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Friday, May 29, 2009

Fertility Buffet

Foods That Can Help You Get Pregnant Over 40

I frequently write about the connection between diet and fertility.
My site: www.getpregnantover40.com
 Here is another article which addresses fertile foods. Foods for men and women are mentioned. Read more:

www.obgyn.net

From the article:

These foods were featured in a special Fertility Buffet, laid on by Dr. Margaret Rayman, director of the MSc Course in Nutritional Medicine at the University of Surrey, on July 3, 2003.

A good, balanced diet rich in fruit and vegetables (at least five portions a day) and protein sources such as meat, poultry, and fish, is necessary to optimize fertility. Meat is a good source of animal protein and important minerals such as iron and zinc, the latter being especially important for fertility.

"Oysters are by far the best source of zinc, but they are not included in this meal, as they are out of season," Rayman explained. "Fatty fish is a very good source of n-3 fatty acids, which are important in the development of the fetus' brain and vision."

For the best chance of conceiving, alcohol and smoking should be avoided. This applies to both men and women, as there is evidence that sperm damage through smoking can predispose to cancer in the offspring, nutritionists say.

All the dishes on the buffet were carefully selected by Vicky Chudleigh, State Registered Dietitian from Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge. "The sunflower, pumpkin, and sesame seed bread contains vitamin E, which is claimed to be an aphrodisiac because of its effects on boosting circulation. It is also an antioxidant and needed for fertility," Vicky explained. "Brazil nuts and mini crab cakes are both excellent sources of selenium and required for sperm motility. Without adequate selenium, sperm tails kink and break off. Selenium also minimizes the risk of miscarriages."

Roasted red peppers, tomatoes, pesto (containing basil), and of course, chocolate mousse, were all selected for their reputed aphrodisiac qualities. Spinach, together with other dark green leafy vegetables, provide the folate required to reduce the risk of neural tube defect in the developing baby. The cheese platter not only contains calcium and zinc, but also vitamin A, which aids the production of sex hormones. They are all needed for healthy reproduction and libido.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Could Pantiliners Detect Ovulation One Day?

Well...I thought I'd heard it all by now, but it just goes to show you how new innovative products are developed every day. Here is an article about how pantiliners may help detect ovulation. The only thing I would be worried about is the exposure to the chemicals with which they're treated. Read more:

Space age panty liners (BBC News)


From the article:

"Hormone detectors

The panty liner that could predict ovulation works by using a chemical that can identify key hormones.

The liner would have a plastic film coated in a substance called amorphous silicon.

The silicon changes thickness when levels in oestrogen, progesterone and follicle-stimulating hormones change.

The changes create a purple spot on a gold background.

In September last year, New Scientist revealed Canadian and South African scientists are also working on similar pads, but they may need to be tested in a laboratory."

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Preconception Risk Factors

If you're trying to conceive, here are some important things to know so you can protect yourself and your unborn baby. Read more from nursingcenter.com:

www.nursingcenter.com



Isotretinoins. Use of isotretinoins (e.g., Accutane®) in pregnancy to treat acne can result in miscarriage and birth defects. Effective pregnancy prevention should be implemented to avoid unintended pregnancies among women with childbearing potential who use this medication (65--67).
Alcohol misuse. No time during pregnancy is safe to drink alcohol, and harm can occur early, before a woman has realized that she is or might be pregnant. Fetal alcohol syndrome and other alcohol-related birth defects can be prevented if women cease intake of alcohol before conception (68--73).
Anti-epileptic drugs. Certain anti-epileptic drugs are known teratogens (e.g., valproic acid). Recommendations suggest that before conception, women who are on a regimen of these drugs and who are contemplating pregnancy should be prescribed a lower dosage of these drugs (74--78).
Diabetes (preconception). The three-fold increase in the prevalence of birth defects among infants of women with type 1 and type 2 diabetes is substantially reduced through proper management of diabetes (79--82).
Folic acid deficiency. Daily use of vitamin supplements containing folic acid has been demonstrated to reduce the occurrence of neural tube defects by two thirds (83--88).
Hepatitis B. Vaccination is recommended for men and women who are at risk for acquiring hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection. Preventing HBV infection in women of childbearing age prevents transmission of infection to infants and eliminates risk to the woman of HBV infection and sequelae, including hepatic failure, liver carcinoma, cirrhosis, and death (89--91).
HIV/AIDS. If HIV infection is identified before conception, timely antiretroviral treatment can be administered, and women (or couples) can be given additional information that can help prevent mother-to-child transmission (46,92--97).
Hypothyroidism. The dosages of Levothyroxine® required for treatment of hypothyroidism increase during early pregnancy. Levothyroxine® dosage needs to be adjusted for proper neurologic development of the fetus (98--100).
Maternal phenylketonurea (PKU). Women diagnosed with PKU as infants have an increased risk for delivering neonates/infants with mental retardation. However, this adverse outcome can be prevented when mothers adhere to a low phenylalanine diet before conception and continue it throughout their pregnancy (101,102).
Rubella seronegativity. Rubella vaccination provides protective seropositivity and prevents congenital rubella syndrome (49,103,104).
Obesity. Adverse perinatal outcomes associated with maternal obesity include neural tube defects, preterm delivery, diabetes, cesarean section, and hypertensive and thromboembolic disease. Weight loss before pregnancy reduces these risks (105--109). Appropriate weight loss and nutritional intake before pregnancy reduces these risks.
Oral anticoagulant. Warfarin, which is used for the control of blood clotting, has been demonstrated to be a teratogen. To avoid exposure to warfarin during early pregnancy, medications can be changed to a nonteratogenic anticoagulant before the onset of pregnancy (110--112).
STD. Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae have been strongly associated with ectopic pregnancy, infertility, and chronic pelvic pain. STDs during pregnancy might result in fetal death or substantial physical and developmental disabilities, including mental retardation and blindness (113,114). Early screening and treatment prevents these adverse outcomes.
Smoking. Preterm birth, low birthweight, and other adverse perinatal outcomes associated with maternal smoking in pregnancy can be prevented if women stop smoking before or during early pregnancy. Because only 20% of women successfully control tobacco dependence during pregnancy, cessation of smoking is recommended before pregnancy (115--118).

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Fertility Problems 68% More Likely After Exposure to Second Hand Smoke

Everyone already knows that cigarette smoke is bad all the way around. But I was surprised to see these staggering statistics - infertility is 68% more like after regular exposure to second hand smoke. Read more:

www.medindia.net

from the article:

Women exposed to second hand smoke, either as children or as adults, are 68 percent more likely to face fertility problems and can also suffer miscarriage, according to a new study.

In the study involving 4,800 non-smoking women, the researchers found that those who were exposed to second hand smoke six or more hours per day as children and adults were at a greater risk of having difficulty getting pregnant and suffering one or more miscarriages.


"These statistics are breathtaking and certainly points to yet another danger of second hand smoke exposure," said Luke J. Peppone, Ph.D., research assistant professor at Rochester's James P. Wilmot Cancer Center.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Hypertension More Common With Assisted Reproduction

Hypertension in pregnancy can be a dangerous and sometimes life threatening condition for both the mother and baby. According to this article, the incidence is higher with assisted reproduction. Read more:

www.asiaone.com

From the article:

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - The risk of developing high blood pressure during pregnancy (gestational hypertension) is higher in pregnancies resulting from infertility treatments compared with those resulting from spontaneous conceptions.

The risk of preeclampsia is also elevated in assisted pregnancies, according to a study published in the medical journal Fertility and Sterility.

Pre-eclampsia is a condition that can affect multiple systems of the body and is characterized high blood pressure and protein in the urine (suggesting kidney failure). The condition occurs in up to 8 percent of pregnancies and accounts for up to 15 percent of the 500,000 pregnancy-related deaths world-wide each year.

Dr. Allen A. Mitchell, of Boston University, and colleagues studied over 5,000 women who gave birth to infants between 1998 and 2006. Within 6 months after delivery, the women were interviewed about sociodemographic and medical factors, including gestational hypertension, preeclampsia and infertility treatments.

Overall, 9.3 percent of the women reported having gestational hypertension and 2.6 percent reported having preeclampsia.

Women who had undergone infertility treatments had a higher rate of gestational hypertension than those who did not have infertility treatments, at 15.8 percent versus 8.9 percent, respectively. Women who had multiple fetuses were also more likely to have gestational hypertension than those carrying only one fetus (23 percent vs. 1.7 percent).

The risk of gestational hypertension in pregnancies resulting from infertility treatment was 90 higher than the risk in spontaneous pregnancies. The higher risk declined to 60 percent after accounting for the number of previous pregnancies and prepregnancy body mass index. Further analysis, factoring in the effect of multiple fetuses, reduced the risk to just 30 percent higher.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Can Walnuts Help Fertility and Help You Conceive?


Fertility and PCOS Helped By Walnuts and Almonds

I love eating almost every kind of nut. The more I read, the more I learn about the health benefits nuts can offer.
See Also: my entire series on foods for fertility at: www.getpregnantover40.com
 Nuts have omega 3 fats which are great for a number of conditions including infertility.

Nuts are being studied to see if they can help women with PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) because it is thought that women with PCOS suffer from insulin resistance and the beneficial fats in nuts may actually help with this condition.
Both walnuts and almonds seem to help with the androgens which are present  in women with PCOS and they seem to help regulate their menstrual cycles:

 Insulite Laboratories, a Boulder, Colorado USA based company, is committed to reversing Insulin Resistance - a potentially dangerous imbalance of blood glucose and insulin. Scientific research has revealed that this disorder can be a primary cause of excess weight gain and obesity, plus Pre-Diabetes and Type 2 Diabetes. Insulin Resistance can also underlie the cluster of increased risk factors for cardiovascular damage called Metabolic Syndrome (Syndrome X) as well as PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) - a major source of serious conditions as well as heartbreaking female infertility.

from: http://www.betternetworker.com 



Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Does Using The Pill Make It Harder to Get Pregnant?




Many women don't even know they might have a problem with infertility until they go off the pill. It makes sense, that they might wonder if the pill itself contributed to their infertility. Here is a question/answer from babycenter.com that addresses that question:

Christos Coutifaris, ob-gyn (www.babycenter.com)

From the article:

..."No — there's no evidence that long-term use of the birth control pill interferes with fertility. Some women experience a disruption in their menstrual cycle for several months after going off the Pill (a condition called post-pill amenorrhea). But this is usually caused by an underlying problem that's unrelated to the Pill — for example, being significantly underweight, or even being under severe stress.

In fact, taking the Pill can protect you from diseases — such as ovarian and uterine cancers — that can lead to infertility. null Researchers have also found that long-term Pill use may improve the symptoms of endometriosis, a condition that can cause abnormal menstrual bleeding and result in infertility. Finally, the Pill has been shown to reduce the incidence of ectopic pregnancy — when a fertilized egg is implanted outside the uterus, typically in one of the fallopian tubes. (Unfortunately, an ectopic pregnancy can't result in a successful birth.)

Some doctors advise trying to get pregnant as soon as you go off the Pill, but I recommend that you wait until after you get your first period — usually four to six weeks after going off the Pill. That way, you'll know you're ovulating. If you still haven't gotten your period two months after stopping the Pill, it's a good idea to check with your healthcare provider. There may be an underlying problem that needs to be addressed.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Higher Voice Higher Fertility

If you notice your voice has gone up a notch, you may want to find your partner and get to work. This interesting article talks about how there is a measurable increase in the pitch of a fertile women.

www.abc.net.au

From the article:

A woman raises the pitch of her voice during her most fertile period of the month in an unconscious boost to her femininity, according to a US study

Greg Bryant and Martie Haselton of the Center for Behavior, Evolution and Culture at the University of California in Los Angeles, report their finding in the journal Biology Letters.

The researchers asked 69 women to record their voice when they were at high and low fertility points in their menstrual cycle.

An analysis of the recordings revealed the closer a woman was to ovulation the more she raised her pitch.

The increase in tone was only slight - it wasn't Minnie Mouse on helium - but the peaks were enough to be picked up by the voice decoder and presumably by the male ear, as well.

The difference was the greatest on the two days preceding ovulation, when fertility within the cycle is the highest.

Curiously, this distinction only occurred when the volunteer, among the sentences she was asked to speak, introduced herself: "Hello, I'm a student at UCLA."

Lured
The scientists suggest the pitch change happens because men are lured to a more "feminine" voice in a woman - and women respond to the instinct.

Sexual signals and reproductive fitness are strongly associated with voice, which is why women are often drawn to men with the husky voice of the supposed alpha male.

"An important question remains about whether this ovulatory cue could have social effects," say the researchers.

"Men prefer higher pitch relative to lower pitch in the same women, and these judgements are affected by cues of social interest in the speech."

Monday, May 11, 2009

Don't Rush Into IVF

Everything you read says to run not walk to the closest fertility clinic if you've tried to conceive without success for over a year. Well, slow down. I've also found a number of articles like this one that give some common sense advice. Read more:

Try Natural Conception, Don’t Rush in for IVF - Fertility Expert www.medindia.net

From the article:

A study published today in Europes leading reproductive medicine journal, Human Reproduction, found that for the majority of women the chances of pregnancy were just as good if doctors relied on the woman’s natural menstrual cycle.

In 60% to 70% of cases, a series of treatment cycles without using ovarian stimulation would be safer, less stressful and mean fewer multiple births, it was stated.

It also cost only a fifth of the price of current practice and would bring IVF within the reach of more childless couples worldwide and enable countries that state-fund IVF to help more women.

Dr Nargund’s team reached its conclusion following a study of 181 treatments in 52 women at the Assisted Conception Unit at Kings College Hospital, London. All the women had treatment based around their natural menstrual cycles.

They were found to have the same chance of having a baby after an average of three to four cycles of treatment as women undergoing conventional drug-stimulated treatment about a third (32% as against 34%).

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Sperm Banks and Sperm Donors


When I ran the infertility support group, there were a couple of participants who had male factor infertility. One of these women tried using donor sperm for a number of cycles. It turned out not to be successful and it was later found that she had a number of problems herself which had to be corrected surgically. She eventually underwent IVF with ICSI (injecting the sperm right into the egg) and now has a daughter the same age as mine.

Assuming a women is able to get pregnant naturally, insemination with donor sperm may be an option not only for couples with male factor infertility, but also for single women who don't have a partner. Here are a couple of articles from principalhealthnews.com on sperm banks and sperm donors:

Sperm Banks

Looking for Mr. Right

Monday, May 04, 2009

Reduced Female Fertility With Twin Brother


It seems strange, but there seems to be a strange association between reduced female fertility and having a twin brother. With the number of fraternal twins increasing as a result of fertility treatments, this could really affect the next generation. Read more:

www.biomedicine.org

From the article:

Sheffield University researchers say that a woman who has a twin brother is likely to have 25 per cent reduced fertility. A study conducted by them, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, blames exposure to male hormone testosterone in the womb for this.

Lead researcher Dr Virpi Lummaa tells that both testosterone and the female hormone oestrogen can cross the womb, due to which the twin brother and sister are exposed to each other's hormones. Since male and female foetuses have similar oestrogen levels, the female child is more likely to be affected, she says.

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