Post Natal Depletion

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Postnatal depletion is something that has finally been recognised in the medical field which is probably why we are hearing more about it. Postnatal depletion is the inability of women to recover —hormonally, nutritionally and emotionally—after having a baby.  And when I say falling to recover, I don’t mean the first few weeks after birth, I mean months or even years after birth. I see some women who I would consider to have postnatal depletion with 4 or 5 year olds.

In this day & age many mothers-to-be are already depleted before conception and throughout pregnancy. Mother nature puts the developing baby first; a baby growing in utero will take what it needs from Mum. For example, during the third trimester, the fetal brain is undergoing the most significant stage of development. Approximately 7 grams of fat pass from mother to baby each day! This high transfer of DHA fatty acid is essential for the baby but can leave the mother depleted.

Many women are entering their pregnancy already depleted, spend nine months growing a baby, and then enter motherhood and become even more depleted thanks to a lack of sleep and the roll of being a 24/7 caregiver. Hence why so many mothers become low in iron, zinc, vitamin B12, vitamin B9, iodine, and selenium. They also have much lower reserves in essential omega-3 fats like DHA and specific amino acids from proteins.

How do you know if you’re depleted? 

If your nutrient reserves are low going into pregnancy you will likely become depleted in basic nutrients required for normal human function.
Here is a list of pretty generic symptoms that we can walk around with for years & they subsequently get worse & worse with each pregnancy.

    1. tiredness and fatigue

    2. memory loss/brain fog/baby brain

    3. poor concentration

    4. moodiness and emotional instability

    5. poor gut health which might include constipation, increased gas or bloating.

    6. low immune function

    7. feeling run-down

    8. irritability

    9. decreased libido

    10. loss of skin elasticity, dry skin, softer nails, thinning hair.

    11. Increased translucency of teeth, receding gums and easier bruising

The great news is we can prevent postnatal depletion. Ideally women would start with a preconception care plan. This would mean that if you are planing on adding to your family, you would work with a qualified nutritionist to increase your nutritional reserves, before you fall pregnant. It is very hard to increase your stores once you are pregnant or whilst breastfeeding, so a pre-conception care plan can really ensure that you head into your pregnancy from a place of abundance rather than lack.

In saying that, no time is too late to start nourishing your body & building those nutrient reserves. Your subscription to The Motherhood Village will provide you with all the tools to support your health during growing, birthing and raising children. How you fuel your body is the most fundamental act of self love, you’re truly worth investing in & nourishing the temple that carries your beautiful soul.

If you want to work with Gina one on one she provides consultations in Havelock North, New Zealand or via Skype if for interstate/international clients.

@nutritionbyginarose

Women's Hormones

When hormones are in sync, we sparkle. 

We feel energised, sleep well, look, feel & function at our best. 

When they’re not, we feel miserable & it impacts our quality of life, relationships & overall health.

Hormones are produced in a complex process, but the priority is to build a healthy foundation. This is the optimal time to use food as medicine. Food is information the affects metabolism, your genes, & hormone production.

It will be nearly impossible to balance your hormones if your diet is not a priority to you.

It will be nearly impossible to balance your hormones if your diet is not a priority to you.

 

1. Our hormones depend on beneficial fats and cholesterol.

– THINK avocados, coconut oil, butter, nuts, seeds, animal fats, olive oil, grass fed meats, eggs, and full fat dairy (for those who tolerate it). Good quality seafood is also a fabulous source of naturally occurring Omega-3s.

AVOID vegetable oil, canola oil, soybean oil, margarine or other chemically altered fats.

Cholesterol has had a bad wrap over the years, but cholesterol is vital for hormone production. If your cholesterol is high, speak to your nutritionist on what this means for you. The HDL/LDL ratios are important.

2. Stay hydrated.

The habit of drinking enough clean, filtered water (away from meal times) will help balance hormones.

When you’re dehydrated, cortisol increases and testosterone lowers.

3. Part with Plastics.

Toxins containing chemicals that mimic hormones are problematic. Xenoestrogens or endocrine disruptors are a category of chemicals that alter the normal function of hormones. They have the ability to mimic our natural hormones.

Oestrogen is a hormone that is important for bone growth, blood clotting and reproduction in men and women. The body regulates the amount needed through intricate biochemical pathways. When xenoestrogens enter the body they increase the total amount of estrogen resulting in a phenomenon called, estrogen dominance.

Xenoestrogens are not biodegradable so, they are stored in our fat cells. Build up of xenoestrogens have been indicated in many conditions including:  breast, prostate and testicular cancer, obesity, infertility, endometriosis, early onset puberty, miscarriages and diabetes.

Cook in glass or non-coated metal pans (no non-stick or Teflon) and avoid heating or storing foods in plastic.

Beauty products are another source of chemical exposure for many people.

4. Limit the Caffeine.

Caffeine increases cortisol, and whilst cortisol is vital to survival, having chronically high cortisol results in blood sugar fluctuations, low DHEA, stubborn belly fat, thyroid issues, altered metabolism of sex hormones – we commonly see progesterone steal. If you are stressed, anxious, not sleeping, wired & tired, I would recommend removing caffeine for a month and then tell me how wonderful you feel. If that’s overwhelming limit to 1 caffeinated drink per day & 2 coffee free days/week.

The adrenal glands are responsible for about 30% of elevated androgens seen in polycystic ovaries & adrenal fatigue is one of the main hormone imbalances seen in women. Slow down on the coffee girls.

5. Prioritise Sleep & support your nervous system.

I can’t emphasise this one enough! Without adequate sleep, hormones will not be in balance. Create a daily routine to help support your natural circadian rhythms. Wake up and go to bed at the same time & get off your phone before bed. That light that comes from screens blocks melatonin. Tune in to the beautiful meditations & mindfulness exercise here in The Motherhood village.

6. Supplement with quality products. 

Unfortunately, we live in a world where the food supply is often depleted of nutrients due to over-farming.

Consult with your practitioner for supplement recommendations.

7. Exercise The Right Way.

For those with a hormone imbalance, intense extended exercise can actually make the problem worse in the short term.

I see a lot of women come to see me in clinic that have the best intentions, slogging it out at the gym or doing high intensity exercise everyday, this can raise male sex hormones that cause acne & raise cortisol – which is a vicious circle in stealing our beautiful progesterone – which then contributes to oestrogen dominance. Do you see how one imbalance can throw a cascade of other hormones out?

Strength training balanced with parasympathetic activities like walking, yogo, Tai Chi, gardening, deep breathing is ideal for supporting fitness & balancing hormones. The Motherhood Village subscription provides you with a balance of these workouts.

8. Support Digestive Health.

The digestive system has much more of an impact on hormones than many of us know. An imbalance in the gut can translate to an imbalance in neurotransmitter and hormones. Serotonin, a necessary neurotransmitter for sleep/stress balance is more concentrated in the gut than even in the brain!

9. Love your liver. 

It is essential for a hormone production, detoxification, bile production to emulsify fats, protein synthesis, correcting oestrogen dominance and huuuuundreds of other functions.

Start by reducing or eliminating the liver loaders. Coffee, alcohol, processed/fast food & refined sugar.

Implementing a whole foods diet seen in the “Day on a Plate” & “Family Recipes” will provide you with the basic building blocks to creat optimal hormones & neurotransmitters. Eating whole, unprocessed foods is the ultimate tool to start living a healthier life. I know when you are rushed off your feet, kids are screaming, the house is a mess & you have been needing to pee for the past hour but you keep going, it is easy to forget to eat, eat scraps of the kids plates or make poor choices.

I don’t feel you need more motivation to look after yourself, I feel you need to get in touch with how truly fabulous you are and give yourself the unconditional love you deserve. xx

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Every woman must read...

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One of the best ways for women to get in touch with their health is to begin to carefully observe various menstrual signs and symptoms.

There is no such thing as a perfect menstrual cycle, we all have a different “normal” but there are many indicators of how a healthy cycle should look.

When it comes to how heavy your flow is, where your cramps rank on the pain scale, spotting between cycles, and other unexplained changes are all clues your period is sending out to let you know that something might be amiss. It could be a minor issue—but it may also be an SOS signal to something serious you won't want to put off.


1. Your menstrual cycle should be between 25-35 days long & a consistent length each month. -If your cycle is less than 25 days you may have a condition called Luteal Phase Defect, which is a short luteal phase (the second half of your cycle after ovulation). This may be due to oestrogen dominance. -If your cycle is more than 35 days, you may have a condition that is delaying or preventing ovulation. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is a common culprit. 
2. Your period should be bright red in colour. This indicates good blood flow and circulation to the uterus. -Dark old looking blood & blood clots can be associated with oestrogen dominance & poor circulation to the uterus.
3. Ovulation – THE highlight of the menstrual cycle. - Just before ovulation your cervical mucous will be wet & opaque. Then, as the egg is released, your mucous will become even more wet, watery and/or might take on a raw egg-white consistency (long and stretchy). Ovulation at the right time of your cycle is a fabulous barometer for health.

Ovulation is not just a necessity to fall pregnant; it is a critical event that should take place each month for optimal health. Ovulation is not just for hormone health either, it’s the way our body produces steroid hormones required for a healthy brain, bones, cardiovascular health and metabolism. 
The effects of ovulation build bone and metabolic reserve to carry us through all the decades after menopause. That’s why it’s so important to ovulate while we can during our reproductive years, and not shut it down with the oral contraceptive pill.

Ovulation is the release of an egg from the ovary into the fallopian tube. Signs of possible ovulation include fertile mucus (an egg white discharge) and a regular period. 
You can also chart your temperature on waking each morning; ovulation will cause a rise in resting basal body temperature. 
Or you can do a luteal phase blood test, checking your progesterone surge. 
When an ovary release’s an egg each month it release oestrogen. 
Oestrogen stimulates the production of serotonin, which is why you feel so energetic & ready to take on the world around ovulation. 
Just after an ovary releases an egg you get a huge surge in progesterone, our calming, soothing, glowing hormone. 
This state of euphoria should take you through to your next period (or pregnancy if worlds collide). PMS is a tell tale sign that your not ovulating or your deficient in progesterone.

A regular period is not a sign of definite ovulation because it’s possible to have an anovulatory cycle.

Just like a period, ovulation should be painless, & you should not experience heaviness, irritability, anxiety, emotional upset & headaches - which are common but not normal.

If you have a 28 day cycle you’d want to ovulate around day 14 – ovulation too late or too early could be why your not falling pregnant - for example, ovulating on cycle day 9 is a problem, because it means an immature follicle is being released – making it almost impossible to be fertilised. 
Or your luteal phase (from ovulation to the period time) is too short, meaning that if there is a growing embryo, it can’t continue to grow because it isn’t being supplied hormonally with all it requires.

Ovulation is the MAIN event in your cycle!

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Beautiful Evening Primrose Oil

EVENING PRIMROSE OIL

Such a beautiful name, called evening primrose because its yellow flowers open at dusk… an equally beautiful supplement. The oil comes from its small, reddish seeds & responsible for evening primrose’s most beneficial medicinal effects. Evening Primrose oil contains an essential fatty acid called gamma linolenic acid (GLA), which is so beneficial for women. Research has shown to support its use in treating eczema, inflammation menopause and symptoms of PMS.

The body changes GLA, into short-lived, highly reactive hormone-like compounds called prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are found in every cell in the body, and play a role and function as part of the immune system, PGs can either inhibit or create inflammation. If our diet is high in the “bad fats” the body will make prostaglandins (called PG2s) that tend to increase inflammation. When the body is supplemented with GLA in the form of evening primrose oil this helps to make the anti-inflammatory kind of prostaglandins (PG1s) that decrease inflammation.

If you haven't noticed I have a passion for women's health, mainly because of the high expectation placed on women in todays society. 
We are career orientated, we grow, birth & raise children, as well as running a house hold the demands are huge and taxing on our health. 
It is not uncommon for women to become infertile, anxious, depressed, overweight, undernourished and overworked. We’ve got to find a better way to exist in this fast paced world, a way to thrive not just survive.

This is not to say that men don't have stressors I am saying the expectations for women have changed over the years. Staying at home and raising children with support of sisters, grandmothers, aunts etc is no longer the norm. 


I digress ... Back to evening primrose.

Evening primrose relieves premenstrual breast pain and tenderness and other PMS symptoms including painful periods, headaches, depression, irritability and bloating.

This is a wonderful supplement for women suffering with skin problems, reproductive issues, weight management and inflammation. 

Have you been ignoring your intuition or the messages your body is giving you to make change? 
Don’t get caught in the belief that people or situations are keeping you from prioritising your health, you don’t need anyone’s permission or justification to take care of you. Truth be told, if you’re not looking after yourself you can’t be the best version of you for your loved ones.
Repeat after me...
I am worthy of the same care that I willingly give to others 💕 I am worthy of prioritising my own self-love.

*Always supplement under the guidance of a health practitioner.

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