Important Facts About The Pregnant Body

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You’ll hear lots of talk about how parenthood will change you. It’ll make you more patient, expand your capacity for love, change your life perspective. All that may be true, as childbirth is a massive moment in anyone’s life, but there are physical changes as well. A pregnant body is working extremely hard and growing another human requires the body to adapt and change through the pregnancy. Let’s take a look at some of the ways your body will change when you are with child.

Hormones

Pregnancy means that your body will be a veritable cocktail of hormones. Your body will be flush delivering necessities to the baby and you’ll notice some effects to your outward appearance. Most noticeable are the changes to your hair. Hair contains estrogen receptors. As a result of the changes in hormone levels, you’ll see your hair appearing thicker and more glossy. The thickness comes from a decrease in the amount of hair you lose normally. Be aware that after your pregnancy your will return to normal, but it may feel like your hair is falling out faster than ever before — it’s totally normal.

Another way that hormone levels will effect your body can be measured in your bones. Increased amounts of estrogen and relaxin will cause the ligaments in your body to relax. This effect is necessary for childbirth, but before that you may notice more pain in your muscles and joints, especially your lower back. Additional, more relaxin will allow your cartilage and ligaments to stretch more. You may feel some additional mobility as a result.

Super Senses

The changes in food tastes are well documented. Many women report hating a previously beloved food while pregnant and vice versa. The changes in your ability to taste are intrinsically tied to your ability to smell. As a result, you may notice a very heightened  nose during your pregnancy. Be careful though because certain smells may cause you to feel physically ill.

The list of ways your body changes during pregnancy is long. There is one clear way that your body changes — a little human is growing inside of you. But work closely with your OBGYN and GP to monitor the rest of the ways you change — your body and baby will thank you.

The Tragically Hip Bids Farewell

Decades before superstar artists like Justin Bieber or Drake defined what music from Canada was, that mantle was firmly placed on the Tragically Hip, also known simply as the Hip. The Hip is a rock and roll band, featuring guitar heavy riffs, croaky vocals, and poetic lyrics. Despite never having any lasting crossover success in the States or further abroad, the Hip have been a massively popular band to Canadians.

Like so many other rock and roll groups, the Hip began in the 1980s when Gord Downie recruited four high school friends to begin making tunes. Hailing from Kingston, Ontario, a small city about 250 kilometres east of Toronto, the band starting touring bars and other small venues in their area. The Hip generated fans and buzz quickly, and by 1987 they had a record deal with MCA and dropped their self-titled debut album. What followed was 30 years of consistent releases and tours, resulting in nine No. 1 albums, and over 8 million records sold. The Tragically Hip are the kind of band that really spoke to people. Their music was devoid of the types of frivolities of typical pop music. The lyrics, driven by Downie’s undeniable star power, often went after injustice big and small. Their music is always with meaning — nothing is for nothing’s sake. Downie has been called the ‘unofficial poet laureate’ of Canada for his massive contributions to the arts.

In May of this year, Downie announced that the brain cancer he has been battling and underwent surgery for was terminal. The news devastated fans, fearing that they wouldn’t get the chance to say goodbye properly to the group that has been the voice of a generation of Canadians. To the massive relief of Canadian’s all over the country, after consulting with his oncologist, Downie stated that he would join his bandmates for their summer tour.

The final night of that tour happened on August 20th in their hometown of Kingston. The Rogers K-Rock Centre sold out almost immediately and so 5,700 fans, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, revelled in what will likely be the band’s last performance. People held watching parties all over Canada and abroad, including one for Olympians in Rio. The Toronto Police released the following tweet:

 

The night was truly a celebration of Canada’s most beloved bands. The Hip played for three hours, regaling the crowd with favourite after favourite. The celebrations were of course underpinned by a sadness, but the night will surely live on as one of the most momentous and unifying in recent memory.

 

Most Awe-Inspiring Places in Canada: Partie Un

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Canada is a land filled with beautiful landscapes, picturesque cities, and truly divine sceneries. However, because there are so many places of majesty and beauty in Canada, it may be easy to overlook some of the country’s most important landmarks. Below is a shortlist of some of Canada’s most important landmarks to visit next time you’re traveling through the Great White North.

Quebec City – Old Quebec

One of the oldest, and only walled cities in North America, Quebec City carries with it an air of European charm in a cool North American locale. When walking through Quebec City, you will unmistakably feel the city’s French Canadian character. It is home to the iconic Chateau Frontenac, which towers above the city. Old or Vieux Quebec is home to much of the old French colonial architecture the city is largely famous for. This sector of the city was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1985.

Toronto – Waterfront, CN Tower; Ontario

Of course Canada’s most iconic city is also its most populous holding more than 2.6 million within its city limits. Toronto is truly a cosmopolitan city, with neighborhoods filled with people from across the globe. When in Toronto, you’ll want to visit the city’s Waterfront which is changing face almost on a yearly basis. Also, visit Toronto’s CN Tower, a landmark in the city that stands an imposing 1800 feet tall – the world’s seventh largest structure.

Rideau Canal

Pass through the Rideau Canal which acts as a walk-through park in the summer months, displaying wonderful gardens and pleasure boat-riding. If you visit in the winter, the canal is turned into the world’s second largest ice skateway, free for all to ice skate along its almost 8 kilometer stretch. The Canal connects Canada’s capital city Ottawa, with Kingston Ontario on the banks of Lake Ontario. Like Old Quebec City, it is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Niagara Falls, Ontario

Niagara Falls refers to three different waterfalls that are located between the United States and Canadian borders. The great waterfalls are just an hour away from Toronto, and can be seen best on the Canadian side of the border. It has become one of the top tourist attractions in both America and Canada.

Capilano Suspension Bridge, British Columbia

Drawing over 800 thousand visitors every year, the 137-meter long Capilano Suspension Bridge in Northern Vancouver is one of the city’s top tourist attractions. The bridge is located in Northern Vancouver’s various nature trails, providing tourists with a unique rainforest canopy walk. Amazingly, the bridge was first built in 1889, but since then has undergone various reconstructions.

Sugar Tax To Hit Sugary Cereal Sales

Due to information collected through a new study conducted in the UK, a proposed 20% sugar tax could potentially prohibit consumers from buying the unhealthy, sugary breakfast cereals.

Over one thousand individuals living in the United Kingdom participated in the study. They were given £10 to spend specifically on cereal and sweetened beverages. The researchers classified the products by healthier or less healthy based on their nutritional value.

The participants were asked to complete ten tasks on a supermarket shopping website. Five of the ten tasks were to buy cereals and the other five were to buy drinks sweetened by sugar. They had the option to not buy these items and were free to veer away.

Data reflects that the demand for sugary cereals would drop 48% if the consumers knew a tax was being applied and alternately would purchase healthier cereals. 

Researchers conducting the study observed the impact of a 20% and a 40% tac on sugary cereals and soda beverages with sugar. Researchers also examined whether or not telling the subjects that they were being taxed would influence the way that they shopped for groceries.

Here is what the research shows overall:

  • A 40% tax would reduce the purchasing of both sugary cereals and drinks
  • A 20% tax would reduce the consumption of sugary cereals but not beverages
  • A 20% tax would likely decrease the frequency of purchasing unhealthy items by about 50%

So what are the key takeaways from this study?

  1. A sugar tax will effect consumer markets on any sugary products
  2. Shoppers should be aware of how much they are being taxed for the items they are purchasing
  3. This tax and probably other food taxes will mark an effect on shopping behavior

 

Cancer Research Progresses, but Still Not Enough for Many

Cancer takes the lives of approximately 600,000 North Americans every year. These are staggering numbers considering the array of treatments and medicines that exist to fight cancer cells and their spread. Although medical science has made major strides to combat the disease, it seems that we are still far from any foreseeable breakthrough in cancer’s defeat.

So, what exactly is cancer? According to Cancer.gov, the disease involves the abnormal and rapid growth of cells within specific sectors of the human body. The cell growth has the potential to grow and spread to other portions of the body. What makes it most deadly is its ability to adapt and disguise itself from the body’s immune cells and other natural defenses. Once it spreads, it is extremely difficult to defeat.

Since the mid 1990’s there have been three new alternative treatments to chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Gleevec treats a particular type of leukemia by targeting an abnormal enzyme and remedying it. Deaths by this form of cancer were cut by more than half in the United States. Herceptin treats women with breast cancer by blocking a growth receptor in breast tumors. The treatment has saved thousands of women year after year. Yervoy aids immune cells that attack melanoma cancer, improving survival rates for those suffering from the condition. Another immune drug Keytruda shrinks tumors in that same disease. The media is calling these new treatments “revolutionizing” in the medical field. Although the new treatments have proven successful to some extent, they are far from actually effectively “beating” cancer.

New drugs and treatments are tirelessly cranked out by medical researchers, each of which produces slightly better results than the last. Although their efforts are commendable – every advancement in the field is a step closer to defeating cancer – many are troubled by the use of superlatives to describe these new treatments.

What does this mean? Use of superlatives in news media such as “revolutionary” and “game changing” to describe new remedies can be misleading.

Melvin Konner of the Wall Street Journal who lost his wife to cancer in 1998, has been outspoken on his criticism.

“Yes, there are exciting frontiers: genetics, immune therapy, sparing normal cells, cutting off tumors’ blood supply. The trouble is that these were the frontiers over 20 years ago, when I sought any news to help my wife.” said Konner.

Obviously “slash, burn, and poison” techniques have improved a great deal during the last decade. Unfortunately however, they are still unable to defeat cancer. Konner, as well as many others, are calling for more tempered language when conveying current cancer treatments.

If you thought this post was interesting, and would like to read more on public health news and information, follow me on twitter @OlulekeBadmos.

Zika Virus Worries Grow as Summer Months Approach

The Canadian Press is publicly addressing the possible Zika Virus outbreak that could swarm the western hemisphere this coming summer.

According to the Canadian Press, The Public Health Agency of Canada has issued a public warning for all individuals who hope to get pregnant in the coming months. The Agency suggests waiting two to three months to get pregnant for individuals recently arriving from countries where Zika Virus outbreaks are circulating.

In Brazil especially, the virus has possibly been linked to thousands of newborn mutations. Risks of malformations increase within mothers infected with the virus before or during pregnancy.

Cases of Zika have reached near-epidemic levels in some latin American regions like Brazil, Central America, the Caribbean, and some parts of South America.

In the both the United States and Canada, individuals have been diagnosed with Zika after visiting Zika “hotspots” in the last few months. The virus is spread by infected bites from mosquitoes carrying the disease.

At the moment, transmission of the virus is still ambiguous. In a select few cases, the virus may have been sexually transmitted from male to female.

Canada’s federal agency suggests the use of condoms during sex for those who have recently travelled to areas where the virus has circulated. Until more is known about the disease, men and women who are “at risk” of having Zika should wear protection before having sex with their partners. The agency also suggests that women who are pregnant reconsider or postpone travel plans to infected areas.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations have been a bit more measured than those of The Canadian Public Health Agency. The CDC has issued travel advisories for pregnant travellers, as well as guidelines for protecting oneself against mosquito bites. The CDC’s website also recommends practicing enhanced precautions if travelling to any area with Zika virus outbreaks.

Zika is currently circulating in subtropical and tropical areas, and has yet to spread with any significance into the United States. However as the United States approaches the summer months, American cities may see a surge in infections in warmer weather. For the time being, the Washington Post reports that the disease is expected to spread with some significance throughout all countries in the Americas except for Canada and Chile because of climate conditions.

If you liked this post and would like to read more on public health news and information, check out my twitter @OlulekeBadmos. Thanks for reading !