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2. Pregnancy and Birth

Vukovic M.S.W., Laurel Basic Health Publications ePub

CHAPTER 2

P

regnancy and birth are generally wonderful events in a womans life. At the same time, pregnancy brings challenges as a womans body undergoes the task of creating a life and preparing for birth. In this chapter, youll learn about diet, supplements, and lifestyle factors that will keep you and your growing baby healthy. Youll also find suggestions for the common problems that plague pregnant women, such as morning sickness and constipation.

Paying attention to your health is always important, but its doubly so when youre pregnant. If youre of childbearing age and considering having a child, its best to plan ahead for a healthy pregnancy. During your nine months of pregnancy, your body will go through many changes as the baby develops. Pregnancy places great demands on a womans body, and your baby is completely dependent upon you to provide what it needs to grow healthy and strong.

The first trimester is the most critical stage in your babys development, because this is the time that major organs are being formed. Your nutritional needs during pregnancy are different than usual, and its necessary to pay close attention to your diet to make sure you are supplying your baby with everything it needs. A healthy diet is also vital for your well-being, because the baby draws nutrients from you and can leave you depleted if your diet is inadequate. In addition to providing all the necessary nutrients for your baby, its essential to avoid all substances that can harm your baby, such as alcohol, drugs (other than those prescribed by your doctor), and smoking.

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4. Preventing Osteoporosis

Vukovic M.S.W., Laurel Basic Health Publications ePub

CHAPTER 4

O

ne out of every four postmenopausal women will be faced with a diagnosis of osteoporosis, and more than 45,000 women will die this year from injuries related to weakened bones, such as fractures of the hip and spine. Equally tragic is the crippling loss of mobility that occurs with osteoporosis. There are a number of specific risk factors that predispose a woman to osteoporosis, including heredity. But while you cant control your genetic heritage, you can control the other risk factors that contribute to bone loss.

Excessive alcohol or caffeine intake

High phosphorus intake

High protein or sodium diet

Lack of vitamin D

Low calcium intake

Menopause

Sedentary lifestyle

Smoking

Thin build, particularly for those of Northern European or Asian descent

Bones are dense, hard structures, but they are continually in the process of being broken down and recreated. Your bones are a storehouse for calcium in your body, a mineral that is vital for a variety of essential body processes. Calcium reserves are drawn upon to keep bones and teeth strong, to regulate heartbeat and muscle contractions, to transmit nerve impulses, and to aid in blood clotting.

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1. Menstruation and Menstrual Difficulties

Vukovic M.S.W., Laurel Basic Health Publications ePub

CHAPTER 1

T

he onset of menstruation is a significant physiological and emotional event in a young girls life, and will likely be a monthly occurrence for approximately forty years. The subtle but powerful hormonal shifts that regulate the menstrual cycle can cause a variety of problems, ranging from cramps to endometriosis. In this chapter, youll learn the most important factors for supporting healthy reproductive function, and youll discover natural remedies for relieving common problems associated with menstruation.

In the United States, most girls generally begin menstruating at about the age of twelve. But its also perfectly normal if a girl begins to menstruate as early as age ten, or as late as age seventeen. The onset of menstruation seems to be dependent upon a girl having a sufficient amount of body fat, which is related to estrogen production. Girls who exercise regularly and strenuously, such as athletes or dancers, may begin menstruating later, as may those who diet excessively.

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1. So You’re Curious about St. John’s Wort

Vukovic M.S.W., Laurel Basic Health Publications ePub

CHAPTER 1

SO YOU’RE CURIOUS ABOUT ST. JOHN’S WORT

If you’re reading this book, you’ve most likely heard something about St. John’s wort. You’ve probably heard that it can help alleviate feelings of depression. And you might be wondering if St. John’s wort could be helpful for you or someone you know.

Perhaps you’ve been feeling blue lately or have struggled with depression for a long time. Or you might be feeling anxious and are having difficulty sleeping. You might even have tried antidepressant medications, but are unhappy with the side effects or would like to try a more natural approach.

If you are suffering from depression, St. John’s wort, an herb with a long history of use in the treatment of emotional distress, may be helpful for you. In a nutshell, it has been found to be most beneficial for people suffering from mild to moderate depression. It’s also been found to be helpful for alleviating anxiety and insomnia related to depression, and for depression related to premenstrual syndrome (PMS), menopause, and seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

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9. A Holistic Approach to Depression

Vukovic M.S.W., Laurel Basic Health Publications ePub

CHAPTER 9

A HOLISTIC APPROACH TO DEPRESSION

Approaching depression from a holistic standpoint involves considering the complex interaction of the body, mind, and spirit. Depressive disorders create ripples of pain that affect a human being on all levels—physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. While medication can alleviate symptoms, no pill is a magic cure. From a holistic point of view, depression is an opportunity for self-empowerment and transformation.

The Deeper Meaning of Depression

The idea that depression may be a message from the soul has intrigued philosophers, poets, spiritual teachers, and psychotherapists for centuries. In our society, we idealize happiness, and busy ourselves with productivity to keep feelings at bay. There is little room for the sadness, emptiness, and loss that are also a part of normal life. But embracing these feelings and integrating them into our beings allows us to experience the full depth of our human nature, and contributes to our maturity.

Depression almost always carries a deeper message, and covering up or denying the feelings does not allow this deeper wisdom to rise to the surface of conscious awareness. Learning to tolerate feelings of sadness, grief, loneliness, anger, and the myriad of other emotions that we don’t classify as “happy” can teach us much about ourselves.

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