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Wednesday, November 29, 2017


Woman Conceives Naturally at 47

Here's another one!
 Here's another story of a woman who got pregnant by surprise at the age of 47.  So all you "youngsters" in your early 40's, it certainly happens!  Read more:


From the article:
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Becoming pregnant at age 47 wasn't a worry for Robin Brussel. "I enjoyed every minute of being pregnant," she said.
Still, it was a surprise. "I thought I was going through pre-menopause," she said. "It just happened."
Brussel, now 48, gave birth in December to a 6-pound, 10-ounce boy named Noah she carried for 39 weeks. He was a cesarean birth, as were her four older children, ages 18 to 28. Noah was the first child born to her and her husband, Mark Brussel, 56. They've been married nearly four years.
 from St. Louis Today

Monday, November 27, 2017


Getting Pregnant And Having A Baby While Dealing With Asthma

If you're pregnant and are at risk for asthma, it can lead to serious pregnancy complications.
 Controlling asthma in pregnancy is especially important But there are things you can do with your doctor. Read more:

Asthma is the most common potentially serious medical condition to complicate pregnancy. In fact, asthma affects approximately 8 percent of women in their childbearing years. Well-controlled asthma is not associated with significant risk to mother or fetus. Uncontrolled asthma can cause serious complications to the mother, including high blood pressure, toxemia, premature delivery and rarely death. For the baby, complications of uncontrolled asthma include increased risk of stillbirth, fetal growth retardation, premature birth, low birth weight and a low APGAR score at birth. 


...Pregnancy may affect asthmatic patients in several ways. Hormonal changes that occur during
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pregnancy may affect both the nose and sinuses, as well as the lungs. An increase in the hormone estrogen contributes to congestion of the capillaries (tiny blood vessels) in the lining of the nose, which in turn leads to a "stuffy" nose in pregnancy (especially during the third trimester). A rise in progesterone causes increased respiratory drive, and a feeling of shortness of breath may be experienced as a result of this hormonal increase. These events may be confused with or add to allergic or other triggers of asthma. Spirometry and peak flow are measurements of airflow obstruction (a marker of asthma) that help your physician determine if asthma is the cause of shortness of breath during pregnancy.

Friday, November 24, 2017

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Color Me Safely: Hair Dyes In Pregnancy

Guest Post By Dr. Michele Brown OBGYN

When it comes to your own personal grooming, is there anything more satisfying than being crowned with a head of thick, shining hair? Do you divide your life into good hair days and bad ones? Does a bad hair day leave you depressed and lethargic while a good one propels you through glass ceilings. Guess what? You are not alone!
According to Hoovers� there are about 65,000 hair care salons in the United States with combined annual sales of about $19 billion! A small portion of these sales are for hair cuts, but most of this money is spent on... hair color.
If you are pregnant, planning to get pregnant or if you have a job in one of these salons, please read the following carefully. Over 20 million Americans, mostly women, are exposed to hair dyes each year. It has been estimated that at least 35 to 40% of all women in the United States and Europe use hair dyes. Solutions are applied either by a salon hairdresser or by individuals purchasing over the
counter products.
According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), concerns exist pertaining to the safety of these products. Why? Because some of the ingredients in hair dye are considered to be carcinogenic and teratogenic (causing malformation in fetuses). Reports of hairdressers having increased risk of spontaneous abortion, congenital malformations, childhood cancer and developmental problems exist. Older literature from the 1980's report that men and women exposed to hair dyes in their occupations may experience increased risk of developing leukemia and cancers of the bladder, ovary, GI tract, and respiratory systems. Nasca, reported in the Journal of the NCI, that there is a higher risk of breast cancer in women that use hair dyes.
Pregnant women throughout the world who commonly use beauty products worry about the risk of exposure to themselves, and to their fetus, because of the potentially carcinogenic chemicals contained in these products. Many women are hesitant to use dyes during pregnancy due to fears regarding chemical use and absorption with risks to the fetus.
More concerning is the fact that many women are giving birth at later ages and therefore the use of hair dyes will become increasingly more popular. The combination of hormonal hair growth increase during pregnancy, and the increased need for coloring as a woman ages, obviously predicts an increased use of these products.
With all this in mind, I thought it would be a good idea to write an article that reviews the literature to date regarding the safety concerns of hair dyes so that you can make the right decision, for yourself, about whether or not to use these products. Overall conclusions, however, should be based upon the method of dye application (personal vs hairdresser), the colors used, the frequency of coloring, and the differences between varying product components available on the market.
How are hair dyes classified?
There are three classifications:

  • Permanent,
  • Semi-permanent
  • Temporary

Chemical composition of the hair dye determines in which classification it is placed
Permanent dyes are the most prevalent and comprise about 75% of all hair dyes. They act by oxidation with hydrogen peroxide of dye precursors that permeate the hair fiber producing the color associated with the dye. Permanent hair dyes are commonly applied with a brush and by a hairdresser. Permanent hair dyes allow more dramatic changes in hair color. They do not wash out and they last until the hair grows or is cut.
Semi-permanent dyes comprise approximately 20% of all dyes and directly penetrate the hair cortex without the use of oxidizing agents. Generally the color lasts between 6 and 12 washings. These dyes, often applied by hand, are mostly used to cover gray or highlight the natural color, and are often purchased over the counter.
Temporary dyes, comprising about 5% of all hair dyes and are used for a single wash. This hair coloring is deposited on the cuticle layer of the hair and remains until shampooed out. It generally will not lighten hair but used to intensify natural color, tint hair another color, or add highlights to natural or tinted hair. It is also used to cover a limited amount of gray hair or eliminate yellowish shades from white or gray hair.
Which hair dye chemicals raise concerns in pregnancy?
Several reported studies have shown an increased risk of childhood brain tumors (CBT) associated with exposure to N-nitroso compounds, commonly found in hair dyes.
There are 2 broad classes of the N-nitroso compounds

  1. nitrosamides
  2. nitrosamines

Nitrosamides are unstable and do not require enzymatic activation and are inclined to tumor formation at the exposure site. In rats, they cross the placenta and are neurocarcinogens.
Nitrosamines, commonly found in tobacco smoke and beer, are considered carcinogenic agents.
Chemicals found in hair dyes are aromatic amines which get converted into nitrosamines. Nitrosamines, require this bioactivation and can initiate tumor formation in places at locations other than the initial exposure site. Hair dyes are considered NOC-related aromatic amines and contain ammonia based solutions, hydrogen peroxide, coal-tar dyes, and lead acetate. Many studies classify these agents as carcinogenic in animals when dosed orally because they alter DNA, but there exists "inadequate evidence" to determine carcinogenicity in humans when applied topically.
Other toxic chemicals found in hair dyes include phthalates, cobalt salts, formaldehyde releasing preservatives, lead acetate, nickel salts, 1,4-dioxane, diethanolamine/triethanolamine, and parabens.
How does exposure to the fetus occur when a pregnant woman uses hair dyes?

Exposure to the fetus occurs during routine use since many of the chemicals used are skin permeable. The particular characteristics of the dye products and their ability to penetrate skin influence their toxicity. Exposure can also occur via ocular, oral, or inhalation routes which can then cross the placenta and affect the fetus. Many of these chemicals can also be stored in body fat and also enter the mothers milk.
What type of toxicities have been described in pregnancy?

There have been many inconsistent results between use of hair dyes and various childhood cancers.
Some studies have shown an association between maternal hair dye and elevated risk of childhood cancer. The immature nervous system of the fetus has been found to be especially vulnerable to carcinogens and mutagens. If exposure occurs during the development of the nervous system during the first trimester, this may make the nervous system more susceptible to cancer and brain tumors.
Neuroblastoma, comprising about 6 to 10% of all childhood tumors in the developed world, is one of the most common cancers in children during the first year of life. A 3 fold increased risk was found in children of women exposed to hair dyes during pregnancy according to an article written by Kramer in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute in 1987. This increased risk is also confirmed by McCalls article in 2005 in Cancer Causes and Control. Wilms tumor, a cancer of the kidneys in children, had a 4 fold increased risk according to a study by Bunin in Cancer Research in 1987. Many of the chemicals used in 1987 in hair dyes have since been discontinued (2-4-diaminoanisole, 4-amino-2 nitrophenol, and HC Blue No.1) but other chemicals in the N-nitroso aromatic amines commonly used in hair dyes are still present which are carcinogenic in animals.
Other studies from the West Coast have found no association with hair dye use before or during pregnancy. (Holly in Pediatric Perinatal Epidemiology, 2002) One large study by Effird in Journal of Neuro-Oncology in 2005 also confirmed no statistically significant association between temporary, semi-permanent, or permanent hair dyes during pregnancy and childhood brain tumors, except for a 3 fold higher incidence of for brain tumor among Israeli children using semi-permanent hair color.
Do different types of hair dyes present different levels of risk?
Temporary dyes (includes semi-permanent) appear to have more toxicity than permanent dyes in pregnancy. Studies of scalp penetration of semi-permanent dyes compared to permanent dyes in both humans and monkeys found that semi-permanent dyes penetrated the scalp more than permanent dyes in both species. Unlike permanent dyes that contain oxidizing agents that allow the dye to irreversible bind to the hair shaft and therefore has lower skin absorption, semi permanent dyes achieve their coloring action via the use of various solvents (alcohols and ethylene glycol ethers) which penetrate the scalp more efficiently compared to permanent dyes. Also, greater skin contact occurs with semi-permanent dyes since they are applied as foam, rinse or surfactant solutions which tend to facilitate uptake by the skin. Semi-permanent hair coloring products also contain nitro derivatives of phenylenediamines or aminophenols, azo dyes and aminoanthraquinone dyes and N-nitroso compounds that have been shown to be transplacental neurocarcinogens in rodents.
Also, semi-permanent dyes are more likely applied by the person herself whereas permanent dyes were more likely applied by a hairdresser. With self-application there is more exposure to skin surface, such as hands, than if an outside person did the applications.
Smokers were also found to have greater toxicity than nonsmokers with dye use. Added exposure to nitrosamines and other carcinogens in cigarette smoke added to those carcinogens present in the hair dyes.
Do hairdressers have added risk?
The occupation of being a hairdresser may entail some risks that are possibly carcinogenic.(International Agency of for Research on cancer-IARC-1993) Certainly skin disorders like contact dermatitis and occupational asthma are major health problems for hair dressers. Other studies have not supported increased risk of reproductive disorders among hairdressers, such as infertility, reproductive loss, congenital malformations, childhood cancers, and developmental disorders in offspring. (Kersemaekers, 1995)
Limited human data, inconsistent results, and differences among products with varying chemical formulations used make it impossible to draw conclusions on safety. Differences in duration of exposure and amount of exposure can also determine differences in toxicity. Overall, many studies support no consistent association of congenital anomalies with hair dyes after many of the regulated carcinogens were removed. However, risk cannot be completely excluded so precautions should be taken.
There does appear to be some difference between the use of permanent and temporary hair dyes in pregnancy. Risk seems to be higher for mothers using semi-permanent dyes at any time during pregnancy, or the months prior to pregnancy, compared to the other types of hair dyes used.
Hair dye formulations have changed over time with removal of some substances and inclusion of new and better ones for color range. There has been a reduction in certain nitrophenols. The FDA has discontinued use of 2,4-diaminotoluene, and 2,4-diaminoanisole in permanent dyes and HC Blue No 1 and 4-amino-2-nitrophenol used in semi-permanent dyes because of possible carcinogenic effects.
It is imperative that pregnant women reduce their level of exposure, especially during first trimester. If dyes are going to be used, using protective gloves and facial mask, using a well-ventilated room, avoiding eating or drinking during exposure, and avoiding frequent exposure are essential. Avoid chemicals that may enhance absorption into the scalp or the hair shaft.
If one chooses to use hair dyes, it is generally recommended to wait until after first trimester when most of the baby's organ systems have been formed. If you must dye your hair during pregnancy, ask your stylist to use the old fashioned method - a plastic cap with tiny holes to pull the hair through. Dying the strands in this manner will prevent the chemicals from contacting your scalp, reducing the absorption risks.
Once again, this information is provided so that you can make the best decision for yourself and your baby. Consult your obstetrician for further information.
Dr. Michele Brown, is a practicing OBGYN who has delivered over 3,000 babies. She is also founder of Beaute de Maman Natural and Herbal Products for Pregnant Women. Dr. Brown is a graduate of Tufts Medical School and did her residency at Yale University. She has privileges at Stamford Hospital in Stamford, CT.
Beaute de Maman recognizes the importance of safe products for pregnancy. Beaute de Maman products contain natural and herbal ingredients that are safe for pregnancy as per the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology guidelines.
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Wednesday, November 22, 2017


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:

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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 20, 2017


Here are some facts about massage during pregnancy.  Many women and massage therapists are reluctant to have a massage for fear that it may trigger a miscarriage, however, this article should help clear up some the the confusion:

Myths about Pregnancy Massage

By Leon Pierre Potgieter

1) Massage during the first trimester
Some massage practitioners refuse to give massage during the first trimester as this is when most miscarriages occur. This is merely because they do not want to be associated with this event should it happen. However, there is no evidence that massage can lead to a miscarriage and massage is not contraindicated during the first trimester. In fact, massage at this time is entirely necessary since it supports a woman as she negotiates the physical, emotional and spiritual changes of her pregnancy. Her potential is maturing into a powerful new role and identity
2) Massage on the legs during pregnancy
Deep vein thrombosis in the legs only occurs in 15 out of 10 000 pregnant women (data from live births in Olmsted County between 1966 and 1995). Of these 12 will have clear signs of a possible blood clot, leaving 3 out 10 000 pregnant women with an undiagnosed blood clot. Despite these low figures, some massage practitioners indicate that massage work on the inner leg is not advisable as it might dislodge an undiagnosed clot. Keeping in mind that massage improves blood flow and thus reduces the risk of a blood clot forming, refusing to give a competent massage on the legs potentially exposes 9997 out of 10 000 pregnant women to unnecessary risk.


A more realistic approach is to give a competent massage while checking for any signs and symptoms of a possible blood clot. The simplistic solution of prohibiting deep massage or massage altogether on the inner legs appears to be more prevalent in countries where litigation is high and seems to be based on misunderstanding and fear rather than on existing evidence-based practice for the following reasons:
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  • In spite of this exaggerated emphasis on blood clots, no reliable method is given to assess whether a blood clot is present so there is no good reason to either proceed with or stop the massage. Homan's test is still routinely taught in massage schools to test for deep vein thrombosis even though it is unreliable and is no longer used, other clinical tests being used in its place.
  • Massage helps prevent clots from forming by preventing a build up of stagnant blood in the legs. It is very necessary during pregnancy as there is stronger tendency for blood to clot during pregnancy.
  • Pregnant women who have been put on bed rest are at greater risk of developing blood clots as their inactivity causes blood to pool in the legs. They are advised to exercise their legs by pointing the foot up and down. This creates a strong pumping action in the calves which helps keep blood flowing through the legs. This has a more powerful effect than massage or work on pressure points. If massage is considered risky, then standard hospital care is even riskier.
  • The Spleen, Liver and Kidney meridians of Traditional Chinese Medicine play an important role in health, especially during pregnancy. As they run through the inner legs, work on pressure points in the legs can be extremely beneficial. In particular, it substantially reduces risk in diabetic mothers when their diabetes is a Spleen and Kidney Yang Deficiency type diabetes (here there may not be the excessive thirst, hunger, urination or heat normally associated with diabetes but there is increased risk of incompetent cervix, placenta praevia and detached placenta). Giving only a light, superficial leg massage in this case may expose the mother to far greater risk than a massage of normal, firmer pressure.

3) The use of a belly hole in the massage table
This is done to allow the mother to lie face down without compressing her stomach during a massage therapy session. However, as her stomach is now not correctly supported, her lower back and pelvis are placed under stress and her uterine ligaments are stretched. These are both common causes of pain during pregnancy. The pressure of the hole's edges on the abdomen also cuts down blood supply to the abdomen.
4) Avoiding lying the back during pregnancy
This ignores that a pregnant women is often positioned on the back for long periods during birth, a common hospital procedure. Only avoid lying on the back in a massage or in general if there is 1) a known threat of blood clots forming in the legs, 2) supine hypotension or 3) lower back pain or pain due to sacroiliac or iliosacral dysfunction.
5) Lying only on the left hand side during pregnancy
It is assumed that lying on the right side will put slight pressure on the inferior vena cava, a large vein carrying blood from the legs and pelvis to the heart. However, although the inferior vena cava lies to the right hand border of the spine, it is questionable if lying on the right hand side can slow down blood flow through this vein. Also, lying on the left hand side puts pressure on the heart and stomach so they may not function at optimum efficiency.
6) The use of contraindicated pressure points
Massage schools teach some pressure points are not to be used during pregnancy as they might induce labour. However they may be used if there is a good reason to use them. If massage could induce labour, abortion clinics would use massage on these points instead of costly medical interventions. Pressure on these points can only induce labour at the end of term and then it is still difficult to do this.
All pregnant women can benefit from pregnancy massage. If at any time during the massage you experience discomfort, tell your therapist immediately.

For information on Pregnancy Massage visit Massage Wisdom
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Friday, November 17, 2017


I rarely sit and watch TV, but quite a while back,  a TV show's topic was about women's choices about staying home with their kids vs. going out and pursuing their career and putting their kids in daycare.

Well... I need to put my two cents in here. This is one area where being an older mom is really an advantage. I did the whole career thing when I was younger. In retrospect, it wasn't really that great. It can be a cut throat world out there and, for me, it led to a stressful, unhealthy lifestyle. But what if you have kids and want to go back to work? I speak from experience here as the product of daycare. My mother worked when I was a toddler. I absolutely hated being institutionalized all day. I cried all day every day and never stopped until my mother came to pick me up - I was always the last one since my mother was always late. I felt imprisoned and very hopeless.

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I think of all the attention I give my daughter now. I teach at a community college, but I teach evening classes when my husband is home. She's always with one of us. I wonder who tells kids in daycare that they love them?? Nobody ever told me - as a matter of fact I was a big thorn in the daycare staff's side since I was so upset about being there. I can't even count how many times I hug
my daughter and tell her I love her during the day. I have sat with her one on one to teach her everything from ABC's, 123's or to how to have a tea party.  Now that she's older, I help her with homework and help her navigate sticky social situations.  She's so much more happy and secure than I was as a child. Additionally, the pace of our life is pleasant. I see some of these families get their kids up while it's still dark out. Their children get shuffled out the door and dropped off before they're even totally awake. I remember those days as a child. Not only was I cheated out of sleep, but I never really ate a good meal since it was too early to eat breakfast and I hated the food they forced us to eat at the "institution".

I was a very stressed-out kid...maybe that was the start of my fertility problems...I know it was the start of my negative impression of family life.  So the moral of the story is to seize every moment in the "now".  It really is true that time flies by fast.  I'm so happy I've taken every opportunity to spend time with my daughter.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017


Pregnancy Over 40, Genetic Screening and The Fear

I've often wondered about the implications of genetic screening.
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Some couples terminate their pregnancies after finding out that their baby has a genetic defect. However, as this article discusses, some of these problems can be mild and the child could have a normal life. Read more:

A number of couples in Israel were told their fetuses screened positive for Gaucher's disease and decided to terminate their pregnancies. Gaucher's disease ranges from mild and very treatable to severe. An article in the September 19 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) puts forward a number of questions regarding the appropriateness of some types of genetic screenings.

The authors explain "Carrier screening can reduce the burden of genetic disease, especially in populations in which specific diseases are common. Although generally performed for severe, untreatable disorders, carrier screening for less serious yet prevalent conditions is also possible, but
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there is little information on its implications, even though it is likely to become more common."

Gaucher's disease (GD) is much more common among Ashkenazi Jews compared to other populations. GD includes three diseases, they are all due to deficient activity of a type of enzyme (glucocerebrosidase), leading to an accumulation of its substrate, the fatty substance glucocerebroside (glucosylceramide). A person with Gauther's disease may have an enlarged spleen and liver, malformation of the liver, skeletal disorders and painful bone lesions, serious neurologic complications, swelling of lymph nodes and sometimes adjacent joints, a brownish tint to the skin, anemia, distended abdomen, and low blood platelets. In more severe cases the patient is also more susceptible to infection. A French doctor, Philippe Gaucher, originally described the disease, hence its name.

Screening people for GD is controversial because, for example, type 1 GD usually has no symptoms; it is not severe and is completely treatable. The problem is that carrier screening for GD does not tell you how severe the GD is. Since 1995 Ashkenazi Jews have been offered screening globally and in Israel.

Thursday, November 09, 2017


Pregnancy Over 40 and Antioxidants

Eating and supplementing your diet with antioxidants my be especially important during pregnancy.
 I've  heard that the obesity epidemic in this country is partly due to the  lifestyle and high fat high carb diet, but also it can partially be  attributed to the mother's prenatal diet (and whether or not the mother  was overweight or obese before pregnancy. This study talks about how it  could prevent diabetes and obesity in your baby.

See Also:  Foods for Fertility and Pregnancy (

From the article:

(NaturalNews)  Antioxidants play a crucial role in preventing the onset of disease,  and they can
make all the difference in determining whether or not  children develop glucose intolerance or
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become obese. According to a new  study out of The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHP), women who  consume high amounts of antioxidants before and during their pregnancies  may be protecting their children against diabetes and obesity.
Noting that diets high in bad fats and carbohydrates cause harmful  oxidative stress that leads to obesity and diabetes, researchers decided  to study the effect that antioxidants have in mitigating their onset.  The team fed four groups of test rats either a high-fat,  high-cholesterol diet, or a healthier and more balanced diet. The first  two groups received such diets with no additional

antioxidants, while  the other two received extra antioxidants with their diets.
At the conclusion of the study, the group eating the unhealthy "Western"  diet with no added antioxidants had significantly higher rates of  inflammation and oxidative stress than the other groups, and their  offspring were larger and had highers rates of glucose intolerance. The  Western diet group that consumed added antioxidants, however, produced  offspring with markedly lower rates of glucose intolerance and no  obesity whatsoever -- and these conditions persisted even after two  months.

 excerpted from

Tuesday, November 07, 2017


Your Baby Before Birth

I remember playing one of my CD's frquently when I was pregnant and my daughter now loves it.

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Did she remember it from when she was inside me - or does she just like the music? This article talks about some studies done on whether or not babies can remember sounds in utero:

From the article:

Hepper has investigated just how much of what we hear in the uterus can be remembered. In one famous experiment, he showed that newborns seemed to respond to the theme tune of the Australian soap opera Neighbours if their mothers had watched it during pregnancy. Newborns born to mothers who watched Neighbours stopped crying and became more alert when the tune was played to them, while newborns of mothers who hadn't watched the programme showed no reaction. Other tunes, or the same tune played backwards, elicited no response from either group of newborns (Lancet, DOI:
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Just that vibration again
More recently, Jan Nijhuis of Maastricht University Medical Centre in the Netherlands and his colleagues investigated just how long fetal memories could persist. They held a vibrating probe against the bellies of pregnant women, to which fetuses generally respond by wriggling. If they are exposed to the vibrations every 30 seconds, however, they eventually get used to them and stop responding (it generally takes 10 to 12 stimulations), through a process called habituation – much as people living close to a railway track eventually stop noticing the sound of passing trains.

Nijhuis investigated how long this habituation lasted. He found that in a 30-week-old fetus, the "memory" of the vibration lasted around 10 minutes. It improves as fetuses get older, however, so a 38-week-old fetus seemed to retain some memory of vibrations felt at 34 weeks (Child Development, DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2009.01329.x).

Saturday, November 04, 2017


Thyroid Functioning Could Affect Having A Baby and Health Of Baby

Thyroid problems and pregnancy complications It seems that the thyroid gland is not only a critical piece of getting pregnant and staying pregnant, but it's proper functioning is also important for the health of your unborn baby.
Here is an article that discusses how maternal hypothyroidism can affect the baby's vision:
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Children of women with hypothyroidism an under active thyroid who had elevated thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) in the first and second trimesters of pregnancy, had a significantly reduced ability to see visual contrasts, compared to women with hypothyroidism with normal TSH levels during the first two trimesters, and pregnant women with normal thyroid levels, according to a new study being presented on Thursday, Oct. 4, at the 78th Annual Meeting of the American Thyroid Association (ATA) in New York. Adequate contrast sensitivity is an important ability for reading, viewing information of low contrast such as maps, and visuospatial ability in general.


 The study shows that visual processing problems among infants of women with hypothyroidism were directly correlated with the mothers' high level of TSH. These findings suggest that thyroid hormone is critical in early pregnancy for normal development of visual processing abilities.

A previous study showed that infants born to women who had hypothyroidism diagnosed prior to or during pregnancy had reduced ability to see visual contrasts and that the severity of their deficit was related to how hypothyroid their mothers were during the pregnancy. This research was based on an electrophysiological task where children saw bars that swept from low to high levels of contrast at a slow speed.

from: (

Wednesday, November 01, 2017


Pregnancy Over 40, Prevent Birth Defects

Here is an informative article written for the FDA about decreasing the chance of birth defects.

Although some of the information here is widely known (i.e. taking folic acid), they also discuss how conditions in the mother could increase the chance of birth defects. Read more:

Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies
A pregnant woman who has a serious medical condition may face a greater than normal risk that her child will have a birth defect. Diabetes, for example, can complicate a pregnancy in many ways.

Women who must take insulin daily to control their blood sugar are three or four times more likely to have a baby with major birth defects than are other mothers. That is not to say they should abandon insulin, however. Without it, many diabetic women and their babies wouldn�t survive pregnancy at all.

Birth defects among diabetics can be greatly reduced if women get their blood sugar levels under
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control before becoming pregnant and strictly manage their diets throughout pregnancy. Gestational diabetes, which develops during pregnancy, can also be harmful to mother and child, but it can be controlled through diet or medication.

Epilepsy also increases a woman�s chance of having a baby with a birth defect. It�s not clear whether the disease itself or the drugs used to control it cause malformations, but in either case, the woman�s neurologist and obstetrician should work together to find the safest course of treatment for the epilepsy and pregnancy.

Rubella, toxoplasmosis, cytomegalovirus, and syphilis can cause birth defects in the infants of women who have these infectious diseases. Rubella infection during early pregnancy can cause abnormalities of the heart, eyes and ears.

Any woman planning a pregnancy should be tested for rubella immunity and vaccinated if necessary. She must wait three months after vaccination before becoming pregnant, however, because the vaccine itself can endanger a developing fetus.

Toxoplasmosis is transmitted only through raw meat and cat feces, both of which pregnant women should try to avoid. The disease causes malformations of the brain, liver and spleen if a fetus becomes infected in the first trimester

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