woman stressed smThese days, stress is a problem for men and women, but studies show that women are twice as likely to experience major depression, and women suffer from anxiety disorders up to three times more often than men. Why is that? Part of the answer involves hormones, but maybe not the ones you're thinking of.

When men and women are in stressful situations, the body releases cortisol and epinephrine. These hormones raise blood pressure and blood sugar levels and can impair the immune system. The brain tries to counteract this by releasing oxytocin, the “feel good” hormone.

three stepsIn our culture today, “PMS” is a kind of shorthand for the crazy things women do when it's almost “that time of the month.” It's even jokingly used as a verb, i.e., “She's PMS-ing.” But PMS, or premenstrual syndrome, isn't funny. It's a real health issue for many women and it should be treated.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists estimates that 85 percent of women have experienced at least one symptom of premenstrual syndrome, which is the physical and emotional changes that occur in the days before a woman's period.  The symptoms of PMS can range from mood swings, irritability and feeling overwhelmed to sleep problems, anxietyand depression.

sad woman smCrying, mood swings, anxiety, or feeling overwhelmed. These are common symptoms of what's called the baby blues, when a woman is recovering from childbirth and adjusting to the new world of motherhood. Almost all new moms experience this for a week or two after their baby is born, but what if the baby blues won't end?

It's estimated that as many as 20percent of new mothers suffer from postpartum depression, which is different from the baby blues. It's when anxieties and dark feelings dominate your life long after you and your baby are home. Postpartum depression is more than feeling sad or anxious. The symptoms can include insomnia or excessive sleep; loss of appetite; lack of interest in your baby; feeling disconnected from your newborn, or thoughts about harming yourself or your baby.

pregnant woman eating smYou're pregnant and ready to start “eating for two,” but what does that mean? Here's a hint – it isn't double portions of everything.

Maybe when your grandmother was pregnant she had a green light to gorge herself, but now “eating for two” means sensible, balanced meals that will keep you healthy and give your baby the best start.

In fact, “eating for two” isn't something that has to start right after the positive pregnancy test. Most women only need an extra 350 to 450 calories a day during the last six months of pregnancy and that's not much more food. Eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and healthy fats are the best way to nourish you and your baby and provide these essential nutrients:

Northline Women's Health Center Locations:

15675 Northline Road

Southgate, MI 48195

(734) 282-3600
(734) 282-3603 - Fax

23050 West Road, Suite 210

Brownstown Twp., MI 48183

(734) 362-7000
(734) 362-7077 - Fax