Category: Signs of Pregnancy
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5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Becoming A Mom
From Disney Baby

There is nothing that can really prepare you for the incredible, overwhelming and over-the-top feeling of becoming a mother. You can read every pregnancy book out there, listen to the advice of loved ones and experts, but once you have a child everything you thought you knew goes right out the window. After the birth of my third baby, I was the most relaxed and easy-going. I had already gone through the experience of giving birth twice and my parenting tactics had loosened up quite a bit. These are the 5 things I wish someone would have told me before becoming a mom.
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Are you Pregnant?
Jane Buckingham, Huggies Partner and Author of Modern Girl's Guide to Motherhood, introduces herself and gives tips on when to go to the doctor for a pregnancy test.
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Dr. Bill and Martha Sears: 7 Tips for a Healthier Pregnancy

<p>Immediately after the excitement of seeing the pink line on the pregnancy test, comes the realization that how you live, eat and think can greatly influence the well-being of your growing baby inside.  The following are our top seven tips for staying healthy for you and your baby during your pregnancy. For more information on your most pressing questions as new parents, continue to check out HUGGIES® Mommy Answers.</p>

<p><b>1.	 GIVE YOURSELF AN “OIL CHANGE” </b>  </p>
<p>When you’re pregnant, your baby needs you to make a smart oil change.  For smarter baby brain growth, eat a right fat diet, not a low fat diet.  A growing baby’s brain is 60 percent fat and the smartest fats are those found in fish oil – omega-3 fats DHA and EPA.  Omega-3 fats are to the brain what calcium is to the bone.  </p>
<p>Mothers who eat sufficient fish oil supplements during their pregnancy are more likely to have babies that are less premature, have better vision and fewer allergies. Consult your doctor on how much fish oil you should be consuming. </p>

<p><b>2.  JUST EAT REAL FOODS </b></p>
<p>Try eating food that goes from sea, tree, or farm to your plate, and spends little time, if any, in a food-processing factory.  Remember, real food has a crave-control perk called a high-satiety factor, while fake food is less filling and has an addictive nature, prompting you to overbuy and overeat.  When you’re pregnant it’s important to select foods based on quality and “nutrient density” – the most nutrition in the smallest volume.  Our favorite super foods are wild salmon, nuts and greens. </p>
<p><b>3.  GRAZE THROUGHOUT THE DAY</b></p>
<p>A growing baby pressing on an already queasy tummy will change the way you eat: graze, sip, and dip.  Grazing on nutritious mini-meals throughout the day keeps your stomach satisfied and your blood sugar steady.   Follow our rule of two’s: </p>
<p>•	Eat twice as often</p>
<p>•	Eat half as much</p>
<p>•	Chew twice as long</p>
<p>•	Take twice the time to dine</p>
<p><b>4.  GAIN THE WEIGHT THAT’S RIGHT FOR YOU</b></p>
<p>You and your baby are growing together. The closer you are to your optimal weight gain, the healthier you and your baby are likely to be, and the less complicated your delivery is likely to be.  Obstetricians currently recommend that most women gain 25-35 pounds.  Whether you gain at the low end or high end of this range depends upon your individual body type and whether you were a lot overweight or underweight initially. Average weight gain in the first trimester for a woman of medium build should be four pounds (3-6 pounds).  </p>
<p>Weight gain during the next six months should average a pound a week.  But, gaining more than 4-5 pounds in one week could be an unhealthy sign.</p>  
<p><b>5.  MOVE!</b> </p>
<p>New studies confirm what pregnant women have long suspected: the more you move, the healthier you are. Active mothers reduce leg swellings, boost their immune systems and are prepared for an easier birth.  For the newly pregnant beginner, many obstetricians recommend exercising for 30 minutes three times a week, gradually increasing the duration and intensity.  Short, frequent, consistent exercise routines are healthier than sporadic bursts. You may find outdoor exercises, such as swimming or brisk walking in a park, to be much more mentally relaxing than a gym full of sweaty bodies and loud machines.  You’re training for one of the most body-challenging marathons of your life – childbirth, so the right exercise program for you is the one you enjoy and will stick to. </p>

<p><b>6.  STRESS LESS</b></p>
<p>Don’t worry, be pregnant! Unresolved stress can weaken baby’s already fragile immune system.  Research, though still in its infancy, suggests that persistently high levels of toxic thoughts can be toxic to a baby’s vulnerable and growing brain.  Learning to reduce stress now is good practice for maintaining serenity as a new mother.  Try listening to relaxing music, focusing on the big things, not small or renting a funny movie. </p>
<p><b>7.  SLEEP PEACEFULLY</b></p>
<p>As your pregnancy progresses and your little passenger starts taking up a lot more room, quality sleep becomes more of a challenge.  You get more tired and need more sleep, but the changes of pregnancy can keep you from enjoying a good night’s sleep.  To get a better night’s sleep: </p>

<p><b>Have a peaceful day.</b>  Keep stress to a minimum – a day filled with emotional ups and downs is likely to carry over into a fitful night.  </p>

<p><b>Enjoy some exercise. </b> The more you move during the day, the better you’re likely to sleep at night. </p>

<p><b>Eat smart for sleep.</b>  Your sleep can be highly affected, for better or worse, by what you eat.  Discover which foods help you sleep, and which ones keep you up.  </p>

<p><b>Enjoy an evening massage.  </b> Put your mate to work to help you relax mind and body with a back massage.  </p>

<p><b>Set the mood.</b>  Dim the lights and don’t use the computer or watch TV within an hour of going to bed. The sleeping position that is usually most comfortable is on your left side, supported by pillows between your knees, against your back, one or two supporting your head and neck, and one between the “bump” and mattress. </p>
 










<p><em>Dr. Bill and Martha Sears are the co-authors of over 40 books on parenting and health, including the bestselling The Baby Book, The Birth Book, and the upcoming The Healthy Pregnancy Book, due out September 2013.  With the experience of over 40 years in pediatric practice while raising 8 children, Dr. Bill and Martha stay busy as frequent guests on television and radio programs and speakers at conferences, as well as running their own parenting website, www.AskDrSears.com. </em></p>
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Home Pregnancy Tests: Can You Trust the Results?
<div class="nc_section" style="font-weight: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Taking a home pregnancy test can be nerve-racking, especially if you're not sure whether you can trust the results. Know when and how to take a home pregnancy test — as well as some of the possible pitfalls of home testing.</span></font></div><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">
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<p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><span style="font-weight: bold;">When should I take a home pregnancy test?</span></span></font></p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">
Many home pregnancy tests claim to be accurate as early as the first day of a missed period — or even before. For the most reliable results, however, wait until one week after a missed period.

Shortly after a fertilized egg attaches to your uterine lining, the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) begins production in the placenta and enters your bloodstream and urine. During early pregnancy, the HCG in your blood increases rapidly — often doubling every two to three days. Many home pregnancy tests can reliably detect this hormone in your urine one week after a missed period. Days earlier, however, some home pregnancy tests might not be as precise.

If it's important to confirm your pregnancy right away, ask your health care provider about a blood test to detect HCG. The blood test, which can be done in most health care providers' offices, is more sensitive than is the urine test.

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<p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><span style="font-weight: bold;">Are there different types of home pregnancy tests?</span></span></font></p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">
Various types of home pregnancy tests are available. With most tests, you place the end of a dipstick in your urine stream or immerse the dipstick in a container of collected urine for five to 10 seconds. A few minutes later, the dipstick reveals the test result — often as a plus or minus sign, a line or lines, a color change, or the words "pregnant" or "not pregnant" on a strip or screen.

Keep in mind that instructions might vary from kit to kit. Read the instructions carefully before you take the test. If you have questions about how to take the test or interpret the results, contact the manufacturer. Look for a toll-free number or the manufacturer's website in the package instructions.

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<p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><span style="font-weight: bold;">How accurate are home pregnancy tests?</span></span></font></p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">
Many home pregnancy tests claim to be 99 percent accurate on the day you miss your period. Although research suggests that some home pregnancy tests don't consistently spot pregnancy this early, home pregnancy tests are considered reliable when used according to package instructions one week after a missed period.

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<p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><span style="font-weight: bold;">Could medications interfere with test results?</span></span></font></p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">
Fertility drugs or other medications that contain HCG might interfere with home pregnancy test results. However, most medications, including antibiotics and birth control pills, don't affect the accuracy of home pregnancy tests.

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<p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><span style="font-weight: bold;">Could a positive result be wrong?</span></span></font></p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">
Although rare, it's possible to get a positive result from a home pregnancy test when you're not actually pregnant. This is known as a false-positive.

A false-positive might happen if you had a pregnancy loss soon after the fertilized egg attached to your uterine lining (biochemical pregnancy) or you take a pregnancy test too soon after taking a fertility drug that contains HCG. An ectopic pregnancy or menopause also might contribute to misleading test results.

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<p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><span style="font-weight: bold;">Could a negative result be wrong?</span></span></font></p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">
It's possible to get a negative result from a home pregnancy test when you're actually pregnant. This is known as a false-negative — and it's much more likely to occur than is a false-positive. You might get a false-negative if you:</span></font></div><div class="nc_section" style="font-weight: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><strong><br></strong></span></font></div><div class="nc_section" style="font-weight: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">&nbsp;—&nbsp;<strong>Take the test too early.</strong> The earlier after a missed period that you take a home pregnancy test, the harder it is for the test to detect HCG. For the most accurate results, take the test one week after a missed period — when the level of HCG in your urine is most likely to be detectable. If you can't wait that long, ask your health care provider for a blood test.</span></font></div><div class="nc_section" style="font-weight: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><strong><br></strong></span></font></div><div class="nc_section" style="font-weight: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">&nbsp;—&nbsp;<strong>Check test results too soon.</strong> Be sure to give the test time to work. Consider setting a timer according to the package instructions.</span></font></div><div class="nc_section" style="font-weight: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><strong><br></strong></span></font></div><div class="nc_section" style="font-weight: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">&nbsp;—&nbsp;<strong>Use diluted urine.</strong> Drinking too much fluid before taking a home pregnancy test might cause a false-negative result. For the most accurate results, take the test first thing in the morning — when your urine is the most concentrated.</span></font></div><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">
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<p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><span style="font-weight: bold;">What happens next?</span></span></font></p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">
Based on your test results, consider taking the following steps:</span></font></div><div class="nc_section" style="font-weight: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><strong><br></strong></span></font></div><div class="nc_section" style="font-weight: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">&nbsp;—&nbsp;<strong>Your home pregnancy test is positive</strong>, or you've taken a few home pregnancy tests and gotten mixed results. Make an appointment with your health care provider. You might need a blood test or pelvic exam to confirm your pregnancy. The sooner your pregnancy is confirmed, the sooner you can begin prenatal care.</span></font></div><div class="nc_section" style="font-weight: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><strong><br></strong></span></font></div><div class="nc_section" style="font-weight: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">&nbsp;—&nbsp;<strong>Your home pregnancy test is negative.</strong> If your period doesn't begin, repeat the test in a few days or one week — especially if you took the test before or shortly after a missed period.</span></font></div><div class="nc_section" style="font-weight: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><strong><br></strong></span></font></div><div class="nc_section" style="font-weight: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">&nbsp;—&nbsp;<strong>You continue to get negative test results, but your period doesn't begin or you still think you might be pregnant</strong>. Check with your health care provider. Many factors can lead to missed periods, including illness, strenuous exercise, weight loss, stress and hormonal imbalances. If you're not pregnant, your health care provider can help you get your menstrual cycle back on track.</span></font></div><div class="nc_section"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><br></span></font></div><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">
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©1998-2013 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). All rights reserved. <a href="http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/terms-of-use/AM00021">Terms of Use.</a></span></font></div><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">

<a href="http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/home-pregnancy-tests/PR00100"><br><img src="http://api.newscred.com/img/mayo_attribution.jpg" alt="Read this article on Mayoclinic.com"><br></a><br></span></font><div><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Source: 
Mayo Clinic</span></font></div><div><br><br></div>
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Symptoms of Pregnancy: What Happens Right Away
<font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Could you be pregnant? The proof is in the pregnancy test. But even before you miss a period, you might suspect — or hope — that you're pregnant. For some women, early signs and symptoms of pregnancy begin in the first few weeks after conception. Know the first signs of pregnancy.<br><br><span style="font-weight: bold;">Classic symptoms of pregnancy</span><br><br>In addition to a missed period, the earliest signs and symptoms of pregnancy might include:<br><br><span style="font-weight: bold;">Tender, swollen breasts.</span> Early in pregnancy hormonal changes might make your breasts tender, sensitive or sore. Or your breasts might feel fuller and heavier.<br><br><span style="font-weight: bold;">Nausea with or without vomiting.</span> Morning sickness, which can strike at any time of the day or night, sometimes begins as early as three weeks after conception. While the cause of nausea during pregnancy isn't clear, pregnancy hormones likely play a role. Pregnant women might also find that smells that never bothered them before now cause nausea.<br><br><span style="font-weight: bold;">Increased urination.</span> You might find yourself urinating more often than usual.<br><br><span style="font-weight: bold;">Fatigue.</span> Fatigue also ranks high among early symptoms of pregnancy. During early pregnancy, levels of the hormone progesterone soar — which can make you feel sleepy.<br><br>Food aversions or cravings. When you're pregnant, you might find yourself turning up your nose at certain foods. Food cravings are common, too. Like most other symptoms of pregnancy, these food preferences can be chalked up to hormonal changes.<br><br><span style="font-weight: bold;">Other symptoms of pregnancy</span><br><br>Sometimes symptoms of pregnancy are less familiar or obvious. If you're pregnant, you might experience:<br><br><span style="font-weight: bold;">Slight bleeding.</span> Sometimes a small amount of spotting or vaginal bleeding is one of the first signs of pregnancy. Known as implantation bleeding, it happens when the fertilized egg attaches to the lining of the uterus — about 10 to 14 days after conception. Implantation bleeding generally lasts for a short time and occurs around the time of a menstrual period. However, implantation bleeding is usually much lighter than menstrual bleeding.<br><br><span style="font-weight: bold;">Cramping.</span> Some women experience mild uterine cramping early in pregnancy.<br><br><span style="font-weight: bold;">Mood swings.</span>The flood of hormones in your body in early pregnancy can make you unusually emotional and weepy. Mood swings also are common.<br><br><span style="font-weight: bold;">Dizziness.</span> Pregnancy causes your blood vessels to dilate and your blood pressure to drop. As a result, you might find yourself feeling lightheaded or dizzy.<br><br><span style="font-weight: bold;">Constipation.</span> Hormonal changes cause your digestive system to slow down, which can lead to constipation.<br><br>In addition, your basal body temperature — your temperature when you first wake up in the morning — might provide an early clue about pregnancy. Basal body temperature increases slightly soon after ovulation and remains at that level until your next period. If you've been charting your basal body temperature to determine when you ovulate, its continued elevation for more than two weeks could mean that you're pregnant.<br><br><span style="font-weight: bold;">Are you really pregnant?</span><br><br>Unfortunately, these signs and symptoms aren't unique to pregnancy. Some can indicate that you're getting sick or that your period is about to start. Likewise, you can be pregnant without experiencing any of these signs and symptoms. Still, if you miss a period or notice any of the tip-offs on these lists, you might want to take a home pregnancy test — especially if you're not keeping track of your menstrual cycle or if it varies widely from one month to the next. If your home pregnancy test is positive, make an appointment with your health care provider. The sooner your pregnancy is confirmed, the sooner you can begin prenatal care.<br><br>&nbsp;©1998-2013 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). All rights reserved. Terms of Use.<br><br>Source: Mayo Clinic<br></span></font>
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5 Early Pregnancy Symptoms That Can Fake You Out

<img src="http://images.newscred.com/b638fa2425f5b6e2698b86fe40ecd106" height="333" width="500">

<div style="font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><span style="font-weight: bold;">By Julie Ryan Evanson, The Huffington Post</span><br><br></span></font>Whether you're actually trying to get pregnant or are really hoping you're not, each month can present a whole lot of guessing, speculation, and watching out for the classic early pregnancy symptoms. The problem is, those symptoms are anything but concrete.</span></font></div><div style="font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><br></span></font></div><div style="font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">When there's so much emotion involved in something this monumental, it can be easy to imagine that you're experiencing pregnancy symptoms. I know when I was trying for years to get pregnant, I spent hours perusing lists of symptoms and comparing them to how I was feeling. I was convinced pretty much every month for two years straight that I was pregnant, though month after month I wasn't.</span></font></div><div style="font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><br></span></font></div><div style="font-size: 10pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Two children later, I still find myself doing a slightly scaled down but more panic-filled version of this every month even though now I adamantly do NOT want be pregnant.&nbsp;</span></font></div><div style="font-size: 10pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><br></span></font></div><div style="font-size: 10pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Either way it's a frantic game that we shouldn't really bother playing until we have confirmation on a pregnancy stick. But who can resist? &nbsp;Here are five early pregnancy symptoms it's easy to imagine you have.</span></font></div><div style="font-size: 10pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><br></span></font></div><div style="font-size: 10pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><span style="font-weight: bold;">1. Sore boobs &nbsp;</span>If you poke them often enough checking to see if they're sore, they actually get sore. Also, this is a classic sign of PMS so it's an especially annoying one.</span></font></div><div style="font-size: 10pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><br></span></font></div><div style="font-size: 10pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><span style="font-weight: bold;">2. Nausea &nbsp;</span>Honestly, the thought of adding another child to our already hectic life right now makes my stomach toss and turn a bit every month. So it's hard to tell.</span></font></div><div style="font-size: 10pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><br></span></font></div><div style="font-size: 10pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><span style="font-weight: bold;">3. Mood Swings &nbsp;</span>Trying to get pregnant and imagining life with a baby (or more babies) is a stressful business. Whose moods don't swing when they think about how their life could be changing shortly?</span></font></div><div style="font-size: 10pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><br></span></font></div><div style="font-size: 10pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><span style="font-weight: bold;">4. Fatigue &nbsp;</span>All of that wondering, guessing, poking, and prodding can wear you out physically too. And we all could use a nap.</span></font></div><div style="font-size: 10pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><br></span></font></div><div style="font-size: 10pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><span style="font-weight: bold;">5. Food cravings &nbsp;</span>When you're pregnant you call them cravings, when you're not, you call them lack of willpower. The very fact that I could have a growing excuse for my NEED for ice cream just amplifies my desire for it.</span></font></div><div style="font-size: 10pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><br></span></font></div><div style="font-size: 10pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;"><div><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><br></span></font></div></div><div style="font-family: Arial, Verdana;  font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;"><br></div>
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Female Fertility: Why Lifestyle Choices Count
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<font size="4">If you're hoping to get pregnant now or in the future, you might wonder about your fertility and whether you can improve it. Some factors might be beyond your control — such as medical issues that affect female fertility — but that isn't the end of the story. Your lifestyle choices can affect your fertility, too.<br><br>Here's what you need to know to promote and protect your fertility.<br><br><span style="font-weight: bold;">What is female fertility?</span><br><br>Female fertility is a woman's ability to conceive a biological child. You and your partner might question your fertility if you've been trying to get pregnant with frequent, unprotected sex for at least one year — or at least six months if you're older than 35 — with no success.<br><br><span style="font-weight: bold;">What causes female fertility problems?</span><br><br>Various medical issues can contribute to female fertility problems, including:<br><br><span style="font-style: italic;">Conditions affecting ovulation</span><br><br>- Conditions affecting the uterus<br><br>&nbsp;- Blockage of the fallopian tubes, often caused by pelvic inflammatory disease — an infection of the female reproductive organs<br>&nbsp;<br>- Endometriosis — a condition in which tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus (endometrium) grows outside the uterus<br><br>&nbsp;- Age also plays a role in female fertility. Delaying pregnancy can decrease the likelihood that you'll be able to conceive. An older woman's eggs aren't fertilized as easily as a younger woman's eggs — and might not develop normally even after fertilization occurs.<br><br><span style="font-weight: bold;">What can I do to promote female fertility?</span><br><br>Healthy lifestyle choices can help you promote fertility. For example:<br><br>- Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight or significantly underweight can affect hormone production and inhibit normal ovulation. Maintaining a healthy weight can increase the frequency of ovulation and likelihood of pregnancy.<br><br>- Prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Sexually transmitted infections — such as chlamydia and gonorrhea — are a leading cause of infertility for both men and women. To protect yourself from STIs, practice safe sex. Limit your number of sexual partners, and use a condom each time you have sex — or stay in a mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who isn't infected.<br><br>- Eat a healthy diet. Although there isn't enough research to suggest a specific diet to promote fertility or increase the chances of conception, a healthy diet still counts. Good nutrition — including a daily prenatal vitamin that contains folic acid — is an important part of preconception care and will serve you and your baby well during pregnancy.<br><br>- Schedule regular checkups. Regular visits to your health care provider can help you detect and treat health conditions that might threaten your fertility.<br><br>- Manage stress. Some research suggests that stress can lower the odds of conception. Although more research is needed to show the impact stress might have on female fertility, it's wise to minimize stress and practice healthy coping methods — such as relaxation techniques — when you're trying to conceive.<br><br><span style="font-weight: bold;">What's off-limits?</span><br><br>Healthy lifestyle choices count here, too. To protect your fertility:<br><br>- Don't smoke. Smoking ages your ovaries and depletes your eggs prematurely. If you smoke, ask your health care provider to help you quit. <br><br>- Limit the amount of alcohol you drink. Heavy drinking is associated with an increased risk of ovulation disorders — and some research has shown that even light drinking might reduce the likelihood of conceiving. If you'd like to get pregnant, consider avoiding alcohol completely.<br><br>- Curb caffeine. Although the evidence is mixed, some research suggests that too much caffeine might increase estrogen production or decrease estrogen metabolism. To protect your fertility, consider limiting the amount of caffeine in your diet to 200 milligrams a day — about the amount in two 8-ounce (240-milliliter) servings of coffee.<br><br>- Be wary of vigorous physical activity. Physical activity is an important part of a healthy lifestyle — but too much intense aerobic activity can harm female fertility by inhibiting ovulation and reducing production of the hormone progesterone. If you have a healthy weight and you're thinking of becoming pregnant soon, consider limiting your aerobic exercise to no more than seven hours a week. If you're overweight, ask your health care provider how much aerobic activity is OK.<br><br>- Avoid exposure to toxins. Exposure to various chemicals or pollutants can harm your fertility. Agricultural workers, hair stylists and certain other groups might be at risk of menstrual disorders. Others at possible risk of reduced fertility include dental assistants exposed to high levels of nitrous oxide, anyone exposed to elevated levels of organic solvents — such as dry cleaning chemicals — and industrial workers exposed to drugs or chemicals during the manufacturing process.<br><br>Share any concerns you might have about exposure to toxins with your health care provider.<br><br><span style="font-weight: bold;">What's the bottom line?</span><br><br>If you're thinking about becoming pregnant and you're concerned about the impact of your lifestyle choices on your fertility, consult your health care provider. He or she can help you identify ways to improve your fertility and boost your chances of getting pregnant.<br><br>©1998-2013 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). All rights reserved.Terms of Use.<br><br>Source: Mayo Clinic</font><br></div>
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Not Pregnant: Sometimes It’s the Man
 
  The couple married when they were 23 years old. For the next 10 years, they devoted themselves to their careers, moving around the country and earning doctorates. When they both secured jobs at a university, they decided it was time to start a family.

Except they couldn't.

When the couple sought out medical advice, a doctor showed the husband test results: He was not producing any sperm.

The news sent him zigzagging across the country, searching for the right physician to help him with his infertility. In the meantime, he felt under a great deal of pressure and lost interest in sex.

Finally, the couple ended up at the office of Johns Hopkins University urologist Pravin Rao, who confirmed the problem: a case of mumps the man had contracted as a child in India had damaged his ability to produce sperm. Although he was infertile, a new technique might be able to help.

"For any man, it ultimately takes just one sperm to fertilize an egg," Rao said. "However, he didn't even have one sperm. He had azoospermia, meaning there were no sperm in the ejaculate. In this case, this was due to a factory or production problem, as opposed to a blockage."

Couples are considered infertile if they are unable to conceive after having unprotected sex for one year, or six months if the woman is older than 35. According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, about 12 percent of couples in the United States, or 7.3 million couples, fall into this category. In about 40 percent of those cases, the problem is with the man.

Male infertility can be caused by such general health conditions as obesity and cancer as well as by problems including an obstruction in the ejaculatory ducts, a hormonal imbalance and genetic abnormalities. Also, childhood diseases such as the mumps, and sexually transmitted infections such as chlamydia and gonorrhea can cause genital-tract scarring that obstructs the flow of sperm.

There is an ongoing debate over whether sperm counts are going down worldwide. Some studies suggest rates are declining, but others point to inconsistency in data collection and standards.

"Sperm counts do appear to be falling," said Paul Turek, a San Francisco urologist who writes a popular blog that addresses male infertility. "But we are fully the men our grandfathers were. Women may be getting pregnant as efficiently as they did, but with fewer sperm."

In the best of scenarios, a man deposits millions of sperm at the base of a woman's cervix during ejaculation, and the sperm swim their way through her cervix, uterus and fallopian tubes just in time for one of them to fertilize an egg.

The production of sperm and testosterone begins when a boy reaches puberty and continues well into his 80s. Women, on the other hand, release the highest-quality eggs when they are young and stop altogether at menopause.

"Men always are producing sperm unless something happens in life," said Stuart Moss, program director for male reproductive health at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, part of the National Institutes of Health. "Sperm are constantly being produced, a thousand sperm per second."What sperm look likeWhen doctors examine semen samples under a microscope, they look at the shape and size of sperm, counting them and assessing how many are swimming and how well. Normal sperm have oval heads and long tails. Normal sperm concentration is about 20 million per milliliter of semen. A low count is fewer than 15 to 20 million sperm in a milliliter of semen.

Motility — the ability to move proficiently — is key for sperm to reach their destination, an egg. As for sperm shape, scientists aren't certain how that might affect fertility. "The scientific idea is that the sperm that look 'perfect' are the ones that contain the best genetic package and are best equipped to fertilize an egg and create an embryo," said Juddson Chason, a urologist in Annapolis who specializes in male infertility. But, he said, data don't consistently support that notion.

Sperm are temperature-sensitive, and scientists believe testicles reside outside the body's core to keep them cool, said Peter Schlegel, chair of the department of urology at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University in New York.

"Testicles move to adjust their temperature," meaning they shrink in toward the body when they are cold and move away from the body when they are warm, he said. "The type of underwear you wear is not important," he said.

Sitting in a sauna or exercising intensely for more than 90 minutes a day, on the other hand, may affect sperm production temporarily, though the disruption "may last months, as sperm production takes months," Schlegel said.

Eating fruit and vegetables and taking vitamins such as folic acid and Vitamin E every day may help boost sperm production, though studies have been contradictory, he said.

"Human males have relatively lousy sperm production compared to other mammals," he said, and they "are more sensitive to environmental influences." Among those influences are smoking, drug use, significant weight issues, extreme exposure to toxins and childhood illnesses such as mumps.

"I ask about reproductive history, prior relationships and a history of conceiving," said Robert Brannigan, an associate professor in urology at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. "If the man has had a fever or a systemic illness, that could lead to a sharp drop in sperm production. I want a good understanding of his medical background and any behaviors that could adversely affect sperm production, such as use of anabolic steroids or testosterone replacement therapy, both of which can suppress sperm production."

According to some studies, sperm analysis can be a snapshot of the man's overall health. "Men should have a biomarker of their health [in the way that] periods and cycles can be for women," Turek said. "The semen analysis suffices as that male biomarker."

For example, he said, a low sperm count might indicate testicular cancer or prostate cancer. "I diagnose these conditions daily in my practice as part of male fertility evaluations. Making sure that the man is healthy is paramount to being a doctor and, when a man is systemically ill, fertility is the first thing to go," Turek said.Structural and other problemsMale infertility also can be caused by structural deficiencies such as missing or deformed vas deferens, the tubes that carry sperm from the testes to the urethra during ejaculations. These are the tubes that are tied off during a vasectomy.

If the vas deferens are missing, the testicles continue to produce sperm, which eventually die off and are absorbed by the body. These tubes cannot be replaced. "You can't make an artificial tube," said Chason, and "these patients need assisted reproduction" using sperm that has been surgically removed.

Diabetes can damage the nerves needed to produce an ejaculation. Sometimes, the ejaculatory ducts connecting to the vas deverens are blocked, though these sometimes can be opened surgically. If the testicles didn't properly descend into the scrotum during fetal development, a man may not ejaculate large numbers of high-quality sperm, Chason said.

Some infertility is caused by a dilated vein that forces blood to pool or flow backward into the scrotum, raising the temperature inside the testicles, which can impede sperm production. Surgery can help here as well.

Insufficient testosterone production can also reduce sperm production. The pituitary gland regulates how much testosterone the testicles make. Anabolic steroids and testosterone replacement therapy can interrupt the natural production of sperm. The infertility drug Clomid can be effective in recalibrating the male's testosterone level, Chason said.

For some men, genetics is the issue. A small percentage of men are born with an extra X chromosome. This is called Klinefelter syndrome, where a man "instead of XY, he is XXY," which may result in his producing sperm early in life but then not later, said Moss, who has been researching male reproductive health for 30 years.

As much as doctors and scientists now understand about the causes of male infertility, in as many as 50 to 60 percent of cases there is no obvious explanation, he said.Mumps in IndiaAs for Rao's patient at Johns Hopkins, mumps was the likeliest explanation since it is a known risk factor for sterility and he had not been vaccinated against the disease when he fell ill at age 11 in India. (In the United States, infants are routinely vaccinated against mumps.) About 25 percent of men who have had mumps experience swollen testicles because of the disease, and in 10 to 15 percent of these cases there may be some effect on fertility, according to Rao.

"As a child I had the mumps and then basically my testicles failed," the man said, speaking on condition of anonymity to preserve his privacy. "It's not reversible."

But Roa told him surgery might help. "Men with azoospermia may still be producing small amounts of sperm," Rao said, and it is now possible to extract some sperm from their testicles.

The two-hour surgery, called micro TESE, or micro-dissection testicular sperm extraction, has been used for more than 10 years and succeeds in about 50 to 60 percent of cases, depending on the issues involved.

The extracted sperm are united with eggs through in vitro fertilization and any resulting embryos are implanted in a woman's womb.

"Once we had the first procedure done and the doctors found some sperm, that gave us hope," Rao's patient said. "Now we are a little stressed again with the IVF [which was performed in June]. There is limited amount of sperm, so if that doesn't work, we are back to square one. My wife is emotionally attached to kids and wants her own."

Rao was able to harvest four vials from the man, and each vial is usually enough for one IVF treatment. "Once we have obtained sperm...the success rate is largely related to the female partner's age and reproductive health," he said. "On average, most couples will have success after two to three cycles of IVF."


Source: The Washington Post


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Reasons Why You'll Love Being Pregnant (Besides the Baby!)

<font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Morning sickness, backaches and cankles get all the attention. But look on the bright side <br></span></font><div style="font-size: 10pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">












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<span style="font-size: 12pt;">—</span>&nbsp;



you might get these pregnancy symptoms too.</span></font></div><div style="font-size: 10pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><font style="font-weight: bold;"><br></font></span></font></div><div style="font-size: 10pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><font style="font-weight: bold;">Thicker, shiny hair</font></span></font></div><div style="font-size: 10pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><br></span></font></div><div style="font-size: 10pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Those hormones responsible for a million crappy symptoms could also make your hair thicker and shinier, and some moms-to-be swear theirs grows faster than it used to: "It normally takes me forever to grow my hair out, and now it grows like weeds," says kara29.</span></font></div><div style="font-size: 10pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><br></span></font></div><div style="font-size: 10pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><font style="font-weight: bold;">Nail growth</font></span></font></div><div style="font-size: 10pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><br></span></font></div><div style="font-size: 10pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Increases in blood pressure and hormone levels may ramp up fingernail growth, finally giving you the French-manicure-worthy nails you've always dreamed of. Prenatal vitamins may also help encourage faster growth. "My nails have always been flaky and weak, but now they're spectacular!" says zbra33.</span></font></div><div style="font-size: 10pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><br></span></font></div><div style="font-size: 10pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><font style="font-weight: bold;">Bigger boobs</font></span></font></div><div style="font-size: 10pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><br></span></font></div><div style="font-size: 10pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Even before you took a pregnancy test, your boobs probably started changing (and getting really freaking sore!) to prep for feeding baby. As your milk ducts grow and fill with milk, your boobs will get noticeably bigger. Bring out the V-necks!</span></font></div><div style="font-size: 10pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><br></span></font></div><div style="font-size: 10pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><font style="font-weight: bold;">Glowing skin</font></span></font></div><div style="font-size: 10pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><br></span></font></div><div style="font-size: 10pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">For some moms-to-be, an increased blood volume translates into a fresh pink glow that lets you leave the blush brush shut tight in your makeup case. And even though you do hear about pregnancy acne, those hormone shifts could just clear up your skin. They did for johnsgirl73, who says, "I hardly get breakouts now, which is lovely."</span></font></div><div style="font-size: 10pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><br></span></font></div><div style="font-size: 10pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><font style="font-weight: bold;">More complex brain</font></span></font></div><div style="font-size: 10pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><br></span></font></div><div style="font-size: 10pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">You've probably experienced a bit of "baby brain," that absentmindedness that many moms-to-be say they get. And it's true: your brain is changing but not for the worse. It's actually making you more sensitive to baby's needs after she's born.</span></font></div><div style="font-size: 10pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><br></span></font></div><div style="font-size: 10pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><font style="font-weight: bold;">No periods!</font></span></font></div><div style="font-size: 10pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><br></span></font></div><div style="font-size: 10pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">"My favorite perk is no period for sure!" says kara29. No tampons, no problem!</span></font></div><div style="font-size: 10pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><br></span></font></div><div style="font-size: 10pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><font style="font-weight: bold;">Better sex</font></span></font></div><div style="font-size: 10pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><br></span></font></div><div style="font-size: 10pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Pregnancy makes some moms-to-be more sensitive, ahem, down there. The best-case scenario? "Even better orgasms!" says merryme52.</span></font></div><div style="font-size: 10pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><br></span></font></div><div style="font-size: 10pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><font style="font-weight: bold;">Baby kicks</font></span></font></div><div style="font-size: 10pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><br></span></font></div><div style="font-size: 10pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">"Do baby kicks count as a symptom? I love those so much!" says all9mos. And yes, they do. Every time your baby moves, your body responds by boosting your heart rate, and that helps you and baby bond.</span></font></div><div style="font-size: 10pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><br></span></font></div><div style="font-size: 10pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><br></span></font></div><div style="font-size: 10pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><br></span></font></div><div style="font-size: 10pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">












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<span style="font-size: 12pt;">©</span> 2012, TheBump.com</span></font></div><div style="font-size: 10pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><br></span></font></div><div style="font-size: 10pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><br></span></font></div><div style="font-size: 10pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Source:&nbsp;TheBump.com</span></span></font></div><div><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><span style="font-size: small; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;"></span></span></font><br></div><div style="font-family: Arial, Verdana; font-size: 10pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;"><br></div>
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5 Ways Obesity Affects Your Fertility
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<font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><br><br>When it comes to obesity, you’ve read all about the dangers. You know about increased risk for heart disease, diabetes, back and joint problems, and many other conditions.<br><br>But here’s one you may not know: Excess weight can hurt your chances of becoming pregnant. Obesity has a number of different effects on your fertility—as well as your partner’s.<br><br><span style="font-weight: bold;">1. Obesity affects your hormones</span><br><br>When your body mass index goes past the overweight category (BMI of 25–29.9) into the obese category (BMI of 30 and above), hormonal changes may occur in your body. When your levels of natural hormones change, your chances of conception decrease.<br><br>“As you lose weight, the hormonal imbalances and other effects of obesity begin to decrease,”Karen Cooper, DO, Women’s Health Institute.<br><br><span style="font-weight: bold;">2. Obesity leads to insulin resistance</span><br><br>The hormonal imbalance that comes with obesity often leads to insulin resistance. That is a major risk factor on the road to diabetes — but it also affects your fertility and can create abnormal menstrual cycles. Insulin resistance can lead to an ovulation, in which your body does not produce eggs properly.<br><br><span style="font-weight: bold;">3. Obesity affects natural and assisted pregnancies</span><br><br>Obesity makes it more challenging to become pregnant, no matter whether you’re using natural means or by reproductive technologies such as in vitro fertilization (IVF). It also increases your risk for a miscarriage. This issue may be caused by the hormonal issues noted above or because of your body producing poor quality eggs.<br><br><span style="font-weight: bold;">4. Obesity decreases your partner’s fertility, too</span><br><br>Although much of the focus on obesity and infertility is on women, it absolutely affects men, too. For men, obesity leads to a drop in testosterone, which can lead to infertility. On top of that,erectile dysfunction occurs at a higher rate among obese men.<br><br><span style="font-weight: bold;">5. Losing weight can improve all of the above</span><br><br>If the issues above seem daunting, don’t fret — you and your partner can improve your chances of success by losing weight. As you lose weight, the hormonal imbalances and other effects of obesity begin to decrease. If you need help with a weight-loss plan, talk to your doctor. But you can get started on a healthy path by incorporating positive lifestyle changes such as regular exercise, reduced portion sizes and healthier food choices.<br><br>Source: Cleveland Clinic<br>Image: orelphoto / Getty Images</span></font>
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6 Fertility Myths and Misconceptions Revealed
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<font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><br><br>These are many preconceived notions passed around about fertility. It's normal to have questions, even if you aren't actively starting to grow your family. Here is a list of some of the most widespread myths about fertility:<br><br><span style="font-weight: bold;">1. Most couples can conceive as soon as they start trying.</span><br><br>It is all too common that men and women spend their early adult years preventing pregnancy while finishing school and starting their career. Then, when they are older and ready to start a family, contraception is stopped with the belief that pregnancy will happen right away. As months go by without a baby, the disappointment sets in. The truth is that a young couple at the peak of their fertility has only a 25% chance at best each month of conceiving. After trying for a year, 85% of young couples will conceive. It is only after a year of trying that the chance of pregnancy decreases to 5%; and, these couples will likely need medical assistance to get pregnant.<br><br><span style="font-weight: bold;">2. A woman can get pregnant until the time she stops ovulating with menopause.</span><br><br>First, it's important to know that a woman's fertility does declines with age and will eventually run out. The age of 35 is widely publicized as "the age" at which fertility declines. However, what a lot of women don't know is that your fertility slows down throughout your thirties. Women are at the peak of their fertility in their 20s, after which fertility starts to decline and the overall risk of infertility increases with age. Between 31 and 35 years of age, the chance of spontaneously conceiving decreases about 3% per year. After age 35, the rate of decline accelerates and by the age of 40, over half of couples are infertile. By 45, women have less than a 5% chance of becoming pregnant. Why is it so difficult for a woman to conceive nearly 10 years before menopause? Although a woman in her 40s may still be ovulating, the eggs are of poorer quality. As a woman ages, the percentage of her eggs with genetic abnormalities will increase. This leads to a decrease in fertility, an increase in miscarriage and an increase in having a chromosomally abnormal baby (like Down syndrome) if pregnancy does occur. There are exceptions to every rule, and it is scary, but just keep in mind one day you will run out of healthy eggs.<br><br><span style="font-weight: bold;">3. There is nothing I can do to stop "the clock."</span><br><br>While it is true that there is nothing one can do to stop the affect of age on our fertility, technology has advanced to allow women to freeze their eggs when they are young and at the peak of fertility. Several years ago vitrification (flash freezing technology as opposed to slow freezing) was introduced and has proven to be a successful and reliable means to preserve an egg. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) showed the success rates using a vitrified egg were equal to those of a vitrified embryo, and subsequently took the experimental label off the process making elective egg freezing accessible to more women. This isn't just amazing for women who wish to delay starting a family while building their career, but also for women diagnosed with cancer and other diseases who wish to preserve their future fertility.<br><br><span style="font-weight: bold;">4. A man's fertility does not decline with age.</span><br><br>The trend to delay parenthood until an older age has also been seen in men. The idea that a man's fertility will continue well past a woman's decline is false. The older the man, the more difficult it is to conceive due to a decline in semen quality and an increase in DNA fragmentation seen in the sperm. In addition to problems with sperm, male aging is also associated with decreased sexual activity and erectile dysfunction.<br><br><span style="font-weight: bold;">5. If a couple cannot get pregnant, it must be because of the female partner.</span><br><br>Historically, infertility was commonly thought to be due to problems with the female reproductive system. However, a deficiency in sperm quality or quantity is the primary problem in 20% of infertile couples. In another 30-40% of couples, there are both female-related and male-related fertility issues. Male-related fertility problems do not just affect men who are weak, old or sick. Shady Grove Fertility Center was glad to help professional hockey player David Steckel and his wife Diondra start their family when it was discovered he had a low sperm count and low motility.&nbsp; As described by the Washington Post, "Dave Steckel is a 6'6", 215 pound hockey player that previously played for the Washington Capitals and will gladly lay to rest the myth that men who have trouble conceiving are 'weak' or 'not doing it right'." It is important that both partners see a specialist when dealing with infertility.<br><br><span style="font-weight: bold;">6. If I undergo IVF, I will end up with twins or triplets.</span><br><br>Over the past four decades, the increased availability and use of infertility treatments has resulted in an increase in multiple births. With the increase in multiple pregnancies, came an increase in the associated complications including preterm delivery and neonatal morbidity. Therefore, in 1998 the doctors who practice IVF proposed a set of guidelines to limit the number of embryos transferred during IVF.&nbsp; In addition, improvements in lab procedures and cryopreservation have allowed the number of elective single embryo transfers to increase while maintaining or even improving the pregnancy rate nationally. According to a recent New England Journal of Medicine report this has resulted in a 29% decline in triplet and higher order multiple pregnancies. At Shady Grove Fertility Center, the majority of our patients undergoing IVF have singleton pregnancies, with less than 1% triplets or more and approximately 20% of cycles resulting in twins.&nbsp; <br><br>These are just a few of the common myths about fertility. One thing to remember is that the science of fertility is always evolving. Success rates are at an all-time high and so are your options as a patient. It's normal to have questions. If you are experiencing problems with conception, please make an appointment with a fertility specialist to discuss your situation and learn what resources are available to you.<br><br>Source: Stephanie Beall, Huffington Post<br>Image: IPGGutenbergUKLtd / Getty Images</span></font><br><br>
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Pregnancy Tops List of Most Google-Searched Symptoms

From HealthDay

The top 10 most Google-searched symptoms in 2013 included those for pregnancy, influenza, and diabetes, but not those for cancer or heart disease, according to an article published Dec. 18 in Medical Economics.

Donna Marbury notes that, according to one study, 59 percent of adults search for health information online, and about one-third (35 percent) have tried to diagnose a medical condition based on information from the Internet. According to the results of a 2011 Wolters Kluwer survey, 53 percent of physicians felt that patients knowing more about symptoms from the Internet was positive, while 20 percent reported that increased access to information led to misinformation and incorrect self-diagnosis.

The most Google-searched symptoms of 2013 included symptoms of pregnancy, influenza, diabetes, anxiety, thyroid, HIV, mononucleosis, lupus, herpes, and pneumonia. Heart attack, which was in the top 10 in 2012, and cancer, two of the leading causes of death, were not in the top 10 most searched symptoms.

"Some doctors even admit to turning to the web when diagnosing a particularly challenging case," Marbury writes. "Up to 63 percent of physicians reported that online resources change their initial decisions about patient care."


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The Risks of Extreme Morning Sickness: Hyperemesis Gravidarum

From The Globe and Mail

Mothers-to-be who experience a debilitating form of morning sickness brought into the spotlight by Kate Middleton may suffer long-lasting effects, and potential risks for their babies.

“A lot of women who have it very severely won't go on to have more children, and they'll end up with symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder,” said Kimber MacGibbon, a registered nurse and co-founder of the HER Foundation, an organization that provides information and support to women with hyperemesis gravidarum (HG).

Last December, the Duchess of Cambridge was hospitalized to deal with the condition that causes expectant women to feel nausea and vomit, or feel as if they are on the edge of vomiting, almost constantly for extended periods during their pregnancies.

Loss of appetite, malnutrition, dehydration, sensory sensitivity, lowered potassium and sodium levels in the blood, weak muscles and a drop in weight are also among the symptoms. In extreme cases, expectant mothers need to spend time in dark, quiet rooms, removed from activities, because they don't feel they can do anything without being sick.

MacGibbon understands. “I couldn't lay a blanket over my stomach – I couldn't have any pressure, literally any pressure whatsoever,” she said of her own experience with the condition.

Babies born to mothers battling the condition have their own obstacles. According to a 2012 study reported in the medical journal Obstetrics & Gynecology, babies born to mothers battling HG may be born prematurely, be small for their gestational age and have significantly lower birth weights. And they may score lower on the apgar test – the first given to newborns to determine how well they tolerated the birthing process.

Little is known about the long-term consequences, but babies born to mothers who suffered nausea beyond the first trimester have been associated with lower task persistence at age five years, and more attention and learning problems at age 12.

Dr. Marla Fejzo is aiming to answer key questions about the cause of HG, including the genetic components of the disease. What is known is that HG affects approximately one in 100 pregnant women; it's a genetic disease; 20 per cent of women who get it have a sister who had it; and 30 per cent have mothers who had it, Fejzo said.

The researcher at UCLA's David Geffen School of Medicine and department of obstetrics and gynecology suffered from severe HG symptoms during her own pregnancies, and due to extreme weight loss during her second pregnancy she lost her baby at just 15 weeks.

Natalie Mitchell, a 27-year-old from Oregon, experienced such severe HG symptoms during her first and second pregnancies that she vowed never to have more children. During her first pregnancy, she experienced symptoms for 20 weeks. During her second they lasted into her third trimester. When she found out she was pregnant for a third time, she said she felt “an indescribable mix of emotion,” including despair.

“I had to focus on the life within me, because that's the only positive outcome from HG,” she said.

Mitchell lost 25 pounds during each of her three pregnancies, and she said it took an average of 18 months after her first two pregnancies to feel physically and emotionally normal. Her youngest child – a girl – was born in December.

“I'm very physically worn out,” she said. “I daydream about going to a hotel and sleeping for 12 hours straight.”

After her last child was born, Mitchell had a postpartum tubal ligation, because she can't fathom having another child. Mitchell now mentors and counsels other women with HG through the HER Foundation.

Though it's unlikely Kate will have to deal with exactly the same pressure and challenges she did, Mitchell said she's happy the Duchess's experience has brought attention to the issue.

“If people could just try to understand what it's like, then maybe they would … encourage you to just focus on bringing your baby into the world. That's an incredible marathon,” Mitchell said, “and you should be recognized for that.”

*****

POSSIBLE SIDE-EFFECTS

Mothers who suffer from hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) during pregnancy may experience many postnatal consequences. Half will spend more than a month in recovery after giving birth. Other possible impacts:

50 per cent – Could have chronic fatigue

30 per cent – May have food aversion

25 per cent – May suffer from anxiety

20 per cent – Could experience post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms, depression or chronic muscle pain


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15 Things You Should Never Say To a Pregnant Woman About Her Body

By Damona Hoffman, The Huffington Post


At 32 weeks pregnant with my second child I've finally gained some perspective and a thicker skin about the surprising and insensitive things that people say to woman in one of her most fragile times  pregnancy.

While most women spend their entire lives trying to lose or maintain their weight, pregnancy can be a troubling time considering that no matter what you do, no matter what your pregnancy craving is (kale in my case), the number on the scale is only going to go up for 9 months.

Although we realize that we're selflessly giving our bodies for the creation of a new life and all that, it seems that the general public doesn't remember that there's still a real woman in there, behind the baby  a real woman with real feelings about her body.

Since it seems that many people have no idea what is appropriate to say to a pregnant woman, I've written a few guidelines based on the comments that sent me home crying over my last two pregnancies. You should never say to a pregnant woman:

1. Are you sure there's only one in there?

2. Are you sure that your due date is correct? You look like you're going to have this baby tomorrow.

3. You're so lucky that you can eat anything you want when you're pregnant.

4. You must be having a big baby.

5. You're carrying all out front so it must be a boy.

6. Girls really spread you out. You know what they say, girls steal their mother's beauty.

7. You popped right away, didn't you?

8. Were you that big with your first?

9. How much weight have you gained?

10. I think you're going to have that baby early.

11. You're probably going to need a C-section to get that baby out.

12. You really are eating for two.

13. Is your husband a big guy?

14. You must have wicked stretch marks.

15. Don't worry, you'll lose all the baby weight if you breastfeed.

You might be thinking these are things a reasonable person would never say to a pregnant woman about her body, but I've heard them all nonetheless. I'm sure that women who don't show until later in the pregnancy have to deal with just as many comments questioning their size and the health of their baby. At 5 feet tall with a first child that weighed in at 8 lbs. 5 oz. at birth, I never got to have that experience.

So the next time you see a pregnant woman and start to judge the size of her belly, big or small, instead just say, "Congratulations on the baby. You look beautiful."


Get dating and relationship advice from a modern woman's perspective on Damona's all new site DatesAndMates.com and catch her live every Wednesday at 11 a.m. on Dates & Mates on UBNRadio.com.

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Second Pregnancy Worries Are Normal
 
From EverydayFamily

Honestly, for the entire first trimester of this (completely unplanned!) pregnancy, I would go days before suddenly remembering I was pregnant. This usually happened while I was making my daughter breakfast. I soon learned that her occasional request for scrambled eggs was a great way for the tiny nugget in my tummy to say, “Hey! I’m still here!”

That’s just one simple example of how different this pregnancy is from my first. There wasn’t a moment that passed during those nine months when my brain wasn’t thinking, “OHMYGOSH, I’m pregnant!”

Once I began getting the hint of a pregnancy bulge, however, the fact that I was pregnant kicked my brain into high gear, and I began to worry — and these were completely different worries than the ones I had with my daughter. I already knew what I was in for with a newborn: no sleep, non-stop crying, and the knowledge that I would be walking around doing my best zombie impression. I was prepared for that.

Yet, there are so many new things to freak out about the second time around.

How in the world will I handle two kids?

When naptime finally rolls around, I can barely contain my excitement. It’s unbelievable the amount of energy that toddlers are able to contain in their tiny little bodies, and how little energy I find myself having these days, even without the eight-month pregnant belly weighing me down. The image of feeding the baby while simultaneously trying to prevent my toddler from carrying the dog bowl down the hallway so she can feed her plush puppies makes me break out into a cold sweat. One of me, two of them. We really didn’t think this through, did we?

How in the world will I handle everything else?

In those rare moments when my daughter is sleeping, or otherwise engaged in her own little world, that’s when I make my escape. I sneak a load of laundry in, or I quickly unload the dishwasher. Or, time willing, I actually use the restroom in peace. Presumably, those tiny moments will now be taken up by my second child. When will anything happen? When will the house not look like a pigpen? When will the mountains of laundry make it back to their rightful place in our closets? More importantly, when will I be able to use the restroom!?

How will my family adjust to the change?

For the last two-and-a-half years, we have adjusted very well to being a family of three. Everyone has their roles, and our daughter enjoys being the center of attention. But in just 10 weeks (oh my…), that dynamic will be completely flipped around. Suddenly, there’s going to be a new member of the family, and while I know we will happily make the room, it’s scary to think about how different everything will have to be. Will our oldest embrace being a sister, or will she feel pushed aside? Since my husband was deployed for the first two months of our daughter’s life, how will he react to a newborn? Can I give enough love to everyone?

Stepping back from the ledge of insanity, I realize that women have been having more than one baby since the beginning of time, and clearly, it wasn’t the end of the world. Being pregnant is usually accompanied by fears and concerns about the future. It’s interesting to see how they change from the first baby to the second … Or third. Or fourth — if you’re really brave.

I’m definitely not!

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