A hormone is a class of regulatory biochemicals produced in particular parts of organisms by specific cells, glands, and/or tissues and then transported by the bloodstream to other parts of the body. Insulin, cortisol, oxytocin, pancreatic peptide, parathyroid hormone, prolactin, and leptin are some hormones most are familiar with both don’t realize that they are, in fact, hormones.
When people think of hormones, they think of testosterone and estrogen. These are well known because they are the popular sex hormones that we think of as male and female specific but this is inaccurate. All humans have both hormones and those hormones aren’t the most important in either gender. There are so many hormones in our body and hormones have such a huge responsibility in everything our bodies do on a regular basis. When I talk about hormones I am never only referencing our reproductive system. I am talking about our whole body.
PCOS is an endocrine disorder. Endocrine is hormones. One of the main concerns for PCOS sufferers is their insulin resistence. Many will have insulin resistance but not have any polyps on their ovaries (yet).. What is insulin? A hormone. While PCOS could be a genetic disorder, I’m going to put my money on environmental disorder. Your environment does not exclude your family history. Babies are born toxic with 30+ chemicals in their little bodies already. Where does that come from? Mommy’s exposure to the toxins over the years. So, yeah, genetics would play a role there. I’ll go more into the toxins in a minute. PCOS can be controlled through nutrition and help with supplements.
Endometriosis is a tough one. This is where cells that should be only lining the uterus start to grow elsewhere in the body. Maybe not hormonal but I’m going to bet on it being a hormone imbalance somewhere. This one baffles me, to be honest. You know what? It baffles the medical industry too. They are only guessing the cause and what to do about it. I hate people having to resort to a hysterectomy but in the case of endo, I tend to not argue too much because it seems to be the only answer to relieving the pain and the hormonal implications after a hysterectomy are less severe than the previous pain to manage. Studies have been done which conclude that dioxin exposure is a plausible link to endometriosis.
Why do I harp on toxins? They are everywhere. We eat them, we breath them, we bathe in them. We clean our homes with them. Virtually everywhere we go in our daily routine we are using or surrounded with toxins. The plastics we use release chemicals into our foods. The harder the plastic the safer it is but those pesky water bottles we drink from are the worst culprits. The carcinogen chemicals leach into the water. In extreme temperatures, this process is quickened so if you put your water bottle in the freezer it will release more chemicals. If you leave your bottle in the hot car, it will release more chemicals. If you pay attention, you can even taste the difference. We have toxins in pretty much everything in the grocery store these days. We load up our foods with nifty stuff to make them more appealing AKA addictive and we keep buying it. Preservatives, the chemicals our foods are grown in, the added sugars and sweeteners, the extra salt. I could write a whole lot more on our foods so I’ll stop there for now. Where do you think our pee goes and what do you think is in it? It contains our medicines we take (including birth control) and the toxins our bodies are capable of cleansing from our system. It goes right back into our environment and we ingest it again, not to mention the animals and vegetation and the effects this has on them (Ref: Our Stolen Future)
So, what do these toxins have to do with hormones? Xenohormones. These are what cause us so many problems. These are the “false” hormones found in our environment that block the important receptor sites in our cells that our hormones need to travel through the cells. This is the primary concern with toxic exposure. They really mess up so many different systems in our bodies. I have debated with my husband all the time about toxic exposure because he thinks our bodies are equipped to handle the level of exposure we have. I, obviously, disagree. Here’s why. I think we do have an amazing system that flushes toxins out of our bodies but we can’t keep up constantly forever. Our bodies will only be able to handle so much. So, yes, I think that if you only look at the toxins from the car exhaust or plastics, our bodies are well equipped to handle that. What we cannot handle is the water, food, plastic, chemical household cleaner, shampoo, shower gel, toothpaste, nail polish, the power plant in the next city, the car exhaust, road construction, pesticides, medication, vaccines and let’s not forget the naturally occurring viruses and bacteria. I cannot think of one aspect of our lives where we are not exposed to unnecessary health inhibitors.
I believe this is why we see cancer on the rise. I believe this plays a role in autism and other mental disorders. I believe there are so many health implications we go through in this world that have been brought on by our own doing and people are in denial about it.
If I can reach out to just a few people and teach them the importance of and how to reduce their exposure through the RIGHT foods and using natural products then I might be saving someone from a lot of pain. I might be saving a life.
2014 will be the last full year I serve in the Air Force. I'm going to change my attitude toward it. Instead of moaning and groaning, I'm going to make it the best year I possibly can and finish out on a positive note. It is what it is and I need to stop complaining about something I cannot change.
"Whatever you do, work at it with all of your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men." Colossians 3:22
"She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls. She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks." Proverbs 31:15-17
Every few months or so I say I'm going to do better at taking care of myself. What I mean by this is take the time to use my foot spa, give myself facials, do my nails etc. I have all the tools and then some to do it. I have enough pampering equipment to start my own spa service out of my house. LOL I know I won't ever follow through with this completely if I don't have someone to hold me accountable so to solve this problem, I am inviting my friends to come over every Sunday after church for girls pampering day. They can bring their goodies over and we'll all help each other stay on track with remembering ourselves. We have to take care of us so we can better take care of our families.
"There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God's rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience." Hebrews 4:9-11
I am the type of person who thrives off of routine and checklists yet, I do not have any of this. My life has been very chaotic and unorganized since I've moved to Ohio. It is time for me to put things in order and do things the way I know I am most productive. I tried to do this several times throughout 2013 but never stuck with it. I am going to enlist the help of my family to make sure we're all on the same page and working together as a team to help the flow of our household.
"She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness." Proverbs 31:27
"The plans of teh diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty." Proverbs 21:5
I've already started working on my other, continuous goals. I've combined my hormone balance, personal training, and It Works! distributorship into one collective healthy living business. I've returned to Natural Medicine school and will finish that degree. I've started my continuing education courses for my personal training certification to keep up with that. I'm taking a new approach to all of this and I hope I can reach and help more people with this new way of doing things. I pray people do realize that helping people is my ultimate desire but I do have to earn a living and pay back the costs for the education I require to be able to do these things so I can't do everything for free as much as my heart wants to. My family needs me to be business minded in order to have a post-retirement income. I won't have the Air Force pay for very much longer.
"I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." Philippeans 3:14
"And the Lord answered me: "Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end-it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it, it will surely come; it will not delay." Habakkuk 2:2-3
Ultimately, as you can tell with the included scriptures, my primary focus is to glorify God in all I do.
"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." 1 Corinthians 10:31
By now you all know that I am not a fan of birth control containing synthetic hormones. I really hope reading this article gives you some perspective as to why I feel so strongly about it. You might not have side effects now, while using it. You will say that it doesn't effect everyone negatively. You're right. Right now, in the moment, you don't see it. That doughnut doesn't feel bad in the moment either but it had an impact later. Read on to learn more about the nasties of birth control. You can have a doughnut while you read it too... but only one.
The effect of using birth control pills on a woman's subsequent
menopausal period is in large measure an unstudied phenomenon,
but birth control pills – which work by suppressing your native
hormones, can themselves lead to many health problems. Many of the
problems of estrogen dominance, including fluid retention,
depression, headaches, and urinary tract infections, are experienced
by women using birth control pills. Everything we've said about the
negative effects for menopausal women of using progestins applies to
the progestins used in birth control pills. Having altered your
normal hormonal cycles when using the Pill, you are more prone to
symptoms at midlife as well as potentially more serious health
This is because the synthetic estrogens and progestins used in the
Pill can interfere with the body's own progesterone receptors.
This particular topic is a personal one for me. I have my own story with the nasty side effects of the oh so mighty birth control shot. I believe the shot and implants are the worst forms of birth control that have been offered to women. They are both so terrible bad for our bodies. If you've ever met me, you already know I'm not a fan of any version of synthetic birth control anyway. I'll try my best not to tell you what to do with your own body but I will advise and advise away because I just don't want anyone to experience the pain and anguish I experienced over the years.
A lot of the ailments women experience are treated as separate and individual issues instead of the connection being made to hormone changes and imbalance in the body. Rather than realizing our birth control is the culprit for our depression, we are given anti-depressants. Instead of realizing our sciatic pain is induced by our birth control, we get treatments for that. Weight gain, inflammation, acne, hair loss or hair gain in not so great places, mood swings, depression, constipation, IBS, dry skin or oily skin, chronic vaginitis or yeast infections... the list goes on. All these things are treated separately by doctors and the question never comes up as to what type of birth control you are on.
One of the very first discussions I have with my personal training clients is their hormones. My story with Depo Provera is exactly why I look in that direction. My experiences with Depo began my research and training in the hormone balance world. Want to lear mo
Provera, or medroxyprogesterone, is a synthetic version of progesterone; its actions bear little resemblance to the natural hormone. Most physicians mistakenly call Provera progesterone, so it¹s not surprising that the media doesn't understand, let alone emphasize, the difference either.
Comprehending the available information on HRT requires an extensive understanding of hormone physiology. Unfortunately, very few physicians and even fewer in the media can explain HRT or converse intelligently about the variety of viable and healthy alternatives to HRT already in existence.
Even more disturbing are many of the "solutions" or alternatives to HRT offered in popular magazines. No one has mentioned using the real ones to combat hormone deficiencies. Instead, recommendations include Prozac for depression, Lipitor for cholesterol, high blood pressure drugs to treat hot flashes and, of course, the recently patented (and profitable) designer estrogens and biphosphates to treat osteoporosis. The side effects of these are alarming.
Conventional medical doctors have known for decades that progesterone counters the negative effects that excessive estrogens can cause throughout a woman's system. With consistent use of inappropriate hormones like Provera, however, this knowledge dwindled to the myth that progesterone only protects the uterus and is therefore unnecessary if a woman has had a hysterectomy. The entire foundation of HRT has been faulty from the beginning because of misinformation like this.
It's not the least bit surprising that using mismatched and artificial hormones has delivered less than optimal results. What is surprising is that it has taken medicine this long to figure that out. Almost everyone intuitively understands that using diesel truck parts in a finely tuned sports car would hamper performance, if not stop it altogether. Yet, we're repeatedly given the equivalent of diesel parts for our finely tuned human bodies.
Patent laws in this country favor the creation of synthetic artificial chemicals to the exclusion of anything natural. Since anything that occurs in nature cannot be patented, it will never be astronomically profitable. This simple fact has affected medical education and practice since its inception.
It is in the drug company's interest to convince medical doctors and the public that natural herbal remedies and bioidentical hormones are either useless or extremely dangerous and uncontrolled. Never mind hundreds, and in many cases thousands, of years of safe and effective herbal use by humans. As for the hormones, I¹ll put my money on three million years of human evolution over 50 years of questionable pharmaceutical research.
From "The Dangers of Hormone Replacement" by Todd Mangum.
Posted 11/21/02 at http://www.alternet.org/environment/14598/
Eat less and exercise more. That is what we’ve all been told for years and we have been trying to push this mindset onto Americans since they became adults and their parents stopped telling them to eat everything on their plate or else. Our society has developed some conflicting mindsets about health and fitness. It is no wonder we have so many different diets and exercise plans out there. We’re so confused we’ll try anything and want to believe everything to stop feeling bad about ourselves and how we look. I’m here to tell you to start eating more and exercise less.
This is what I use with my personal training clients. The hardest thing to do is change the mindset from “starve myself” to “eat, eat, eat!” and stop killing yourself for hours in the gym or running marathons and cut your workout to twenty minutes. WHAT?! This is where the argument starts. “I’ll never lose weight like that!” Well, good. I don’t care if you lose weight. I’m trying to help you lose fat. There is a huge difference. Weight loss when working out tends to be just water weight in the beginning. You also need to take into consideration all of the changes we go through that affect what the scale is going to tell us. Did you poop today? It has become better known that weight loss, or, as I prefer to call it, fat loss is 70% nutrition and 30% exercise.
Rest-based workouts are exactly what they sound like. Exercise routines that require you to rest. Jaden and Keoni Teta coined this title, “rest-based training.” They have an entire psychology behind this method. The person working out is to push themselves to the max until they have no choice but to stop for a break. Their theory is that people will be more self motivated with this style. They will be more apt to push themselves harder than usual without realizing they are doing it. The workout isn’t the whole picture though. The brothers have incorporated hormone activity into their workout and nutrition design. So, what about this whole eat more thing? People tend to eat three large meals per day. Let the calorie counting begin! No, please, don’t do that. I hate math. I detest calorie counting, which is why I love that when you are looking at nutrition from a hormonal perspective, you don’t have to. People need to be focused on the quality of foods they are eating rather than the number of calories they are ingesting. The best analogy I have ever seen on this is the comparison of a doughnut and a chicken breast. Both contain the same number of calories. This leads to a variety of conflicts. First you can eat a whole box of doughnuts easily which will jack up that calorie count real fast but you aren’t going to be able to eat twelve chicken breasts. Second, what nutrients are you getting in that doughnut? Not any. On the other hand, that chicken breast contains nutrients your body needs. Eating constantly throughout the day helps your metabolic rate and you are eating less in one portion so you are shrinking your stomach down to not desire a large meal anymore. If you really feel the need to count, count your bites. Only allow yourself a set number of carbohydrates in your meal to get your math problem in for the day. (Teta, 2010)
Obesity is a growing problem for our nation. We have a lot of people who are overweight trying to prevent obesity before it is too late. This is great but if they continue with the eat less and workout more plan, they will continue to fail and keep gaining weight. Ronald Gristani and Rick Bramos back this argument concerning obesity going so far as to say that exercise does not work to cure it. (Gristani, 2011) They are not saying that exercise doesn’t work at all but state that nutrition is the key factor. Exercise is the secondary resource. With people who are obese, their health is already compromised and certain exercise regimes just will not work for them because their bodies cannot handle it. They are at greater risk for heart issues because their heart is already stressed from working overtime pumping blood to their large bodies. There are so many other variables involved but, ultimately, the verdict is that we've been going about fat loss all wrong, starting with the title.
Stop eating less and running useless marathon and start eating small, nutrients filled meals throughout the day. Don’t forget to get your rest between those spurts of high energy workouts. Ultimately, there is a mindset shift that has to change in this nation about how we view weight loss to start seeing significant change. There are physiological and psychological aspects of this that weren't studied before but have light shed on them.
Teta, J. N.D, Teta, K. N.D (2010). Exercise is Medicine. Rest-Based Training: A New System and Psychology for Exercise. The Townsend Letter, N. 88-89. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.
Grisanti, R. D.C. (2011). Obesity: Why Exercise Doesn’t Work!. The American Chiropractor. Nov. 28-32, Retrieved from EBSCOhost.
This is an older article but it is still worth the read. We know the positive things they tell us about birth control. It is prescribed to regulate the cycle of those who are hormonally imballanced. It is prescribed to teens to help fight acne.
Birth Control Pills, B6, & Heart Disease Sunday, May 25, 2008 Byron Richards, CCN
A new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition adds further evidence linking the use of birth control pills to an increase in heart disease. Researchers were quite surprised to see a societal deficiency in vitamin B6 in women of childbearing age, especially women who have or were taking birth control pills. Former birth control pill users had significantly elevated homocysteine, which leads to the build up of arterial plaque and consequent heart disease.
The FDA will not warn women of this important vitamin deficiency because the FDA finds it intolerable to recommend vitamins in the name of public health. This is true even though an intake of 5 mgs of pyridoxal 5' phosphate per day, as found in a high quality multiple vitamin or B complex product, could save millions of women's lives.
The only reason that folic acid was ever recommended for the general public, after the FDA allowed thousands of cases of neural tube defects for a decade after it had the data, was because Congress threatened to haul the head of the FDA before a panel of mothers so it could explain to them why their babies were injured.
Oddly enough, the FDA has never required that the makers of birth control pills prove that they are safe with appropriate follow up
I'm not going to tell you that all soy is bad but I am going to tell you that you do need to be careful with the amount you consume and to make sure you understand the difference between fermented and unfermented soy and why one is good for you and the other is not. This is especially important for those who are suffering from chronic disorders. What goes in wreaks havoc on your already struggling body. My rule of thumb for my family and clients is to avoid estrogens of any kind simply because we have so many in our environment already. Soy, is in fact, a phytoestrogen so we need to limit it.
Why Tofu Wrecks Your Brain
Eating high levels of some soy products, such as tofu, could raise the risk of memory loss.
A study that examined more than 700 elderly Indonesians found that high tofu consumption (at least once a day) was associated with worse memory, particularly among those over age 68.
Soy contains phytoestrogens, which may heighten the risk of dementia.
However, tempeh, a fermented soy product made from the whole soy bean, has been associated with better memory. This could be related to the fact that it contains high levels of the vitamin folate, which is known to reduce dementia risk.
The deceptive hype created by the soy industry -- which in many ways is not much different than that of the pharmaceutical industry -- has unfortunately been very successful in convincing millions of people that soy is a health food.
Their brainwashing propaganda has cleverly created "healthy soy" -- one of the biggest health myths in the health food industry to date.
I recently had the opportunity to interview Dr. Kaayla Daniel for my Inner Circle Experts Series, and I also reviewed her book, The Whole Soy Story, which covers this issue at great depth. It's a must-read if you're still convinced that soy is good for you and your children, because nothing could be further from the truth.
It is crucial, however, to make a distinction between the health effects from fermented versus non-fermented soy, which I will go over toward the end of this comment, because as you will see, fermented soy dishes do have some redeeming qualities that conventional soy products lack.
Perfect Food or Brilliant Propaganda?
In recent years soy has emerged as a 'near perfect' food, with supporters claiming it can provide an ideal source of protein, lower cholesterol, protect against cancer and heart disease, reduce menopause symptoms, and prevent osteoporosis, among other things.
But how did such a 'perfect' food emerge from a product that in 1913 was listed in the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) handbook not as a food but as an industrial product?
Lipid specialist and nutritionist Mary Enig, PhD shed some light on this issue when she said, "The reason there's so much soy in America is because they [the soy industry] started to plant soy to extract the oil from it and soy oil became a very large industry. Once they had as much oil as they did in the food supply they had a lot of soy protein residue left over, and since they can't feed it to animals, except in small amounts, they had to find another market."
In short, the soy industry CREATED a market where there was none, to profit from their waste products. It required multi-million dollar advertising campaigns and intense lobbying to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but now about three-quarters of U.S. consumers believe soy products are healthy.
It's like a re-run of the water fluoridation propaganda machine, which began in the 1940s as solution to the fluoride pollution from aluminum plants. The disposing of fluoride had become a costly problem that needed a radical solution. The solution was to create the false belief that fluoride had some health benefit, and today, not only are you likely consuming this toxic waste product in your municipal tap water, but you may even believe it's good for your teeth, AND industry is getting PAID rather than paying for toxic waste removal…
Soy has become a grossly misunderstood food category, to be added to the ranks of coconut oil, saturated fats and vegetable oils. The two former have gained a negative reputation where a good one actually applies, whereas vegetable oil, along with soy, have emerged with sparkling reputations that cover up an unsavory truth.
The Truth About Soy
For just a brief look at what's really going on, consider that numerous studies have found that soy products can actually:
Like Feeding Birth Control Pills to a Baby
One of the most disturbing ill effects of soy has to do with its phytoestrogens, which can mimic the effects of the female hormone estrogen. These phytoestrogens have been found to have adverse effects on various human tissues, and drinking just two glasses of soy milk daily for one month has enough of the chemical to alter a woman's menstrual cycle.
The FDA regulates estrogen-containing products, however no warnings exist on soy.
Soy products are particularly problematic for infants, and soy infant formulas should be avoided at all cost. It's been estimated that infants who are fed soy formula exclusively receive the equivalent of five birth control pills worth of estrogen every day!
When testing the blood of soy formula-fed infants, concentrations of isoflavones have been found to be 13,000 to 22,000 times higher than natural estrogen concentrations in early life. It should be obvious that the potential damage to your child can be quite significant. Not to mention the fact that soy formula lacks other vital nutrients for normal and healthy brain- and biological development.
Soy Also Contributes to Dangerously Lopsided Intake of Essential Fats
One of the most important things you can do for your overall health is to balance your intake of omega-3 and omega-6 fats. These two types of fat are both essential. However, the typical American consumes far too many omega-6 fats in their diet while consuming very low levels of omega-3.
The ideal ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats is probably close to 1:1. But the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 today averages from 20:1 to 50:1!
That spells serious danger for your health. Even the mainstream health media is now reporting that lack of high quality omega-3 is one of the most serious health issues plaguing contemporary society.
The primary sources of omega-6 are corn, soy, canola, safflower and sunflower oil; oils that are overabundant in the typical American diet. And when you consider the fact that some form of soy or corn (oftentimes both) is found in just about every processed food product on the market, it really helps to explain these excessive omega-6 levels.
What About Soy as a Source of Protein?
While soybeans are relatively high in protein compared to other legumes, they are still a poor source of protein because other proteins found in soybeans act as potent enzyme inhibitors.
These "anti-nutrients" block the action of trypsin and other enzymes needed for protein digestion, effectively cancelling out any potential benefit you may have thought it had.
Regular soy consumption can also lead to chronic deficiencies in amino acid uptake.
It is believed that it is this ability to interfere with enzymes and amino acids that might be one of the reasons for why soy has such a negative effect on your brain. Isoflavones in tofu and other soy foods might exert their influence by interfering with the tyrosine kinase-dependent mechanisms required for optimal hippocampal function, structure and plasticity.
High amounts of tyrosine kinases are found in your hippocampus, a brain region involved with learning and memory. One of soy's primary isoflavones, genistein, has been shown to inhibit tyrosine kinase in the hippocampus, effectively blocking the mechanism of memory formation.
If You Want to Benefit From Soy, Make Sure it is Fermented !
There are some redeeming qualities to soy, however these are found primarily in fermented soy products like tempeh, miso, natto and soybean sprouts.
If you want to get some health benefits from soy, stick to these four forms and pass on ALL processed soy milks, tofu, soy 'burgers', soy 'ice cream', soy 'cheese', and the myriad of other soy junk foods that are so readily disguised as health foods.
The study above affirms this as well, showing that consumption of tempeh was related to better memory, particularly in participants over 68 years of age. Their explanation for this difference between (unfermented) tofu versus (fermented) tempeh is that the fermentation process produces high amounts of folate, which might have a protective effect against the phytoestrogens.
Additionally, not only does the fermentation process blunt the anti-nutritive effect of the soybeans' phytic acid, it also produces probiotics -- the "good" bacteria your body is absolutely dependent on – that increase the quantity, availability, digestibility and assimilation of nutrients in your body.
As a side note, formaldehyde (used as a preservative) was also introduced as a potential culprit rather than the tofu itself in this article. Granted, formaldehyde is somewhere at the very bottom of the list of things you want to consume for good health, but even so, there are so many studies confirming the benefits of fermented soy and the dangers of non-fermented soy products in general that I believe preservatives play a secondary role in the outcome, if any.
Soy is a broad and deep subject that cannot be fully covered in a single article, so for further reading, I recommend you review my related articles below as well as my Soy Index Page, which contains links to many of my best articles and important research findings on soy.
Scientists Protest Soy Approval
Soy and Brain Damage
Soy: Too Good to be True
Pregnancy is such an amazing phenomenon. The creation of another living being is such an interesting thing to learn about. There are psychological events that surround pregnancy that are just as interesting to study and gain an understanding of. Some people love the idea of getting pregnant and becoming a parent. Others dread pregnancy and don’t want children at all. There are various levels of attempted control in between.
The psychology of pregnancy begins before one even conceives a child. We are always attempting to control it. We have birth control in so many forms you need pamphlets to help you decide what type you want to use. We have fertilization treatment options available for those who desperately want to become pregnant but can’t. Then we have the emotional roller coaster of actually learning we are or are not pregnant. Those who desire pregnancy and discover they are have the joys of knowing they have a new life coming into the world accompanies by the concerns that also come with bringing a new life into the world. We have those who do not want to be pregnant who feel the pressure of deciding if they will even keep the pregnancy and the baby, continue with the pregnancy and adopt out, or terminate the pregnancy. We also have the birth itself. The big moment everyone is waiting for while that little person is developing in the womb. Will the birth be in a hospital or at home? Will there be a midwife or doula present? Should the mother go with natural birth or epidural? What if there has to be a cesarean section done? With so many variables, it is no wonder we have such a widespread set of emotions and beliefs surrounding pregnancy.
Pregnancy, wanted or not, is a stressor for everyone involved. The mother is going to be concerned with the health of her unborn baby. So much so that it could reflect in her dreams. In a study of dreams of first time mothers, 40% of the dreams reported were nightmares. It was also reported that 30% of the dreams were disturbing, while not necessarily a nightmare. (2001, Dagan). While, we tend to think of the male figure to be the one concerned with providing for the family and the financial concerns of bringing a child into the world, women carry this burden as well. Parents to be can be concerned with the health of the unborn child, if they will have a miscarriage, if the child will survive labor and delivery, and if they will be able to provide for the child adequately throughout his/her life. One of the more significant anxieties for mothers is childbirth and labor. It is considered a “normal” anxiety for mothers to have (1954, Straker). Today, we have so many birth options available to us that one would think this makes us feel like we have more control over our birth experience. In actuality, there is no way to fully control the experience of nature. The options of induction and the use of pitocin during labor add more variables. While this method was intended to speed the labor process along or give a natural birth option in the event of an emergency, it has become a venue for expectant mothers to choose their delivery dates. This is a controversial topic in of itself that I will not get into in this piece due to the magnitude of it.
There are cases of women desiring pregnancy so much that they will fake the pregnancy. In one case, a woman was being abused by her husband because of her inability to conceive so she faked her pregnancy. It was discovered that she used a calabash and stuffed it with cloth to mimic the look of a pregnant belly. (2012, Adesiyun) This is an extreme case with a logical reason for faking a pregnancy since she is protecting herself from further abuse. This leads in to the topic of pseudo pregnancy, where a person can feel and have symptoms of being pregnant but not actually be. While it is uncertain as to what causes this phenomenon, it is likely to be psychological causes. Infertility or experiencing miscarriages could attribute to a false pregnancy. It is amazing that the mind can induce the hormonal changes necessary for the body to react as if it is pregnant, especially since this can occur in both women and men.
Something that we tend not to think about with pregnancy is the social stigma behind it. Age, financial status, and social status are all factors in how people react to those who are pregnant. An example would be a mother of four pregnant with her fifth child. Often times people react strongly to the number of children the woman already has and questions the desire for more. They may wonder how she is maintaining her sanity or bank account. Regardless of their reasoning, it is common for people to react with some shock. People also tend to judge those who are not as financially stable or in the same social class as they are. The perception of the “welfare mom” is prevalent in our society. People tend to jump to the conclusion that a woman is playing the system with continued pregnancies to collect government aid and/or child support from the fathers to live off of. Another pregnancy blunder is teen pregnancy. The perception we have of a person is instantly changed when we discover they have done something that is identified as wrong in our society. A girl who has been seen by others as a innocent and sweet instantly becomes viewed as a degenerate and neglectful if she is to become pregnant under the age of 18. This theory is tested by a Gaby Rodriguez for her school project. She faked a pregnancy to do a case study on how people’s perception of her changed. Her project became well known and she has taught our society a great lesson.
While this has covered a variety of psychological scenarios surrounding pregnancy, this does not begin to come close to the many psychological events that could possibly arise from one simple word; pregnancy. We could study everything from the psychological impact to the father to how people will react to the mother or even the child based on the variables in the pregnancy alone. With all the possibilities of complications and the worry of either the ability or inability to conceive, it is amazing how we cope with the stressors of pregnancy.
Dagan Y., Lapidot, A., Eisenstein, M. (2001). Women’s Dreams Reported During First Pregnancy. Psychiatric and Clinical Neurosciences, 55, 13-20. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.
Straker, M. (1954). Psychological Factors during Pregnancy and Childbirth. Straker: Psychological Factors. Vol. 70, 510-514, Retrieved from EBSCOhost.
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Cynthia is a certified personal trainer and women's health advocate. She has studied Natural Medicine at Everglades University and has been researching hormone health since 2006.
Purely Balanced Health
A balanced life is a healthy life. Read on for tips to balance your way healthy.