Archives for April 2008

Getting pregnant: The longer you wait the harder it may be

CNN reports that “women over 35 struggle the most to get pregnant. As a woman ages, the quality of her eggs tends to decline and she may not ovulate as frequently.”

Obstetrician and gynecologist Michael Randell says that a woman has only a 15 percent chance of conceiving each month. About 85 percent of people will conceive in the first year of trying. It may seem that people are having more problems getting pregnant these days, but this is because more people are waiting longer, according to Randell.

He also blames monthly timing. “It’s one of the most shocking things that I see, when patients really don’t know that they only have a small window of opportunity to get pregnant each month. The optimal time of the month for ovulation is 14 days after the first day of your last menstrual period.”

Nevertheless, many couples are putting off starting a family becuase they want to spend time together without the complication of children. Just remember, if you delay, there may be a price to pay later on.

Solving the miscarriage mystery

Parenting magazine (May 2008, page 69) says that nearly one third of pregnancy losses are caused by undiagnosed yet treatable disorders. Mary Stephenson, M.D, director of the University of Chicago Recurrent Pregnancy Loss Program recommends that a second loss be sent for chromosomal testing which is underutilized in the U.S. This test can tell whether the miscarriage was due to a random chromosomal error or whether there’s a treatable condition present, such as an inherited genetic abnormality, an endocrine disorder, a uterine problem, or an immunological issue.  Many doctors wait until a third loss or more before they send for testing, but experts say action can and should be taken sooner. 

“When women lose chromosomally normal babies and are thouroughly tested for causes of loss, at least 60 percent have a treatable disorder. Recent advances likely push this number even higher. With treatment, most of these women can have a successful pregnancy. Without it, many will relive the tragedy of miscarriage.” For more information, so Darci Klein’s book, To Full Term: A Mother’s Triumph Over Miscarriage.

Preparing for the Improbable: Emergency Childbirth

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I read a story in the news about a woman who delievered a baby in the hospital parking lot, aided by her husband who had experience delivering baby farm animals. The husband could not get into the building because he couldn’t locate the buzzer near the enterance, and the baby just wouldn’t wait any longer. Luckily he did have those births under his belt, and he was able to keep his cool and clear out mucus from the newborn’s throat which was blocking its breathing.  If not for that, I’m sure no one likes to think what could have happened!

Obviously, situations like this are very rare, but such thoughts might have crossed your mind: What do I do if I can’t make it to the hospital in time? What if I have a home birth and the midwife is late? What if I’m stuck in traffic or snowed in at home? If you’ve been pondering these possible situations, there’s nothing to stop you from being prepared for an emergency, and preparing your partner as well.

“When birth is imminent and medical help is unavailable, it is important to understand the normal course of labor and childbirth. The mother and anyone who is helping can make the birth easier and safer by knowing exactly what is happening and how best to help.”  The first step is to learn about the three stages of labor and how to help a laboring woman through each one by reading this Emergency Childbirth article at TheFarm.

Unsure whether there is time to transport the mother to the hospital? Med-help.net has the answers. You can also find additional information there about preparation for and delivery of the baby, with some helpful pictures for those visual learners.

In addition to discussing symptoms of an iminent birth and guidleines for delivery, DiscoveryHealth provides a list of emergency supplies to keep on hand. Things that should be included in your stash are: a flashlight, pillow, clean sheets and towels, suction bulb, sterile rubber gloves, clean scissors, and two clean cord ties.

It might be helpful to print out this 13-page reference guide (actually intended for medical students) and kept on hand.  There are many other sources of information that can be found online or in print, if having it hand will make you feel more relaxed. For a mere $299, the super-paranoid person can even order an emergency childbirth video.

A few words of caution:

Try not to interfere with the birth. Your job is simply to support the woman and “catch” the emerging baby.
Keep your hands outside of the birth canal.
Don’t pull on the baby’s head or body or the umbilical cord.
Never cut the umbilical cord unless specifically advised and coached by a health care professional.
Don’t use harsh chemical products around mother or baby. Sterilized water and a mild soap work best.

Preparing for a Healthy Pregnancy: Proper Nutrition is vital

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You can start preparing your body for pregnancy now, even if you are not thinking about starting a family for another few months or even years.  To ensure that you and your baby have the best chance at good health, take a few extra steps to prepare for this important phase in advance. In today’s health-conscious society, you have more choices than ever when it comes to proper nutrition.

Following are five healthy habits to consider before attempting to conceive, as reported by Sally Watts at Charleston.net.

Fat can be good!  According to Dr. Craig Koniver, owner of Primary Plus Family Medicine and founder of The Center for Organic Medicine in Charleston, most with women of childbearing age do not consume enough healthy fat. Healthy omega-3 fats can be found in fatty fish, such as salmon or sardines, as well as foods that contain flax. You can control your omega-3 intake with fish oil and/or flax-seed oil.

Take your vitamins!  It is critical that you take a balanced prenatal multivitamin that contains folic acid, as well as other healthy minerals. Folic acid is vital to fetal development and guards against several congenital malformations. Dr. Koniver also suggests taking selenium, a trace mineral crucial for proper immune system and thyroid function.

Keep the fruits and veges coming!  You should try to consume as many organic fruits and vegetables as possible. Avoiding pesticides and fungicides will help maintain the delicate hormone balance during pregnancy, says Dr. Koniver.

Keep refilling that glass of water! To keep all body systems running smoothly, it’s important to stay hydrated.  A woman’s total blood volume increases by 20 percent or more during pregnancy, and hydration is critical in maintaining health.  According to the March of Dimes, lack of proper hydration can trigger preterm contractions.

Cut back on coffee!  The March of Dimes also suggests women cut back on caffeine before they become pregnant, as caffeine has been linked to miscarriage in studies. For those with a slight caffeine addiction, it’s better to kick the habit before pregnancy begins so you can avoid the struggle once you conceive.

She almost gave birth in a NY taxi cab…

I have a friend named Laila who’s one of the funniest people I know. We worked together in NY before I was married, and we always had a great time together. Now she’s got 6-month old twins, but this blog entry of hers is entitled “One Upon a Belly” and tells the tale of her 4-week labor (so to speak). If you want a chuckle, don’t miss it! :)

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