Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Infertility and it's treatment


Miscarriage Treatment Won't Harm Future Fertility: Study

By Robert Preidt

Most women give birth within five years, researchers find current treatments for women who've had an early miscarriage don't affect their long-term fertility, new research shows.

About 15 percent of pregnancies end in miscarriage in the first trimester. For decades, standard treatment was surgery to remove tissue remaining in the uterus, but now many women are offered expectant (watch and wait) and medical treatment as well, according to background information in the study.

Previous research found that infection rates are about the same for all three methods, but little information was available about their long-term effects on fertility.

The new British study, published online Oct. 9 in the BMJ, included 762 women who had received surgical, medical or expectant management for an early miscarriage. Asked about subsequent pregnancies and live births, 83.6 percent of the women reported a subsequent pregnancy and 82 percent had had a live birth.

Live birth within five years of miscarriage was reported by 78.7 percent of those who received medical treatment, 79 percent who received expectant management, and 81.7 percent of those who had had surgery, the researchers found.

Older women and those who experienced three or more miscarriages were much less likely to have a subsequent live birth, the study authors noted.

"Women can be reassured that long-term fertility concerns need not affect their choice of miscarriage management method," the researchers concluded.

SOURCE: BMJ, news release, Oct. 8, 2009


Monday, October 12, 2009

Baby Food Recipes


Avocado smash (6+ mos)

Ingredients: 1 ripe organic Avocado

Preparation: Cut into slices and smash with a fork until creamy. OR Place avocado slices in blender or food mill until creamy. Freezing: Add 1-2 drops of lemon juice to smash to prevent browning and place avocado mixture in ice cube trays. **Do not give citrus to babies under a year old!

Avocado-Banana mash (6+ mos)

Ingredients: 1 ripe organic avocado 1 ripe organic banana

Preparation: Peel banana and remove skin and pit from avocado. Mash together with fork OR blend together in a blender/food grinder until desired consistency.

Sweet Potatoes & Apples (6+ mos)

Ingredients: 2 organic apples 2 organic sweet potatoes

Directions: Steam (or bake) apples and sweet potatoes until tender Place in blender or food mill and puree adding water (breast milk, or formula) until desired texture/consistency.

Baked Bananas With Maple Syrup (6+ mos)

1 banana
pinch of cinnamon powder
1 tsp maple syrup
1/2 oz (1 tbsp) unsalted butter

Preheat the oven to 350 deg F, 180 deg C.
Slice the banana in half lengthways, then place on a piece of foil.
Pour over the syrup and cinnamon and top with the butter.
Wrap the banana with the foil, seal, then bake for 10-15 minutes.

Bleeding During Pregnancy


Vaginal bleeding can occur frequently in the first trimester of pregnancy and may not be a sign of problems. But bleeding that occurs in the second and third trimester of pregnancy can often be a sign of a possible complication. Bleeding can be caused by a number of reasons.

Some basic things to know about bleeding are:

  • If you are bleeding, you should always wear a pad or panty liner so that you can monitor how much you are bleeding and what type of bleeding you are experiencing.
  • You should never wear a tampon or introduce anything else into the vaginal area such as douche or sexual intercourse if you are currently experiencing bleeding.
  • If you are also experiencing any of the other symptoms mentioned below in connection with a possible complication, you should contact your health care provider immediately.

First Half of Pregnancy:


Bleeding can be a sign of miscarriage but does not mean that miscarriage is imminent. Studies show that anywhere from 20-30% of women experience some degree of bleeding in early pregnancy. Approximately half of pregnant women who bleed do not have miscarriages. Approximately 15-20% of all pregnancies result in a miscarriage, and the majority occur during the first 12 weeks.

Signs of miscarriages include:

  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Cramping pain felt low in the stomach (stronger than menstrual cramps)
  • Tissue passing through the vagina

Most miscarriages cannot be prevented. They are often the body's way of dealing with an unhealthy pregnancy that was not developing. A miscarriage does not mean that you cannot have a future healthy pregnancy or that you yourself are not healthy.

Ectopic Pregnancies

Ectopic pregnancies are pregnancies that implant somewhere outside the uterus. The fallopian tube accounts for the majority of ectopic pregnancies. Ectopic pregnancies are less common than miscarriages, occurring in 1 of 60 pregnancies.

Signs of Ectopic Pregnancies:

  • Cramping pain felt low in the stomach (usually stronger than menstrual cramps)
  • Sharp pain in the abdominal area
  • Low levels of hCG
  • Vaginal bleeding

Women are at a higher risk if they have had:

  • An infection in the tubes
  • A previous ectopic pregnancy
  • Previous pelvic surgery

Molar Pregnancies

Molar pregnancies are a rare cause of early bleeding. Often referred to as a "mole", a molar pregnancy involves the growth of abnormal tissue instead of an embryo. It is also referred to as gestational trophoblastic disease (GTD).

Signs of a Molar Pregnancy:

  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Blood tests reveal unusually high hCG levels
  • Absent fetal heart tones
  • Grape-like clusters are seen in the uterus by an ultrasound

What are common reasons for bleeding in the first half of pregnancy?

Since bleeding that occurs in the first half of pregnancy is so common (20-30%), many wonder what the causes are besides some of the complications already mentioned. Bleeding can occur in early pregnancy due to the following factors, aside from the above mentioned complications:

  • Implantation bleeding can occur anywhere from 6-12 days after possible conception. Every woman will experience implantation bleeding differently—some will lightly spot for a few hours, while others may have some light spotting for a couple of days.
  • Some type of infection in the pelvic cavity or urinary tract may cause bleeding.
  • After intercourse some women may bleed because the cervix is very tender and sensitive. You should discontinue intercourse until you have been seen by your doctor. This is to prevent any further irritation—having normal sexual intercourse does not cause a miscarriage.

Second Half of Pregnancy:

Common conditions of minor bleeding include an inflamed cervix or growths on the cervix. Late bleeding may pose a threat to the health of the woman or the fetus. Contact your health care provider if you experience any type of bleeding in the second or third trimester of your pregnancy.

Placenta Abruption

Vaginal bleeding may be caused by the placenta detaching from the uterine wall before or during labor. Only 1% of pregnant women have this problem, and it usually occurs during the last 12 weeks of pregnancy.

Signs of Placental Abruption:

  • Bleeding
  • Stomach pain

Women who are at higher risks for this condition include:

  • Having already had children
  • Are age 35 or older
  • Have had abruption before
  • Have sickle cell anemia
  • High blood pressure
  • Trauma or injuries to the stomach
  • Cocaine use

Placenta Previa

Placenta previa occurs when the placenta lies low in the uterus partly or completely covering the cervix. It is serious and requires immediate care. It occurs in 1 in 200 pregnancies. Bleeding usually occurs without pain.

Women who are at higher risks for this condition include:

  • Having already had children
  • Previous cesarean birth
  • Other surgery on the uterus
  • Carrying twins or triplets
Preterm Labor

Vaginal bleeding may be a sign of labor. Up to a few weeks before labor begins, the mucus plug may pass. This is normally made up of a small amount of mucus and blood. If it occurs earlier, you could be entering preterm labor and should see your physician immediately.

Signs of Preterm Labor include these symptoms that occur before the 37th week of pregnancy:

  • Vaginal discharge (watery, mucus, or bloody)
  • Pelvic or lower abdominal pressure
  • Low, dull backache
  • Stomach cramps, with or without diarrhea
  • Regular contractions or uterine tightening

Sunday, October 11, 2009

What causes colic?


If your baby has colic, you may be wondering: "Why me?" And you're not alone - colic affects as many as one in four babies.

We don't know exactly what causes colic, but experts have a number of theories that include the following.

Food allergies and gas: Some babies may be lactose intolerant, or have an allergy to certain foods such as cow's milk. This can cause gas and bloating, which may lead to the frequent crying and fussing seen with colicky babies.

Imbalance of good and bad bacteria in the digestive system: Infants with lower levels of certain "good" bacteria in the digestive system may be more prone to colic.

Cigarette smoke: Being exposed to cigarette smoke during pregnancy or after birth may increase a baby's risk of colic. Cigarette smoke is believed to increase the levels of certain chemicals in the baby's body. These chemicals increase the risk of colic.

Other factors: Colic may also be related to differences in a baby's environment, how they react to things, and whether they need attention. How you feed your child and your level of anxiety or stress are also considered possible causes.

Any of these factors may be involved in causing colic. But further research is needed to find out more about how these factors are related to colic and whether other factors may also be involved. It's important to remember that colic is not a disease, and having colic does not mean your baby is sick or that you are a bad parent. Talk to your pharmacist or your baby's paediatrician about how to deal with your baby's colic.

BioGaia® is a registered trademark of BioGaia AB


Caring for Your Preemie

Caring for Your Preemie

Preemies: special babies with special needs

Premature babies, particularly those born before 35 weeks in the womb or those who are very small, need extra help to survive outside the protective environment of their mother's womb. Some parts of their bodies have not had time to fully develop, and so they may have special needs.

Premature babies often have difficulties breathing, feeding, and controlling their internal body temperature:

  • Temperature: Placing babies in an incubator, or hot-cot, will maintain their temperature.
  • Breathing: Preemies may have breathing problems because their lungs are not fully developed. Babies with breathing problems often need to receive extra oxygen. Using an oxygen hood, a ventilator or respirator, and continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) are ways of ensuring the baby receives enough oxygen.
  • Feeding: Very tiny premature babies cannot suck, swallow, and breathe well enough in the beginning to meet their needs. Many of them would use more energy trying to suck and swallow than they would get from the milk. This is why your baby's first calories will be given through an intravenous line (also called an IV line) or a fine tube through the nose or mouth into the stomach (also called a feeding tube).
Because of these special needs, many preemies may need to be admitted to a special care baby unit (SCBU), a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), or a premature infant care unit (PICU)


Saturday, October 10, 2009

Epidural, What you should know.


Once you are in active labour and are having regular, painful contractions, you can receive an epidural. An anesthesiologist is responsible for providing and overseeing this medication. He or she will explain the procedure to you and the types of epidurals available. The anesthesiologist will ask questions to ensure that there are no medical reasons you should not have an epidural, and will ask you about your concerns.

How an Epidural is Given

The epidural space surrounds the spinal cord. It is located using a special needle, which is passed between the bones of the spine, a few inches above the tailbone. The labour nurse will help you get into the best position, either lying on your side or sitting. It will take a few minutes to insert the epidural. After washing your lower back with antiseptic and freezing the skin, the needle will be inserted. A thin, flexible tube (the epidural catheter) will be passed through the needle, which is then removed. Local anesthetic ('freezing') will be injected through the tube, which is secured with tape. At this point, nothing hard or sharp will remain in your back.

The Effects of an Epidural

It takes between five and 30 minutes for the epidural to start working. During this early stage, you will feel warmth and tingling in the legs, followed by pain relief. As little medication as possible is used to relieve the pain, but some women will notice that their legs start to feel heavy.

The initial dose of freezing may last up to two hours. To prevent the pain from returning, medication is given continuously through the catheter. If the pain returns in spite of continuous medication, the dose can be increased. When it is time to push with the contractions, the dose of medication may be reduced or the medication may be stopped, as the numbness produced by the epidural can make it difficult to push.

Side Effects and Complications

An epidural is usually very safe for both mother and baby, but there are side effects and a small risk of complications, even when the best technique is followed. A possible drawback of an epidural is that it can slow down the labour process, which, in turn, can increase the need for forceps or even a cesarean section.

There are also a number of possible complications to be aware of:

Low blood pressure is the most common side effect of epidural anesthesia. You will be given fluids intravenously to prevent this complication. Your blood pressure will be monitored carefully. If your blood pressure does drop, you may be given IV fluids and medication to counteract the problem.

Shivering is not a serious side effect, but it is a common one. It usually occurs in the first hour after having an epidural and is associated with prolonged or advanced labour. An extra blanket may help!

Bladder control may be lost temporarily during labour, if you can't feel that your bladder is full. A urinary catheter may be needed.

If pain relief is inadequate even after the epidural, the catheter may have to be adjusted. Three percent of women experience no pain relief at all. If a woman who is having a cesarean section experiences inadequate pain relief she will be given nitrous oxide, or a local or general anesthesia.

Back pain after the birth is often attributed to the epidural, but is most often related to the labour and birth itself. However, a difficult epidural insertion may cause bruising between the bones of the spine, producing a lower back pain that usually lasts a few days.

An epidural may cause a headache if the needle goes deeper than the epidural space and causes the spinal fluid to leak. This headache is severe and, without treatment, it may last more than a week. Fortunately, an effective treatment, called a “blood patch,” is available. Your blood can be injected into the epidural space to relieve your headache. The risk of having this type of headache is approximately one in 200.

Nerve damage may cause prolonged numbness or partial weakness in one leg, which can last several weeks. It occurs after one out of every 2500 births. It is usually caused by pressure from the baby, on the nerves in the pelvis. However, it can, rarely, be caused by pressure from the epidural catheter on a nerve in the back. Tell your caregiver before you leave the hospital if your legs do not completely return to normal. In rare cases, permanent nerve damage can result in the area where the catheter was inserted.

Severe injury is rare. Severe drug reactions, such as convulsions, occur in one out of every 10,000 cases. Severe brain damage, coma, paralysis or death is even less common: about one case in 100,000. Note that the risk of severe injury or death due to an epidural is about the same as the risk of dying in a car ride.


Having a Cesarean Section Delivery

When Do You Need a Cesarean Section?
Not every woman undergoes a traditional vaginal delivery with the birth of her child.

Under conditions of fetal or maternal distress, or in the case of breech presentation (when a baby is turned feet first at the time of delivery), or if the woman's first baby was born by cesarean delivery, a procedure called a cesarean section may be required.
Cesarian Section Procedure
During a cesarean, a doctor will make either a lateral incision in the skin just above the pubic hair line, or a vertical incision below the navel.

As the incision is made, blood vessels are cauterized to slow bleeding. After cutting through the skin, fat, and muscle of the abdomen, the membrane that covers the internal organs is opened, exposing the bladder and uterus. At this time the physician will generally insert his or her hands into the pelvis in order to determine the position of the baby and the placenta. Next, an incision is made into the uterus and any remaining fluids are suctioned from the uterus. The doctor then enlarges the incision with his or her fingers.
Delivering the Baby via Cesarian Section
The baby's head is then grasped and gently pulled with the rest of its body from the mother's uterus.
Sewing the Cesarian Section Back Together
Finally, the abdominal layers are sewn together in the reverse order that they were cut. The mother is allowed to recover for approximately three to five days in the hospital. She will also be quite sore and restricted from activity for the following several weeks.
Cesarian Section Risks
There are several potential complications associated with this procedure that should be discussed with a doctor prior to surgery.

Copyrighted animations provided by Blausen Medical

A healthy diet during pregnancy

It's important for both you and your baby to remain as healthy as possible throughout your pregnancy.

Q. How much should I eat?
You do not need to eat extra food "for two" as it's not the quantity but the quality of the food you eat that's important. During the early stages of pregnancy, you may not want to eat certain things because of morning sickness - don't worry, just try to eat what you can. Later on in pregnancy, you may notice your appetite increases or gets back to normal once the nausea subsides.
Q. What should I eat?
A healthy, balanced diet. Don't forget that what you eat goes to nourish your developing baby, so it's important that you eat sensibly and healthily in order to provide your baby with everything he needs and to keep yourself fit and well.
Q. What is sensible eating?
Try to follow this simple guide to a varied and mixed diet.

Milk and milk products.
Try to drink milk every day. It is an excellent source of protein, calcium and many vitamins. If you don't like the taste of milk, try using milk in puddings, custards and sauces or on cereals. Alternatively, milk products, such as one carton of yogurt or an ounce of hard cheese are recommended.

Meat, poultry, fish, eggs.
Try to eat two portions of these each day as they are good sources of protein and iron (eggs must be cooked until the yolk and white are solid). You don't have to eat expensive cuts of meat as the cheaper cuts are just as good for you, but remember to trim off excess fat. Beans, peas and lentils are also good sources of protein and iron, especially for vegetarians. Oily fish such as sardines contain vitamin D which helps your body absorb calcium and is important for healthy bones.

Fruit and vegetables
Try to eat at least five portions every day as these are excellent sources of vitamins, minerals and fibre. Fresh, frozen and canned vegetables are all good for you, but remember not to overcook them, as this destroys the vitamin C content which is important for healthy skin and iron absorption.

Bread and cereals
Fibre and B vitamins are provided by foods such as potatoes, pasta, rice, and breakfast cereals. Try to eat some wholegrain bread and cereals every day, as they are high in fibre and provide a nutritious source of energy. Fibre can also help to prevent constipation, but remember to drink plenty of fluids with these high fibre foods.

Fat and oils
Butter, margarine, olive and vegetable oils are a rich source of fat and some vitamins. However, be careful about the amount of fat you include in your diet as too much can lead to weight problems.

Pregnant women can become deficient in iron therefore it is important that your diet contains plenty of iron rich foods, and foods containing vitamin C, such as a glass of fruit juice, with iron rich meals to help the body absorb the iron. Good sources of iron are red meat and fortified breakfast cereals.
Q. Are there any foods I should avoid?
There has been concern about the safety of certain foods. There are some foods which are potentially harmful to an unborn baby. These foods may contain bacteria such as listeria and salmonella, or they may have high levels of vitamin A. Foods to be avoided are un-pasteurized cheeses, soft cheeses and blue veined cheeses (e.g., Brie, Camembert, Stilton, or Danish Blue) unless they have been pasteurized; pâté, raw or lightly cooked meat, liver or liver-based foods and cod liver oil. Soft boiled eggs or eggs used raw in foods, i.e. homemade mayonnaise and desserts such as mousses, are also best avoided.

It is also best to avoid eating shark, marlin or swordfish as these have been shown to contain relatively high levels of methylmercury, which might affect the nervous system of unborn babies.

If you suffer from diagnosed allergic conditions, or where the father or any other children in the family have a history of allergy, you may wish to avoid eating peanuts for the period of time that you are pregnant. This is because the development of allergy is known to have genetic links and consideration should be given to the possibility that the baby may be sensitized to peanut allergy. There is no reason for women who do not fall into this category to avoid eating peanuts. Refined peanut oils are unlikely to cause a problem.
Q. What about handling food?
Always wash your hands before handling food or eating. Wash fruit and salad well, even pre-packed salads and always put chilled or frozen foods in the fridge or freezer soon after purchase. All reheated food must be piping hot before eating and food should not be reheated more than once. Always check the expiry date of any store-bought foods.


The Best Time to Conceive

by Kathleen Roberts
Best Time to ConceiveWhen is the best time to conceive a baby? Even though there are thousands of women who seem to get pregnant just looking at their mate, there are also countless women who find it very difficult. The window of time when a woman is actually able to conceive a child is actually very small. The key to success is to understand exactly how your cycle works and use that knowledge to your advantage.

Understanding Your Cycle

If you are trying to pin down the best time to conceive a baby, you need to understand your cycle. Most women have a 28-day cycle. other women have a 32-day cycle. Your cycle is measured from the first day of your menstrual period to the first day of the following menstrual period. You should track this for at least six months so you know exactly how long your cycle is on average.

It is completely normal for your cycle length to vary slightly from month to month. However, if you track your cycle for about six months and do some simple math, it will be much easier to determine the best time for you to conceive a baby. After you have several month tracked, you should subtract 18 days from your shortest cycle and 11 days from your longest cycle. This will give your the first and last days of the most fertile time of your cycle. For example, in a typical 28-day cycle the days which are most fertile are days 10 through 18.

Another method of figuring fertile days is to calculate 14 days before the start of your next period. Again, you'll need to track your period for some time so you know when to expect your period each month, on average.

When Is the Best Time to Conceive

Once you have established your fertile days, you can figure out your best time to conceive. If you are fertile during days 10 through 18, as in the first example above, it is best to have intercourse every other day during these days. If you have intercourse daily, it is possible that your partner may not be able to produce enough sperm. However, you don't want to space it out too much or the sperm may not be viable. Sperm actually lives for about three to five days after ejaculation. Combine this with the 12 to 24 hours that the ovum is viable after being released, and you can see why some couple have such a difficult time conceiving a child. To make things more difficult, some women do not actually ovulate each month.

To more closely pinpoint the best time to conceive, you should also consider using a basal thermometer to track your body temperature throughout the month. When you do this for a few months, it becomes very easy to see when your most fertile days are. When you ovulate, your body temperature goes up slightly after a dip in temperature just before ovulation. When you see that dip, you know a spike is coming and it is time to try to get pregnant.

Once you know approximately when you will ovulate, you can plan to have intercourse three days before and three days after the estimated day of ovulation. This assures that when an egg is released, sperm will be there waiting to meet it.

Along with monitoring your basal body temperature, you should also pay attention to changes in your cervical mucous. The best time to conceive is when your cervical mucous is clear and stretchy. This creates an easier path for the sperm to reach the egg. Some couple also like to use ovulation predictors that can be purchased at any drug store. Using these in combination with monitoring the changes in your body will greatly increase your chances of conceiving a child.

Other Tips for Increasing Fertility

There are other things you can do to improve your chances of getting pregnant. One is to stay healthy. Take prenatal vitamins, avoid alcohol and tobacco maintain a healthy body weight.

You should also be sure that you and your partner relax! If either of you are stressed out, from trying to conceive or from anything else, it will reduce your fertility. It is good the be aware of the best time to conceive a child, but it is better to make your love for each other be the primary focus. This will assure a better relationship and increase your chances of conceiving that baby you are longing for. Kathleen Roberts is a freelance writer/editor specializing in health and parenting topics. She is the mother of five beautiful children who are home schooled. They all live happily on their family farm in Colorado.


Buying prenatal supplements

Should I take one?

Experts agree that the best way to make sure you and your baby get all the nutrients you need while you are pregnant is to eat a varied, well balanced diet. This should include fresh fruits and vegerables, whole grains, beans and fish. Foods such as refined sugars, processed foods, saturated fats, and other animal proteins should be limited.

However, in some circumstances it can be difficult to get all the nutrients you need through diet alone; if you are suffering badly with morning sickness, for example. In this case, your doctor or midwife may advise you to take a multivitamin supplement especially designed for pregnant women.

What should it contain?

There are no hard-and-fast rules as to what has to be in a multivitamin in order for it to be called a prenatal supplement, but a good supplement for pregnant woman generally contains more folic acid, iron and calcium than a general multivitamin. These three minerals are important for reasons explained below. Prenatal supplements don't contain retinol (the animal form of vitamin A), which can be harmful to unborn babies in large doses. They contain the plant-derived form of vitamin A (betacarotene), instead.

Folic acid
Folic acid is a B vitamin, which is also found in various foods, including beans, leafy greens and fortified breakfast cereals. Taking a 400 microgram (400mcg) folic acid supplement each day during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy (ideally starting at least one month before you start trying to conceive, preferably three months) can lower your risk of having a baby with a neural tube defect, such as spina bifida. Spina bifida is a serious congenital condition, which occurs when the tube around the central nervous system fails to close completely.

Studies show that women at high risk of having a baby with a neural tube defect (those who've had a baby with spina bifida before, for example, or women who take certain medicines for epilepsy) can lower their risk by 72 per cent if they take folic acid before and during pregnancy. These women also need to take a larger dose of folic acid each day (5 milligrams or 5mg). Talk to your doctor before you do this as you will need a prescription.

Iron is needed to make the extra blood required to support your growing baby. Your body is making so much extra blood when
you're pregnant that you need about 30 to 60 mg of iron every day; 15 to 45 mg more than the recommended daily allowance of 15 mg.


Finally, a woman needs twice as much calcium when she's pregnant; 1,500 mg of calcium per day. Calcium is found in milk products, dark leafy vegetables, tofu, sardines and canned salmon.

Other nutrients

So, besides folic acid, iron and calcium, what else should a good
prenatal supplement contain? Look for one with vitamin C, vitamin D, B vitamins such as B6 and B12, potassium, zinc and vitamin E.

Find a supplement that provides 100 per cent of the recommended daily allowance of all the essential vitamins, and never take more than the recommended daily allowance (usually one multivitamin a day). Taking megadoses of certain vitamins can be harmful to you and your baby.

Strict vegeterians and women with medical conditions, such as diabetes, gestational diabetes or anemia should talk with their doctor or midwife about any special supplements they might need.

Where do I get them?

You can buy prenatal supplements at almost any pharmacy, or your doctor may prescribe them for you if there is a medical need. You can save money by buying a generic version instead of a branded name. Many doctors and midwives agree that these generic brands work just as well as other kinds.

Before buying prenatal supplements, make sure you've read the label and that you understand what each supplement contains.