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8 Natural Ways To Manage PCOS

Reduce the damaging effects that PCOS has on your fertility with these holistic wellness tips.

8 Natural Ways To Manage PCOS

PCOS, short for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, isn't just about frustrating symptoms like weight gain, severe acne and unwanted hair on your chin. Affecting one in ten women in the United States, it is one of the most common hormonal disorders that also happens to be one of the most common causes of infertility. Women who have PCOS produce too many male hormones (androgens) and not enough female hormones. This imbalance can affect everything from their menstrual cycles to their appearance, to their overall health and their ability to conceive.

PCOS remains misunderstood and, as a consequence, doesn't have an exact cure. But, with medications and hormone therapies, you can mitigate symptoms. And if you'd rather handle the disorder in a more holistic, natural way, you can too! Here are 5 natural ways to manage PCOS. They may help you prep your body for conception.

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1. Work out consistently. Exercise helps the body utilize glucose as fuel, therefore increasing cell uptake and stimulating cortisol, one of the hormones that's affected by PCOS. Cortisol helps the body use glucose and fat for energy and helps the body manage stress. But don't plan on long workouts (45 minutes or more). Instead, try to focus on shorter workouts with higher intensities. In addition, after your dinner, consider a short walk before you’re done for the day.

2. Increase dietary magnesium. Studies have demonstrated that women with PCOS have also been diagnosed with insulin resistance, which could lead to diabetes and heart disease. Adequate intake of magnesium could help improve insulin sensitivity. Incorporate magnesium-rich sources such as dark leafy greens, avocados, yogurt, nuts and seeds into your diet.

3. Eat more greens. Plant-based diets have many positive effects on our immune health. It decreases inflammation in the body and aids in disease prevention. For women with PCOS in particular, it can be especially helpful in finding dietary balance. Veggies, which are rich in fibers, can help you slow down digestion of sugars to avoid spikes of insulin. What's more, they are great in promoting estrogen metabolism and help in reducing levels of androgens.

4. Slow down on caffeine. Drinking a lot of coffee can lead to drinking less water. In addition, caffeine in excess has been shown to disrupt cortisol and insulin levels in the body. Caffeine intake, sleep and dietary intake are all related so it’s important to keep all the systems in check.

5. Consult a registered dietitian. Controlling your dietary intake is especially important for those susceptible to weight gain or if you’ve experienced excessive weight gain. To help plan a wholesome, dietary intake, it would be beneficial to work with an RD to keep caloric intake and macronutrient variety in check.

6. Eat five meals a day. When you eat three big meals, like most Americans do, there's a big gap in between meals, and your body goes into fasting mode, which can disrupt your metabolism. So instead of feasting three times a day, try and eat smaller, more frequent meals. With three regular meals and two healthy snacks, your body won't go hungry, and it will keep your metabolism in check. Just make sure to keep each meal as balanced as possible: a mix of carbohydrates, proteins and vegetables is best.

7. Up your fatty acids intake. Essential fatty acids are building blocks for hormonal balance and for creating a healthy environment for conception. You can of course eat your fatty acid by eating fatty fish, like salmon. Cod liver oil, which is also rich in DHA, is also good for baby's brain development. Evening primrose oil helps increase cervical mucus, which brings about a friendlier environment for conception.

8. Don't forget supplements. A big part of decreasing the effects of PCOS is to make sure your body has all the nutrients to try and promote hormonal balance, insulin resistance and support regular ovulation. Whole food multivitamins and supplements, like cod liver oil, licorice root and cinnamon are a great way to do that.

If you’ve been diagnosed with PCOS or have been experiencing infertility, remember you are not alone. We are a community of health professionals here to help you the best we can so reach out with your questions. If you have advice based on your situation, we’d love to hear your feedback.

I felt lost as a new mother, but babywearing helped me find myself again

I wish someone had told me before how special wearing your baby can be, even when you have no idea how to do it.

My first baby and I were alone in our Brooklyn apartment during a particularly cold spring with yet another day of no plans. My husband was back at work after a mere three weeks of parental leave (what a joke!) and all my friends were busy with their childless lives—which kept them too busy to stop by or check in (making me, at times, feel jealous).

It was another day in which I would wait for baby to fall asleep for nap number one so I could shower and get ready to attempt to get out of the house together to do something, anything really, so I wouldn't feel the walls of the apartment close in on me by the time the second nap rolled around. I would pack all the diapers and toys and pacifiers and pump and bottles into a ginormous stroller that was already too heavy to push without a baby in it .

Then I would spend so much time figuring out where we could go with said stroller, because I wanted to avoid places with steps or narrow doors (I couldn't lift the stroller by myself and I was too embarrassed to ask strangers for help—also hi, New Yorkers, please help new moms when you see them huffing and puffing up the subway stairs, okay?). Then I would obsess about the weather, was it too cold to bring the baby out? And by the time I thought I had our adventure planned, the baby would wake up, I would still be in my PJs and it was time to pump yet again.

Slowly, but surely, and mostly thanks to sleep deprivation and isolation, I began to detest this whole new mom life. I've always been a social butterfly. I moved to New York because I craved that non-stop energy the city has and in the years before having my baby I amassed new friends I made through my daily adventures. I would never stop. I would walk everywhere just to take in the scenery and was always on the move.

Now I had this ball and chain attached to me, I thought, that didn't even allow me to make it out of the door to walk the dog. This sucks, I would think regularly, followed by maybe I'm not meant to be a mom after all.


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Motherly editors’ 7 favorite hacks for organizing their diaper bags

Make frantically fishing around for a diaper a thing of the past!

As any parent knows, the term "diaper bag" only scratches the surface. In reality, this catchall holds so much more: a change of clothes, bottles, snacks, wipes and probably about a dozen more essential items.

Which makes finding the exact item you need, when you need it (read: A diaper when you're in public with a blowout on your hands) kind of tricky.

That's why organization is the name of the game when it comes to outings with your littles. We pooled the Motherly team of editors to learn some favorite hacks for organizing diaper bags. Here are our top tips.

1. Divide and conquer with small bags

Here's a tip we heard more than a few times: Use smaller storage bags to organize your stuff. Not only is this helpful for keeping related items together, but it can also help keep things from floating around in the expanse of the larger diaper bag. These bags don't have to be anything particularly fancy: an unused toiletry bag, pencil case or even plastic baggies will work.

2. Have an emergency changing kit

When you're dealing with a diaper blowout situation, it's not the time to go searching for a pack of wipes. Instead, assemble an emergency changing kit ahead of time by bundling a change of baby clothes, a fresh diaper, plenty of wipes and hand sanitizer in a bag you can quickly grab. We're partial to pop-top wipes that don't dry out or get dirty inside the diaper bag.

3. Simplify bottle prep

Organization isn't just being able to find what you need, but also having what you need. For formula-feeding on the go, keep an extra bottle with the formula you need measured out along with water to mix it up. You never know when your outing will take longer than expected—especially with a baby in the mix!

4. Get resealable snacks

When getting out with toddlers and older kids, snacks are the key to success. Still, it isn't fun to constantly dig crumbs out of the bottom of your diaper bag. Our editors love pouches with resealable caps and snacks that come in their own sealable containers. Travel-sized snacks like freeze-dried fruit crisps or meal-ready pouches can get an unfair reputation for being more expensive, but that isn't the case with the budget-friendly Comforts line.

5. Keep a carabiner on your keychain

You'll think a lot about what your child needs for an outing, but you can't forget this must-have: your keys. Add a carabiner to your keychain so you can hook them onto a loop inside your diaper bag. Trust us when we say it's a much better option than dumping out the bag's contents on your front step to find your house key!

6. Bundle your essentials

If your diaper bag doubles as your purse (and we bet it does) you're going to want easy access to your essentials, too. Dedicate a smaller storage bag of your diaper bag to items like your phone, wallet and lip balm. Then, when you're ready to transfer your items to a real purse, you don't have to look for them individually.

7. Keep wipes in an outer compartment

Baby wipes aren't just for diaper changes: They're also great for cleaning up messy faces, wiping off smudges, touching up your makeup and more. Since you'll be reaching for them time and time again, keep a container of sensitive baby wipes in an easily accessible outer compartment of your bag.

Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on www.comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

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The American Academy of Pediatrics says that newborns, especially, do not need a bath every day. While parents should make sure the diaper region of a baby is clean, until a baby learns how to crawl around and truly get messy, a daily bath is unnecessary.

So, why do we feel like kids should bathe every day?

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