What is Pre-eclampsia?
As the name suggests Pre-eclampsia is a condition that pregnant women develop prior to eclampsia, if left undiagnosed it leads to eclampsia. Pre-eclampsia is marked by persistent hypertension during pregnancy, decreased blood platelets, and increased protein in urine. Women with pre-eclampsia who experience seizures are considered to have eclampsia.
Why regular checkups are mandatory?
Pre-eclampsia is one of the major causes of maternal mortality and morbidity, stillbirths and death of newborns in first week. It usually appears after 20th week of pregnancy in women who have not experienced high blood pressure before. However it mostly resolves by 6th postpartum week. Few women don’t show the symptoms and therefore pregnant women should get regular antenatal check ups.
What are the symptoms of Pre-eclampsia:
Consult your doctor if you experience severe headaches, dizziness, reduced or no urine output, rapid weight gain, excessive nausea and vomiting.
What are the risk factors for Pre-eclampsia:
- Women with PCOS can be at risk for pre-eclampsia
- It is more common in women who are pregnant for the first time and also if there is greater interval between pregnancies.
- Pre pregnancy obesity
- Women with chronic kidney disease, insulin-dependent diabetics
- Women who are pregnant via IVF
- Those having a family history of pre-eclampsia.
- Stress and environmental factors such as living at a high altitude.
However, there are no concrete measures to predict the risk of Pre-eclampsia in women who are pregnant for the first time with no previous history of hypertension.Hence early detection with periodic frequent checkups helps in managing pre-eclampsia.
- Appropriate dietary calcium intake in women deficient with calcium reduces the risk of developing preeclampsia. However it is to be noted that calcium supplementation doesn’t treat preeclampsia.
- According to WHO guidelines use of Vitamin D in prevention of preeclampsia has been rejected as there is no sufficient data. However pregnant women need to make sure they get the recommended amounts of vitamin D during pregnancy.
- Use of Vitamin C and E supplementation for prevention of preeclampsia has also been strongly refuted.
- There are no substantial evidences proving link between high salt intake and preeclampsia nevertheless healthy dietary practices are recommended which includes dietary salt restriction.
- Health of women prior to pregnancy is vital in preventing preeclampsia. Maintaining optimal pre-pregnancy health may reduce risk of developing pre-eclampsia
- It is a suggested idea for women planning pregnancy to lose excess weight and be as healthy as they can. If they have diabetes or hypertension then proper management is recommended.
Note: Women should first consult their doctor before taking any supplements, vitamins or medications.
Long term implications: Women diagnosed with preeclampsia during pregnancy are at higher risk of developing hypertension and cardiovascular diseases later in life. Hence personalized diet and exercises should not be neglected.
Your skin reflects your inner health:
We often come across several brand endorsements of anti aging creams and serums by celebrities. In real, the celebrities we look up to take to botox treatments.
But that doesn’t implicate anti-aging creams don’t work, as research has proved that hyaluronic-acid containing anti-wrinkle creams when used over a period of three months showed clear and positive effects on wrinkle-depth and skin-tightness.
That being said the biggest indispensable fact is our skin reflects our general inner health and aging.
Intrinsic skin aging is a natural process where skin ages in the same pattern as all internal organs do.
Whereas extrinsic aging is result of several external factors like pollution, sleep deprivation, prolonged periods of exposure to sun and poor nutrition.
Your skin needs micro minerals:
Combating free radicals with anti oxidants for anti-aging and other benefits is widespread knowledge. However what very few of us know is that our body naturally synthesizes antioxidants that work by breaking down and removing free radicals. This process requires micro minerals like copper, zinc, manganese, and iron.
Zinc deficiency results in skin, nail and hair problems.
Manganese deficiency causes raises glucose levels in blood, low immunity and hormonal imbalances.
Best natural sources: Milk and cheese are the best foods for zinc and manganese deficiencies.
Your skin needs micro nutrients:
Vitamin C and E:
In human beings brain, pituitary and adrenal glands, skeletal muscle and liver have the highest concentrations of Vitamin C. Deficiencies of vitamin C leads to decreased natural detox mechanisms of the body.
Natural sources: Citrus fruits, blackcurrant, rose hip, guava, chili pepper or parsley.
Does external application of Vitamin C help in preventing skin aging:
Vitamin C degrades very fast in presence of air even before it is applied onto the skin and hence contrary to the popular belief of using topical creams of vitamin C for its anti-aging, anti-oxidative properties, it may not be of much use compared to daily intake.
Skin exposed to sun rays accelerates cell damage. Vitamin E acts by stopping the bio-chemical reactions involved in cell damage. However, in this process Vitamin E gets oxidized and therefore requires presence of Vitamin C for its regeneration.
Does external application of Vitamin E help in preventing skin aging:
Unlike Vitamin C, Vitamin E when applied topically has more beneficial results. It reduces erythema, the redness of the skin. It heals sunburned skin areas and prevents skin cancers.
Vitamin E intake sustains the natural and healthy aging of skin:
Collagen protein present in skin imparts elasticity and firmness to it. In a healthy naturally aging skin the cross linking between collagen molecules occurs naturally and that sustains the elasticity of the skin. Whereas exposure to sun’s harmful UV rays induces forced cross linking of collagen molecules which causes premature aging of skin. Therefore, topical and oral intake of natural vitamin E helps against collagen cross linking induced due to external factors
Carotenoids: Vitamin A derivatives are carotenoids. Lycopene and β-carotene, the Vitamin A derivatives found in skin protect against sun burn.
Sources of β-carotene: Carrots, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, mangos and papaya
Sources of lycopene: Tomatoes, red carrots, watermelons and papayas
Retinol, the carotenoid that can’t be synthesized by the body plays a major role in skin tissues regeneration.
Sources of retinol: milk, egg yolk, cheese and fatty fish.
Your skin needs polyphenols:
Polyphenols present in green tea protects skin from signs of photo aging. These polyphenols also known have anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic properties.
Best way for enhancing skin protection from free radical damage is to support the inherent antioxidant system of our body, with antioxidants containing products that are normally present in the skin.
At the same time our skin needs to be infused with natural oils to balance the sebum production. Head on to read:
The above mentioned needs of skin covers the micro nutrients, micro minerals but our body needs even the right measure of macro nutrients. Read our easy- to- follow guide to healthy eating and mindless snacking. to make the right choices for your meal plans.
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Irregular periods, Irregular or lack of ovulation, Adult acne, thinning hairline, and excess facial hair- facing one or more of these problems rings a bell. The frequent campaigns on PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) awareness start making sense.
As the name suggests PCOS refers one or more number of cyst (liquid filled cavity) in ovaries which obstructs maturation of ovarian follicles to ovulate.
It could be either – hormonal imbalance trigger cyst formation or cysts inherently present in ovaries cause hormonal imbalance.
In either case if we regulate the hormones involved in PCOS then we can bring back the ovaries to normal functioning.
Before we try knowing the ways to regulate the hormones involved in PCOS, we need to understand the main hormones involved – Insulin and testosterone.
Most people assume it’s all about female hormones going kaput and so the hormonal imbalances. But, the main culprits are the freely roaming male hormones (androgens) produced by ovaries and adrenal glands.
Yes, even we women have androgens synthesized within our body. However, in normal cases, 80% of these male hormones are not available for tissues.
In simple words very little amount of testosterone is free to exhibit its action. But, in PCOS the amount of freely wandering testosterone increases.
That results in one or more of these problems- lack of ovulation, menstrual irregularities, excessive facial and body hair, cystic acne on jaw line and thinning of hair.
The Love of male hormones for sugar:
When you have carbohydrates your blood glucose level increases.
To make this glucose available to the body tissues insulin is released by the pancreas.
However, due to excess weight, high body mass index, low physical activity, and other inherent factors the body turns insensitive towards insulin.
When your body starts being less responsive to the insulin hormone, its release into the blood increases; consequently, testosterone tends to wander freely with rising insulin levels in blood.
Insulin resistance- The risk factor for PCOD:
Insulin resistance ⇔ Abdominal fat and larger waist circumference. This equation more or less sums up the relationship between physical factors and insulin resistance.
Undoubtedly, inherent factors play a role in predisposing insulin resistance and PCOS. However, making efforts to change the tangible factors such as weight and body mass index can bring a huge deal of difference in dealing with PCOS.
Know your type of PCOS:
Knowing the type of PCOS saves you from choosing the wrong treatments.
You can tackle the PCOS symptoms with simple measures provided you get acquainted with your type of PCOS.
Women with classic PCOS have irregular or no ovulation with higher testosterone levels. Obese women are most likely to have classic PCOS.
Women with Ovulatory PCOS have regular menstrual cycles. But they have higher testosterone levels and cysts in ovaries. Higher levels of testosterone in women causes cystic acne, hair thinning and excessive facial/body hair.
Two Simple ways that help in regulating the hormones involved in PCOS:
1) Exercise induced weight loss:
Change in lifestyle remains the first line of therapy in treating PCOS. A sedentary lifestyle worsens the symptoms and an active lifestyle improves them.
For women with Classic PCOS, losing weight lowers the level of bad cholesterol, triglycerides as well as reduces the chances of diabetes.
For women with Ovulatory PCOS losing even few pounds of weight can bring about a greater deal of improvement in symptoms.
In fact you may most likely start having regular periods. This improvement even reflects with healthy glowing skin and reduced skin and hair problems.
But, here’s the thing, the weight loss should be attained not just by dieting but by exercise and physical activity.
Your diet plan should focus on cutting down high glycemic index foods and increase the intake of healthy fats and proteins.
High Glycemic Index Foods – Potatoes, white rice, white bread.
Sugary foods – candy, cookies, cakes, and sweet drinks.
2) Having right amounts of omega-3 fatty acids containing foods:
First step regarding weight loss is often suggested but this second measure is less commonly known.
Of course, you must have read about health benefits of Omega fatty acids. Nonetheless, I would like to bring your attention to what research says about its role in PCOD.
Omega fatty acids are the polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA).
Man evolved on a diet that had a ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 fatty acids (ω6: ω 3) of approximately 1. But in present times the ratio has reached to 25:1 with obvious consequences of higher metabolic diseases.
We eat lots more of omega 6 fats than required and have very little space for omega 3 in our diets.
Intake of omega-3 rich foods or supplements regulates menstrual cycles, reduces the free testosterone levels which correlates to increase in body’s sensitivity to insulin.
In a clinical trial, participants with PCOS were administered 2 capsules of omega 3 supplements for a period of 6 months.
At the end of six months, the long intervals between 2 menstrual cycles were greatly reduced.
Moreover, their lipid profile improved a great deal with increase in HDL, the good cholesterol and decrease in bad cholesterol and triglycerides.
The trials also reported that although omega-3 fatty acids did not reduce weight, there was a significant reduction in waist circumference.
Furthermore, there was another trial conducted on 78 overweight and obese women with PCOS.
Even in overweight and obese women with PCOD, omega-3 fatty acids were found to reduce the free testosterone levels and also regulate the irregular menstrual cycles.
Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids: Flaxseed oil, fish oil, chia seeds, walnuts, fish roe (eggs), fatty fish, seafood and spinach.
Walnuts among all nuts have high PUFA content that increases the protein that prevents availability of free testosterone. They also decrease LDL cholesterol thereby improving lipid profile. Best quality walnuts : Borges California Walnuts
Fitness routine with omega-3 rich diets are so-far the best and safe natural therapies for PCOS.
Please consult your doctor before opting over the counter omega-3 supplements.
Foods to avoid: Foods rich in omega-6 fatty acids such as peanut butters, other nut butters, margarine, vegetable oils such as safflower, soya bean and corn oil.
Most importantly, if you are of reproductive age and plan on embracing motherhood sooner or later, it is prudent to start making small changes that can help you manage stress. Stress activates a whole lot of hormones in our body so read on to know:
Here’s a little gift for you- A Skin Quiz🙆 Your skin concerns are toddlers screaming for your attention. Take a Quiz to listen to your skin
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During my adolescent years I never really invested my time in skin and hair care as I assumed my skin problems namely acne and uneven skin tone will get resolved on their own after my teenage years.
But to my dismay it never happened. Seeing me constantly fuss over it, my family suggested me to try Sandalwood. I discovered at my home an age old Sandal wood stick and stone grinder which was preserved by my grandparents. I was pretty much excited on seeing it as it was an authentic sandalwood stick.
My mother showed me how to make a paste using the Sandalwood stick and grinder. Surprisingly, the paste when applied to skin acts as coolant and quick remedy to alleviate the redness of skin or any painful acne.
My disappointment was that it took a lot of time to make a good amount of paste. Moreover, I was unable to make the most out of such an amazing age old panacea.
Hence, I started looking for Sandalwood face packs at all available shopping sites. I tried few brands but they weren’t satisfactory and I felt they weren’t authentic or first-rate. Besides, few brands sell Sandalwood powder mixed with Muller’s earth.
Finally, when I came across Skin Yoga- Sandalwood Saffron Face Mask I knew I have found what I have been looking for all this while. I couldn’t have been more elated after going through the ingredients’ list:
Sandalwood Powder, Saffron and Walnut Seed powder.
It is a high end luxury product given 50gms of the product costs INR1395
I love a subject known as Pharmacognosy. It is a branch of science concerned with medicinally useful products obtained from plants and other natural sources. I went through few papers on Pharmacognosy to understand constituents and benefits of the ingredients.
Sandalwood Powder: alpha-santalol and beta-santalol present in sandalwood are known for their anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties. Recent studies have determined chemo protective properties of Sandalwood against harmful UV rays.
Saffron: I averse the idea of Sandalwood mixed with fuller’s earth (multani) as it doesn’t suit all skin types. But presence of Saffron in a skincare product indicates it is a high end product. Saffron improves the skin tone and used for its moisturizing and anti aging properties.
Saffron has carotenoids, derivatives of vitamin A. Read my post on what your skin needs, to understand the importance of carotenoids. The safranal present in saffron is the essential oil that is responsible for moisturizing and soothing properties of saffron
Walnut Seed Powder: Walnuts are beneficial even when used topically. They are composed of polyunsaturated fatty acids, particularly alpha-linolenic acid, linoleic acid and oleic acid. These fatty acids are known to have sebum restoring properties.
Sebum is the natural oil produced by our skin. Imbalances in sebum production leads to either dry skin or oily skin. For better understanding of how natural oils can help us revive our skin read the post: Oils For Skin.
Experience: Directions for use are simple. Take the mix add some water to make a paste. Apply all over your face and neck. Leave it for few minutes and then rinse it off.
As I previously read the reviews, I was cautious on how to use this mask in a way that suits my skin. If you have oily or acne prone skin, then don’t leave the mask for longer time.
Instead take some water wet the dried paste on your face and gently massage it all over for a minute and then rinse it off.
The powder is coarse and hence it works as scrub while you are rinsing it off. Though it makes your face oily don’t panic. Rinse again with water and then apply aloe vera gel.
Result: First noticeable result was remarkable glow on face which was commendable. It even tightens the pores and gives a perfect fresh feel to the skin. For dry skin and combination skin ladies this mask deserves your attention. And oily skin, acne prone skin beauties the quantity, consistency of the paste and the time you leave it on will make all the difference to decide whether this pack suits your skin or not.
This mask gives a salon treated look. So, I have decided to include it in my weekend skin care regime. Perhaps it will be beneficial even in the long run.
If you have acne prone skin then exfoliation is important. You must have heard people suggesting you otherwise. But I urge to go for gentle exfoliation. To understand the reason behind my advice, I suggest you to read my post on exfoliating acne prone skin.
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