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Wednesday, November 25, 2015


Pregnancy Over 40, Due Date Calculation

I remember getting two different due dates from two different healthcare providers when I was pregnant.  The problem is that there are so many variables which determine when a baby will be born.  I think back to my mother's generation...there were no ultrasounds and the due dates were frequently estimated.   Many women didn't even know they were having twins until they delivered!  This article addresses why it is difficult to pinpoint an exact date:


For earlier generations of women, the concept of a due date was “around Thanksgiving” or “late fall.” As birth moved from home to hospital, women were given the approximate date when they should expect to be confined to a hospital bed, called the “estimated date of confinement.” Eventually, this term evolved into “expected date of delivery,” now called “due date.”

Unfortunately, a specified due date has made women (and their family and friends) place too much emphasis on a precise day - to the point that they plan their life around it. Your baby doesn’t have a calendar, however, so it is no surprise that less than 10 percent of babies actually arrive on the date they are due. For the other 90 percent of pregnant women, what does your due date really mean?

The Numbers Game
Many health-care providers use a sonogram to pinpoint your due date, but don’t be swayed by technology: A date based on an ultrasound can be off by a week or more depending on the skill of the technician, the timing of the sonogram and the size of the baby. Until 13 weeks of gestation, most babies grow at the same rate, but as pregnancy progresses, fetal size corresponds less and less to the amount of time that the baby is in the womb. So while many health-care providers keep giving ultrasounds to reassess a woman’s due date throughout her pregnancy, the date is actually becoming less accurate as time goes by. In fact, there’s really no need for a sonogram to determine a due date unless you don’t know the date of your last period.

If you do know the date of your last period, try the following calculation, called Naegele’s Rule. Babies have a gestational period of about 280 days, so count back 3 months from the first day of your last period and add 7 more days. Your approximate due date is that day within the next year. Take note of the word “approximate:” Your baby will grow and mature on his own schedule. The only thing you’ll know for sure is that you should give birth within two weeks before or after that day.


Monday, November 23, 2015


Pregnancy Over 40, Prenatal Diet Critical

It seems like the research is showing that what happens in utero is more important than we previously thought.
Your prenatal diet is obviously important, but in more ways than you may think. This article talks about how a high fat diet in pregnancy can lead to early onset puberty. Read more:


From the article:

A high-fat diet during pregnancy and nursing may lead to the child having an early onset of puberty and subsequent adulthood obesity, according to a new animal study. The results were presented Monday, June 16, at The Endocrine Society's 90th Annual Meeting in San Francisco. An early first menstrual period, often used as a marker for early-onset puberty in girls is a risk factor for obesity, insulin resistance, teenage depression, and breast cancer in adulthood, said Deborah Sloboda, PhD, lead author of the study. She is a researcher at The Liggins Institute of the University of Auckland in New Zealand.
"Other research suggests that a combination of prenatal and postnatal influences in girls can affect the onset of menarche [menstruation]," Sloboda said.


Friday, November 20, 2015


Pregnancy Over 40, Nausea and Vomiting May Be A Good Sign Even Though It Doesn't Feel Like It!

Well...maybe that horrible nausea and vomiting I experience my entire first trimester has a positive side.  I recall thinking..."I don't know if I can do this" because I was basically confined to a recliner for three months - I honestly consider nausea to be a form of pain.


 I found an interesting article that talks about a possible correlation between nausea and vomiting in pregnancy and a reduced risk of cancer. Although more research needs to be done, at least there is a possible upside to this extremely unpleasant symptom of early pregnancy. Read more:

Although the exact mechanism responsible for causing nausea and vomiting during pregnancy has yet to be pinpointed, it likely is a result of changing levels of ovarian and placental hormone production, which may include higher circulating levels of a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin," said David Jaworowicz, Jr., first author on the study.

"In vitro studies have shown that this hormone possesses several activities that have potential protective effects against cancer cells," said Jaworowicz, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Social Preventive Medicine in UB's School of Public Health and Health Professions


Tuesday, November 17, 2015


Mums and Gums: Cause of Miscarriage and Premature Births

Guest Post By Judy Ford

After I had my first child, my dentist complained that I hadn't been looking after my teeth and gums. I was sure that I hadn't been doing anything different from usual. He then went on to complain that all pregnant women and new mothers neglected their teeth and gums. I believe that he was wrong when he suggested that pregnant women suddenly change their oral hygiene habits. But he was correct that the dramatic hormonal changes during pregnancy can greatly affect the gums. If the gums aren't healthy to start with then this seemingly irrelevant problem can seriously baby's growth and health in the womb.


It is now shown beyond any doubt that maternal gum disease causes premature labour. One study performed prospectively in North Carolina looked at the effect of dental health in 812 women. Each woman's dental health was assessed at 26 weeks and then within 48 hours after delivery. The researchers examined both the rate of premature births (less than 28 weeks) and low birth weight (less than 1,000 gms). Their data was adjusted for race, parity and gender. 1.1% of the group with healthy gums (201 women) had premature births. This rate greatly increased in the 566 rated as having mild gum disease to 3.5% and was 11.1% in the 45 women with moderate to severe gum disease. The rates were slightly more dramatic for birth weight. No women with healthy gums had a baby that weighed less than 1,000 gm. Six per cent of the women with mild disease had a baby with low birth weight and 11.4% of those with moderate to severe disease had a low birth weight baby. Studies from Poland, France and Brazil showed similar results.
This research applies equally to second trimester and later miscarriages as well as prematurity at term.
Gum disease might cause low birth weight and prematurity in more than one way. Gum disease allows oral bacteria to move from the mouth into the blood stream. These oral bacteria can cause clotting and are known to be a major factor in strokes. They are also cause endocarditis, a potentially lethal infection of heart valves and inner lining of the heart. Periodontitis, serious gum disease in pregnancy might act through clotting or infection itself.
The great news is that early attention to periodontal (gum) health can reduce these risks.
A study from Chile examined the oral health of 400 pregnant women, aged between 18 and 35, before 28 weeks gestation. Dentists immediately treated periodontal disease in 200 of the women. They treated the other 200 (the controls) only after delivery. The rate of pre-term, low birth weight delivery was 1.8% (3/163) in the treated group and 10.1% (19/188) in the untreated group. Low birth weight and prematurity was 5.5 times more likely in the untreated group.
Prematurity and low birth weight together greatly increase the risk of a baby's death. There are also a large number of other important problems that occur as a result of prematurity. It is sad that it has taken so long to recognise this easily preventable cause of problems.
Let us hope that doctors and dentists will soon work together to prevent the problems in the future. In the meantime, inform every pregnant woman that you know.
Dr Judy Ford is an internationally respected geneticist who has undertaken considerable research into the cause of miscarriage [], cause of infertility and cause of birth defects. She believes that most problems are preventable through changes to healthy lifestyles and healthy habits. More information can be found on her website
You are welcome to reuse this article or post it on your site as long as you include these details and credit Dr Judy Ford with authorship.
Article Source:

Sunday, November 15, 2015


Good Fats Like Omega 3's May Help With Postpartum Depression

It seems the more I read about food, nutrition, and the importance of diet,  the more I hear about how we need more "good fats" every day or every meal.  Good fats come in the form of "omega 3's".
 Not only are Omega 3's good for fertility in men and women, but they can help with everything from heart disease, to getting pregnant, to depression. Here is an article about how the lack of Omega 3's may contribute to post-partum depression because your body uses more of these fats while you are pregnant. 


From the article

Many psychiatrists treat depression with drugs that raise brain levels of serotonin. Now we learn that a diet deficient in omega-3 fatty acids may lower brain levels of serotonin and can cause depression. Studies show that depression is associated with low levels of red blood cell membrane and low intake of omega-3 fatty acids, that increased ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids is associated with increased severity of depression. Depression is 60 times more common in New Zealand (6 percent) than in Japan (.12 percent); the difference may be explained by the high intake of omega-3-rich fish by the Japanese.

Post-partum depression is common in women after they give birth. Pregnancy uses up huge amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. Women with the lowest blood levels of omega-3s are the ones most likely to suffer post-partum depression.


Monday, November 09, 2015


 Pregnancy and What To Eat Fast

When you're pregnant, the word "hungry" has new meaning.
 Not only are you hungry, but sometimes you feel like if you don't get something to eat, you're going to faint. I can't recall a time when I was so absolutely famished. For this reason, you need to have many quick, easy, and healthy foods to eat - especially between meals.


Foods to avoid

1. Packaged ramen noodles
Read the label: These quick-cooking noodles are packed with salt, fat, and little else.
2. Soda If you fill up on empty calories and sugar, you won't have any room for more nutritious drinks. Low-fat milk, water, and juice are better choices.
3. Shelf-stable commercial lunches
Sure, they're a quick fix for hunger pangs, but preservatives, salt, and fat make most of them a poor choice. There are some okay packaged lunch options out there, though, so check the labels!

Thursday, November 05, 2015


Pregnancy Over 40 and Nursing

I was surprised when I read the following article because it mentions that some women have actually been taught to believe that infant formula is better than breastmilk.
 Also there are many misconceptions about breastfeeding (for instance that smaller breasts can't produce enough milk). Hopefully this article will help to set the record straight - breastfeeding is good for babies and moms. Read more:

Manufacturers of infant formula are spending millions of dollars to promote their products, and this has led most mothers to believe that breast milk substitutes are better than the real thing, he said.


"There"s no truth to this. Breast milk is the best source of nutrition for babies. We will intensify our program and continue to encourage mothers to breast-feed up to two years," the health secretary said.

"Breast-feeding is not only for babies but for mothers as well. They will be at lower risk for illnesses like breast cancer, uterus tumors and lumps," he said.

Excerpted from:
Breast-feeding best for mothers, too, experts say
By Allison Lopez

Monday, November 02, 2015


Genetic Cause Of Autism May Have Been Discovered

Here's another discovery in autism research.
 Apparently they've found a gene variant in a high percentage of people with the condition.

From the article:

"We have for the first time identified a common variant, present in over 65 per cent of autism cases."

To identify the gene, Hakonarson and his colleagues screened DNA from more than 2500 people with autism and more than 7000 healthy controls, searching for common gene variants that were associated with the condition.


The gene lies between two other genes called CAD 10 and CAD 9, which encode adhesion molecules that enable neurons to connect and communicate with one another – and CAD 10 is already known to be expressed in the very regions of the brain that appear to malfunction in people with autism.

Unknown factors
Because other, rarer genes associated with autism also encode cell adhesion molecules, researchers had previously speculated that a breakdown in neural connections during development might lie at the root of the condition. The current study provides the first genetic evidence that a similar problem could be implicated in a large number of cases, Hakonarson says.


Friday, October 30, 2015


Chocolate in Pregnancy and Antioxidants

Most of us have heard that not all chocolate is created equal. Dark chocolate with a high cocoa content can actually be very healthy in moderation.


 The article below talks about the health benefits of cocoa and dark chocolate. So if you're going to indulge this Halloween, look for the highest content of cocoa you can. Read more:

From the article:

Raw cocoa has the highest antioxidant value of all the natural foods in the world!

...Cocoa also appears to have anti-aging and anti-inflammatory properties. And cocoa is a good source of the minerals magnesium, sulphur, calcium, iron, zinc, copper, potassium, and manganese; plus some of the B Vitamins.

When heart problems occur, magnesium is the most likely mineral to be missing in the person's diet.

Cocoa has a high content of the "beauty" mineral, sulfur. Sulfur helps build strong nails and hair, promotes healthy and beautiful skin, helps detoxify the liver, and supports healthy functioning of the pancreas.

Fresh cocoa beans are super-rich in the type of bioflavonoid called flavanols which are strong antioxidants that help maintain healthy blood flow and blood pressure. The heart-healthy flavanols in cocoa, especially the epicatechins, prevent fatty substances in the bloodstream from oxidizing and then clogging the arteries.

Flavanols help make blood platelets less likely to stick together and cause blood clots, heart attacks, and strokes - without the negative side effects associated with the use of aspirin (ASA) and other pharmaceutical blood-thinners.

Cocoa beans contain 10,000 milligrams (10 grams) of flavanol antioxidants per 100 grams - or an amazing 10% antioxidant concentration level! When it comes to supplying your body with effective antioxidants, no other natural food can even come close. No exotic super-fruit like Acai berries, no high-antioxidant fruits like prunes or blueberries, and no vegetables. The antioxidants in cocoa are easily absorbed by the human body, and are more stable and long-lasting than those in any other foods.

Cocoa also contains the amino acid Tryptophan which makes the neurotransmitter known as serotonin, which promotes positive feelings and helps keep us from feeling depressed. Cocoa contains the neurotransmitters dopamine, and phenylethylamine (PEA), and contains anandamide and MAO Inhibitors - which make this heart-healthy food a healthy food for the brain too.

Phenylethylamine (PEA) helps promote mental alertness and the ability to concentrate. The PEA in healthy chocolate can be of help to students taking tests, and to senior citizens who want to retain the mental capacity of a younger person and postpone the onset of dementia.

Studies have indicated that consuming dark chocolate produced an increased sensitivity to insulin (which indicates a protective effect against diabetes). 


Tuesday, October 27, 2015


Pregnancy Over 40, Sleep On Left Side

I had heard long ago that sleeping on your left side is the best when you're pregnant because of proper alignment which gives your baby adequate oxygen.
This article talks about a study that seems to confirm the benefits of sleeping on your left side:

A study of more than 450 women – including 155 who had a stillborn – found the risk for those who went to sleep on their left side was 1.96 per 1,000 births.


This figure rose to 3.93 per 1,000 for heavily pregnant women who slept in any other position, and was slightly higher for those lying on their backs.

The women who had late stillbirths – after 28 weeks – were questioned about lifestyle, and compared with new mothers who had healthy pregnancies.

Those who got up to go to the toilet once or less during the night before their baby died were also found to be more than twice as likely to experience a late stillbirth as those who got up more frequently. And women who regularly slept during the day in the previous month also has an
increased risk of stillbirth.

The findings held true even when factors such as age, smoking status, body mass index and social deprivation were taken into account, which have all been linked with a higher risk of the event.


Saturday, October 24, 2015


Miscarriage Statistics By Gestational Age

Miscarriage can be quite common, especially in those very early weeks past fertilization when you probably had no idea you were pregnant.
This site gives some statistics for miscarriage in your first pregnancy and subsequent pregnancies:

For most normal, healthy women in their first pregnancy, the statistics look like this:

Week of Gestation
Percentage Likelihood
of Miscarriage

See Also: HcG Levels and Miscarriage (

1-2 (You do not know you are pregnant)
75% (this includes eggs that never grow past fertilization, and it would have been impossible to know you were pregnant; after implantation, which occurs 

7-10 days after ovulation, the odds go down to 31%)2

10% (after home urine test is positive at 14 days post ovulation when hCG levels reach 50-80)2

5% (or less if heartbeat heard)

2nd trimester
3% (considered stillbirth after 20 weeks)

3rd trimester
No longer considered miscarriage once fetus is beyond one pound (500 grams) around 24 weeks gestation. Stillbirth rate is 1%.

excerpted from


Pregnancy Over 40, Diet Matters

I was so nauseated my first trimester that I can't say I always ate healthy foods.
 For my series on foods for fertility and pregnancy:  see
 I had to eat creamy usually high fat dairy just to soothe my stomach. But I made up for it my second and third trimester when I got back to eating fruits vegetables, fiber and calcium rich foods. Here is an article from WebMD about what to eat when pregnant. I should mention that the only thing I disagree with in this article is the use of artificial sweeteners. I've read from numerous sources that pregnant women should stay away from aspartame and other artificial sweeteners when pregnant. Read more:
  • Choose at least one good source of vitamin C every day, such as oranges, grapefruits, strawberries, honeydew, papaya, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, green peppers, tomatoes, and mustard greens. Pregnant women need 70 mg of vitamin C a day.
  • Choose at least one good source of folic acid every day, like dark green leafy vegetables, veal, and legumes (lima beans, black beans, black-eyed peas and chickpeas). Every pregnant woman needs at least 0.4 mg of folic acid per day to help prevent neural tube defects such as spina bifida.
  • Choose at least one source of vitamin A every other day. Sources of vitamin A include carrots, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, spinach, water squash, turnip greens, beet greens, apricots, and cantaloupe.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015


Pregnancy Over 40 and Stress

I've always believed that the prenatal environment is incredibly important for the development of your baby.
 Here is an article that gives more evidence that women under stress (especially as it relates to their relationship with their partner) may unknowingly be negatively affecting their baby's IQ.
Read more:

They believe high levels of the stress hormone cortisol can affect unborn babies by crossing the placenta.

Lead researcher Prof Vivette Glover, a foetal development expert at Imperial College London, said: "We have known for a long time that both genetics and upbringing have an important effect on how a child turns out.

See Also: Stress and Fertility, the Most Overlooked Factor In Our Control (

"Our study shows that what happens while the baby is in the womb is also important.

"When we looked at what kind of stress was most significant, we found that if the woman had a partner who was being emotionally cruel to them while they were pregnant it had a really significant effect on their baby's future development.

 from: (


Pregnancy and Back Pain

Oddly enough, one of the few times I didn't have back pain was when I was pregnant.
However, pregnancy can trigger back pain. This article talks about the different types of back pain and what you can do:


From the article:

Posterior pelvic pain in pregnancy can extend down into the buttock and upper portion of the posterior (in back of) thighs, and does not usually radiate below the knees. It can be associated with pubic pain. The pain does not quickly resolve with rest, and morning stiffness may also be present.

Posterior pelvic pain during pregnancy can be brought on or exacerbated by the following activities:

* Rolling in bed
* Climbing stairs
* Sitting and rising from a seated position (such as getting in and out of cars, bathtubs, bed)
* Lifting, twisting, bending forward
* Running and walking.

A job that involves prolonged postures at extreme ranges (such as sitting at a computer and leaning forward, standing and leaning over a desk or workstation) increases the risk of developing pregnancy pelvic pain.

Unlike many other forms of lower back pain in pregnancy, a previous high level of fitness does not necessarily prevent posterior pelvic pain while pregnant.
Labor Pain during Pregnancy

It is important to note that labor pain is a different type of pain. It is similar to an intense menstrual cramp and has the following characteristics:

* The pain is persistent
* It increases in intensity and frequency over a short period of time
* It is not affected by your level of activity (while back pain associated with pregnancy is often activity-induced).


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