preconception health smLong before you're ready to have a baby is when you should start preparing your body for a healthy pregnancy, so when that time comes you'll improve your odds of conceiving and give your baby the best chance for a healthy start. You can begin now with these five steps.

Make Exercise a Habit
Aim for 30 minutes of moderate exercise on most days of the week. If you're breaking a sweat, you're doing it right. Exercise can help you maintain a healthy weight and improve cardiovascular function that's important for mother and child when you're carrying a baby.

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.

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