try to lose weight hasn't worked. It hasn't worked because you haven't been willing to make permanent changes in your life in the way you have thought about food and how or why you eat. Making permenent life-long changes means you need to first change your thoughts.
When I started Medifast in October 2006 I was determined to change. But several times during my initial weight loss phase, my old ideas of weight loss crept back into my mind. For example, I'd tell myself I didn't need to drink all of my water or that I didn't need to eat if I wasn't hungry or that I didn't need to try new vegetables because it was easier to just stick to the vegetables on the Medifast list that I already knew I liked.
And then I realized that I was about ready to fall into that same old yo-yo game. So I had to constantly remind myself, ... "Susan, wait a minute. If you continue to do what you always did, the results will be the same that you always got! You won't be successful!" So I re-trained myself to think differently and this resulted in changing my mindset about the way I thought of food.
I did it. And I can help you do it too. Since the Medifast weight loss phase of the program is the easiest part of all, that means that perhaps changing the way you think about food can be the hardest part of all. That's where a Take Shape FOR LIFE Health Advisor plays an important part in your weight loss program while on Medifast.
I would be happy to assist you in losing weight and keeping the weight off. So ... did you answer "Yes" to the 5 questions above? Read them again. If you can answer Yes to all 5 questions, and are willing to let me coach you as you follow the Medifast plan, we can work together to get you to your ideal weight and keep you there for the rest of your life.

Nine Of 10 Sjogren's Patients Are Women

BETH N. GRAY
Sjogren's syndrome. Although identified back in 1933 by a Swedish physician of that name, the affliction remains so obscure that many physicians today even ask, "What?"
Dana Moreno, 42, and Connie Roberts, 44, both of whom had to give up professional careers because of the syndrome, have made it their mission to educate doctors - and everyone else - about Sjogren's pronounced SHOW-grins, an autoimmune deficiency that debilitates through myriad avenues: the central nervous system first, then on to major organs and the lymphatic system.
The two women have prepared a resolution that the Hernando County Commission is expected to adopt on April 3, proclaiming April Sjogren's Syndrome Awareness Month.
It was so proclaimed by the U.S. Congress several years ago. Moreno and Roberts also have been invited to Tallahassee when Gov. Charlie Crist is tentatively scheduled to sign a similar proclamation for the state.
According to the Sjogren's Syndrome Foundation in Bethesda, Md., the affliction "is a serious, chronic autoimmune disease in which white blood cells attack and destroy the body's moisture-producing glands.
"Hallmark symptoms of Sjogren's syndrome are chronic dry eye, dry mouth and fatigue."
But that's only the tip of the iceberg, say Moreno and Roberts, who are living with far worse effects.
Moreno was first stunned with trigeminal neuralgia, a rare condition attacking a nerve in the head that leads to the teeth, cheek and forehead - "excruciating pain," she said.
Now, she has inflammation of the vascular system, fibromyalgia (an arthritis of the muscular system), demyelinating disease of the central nervous system and most recently was diagnosed with hepatitis.
Moreno opens a folder, a couple of inches thick with doctor's reports, diagnoses and her own research.
"This is the agony of Sjogren's," she said.
Roberts' medical woes began four years ago with a tingling in her face, drooping right eyelid, extreme fatigue and an ulcerated colon. She has since been diagnosed with myasthenia gravis, an autoimmune and neurological disease, and suffers migraines.
Roberts said autoimmune diseases run in her family. Foundation spokeswoman Elizabeth Cowles acknowledged, "We have seen genetic ties."
Both women had originally been told they had multiple sclerosis.
According to the foundation, "Sjogren's syndrome's symptoms are often misdiagnosed with those of menopause, rheumatoid arthritis and chronic fatigue syndrome. Left untreated, (it) can affect the gastrointestinal and respiratory tracts as well as the joints and organs of the body, including the kidneys, thyroid, lungs and liver. The average time for correct diagnosis of Sjogren's is six to eight years.
"Nine of 10 Sjogren's patients are women. The average age of diagnosis is 40-50. Sjogren's patients are 44 times more likely to develop lymphoma. Although there are treatments available to help alleviate the symptoms, there is no cure."
Roberts knows about the fatigue. She would sit on the floor to play with her 2-year-old so she wouldn't fall off a chair or the bed. She would roll over, dead asleep on the floor, in a minute.
Also from the foundation: "Sjogren's syndrome is serious, but generally not fatal if diagnosed and treated early."
Fatalities are often suicides, Moreno said her diagnosing physician told her. Moreno was a special agent for the FBI for 17 years, but her doctor told her if she didn't turn in her weapon, he would take it from her.
"All I ever wanted to be was a special agent," she said. But she had to resign when the syndrome overrode her ability to work.
Likewise, Roberts had to leave her job as a customer service representative and dispatcher for a bicycle firm.
Both women had done volunteer work with their churches, home health agency and long-term care facility.
"We were superwomen," said Roberts. But that's gone by the wayside.
"What I do now," said Moreno, "is get the word out."
She has helped to launch a support group at her church, Hope Community Bible Church in Spring Hill, for those with chronic illnesses from fibromyalgia to Crohn's disease.
"My priorities are 100 percent turned around," said Moreno, who confessed that fashion used to be of importance to her.
"God and my family (are now)," she said.
Roberts agreed. "I have a job now: my faith, my family and managing my health." Her affliction is now in drug-induced remission.
Both women are married and have 8-year-old offspring, Samuel Mareno and Samantha Roberts.
"Having a parent with chronic illness tears the family," Roberts said. Children have a hard time understanding that their mothers can't cope as others do.
But fighting on, the women urge those who have the symptoms of Sjogren's consult both rheumatologists and neurologists.
"You need to find doctors who are up-to-date," declared Roberts. A young doctor in Tampa finally told her, "Honey, you don't have MS, you have Sjogren's."
Since the foundation was formed in 1983, it has calculated that up to 4-million people in the United States are affected, more prevalent than rheumatoid arthritis (2.1 million), lupus (1.5 million) and multiple sclerosis (400,000.)
Moreno and Roberts have signed on to co-chair a Sjogren's Syndrome Support Group in Orlando.
They would like to start one in Hernando County.Beth Gray can be contacted at graybethn@earthlink.net.
Fast Facts:
Sjogren's syndrome
To learn more about Sjogren's syndrome, contact its foundation at (860) 521-2266 or its Web site at www.sjogrens.org for more information about activities, research and support groups across the country. In Hernando County, contact Moreno at 686-1440 or Roberts at 688-2007.

Pregnancy - Eats And Dont Eats


Dr Jacqueline E Campbell

MANY pregnant women become concerned about what they should and shouldn't be eating. That is understandable as a healthy diet contributes to a successful pregnancy by reducing complications and promoting adequate foetal growth and development. Nutrition is thus an essential component of prenatal care.
A well-balanced diet contributes to normal birth weight for the baby, improved foetal brain development, decreased chance of pregnancy complications such as morning sickness, fatigue, mood swings, anaemia and pre-eclampsia (life-threatening condition that often occurs in the 3rd trimester - symptoms include high blood pressure, protein in urine, edema, blurred vision, pain around the liver) and a speedy recovery after delivery.
Weight gainWeight gain is desirable for all women since it is essential for normal foetal growth. It is important not to restrict calories during this time. Generally a pregnant woman should aim to keep her weight gain around 20 to 30 pounds. The recommended increase in weight gain does not give a green light for mothers-to-be to overeat as excessive calorie intake will lead to excess weight gain - a situation that must be avoided. Although extra nutrients are required, an increase of only 300 calories per day is recommended.
What to eatEven before pregnancy begins, nutrition is a primary factor in the health of mother and baby. A well-balanced diet before conception contributes to a healthy pregnancy and will probably need few changes when pregnancy occurs. The basis of a well-balanced diet is a balance of grains, fruits and vegetables, protein, dairy and fats. A balanced diet should be built around the five big nutrients of pregnancy - calcium, complex carbohydrates, good fats, iron and protein.
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, pregnant women should increase their usual servings of a variety of foods to include a total of four or more servings of fruits and vegetables, four or more servings of whole-grain or enriched bread and cereal, four or more servings of milk and milk products, and three or more servings of protein - meat, poultry, fish, eggs, nuts, and dried beans and peas.
Grain products are the main source of complex carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates provide energy, prevents constipation and nausea, and gives essential nutrients including fibre, folate, Vitamin B and protein. They can be obtained by eating whole grains such as whole-wheat bread, cereals, brown rice or pasta. Refined grain products such as white bread and white rice, biscuits and cakes should be avoided as these are of little nutrient value.
Fruits and vegetables will provide essential vitamins and minerals as well as fibre to aid digestion and prevent constipation. Vitamin A derived from green leafy vegetables and yellow fruits is important for the development of the baby's bones, skin, hair and eyes. Vitamin C is important for bone growth and tissue repair.
Protein is composed of amino acids, the building blocks of human cells which are crucial for a developing foetus. It is also important in protecting against the development of pre-eclampsia later in pregnancy. Protein foods are also normally iron-rich foods, important to keep the blood well-oxygenated.Dairy: Getting enough calcium can help prevent a new mother from losing her own bone density as the foetus uses the mineral for bone growth.
Calcium is also needed for the development of teeth, muscle, heart, nerves and blood.Fat: Some fats are necessary for the baby's development, but these should be limited to manage weight gain during pregnancy. An occasional sweet treat is fine, but should not be included as a daily part of the diet. Essential fats are found in polyunsaturated oils such as sunflower and soya bean oils, and monounsaturated oils such as olive and canola oils.
Water and fluids: The body's need for fluids will increase as the pregnancy progresses. An adequate fluid intake will help in the prevention of early labour, stretch marks, and constipation. Caffeine-containing beverages such as coffee, tea and colas should be limited to only one cup per day.
What not to eatIn addition to foods a pregnant woman should consume, there are also foods that should be avoided. One of the big concerns for pregnant women is the risk of eating harmful bacteria - listeria and salmonella - which can lead to miscarriage, early labour and toxemia.Listeria
The bacteria Listeria monocytogenes is often present in certain foods, and in low levels may have no effect on healthy people and often goes unnoticed. However, if ingested by a pregnant woman, it can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth or early labour. Foods at higher risk of containing listeria include cold foods that will not be reheated, including pate, deli meats like ham and salami, and pre-mixed salads; soft serve ice cream; soft cheeses, such as brie, ricotta; smoked seafood and any leftovers kept in the fridge for more than 12 hours.
SalmonellaThis is a form of food poisoning that can trigger miscarriage or premature birth, and is most often traced to undercooked poultry and meats, and raw eggs. Other foods to avoid include raw meat and seafood, including sushi, sashimi and hot dogs.
ToxoplasmosisUndercooked meat can be contaminated with a parasite that causes toxoplasmosis. If a pregnant woman becomes infected, the infection can be transferred to the foetus - potentially resulting in a miscarriage.Other food considerations
Fish: Pregnant women, nursing mothers, and women of childbearing age who may become pregnant should be aware of the hazards of eating certain kinds of fish, specifically shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish, because these fish may contain high levels of methyl mercury which may harm an unborn baby's developing nervous system.
Nuts: If there is a family history of food allergies, it is best to avoid eating peanuts or products containing peanuts. Peanut allergy is a serious health concern that is on the increase. Exposure to peanuts during pregnancy and through breastfeeding can increase the chance of the allergy developing if the baby has a predisposition.
Vitamin A: Although vitamin A is essential during pregnancy, supplements and foods particularly high in Vitamin A are not recommended, because of the risk of birth defects.
Alcohol: No safe level of alcohol has been established for pregnant women. Because of this, abstinence is the safest choice. The issue of drinking alcohol during pregnancy is somewhat controversial. Some practitioners believe that an occasional dilute drink, or a small glass of beer or wine once or twice a week is harmless. Others feel that current research indicates even as few as one to two drinks per week may cause harm to the foetus by increasing risk of prematurity or low birth weight. Excessive intake is definitely associated with a condition called Foetal Alcohol Syndrome, which can cause permanent mental retardation and congenital deformities.Intake of alcohol should be avoided even while trying to conceive.
Cigarette smokingCigarette smoking during pregnancy is associated with low maternal weight gain and low birth weight of the baby. Children of mothers who smoke are also at greater risk for certain diseases and may have learning problems.
What about supplements?Although taking supplements will not replace eating a nutritionally potent array of foods, supplement will ensure that the right balance of nutrients is taken. In fact, women who are only thinking about getting pregnant should begin taking prenatal supplements. Also as soon pregnancy is confirmed, a prenatal vitamin should be taken. Supplementation during pregnancy is very important.
Research has shown that supplementing with 400 mcg of folic acid every day beginning 12 weeks before conception guards against neural tube defects. Other important supplements are:. Calcium - 1,500mg per day. Omega 3 fatty acids - 1,000mg per day. Choline 450 to 1000 mg per day. Vitamin D 400 IU per day
Supplementation with anti-oxidants is also important as pregnant women with pre-eclampsia have abnormal anti-oxidant defences and supplementing with Vitamin C and E daily, in addition to taking a prenatal vitamin, may help reduce the chances of pre-eclampsia in high-risk women. Although further research is needed, studies have shown that women with pre-eclampsia have higher levels of homocysteine and lower levels of folic acid.
Supplementing with extra folic acid can help keep homocysteine levels within normal range. In addition to preventing neural tube defects, good dietary choices may prevent certain diseases such as acute lymphoblastic leukemia, liver disease, diabetes and pre-eclampsia.Dr Jacqueline E Campbell is a family physician in private practice.

A Way Out Of The Miseries Of Child Abuse


WHO says we can't rise above our circumstances - no matter how depressing the situations have been?Nadine Martin is a single mother of five children who has triumphed over many dark moments in her life, by using education and forgiveness to overcome it all.
This is the story of a 36-year-old woman who was molested, raped, rejected by her father, encouraged to get involved with men by her own mother and who suffered from an eating disorder. However, after giving birth to five children, fathered by four men, she decided she wasn't going to stay in the slum. It was time to pick herself up and move on.
To support her children, Martin did any odd job she could find just to put food on their table."I have done so many jobs, but never found the one I wanted," she admitted. And what she now wants is to be an early childhood educator, someone who would impact positively on the lives of children. But her dream doesn't stop there.
She also wants to be a motivational speaker, going into schools and speaking to girls and their parents on the value of self and the importance of being there for their children. She has already started in the pursuit of her dream by doing an Early Childhood Education coarse at the HEART Trust NTA, but she admits that she still has some way to go.
Born in Liguanea, St Andrew, Martin grew up in an environment she described as argument-heavy. She noted that she was not really close to anyone in her family since everyone was always fighting with each other, while her mother was too busy working out and trying to put food on the table for the six children in the home as none of the four fathers stuck around.Her dad would visit from time to time, which provided some amount of joy for her as a child.
"A mother growing a child, especially a girl, is not as important as a father," she tells all woman. "I believe every girl child should have a father around. I believe the first 'I love you' should come from daddy."
But sadly, at the age of 12 her father removed himself completely from her life, creating a void within her that she has since tried to fill."I just wanted to be around my dad. I was the exploring type. He used to milk goat and take me to the country. I liked that," she says.Martin's mother was working on shifts. She recalls one night when she was four, and her mom was on the 10:00 pm to 6:00 am shift and they were left in the care of her mom's male friend. He was a close friend of the family, but would insert his fingers in her vagina and would suck on her breast.
At this tender age she was fearful of what would happen if she told her mother and so she didn't. The molestation continued for a year until the man moved away. She was never the same again.Then at age 10 when her body began to mature, she became very conscious of her appearance and hated what she saw when she looked in the mirror. One day, another family friend stopped by and asked if they wanted him to get them KFC.
They all agreed. Only, he told her mother, Martin would have to accompany him. Her mother agreed. However, instead of going straight for the chicken, the man drove to his house and told the child that he had to pick up the money.
He took her inside and pulled down her clothes. He then tried to enter her, but she was determined that he wouldn't. She recalls clutching his penis, and even now she isn't sure how it happened, but he discharged there and then. He then took her to purchase the food and took her home. Again Martin said nothing to her mother for fear of not being believed, but nonetheless blamed her mother as she felt she should never have consented to allowing her 10-year-old child to go out alone with this man.
Four years later, and now a student at Excelsior High, Martin suffered from an eating disorder known as stress eating, where she started eating sweet foods continually, in an effort to drown out the emotional pain she was feeling. She soon began to get fat.A year later, at age 15, she went to the Ministry of Agriculture to meet another schoolmate to finish an assignment they had been given. She was cornered by a security guard with a dog, forced into a room and raped. She began bleeding and he stood by and watched her as she tried to bathe.
"Before I left, he told me to hand over a chain I was wearing that my aunt living abroad had given me," she says.In an effort to rid herself of the emotional pain, she got deeper into stress eating and got fatter.
"I became scared of men. I turned into a Tomboy who was doing my own thing. I was rebellious and going to game shops, walking in Mona and just staying out all night," she says.At 16 she had her first child.
It was for a 21-year-old man she had met. He owned a bicycle and she wanted to ride it. However, in order to do so she had to provide him with girls. This she did, until one day she ran out of girls to give to him.
"Since I had no more girls to give him, I just figured I was next," she says. "I discovered that when I was having sex I felt closeness to the man. My mother never hugged me and my father despised me."She continued attending school until she was six months into her pregnancy. This was also when her mother found out.
Much to her surprise, the man she was pregnant for declared that the child was not his. She didn't know what to do. She visited the family doctor who told her to take along $500 and he would abort the child. She couldn't do it, and that child is now 20.
Martin was left to raise the child with her mother and a close friend of the family. But her mother died when the baby was three.At 21 she had her second child, this time for an old school friend who had come back into her life. When she was seven months pregnant, he migrated. After a year, she decided that the long distance relationship wasn't working out, so she got involved with someone else. This was the beginning of seven years of physical and verbal abuse.
"In spite of the abuse, at the end of the day, I still wanted him," she says. "He reminded me so much of my father..."After giving him two children and seven years of her life, they parted.
She now had four children to care for on her own. Martin turned to the church, not knowing where else to go."The church started helping me, but you have to conform to their belief while you as an individual wanted to express yourself," she says. "But I believe my life was my fault. They gave me material things, but nothing to build my character. I wanted something to build my character. I was in church, but still lonely and struggling with the flesh. I met this other man who lived up the road [from where I lived]. But even though he was living so close, I took a long route to get to him just to avoid suspicion."
While still in church she had the fifth child. "I told the pastor I was pregnant and begged him not to tell anyone. But he told everybody. So I started stress eating again," she says.She left that church and starting soul searching, only truly finding herself after meeting business and life coach Christine Morris, who has helped change her outlook on her past, her present and her future, and who has helped her to come to terms with herself.Morris admits that Martin has come a long way since they met two years ago. "She has grown.
When I first met her, she didn't like herself. Now she does. She wasn't doing anything at the time, but she went on to complete the Early Childhood Education course. And she now has a strong faith in God," the life coach says.
But even though Martin has done the course, she is still finding it difficult to get a job in that field. However, today, even though she does not have a permanent job, she loves herself and her life and looks back without shame or remorse.Martin noted too, that the heart of healing for her has been forgiveness - forgiving and making peace with those who have wronged her.
She said there is hope for the lives of others to get better if they just put their minds to it and depend on God to carry them through."I am more careful with my own kids. I have made mistakes, but I learn from my mistakes and the mistakes that I saw my mother made," she says. "I have learnt to forgive."

When And Where Its A Crime To Be Pregnant

She is pregnant. A middle manager and mother of a two-year-old in her early 30s, she was scared at first to tell her boss, because she was afraid it would affect the promotion she's due. Worse, she has applied for a job one level over, but somehow completely has no confidence she will get it.
Last week this woman, who we'll call Jasmine, told all woman that she has applied and is still waiting. "This is a demanding year at work. I fear I won't be considered because of the pregnancy. It may be all in my head but I think there is a real risk."
She said she saw another job advertised and called them up."I spoke frankly with them, and the human resources person advised me that it was best for me to focus on my pregnancy at this time. It was kind advice, not malicious at all. I was speaking with him in terms of how enlightened we were in Jamaica and whether we would be ready to accept this as a norm - that is hiring someone who was pregnant.
He pointed out that if it were that the skills I had were particularly hard to come by, then I'd have negotiating power. So I guess it depends on your profession."
Keisha Regross 20, is pregnant with her first child. A high school dropout, she has worked in various places including a wholesale downtown, waitressing, babysitting and now stacking shelves in a Kingston supermarket.
She's worried.
"My supervisor saw the belly and asked how old it was, then she told me that I couldn't pack after I reach six months. That's in two months. Then she said that she don't know how I manage to go do that, because I should have sense to know that I can't pack shelf with a big belly and no more jobs are there."She says that while not outrightly stating that she will lose her job afterwards, her supervisor continually drops hints that she won't be there much longer, and when plans are being made - like plans for the Easter party, she's conspicuously left out.
At a recent rally put on by the CEDAW Advocacy Committee in recognition of International Women's Day, stories were shared of women working in wholesales and as domestic helpers who were not afforded things like maternity leave or who were replaced promptly as they got pregnant. And it's not only there.
Even more women higher up on the social ladder can share stories of not being afforded any privileges when they got pregnant.Tanisha Wright was working at a trust company in the Cayman Islands two years ago when she decided to return home. She applied for a job as a management trainee at one of the local financial institutions, did the first interview and a few days later found out she was pregnant. Two weeks later, she got confirmation that she'd been hired, but when she explained her status, the offer was withdrawn.
"There was a time in Jamaica when people would be dismissed as soon as the belly started to show. Sometime they don't tell you that's the reason, they find a nice little excuse and they tell you go. And it even happens now," Jamaica Association of Local Government Officers General Secretary Helene Davis Whyte told women at the rally. "Some people don't want to consider that they'll have to pay you, and somebody else to work for you, so they find an excuse."
The Maternity Leave Act is applicable to all women working in Jamaica and specifies an employee's - someone who has been continuously employed for not less than 52 weeks - qualification for maternity leave.Women are entitled to a maximum of 12 weeks off, and qualify for a maximum of three maternity leaves by each employer. If a woman suffers a miscarriage after 28 weeks of pregnancy, she is also entitled to leave.
Jamaica Employers Federation Chief Executive Officer Jacqueline Coke-Lloyd, in a written response to all woman questions on employers' policy relating to hiring pregnant women, states that the JEF "recognises pregnancy to be the right of every woman, and firmly advocate the granting of all rights and privileges entitled to the employee."
"We are guided by the principles relating to maternity entitlement as is outlined in the Labour Laws of Jamaica specifically the Maternity Leave Act," Coke-Lloyd said. "A question which may be challenged is that of employing a pregnant woman in a post in which there is an open vacancy. The determination of a company to hire a female who is pregnant or not, should not be premised on the individual's state of pregnancy, but rather the fit for the job."
She added: "There have been allusions to the effect that pregnancy affects productivity and as such that companies discriminately employ persons who are beyond child bearing age or ideally men. Whereas this may be a fact in some instances, it is definitely not the norm in terms of practice. There is no question about the invaluable contributions women have made to the world of work.
This level of contribution has not been statistically proven to have declined with the birth of a child or children, but in fact has contributed significantly to women being able to manage more effectively. Research shows that over 70 per cent of persons in management in Jamaica are women of childbearing age."
Checks with corporate Jamaica show a move, at least in theory, towards this recognition of women's "invaluable contribution".Corporate giant GraceKennedy says it has no policy regarding the hiring of pregnant women.
"It is quite simple, we do not have a policy against this but she would not be qualified for maternity leave as stated by law," James Moss-Solomon, chief corporate affairs officer, said. "It would be the woman's choice to decide whether or not she would want the job if she is pregnant and if the HR manger sees that she is qualified. Pregnancy is a normal part of humanity and we have no discrimination at all against it."But how seriously is a woman's role taken though?
"Although more women are employed, only a minority of the employed labour force are women," Davis-Whyte said, explaining that women are often directed towards "nurturing positions". "Women are employed in low paying jobs all across the world. In terms of proportionate numbers you hear that more women are graduating from the universities, but when you look in the workforce, it's still far more men than women at the higher levels,and they have reserved the areas that they deem not to be important for us."
And so: "Some of us when we enter the workplace we try to make believe that we are same as the men. We dress like a man, we don't want anybody to think us less than a man. But there are some obligations that we have as women and a lot of these are family obligations that we need to fulfil.
Provisions should be made for women to sustain the family status."She listed her own experience years ago, when she had her daughter and was back at work within four days. "I needed the job, I wasn't working long enough for maternity leave. All the research tells you the importance of breastfeeding and the need for mother and child to bond. In some parts of the world there are campaigns around the time given for a woman to breastfeed at work. In more forward countries like Scandinavia it actually happens. Those are countries where women are in command. There's nothing to suggest that we can't get there."
For some women, "getting there" isn't such a far off concept."My friend also told me though that her firm - a medium sized construction/housing development company hired an accounting officer in her fifth month and allowed her to go off on maternity leave but she had to promise that she would not abandon the job," Jasmine said. "So I guess there are still various perspectives on it."
And added Moreen Marks, vice-president of risk management at the Insurance Company of the West Indies Limited, and the only female on the executive team: "What I did was, when I needed to work beyond office hours, I would take the work home and while my son was doing homework I would sit with him and do office work. I continued this until he was in high school."
Marks says she felt no form of discrimination when she was pregnant with her son, in fact, she made certain that her family life did in no way affect her work and vice versa.She explained that even on business trips she made every effort not to be away from her family for more than five days. On one occasion, when she attended a training course in Zurich for 10
weeks, she took her young son and a babysitter at her own expense, as leaving him for such an extended period was not an option.Marks noted that the only difficulty she faced was the suggestion of early morning meetings, "but I simply reminded them that unlike them, I have domestic responsibilities."
Said Coke-Lloyd: "Pregnancy is integral in ensuring the sustenance of livelihood. An organisation which discriminates against women who are pregnant or prohibits pregnancy among its female employees is one with little or no vision of the future."

10 Tips On How Buying a Wedding Dress


Not aware that there's etiquette involved in buying a wedding dress? Well, there is, and if you find yourself facing the daunting task of buying a wedding dress without the help of a wedding planner, here are a few tips on making your dress-buying experience as smooth as possible.
1. Research Before you even step into a wedding boutique, research the different styles, fabrics, necklines, cuts, so the wedding dress jargon doesn't sound like a foreign language.2. Plan ahead If necessary, make an appointment in advance of your first visit to the wedding boutique. When you do visit, go prepared with a strapless bra, stockings, and shoes.
3. Don't budge When it comes to your budget, have a clear idea of your parameters. It is easy to get carried away once you go into a salon, and you may find yourself trying on dresses out of your budget. When you make your appointment also confirm that the salon has dresses within your budget.
4. Be open-minded While it is encouraged that you have an idea of the style of dress you want, it is also important to be open-minded. Be prepared to share the theme and location of the wedding with the salesperson, and be open to their suggestions. Remember, some dresses look better on, than on the hanger.
5. Take your time Unless you are what Lorraine Ross-Clunie calls a 'drive-thru' bride, don't rush into buying a dress. Take notes on the dresses you like, but don't be afraid to keep looking. Do note though, that on average it will take about 6 months for your dress to arrive, and you must allow time to do alterations.
6. Fitted out You should schedule a minimum of two fittings - ideally you should have three - unless you are having your dress custom-made. The first should be about six weeks before the wedding and the final fitting should be about a week before the wedding.
7. Support System It's always great to have support when shopping for wedding dresses. However, make sure that you are comfortable with those accompanying you, and that you relish their fashion advice. This will be your biggest fashion purchase, and pictures last a lifetime.8. Weighty Issue If you are planning to lose weight and get in shape for your wedding day, it is best that the weight is lost before your first fitting. You should try and stay at this weight then until your wedding day. Fluctuations in weight and size may make it difficult to accurately fit the dress.
9. Return Policy Once you have decided on the dress - but before you commit yourself - confirm the policies of the boutique when it comes to cancellation and refund procedures. Also confirm the arrival date of the dress, and again ensure that you have sufficient time for alterations.
10. Bargain Bride Don't just limit yourself to buying a dress at a boutique. Research to find out when there will be trunk shows of your favourite designers in your area. You may also want to check online sites that not only offer discounts on some dresses, but also offer deals on previously worn dresses.