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Thursday, August 30, 2018


Benefits of Probiotics for Pregnancy

Guest Post By Anthony Dwiers
Not all bacteria are bad. There are some which are actually beneficial to the body. Falling under the good bacteria category are those called probiotics. These are similar to the good bacteria found in the human gut which help aid proper digestion. They were discovered by Elie Metchnikoff who was a microbiologist from Russia and the winner of the Nobel Prize for Peace.
The most common kind of probiotic available in food is lactobacillus acidophilus which can be found in cultured foods like yogurt and those with other live cultures. Probiotics help restore the balance of good and bad bacteria in the gut and when intestinal bacteria start causing health concerns like diarrhea or irritable bowel syndrome, probiotics balance their population and help reduce the discomfort and worsening of the situation.


How do probiotics help pregnant women?
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Pregnancy comes with a host of ailments related to the digestive system and probiotics help pregnant women suffer less from these conditions. Some conditions which probiotics can help with during
pregnancy include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Heartburn
  • Intestinal cramping
  • Constipation 


When pregnant women integrate probiotic-rich food in their diets, they help make their gastrointestinal tract have a better environment. Probiotics help provide relief from constipation by regulating bowel movements. These good bacteria also help regulate the normal motion of the digestive system; thus, lessening heartburns and intestinal cramping.
The benefits of probiotics don't just stop at improving the state of pregnant women's digestive system. Probiotics also help boost the immune system of not just the mother but the baby's as well. These good bacteria help ward off colds and other diseases to lessen health complications that the baby may experience during the time of pregnancy.
Research is still ongoing about how probiotics can help pregnant women but one other good effect they have is helping to prevent eczemas to form during pregnancy.
What foods are rich in probiotics?
Good bacteria like probiotics can be found mostly in dairy products which have undergone fermentation. The top sources and most easily accessible food groups which contain probiotics which are beneficial for the digestive system and pregnancy include:

  • Yogurt
  • Cheese
  • Sour cream
  • Milk
  • Miso
  • Tempeh
  • Soy products

Another great thing about probiotics is that they are available in foods which are easily accessible and found in the supermarket. However, there are also probiotic supplements which can be bought over the counter. They are available in either capsule or powder form.
Things to Remember Before Adding Probiotics to a Pregnant Woman's Diet
Because pregnancy is a sensitive stage in a woman's life, it is highly important to thoroughly evaluate the factors and benefits which one can get from probiotics. Just because it works for one doesn't mean it will have the same effects on another. Some considerations include:

  • Lactose intolerance
  • Remember to pick pasteurized products
  • Are these food items approved by the physician?

While there are benefits to be had from adding probiotic-rich foods to a pregnant woman's diet, the above factors should be taken into consideration to lessen the risks of adding instead of lessening complications during pregnancy.
It is still best to talk with a physician before purchasing supplements or probiotic-rich food items intended to be added to a pregnant woman's diet. The benefits of probiotics during pregnancy reduces several discomforts, but it is better to be careful and think of the bigger picture before making changes to a pregnant woman's nutrition.
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Tuesday, August 28, 2018


Pregnancy and Chocolate

Chocolate seems to be the new health food (at least dark chocolate).
 Now here's good news for pregnant women who love chocolate - it may be good for your baby. This article does not address the amount of caffeine these women were exposed to, so keep that in mind. Read more:

Katri Räikkönen at the University of Helsinki, Finland, and her colleagues asked pregnant women to
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rate their stress levels and chocolate consumption. After the babies were born, they looked for an association between the amount of chocolate their mothers had eaten and the babies' behaviour. Six months after birth, the researchers asked mothers to rate their infants' behaviour in various categories, including fear, soothability, smiling and laughter.

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The babies born to women who had been eating chocolate daily during pregnancy were more active and "positively reactive" - a measure that encompasses traits such as smiling and laughter. And the babies of stressed women who had regularly consumed chocolate showed less fear of new situations than babies of stressed women who abstained (Early Human Development, vol 76, p 139).

Sunday, August 26, 2018


Preventing Peanut Allergies

Have you ever noticed that so many kids are allergic to peanuts?  When I was pregnant, I had been told and I has read that eating peanut butter may predispose your kid to peanut allergies.  However, recently I've read that eating peanuts in pregnancy can actually lower your child's risk of being allergic to peanuts (assuming you are not already allergic to nuts).  It's confusing, but even though my daughter has a number of allergies, peanuts are not one of them.  Read more about why so many kids may be allergic to nuts:

Theories abound, though, and most involve an overactive immune system. "We have done such a good job of eliminating the threats that the immune system is supposed to manage, that it's looking for something to do," says Anne Muñoz-Furlong, CEO of the nonprofit Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network. Parents feed their kids more handy snacks these days, she says, and many of those contain
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peanuts or their derivatives. "We're bombarding the immune system with these [food-based] allergens, so it's attacking those instead." Indeed, food allergies in general are on the rise.

But peanuts seem to trigger especially violent immune reactions. This might be because they contain several proteins not found in most other foods, posits Robert Wood, an allergy specialist at Johns Hopkins University, and the structure of these proteins stimulates a strong immune response. Research suggests that roasting peanuts, as American companies do, might alter the proteins' shape, making them an even bigger target. Allergy rates are lower in China, where it's customary to boil peanuts, which damages the proteins less. (It's worth noting, though, that China is also more polluted, so people's immune system might be concentrating on traditional threats.)

Typically, the immune system treats peanuts as safe, but some scientists believe that early and heavy exposure to peanut products might cause it to misidentify them as dangerous. This theory is strengthened by the fact that 8 out of 10 allergic kids have a reaction the first time they eat a peanut, indicating a previous indirect exposure, possibly even in the womb or through breast milk.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018


I frequently write about women who have babies over the age of 40.  Honestly, to me, it is the most natural thing in the world.  Before the days of birth control, women routinely had their last child over 
the age of 40.  The only difference nowadays is that many women have their first baby over the age
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of 40.  But what about women having babies without fertility treatments over the age of 50?  Yes, it is a little more rare, but it does happen.  I have devoted a page on my
 to women who had natural conceptions and babies over age 50.


Sunday, August 19, 2018


Folic Acid Protects Pregnancy

I have posted numerous articles on the benefits of taking folic acid before and during pregnancy. Here is yet another article on how folic acid can actually protect the fetus from some of the toxic chemicals which can diffuse from plastic.
See also: on how to detoxify your environment and your lifestyle 

From the article:

The Duke team suggest that moms who consume folic acid and genistein during pregnancy might
help protect their babies from the possible impact of BPA. Their research does not suggest an appropriate dose for humans. Folic acid is a B vitamin that is already recommended for women during their childbearing years, due to its known ability to protect babies against brain and spinal birth defects. Women should take 400 micrograms of folic acid daily, according to government recommendations.
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Friday, August 17, 2018


What You Should Do About a Yeast Infection During Pregnancy

Guest Post by Ellen Dole

Getting a yeast infection during pregnancy is more common than at any period in a woman's life and it usually occurs during the second trimester. Although Candida infections among pregnant women do not create high risks for the mother and the baby, it can still cause discomfort to the mother; and if left untreated, can be passed on to the baby in the form of oral Candidiasis or thrush.
Why it happens
Yeast infection during pregnancy develops when there is imbalance in the levels of acid and yeast in the vagina. Many chemical changes are taking place when a woman is pregnant. These include hormonal changes, which are natural occurrences during pregnancy; there are increased levels of estrogen during this time. In addition, the vaginal secretions contain more sugar, the perfect food for yeast to feed on.


Symptoms of yeast infections during pregnancy
For a pregnant woman, certain symptoms can signal a yeast infection. These could include an excessive amount of a white discharge that usually smells like bread, vaginal itching and soreness, a burning feeling while urinating and pain during intercourse. In some cases, the infection can manifest itself through production of a cottage cheese-like discharge that has a yellowish or greenish shade.
Treatment of Candida infection during pregnancy
Treating a yeast infection while pregnant should not be done without consulting a doctor first. Some women think they have Candidiasis, when in fact what they have is another type of vaginal infection or even a sexually transmitted disease. Symptoms for yeast infections and these other conditions are mostly similar, which is why a doctor's opinion is always needed.
Mostly, physicians will suggest using antifungals in cream or suppository forms. Oral drugs are not recommended for treating yeast infections in pregnant women. The regular regimen for using topical creams or suppositories is for seven days in a row. These treatments are usually applied or inserted inside the vagina before going to sleep. It commonly takes seven to 14 days before the condition can
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be eliminated if a woman is pregnant.
Preventing any recurrence
For pregnant women, treating a Candida infection is not enough; making sure that it does not recur should also be part of her concerns. To lower the chances of having to suffer from the condition again, a mother-to-be should adopt certain simple habits to protect herself. Some of these habits include wearing loose, cotton undergarments; regularly washing and bathing; limiting intake of sugar-rich foods; wiping from front to back after urinating; and having a healthy diet that includes yogurt.
Because having a yeast infection during pregnancy is quite common, a woman should always take these precautions and should consult her doctor at the first sign of trouble. She should always keep in mind that it is not only herself that she should worry about, but also the unborn baby insider of her.
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Wednesday, August 15, 2018


Reiki and Your Unborn Child

Guest Post By Bronwen Stiene

We were living and teaching Reiki in Darjeeling, India, when we decided to try for a child. Straight after conception I placed my hands on Bronwen's sacral chakra, the area of the ovaries and a tremendous heat was channeled into the womb and it felt as of I was helping the seeds of life. This was the first contact that I had with my child because we soon realised that Bronwen was pregnant. After a 10 year relationship we had imagined that it would take a much longer period before she became pregnant, but we were now both sure that the Reiki energy was helping to speed things up.
I decided to do a daily Reiki session on our baby. It began to feel as if I was a part of the baby and of Bronwen, who had a deeper connection than I did with our new child. When I placed my hands on the womb I immediately sensed a beautiful energy streaming into our baby and I felt overwhelmed
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with emotions which I never knew I had.



I would love to promote Reiki as a means of helping couples to cope with pregnancy and as a way of supporting husbands to become more involved as this is a special time for sharing and communicating with each other, for all three of you.
Men are often overlooked as being important in the pregnancy - or at least many feel this way. If they were to practise Reiki they would have no excuse not to take part and already show their child love and support.
Hands can be placed on the Mother's uterus - on the baby - with the intention that energy moves freely to wherever the baby requires it at that moment in its life. The father can also do Reiki on the mother to offer his support for her. And lastly the father can also offer energy to himself. Everyone needs support and love and fathers are no different.
During childbirth I also used Reiki as a technique for releasing tension and stress (when Bronwen allowed me!). I placed my hands on her tailbone and gave energy, when I felt that I couldn't do much I sent her energy as well. It was wonderful to feel that even this process - the birth - was something that I could be involved and supportive in.
For me it felt like I was more a part of the pregnancy and birth. When our baby finally arrived and we touched each other's skin it was with recognition as we had already known each other's energies.
Reiki Masters Frans and Bronwen Stiene (pronounced stee-nuh) are authors of the internationally acclaimed The Reiki Sourcebook, The Japanese Art of Reiki, Reiki Techniques Card Deck and the A-Z of Reiki and are the founders of the International House of Reiki.
Their website is the which is full of lots of articles and research into Reiki.
With over 16 years of combined experience as practitioners, teachers and speakers in healing and spirituality they have worked with, taught and researched healing in the USA, Europe, Asia, Australia and Japan. They are teachers whose passion is truth, education, support and spiritual development for all.Article Source:

Monday, August 13, 2018


Do you think you might be pregnant?  When I was trying to conceive, I would monitor my body like a hawk.  Sore breasts?  Nausea?  Cramps?  All of it could be a sign of pregnancy.  One thing I had with all my pregnancies (I had a number of miscarriages) was dark brown spotting.  I had this even with my successful pregnancy.  Implantation bleeding is quite common but it can be very scary when it's happening to you.  This is just one early sign of pregnancy.
For a complete list of early pregnancy symptoms, I have devoted a page on my site to the topic:

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Friday, August 10, 2018


Pregnancy Over 40, Motherhood Over 40 May Make You Healthier!

If you've undergone assisted reproduction, you may have heard or read about the possibility of fertility drugs increasing your risk of ovarian cancer.
 The last I've read is that there is no connection between the two, however, every time I turn around, I read some new risk associated with fertility drugs. Between my cycles of Clomid and my IVF's, my ovaries certainly got their workout.
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Well, there's some encouraging news if you do become pregnant later in life (and let's be optimistic that you will):

From the article:

The women who had babies later in life were much less likely to have had ovarian cancer, they found.

"We asked was it true for women who only had one baby, was it true for women who only had two babies," Pike said in a telephone interview. The 

number of children did not matter.



"We found it was pretty consistent."

Hormones may play key role
Earlier studies have shown that having children late in life also protects against cancer of the endometrium Ч the lining of the uterus, said Pike.

He believes that the surge in the hormone progesterone that is seen in pregnancy may be a factor in both cancers.

"This level of progestins might very well be fatal to early disease," Pike said.

In addition, the uterus is "cleaned out" with birth and the delivery of the placenta, perhaps taking away aging cells that are more likely to become cancerous, Pike said.

Pike believes the findings could have implications for preventing ovarian cancer, which, while rare, is deadly. "If you could work this out you could possibly do some prevention," he said. 


Thursday, August 09, 2018


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:
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"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.

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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: (

Tuesday, August 07, 2018


Pregnancy Over 40 and Severe Nausea and Vomiting

You've probably already heard of hyperemesis gravidarum, but if you haven't, that's a fancy way of saying severe nausea and vomiting in pregnancy.
 I didn't have this condition, but I did have fairly severe nausea with some vomiting. I barely left the house my entire first trimester. Here is a site devoted to helping women with hyperemesis
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From the article:


There are numerous theories regarding the etiology of hyperemesis gravidarum. Unfortunately, HG is not fully understood and conclusive research on its potential cause is rare. New theories and findings emerge every year, substantiating that it is a complex physiological disease likely caused by multiple factors.

Diagnosis is usually made by measuring weight loss, checking for ketones, and assessing the overall condition of the mother. If she meets the standard criteria and is having difficulty performing her daily activities, medications and/or other treatments are typically offered.

Treating HG is very challenging and early intervention is critical. HG is a multifaceted disease that should be approached with a broad view of possible etiologies and complications. When treating mothers with HG, preventing and correcting nutritional deficiencies is a high priority to promote a healthy outcome for mother and child.

Most studies examining the risks and outcomes for a pregnant woman with nausea and vomiting in pregnancy find no detrimental effects long-term for milder cases. Those with more severe symptoms that lead to complications, severe weight loss, and/or prolonged nausea and vomiting are at greatest risk of adverse outcomes for both mother and child. The risk increases if medical intervention is inadequate or delayed.

The list of potential complications due to repeated vomiting or severe nausea is extensive, all of which may worsen symptoms. Common complications from nausea and vomiting include debilitating fatigue, gastric irritation, ketosis, and malnutrition. Aggressive care early in pregnancy is very important to prevent these and more life-threatening complications such as central pontine myolinolysis or Wernicke's encephalopathy. After pregnancy and in preparation of future ones, it is important to address any resulting physical and psychological complications.

Hyperemesis Gravidarum impacts societies, families and individuals. Recent, conservative estimations suggest HG costs nearly $200 million annually just for inpatient hospitalization. Considering many women are treated outside the hospital to save costs, the actual cost is likely many times greater. Beyond financial impact, many family relationships dissolve and future family plans are almost always limited. Women often lose their employment because of HG, and women are frequently undertreated and left feeling stigmatized by a disease erroneously presumed to be psychological.

Sunday, August 05, 2018


Meconium Explained

Meconium was always a big mystery to me. Whenever I heard about meconium it was usually a bad thing at the time of delivery if the baby inhaled it.
See also for more on pregnancy over 40 or any age
Here is a question/answer article from about what meconium is and when it can be a problem:

We might think of amniotic fluid as pristine, clear water, but your growing baby was already making a mess. Old skin cells and hairs (which would become dust in the outside world) began to build up in the fluid. Unlike later in life, your daughter cleaned up her own mess. As soon as she began swallowing, she removed the debris from the fluid. This sludge began to accumulate in her intestines.
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Called meconium, this dark-green tarry substance is a mixture of hair, cells, enzymes, blood, mucus, and other secretions. By the time of your daughter's birth, the meconium had filled most of her intestines. Meconium is sterile -- very unlike the bacteria-filled stools that will follow...

...If a baby passes a meconium stool before birth, the amniotic fluid is stained and the baby is covered with meconium (reminiscent of the mess dads can make changing diapers). The baby is also likely to swallow the meconium, which sounds disgusting but doesn't present a problem. The sterile meconium does not predispose to urinary tract infections, but meconium can cause significant problems if it is inhaled into the lungs.

In only about 2% to 5% of babies born in meconium-stained amniotic fluid will some of the thick, tarry meconium be inhaled, plug the small airways, and thus cause respiratory distress (Manual of Pediatric Practice, WB Saunders, 1998 and Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics, WB Saunders, 2000). Speedy delivery of distressed babies and suctioning the mouth and nose when the head has been delivered (before the expanding lungs take their first breath) can help prevent this meconium aspiration. Sometimes, more vigorous suctioning or even infusing extra amniotic fluid into the uterus before birth is needed.

Wednesday, August 01, 2018


Over the years, I have read numerous articles about how the season of conception and the subsequent season of birth can affect pregnancy and birth outcomes. This article gives some possible explanations:

From the article:
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Other researchers have suggested other reasons for season-of-birth differences. Maybe vitamin D was playing a role, for example, because children born in the winter were getting less sunshine in early life. Or maybe being put in the same school year with children who are mostly younger makes children born in the winter less socially mature. A study published in the medical journal Acta Pædriatica in April found that children born in the winter have higher birth-defect rates and suggested it was due to a higher concentration of pesticides in surface water in the spring and summer, when the children were conceived.

There may be validity to all of that research. But if there was any truth to the pattern that Ms. Buckles and Mr. Hungerman discovered, it would question the weightiness of other factors from past research. If winter babies were more likely to come from less-privileged families, it would be natural to expect them to do more poorly in life.

The two economists examined birth-certificate data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for 52 million children born between 1989 and 2001, which represents virtually all of the births in the U.S. during those years. The same pattern kept turning up: The percentage of children born to unwed mothers, teenage mothers and mothers who hadn't completed high school kept peaking in January every year. Over the 13-year period, for example, 13.2% of January births were to teen mothers, compared with 12% in May -- a small but statistically significant difference, they say.

from: (

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