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Friday, February 05, 2016


Miscarriage and Flawed Eggs

I can't tell you the amount of literature I've read about older women, egg quality, and the higher chance of chromosomal abnormalities.
 Here is an interesting article about how younger women may also have a high incidence of chromosomal problems. This article talks about how embryos of younger women (ages 21-31) were examined from donor cycles. I found it interesting that it's also possible that the chromosomal problems may be as a result of the IVF procedure itself or possibly the sperm:


Paulette Browne, at the Shady Grove Center for Preimplantation Genetics in Rockville, Maryland, US, and her colleagues, examined 275 embryos created from the donated eggs of women aged between 21 and 31. All the donors were ostensibly healthy. The researchers removed cells three days after conception and examined them for aneuploidies. They found that 137 - half - of the embryos had at least one error.

In a similar study, Nelson and colleagues looked at 289 embryos created using eggs from 22 donors under the age of 30. About 42% had chromosomal problems. "Initially, it shocked me," says Nelson. The studies were presented at a meeting of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine in Montreal, Canada, on Monday.


Folic Acid And Pregnancy Outcomes

I've always associated folic acid with reducing neural tube defects.
However, according to this article, folic acid can also help reduce the chance of autism spectrum disorders. Read more:

From the article:

The finding suggests that, in addition to women who already have conceived, those who are attempting to become pregnant should consider consuming folic acid supplements, the authors said.

The study found that women who each day consumed the recommended amount of folic acid (600 micrograms, or .6 milligrams) during the first month of pregnancy experienced a reduced risk of having a child with autism spectrum disorder, specifically when the mother and/or her child had a specific genetic variant (MTHFR 677 C>T) associated with less efficient folate metabolism. The study will be published in the July issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

See for more about fertility foods 

 "This research is congruent with the findings of earlier studies that suggest that improved neurodevelopmental outcomes are associated with folic acid intake in early pregnancy," said lead study author Rebecca J. Schmidt, assistant professor of public health sciences in the UC Davis School of Medicine and a researcher with the UC Davis MIND Institute. "It further supports recommendations that women with any chance of becoming pregnant should consider consuming folic acid at levels of 600 micrograms or greater per day." 

Wednesday, February 03, 2016


I think most of us naturally assume that a low salt diet would be good during pregnancy.
 I was surprised to find out that this isn't true. We usually get more than enough sodium in our diets, but pregnant women shouldn't necessarily restrict sodium unless directed by their doctor. Read more:

From the article:

Sodium Restriction
Many women are casually advised by friends or family to restrict their salt intake to prevent 'swelling' of feet and ankles. This is not a current medical recommendation. While it is prudent to avoid 'excess' salt use, sodium restriction should not be casually undertaken. Edema (accumulation of fluid) in the feet and legs often occurs during pregnancy. This is a result of increased estrogen production and greater blood volume. Estrogen increases a mother's ability to absorb water into connective tissue, thus fluid retention is naturally higher. At the same time, progesterone increases the sodium content of urine, so more sodium than usual is lost by women during pregnancy. Therefore, despite the presence of edema, sodium needs still increase for pregnant women.

See Also: Foods For Fertility (

Although the increase in sodium requirement is not dramatic, it is important. Restricting sodium during pregnancy can cause problems for mother and her fetus, by disrupting this delicate fluid balance. Edema that occurs during pregnancy is not considered harmful, unless high blood pressure or protein loss in urine is also occurring. If your obstetrician advises a low sodium diet, clarify with the doctor the extent of sodium restriction and any fluid recommendation being made to you.


Monday, February 01, 2016


I've lived at a high altitude my entire life. I tend to forget that it's hard for some people to go from sea level to a high altitude without feeling the lack of oxygen.

 I remember going to a concert when I was in college, and the lead singer had to keep stopping to put on an oxygen mask! Here is an article about high altitudes, exercise and pregnancy:


From the article:

The ACOG (American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology) suggests that pregnant women new to exercise keep their exercising heart rate under 140 bpm (beats per minute); those who were avid exercisers prior to becoming pregnant should stay below 160 bpm (1). A woman who is pregnant is also advised to modify the duration of exercise, pay very close attention to how she feels and how the baby is responding to exertion, stay well hydrated, and avoid hyperthermia.

Due to the body’s natural tendency to work harder at higher altitude (including higher heart rates), the factors that most affect whether a woman will feel comfortable at altitude include rate of ascent, exercise pace, terrain, and how far along the woman is. In general, past the first trimester (when risk of ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage is highest) and before the 3rd trimester (when risk of early pregnancy and complications could occur) (2) if the pregnant woman is feeling good, short stays at altitude should not have significant impact on the fetus or on the woman’s health. When in doubt, however, consult your physician. Also consider where you will be staying at altitude; a woman planning to stay near Boulder, Colorado will have a different response to potential risks than one visiting family in the Swiss Alps or another who had originally planned to trek in Nepal, far away from her medical advisors, should anything go wrong mid-pregnancy.

According to both the Center for Disease Control and David Shlim (1997) at , “there are no reported cases of high altitude exerting a negative outcome on pregnancy in a trekker or climber. Oxygen saturation is fairly well maintained up to an altitude of 10,000-12,000 feet…Because of the rapid drop-off in oxygenation above 12,000 feet (3,658 m) or so, we generally recommend that pregnant women avoid exposures above that height. However, there are numerous anecdotal stories of women who have traveled higher while pregnant and who gave birth to normal children.

Friday, January 29, 2016


Well, this almost happened to me too!  Since I was an "older" mom, I was told I would probably need a C-Section because, in the words of one of my doctors, "older women need a stick of dynamite to get their cervix to dilate".  So, there I was, on the day of delivery scheduled to have a C-Section,  however, I was "allowed" to try the vaginal route first.  Guess what?  It worked.  Yes, I had to push for a while, but I didn't need a C-section.  This article talks about a woman who felt like she was bullied by her doctors into having a C-section because they thought the baby was too large.  As it turns out, it was actually not an overly large baby, but the procedure had already been done.




Many women identified with Katy Clemens, the mother I interviewed for the article who said she felt “bullied” to have a planned cesarean after doctors inaccurately predicted she was carrying a large baby.

Emily Malstrom said her doctor also pressured her into having a planned C-section after a scan predicted a 10-pound baby. The doctor “told me my baby could die, used every scare tactic out there,” Ms. Malstrom said.

Chandra Dash, a Baltimore mother, whose baby was predicted to weigh 9 pounds, said doctors told her “I would probably kill my baby if I tried a natural birth.”

Alexandra Harper of Northampton, Mass., said her doctor determined the baby would be larger than expected while she was in labor. She recalled being told “they would only give me 30 more minutes to try and push the baby out and then I would have to get a section. They didn’t present it as a choice to me.”

She had a cesarean, and the baby was of average size, she said.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016


Pregnancy Over 40 or Childfree

If you read my blogs, you're probably trying to conceive or you became a mother later in life.
 However, it certainly is worth mentioning that some women don't want children and have chosen to remain childfree (until my upper 30's, I never wanted children, so I certainly understand opting for this life choice). I have a sister who has chosen to live childfree, and I must say she has a very full, exciting and fun life. Here is an article about how some women choose to live childfree and how other women may judge them unfairly:


From the article:

Although child-free-by-choice women have always endured criticism from other females, it's only recently that people like Semper have chosen to square off against the motherhood mafia: baby-biased women eager to smother any whimper of dissonance in the ranks.

"There has been an assumption among some mothers that I haven't really thought through my decision and can be easily dissuaded from it," says Semper.

"It tends to take on the air of proselytizing -- it's rude, it's uncomfortable. (It's) almost as if you've verbally or physically attacked a person and they now feel they must defend themselves or their values."

She believes the lack of understanding may stem from other women's own self-doubt, noting "people tend to fear that which isn't the same as them, and begin to question their own choices when presented with an alternative."

Jane Dahl, who by age 18 was requesting a tubal ligation to ensure she never became pregnant, had one woman tell her she was "selfish, immature and irresponsible" for opting out of motherhood.

"Women tend to judge other women very harshly," says Dahl, a 47-year-old trust accountant for the federal government. "If you aren't interested in hearing about colic and spit up, you aren't part of the club. You're an outsider. Now, we have our own exclusive club that only we get to join."


Sunday, January 24, 2016


10 OTC drugs to avoid during pregnancy

Note: This chart does not list every drug to avoid during pregnancy. Always talk to your healthcare provider before taking any drug or supplement.
Information from Briggs GG, Freeman RK, Yaffe SJ eds. Drugs in pregnancy and lactation: a reference guide to fetal and neonatal risk. 9th ed. Wolters.

Drug Found in Consumer Reports'
Aspirin Bayer; Excedrin
Not recommended1 Tylenol
Bismuth subsalicylate Kaopectate; Pepto
Before 20 weeks:
Use with caution

After 20 weeks:
Not recommended
Bromphen-iramine Dimetapp Cold
and Allergy
Before 36 weeks:
Use with caution

After 36 weeks
(9th month):
Not recommended
Claritin (loratadine);
Zyrtec (cetirizine)
Caffeine Anacin Regular
Strength; Excedrin
Extra Strength;
Excedrin Migraine
Use with caution; To reduce risk of miscarriage, do not exceed 200 milligrams daily, including caffeine from coffee, tea, or soda.   None
Castor Oil
Do not take—
unacceptable risk
Increase physical activity, drink more fluids and eat fiber-rich foods. Consider psyllium- based fiber supplements.   
Chlorphen-iramine Chlor-Trimeton;
products: Advil Allergy & Congestion Relief;
Alka-Seltzer Plus Cold Formula; Dristan Cold
Before 36 weeks:
Use with caution

After 36 weeks
(9th month):
Not recommended
Claritin (loratadine);
Zyrtec (cetirizine)
Ibuprofen Advil, Motrin Weeks 14 to 26
(2nd trimester):
Use with caution

Before 14 weeks
and after 27 weeks
(1st and 3rd trimester):
Not recommended
Naproxen Aleve Weeks 14 to 26
(2nd trimester):
Use with caution

Before 14 weeks
and after 27 weeks
(1st and 3rd trimester):
Not recommended
Nicotine Cigarettes and all other forms of tobacco; Nicorette gum; Nicoderm CQ patches   Not recommended;
however the benefits
of gum or patches to help stop smoking
may exceed
risks of smoking during pregnancy.
Phenylephrine and pseudo-ephedrine* Products containing pseudo-ephedrine2: Advil Cold & Sinus; Claritin-D; Sudafed 12 Hour

Products containing phenylephrine: Alka-Seltzer Plus Day; Sudafed PE Pressure + Pain; Tylenol Cold Multi-symptom; Vicks Dayquil Cold and Flu Relief
Before 14 weeks: (1st trimester):
Not recommended

After 14 weeks (2nd and 3rd trimester):
Use with caution
Drink plenty of fluids, consider using steam to relieve congestion, avoid irritants like tobacco smoke  


Thursday, January 21, 2016


The safety of giving antibiotics is being questioned for everyone.
 The overuse of these drugs is causing superbugs that are resistent creating a real problem for those with infections.  But now, antibiotics may also be responsible for some weight problems in kids. 
From the article:


A new study reveals that giving sick babies antibiotics to cure them could lead to weight increase and do more harm than good.
A study of more than 11,000 ­children found those given the drugs before they were six months old are more prone to be overweight than those who had not.
By the time they were three, children treated with antibiotics were 22% more likely to have a greater body mass index.
And it’s all down to ­antibiotics killing off bacteria in the intestine, said eminent professors Leonardo Trasande and Jan Blustein.
Prof Trasande, of New York ­University, said: “We typically consider obesity an epidemic grounded in unhealthy diet and exercise, yet increasingly studies suggest it’s more ­complicated.
“Microbes in our intestines may play critical roles in how we absorb ­calories and exposure to antibiotics, especially early in life, may kill off healthy bacteria that influence how we absorb nutrients into our bodies, and would otherwise keep us lean.”

Tuesday, January 19, 2016


Infant Massage Has Many Benefits

I think most of us underestimate the power of touch. It's important for people of all ages and of course for infants.
 This article talks about the benefits of infant massage:

From the article:


According to Santi, touch therapies can efficiently benefit the following groups of people:

- Newborn infants

Studies show that newborn infants who are given massages will gain weight crucial for survival and appear more cheerful. Their stress hormone will decrease and the infant will cry less, become more active and show considerable improvement in cognitive, physical and social development.

Not only massages, but hugs, caressing them or gentle strikes to certain parts of the body can also help to stop babies from crying, particularly when they can feel the warmth of the parents' chests.

The changes are clearly observed, especially in prematurely born babies, as they will have increased weight, and improved muscle skills after getting massages. Most importantly, it shortens the time that infants have to stay in the hospital.

excerpted from:

Sunday, January 17, 2016


I did know a women who had a baby with a very round face and a very flat head. According to this article, the condition can be corrected. Apparently it's prevalance increased when the "back to sleep" campaign started since more infants are spending more time resting with the back of their head down. Read more:

Although the majority of cases of misshapen heads in babies can be attributed to positional plagiocepahly, a small number of infants are born with a far more serious form of plagiocephaly caused by craniosynostosis. In such cases, the deformity is caused by premature closure of the fibrous joints between the bones of the infant skull (called cranial sutures). A thorough examination is necessary to confirm or rule out this diagnosis.


Due to SIDS awareness, many infants now spend nearly 100 percent of the time on their backs. The risk of positional plagiocephaly can be reduced by simply alternating the sleeping position of the infant, adding supervised tummy time during play, and being aware of which direction the infant tends to look. The AANS offers these simple tips:

•Place the infant with his or head turned on the opposite side of the head. This can be achieved by placing a towel roll or rolled up blanket beneath the back and hip on the flattened side, positioning the baby to 45 degrees. Place interesting objects on the opposite side of the bed to attract the infant’s attention. Do NOT put the towel or blanket under the infant's head, because this can lead to suffocation. Many infants will wiggle off of the roll in a short time; some physicians recommend using Velcro or tape to secure the roll to the infant's body.

•When holding, feeding or carrying an infant, make sure that there is no undue pressure placed on the flat side of the head. Change infant’s head position from side to side during feeding time.

•Provide an infant with plenty of supervised play time on his or her tummy. This helps build and strengthen neck, shoulder and arm muscles.

•For optimal results, positional therapy should be started before the infant is 4 months old.

If positional therapy does not work, helmet or band therapy may be recommended. There have been many improvements in design since the introduction of the original molding helmet in 1979. The helmet/band is precisely fabricated and customized to your baby’s head to achieve improved symmetry and proportion. For optimal effectiveness, it is recommended that helmet or band therapy begin by 5 months of age. The length of therapy depends on the individual case, but usually takes between two and six months. The AANS offers the following guidance:

Do not purchase helmets on your own without first consulting a physician specialist.
When treatment starts at the optimum age of 3 to 6 months, it usually can be completed within 12 weeks.
Correction is still possible in babies up to age 18 months, but will take longer.
The baby will wear the helmet/band 23.5 hours per day with the exception of one-half hour set aside for bathing and cleaning.

Friday, January 15, 2016


Conflicting Information On Ginseng In Pregnancy

I've heard and read so much about the health benefits of Gensing.
 It also is frequently recognized as something to take for morning sickness.  However, you may want to think twice about taking Gensing if you're pregnant or trying to conceive because of some studies done on animals. Read more:

"Researchers from Hong Kong have warned that women should be cautious about using the herbal remedy ginseng in the early stages of pregnancy.

They have found evidence that ginsenoside Rb1 - one of the principal active components of ginseng - can cause abnormalities in rat embryos.

Their research is published in Europe's reproductive medicine journal Human Reproduction.

Dr Louis Chan and colleagues at the Chinese University of Hong Kong Prince of Wales Hospital, tested ginsenoside Rb1 in various concentrations on 9-day old rat embryos.

They found that embryos exposed to more than 30 micrograms per millilitre of ginsenoside Rb1 had significantly lower morphological scores. Morphological scores are a way of assessing the development of the important organs of embryos: the higher the score, the more normal is the development of the embryo.

See Also: Fertility and Green Tea (

At 30 micrograms the total morphological scores were significantly lower than the scores of the control group, which had not been exposed to gensinoside - 35 as opposed to 45 - and they had lower scores for heart, limbs, eye development and flexion. At the highest dose of 50 micrograms the total score fell to 28 and the embryos were also significantly shorter in body length and had fewer somites (muscle pre-cursor cells).

"Our study has demonstrated that ginsenoside exerts a direct teratogenic effect on rat embryos: that is to say it is capable of causing malformations in rat embryos," said Dr Chan.

"Although there are numerous reports in the literature concerning the potential benefit of ginseng, much less is know about the potential toxicity and there are no data about its potential effect on the developing human foetus. Yet a survey published in 2001 showed that over 9% of pregnant women report using herbal supplements, and in Asia up to 10% have taken ginseng during pregnancy," he said."

from: (

Wednesday, January 13, 2016


GMO's have received quite a bit of media attention lately.  Product labeling will probably change and most people agree that we just don't know the long term consequences of a diet high in foods containing genetically modified ingredients.  Studies done on animals are a bit scary and showed reduced fertility and higher mortality in their babies.  They also showed changes in their reproductive system.


Monday, January 11, 2016


Newsflash!  Don't drink in pregnancy! Umm....okay, I didn't need to tell you that!
We all know that drinking isn't safe in pregnancy, but this article gives some insight as to why it affects the fetus. It may cause actual changes in their DNA. Read more:

From the article:

Drinking too much during pregnancy can harm offspring permanently. Now experiments in mice suggest this may be because alcohol chemically alters the fetus's DNA, affecting how genes are expressed.


It's well known that fetal alcohol syndrome occurs when pregnant women drink excessively and causes behavioural and physical harm to the child after birth. But we know little about the molecular mechanisms underlying the condition.

Previous studies have shown that factors in the mother's environment during pregnancy can cause "epigenetic" modifications to the fetus's DNA. These don't alter the genetic code itself but might switch certain genes on or off, or increase or decrease their expression.


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