Posts Tagged ‘stress’

Stressed? WHO’S STRESSED?!

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

stressedWe all have stress in our lives and some of us deal with it better than others.  Aside from the major traumas in our lives (death in the family, divorce, terminal illness…), what’s stress for one person may just be a nuisance for another. (So, how’s your MIL?  Got a really unique co-worker or boss? Has your car broken down lately?…)

Did you know that stress may impact your fertility?  A recent study in the journal Fertility and Sterility suggests that stress, which alters a woman’s chemistry, may make her less likely to get pregnant than a woman who is not stressed.  Researchers in the United States and England measured women’s levels of alpha-amylase, a body chemical in saliva that’s considered a barometer of stress. They followed the women for six months. Their findings indicate that women with higher levels of alpha-amylase were less likely than women with lower levels to get pregnant each day during the fertile window.

So, if you are hoping to get pregnant and are upset that you haven’t yet conceived, chill out.  Find a way to relax and let nature take its course.  If you don’t get pregnant right away, don’t worry. Nearly 9 out of 10 couples who try to get pregnant do so within one year. It may not happen immediately, but the odds are it will happen soon.

How do you manage stress?

Monday, May 17th, 2010

Taking care of a baby is an awesome responsibility. It’s rewarding yet demanding and has the potential to put a tremendous amount of strain on us moms. So, what do you do to recharge and manage the stress of it all? I’ll go first. One of my favorite past times is eating ice cream right out of the container while watching back to back episodes of Say Yes To The Dress. It’s amazing how much better I feel after a little mindless TV and some sugar. Don’t judge! I’m also a closet Facebook user. I’m trying to avoid that whole Farmville scene though. I hear it’s fun and highly addictive. Do you have any guilty pleasures that you’re brave enough to admit? Let’s hear them! Check out our fact sheet, New Mom Stress.

Get out and get moving

Thursday, April 8th, 2010

exercisingSpring is here and I’m so excited! Where I live, the past few days have been absolutely gorgeous. Between all the snow and rainstorms we experienced earlier this year, Lola (my dog) and I are happy to finally take our exercise outdoors in the warm weather and sunshine.

If you’re an expecting mommy, spring is the perfect time to get some fresh air and get moving! For most women, exercising while pregnant is safe and healthy. It can help prevent gestational diabetes, a form of diabetes that sometimes develops during pregnancy. For women who already have gestational diabetes, regular exercise and changes in diet can help control the disease. Exercise can also relieve stress and build the stamina needed for labor and delivery. It can also help women cope during the postpartum period by keeping “baby blues” at bay, regaining their energy and losing the weight they gained during pregnancy. Some research suggests that exercising during pregnancy can also keep baby healthy at birth and later in life.

So let’s get out there and get moving!

‘Momnesia’

Monday, November 30th, 2009

19084068_thbAll weekend long I kept asking myself, “what am I forgetting?” It was driving me crazy. I knew there was something I was supposed to do. Then I logged onto the computer this morning and it dawned on me. I forgot to write a blog post for Friday. DOH!  I hate to admit that I have a memory problem (especially to colleagues), but unfortunately this is just one out of a hundred examples that I can give about the mental fog that I’m in.

I almost forgot my wedding anniversary recently. Good thing he brought it up the day before and I had a chance to run out and grab a card. I walk into a room and completely forget what I was intending to do. I can never find my cell phone. I have to keep sticky-notes on the computer screen, frig and in my car to serve as reminders. Put gas in car. Buy diapers. Call sister for her birthday. Take baby for flu shot. If it’s not in writing it’s not getting done. I actually just remembered that there are wet towels in the washing machine from two days ago. Gross.

This wasn’t always the case. I was sharp once, or so I thought. I wonder if I ever will be again or is this it? I’ve done a little reading and although researchers can’t explain all the ways motherhood affects a woman’s memory, they agree it can happen. Plummeting hormone levels after delivery, fatigue, stress/anxiety, drastically changed priorities and breastfeeding might be the culprits.

I wanted to end this post with a funny story, but unfortunately I can’t think of one, so that’s that.  Have a good day and please feel free to share your favorite ‘momnesia’ moment.

Parents’ ordeal continues long after NICU

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009

nicu-baby2Most moms and dads anxiously await the arrival of their new baby after a healthy 9 months of pregnancy. But for some, that day may come too early and it can mean baby will spend time in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

Having a newborn baby in the NICU, especially one that is born prematurely, can be a heart wrenching experience for moms and dads. The effects of this traumatic event on parents can last long after baby has left the NICU and is on the way to a healthy recovery. The New York Times published an article today that shares compelling stories from former NICU parents who continue to deal with this stress as baby grows older.

If you or someone close to you is in a similar situation with a baby in the NICU, you may want to visit our online community, Share Your Story. This community of preemie and former NICU parents offers comfort, gives guidance to and shares their experiences with other moms and dads also going through the NICU experience. Talking with someone who’s been through it all before can help moms and dads to better cope with this difficult ordeal.

The bad economy: How it affects your emotional health

Monday, April 13th, 2009

piggy-bank-smHave you been laid off from your job? Or do you know someone who has? Have you watched your savings dwindle as the stock market tanked? Are you having trouble making your mortgage payments? Are you worried how you and your children will pay college costs?

This recession has hit hard. So many of us feel stressed, and it’s been going on for months and months now. 

In economic hard times, people are more likely to:
  * Feel depressed
  * Feel anxious
  * Overeat
  * Drink too much
  * Abuse drugs

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has produced an online guide to help people deal with emotional and other health problems associated with economic hard times. So take a look. I’m going to.

And if you’re pregnant, read the March of Dimes article or watch our video on managing stress during pregnancy.

Is pregnancy massage safe?

Thursday, March 26th, 2009

massageDo you feel like you’ve just run a marathon, up hill, with a 20 pound sack of beans in you arms?  Do you ache a little here, a lot there?  How about a massage?  Be sure your massage therapist is up-to-date on your pregnancy and any special circumstances.

Pregnancy massage, or prenatal massage, usually is considered safe, but talk with your health care provider first, especially if you have:
• High blood pressure
• Diarrhea
• Morning sickness
• Fever
• Diabetes
• Heavy discharge

Pregnancy massage is a technique created specially for pregnant women to deal with the side effects of pregnancy. Many pregnant women find massage comforting because it may:
• Reduce physical and emotional stress
• Ease back pain
• Reduce swelling
• Relieve headaches and muscle aches

The massage may last as long as an hour. Pressure is OK, but it should not be so intense that you feel pain. Some massage therapists tell pregnant women to lie on their sides. Others offer special pillows so women can lie on their stomachs. If you are sensitive to odors, you may want to ask for unscented lotions and oils. Many massage parlors offer couples massage, so your partner can learn some ways to help out between sessions.  Oh yeah!

9 questions to ask your provider before you get pregnant

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

There are things you can do, before you get pregnant, to help give your baby a better chance of a healthy and full-term birth. See your health care provider before pregnancy and ask about the following topics.

What do I need to know about…

1. Diabetes, high blood pressure, infections or other health problems?
2. Medicines or home remedies?
3. Taking a multivitamin pill with folic acid in it each day? 
4. Getting to a healthy weight before pregnancy?
5. Smoking, drinking alcohol and taking illegal drugs?
6. Unsafe chemicals or other things I should stay away from at home or at work?
7. Taking care of myself and lowering my stress
8. How long to wait between pregnancies?
9. My family history, including premature birth?

Frazzled for the holidays?

Monday, December 15th, 2008

The holidays are supposed to be happy and fun and memorable for good reasons.  So how come a lot of us experience them as being stressful?  It’s the pressure!  Jeeze, all the cooking, cleaning, shopping, hosting and going to parties, seating crazy Aunt Lucille as far away from Uncle Jackson as is structurally possible, keeping the kids occupied, baking cookies for neighbors, remembering the mailman… yikes!

Keep in mind the following stressful triggers at this time of year, especially this year.  Finances – Don’t even think about giving the ideal gift to everyone on your list. Be practical, conservative, set a budget and stick to it. Share your love and instead of gifts consider making a donation to a worthy cause on behalf of your family members.  Family – Can’t live with ‘em or without ‘em. If you feel tensions rise, take a deep breath and tell yourself “That’s just Grandma being Grandma” and let her do her thing. She’s not perfect, but remember, neither are you. And if you can’t be with those you love (my son and his family are 3,000 miles away) share a phone call and some photos and bring out those fond memories.  Fatigue – Being over tired makes everyone cranky, not just the kids.  Make sure you get enough rest, and exercise, too.  Can you fit a 15 minute walk into each day?

And if you really do get down in the dumps, are constantly irritable, can’t sleep, don’t want to do anything for a few of weeks and can’t shake it off, give your doc a call.  Help is available, and you won’t be the only one asking for some.

Joyful music makes your heart sing!

Tuesday, November 18th, 2008

Joyful music can bring on emotions that are good for your blood vessels and heart, according to researchers at the University of Maryland. People participating in the study chose music that made them happy. When they listened to their favorite tunes, their blood vessels opened up and blood flow increased. In 2005, the researchers found that laughter had a similar effect. So listen to whatever makes you happy, whether it’s Rihanna or Celine, Kanye or Jason Mraz, Mozart or Chesney. And laugh a lot! It’s all good for you!  

Music can also help reduce stress while you’re pregnant. Watch the new March of Dimes video about stress and pregnancy.  

For more on music and health , visit the University of Maryland Web site.

Which music makes you happy? Tell us about it.