Your Pregnancy

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

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

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Keep Fighting the Stress Myth

I've said it before, but it's worth saying again. No woman going through infertility wants to hear the words, "just relax".

There are a lot of myths about infertility - this page of fertility myths on Ovusoft is one I love - it discusses the most common ones. As part of my quest for the truth, I've searched high & low for research on the effect of stress on infertility and have yet to find an article that claims to have found a direct connection between the two.

An article recently published here (ic Wales) discusses stress and infertility. The first few paragraphs seem to imply that stress is linked to infertility. It's only once you grit your teeth and get past that, that the article mentions that "it may not be the stress directly...". Another researcher who didn't actually find a link...

I've got one question (OK, two) - If stress were really an important factor in fertility, like something that changed your body's chemistry so that an embryo couldn't implant, how would so many IVF babies be born? What could be more stressful than that?

Linda Johnson
Your Infertility

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Understanding the Menopause

The menopause is the natural and inevitable way the body has of winding down a woman’s reproductive system. It is a permanent change
The term peri-menopause refers to the pre-menopause when irregular periods can begin. By definition, menopause proper begins 12 months after the final period and is characterized by the range of symptoms listed below.
Symptoms
Some women just stop having periods while others experience several years of symptoms. The most common symptom of menopause is hot flashes. Other physical symptoms might be aching joints and muscles, fatigue, weight gain or skin changes. A blood test can confirm that menopause had started. The main symptoms of menopause are:
 Hot Flashes: A feeling of extreme heat. The face and neck may become flushed, with red blotches appearing on the chest, back, and arms. This is often followed by heavy perspiration followed by cold shivering as body temperature readjusts. Hot flashes can last up to 30 minutes or even longer.
 Irritation of the tissues in and around the vagina. Problems with dryness, itching, pain during sexual intercourse;
 Sudden or frequent urination with no apparent reason or warning.
 Hot flashes and sleep disturbance during the night
 Moods that change frequently or a tendency towards feeling low or angry.
 A higher risk of weaker bones, osteoporosis, and bone breaks;
 Acceleration of risk factors associated with heart attacks and other heart problems
 Problems with thinning wrinkling skin, wrinkling as estrogen levels fall.
Lifestyle & preventions
Menopause is a natural phenomenon that cannot be avoided; there are simple steps you can take to smooth the way.
1. Stop Smoking which increases the risk of heart diseases, cancer and osteoporosis.
2. Exercise regularly to help maintain a healthy heart, strong bones and muscles strong, and high energy level and metabolic rates
3. Follow a healthy diet which affects every aspect of health.
4. Avoid hot drinks, alcohol, spicy foods, hot weather or hot rooms which might exacerbate hot flashes.
5. Use proprietary water-based lubricants to ease vaginal dryness.
6. Use Pelvic Floor exercises to improve bladder control
7. Treat menopause as a natural part of life. Discuss it with you partner. Talk to your doctor about it.
8. Relax and avoid stress to gain an sense of over-al well-being.
Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)
Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) is a pharmacological system of replacing the estrogen and possible progestin lost during menopause. Estrogen Replacement Therapy (ERT) replaces estrogen only and is usually prescribed for women who have had surgically-induced menopause. Traditional Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) contains both estrogen and progestin and is usually prescribed for women experiencing natural menopause.
Benefits of HRT
HRT is beneficial in both protecting a woman against the long term effects of menopause as well as treating the immediate symptoms. By replacing the estrogen lost, HRT helps to prevent osteoporosis and may protect against heart disease. In addition, HRT relieves the hot flashes and vaginal dryness that many women experience.
Risks of HRT
In recent studies, women who have undergone HRT have experienced higher incidences of breast and endometrial cancers. For this reason, doctors are being encouraged to prescribe HRT for the shortest amount of time possible, and to encourage women to take other measures to protect against heart disease and osteoporosis.
To prevent bone loss:
Maintain a healthy diet and exercise. Consider taking supplements like calcium tablets and Vitamin D. These can be taken separately or combined in a pill.
To prevent heart disease:
A healthy diet and regular exercise can help to keep your heart healthy as you age. If your cholesterol is high, however, you may need cholesterol-lowering drugs.
Summary
Physical changes do occur because of menopause. But the impact of these changes can be minimized by healthy living and a purposeful life. Start exercising and lead a happy and healthy life.
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Linda Johnson is webmaster of Your Pregnancy, as site the draws together a wealth of information about conception, female orgasm, fertility and infertility, pregnancy calendar, prenatal issues, baby’s early months and the menopause. Her site can be found at:
http://pregnancy.universal-inter.net/
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