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Thursday, May 28, 2015


Pregnancy - Does Baby's Gender Matter?

I've always been surprised about how some women will keep having babies until they get a girl (assuming they can get pregnant just like "that").
I didn't dare say I wanted a girl because I thought it would jinx my chance of getting pregnant or my pregnancy. I would have been elated either way, but deep down, I think I did want a girl. I never had brothers and I just didn't know much about boys or raising them. This article discusses some of the psychology behind the possible gender preference for a girl:


From the article:

But why did I want one so? Why do women such as myself and Mrs Beckham become so desperate we will continue to have children and go to all sorts of extreme lengths, just so we can put the pink balloons out?

For me, it’s partly probably to do with the fact that I have such a close relationship with my mother. I know boys love their mothers. I know my boys adore me, and at the moment, I am their only shining light of womanhood. But one day some other person is going to come along and take my place and then...they will go. Not in their entirety but away they will sail off in to a land of love and possibly paternity and all I will be is mother-of-the-groom and granny-once-removed. When children come along I shall have to bite my tongue and be secondary in the pecking order to the Other Grandmother.

But a girl…oh girls don’t go! Girls are so nice to their mothers. They ring them and talk to them and care and share with them. I adore my mother. We have great fun together. The thought of not experiencing that relationship with a daughter of my own made me desperate for a girl.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015


This topic is one of the most popular online, "Could I be pregnant? What are the early symptoms of pregnancy?"  Unfortunately, it is going to vary widely from woman to woman and many early pregnancy symptoms can mimic PMS and the feeling like your period is about ready to start.  For instance, almost all of my early pregnancies had some cramping.  If you think there is any possibility you may be pregnant, you should refrain from taking medications (over the counter or otherwise) for cramps.  I also had spotting with all my pregnancies, even my successful one.   Your period probably starts with a little bit of spotting before the full flow.  Unless you take a pregnancy test, there's no way to know if the spotting is related to the pregnancy (implantation bleeding) or if it truly is the first sign that your period is on the way.  Even in very early pregnancy, I had butterflies in my stomach (almost a slight nausea, but more of a nervous feeling) and my legs were always very tired.


Saturday, May 23, 2015


Pregnancy Over 40, The Safety Of Herbs

I recall when I was pregnant, I received a handout from my doctor's office to avoid taken herbal remedies while pregnant.
 They basically said that herbs have not been tested in pregnancy and therefore shouldn't be used. Here is a site that gives more detail on the different herbs which should be avoided and those that may be safe in moderation. Click through on the link below for a complete chart. Of course, I would recommend checking with your doctor before taking anything in pregnancy. Read more:



What are possible complications of taking herbs during pregnancy?

Although herbs are natural, not all herbs are safe to take during pregnancy. The FDA urges pregnant women not to take any herbal products without talking to their healthcare provider first. These products may contain agents that could harm the mother and the growing fetus, and cause problems with the pregnancy. Many contain substances that can cause miscarriage or premature birth, uterine contractions, injury to the fetus, or jeopardize the mother s health. Few studies have been done to measure the effects of various herbs on pregnant women or a developing fetus.

What are some herbs I should be cautious about during my pregnancy?

Depending on the source, some information will list an herb as being safe to consume during pregnancy whereas another source will list the same herb as not being safe to take. Therefore it is best to consult with your healthcare provider before taking any natural medicine or other drugs during pregnancy. (
from: ( 
According to Herbs for A Healthy Pregnancy : From Conception to Childbirth by Penelope Ody, the herbs in the following chart should NOT be used at any time during pregnancy or when pregnancy is even a possibility

Herb: Aloe Vera
Reason to Avoid: The leaves are strong and should not be taken by mouth.
Herb: Arbor vitae (Thuja occidentalis)
Reason to Avoid: A uterine and menstrual stimulant that could damage the fetus.
Herb: Autumn crocus (Colichicum autumnale)
Reason to Avoid: Can affect cell division and lead to birth defects.
Herb: Barberry (Berberis vulgaris)
Reason to Avoid: Contains high levels of berberine, known to stimulate uterine contractions.
Herb: Basil oil
Reason to Avoid: A uterine stimulant; use only during labor.
Herb: Beth root (Trillium erectum)
Reason to Avoid: A uterine stimulant; use only during labor.
Herb: Black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosus)
Reason to Avoid: May lead to premature contractions; avoid unless under professional guidance. Safe to use during childbirth.
Herb: Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis)
Reason to Avoid: A uterine stimulant that in quite small doses also causes vomiting.
Herb: Blue cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides)
Reason to Avoid: A uterine stimulant to avoid unless under professional guidance. Safe to use during childbirth.
Herb: Broom (Cytisus scoparius)
Reason to Avoid: Causes uterine contractions so should be avoided during pregnancy; in parts of Europe it is given after the birth to prevent blood loss.
Herb: Bugleweed (Lycopus virginicus)
Reason to Avoid: Interferes with hormone production in the pituitary gland, best avoided.
Herb: Clove oil
Reason to Avoid: A uterine stimulant used only during labor.
Herb: Comfrey (Symphytum officinale)
Reason to Avoid: Contains toxic chemicals that will cross the placenta; do not ingest orally.
Herb: Cotton root (Gossypium herbaceum)
Reason to Avoid: Uterine stimulant traditionally given to encourage contractions during a difficult labor, but rarely used medically today.
Herb: Devil's claw (Harpagophytum procumbens)
Reason to Avoid: Uterine stimulant
Herb: Dong quai (Angelica polymorpha var. sinensis)
Reason to Avoid: Uterine and menstrual stimulant, best avoided during pregnancy; ideal after childbirth.
Herb: False unicorn root (Chamaelirium luteum)
Reason to Avoid: A hormonal stimulant to avoid unless under professional guidance.
Herb: Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium)
Reason to Avoid: Uterine stimulant; may cause premature contractions.
Herb: Golden seal (Hydrastis canadensis)
Reason to Avoid: Uterine stimulant; may lead to premature contractions but safe during childbirth.
Herb: Greater celandine (Chelidonium majus)
Reason to Avoid: Uterine stimulant; may cause premature contractions.
Herb: Juniper and juniper oil (Juniperus communis)
Reason to Avoid: A uterine stimulant; use only during labor.
Herb: Lady's mantle (Alchemilla xanthoclora)
Reason to Avoid: A uterine stimulant; use only in labor.
Herb: Liferoot (Senecio aureus)
Reason to Avoid: A uterine stimulant containing toxic chemicals that will cross the placenta.
Herb: Mistletoe (Viscum album)
Reason to Avoid: A uterine stimulant containing toxic chemicals that may cross the placenta.
Herb: Mugwort (Artemesia vulgaris)
Reason to Avoid: A uterine stimulant that may also cause birth defects; avoid unless under professional guidance. Also avoid when breastfeeding.
Herb: American pennyroyal (Hedeoma pulegioides)
Reason to Avoid: Reputed uterine stimulant to be avoided during pregnancy.
Herb: European pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium)
Reason to Avoid: A uterine stimulant that may also cause birth defects; avoid unless under professional guidance. Also avoid when breastfeeding.
Herb: Peruvian bark (Cinchona officinalis)
Reason to Avoid: Toxic used in excess may cause blindness and coma. Used to treat malaria and given during pregnancy only to malaria sufferers under professional guidance.
Herb: Pokeroot (Phytolacca decandra)
Reason to Avoid: May cause birth defects.
Herb: Pseudoginseng (Panax notoginseng
Reason to Avoid: May cause birth defects.
Herb: Pulsatilla (Anemone pulsatilla)
Reason to Avoid: Menstrual stimulant best avoided during pregnancy; limited use during lactation.
Herb: Rue (Ruta graveolens)
Reason to Avoid: Uterine and menstrual stimulant; may cause premature contractions.
Herb: Sassafras (Sassafras albidum)
Reason to Avoid: A uterine stimulant that may also cause birth defects.
Herb: Shepherd's purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris)
Reason to Avoid: A uterine stimulant; use only during labor.
Herb: Southernwood (Artemisia abrotanum)
Reason to Avoid: A uterine stimulant that may also cause birth defects; avoid unless under professional guidance. Also avoid when breastfeeding.
Herb: Squill (Urginea maritima)
Reason to Avoid: A uterine stimulant that may also cause birth defects.
Herb: Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare)
Reason to Avoid: A uterine stimulant that may also cause birth defects.
Herb: Wild yam (Diascorea villosa)
Reason to Avoid: A uterine stimulant to avoid unless under professional guidance; safe during labor.
Herb: Wormwood (Artemisia absinthum)
Reason to Avoid: A uterine stimulant that may also cause birth defects; avoid unless under professional guidance. Also avoid when breastfeeding

Thursday, May 21, 2015


Here's yet another reason to give your child/children a stable loving home. According to this article, early childhood stress compromises children's immune system not just at the time of stress, but even as they grow into adolescence and early adulthood. Read more:


A group of adolescents with documented incidents of past physical abuse and stressful home environments had higher levels of HSV-1 antibodies, showing that their immune systems were compromised.

"That is very unfortunate, but it was not surprising," Pollak says, since stress is widely known to have negative impacts on immune function. "It suggests that children's emotional environments are having widespread repercussions on their health."

What was more surprising, however, was that another group of adolescents in the study, who spent time in orphanages in Romania, Russia or China before being adopted by U.S. families, showed a similar impairment of immune regulation.

"These children began their lives in a stressful environment, but they're now adolescents, and for a decade, they've been living in stable, affluent, loving environments. And yet, their immune systems are compromised as well. In fact, they look just like the physically abused kids," says Pollak.


Sunday, May 17, 2015


Pregnancy Over 40, Get Enough Vitamin B

Most people know about how one of the B vitamins can help prevent birth defects.
This article talks about how B vitamins can also help prevent obesity in your offspring. Read more:


From the article:

(NaturalNews) Women who are deficient in vitamin B before they conceive may be more likely to give birth to obese and hypertense babies, according to a study conducted on sheep by researchers from the University of Nottingham, England, and published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences...

...The embryos from the eggs of B-deficient sheep were significantly more likely to be obese and to experience high blood pressure in adulthood, and the effect was particularly pronounced in males. The males conceived by vitamin B-deficient mothers were 25 percent fatter than the male sheep born to well-nourished females.


Friday, May 15, 2015


Stretch Marks: Prevention and Treatment During Pregnancy

Guest Post By James Brann, MD

More than half of all pregnant women will develop stretch marks during their pregnancy. Otherwise known as striae gravidarum, stretch marks look like streaks on the surface of the skin, and may be vary in color depending on your natural skin color.  Most lighter skinned women develop pinkish stretch marks, whereas darker skinned women tend to have stretch marks that are lighter than the surrounding skin.
Most women develop stretch marks on their abdomen during pregnancy, however it is also common to get stretch marks on the buttocks, hips, breasts and thighs.  In some cases up to 90 percent of women have stretch marks on some part of their body as a result of pregnancy.
What Causes Stretch Marks?
Stretch marks form when your skin is stretched rapidly as happens during pregnancy.  Most women develop stretch marks during the later trimesters of pregnancy though some women start to develop them as soon as their bellies start growing.
Stretch marks are actually small tears that form in the tissue that supports the skin and helps it stretch. Stretch marks represent the tearing or separation of collagen from the skin when tearing occurs.  Stretch marks are not harmful or painful and usually fade over time.


Who Gets Stretch Marks?
Many women believe that using lotions and creams help prevent stretch marks.  Realistically speaking however, the number of stretch marks you get depends on how elastic your skin is.  The elasticity of your skin usually relates to your genetic make up.  The best thing you can do is find out if your mother got bad stretch marks during pregnancy.  If she did, you are probably more prone to stretch marks than other women.
Keep in mind the more weight you gain during pregnancy the more likely you are to have stretch marks.  Normally the skin is elastic and capable of stretching quite a bit, however for some women the changes that occur during pregnancy are very drastic.  These rapid fluctuations of weight and skin stretching can result in stretch marks.
Women with multiples are more likely to get stretch marks because their bellies usually grow much larger than women with single pregnancies.  Other women likely to develop stretch marks include women who gain a lot of weight quickly during their pregnancy and women who carry big babies.
Here are some other factors that may contribute to your susceptibility to stretch marks:
*    If you developed stretch marks before (like on your breasts during puberty) you are more likely to get stretch marks while pregnant.
*    If you had stretch marks during another pregnancy you will usually get them again.
*    If you are overweight or gain more weight than recommended you are more likely to get stretch marks.
*    The better hydrated and well nourished you are the less likely you are to develop serious stretch marks.
Stretch Mark Prevention
Most women believe that they can prevent stretch marks by using creams and lotions.  There are many formulations on the market today that claim to help prevent stretch marks.  Some of these may help moisturize your skin and reduce itching.  They may help reduce some stretch marks however there are no scientific studies that support this.
You probably know at least one parent however that swears by cocoa butter or some other formulation to prevent stretch marks.  If nothing else rubbing these creams into your belly provides your unborn baby with a light and comforting massage.  They may also give you peace of mind knowing you did everything possible to prevent stretch marks.
The best thing you can do to minimize stretch marks aside from using any creams or moisturizers you select is gaining the recommended amount of weight during pregnancy.  Doctors recommend most women gain between 25 and 34 pounds.  Gaining much more than this can cause you to develop more stretch marks.
Removing Stretch Marks
Most women worry about stretch marks after they have their baby.  Fortunately most stretch marks do fade with time.  Usually after 12 moths postpartum most stretch marks are light and less noticeable.  Their texture may remain different from the surrounding skin however.  Many women notice their stretch marks fading into whitish lines that are minimally noticeable.
Some women have very severe stretch marks that impact their self esteem after pregnancy.  There are many treatments available for women that want to improve the appearance of their stretch marks.
If your stretch marks are particularly bad, you may consult with your doctor or a dermatologist.  Some topical treatments such as tretinoin cream can help reduce stretch marks.  These creams must be used after pregnancy however, because they can cause defects in your unborn baby.
Most of the topical treatments available should be used shortly after delivery, before they start to fade.  The more time that passes between the delivery and use of cream, the less likely they are to be effective.
If you are breastfeeding it is important you consult with your doctor before using any stretch mark treatments.  Some treatments may impact your milk supply or pass through the breast milk to your baby.
Most of the creams available to reduce stretch marks do not help relieve the sagging skin that also accompanies childbirth.  There are some newer treatments including laser treatments however that may improve the skins elasticity and help reduce stretch marks.  Some women also consider plastic surgery after they are done having children.  A tummy tuck can help hide some stretch marks and reduce sagging skin.
Most women are able to joyfully overlook stretch marks when they consider the miracle of life they bring into the world.  For the most the small annoyance even the worst stretch marks bring are well worth the joys of bringing a newborn baby into the world.  Do what you can during pregnancy to maintain an appropriate weight and try not to worry too much about stretch marks.  Many women wear them with pride, a 'war wound' or "badge of honor" related to their pregnancy. Why not wear them with pride?
At Women's Healthcare Topics website you will find valuable and up-to-date information on numerous topics related to women's health including Signs of Pregnancy, Chlamydia, Hysterectomy, Early Pregnancy Symptoms and more.
Article Source:,_MD

Wednesday, May 13, 2015


Premature Delivery:  Micropremies Followed Into Adulthood

With more women in the high risk pregnancy category, and with the ability to help very premature babies survive, many wonder what happens to these babies/kids as they grow up.  A number of multiples are born before their time and this is one of the few studies which actually followed these kids into adulthood.


Born at just 26 weeks after her mother had severe preeclampsia, a serious condition involving high blood pressure and other abnormalities during pregnancy, Rumaisa was a twin. She weighed 9.2 ounces. She was roughly 9 inches long. Rumaisa spent 142 days in the hospital's neonatal intensive care unit.
Madeline Mann is now a 22-year-old college senior. She was born at nearly 27 weeks into the pregnancy, also to a mother who had preeclampsia. She weighed roughly 9.9 ounces and was also about 9 inches long. Madeline was hospitalized for 122 days as a newborn before going home. 
Her case is the first 20-year follow-up for one of the world's smallest surviving infants reported in the medical literature.
Few babies born at birth weights of less than 14 ounces survive, so cases such as these are very rare. But the numbers of these "micro-preemies" who survive are on the rise.
The research appears in the Dec. 12 issue of Pediatrics.
Both girls, who were born at the same Illinois hospital, showed normal language skills and hit normal milestones for walking and toilet training. Rumaisa's movement skills -- writing, grasping for toys, and getting dressed -- are mildly delayed, while Madeline's are described as normal.

Both girls remain small for their age for weight and height. Rumaisa is in first grade with an individualized education plan.

At 20, Madeline stood 4 feet, 7 inches and weighed about 65 pounds. Her growth has been consistently far below other girls her age.

"We tell parents of babies born this small not to expect their children to be super tall," says researcher Jonathan Muraskas, MD.

Even so, he credits three main reasons for the girls’ relatively normal development. The first, says Muraskas, is that number of weeks of the pregnancy is much more important than birth weight for a child's growth and brain development. 

 excerpted from: webMD

Monday, May 11, 2015


Pregnancy Over 40 and IVF

Over the years I have been publishing my blogs, I've found many articles which have suggested that the rate of abnormalities in babies born through IVF is higher than the general population.
 Here is a recent article which confirms those findings, but that rate is stated to be almost double. Read more:

Questionnaires were completed both by the parents and the pediatrician, and the prevalence of birth abnormalities was compared with data from national registers.

The average age of the parents of babies with abnormalities was not statistically different from the other parents who had had fertility treatment.


Viot said the higher rate was in part due to more heart problems in ART babies, and also due to more abnormalities of the urinary and reproductive systems, particularly in boys.

Among minor defects, the scientists found a five times higher rate of angioma -- benign tumors made up of small blood vessels on or near the surface of the skin. These occurred more than twice as frequently in girls than in boys.

Viot said that in France, some 200,000 children have been born after ART so far. This meant a birth abnormality rate of this size should be seen as "a public health issue."


Wednesday, May 06, 2015


If you are a pregnancy test addict like I was when I was trying to conceive, you want to always have the most sensitive brand on hand.  Here is a chart from which shows different brands and the amount of hCG need to show a positive pregnancy test:


Pregnancy Test Sensitivity Chart

Test Name Lowest hCG detected
AimStrip (aka AimStick) Pregnancy Test Strip 20 mIU    Buy at
Wondfo Pregnancy Test Strip 25 mIU    Buy at
Accuclear Pregnancy Test 25 mIU
Answer Early Result Pregnancy Test 25 mIU
Clearblue Easy Plus +/- 25 mIU
Clearblue Easy Digital 25 mIU
Clear Choice w/ Cup 25 mIU
Confirm 1-Step Pregnancy Test 25 mIU
CVS Digital 25 mIU
CVS Early Result Pregnancy Test 25 mIU
Dollar Store Brand (mini-strip, cassette, & midstream) 25 mIU
Early Detect 25 mIU
e.p.t. +/- Test 25 mIU
e.p.t. Digital Test 25 mIU
Equate +/- (Wal-mart) 25 mIU
Equate Pregnancy Test (Wal-mart) 25 mIU
Fact Plus + / - 25 mIU
First Response Early Result Pregnancy Test 25 mIU
One Step Be Sure Pregnancy Test 25 mIU
Right Aid Pregnancy Test 25 mIU
Target Brand / Up & Up Pregnancy Test 25 mIU
Walgreen Midstream Pregnancy Test 25 mIU
Walgreen Digital 25 mIU
Fact Plus Cassette 40 mIU
CVS One-Step 50 mIU
CVS "Early Result" Cassette Pregnancy Test 50 mIU
Drug Emporium Brand Pregnancy Test 50 mIU
early Pregnancy test 50 mIU
Eckerd One Step 50 mIU
Walgreens Cassette Pregnancy Test 50 mIU
Answer Lab Pregnancy Strips Unknown, 99% accurate from day of missed period

Monday, May 04, 2015


Pregnancy Over 40, Retaining Water

Most women retain excess water to one degree or another in pregnancy. This article talks about acupuncture as well as other natural remedies to help edema in pregnancy.

See Also My Series On Foods For Fertility (

From the article:
Barley Water— Helps strengthen the body’s energy, promotes urination and rids the body of excess fluids.

Recipe for Barley Water:

3/4 cup pearled barley
juice of 1 lime + zest (can substitute lemon)
1/2 cup honey (optional)
6 cups filtered water.

Place barley in a strainer and rinse under cold water until water runs clear. Place barley in a sauce pan with the grated zest and 6 cups water. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Once boiling, simmer for 10 minutes then strain mixture into bowl. Discard the barley. Add the honey to bowl and stir to dissolve. Stir in lime juice and let cool. Can drink warm or cool.

excerpted from

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