Category: PreConception

Pregnancy Symptoms: Top 10 Early Signs of Pregnancy

Pregnancy Symptoms: Top 10 Early Signs of Pregnancy

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Could you be pregnant? Some symptoms may show up about the time you’ve missed a period – or a week or two later. In fact, 7 out of 10 women have symptoms by the time they’re six weeks pregnant.

If you’re not keeping track of your menstrual cycle or if it varies widely from one month to the next, the arrival of your period may be uncertain. If you haven’t started your period get a better idea whether or not pregnancy might be a possibility by taking a home pregnancy test to confirm one way or the other. Too, a visit to your trusty gynecologist is pretty fool proof. Please do visit our Newly Pregnant area for a quick overview of what’s in store.

Early Signs of Pregnancy – drum roll please.

10. Food aversions

If you’re newly pregnant, it’s not uncommon for certain odors and aromas to trigger your gag reflex. There is no definite prediction as to which odors will be bothersome. Some women even have trouble smelling their own new changing body chemistry! Previously enjoyed foods may also become uninvited guests to your delicate, pregnant system. It is thought that rapidly increasing amounts of estrogen in your system is the culprit.

9. Mood swings

It’s common to experience mood swings during pregnancy. Changing hormones can substantially affect neurotransmitter levels (chemical messengers in the brain). Everyone responds differently to these changes. Some moms-to-be experience heightened emotions, both good and bad; others feel more depressed or anxious.

Don’t be alarmed at fluctuating emotions during pregnancy. If you feel sadness, hopelessness or daily coping abilities are more challenging than usual, please contact your health care professional immediately. Safety for you and your baby always comes first.

8. Abdominal bloating

If clothes feel snugger around the waistline due to bloating go ahead and blame it on hormones…again. Early pregnancy is the time when hormones are exploding to care for you and your baby’s health. Even when the uterus is still very small, discomfort is possible.

7. Frequent urination

Pregnancy ignites lively courses of bodily reactions, especially within the first 6 weeks of your first trimester. Increased blood flow through the kidneys promotes more frequent bathroom runs. It’s the body’s way of playing it smart by insisting the body expel toxins for a happier, healthier mom and baby.

Frequent urination will continue – or intensify – as your pregnancy progresses. Your blood volume rises dramatically during pregnancy, which leads to extra fluid being processed and ending up in your bladder. The problem is compounded as your growing baby exerts more pressure on your bladder.

6. Fatigue

Ladies who are normally energetic are often surprised at how exhaustion knocks them off their game. Please accept this as a healthy part of pregnancy. No one knows for sure what causes early pregnancy fatigue. At the risk of sounding repetitive, persevering levels of the hormone progesterone contributes to sleepiness. Morning sickness and having to urinate frequently during the night can add to your sluggishness, too.

Usually, the second trimester improves with more energy. But as the third trimester approaches, it is normal to once again experience fatigue from your body doing so much more work growing a beautiful baby.

5. Tender, swollen breasts

If pregnancy and hormones were strangers to you before, they won’t be for long. Sensitive and swollen breasts, caused by rising hormone levels is one of the earliest signs of pregnancy. This exaggerated feeling should subside after the first trimester as your body adjusts to its new role.

4. Nausea

Not all women experience nausea during pregnancy. There really isn’t any rule of thumb about whom or how nausea and/or vomiting is experienced. It is common to experience nausea morning, noon or night. Thankfully, many women experience relief around the 2nd trimester. Some women experience no nausea whatsoever.

When experiencing nausea, make an effort to eat light, non-greasy meals. Saltines are handy to have around. Keeping something in your stomach will also help keep nausea at bay. Don’t forget to hydrate often!

3. A missed period

If you’re usually pretty regular and your period doesn’t arrive on time, consider taking a pregnancy test before you notice any symptoms. Excess nausea, breast tenderness and extra trips to the bathroom may signal pregnancy. If you miss your period, don’t panic. There are times that your time of the month also adjusts to daily routines involving stress or other health-related issues.

2. Your basal body temperature stays high

Not everyone has a consistently regular 98.6 perfect temperature gauge to detect any possible physical changes. If you’ve been charting your basal body temperature and you see that your temperature has stayed elevated for 18 days in a row, you’re probably pregnant.

Finally …

1. The proof: A positive home pregnancy test

In spite of what you might read on the box, many home pregnancy tests are not sensitive enough to reliably detect pregnancy until about a week after a missed period. So if you decide to take a test earlier than that and get a negative result, try again in a few days. Remember that a baby starts to develop before you can tell you’re pregnant, so take care of your health while you’re waiting to find out.

5 Things you can do to improve your pregnancy diet

5 Things you can do to improve your pregnancy diet

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Are you preparing for pregnancy? Do these five things to safegaurd your health, as well as the health of your baby-to-be.

1. Fall for Folate (Folic acid)
Studies have shown that folic acid lowers your babys risk of developing neural tube defects like spinal bifida. Folate can be found in green, leafy vegetables, whole and refined grains.

2. Cut Down on Junk Food
You know that refined sugar and saturated fat isn’t good for you, but did you know it’s not good for your baby, either? Also, refined sugar and saturated fat can increase your chances of severe nausea and morning sickness during pregnany.

3. Enjoy the Good Stuff
Eat more salad, mangoes, carrots, whole wheat oatmeal, milk, yogurt- everythung good for you!

4. Stop Skipping Meals
If you make a habit of skipping breakfast so you can get more sleep, or any meal for any reason, now is the time to break the habit. Once you’re eating for two, you have to make sure that your little one is getting a steady supply of nutrients.

5. Take a Good Look at Your Dietary Habits
Is it possible that you have an eating disorder, such as anorexia nervosa or bulimia? Are you diabetic or a vegetarian? When trying to conceive, it is incredibly important to talk to your doctor aboyt any dietary habits and maybe even consult a nutritionist. If you have an eating disorder, consider a support group. And remember, your health directly affects your baby’s health.

 

Is Parenthood for you?

Is Parenthood for you?

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To Parent or Not to Parent: What will be your answer?

Some people have set their lives up to be parents, making this an easy question to answer. These individuals have saved up the funds, created a 10 year plan that included children, and based almost every decision made in their adult lives around becoming a parent. However, there are other people in this world that have no idea if they want to be a parent or not; therefore; they change their answer to this question on a regular basis. Lastly, there are people who never entertain the question, giving a firm no, and moving on with their lives.

You might be somewhere in between the three scenarios mentioned above, but hopefully after reading this article, answering this question is something that we hope you can do, without regretting that decision later on in life.

Weighing the Hardships Associated with Parenting

Being a parent is a feeling that you can never truly understand, until you have children. It is a fun, exciting, and great part of life, but it does require a lot of work. Ironically, you could never know the true amount of work that it takes to be a parent, until you have children of your own.

What is it that makes parenting so hard? The answer is: countless reasons. You have to devote a great deal of your energy to your children and their needs, while trying to handle the outside distractions, such as work, finances, and finding time to socialize with other adults outside of your home. At times, you will feel so full of love and positive emotions, but at other times, you will feel completely drained.

You may be thinking, “Parenting is a two-person job; right?” Yes, it is; however, it is true that women bear more of the responsibility of parenting, in comparison to men. There are many men that uplift mothers, and try their hardest to be active in their children’s lives. Even with all of the help that men offer in today’s society, the expenses of having a child still fall on the shoulders of women. This includes daycare expenses, healthcare bills, meals, help with schoolwork, emotional counseling, and more.

Here Comes Reality

Even with the images creating a picture of how great parenting is, no one can know what being a parent is like until they have children. Even if you carried a five-pound sack of potatoes around, or were responsible for watching over an egg for a week in class, this is not the same as being a real parent. Unlike the sack of potatoes and egg, you cannot undo your decision to have a child once that child enters the world.

There are many people in this world that thought about the hardships mentioned above, but still have a strong desire to be a parent. Even after reality has set in, they realize that caring for another life is something that they were destined to do; therefore, they want to be a parent. This is okay; the decision to be a parent is entirely up to you!

Are you Ready?

Before you and your partner decide to become parents, there are some questions that you should ask each other. This helps you determine if your partner is truly ready to become a parent. The answers could also help you gauge the type of parent that your partner would be.

You will need to focus on your dreams, desires, and hopes. Decide if being a parent falls into those categories.

• Have you spent time with children in the past? How did that make you feel?

• During your childhood, what did you enjoy the most? What do you wish you could change about your childhood?

• Did you receive great parenting? What didn’t you like about your parenting? What would you change, and what would you repeat as a parent?

• What do you expect parenting to be like?

• What emotions and thoughts do you have while answering these questions?

 

Preconception Checkup Questions

Preconception Checkup Questions

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Preconception Checkup Questions

A preconception visit is a great first step for anyone trying to get pregnant, particularly those trying for their first baby or those who have any underlying health concerns or problems. It’s best to schedule the appointment at least three months before you plan to try to conceive, in order to leave ample time for any necessary vaccines. These questions should get you started:

[ ] Am I at risk for any complications? Do I need to take any specific precautions?
[ ] Is my weight in the right range for my height, weight and age?
[ ] Would my child be at risk for any genetic diseases? Do you recommend genetic testing?
[ ] Do I need additional vaccines or boosters?
[ ] Are there any health issues or concerns I should resolve before trying to get pregnant?
[ ] Are my medications and supplements safe for pregnancy? If not, what can I do or take instead?
[ ] Will previous birth control use affect my odds of conceiving? How long after I cease using it will I able to conceive?
[ ] are there any exercises or physical activities that will change my odds of conceiving? What are some general tips and rules about exercise while trying to conceive?
[ ] What foods should I eat, and what should I avoid? What are the guidelines for caffeine, alcohol, or cigarettes?
[ ] What prenatal vitamins would be best for me?
[ ] Are there any environmental factors I should avoid?
[ ] Which over-the-counter medications are safe to use while I’m trying to conceive?
[ ] At what point in the month am I ovulating and most likely to conceive?
[ ] What can my partner and I do to increase our chances of conceiving?

You can print out this list to refer back to at your preconception appointment.

 

Predicting Ovulation

Predicting Ovulation

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What is ovulation?

Ovulation refers to the process of an egg being released from your ovary. You become pregnant when that egg is fertilized and implants into your uterine lining.

You’re most fertile days include the two to three days before ovulation through the day you ovulate. Knowing or being able to estimate your anticipated date of ovulation can help you time sex accordingly to either increase your chances of getting pregnant or prevent pregnancy. There are three methods you can use to help determine when you are ovulating.

Use the calendar method

The easiest way to estimate your ovulation date is to count back on your calendar. To do this you will need to estimate when your next period will start, which means you will need to have regular periods. From this day, you need to count back 12 days and then another four. These five days are when you’re most likely to ovulate. If you have a 28-day cycle (Day 1 being the first day of your period; Day 28 being the day before your next period), you’ll likely ovulate on day 14.

You can also use an ovulation tracker or calculator to help do the math for you.

Chart your basal body temperature and cervical mucus

A more accurate method to determine ovulation is to track your basal body temperature (BBT) patterns and your vaginal discharge patterns each cycle. This method is natural and free but takes time and effort.

After a few cycles of tracking these cues and writing them down each day, you should begin to see a pattern emerge. This pattern will help you predict when you should ovulate next.

Body temperature

Your basal body temperature, or BBT, refers to your lowest body temperature in a 24-hour period. Although you can’t feel a change in your body temperature your basal body temperature will rise a few days after ovulation. The increase in your BBT is very small, ranging from 0.4 to 1.0 degree Fahrenheit. You can detect this increase by taking your BBT every morning upon first waking with a special thermometer.

Vaginal discharge

Your cervical mucus, or vaginal discharge, changes substantially throughout your cycle. You may have very little discharge and feel dry for most of the month; however, as you approach ovulation, you’ll notice an increase in your cervical mucus. This mucus will have a raw egg white look and consistency: clear, slippery, and stretchy.

Mild cramping

Along with a change in cervical mucus, some women report feeling mild cramps or twinges of pain in the abdomen or a one-sided backache around the time of ovulation (known as mittelschmerz).

Use an ovulation predictor kit

The most accurate method to determine your ovulation date is testing your hormone levels with an ovulation predictor kit (OPK). OPKs are similar to home pregnancy tests in that they use your pee to test your hormone levels. This particular test tests your luteinizing hormone (LH) and will give you a positive reading once they reach a certain level. A positive test means one of your ovaries will soon release an egg within the next two days. This range gives you time to plan ahead for your most fertile time of your cycle.

OPKs can be purchased at any drugstore or online without a prescription. They can become pricey at about $20 to $50 per pack at a drugstore, but they can be purchased for less at some online stores.

 

Trying to Conceive? 5 Changes to make to your Diet Now

Trying to Conceive? 5 Changes to make to your Diet Now

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Improve Your Diet

The sooner you make positive changes to your diet, the more likely you are to successfully conceive. For both genders, nutrition and fertility are intertwined. You need to maintain a healthy diet to improve your odds of getting pregnant and of giving birth to a healthy baby.

Consume several portions of fruits, vegetables, grains such as multigrain bread and calcium-rich choices like yogurt, cheese, and milk each day. Certain vitamins and minerals, such as vitamins C and E, zinc, and folic acid, are important for producing quality sperm. A nutritional deficiency can impact your periods, making ovulation prediction difficult. In addition, you may not ovulate at all if you’ve lost a large amount of weight or are significantly overweight.

What to Avoid

If your eating habits are not ideal, you’ll have to make different choices. Cut out or greatly reduce your alcohol intake. For non-alcoholic alternatives, see our list of the best virgin drinks. Cease any recreational drugs and, if you smoke cigarettes, start on the road to cessation now. All of these substances and habits can cause harm to a developing child.

You may also want to scale back your caffeine consumption. Medical opinions on whether or not caffeine impacts fertility is mixed. Researchers generally agree that low to moderate caffeine consumption consisting of less than 300 mg a day, about the equivalent of two 8-ounce cups of coffee, won’t affect your fertility, but your doctor may recommend that you quit caffeine entirely to play it safe. You can learn more about caffeine and fertility here.

Although fish is generally regarded as a superfood, certain species are high in mercury, which can be dangerous to a developing fetus. Mercury can build up in your cells and linger there for more than a year, so it’s a good idea to avoid high-mercury fish such as shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish while you’re trying to get pregnant. Instead, eat lower-mercury fish such as salmon and canned light tuna a few times a week. You should avoid albacore altogether, as it’s high in mercury. You can read more on eating fish while trying to conceive here.

Processed meats should only be eaten in small amounts, and smoked or raw meats should be avoided entirely during gestation. Even hot dogs or deli meats should be heated until they are steaming before you eat them once you conceive.

Take a Vitamin-Mineral Supplement

Although you can meet nearly all of your nutritional needs by eating a balanced diet, many researchers believe that even the healthiest eaters can benefit from supplements. You may find it difficult to eat well when you’re working or parenting other children, so taking a prenatal vitamin ensures that you’re getting enough folic acid and other nutrients to boost your odds of getting pregnant.

Remember that a supplement is a safety net, not a substitute for healthy choices. Since regular over-the-counter multivitamins may contain huge doses of vitamins and minerals that could be harmful to a developing fetus, it’s a good idea to switch to a pill formulated specifically for pregnant women. Those who follow a vegetarian diet may also need Vitamin D and B-12 supplements in addition to extra protein. Talk with your doctor about your choice of prenatal vitamin.

Get lots of folic acid, at least 400 micrograms a day.

Folic acid has been proven to reduce a baby’s risk of neural-tube birth defects such as spina bifida. It is also believed to a lower incidence of heart attacks, strokes, cancer, and diabetes.

Most women of child-bearing age should get 400 micrograms (mcg) daily, the equivalent of 0.4 milligrams (mg), according to the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS). If you have a family history of neural-tube birth defects or take medication for seizures, your doctor may tell you to increase your daily intake to 4,000 mcg, or 4 mg, beginning at least one month before you conceive and continuing until the end of your first trimester. If you’re expecting twins or triplets, your doctor will likely suggest that you to increase your folic acid intake to at least 400 mcg per fetus.

An excellent over-the-counter prenatal vitamin should contain more than the minimum recommendation of folic acid, between 600 and 800 mcg, what you’ll need during pregnancy. In addition, you should eat folate-rich foods, such as dark green leafy vegetables like spinach or kale, citrus fruits, nuts, legumes, whole grains, and fortified breads and cereals. Folic acid is a water-soluble vitamin, so your body will flush out the excess if you eat too much. However, there’s a drawback to being water-soluble, too. You can lose a lot of this vitamin in cooking water, so steaming or cooking vegetables in a small amount of water to preserve the folate is crucial.

For some ladies, there’s an exception to this rule. Getting too much folate may hide a B-12 deficiency, which is an issue for some vegetarians. Ask your doctor or midwife if you’re concerned about this possibility.

Find Your Ideal Body Weight

Losing a few pounds, or gaining some if you’re underweight, while you’re attempting to get pregnant is a great idea because you want to be as close as possible to your ideal weight when you get pregnant. Being over- or underweight can make it more difficult to conceive. Also, obese ladies have more pregnancy and birth complications, and underweight ladies are more likely to have a low-birth-weight baby.

While you’re following a healthy diet with low-fat, high-fiber foods, start or increase an exercise routine. If you’re overweight, aim to lose one to two pounds a week, which is generally regarded as safe weight loss. Unhealthy weight loss from crash dieting can deplete your body’s nutritional stores, which isn’t a good idea for those trying to conceive.

 

Infertility Warning Signs

Infertility Warning Signs

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Modern medicine normally advises that you should attempt to conceive for an entire year with no success before becoming concerned about infertility. If you’re becoming impatient after about nine months and you’re starting to wonder if something is amiss, seek out your obstetrician for a referral to a reproductive endoncrinologist (RE) for a few tests. If there is a physical reason you haven’t been successful, you can start with treatments right away. If all the tests come back without issue, you can then relax and keep trying. The exception to this rule is if you are over the age of 35, at which point you may want to see a specialist after just six months of failure to conceive. The reason for this is because fertility begins to decline after 35 and time could be a factor.

If you’re not sure about whether the fertility issue lies with you or your partner, take heart in knowing that the odds are about equal in either direction. And one third of fertility problems can be attributed to each partner. The remaining two thirds of fertility issues are scenarios in which a combination of issues is preventing conception. The only way to ascertain what issues you’re facing is for both partners to be tested by an RE. In the interim, here are some concerns to address with your doctor.

Age-Related Challenges

A male’s sperm count drops as he ages. Fewer sperm can make conception more difficult.

Immunity Issues

Males who have compromised immune systems also can suffer from sperm motility issues. This means that his sperm may not be able to swim to the egg and fertilize it properly. Some immune disorders can also cause the body to attack the sperm as if it were an intruder, lessening successful conception even more.

Weight Problems

Being overweight or underweight can be caused by poor nutrition. This can have a significant impact on the health, number and quality of a man’s sperm.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)

Untreated STDs such as gonorrhea, chlamydia and urinary tract infections (UTIs) can cause issues with sperm production, health and motility. This can be greatly improved by having the disease treated properly.

Women’s Issues

Irregular Cycles and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

An irregular cycle, with its subsequent irregular ovulation, is one of the most common cases of infertility. Some ladies may see their cycles become normal by following a regime of diet and exercise, while other women may need fertility medications such as Clomid to successfully conceive. If you are concerned you may have PCOS, ask your doctor to check you for cysts. Cysts are fluid-filled sacs that grow on or in your ovaries and prevent ovulation. Most women have a series of small cysts, but some women only have issues with one of their ovaries. PCOS affects between five and 10 percent of all women and signs include excessive hair growth, infrequent or absent periods, obesity and acne. If the cysts do not resolve on their own, as is quite common, you may require a laparoscopy to have them removed.

Being Over 30 years of Age

Being over 30 doesn’t preclude your ability to have a baby, but your chances of success to decrease with age because your eggs may not be fertilized as easily as those of a younger woman can be.

Uterine Fibroids

Uterine fibroids affect 75 percent of all American women, and these benign tumors on the walls of the uterus usually don’t stand in the way of conceiving. Should they block the Fallopian tubes, however, you may experience infertility. There is a procedure called a myomectomy available that removes fibroids and can restore your ability to conceive.

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)

PIC is caused by sexually transmitted bacteria, such as chlamydia. Antibiotics can be used to clear the infection and restore your ability to get pregnant.

Scar Tissue or Pelvic Adhesions

If you’ve had a previous pelvic infection, the scar tissue can cause blockages in the Fallopian tubes and lead to infertility. Laparoscopic surgery can remove these blockages and help you to conceive.

If you’ve been trying to conceive for awhile and are concerned that yourself or your partner may have any of these issues, speak to your obstetrician about seeing an RE as soon as you can. This will help you discover the root of the issue and get on track to having a baby.

 

Different Types Of Adoption

Different Types Of Adoption

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Concerned regarding how much time a domestic adoption takes? Discover your various paths when considering expanding your family by way of adoption.
Before I begin, let me state that I do not have ulterior motives regarding what type of adoption is ideal or even if it is the optimal option for everyone trying to start a family. Forming a family is a personal thing that varies family to family, and no one route is the best for everyone.
Domestic adoption
One of the difficulties in attempting to offer an overview about domestic adoption of newborns (also referred to as relinquishment programs on behalf of the birth parent) is that the time they take varies in relation to how aggressively the potential parents try to connect with pregnant women thinking about making an adoption plan. There are some general trends, however.
The child that takes the longest to adopt is a Caucasian female who is low-risk. (Meaning she is low risk for exposure to tobacco, alcohol, drugs when in utero; low risk for genetic medical or mental health problems; and low risk for legal issues. This more often than not involves an unknown father.) The adoption wait time is typically shorter if you select a child of non-Caucasian race, one with higher risk factors, or a boy. An African-American male or infants who were exposed to drugs or alcohol when in the womb have the shortest wait time.
Foster care adoption
A pressing need exists for adoptions out of the foster care system— approximately 130,000 children currently await adoption. Speaking generally, two ways exist to adopt from the foster care system: either you might adopt from a foster home or you might foster to adopt. In the first option, kids are legally free (their parents have no legal claim to them) and staying in foster homes or group homes until they find an adoptive family. Usually, it takes a long time — on average 39 months. They are on average 8 years of age and statistics of race and gender are split down the middle (Caucasian, African-American, and if geographically relevant, Latino). The majority of adoptive families are subsidized monthly post adoption to cover some expenses. Some states cover college tuition.
The other way to adopt via the fostering system is by fostering to adopt. Because the mission of the system is to reunite families, selecting this route runs the risk of down the road returning the child to their parents. Families looking to adopt foster these children until it is decided whether or not the kid is better off with them or their birth family. If it isn’t in their best interest, their foster family can adopt them. The large majority of the kids that are younger (children age five and under) and adopted through foster care get adopted by way of the foster to adopt program.
Honestly, certain states and even other counties do a superior job when it comes to selecting children to place in these foster-to-adopt programs. Many aim for those children wherein there is a sound chance that familial reunification is not going to occur, while others don’t bother to take these precautions. Most families I interact with were able to foster and then adopt, though instances do exist in which the child or children they fostered were reunited with their birth family.