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5 Unusual things that happen to your body no one tells you about during first trimester

It can be overwhelming to go through, especially if you’re a first timer, but a lot of what occurs during the first 12 weeks of your pregnancy are actually, normal. In fact, they are even crucial to your baby’s development.

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As a pregnant woman, your first trimester is a special time in your life. For one, you will be greeted with changes in your body as the baby starts to develop inside your womb. It can be overwhelming to go through, especially if you’re a first timer, but a lot of what occurs during the first 12 weeks of your pregnancy are actually, normal. In fact, they are even crucial to your baby’s development.

According to Dr. Ma. Neva Luna Batayola, medical director, it is important to know about the physical and emotional changes you will go through in the first three months of your pregnancy. From morning sickness to constant urination, there are reasons behind the weird things that happen to your body during this crucial stage.

So here are five unusual—but normal—things you need to know during your first trimester:

Food aversions. You might become more sensitive to certain odors and your taste for food might even change. Just like cravings, food aversion is often caused by the hormonal changes of pregnancy.

In fact, it is possible to have an aversion towards food you used to enjoy and crave for food that you did not like before. This is due to the heightened sense of smell and taste during pregnancy, which can make you feel nauseated.

As such, you must learn that there are some food that should be avoided, which can be harmful to your baby, like raw eggs, raw meat, fish high in mercury, unpasteurized milk, caffeine, and many more.

Morning sickness.  You will find out that morning sickness does not only strike during the early time of the day and will often begin during the first month of your pregnancy. Strangely enough, nausea and vomiting may be a sign of a healthy pregnancy. The reason behind these episodes is the scrambling of pregnancy hormones that start to adjust to your uterus to prepare it for growth.

To relieve nausea, it is important to avoid having an empty stomach. Try eating your meals slowly in small amounts and drink plenty of water. However, it is noteworthy that morning sickness might not necessarily, occur on every pregnant woman. It is still good to know about it in case it leads to unnecessary worry.

Mood shift. From feeling elated to feeling anxious, you might find yourself going through a rollercoaster of emotions caused by the sudden increase in estrogen and progesterone, which are types of hormones that regulate your mood.

You will also find your metabolism has increased, as your blood sugar and blood pressure get lower. This might be a lot to take on but these feelings are normal and will continue until your 10th week and again in your third trimester. Fight mood swings by taking the time to slow down in your usual routine and get enough rest.

Constant urination. An increase in blood production can cause your kidneys to process extra fluid that ends up in your bladder. This will result in you finding yourself urinating more often than usual.

There is no way you can control it but, you will just gradually improve over time. So keep yourself hydrated by drinking six to eight glasses of water every day to maintain a healthy pregnancy.

You will get tired easily. Yes, you will get tired. But why wouldn’t you when you are growing another human inside of your belly? It is normal and you will understand that during this time, sleeping and napping are important. It is best to simply get enough rest by going to bed early when possible. A healthy diet and exercise might also help in boosting your energy.

A lot of physical changes would have taken place by the time you reach the end of your first trimester. Hormones, mood swing, and fatigue will all play a part in how you feel about your pregnancy. This is why it is important to talk to a health care professional to help and guide you along the way.

Lastly, nutrition plays an important role in your baby’s development. Choosing the right maternal milk is key at this stage (e.g. ProMama, a nutritional milk drink, with key nutrients needed for fetal brain formation and developments in the womb, such as Folic Acid, DHA, Choline, and Iodine).

Pregnancy will be an overwhelming time as you try to go through the nine months planning and caring for the baby inside your womb. So, look after yourself, take it easy, listen to your body when you need to rest, and start instituting healthy food habits to ensure your baby’s bright tomorrow.

Fitness

Study finds moderate-vigorous physical activity is the most efficient at improving fitness

Dedicated exercise (moderate-vigorous physical activity) was the most efficient at improving fitness. Specifically, exercise was three times more efficient than walking alone and more than 14 times more efficient than reducing the time spent sedentary. Additionally, they found that the greater time spent exercising and higher steps/day could partially offset the negative effects of being sedentary in terms of physical fitness.

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In the largest study performed to date to understand the relationship between habitual physical activity and physical fitness, researchers from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) have found that higher amount of time spent performing exercise (moderate-vigorous physical activity) and low-moderate level activity (steps) and less time spent sedentary, translated to greater physical fitness.

“By establishing the relationship between different forms of habitual physical activity and detailed fitness measures, we hope that our study will provide important information that can ultimately be used to improve physical fitness and overall health across the life course,” explained corresponding author Matthew Nayor, MD, MPH, assistant professor of medicine at BUSM.

He and his team studied approximately 2,000 participants from the community-based Framingham Heart Study who underwent comprehensive cardiopulmonary exercise tests (CPET) for the “gold standard” measurement of physical fitness. Physical fitness measurements were associated with physical activity data obtained through accelerometers (device that measures frequency and intensity of human movement) that were worn for one week around the time of CPET and approximately eight years earlier.

They found dedicated exercise (moderate-vigorous physical activity) was the most efficient at improving fitness. Specifically, exercise was three times more efficient than walking alone and more than 14 times more efficient than reducing the time spent sedentary. Additionally, they found that the greater time spent exercising and higher steps/day could partially offset the negative effects of being sedentary in terms of physical fitness.

According to the researchers, while the study was focused on the relationship of physical activity and fitness specifically (rather than any health-related outcomes), fitness has a powerful influence on health and is associated with lower risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer and premature death. “Therefore, improved understanding of methods to improve fitness would be expected to have broad implications for improved health,” said Nayor, a cardiologist at Boston Medical Center.

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Fitness

Tips to avoid common running injuries

Injuries are very common among runners. Recent research estimates that 82% of runners will become injured during their running career and up to 90% will experience injury while training for a marathon. Some of the most common include a stress fracture, plantar fasciitis, hamstring tendinitis, ankle sprain, runners’ knee, and Achilles’ tendonitis.

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Whether training for a marathon or preparing for your first community race, being knocked off course with pain can be hard to handle mentally and physically.

Injuries are very common among runners. Recent research estimates that 82% of runners will become injured during their running career and up to 90% will experience injury while training for a marathon. Some of the most common include a stress fracture, plantar fasciitis, hamstring tendinitis, ankle sprain, runners’ knee, and Achilles’ tendonitis.

Injury prevention is critical. Here are some safety tips from Dr. Joshua Blomgren, a 15-time Chicago Marathon team physician and sports medicine physician, Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush:

Don’t over-train

Don’t increase weekly mileage or intensity by more than 10 percent each week. Build up slowly and let a good training schedule determine how much you run.

Invest in good shoes

Go to a specialty running shop to be properly fitted for running shoes and/or orthotics. Replace them every 350-500 miles. Incorrect shoes can affect your gait, leading to injuries in your feet, legs, knees, or hips.

Choose the best running surface

Look for running surfaces that absorb shock. Opt for asphalt over concrete. Find grass or dirt trails, especially for higher mileage. Avoid uneven surfaces and seek paths with slow curves.

Stretch!

Training causes tight muscles, leading to strain and changes in your gait. Commit to a stretching program. Just 5 -10 minutes after each workout can make a big difference.

Strengthen muscles

Runners have tight hip flexors because their quads are overtrained. Strengthen your hamstrings and glutes to reduce chance of injury and abductors, adductors, and core to create stability.

Watch out for heel striking

Heel striking occurs when your feet land in front of you and your heel hits the ground first. This is common among new runners but can lead to injuries such as shin splints, stress fractures, and joint pain. Land mid-sole with your foot directly underneath your body.

Prioritize posture

Good form means staying upright and keeping your shoulders back and relaxed. Work core exercises into your training and do posture checks every so often. Hold your head right above your shoulders and hips.

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Fitness

Postmenopausal women can dance their way to better health

After menopause, women are more likely to experience weight gain, overall/central body adiposity increases, and metabolic disturbances, such as increases in triglycerides and bad cholesterol. Together, these changes ultimately increase cardiovascular risk. Around this same time, women often are less physically active, which translates into reductions in lean mass and an increased risk of falls and fractures.

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Women often struggle with managing their weight and other health risk factors, such as high cholesterol, once they transition through menopause. A new study suggests that dancing may effectively lower cholesterol levels, improve fitness and body composition and in the process, improve self-esteem. Study results are published online today in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS).

After menopause, women are more likely to experience weight gain, overall/central body adiposity increases, and metabolic disturbances, such as increases in triglycerides and bad cholesterol. Together, these changes ultimately increase cardiovascular risk. Around this same time, women often are less physically active, which translates into reductions in lean mass and an increased risk of falls and fractures. As a result of all these changes, postmenopausal women often suffer from decreased self-image and self-esteem, which are directly related to overall mental health.

Physical activity has been shown to minimize some of the many health problems associated with menopause. The effect of dancing, specifically, has already been investigated with regard to how it improves body composition and functional fitness. Few studies, however, have investigated the effects of dance on body image, self-esteem, and physical fitness together in postmenopausal women.

This new study was designed to analyze the effects of dance practice on body composition, metabolic profile, functional fitness, and self-image/self-esteem in postmenopausal women. Although the sample size was small, the study suggested some credible benefits of a three-times-weekly dance regimen in improving not only the lipid profile and functional fitness of postmenopausal women but also self-image and self-esteem.

Dance therapy is seen as an attractive option because it is a pleasant activity with low associated costs and low risk of injury for its practitioners. Additional confirmed benefits of regular dancing include improvement in balance, postural control, gait, strength, and overall physical performance. All of these benefits may contribute to a woman’s ability to maintain an independent, high-quality lifestyle throughout her lifespan.

Study results are published in the article “Dance practice modifies functional fitness, lipid profile, and self-image in postmenopausal women.”

“This study highlights the feasibility of a simple intervention, such as a dance class three times weekly, for improving not only fitness and metabolic profile but also self-image and self-esteem in postmenopausal women. In addition to these benefits, women also probably enjoyed a sense of camaraderie from the shared experience of learning something new,” says Dr. Stephanie Faubion, NAMS medical director.

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