Mind the bump
Safer exercising for pregnant women Many pregnant women opt to carry on exercising, but just as most of us need sports bras, so they need support for their bump. The FittaMamma range offers a Support Top/£49.99 - buy here - with a back panel that spreads the baby weight on to your back and shoulders, plus a wide band that supports hips and pelvis. Wearers say it also helps with backache.
MY HEALTH: NINA BAROUGH, 58, FOUNDER AND CEO OF WALK THE WALK
In 1996 I got 12 friends together to power-walk the New York City Marathon in decorated bras to raise money for Breakthrough Breast Cancer. That became Walk the Walk (www.walkthewalk.org). At the time, I didn’t know anyone with the disease, I had never done a marathon or any fundraising – I literally dreamt the idea of power-walking a marathon in a bra for breast cancer.
Eight months later, I felt a lump in my right breast. It was small and insignificant but it turned out to be aggressive. If I hadn’t taken action, I might not be here now.
I had treatment in Nottingham, where I was living. I had a mastectomy with simultaneous breast reconstruction, followed by radiotherapy, with injections of Zoladex (a hormonal therapy) and also tamoxifen (an anti-oestrogen drug) for two years.
No breast cancers are the same but I felt that stress and a punishing lifestyle were key factors in me getting ill. So I combined holistic therapy with conventional treatment. I ate an organic macrobiotic diet, meditated, had reiki healing, acupuncture and massage. We know from research that holistic treatments do make a difference: there have recently been really good results for acupuncture combating fatigue, for instance. My surgeon pooh-poohed it at first but in recent years he has come round to the belief that lifestyle unquestionably has an impact.
I am completely clear now. I have always been a high-energy person but being a mum [to Raphaelle] you forget what it feels like to be normal – you just go through varying degrees of tiredness.
I am still an avid healthy eater, I exercise and I take vitamins. Stress depletes our bodies, the soil doesn’t contain vital nutrients nowadays, and we live in a polluted environment. Everyone in the Walk the Walk office can help themselves to daily multivitamins and vitamin C.
Every project we fund is different. We support research such as the Generations Study of more than 100,000 women into the causes of breast cancer, which is being undertaken by Breakthrough. We also fund organisations offering complementary therapies such as Penny Brohn Cancer Care, which helped me so much.
Hair loss is a side effect of many chemotherapy regimes so we are campaigning for scalp cooling [which prevents hair loss] to be offered routinely. I didn’t have chemo so I didn’t lose my hair, but for some women it is the last straw. They find the inner strength to cope with everything else and then, over a few days, their hair goes and they feel as if they have lost their identity. Few chemo treatments are incompatible with scalp cooling. Too often the nursing staff don’t offer it, but I encourage women to ask.
Now Walk the Walk America, our sister charity, is organising the first MoonWalk New York City on 20 July. With no NHS , some uninsured women with cancer do not get treated. Most proceeds will go to the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center so that more women receive the treatment they deserve.
Cranberry extract can help prevent bacterial cystitis. But many cranberry drinks contain sugar, which encourages bacterial growth. New research shows that the sugar-free supplement Cysticlean, which has high levels of active antibacterial compounds, suits women with frequent urinary tract infections and is very effective.
WEBSITE OF THE WEEK: www.anaphylaxis.org.uk
Severe allergic reaction – anaphylaxis – can be fatal without rapid treatment. It is caused by contact with food such as nuts, eggs, some fish/shellfish, dairy products, plus bee or wasp stings, latex rubber and certain drugs. Symptoms include swelling in the throat and mouth, difficulty in speaking or swallowing, changes in heart rate, severe asthma, vomiting and unconsciousness. The Anaphylaxis Campaign, which provides information and support, encourages young people to carry prescribed adrenaline auto-injectors, which could save their lives.