Your Pregnancy

A Blog where people can share information and resources about conception, pregnancy, early years and ultimately, about the menopause

Thursday, September 21, 2006

How To Achieve Maximum Fertility In Minimum Time

If you're thinking about getting pregnant, or trying to get pregnant already, taking care of your health is a top priority for your fertility. To help your body achieve it’s maximum fertility, take the following steps:

- Take 400 micrograms (or 0.4 mg) of folic acid daily. Focus on eating foods fortified with folic acid, take a multivitamin, or take a folic acid pill to get your daily dose. Taking a folic acid supplement is the best way to be sure you're getting enough. Including 0.4 mg of folic acid (or folate) in your diet before you get pregnant and in the first three months of pregnancy can help prevent some birth defects. If you don't get enough folic acid, your baby's spine may not form correctly. This is called spina bifida. Another thing your baby needs folic acid to develop a healthy brain. Many doctors will prescribe a multi-vitamin that contains folic acid. But the better thing to do is to buy folic acid pills at drug stores or supermarkets. Foods that are rich in folate include: leafy green vegetables, kidney beans, orange juice and other citrus fruits, peanuts, broccoli, asparagus, peas, lentils, and whole-grain products. Folic acid is also sometimes added to foods like enriched breads, pastas, rice and cereals. It’s a good idea for you to find out more about folic acid.

- Be more aware of what you eat. Start stacking your diet with fruits, vegetables, and whole-grains (such as whole-wheat breads or crackers). Be sure to eat plenty of calcium-rich foods such as non-fat or low-fat yogurt, milk, and broccoli. Your baby needs a lot of calcium for strong bones and teeth. When fruits and vegetables aren't in season, frozen vegetables are a good option. Avoid eating a lot of fatty foods (such as butter and fatty meats). Choose leaner foods when you can (such as skim milk, chicken and turkey without the skin, and fish). However, avoid eating swordfish as they contain high levels of mercury.

- Bite the bullet. If you smoke or use alcohol or drugs you have to tell your doctor about it. Quitting is hard, but your fertility will suffer if you don't. You can do it. Ask your doctor for help.

- Get plenty of sleep. Try to get seven to nine hours every night.

- Do everything you can to control the stress in your life. When it comes to work and family, figure out what you can and can not do. Set firm limits with yourself and others. Don't be afraid to say “NO” to requests for your time and energy. You may not realize it, but high stress can lower your fertility more any other factor.

- Don’t forget to move your body. Once you get pregnant, you can't increase your exercise routine by much. So it's best to start a routine before the baby is on its way.

- If you have existing health problems take steps to get them under control. Talk to your doctor about how your health problems might affect you and your baby. If you suffer from diabetes, monitor closely your blood sugar levels. If you have high blood pressure, monitor these levels as well. If you are overweight, set an appointment with your doctor and talk about how to reach a healthy weight.

- Find out what health problems run in your family. Tell these to your doctor. You can get tested for health problems that run in families before getting pregnant (genetic testing).

- Make sure you have had all of your immunization shots, especially for Rubella (German measles). If you haven't had chickenpox or rubella already, get the shots at least three months before getting pregnant. Having either of these diseases after childhood can render you infertile.

- Get checked for hepatitis B and C, sexually transmitted diseases, and HIV. These infections can be harmful to you and your baby. Tell your doctor if you or your sex partners have ever had an STD or HIV.

- To protect your fertility go over all of the medicines you take with your doctor, including prescription drugs, over-the-counter, and herbal medicine. Make sure they are safe to take while you're trying to get pregnant or are pregnant.

Taking each of the steps will help you to get your body ready for maximum fertility, and eliminate things that could possibly cause infertility. Check them off one at a time and get ready for baby.

Copyright 2006 Power Marketing, Inc.

How To Achieve Maximum Fertility In Minimum Time

If you're thinking about getting pregnant, or trying to get pregnant already, taking care of your health is a top priority for your fertility. To help your body achieve it’s maximum fertility, take the following steps:

- Take 400 micrograms (or 0.4 mg) of folic acid daily. Focus on eating foods fortified with folic acid, take a multivitamin, or take a folic acid pill to get your daily dose. Taking a folic acid supplement is the best way to be sure you're getting enough. Including 0.4 mg of folic acid (or folate) in your diet before you get pregnant and in the first three months of pregnancy can help prevent some birth defects. If you don't get enough folic acid, your baby's spine may not form correctly. This is called spina bifida. Another thing your baby needs folic acid to develop a healthy brain. Many doctors will prescribe a multi-vitamin that contains folic acid. But the better thing to do is to buy folic acid pills at drug stores or supermarkets. Foods that are rich in folate include: leafy green vegetables, kidney beans, orange juice and other citrus fruits, peanuts, broccoli, asparagus, peas, lentils, and whole-grain products. Folic acid is also sometimes added to foods like enriched breads, pastas, rice and cereals. It’s a good idea for you to find out more about folic acid.

- Be more aware of what you eat. Start stacking your diet with fruits, vegetables, and whole-grains (such as whole-wheat breads or crackers). Be sure to eat plenty of calcium-rich foods such as non-fat or low-fat yogurt, milk, and broccoli. Your baby needs a lot of calcium for strong bones and teeth. When fruits and vegetables aren't in season, frozen vegetables are a good option. Avoid eating a lot of fatty foods (such as butter and fatty meats). Choose leaner foods when you can (such as skim milk, chicken and turkey without the skin, and fish). However, avoid eating swordfish as they contain high levels of mercury.

- Bite the bullet. If you smoke or use alcohol or drugs you have to tell your doctor about it. Quitting is hard, but your fertility will suffer if you don't. You can do it. Ask your doctor for help.

- Get plenty of sleep. Try to get seven to nine hours every night.

- Do everything you can to control the stress in your life. When it comes to work and family, figure out what you can and can not do. Set firm limits with yourself and others. Don't be afraid to say “NO” to requests for your time and energy. You may not realize it, but high stress can lower your fertility more any other factor.

- Don’t forget to move your body. Once you get pregnant, you can't increase your exercise routine by much. So it's best to start a routine before the baby is on its way.

- If you have existing health problems take steps to get them under control. Talk to your doctor about how your health problems might affect you and your baby. If you suffer from diabetes, monitor closely your blood sugar levels. If you have high blood pressure, monitor these levels as well. If you are overweight, set an appointment with your doctor and talk about how to reach a healthy weight.

- Find out what health problems run in your family. Tell these to your doctor. You can get tested for health problems that run in families before getting pregnant (genetic testing).

- Make sure you have had all of your immunization shots, especially for Rubella (German measles). If you haven't had chickenpox or rubella already, get the shots at least three months before getting pregnant. Having either of these diseases after childhood can render you infertile.

- Get checked for hepatitis B and C, sexually transmitted diseases, and HIV. These infections can be harmful to you and your baby. Tell your doctor if you or your sex partners have ever had an STD or HIV.

- To protect your fertility go over all of the medicines you take with your doctor, including prescription drugs, over-the-counter, and herbal medicine. Make sure they are safe to take while you're trying to get pregnant or are pregnant.

Taking each of the steps will help you to get your body ready for maximum fertility, and eliminate things that could possibly cause infertility. Check them off one at a time and get ready for baby.

Copyright 2006 Power Marketing, Inc.

Monday, July 31, 2006

The Health Benefits of Female Orgasm

by Scott Bowden

Orgasm is the crowning of a successful and highly pleasurable session of sex. It puts a smile on the lips of satisfied women and makes men walk with a swagger. It's the biggest little thing in the world and the crucial detail and the end of a delightful exertion. Life without orgasms is simply not possible.

But orgasm is not limited in scope to making one (or two) people feel good for five or ten minutes before falling asleep. Science has shown that frequent sex and orgasms are very important to the general well-being and health of every person. The more frequent the orgasm, the better off that person is going to be on both the physical and psychological planes.

Everyday life is bound to result in some nervous tensions for most people as the troubles of jobs and relationships take their toll on the mental balance. Sex and orgasms are a chance for these tensions to join the psychological and physical build-up and release. Thus, the mind uses orgasm to flush the tensions out of the system and replace them with the delicious relaxation of that comes with pleasure.

The best thing to do after disentangling from the tender embrace is, of course, to slide into sleep. The combined exertion of sex and relaxation brought by orgasm is the perfect replacement for any sleeping pill. Instead of reaching out for the bottle of pills, you would be better off reaching out for the man lying in bed next to you or for your favorite sex toy. It's a perfectly natural solution that we heartily recommend.

Don't let headaches get in the way. What men don't realize is that headaches are many times a woman's way of saying "You have to try harder". The pleasure brought by orgasm is the result of a discharge of endorphins into the brain. No headache can survive the attack of pleasure flooding the brain and the calming effect it has.

Aside from releasing endorphins into the brain sexual stimulation also activates the production of phenethylamine, an amphetamine secreted by the body which is thought to play a role in the regulation of appetite. Of course, sex is not meant to replace dieting, but it seems to go some way toward helping you rein in those food cravings and it does burn some calories. In fact, sex burns a bit more calories per minute than tennis.

The number of scientific studies showing that frequent orgasms are good for one's health is testimony to the important role played by a successful sex life in the physical and mental health of all men and women. Aside from the fact that increased heart rate and heavy breathing keep the circulatory system in shape and make oxygen circulate through the body, sex has other benefits.

A study published in Psychosomatic Medicine in 1976 showed that failure to reach orgasm has a negative impact on the cardiovascular health of women. Doctor Winnifred Cutler, a specialist in endocrinology, found that women who have sex at least once a week are more likely to have normal menstrual cycles and higher levels of estrogen in their blood. Healthy levels of estrogen help keep the cardiovascular system in shape, fight cholesterol and keep the skin supple.

This is why we recommend the Ultimate Sex Guide. This one-stop guide to more pleasure than ever before is packed with new positions, tricks and tips that will banish boredom and routine from your relationship. Bring back the spark and make it turn into a flame with the help of new information. More pleasure means a healthier life for you and your partner.

About the Author
For more information, advice and guides relating to sexual health matters we would recommend visiting The Ultimate Sex Guide

Friday, July 21, 2006

Choosing Your Childbirth Education

Choosing your childbirth education is perhaps the most important decision you will make after choosing your midwife or doctor and the place of birth. Your childbirth education will almost certainly be your primary source of information on how to cope with labor. She can -- and should -- help you have a healthy pregnancy and complication-free labor, make informed choices about your care, have a smooth transition into parenthood, and breastfeed successfully. Childbirth education can also guide you to other resources such as books and Web sites and can refer you to childbirth-related services, as, for example, labor support providers, postpartum home help or lactation consultants.
 
What should you look for in childbirth education classes?

Independent educator: Most commonly, childbirth education classes are taught through hospitals, but hospital or clinic-based classes have a strong potential drawback: conflict of interest. It is in the hospital’s and obstetric staff’s interests to have patients who will comply with policies and not make waves by questioning or refusing them.

Certified educator: Certification by a national organization doesn’t guarantee excellence, but it does ensure that the educator has had special training and has met some set of criteria for knowledge and skills.
Sufficient time to cover the topics: Fewer classes in the series and fewer hours per class both increases profits and meets the approval of busy, tired, expectant couples. However, it takes time to learn new skills, get questions answered, and explore issues.

Small classes: Childbirth classes should be interactive. You want classes that are big enough for a good group process yet small enough for you to get individual attention and assistance and where you won’t feel shy speaking on intimate or sensitive topics.

With acknowledgements to Henci Goer

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Symptoms of Tubular Pregnancy

Tubular pregnancy occurs when a fertilized egg implants in tissue outside of the uterus, and the placenta and fetus begin to develop there. The most common site is within a fallopian tube. However, tubular pregnancy can rarely occur in the ovary, the abdomen, and in the lower portion of the uterus (the cervix).

Tubular pregnancy is usually caused by conditions that obstruct or slow the passage of a fertilized ovum (egg) through the fallopian tube to the uterus. This may be caused by a physical blockage in the tube. Tubular pregnancy may also be caused by failure of the zygote (the cell formed after the egg is fertilized) to move down the tube and into the uterus.

Most tubular pregnancy is a result of scarring caused by previous tubal infection or tubal surgery. Some tubular pregnancy can be traced to congenital tubal abnormalities, endometriosis, tubal scarring and kinking caused by a ruptured appendix, or scarring caused by previous pelvic surgery and prior tubular pregnancies. In a few cases, the cause is unknown.

The administration of hormones, specifically estrogen and progesterone, can slow the normal movement of the fertilized egg through the tubal epithelium and result in implantation in the tube. Women who become pregnant despite using progesterone-only oral contraceptives have a 5-fold increase in the tubular pregnancy rate.

Tubular pregnancy carries a higer risk for women who become pregnant despite using progesterone-bearing IUDs. Tubular pregnancy rates for those who become pregnant despite non-medicated IUD are 5%, while the rate for medicated IUD users who become pregnant despite the device is 15%. Note that these rates only refer to percents of the tiny proportion of women who become pregnant while using these methods.

The "morning after pill" is associated with a 10-fold increase in risk of ectopic pregnancy when its use fails to prevent pregnancy.

Tubular pregnancies occur from 1 in every 40 to 1 in every 100 pregnancies. This rate increased four-fold between 1970 and 1992.

Tubular Pregnancy Symptoms:

* Lower abdominal or pelvic pain
* Mild cramping on one side of the pelvis
* Cessation of regular menstrual cycle
* Abnormal vaginal bleeding (usually scant amounts, spotting).
* Breast tenderness.
* Nausea.
* Low back pain.

If rupture and hemorrhaging occurs before successfully treating the pregnancy, symptoms may worsen and include:

* Severe, sharp, and sudden pain in the lower abdominal area .
* Feeling faint or actually fainting.
* Referred pain to the shoulder area.

If in any doubt at all, always consult your medical advisor

Symptoms of Tubular Pregnancy

With acknowledgement to 'Medicine Plus'

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Cervical Mucus Pregnancy

Cervical Mucus is one of many different types of vaginal discharge. The type of cervical mucus your body produces provides clues to your fertility. You can check your cervical mucus using either your fingers or toilet paper. On days when you're not fertile, the mucus from your cervix is either light or sticky (about the same texture as sticky rice). During the few days leading up to ovulation, when you're most fertile, you'll have more cervical mucus discharge - clear and slippery with the consistency of raw egg white. It should also be stretchy. You are most fertile on the last day you notice cervical mucus of this kind. It usually happens either the day before, or the day of, ovulation.
 
Cervical mucus changes in volume and texture due to the increase in estrogen levels that accompanies ovulation. After ovulation, progesterone abruptly suppresses the peak cervical mucus and the mucus pattern continues with sticky cervical mucus for a day or two, and then returns to dryness. Clomid changes cervical mucus patterns on an individual basis, so you might have to get used to a new pattern in terms of buildup of mucus and interpretations of peak mucus.
 
Cervical mucus can be checked in 3 ways: using toilet paper or your fingers across the opening of your vagina, wearing a panty liner (which is sometimes hard to detect) or inserting your finger into your vagina. Chart its consistency. You may also want to monitor its texture throughout the day.

Cervical Mucus Pregnancy

Monday, June 26, 2006

Pregnancy and Pre-natal Vitamins

Pre-natal vitamins are important to the health of a growing baby. They are also important to pregnant mothers because their bodies are going through so many changes.

Our diets today are often deficient in key nutrients found in pre-natal vitamins that help a baby's development in the womb. One deficiency that has been found is the lack of enough folic acid, one of the B vitamins.

Rectifying vitamin deficiency can be done by modifying your diet and by taking pre-natal vitamin supplements. It is easiest for your body to absorb nutrients from foods, but since it can be difficult to take in enough of those key vitamins and minerals during pregnancy, most doctors recommend that you also take pre-natal supplements.

The most important pre-natal vitamin is folic acid, which is the synthetic form of the naturally occurring folate. If folic acid is taken in the first four weeks of pregnancy, it can reduce the risk of the baby having an incomplete spinal column, or neural tube defect by up to 70%.

Because folic acid is most useful very early in the pregnancy, most doctors recommend that women trying to conceive begin supplementing their diet with 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid per day. In fact the U.S. Public Health Service recommends that all women of childbearing age take this supplement as a preventative measure, in the case of an unplanned pregnancy. Many once-daily multi-vitamin supplements include this in their product.

While folic acid is most important in the first trimester, most doctors recommend it throughout the pregnancy. Spinach and chicken liver are great natural sources of folate. Folate is often added to breakfast cereals and breads; this addition will be written on the nutrition label.

Calcium is another critical supplement for your baby for the same reasons that it is important for you; calcium helps the baby develop strong bones and teeth. One of the best sources of calcium is cheddar cheese (real cheese, not the plastic-like "cheese product" made from hydrogenated oil with orange color added). Calcium is also found in yogurt, milk, kale, etc.

In addition to dairy products, calcium citrate is often added to cereals and other non-dairy products like orange juice.

When taking calcium supplements it may be safest to take calcium citrate which is made from citrus fruit.

Small amounts of vitamin D are important for calcium absorption. The good news is that you can absorb this vitamin through exposure to the sun. Most prenatal supplements provide this vitamin.

Iron is important for the baby's development of red blood cells, which deliver oxygen to the baby. Supplementing iron into your diet is mostly important for the mother's health. Insufficient iron might lead to fatigue and anemia. On the other hand, too much iron can hurt both the mother and the baby. Be very careful with iron supplements!

The baby will generally get all of the iron he needs, even if that means leaving the mom anemic. By the end of the pregnancy a mother will have twice as much blood in her body as she did before. Therefore pregnant women may need more iron as non-pregnant women. Another important fact is that coffee and tea can decrease iron absorption.

The best and safest way to get the right amount of iron is to take the balance multi-vitamin and mineral pre-natal supplements that your doctor recommends. You might save money if you ask your doctor which over the counter pre-natal vitamins may contain the same ingredients as prescription versions.

Pre-natal vitamin supplements are even more important for women who have poor nutrition, women who are carrying twins, and women who have a closely spaced pregnancy.

For women that are healthy and eat a balanced diet, pre-natal supplements are still important to insure against the possibility that the women are not getting enough of any given nutrient. Many women who were careful to eat right were still found to be low in folic acid for example.

Vitamin supplements, in particular those with iron, can be tough to swallow for the expecting mother because of the infamous 'morning sickness,' that is far from relegated to the morning hours.

Many women have found that beginning to take pre-natal vitamins a month or more before conception can diminish morning sickness and therefore make taking the pre-natal vitamins during pregnancy an easier pill to swallow. Taking prenatal vitamins when you are not pregnant does not cause any problems. These vitamins are not that different than regular daily multi-vitamins, except that they do not contain any herbs or herbal supplements that could cause problems. Be very careful to avoid most herbal supplements when pregnant. Talk to your doctor.

Note: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Supplements are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, mitigate or prevent any disease. All information here is intended for general knowledge only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. You should seek prompt medical care for any specific health issues and always consult your doctor before starting any new supplement, diet or fitness regimen.

By Monica Nelson
Prenatal Vitamins

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Female Ejaculation: It's Time For The Truth!

By Dr Irene Cooper

I hear you ask, ‘Female ejaculation? What’s ‘female ejaculation’? They never taught me anything about female ejaculation at school.’

Even if you received some sex education in school it’s a certainty that you were never told about female ejaculation!

If your experience of formal sex education was anything like mine, then you probably found out later that a lot of the more basic information was missing, never mind something as controversial as this!

Were you like the girls in my class? We were told about the male and female reproductive organs and how a fertilised egg grows into a baby. It was with some reluctance and embarrassment that the teacher told us that men produced sperm - but didn't say how. Sexual intercourse itself wasn’t explained or described and just how the sperm got to the egg was left to our imagination.

Male ejaculation wasn’t described. There was nothing about the pleasure that men and women felt during sex; nothing about the increased arousal culminating in the rhythmic pumping of semen into the vagina during the male orgasm. (The word orgasm was never used.) None of us, probably including the teacher, had any idea that there was such a thing as a female orgasm so, naturally, that didn’t get a mention. I spent years believing that women put up with having sex just to have children and to keep their lustful husbands satisfied. Having sex was just part of a woman’s wifely duties along with doing the washing and the cooking. (We are talking about a lot of years ago!) There was no clue to be found anywhere that women could actually enjoy it.

If none of us were even taught about the female orgasm it’s not surprising that we still know absolutely nothing at all about the possibility of female ejaculation. Most adults have never heard of female ejaculation and most of those who have don’t believe it really happens.

So what's the truth about female ejaculation?
There’s a whole load of total nonsense talked about it (mainly by people who are trying to sell you something) and separating the facts from the fiction we’re bombarded with from the porn peddlers isn’t easy.

First of all, we’re not talking about pints of liquid being squirted out. Don’t confuse this with the ‘party trick’ stuff you can see in pornographic (squirting) movies.

Female ejaculate (when there is any at all) isn’t naturally propelled with great pressure, as is the case with semen.

In the same way that a female orgasm isn’t necessary every time you have sex, there’s nothing wrong with you if you’ve never experienced a so-called female ejaculation. There's no great mystery to it. Any woman can produce the same effect providing she doesn't mind making her partner and the bed they're lying on very wet.

It has nothing to do with your ability to conceive or to enjoy sex.

The reason only a small percentage of women have experienced it is that most of us have been brought up to be reluctant about relaxing control of our bladder anywhere other than in the bathroom...and, yes, 95% of any fluid released when a woman reaches her orgasm comes from her bladder.

Female ejaculation comes from the urethra not the vagina.
If we discount the vaginal lubrication that commonly occurs during sexual arousal, the vast majority of any liquid that’s produced during the female orgasm is produced in the bladder and expelled through the urethra. Immediately, that makes it sound as if we’re simply talking about women losing control and urinating at the moment of orgasm. However, scientific tests conducted by Dr. Gary Schubeck Ed. D. A.C.S. have shown that this fluid is not altogether urine. Levels of urea and creatinene in the ejaculate of the women in the test were much lower than in the samples taken from their urine before the tests began.

Besides the ‘de-urinated’ fluid that comes from the bladder, some women can sometimes produce a small amount of milky discharge from the Skenes glands. These glands are the female equivalent of the prostate gland in men and with continued stimulation they may produce a fluid that can come out through the urethra during a woman's orgasm.

The Skenes glands were named after the physician who first described them, Alexander Skene, and are also known as the paraurethral glands. They’re found on the upper wall of the vagina in the area known as the G-spot. This whole general area is known as the urethral sponge and stimulation causes it to swell with blood in the same way that a penis becomes erect. Because these glands drain into the urethra there is a similarity here with the way that men urinate and ejaculate through the same opening.

Most of us would be mortified at 'having an accident' in public. Losing bodily fluids in an uncontrolled way is what elderly, incontinent people do; it's definitely not what we do. So, when in the past, women have lost control of their bladder during sexual intercourse it's been acutely embarrassing for them - and for their unsuspecting partners too!

For those of you who want to experiment, my advice is that you first find out what it feels like on your own; preferably in the bath. Empty your bladder before you start. The new fluid that's generated in your bladder during sexual arousal should be released as you reach your orgasm. Remember that most women either haven't ever tried this or have found it doesn't work for them, so don't expect too much. If you find that you experience a pleasurable result you may want to let your sexual partners know about it. Don't be surprised, however, if they aren't too excited about your love-making being a lot wetter than it normally is. Be aware that it could prove to be a massive sexual turn-off for both of you.

Irene Cooper is the author of My Female Orgasm