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The author of 21 books, including “Safe Hormones, Smart Women,” Dr. Lindsey Berkson has worked as a continuing education professor for doctors and pharmacists. She is a functional medicine specialist focusing on hormones, anti-aging and medical nutrition, especially for breast cancer survivors. Dr. Berkson has been a nutrient formulator, drug inventor, and chiropractor. She has served as a hormone scholar at an environmental estrogen think tank at Tulane University and has published original peer-review research with Houston’s University of Texas Medical School.
Education & Experience:
Sleep is an essential biological function and EMF (electromagnetic frequency) radiation is one of the most overlooked factors affecting optimal sleep in the modern day. While you’re asleep, your body is recalibrating and regenerating itself to function optimally. This includes physiological repair, as well as mental repair (repairing neurotransmitters and manufacturing neurochemicals). However, in order to do its job effectively, your body needs an environment conducive to getting the best sleep possible. This encompasses visible and tactile factors, like sleeping in a dark and cool room, but also includes other details that are often overlooked, such as EMF protection.
Dubbed “sleep hygiene,” practicing good bedtime habits is just as important as other forms of hygiene, such as brushing your teeth and taking showers. Getting quality natural sleep ensures you are ready to tackle everything the next day has in store and is mandatory for optimal health and athletic recovery! Without further ado, here are some of the easiest and most effective ways to biohack your bedroom for better sleep.
EMF Protection Strategies
EMF radiation is emitted from cell phones, computers, microwaves, wifi, electric blankets, and virtually all other electronic devices. Devices that emit electromagnetic frequencies have completely infiltrated our society; most of us have EMF radiation in all rooms of our house—including the most fundamental—the bedroom.
Perhaps due to the novelty of recent tech developments, such as wifi and cell phones, EMF-emitting devices quickly became a staple of modern life. Unfortunately, these devices rapidly gained popularity before we knew the full scope of their biology-altering powers. Through extensive research and studies conducted on the effects of EMF radiation exposure, we now know the health implications these frequencies pose.
EMF radiation can literally alter your DNA and gene expression.[1,2] Think of EMF exposure like a microwave for your body–which works by heating the water molecules though high frequency vibration. As you may know, our bodies are over 50% water. The most mild implication of EMF exposure is feeling tired all the time, due to the constant stress the radiation causes on a cellular level.[4,5] In more extreme cases, these frequencies lead to tumors and cancer.
Most of us have become so accustomed to the symptoms of being around EMF all the time that we don’t even realize it. Headaches, brain fog, and inflammation are all symptoms of EMF exposure. This radiation affects you on a cellular level, which actually hurts your immune system. In addition, scientists have found that EMF radiation may actually sterilize men by reducing quality and mobility of sperm.[9,10] Keeping your cell phone in your pocket or using a laptop on your lap puts the radiation right next to “your goods,” which can cause prostate and other cancers that lead to infertility.
In the state of sleep, while our fine-tuned biology is in the process of recalibrating, our body is the most susceptible to the disruptive effects of EMF radiation.
EMF Protection: Measures for Better Sleep
The only way to know how much EMF radiation you are being exposed to is by using an EMF meter to measure the levels in your environment. Whether you have an access to an EMF meter or not, there are several known sources of EMF radiation which we can take steps to mitigate.
Reduce Sources of Light in the BLUE LIGHT Spectrum
In addition to EMF radiation, blue light (a part of the electromagnetic spectrum) is emitted from most light bulbs, tablets, phones, TVs, computers, and other electronics with screens and lights. Blue light emission signals to your brain that it’s time to be alert by mimicking the spectrum of light present in noon day sunlight. Think about it: the sun gives off light in the cool (blue) spectrum during the day, while the evening sunset is warm (composed of red & yellow light). Firelight is also in the warm spectrum, which is the only source of ‘man-made’ light our ancestors would have seen after the sun went down! Blue light at night confuses the body and alters our circadian rhythm by preventing melatonin from being produced at night, and jeopardizes your overall quality of sleep.[12,13]
More Strategies for Healthy Sleep Hygiene
Have you heard of “sleep hygiene”? Sleep hygiene is comprised of several strategies that, when implemented into your bedtime routine, set the stage for a great night’s sleep:
Ancient Circadian Sleep Strategy
A sleep strategy in alignment with the natural circadian rhythm of our planet and biology simulates the daily experience of our hunter-gatherer ancestors. The therapeutic benefits of these ancient practices are unavoidable in a camping scenario, in touch with the land, and it is up to us to incorporate biologically-friendly practices into our modern lifestyles.
Having a beer belly raises the risk of premature death – even if the rest of your body is slim, research shows.
But having broad hips or larger thighs can help us to live longer, the study said.
Researchers looked at data from more than 2.5million people and found that every extra 4in (10cm) of waist size was associated with an 11 per cent higher chance of dying prematurely.
Many academics believe waist circumference is a more accurate indicator of obesity, and risk for illnesses such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease, than the commonly-used body mass index (BMI).
Researchers looked at data from more than 2.5million people and found that every extra 4in (10cm) of waist size was associated with an 11 per cent higher chance of dying prematurely (file image)
This is because fat around the waist – or ‘visceral fat’ – sits around vital organs including the liver, kidneys, intestines and pancreas.
The new study was published in the British Medical Journal.
Study author Tauseef Ahmad Khan, from the department of nutritional sciences at the University of Toronto, said: ‘People should be more concerned about their waist rather than focusing only on weight or BMI.
Is diabetes pill key to dementia fight?
A common diabetes pill taken by more than three million Britons may prevent dementia, research has suggested.
A study found that patients who took metformin, sold under the name Glucophage, have slower rates of mental decline and dementia.
Metformin is used to treat type 2 diabetes, which affects nearly four million in the UK. The study looked at 1,037 Australians aged 70 to 90 of whom 123 had type 2 diabetes. Those taking metformin had much better brain function and lower dementia risk compared to those not taking the drug.
Author Professor Katherine Samaras, of the Garvan Institute in Sydney, said: ‘This study has provided promising initial evidence that metformin may protect against cognitive decline.’
‘Waist is a better indicator of belly fat and while one cannot target where one loses fat from, losing weight through diet and exercise will also reduce waist and therefore belly fat.’
Dr Khan added: ‘Belly fat is the fat that is stored around the organs in the abdomen and its excess is linked to high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. Therefore, having more belly fat can increase the risk of dying from these diseases.’
The researchers found that most measures of abdominal fat were ‘significantly and positively associated with a higher all-cause mortality risk’ even after BMI was taken into account.
They said: ‘We found that the associations remained significant after body mass index was accounted for, which indicated that abdominal deposition of fat, independent of overall obesity, is associated with a higher risk.’
But their findings suggested that thigh and hip circumference were ‘inversely associated with all-cause mortality risk’.
Each 10cm increase in hip circumference was associated with a 10 per cent lower risk of death from all causes – and each 5cm increase in thigh circumference was associated with an 18 per cent lower risk.
Dr Khan said hip fat is considered beneficial and thigh size is an indicator of the amount of muscle.
The risks of belly fat were the same when accounting for BMI, suggesting that it increases a person’s chances of death regardless of their overall weight.
More than 70 health studies, which followed more than 2.5million people for between three and 24 years, were analysed by the researchers.
The NHS says that, regardless of height or BMI, men should try to lose weight if their waist is above 37in (94cm), while women should do so if their waist is above 31.5in (80cm).
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Beer belly raises the risk of early death from illnesses such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease
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Causes of Oxidative Stress
The trick is not to eliminate oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction, because that’s impossible, but to mediate it. We want to diminish the effects of oxidative stress. When a person is in a state of oxidative stress for a long period of time, it’s called chronic oxidative stress.
Oxidative stress is inevitable in our daily lives.
Even for a healthy person, it is a good idea to diminish oxidative stress to stay biologically younger.
Many elements contribute to the cycle of unnecessary oxidative stress, including:
The list could continue on for a long time, but you get the idea. Generally, things that are bad for you cause oxidative stress and damage.
A typical elderly person will have exponentially more oxidative stress than a young person. Our ability to create an appropriate response of antioxidants decreases, allowing the oxidative stress to get more and more out of control.
Chronic diseases are often formed during periods of chronic oxidative stress. Once the disease settles in, it tends to create even more oxidative stress. This is partly why it can be so difficult to dig yourself out of the pits of chronic disease. It usually takes significant lifestyle changes and intervention to disrupt the cycle of oxidative stress.
Adversity Breeds Strength – Reducing and Mediating Oxidative Stress
Most people want to become stronger, whether it be physical, mental, or in character. As humans, we desire to progress in lifes. However, this building of strength never comes without difficulty.
An overweight person will not lose weight by sitting on the couch and hoping the fat melts off. They have to get up and exercise. When they workout, they cause microtears in the muscle, allowing the muscle to rebuild stronger than before.
As they workout, they are also causing oxidative stress.
I thought all oxidative stress was all bad?
No, I never said that. Unnecessary and chronic oxidative stress is bad.
Healthy exercise causes mild oxidative stress, which signals a different pathway in the body, stimulating an increased amount of antioxidants that will help your body regulate itself, homeostasis.
Similar to exercise, ozone therapy helps to eliminate oxidative stress by causing mild oxidative stress, signaling the correct pathway for homeostasis and balancing the body.
A drug will force the body to take a certain action. Ozone therapy is said to be different because it just helps the body to perform as it should.
Dr. Bocci, the father of ozone therapy, wrote a summary statement,
“There is a wide consensus on the relevance of the induction of protective molecules during small but repeated oxidative stress. In other words, the concept that a precisely controlled oxidative stress can strengthen the antioxidant defenses is well accepted today… Ozone therapy, not only may correct a chronic oxidative stress, but it may also stimulate untapped resources”
One clinical trial was able to display positive results in reducing oxidative stress for diabetic patients. They administered ozone therapy rectal insufflation to each of the patients (excluding the control group). All the patients who received ozone therapy had a significant decrease in oxidative stress.
Another study suggested the ability of ozone therapy to significantly increase antioxidants in patients with heart problems. They observed significant increases in the patient’s ability to produce antioxidants naturally.
These studies claim, ozone therapy may mediate and reduce oxidative stress. Smart people proactively do ozone therapy on a regular basis to reduce the effects of aging and decrease the likelihood of disease.
And here’s the kicker… Many people do ozone therapy at home for under $1 per treatment (more on that at the end of the article).
While avoiding oxidative stress is important for remaining youthful and reducing disease, it is equally important to maintain and promote our ability to utilize oxygen.
Oxygen utilization is our body’s ability to use oxygen for metabolism, a necessary process for creating energy, repairing the body, and eliminating waste; maintaining life.
Our body has to be extremely precise with its use of oxygen. Think of the precision required in building a rocket ship. The most brilliant scientists, engineers, and mathematicians all come together for the sole purpose of propelling a rocket into space. They must execute every single calculation, assembly, and preparation with absolute precision. A slight miscalculation could cause the rocket ship to explode.
Your body performs this extreme precision with oxygen, every single second.
What happens when you start to put trans fats in your body instead of healthy fats? What happens when you sit around all day? What happens when you don’t exercise your mind? What happens as you get older?
Failure to launch.
Your body starts to misappropriate the use of oxygen. Instead of creating high-performing rocket fuel for your body, it begins to throw wrenches into the system.
Dr. Frank Shallenberger, in a publicly available lecture, displayed the gradual decline of mitochondrial function due to oxygen utilization. As we age, our bodies become increasingly less capable of utilizing the oxygen we are breathe in..
Like a frog in boiling water, you might not even notice the diminished ability to utilize oxygen.
Do you go into another room, forgetting why you went in there?
Do your joints ache after exercise or long periods of sitting?
Do you gain weight more easily? Is it harder to put on muscle?
Yes, these things are just a part of aging. But there are ways to diminish the gradual trend of decreased oxygen utilization. Oxygen will affect all areas of life.
Would you like to be more clear minded, have more energy, and get in better shape? Increase your oxygen utilization.
It’s important to distinguish the difference between oxygen utilization and breathing oxygen.
Breathing oxygen only refers to the amount of oxygen you breath in, or total volume.
Oxygen utilization is how well you use the oxygen that you are breathing.
Even if you put a pulse oximeter on your finger and it reads “99%” saturation, that doesn’t mean you are using the oxygen well. It just means that you have the oxygen in your body.
Breathing in more oxygen isn’t going to help your body use it better. When oxygen enters your body, it will either metabolize fat and glucose into water and CO2. But other tracks create more free radicals. If much of the oxygen you breathe is creating free radicals, simply breathing more oxygen won’t necessarily help.
Dr. Shallenberger reported on a clinical study where they gathered 50 randomly selected people from ages 20 – 40 years old. The purpose was to test their mitochondrial function. They found that only 54% of the participants had normal mitochondrial function. Which left 46% with abnormal amounts of mitochondrial dysfunction! Poor oxygen efficiency increases mitochondrial dysfunction.
Dr. Shallenberger went on to say, “Mitochondrial decay is inevitable. What is not inevitable is the rate of decay. The mitochondrial rate of decay is determined by one thing: oxygen efficiency.”
Multiple scientists claim that ozone therapy increases the body’s ability to utilize oxygen.
Dr. Bocci wrote about ozone therapy improving oxygen utilization when he says,
“It must be added that ozonated erythrocytes show an improved glycolysis with an increase of ATP… Extensive data have been reported in reviews and two books. It is now clear that a “physiological” ozone dose … triggers an acute and precisely calculated oxidative stress able to activate several biological processes…”
Furthermore, the International Scientific Committee of Ozone Therapy describe ozone’s ability to improve “metabolism of oxygen”, A.K.A. oxygen efficiency.
In short, mitochondrial dysfunction increases as we age because of decreasing oxygen utilization. Scientists claim that ozone therapy increases oxygen efficiency, energy production, and mediates aging.
Although ozone therapy has a multitude of benefits, for the purposes of Biohacking and longevity, we only focused on oxidative stress and oxygen efficiency. We have plenty of other articles and videos that will educate you further into ozone therapy.
How do people do ozone therapy at home for less than $1 per treatment?
Positivity Rates: Our calculation, which is applied consistently across the site and predates most states’ test positivity tracking efforts, looks at number of cases divided by number of negative tests plus number of cases. We feel that the ideal way to calculate positivity would be number of people who test positive divided by number of people who are tested. We feel this is currently the best way to track positivity because some states include in their testing totals duplicative tests obtained in succession on the same individual, as well as unrelated antibody tests. However, many states are unable to track number of people tested, so they only track number of tests. Because states do not all publish number of positive and number of negative tests per day, we have no choice but to calculate positivity via our approach. We describe our methodology as well as our data source (COVID Tracking Project) clearly on the site.
7-Day Averages: The CRC calculates the rolling 7-day average separately for daily cases and daily tests, and then for each day calculate the percentage over the rolling averages. Some states may be calculating the positivity percentage for each day, and then doing the rolling 7-day average. The reason why we use our approach is because testing capacity issues and uneven reporting cadences create a lot of misleading peaks and valleys in the data. Since we want to give a 7-day average, it is more fair to average the raw data and then calculate the ratios. Otherwise, days when a large number of negative tests are released all at once—and positivity is going to be very low—will have the same weight as days when data was steadily released, and the overall result is going to be lower. Our approach is applied to all our testing data to correct for these uneven data release patterns.
Positivity rates can tell us whether a state’s testing capacity is sufficient. Ideally, a state should be meeting or exceeding the recommended positivity rate, which the WHO has set at 5%. A positivity rate over 5% indicates a state may only be testing the sickest patients who seek out medical care, and are not casting a wide enough net to identify milder cases and track outbreaks.
Percent positivity can also help us determine if an increase in cases is simply the result of expanded testing or if it signals increased transmission of the virus. If we see the percentage of positive tests begin to rise, it indicates insufficient testing to find infections that may be occurring. Not finding these infections may mean that the virus is transmitting without intervention, which can lead to future case growth.
If a rise in cases is the result of increased testing, the percent positive line could look flat or like it is decreasing over the time period when cases increased.
If a rise in cases is the result of increased transmission, the line could appear to be increasing over that same time period.
Immunometabolism is one facet of the larger story unfolding around immunity. I’ve previously written about how immunity is everything, and so much more than a seasonal concern around cold and flu. The new thinking around immunity is about rejuvenation, balance, and resilience. It’s not about a quick boost.
Metabolism is the way we process fuel and produce energy, and it’s connected to immunity. Science is showing us that different immune cells ask for different nutrients.
Some cells activate at the sign of danger—whether from a sprained ankle or a deadly pathogen—and prefer sugar as a fast fuel. This conversion of glucose into fuel is a process called glycolysis. It’s essential in the moment, but it’s not well-suited to your longer-term goal of balance. When this pathway is activated by the wrong immune cells for too long a time, this can mean inflammation, and can lead to a host of problems in your body down the line.
To calm things down, think about fats. Fatty acid oxidation provides fuel to immune cells designed to calm down your immune response and dampen inflammation. You can see where this is headed.
Since immunometabolism tells us different immune cells prefer different nutrients for fuel, which means your diet, through metabolism, can impact your immune response. At Big Bold Health, I’m working with a cod liver oil that maintains its natural stores of vitamin A, vitamin D, and pro-resolving mediators (PRMs) for this very reason.
What is the magic ingredient in breastmilk which drives the lifelong benefits for infants who breastfeed? For some this has been like the holy grail, an elusive answer that would explain why breastfed babies journey through life with lower rates of many inflammatory diseases. Both my field of pediatrics and functional medicine has promoted breastfeeding where possible for newborns, both groups knowing that it makes a difference for infants. Many plausible explanations have been offered, including antibodies, growth factors, transfer factors and other ingredients. I have always thought that a mixture of these is responsible for the benefits rather than one single thing, but some researchers from today’s article believe they have found one that is key to baby’s health effects.
“A team from the RESIST Cluster of Excellence at Hannover Medical School (MHH)” report their work from infant stool samples in Gastroenterology. The team analyzed concentrations of a group of chemicals called alarmins found in breast milk and newborn stool samples. Other research in recent times has been revealing the critical interplay between gut bacteria and multiple health conditions from mood disorders to inflammatory diseases to cancer. The collection of bacteria in one’s colon is called the microbiome and is made up of maybe 500 to 1000 different bacteria types whose numbers add up to maybe 100 trillion. Various factors in our diet and lifestyle affect the composition and various proportions of those different bacteria.
The early life of infants, beginning with birth either vaginally or by C-section, highly influences the lifelong composition of the microbiome. Why this happens has been a hot area of research for decades. These alarmins are short to medium length chains of amino acids which modulate the development of the microbiome which then influences the development of the infant’s GI tract immune system. A healthy microbiome protects against many inflammatory conditions from infancy to adulthood.
While alarmins are not exclusive to breast milk, breast milk offers an extra supply to infants in this critical window. The infant’s own stool contains alarmins from the GI tract and maybe microbiome even from birth. Infants born vaginally have a higher concentration that infants born by C section and the researchers are speculating that alarmins may thus play a role in determining the later differences in the microbiome of each of these infant groups. This difference may also play a role in why term infants and preterm infants develop different microbiome and thus difference rates of inflammatory diseases.
The researchers compared the levels of alarmins and the microbiome composition of term and preterm babies born either vaginally or by c-section against each other and against groups of adult controls. They also tested hypotheses in a mouse model in which different alarmins were genetically turned off. They found that the alarmins S100A8 and S100A9 influenced not only microbiome composition but several immune markers. These included cytokine levels and the numbers of macrophages and T regulatory cells. These cytokines and the T regulatory cells appeared to be the direct modulators of which bacteria gained prominence in stool samples.
The researchers postulated that administration of alarmins to preterm, especially pre-term C-section babies, might lower their risk of early life fatal diseases like necrotizing enterocolitis. This disease kills many preterm infants when an overwhelming gut infection leads to sepsis. If extra alarmins could be provided and this led to better gut bacteria, the disease might be prevented rather than treated after the fact with antibiotics. For functional MD’s, we see this as justification for encouraging breastfeeding and further justification for focusing on the gut health of our patients of all ages. While early life gut health is critical, it is never too late to nudge our gut health in the right direction so we can aim at healthier more abundant lives.
Maike Willers, Thomas Ulas, Lena Völlger, Thomas Vogl, Anna S. Heinemann, Sabine Pirr, Julia Pagel, Beate Fehlhaber, Olga Halle, Jennifer Schöning, Sabine Schreek, Ulrike Löber, Morgan Essex, Peter Hombach, Simon Graspeuntner, Marijana Basic, Andre Bleich, Katja Cloppenborg-Schmidt, Sven Künzel, Danny Jonigk, Jan Rupp, Gesine Hansen, Reinhold Förster, John F. Baines, Christoph Härtel, Joachim L. Schultze, Sofia K. Forslund, Johannes Roth, Dorothee Viemann. S100A8 and S100A9 are Important for Postnatal Development of Gut Microbiota and Immune System in Mice and Infants. Gastroenterology, 2020; DOI: 10.1053/j.gastro.2020.08.019
Thanks to Science Daily
University of Bonn. “The ‘gold’ in breast milk: Alarmins have a positive post-natal impact on the development of intestinal flora and the immune system.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 August 2020. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/08/200828115338.htm>
Sanctuary Functional Medicine, under the direction of Dr Eric Potter, IFMCP MD, provides functional medicine services to Nashville, Middle Tennessee and beyond. We frequently treat patients from Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Ohio, Indiana, and more… offering the hope of healthier more abundant lives to those with chronic illness.
Is it safe to continue prenatal check-ups?
Many expectant mothers are fearful of going to appointments while they are taking precautions, such as staying home and practicing physical distancing when outside. “You do see a lot of adaptation happening at the moment in the world where midwives are doing clinics or certain appointments by phone, so that the actual looking at the baby and the growth of the baby appointment can be short,” says Cadée. “I expect that pregnant women will find they’re seeing their healthcare professional less, to protect them and the healthcare professional from getting infected and that they will be seen live when it’s necessary.” Modifications may also be tailored for individual patients depending on their respective conditions, for example lower vs. higher-risk pregnancies.
Cadée advises mothers to find out what options are available to them from their healthcare professional and in their communities. “The person who’s taking care of you is perfectly geared to you and your own needs, so your midwife or obstetrician will know best.”
After your child is born, it is also important to continue receiving professional support and guidance, including routine immunizations. Speak to your healthcare provider about the safest way to have these appointments, for you and your baby.
If I have coronavirus disease (COVID-19) will I pass it to my baby?
We still do not know if the virus can be transmitted from a mother to her baby during pregnancy. “The COVID-19 virus has not been found in vaginal fluid, in cord blood or breastmilk,” says Cadée, although information is still emerging. To date, COVID-19 has also not been detected in amniotic fluid or the placenta.
The best thing you can do is to take all necessary precautions to prevent yourself from contracting the COVID-19 virus. However, if you’re pregnant or have just given birth and feel ill, then you should seek medical care promptly and follow instructions from your health care provider.
I was planning on giving birth in a hospital or healthcare clinic. Is this still a good option?
“Women should ask their midwife [or health care professional] what they feel is the safest place for them and how precautions are being taken from situation to situation,” recommends Cadée. “It depends on the woman, on her situation and on the healthcare system.”
“You would hope that most healthcare facilities have different facilities where those with the COVID-19 virus go in one entrance and the others in another. But in some situations that’s totally not possible,” says Cadée. “In certain high-income countries like in the Netherlands where I come from, we have a system whereby home birth is integrated within the system. So home birth within the system is safe and you are seeing more women give birth at home [but this is certainly not the case in most countries]. And even certain hotels are being used in the Netherlands by midwives for women to be able to give birth in the hotel which is made safe for a woman to give birth, so she doesn’t have to go to the hospital. But that is very much within that local context.”
For the safest option for you, it important to speak to the healthcare professional who is supporting you throughout your pregnancy and birth.
Can my partner or family member be nearby when I give birth?
While policies vary by country, Cadée believes women should have someone nearby to support them, as long as the proper precautions are taken, such as wearing a mask while in the delivery room and washing their hands. “We are finding that in certain countries people are not being allowed to be with women, and that is worrying me. I can understand that you want to reduce the number of people with a woman while she is giving birth because you’re trying to reduce contact, and that is very very logical, but let’s make sure that a woman has someone, one person, with her while she’s giving birth – her partner, her sister, her mother, [or the closest person of her choice]. And please keep the babies with the mothers.”
“We have to be compassionate and understand each situation as it is and that the healthcare professionals together with the family members are doing their best, using their common sense and listening to each other. I think that’s very important: that we try to work as a community.”
I’m feeling incredibly anxious about giving birth. What should I do to cope?
Having a plan in place for your birth can help ease feelings of anxiety by giving you more of a sense of control, but recognizing that the current situation means there may be less predictability depending where you live. “This should include who to phone when the labour begins, who will provide support during labour and where. Establish what restrictions will be in place for hospital birth regarding support people and family members,” advises Cadée.
She also recommends doing simple things at home to relax, “like [stretching] exercises, breathing exercises and giving your midwife a call if you need to.” Focus on taking care of yourself as much as you possibly can. “Eat well, drink well, put your hands on your belly and enjoy being pregnant.”
What questions should I be asking my healthcare professional?
Cadée underlines the importance of establishing a trusting relationship with your healthcare provider. “All of those questions that have to do with you and your health, I would ask them freely. If you have an open relationship with your healthcare provider – with your midwife, with your obstetrician – they will discuss these things with you and answer you openly. It is your absolute right to know these things because it’s your body and your baby.”
“Midwives are responding to increased demands on their services as are doctors and nurses, and so may take a little longer to respond,” Cadée notes. She suggests establishing a system of how and when to communicate with your healthcare professional. For example, organize routine around appointments, and how to get in touch for urgent care. It may also be helpful to talk to care providers in advance about obtaining a copy of your health records including record of prenatal care, in case of any disruption or change in services.
When it comes to your plan for giving birth, it is important to ask as many questions as you need to. Cadée suggests the following:
What should women pack to go into hospital given the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak?
“I don’t think women need to take anything extra, but they should take precautions well into account,” advises Cadée.
She expects some hospitals may ask women to go home more quickly than normal if they’re healthy. “Again, that will be different from area to area, from woman to woman, from hospital to hospital,” she says, recommending expecting mothers to “ask their midwife or their obstetrician for advice that’s really tailor made for them.”
Once I have given birth, what can I do to protect my newborn from the COVID-19 virus?
The best thing you can do is to keep it simple: stick to just your family and don’t ask for visitors right now. “Also make sure that your children (if you have other children) that they’re not with other children. Get your family to wash their hands and take good care of themselves,” says Cadée.
Although it’s a difficult time, Cadée recommends trying to see the positive side of having this time to bond as a family. “Sometimes it can be very busy for young mothers and fathers to have so many visitors. Enjoy the quietness of your [immediate] family together for this time. It’s quite special to be able to bond with your baby alone, discover that new human being and enjoy that.”
This story originally appeared at LittleThings.
A seamstress in Hanover, Massachusetts, has a new, never-before-seen specialty. She makes dresses for little girls who are living with diabetes.
Julie Christian has been sewing for only the past year. She decided to start a second career after years as a police officer.
Originally, Julie’s dream was to make beautifully tailored suits for women. But last summer, she received an unexpected request from a little girl.
Ten-year-old Julia Looker has type 1 diabetes.
“I asked if she could make me a dress customized for a diabetic pump,” Julia recalled.
Julie agreed. She made a lovely floral dress with a pocket to hide the pump. There’s also a hole along the waist seam so Julia can feed the pump wire into the attachment on her leg.
“It’s really convenient,” Julia said. “I like it a lot.”
The dress allows Julia to wear a dress without having to wear shorts underneath to hold the pump.
Soon after, other moms of girls with type 1 diabetes heard Julia’s success story. They, too, started contacting Julie for customized dresses for their daughters. Julie had found her new calling.
“It wasn’t women’s suiting as I anticipated; it was a whole different idea,” she said.
Check out the video below to see her incredible creations!