Is It Really Okay to Take Prenatal Vitamins When You’re Not Pregnant?

Many women swear by the practice of taking prenatal vitamins even when they’re not pregnant. While this can be an option that may be beneficial in some ways, it can also be unhealthy in others, which is why it is probably best to leave the prenatal vitamins to expectant mothers.

Why Do Women Take Prenatal Vitamins When They’re Not Pregnant?

Some women choose this option in order to achieve certain benefits with the help of prenatal vitamins, such as having thicker hair and nails. Many women struggle with brittle nails and/or thin hair and want to find something that can help them with this issue but that will also have a low impact on their bodies. Prenatal vitamins seem like a good solution, as taking them while not pregnant won’t usually harm you. However, it is not the safest option when it comes to treating these issues.

The Dangers of Taking Prenatal Vitamins Without Being Pregnant

As stated previously, prenatal vitamins aren’t likely to harm you, but taking these supplements without being pregnant or trying to become pregnant can be problematic. In most cases, your body doesn’t need the high levels of certain types of nutrients that are in these vitamins, which can cause problems.

For example, regular adults only need about 400 mcg of folic acid every day. But women who are trying to have a baby or who are pregnant are recommended to take 400 to 800 mcg of this supplement every day because this can reduce the risk of giving birth to a child with neural tube defects. Those who take in too much folic acid without needing to could potentially experience issues with a B-12 deficiency, and the high levels of folic acid could mask the issue, causing the individual to not receive treatment right away.

Another issue with taking prenatal vitamins when you’re not pregnant is getting too much iron. These pills provide adults with more than their recommended daily intake of iron because pregnant women need more iron. Having too much iron in your system when you’re not pregnant, however, can potentially cause the nutrient to linger in your body and become toxic.

Prenatal Vitamins Can Be Helpful…

But as long as you take in the recommended daily amount of nutrients, you will be able to gain all the benefits that are in prenatal vitamins anyway. In addition, there are other supplements like biotin that can increase the strength of your hair and nails over time. This supplement can be taken by anyone, as long as the patient has the approval of their doctor and as long as the drug won’t interfere with any other medication the patient may be on.

It is important to talk to your doctor about your interest in prenatal vitamins and what they could do for you. In most cases, your doctor will be able to recommend another avenue that is better for your current state than taking these vitamins, which are specifically designed for pregnant individuals.

Women’s Health: How Common Is Postpartum Depression, How Can I Recognize It, And How Do I Find Help?

Unfortunately, postpartum depression is very common among women in the United States as well as other countries, and many women are afraid to discuss it. However, the stigma associated with this disorder is beginning to minimize, and more women are discussing it as well as getting help. You can too.

How Common Is Postpartum Depression?

The baby blues are a common experience among many women who have just given birth. They can feel happy one moment and then weepy, lonely, or anxious the next. Many of these feelings are associated with the lack of sleep that women get after giving birth or with the stress of caring for a new infant. However, some individuals experience a more serious issue.

According to the American Psychological Association, 1 in 7 women experience postpartum depression, which is much worse than the baby blues. When this disorder occurs, women need help in order to navigate the issue of postpartum depression, and in most cases, professional treatment is necessary.

Recognizing Postpartum Depression

For someone who has never experienced depression before, distinguishing this disorder from the regular feelings of sadness or anxiety after having a baby can be difficult. But according to the National Library of Medicine, the symptoms of postpartum depression last longer and are more severe than the baby blues. In addition, some women are more likely to experience postpartum depression than others, including

  • Women who have experienced postpartum depression or another type of depressive syndrome before
  • Women who have a history of depression in their family
  • Women who experienced a stressful life event during their pregnancy or a complication during their delivery or pregnancy
  • Women with a lack of social support from their loved ones
  • Women with substance abuse histories

 

The National Institute of Mental Health lists the general symptoms of postpartum depression, which can include

  • Feelings of sadness, hopelessness, emptiness, or being overwhelmed
  • Crying often and/or for an unknown reason
  • Becoming very anxious or worried
  • Becoming angry or enraged for no apparent reason
  • Feeling moody, irritable, or restless often
  • Experiencing changes in sleep pattern, including sleeping too much or not being able to sleep at all
  • Experiencing changes in eating habits such as eating too much or not enough
  • Having trouble with cognitive functions like making decisions, focusing, or remembering things
  • Losing interest in activities one used to enjoy
  • Experiencing physical aches and pains like headaches or muscle pain
  • Withdrawing from family members, friends, and other loved ones
  • Having trouble forming an emotional bond with the baby
  • Not feeling able or equipped to care for one’s own baby
  • Experiencing thoughts about harming one’s self or the baby

 

As you can see, most of these symptoms go far beyond those of the generally experienced, weepy feelings often associated with post-pregnancy. The fact that some mothers who are suffering from postpartum depression consider hurting themselves or their children should remind you that this disorder is serious and that help is necessary.

How Do I Get Help for Postpartum Depression?

If you are still unsure if what you are experiencing is, in fact, postpartum depression, it is still important to seek help. You would rather be safe and realize what you’re dealing with is nothing more than temporary feelings of sadness that are common after having a baby. However, if you are certain what you’re feeling is postpartum depression, it is necessary to seek help immediately.

You can find treatment through your insurance company or through many of the free and low-cost services that exist all over the country. It is very important that you speak with a doctor about your experiences and that you are able to receive the necessary treatment that will allow you to recover safely.

The two most commonly used treatment options are medication and counseling. Often when these two options are used together, they provide the best result. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and interpersonal therapy (IPT) are the counseling approaches most often used to treat postpartum depression, and antidepressants can be effective as well. When these two treatments are utilized as part of a larger recovery program, patients are often able to recover from their feelings of sadness and anxiety and return to a healthier, happier state.

Why Women Restaurateurs and Baristas Need to Know More about Sustainability

Sustainability has become important for businesses across all industries in today’s earth conscious environment. Going green is an approach to business that creates long-term added value by factoring in how any given organization operates in the economic, social and ecological environment. The foundation of sustainability is based on the assumption that businesses who develop sustainable strategies will benefit from business longevity.

When it comes to business longevity, we are addressing the rise of women-owned restaurant businesses and the need to get in on the green business model right away. According to the US Census Bureau, the number of restaurant businesses opened up by women increased a whopping 40 percent between 200 and 2012! Since the number of women-owned coffee and restaurant businesses have jumped so much in recent years, it makes sense that women business owners may just become the forerunners of sustainability as customers beef up the demand for green everything.

Consumers Want More for Their Money

As customers expect more from corporations—their transparency becomes more prominent as well as the growing demand to become more responsible with sustainability. Good intentions and professional appearances are just not enough anymore. This effect has rolled all the way down from big corporations to the independent coffee café owner and restaurateur.

For example, the Nestlé Corporation has committed to promote sustainable efforts in areas of water efficiency, climate, product life cycle, and waste. As customers concerns continue to grow regarding environmental sustainability; more and more owners in the food, coffee, and restaurant businesses are looking for new ways to go green.

Going Green Won’t Cost You Green

If you are looking for ways to reduce the carbon footprint of your food or coffee business, then don’t worry because it is easier and cheaper than you think. Initiating sustainable efforts in your business will not just save you money and isn’t just the right thing to do—it makes for exceptionally good business. Besides saving money, you can finally put out the green image your customers are looking to support. Don’t stop with green products. Do what you can to minimize waste too, even if it is just small changes. Tell your customers what you are doing!

Coffee and Restaurant Tables, Chairs & Paper

Pretty much anything you want to use in your coffee shop or restaurant can be produced by using recyclable materials and when you incorporate creativity, the possibilities are endless. This includes chairs, tables, disposable utensils, food boxes and wrapping for takeout. Items such as eco-coffee cups, pine boat trays, Kraft napkins, brown palm leaf plates and eco paper straws are affordable alternatives to the traditional earth destroying plastics and Styrofoam products patrons are given for carrying their food and drinks out of an establishment. You can purchase these products through a number of sustainable packaging vendors.

Weighing the Coffee & Water

The most effective way to minimize waste in a coffee shop and restaurant is to pre-weigh the coffee for filter use, instead of using the standard method of guessing. In addition, you speed up service for manual brew orders while dramatically increasing the consistency and accuracy of guest orders. Ensure your filter coffee is made on a scale that has a volumetric water dispenser because if you aren’t weighing your water, it will be disastrous in more ways than one.

Cleaning Supplies

When you switch to non-toxic cleansers and biodegradable soaps, your food and drink patrons plus the employees will notice and realize you care about them—like, for real. Eco-friendly and green cleaning supplies, such as premium bio-detergents and green chemical aluminium safe dishwashing liquids are safer for your employees and yourself than harsh chemical cleaning supplies and they are a definite selling point for your business. Is there any better way to get the support of your employees and customers than by proving to them that their overall health and well-being matters to you?

The challenge for restaurateurs and baristas is in aligning their bottom line with social responsibility. Sustainable practices can save your business more money than you may realize, while catering to a customer base who’s demanding more from the companies they give their money to. If you are willing to take the time and the honest perspective to look at where you can go green and minimize waste in your establishment, then you will find new ways to attract customers, practice sustainability and cut costs. Sustainability is more than just a trend among consumers, it’s an investment in the future of yourself and your business.

DIY Herbal Hair Teas

When your hair cries out for more and is just dying for something new, herbal hair tea is what is hot! The DIY home hair recipe will deliver a ton of extra vitamins and nutrients to your hair, not to mention the added benefit of uncovering subtle colors and tints. Depending on what types of herbs are used in the hair tea recipe, a person can treat dry, oily, and thinning hair. Lavender, rose, and chamomile are popular in herbal hair teas. Whether you are looking for more volume, shine or highlights there is an herbal hair tea for your hair. Check out the herbal hair tea recipe in this article to get started.

Have Fun with It

Take your time and have fun with these recipes to make the most of the home hair treatment experience. Invite over some of your best girlfriends for a fabulous and productive evening! You can even setup the teen girls with their own herbal hair tea salon. Experiment with different herbs (dried plant material) until you find the hair response that makes you the happiest. There are endless possibilities to try out when it comes to the herbs you can use in your herbal hair tea.

Here are a few popular hair needs and ideas:

Oily / Dry Hair Types

When dealing with oily hair—use the combination of nettle, comfrey root, rosemary and burdock root herbs plus baking soda. For those with brittle or dry hair—use a combination of nettle, burdock root, comfrey leaves, and green tea herbs.

Fast Hair Growth and for People with Thinning Hair

In order to encourage faster hair growth, you can use the basic herbal hair tea rinse with five peppermint leaves and 1-2 rosemary branches. Simply follow the directions below and use at least one time a week to get optimal results.

DIY Natural Highlights

With the hair rinse recipe below, you can add some natural highlights to your lovely locks. Add 1/8 cup calendula and 1/8 cup chamomile and follow the same directions. Now you aren’t going to get the same type of highlights you will pay for at the salon, but a lighter more gentle tint and highlight is achieved.

DIY Natural Lowlights

If you want to go a bit darker in hair color, but don’t want to take a lot of risk, then add black walnut hull to the herbal hair tea recipe below to achieve it. Add ¼ cup of black walnut hull to the recipe to get an overall and natural darker tint. If you want to go darker, but don’t want to use dyes and chemicals, than this is the DIY organic way to go. It is important to note that the black walnut hull will stain your skin and clothing, so take care while adding to your hair.

The Basic Herbal Hair Tea Rinse Recipe

Ingredients:

  • Saucepan or pot
  • Metal strainer, plastic strainer, or cheesecloth
  • Jar with lid
  • 1 cup of water
  • Plastic measuring cup or bowl
  • ¼ cup of selected dried plant material (herb)

Directions:

  1. Put the water in the pot or saucepan and bring to a boil. While waiting for the water to boil, place the herbs (plant material) inside the jar. Pour the boiling water into the jar until the herbs are completely covered.
  2. Place the lid on the jar and let it sit in the jar for 20 minutes, allowing the plant material to infuse in the water. If you can leave it for longer, then do so. Let it sit for up to an hour for optimal benefits to your hair from the herbs.
  3. Remove the lid from the jar and strain the tea with the cheesecloth or strainer you chose. Repeat the straining until all the bits of plant are out. This typically will happen in two to three times. After several times, if a few pieces are left, it is okay, leave them alone.
  4. Get your plastic bowl or measuring cup and pour the tea into it for your herbal tea hair rinse.
  5. Shampoo and rinse your hair as normal. Pour the herbal tea rinse over your hair. Work the rinse through the hair to the tips with your fingers. A plastic measuring cup is recommended since it is easy to pour with the built-in spout.
  6. No need to rinse your hair after working the herbal hair tea through to the tips. If you want to rinse it out, you can, but it is unnecessary.
How to Survive Your Pregnant Summer without Sweating to Death

If you are already pregnant, then you know the hot days of summer are quickly approaching and that may frighten you. Humidity, heat, and the sun can be uncomfortable for the majority of people, but pregnant women endure a much greater toll of misery. For those with babies due in the summer and early fall, there is help to keep you cooler than you think, so don’t fret! With these tips, you can avoid feeling like you are roasting inside during the summer months.

Drinking

Although you know you cannot drink alcohol, that doesn’t mean you should lessen your intake of fluids while carrying around your soon to be newborn. In fact, during the hot summer months, you need to add to your water and/or fluid intake to prevent dehydration. Normally, you need approximately two liters a day of clear liquids, but during the summer months you have to drink an extra eight ounces an hour while in the heat to accommodate for what you will sweat out.

Cocktails

People from all over love an icy cocktail on a hot summer day, but being pregnant doesn’t mean you have to deprive yourself of this summer tradition. Of course, you dock the alcohol! Fun, icy, slushy drinks are not only delicious on a hot summer afternoon but they will help you from getting overheated. Grab cute coconut and beach themed cups from your local retailer for your yummy frozen cocktails. Combine a light splash of lime and mango juice to chilled seltzer water for a cold cocktail packed with iron and vitamin C. Prop your feet up, pretend you are at the beach staring at the ocean, and take a long chilly drink to cool off.

Popsicles

A great way to chill out a pregnant roasting woman is to eat a Popsicle. Instead of throwing tons of sugar and unnecessary calories down your throat from the frozen section of the grocery, make your own popsicles at home. Separate out your own selection of strawberries/blueberries, walnuts and Greek/nonfat yogurt. Combine them to a thickened state and then pour into Popsicle molds. Your sweet tooth get what it wants while your pregnant body gets much needed antioxidants, calcium, fiber, and omega 3’s in a frozen treat. If you pick up a cooler basket or cooler, you can pack them with you when out and about.

Water

When it just seems that you cannot cool down no matter what you do, there is a simple solution. Take a dip in water. Going for a swim or even a simple dip in the pool will lower your body temperature (Yay!!) plus you enjoy the benefits of easing the stress on squished organs (normal during pregnancy) while getting a fabulous low-impact workout. Imagine staying cool during a calorie burn when pregnant! Every mama-to-be deserves to show off the belly in the summer, so don’t you are shy away from the pool.

Worst case scenario, if you don’t have access to a pool, then buy the baby plastic pool early. Buy it now! Just sitting in the kiddie pool will make all the difference, plus the baby will be able to use it later. Don’t forget the sunscreen when enjoying the sunshine and the water.

Next time you go your local retailer, find a squirt bottle and buy it. Fill it with cold water and keep it with you to mist yourself with whenever you feel the heat starting to set in.

Now’s the Time for A/C

If you have survived summers before without air conditioning then you know you will encounter some hot days. Fans only cool things down so much. But when you are pregnant during the summer, having air conditioning is nearly mandatory in order to survive it without feeling like you are going to sweat to death. Invest in an a/c unit, hang out at your mama’s air conditioned house, visit the mall, etc. Go where there is cold air from an actual air conditioning system to keep your body temperature in check rather than trying to fight the heat around the clock with a box fan.

Breathable Fabrics

Clothing is of the utmost importance when pregnant during the hot summer months. To cut down on sweating, invest in some breathable fabrics to keep you cooler. In addition, a lot of women suffer from heat rash in all the wrong spots (abdomen, thighs, under the breasts) and breathable fabrics will prevent this from happening.

 

 

 

Female Oriented Well-Being/Health

Although there aren’t two women that are alike in this world, we all do have one ailment in common that we suffer from and that’s stress. You can run, scream, cry, try to hide from it and it may go away for awhile but keep your guard up because it’s sure to rear it’s ugly head again sometime later in life. It’s kind of an inevitable thing that we all have to, well, just deal with. Although it’s something that we can’t avoid, we can learn how to be better managers of it. You may be thinking that you have heard it all before and have even tried to manage it but was unsuccessful and just found yourself becoming even more frustrated and stressed out. To be honest, there is no one right or wrong way to handle stress, you really have to try different methods and figure out what’s best for you. It’s a test and trial type of thing, however, once you find something that works, you have to dig deep and stick with it. They say that if you stick with something for at least a minimum of thirty days then it becomes a habit. Gradually form the habit and kick the stress right out of your life and never look back.

Stress Management Techniques

These stress management techniques can help you gain control over your life.

Breathing

Simply completely clear your mind and just put your full attention on your breathing. Close your eyes and touch your belly with your hand. Inhale slowly and deeply, then exhale in the same manner. Take the time to feel every breath taken and every breath let out. This assists in slowing down your heart rate and actually helps to lower blood pressure levels.

Be Present in the Moment

We all are so busy with life that we neglect the time to be in the present moment. It helps to just slow down for a few and listen to the birds chirp, feel the wind breeze, or take in the sights at the park. It’s really nice to take a couple of minutes each day to really enjoy and pay attention to the current conditions that are surroundings us that day, at a particular moment.

Talk It Out

Reach out to your support group. I mean, isn’t that what they are there for? Your friend friends and family should be able to make time to really listen to you when you are going through a crisis or just stressing out about whatever is happening in your life. That way you can release the strains  and pressure that you are feeling and they may be able to give you new insight and ideas on how to handle or deal with the issues.

Enjoy a Hobby

Get out there and enjoy life! Try out a sport that you have been dying to try or take that exercise class that you have been putting off. Do something fun and exciting for yourself. It takes focus off the stress and puts it on you and just living life to it’s fullest. Being active and can actually ease anxiety and depression and releases the “feel-good” chemicals to the brain. Go have fun, you deserve!

Do Something for Someone Else

I know you may not be in the mood to be generous and do things for others but you have no idea how much this helps you destress. Being a help to someone else really soothes the soul and helps you take your mind off of your stress and worries. Sometimes helping doesn’t involve doing anything physical for someone, just being a listening ear, playing cards, or having lunch with someone helps brighten their spirit. The feeling that you get when you know you have helped make someone else’s life better is an indescribable feeling.

Taking Control of Your Life

You really have total control of your life but when you let stress come and mess up the order, you completely lose it. Don’t let that happen. Be the master of your destiny and take back the control by practicing the techniques listed above. Be the strong woman that you are and are known to be and prepare to face stress head on and take back control. I promise you won’t regret it.