Drinking Before You Knew
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If you were drinking before you knew you were pregnant, you may be concerned about your fetus's health. Learn more about the effect alcohol can have on your fetus.
Transcript: Your whole alcohol MO has to change once you're pregnant. But what if you were drinking before you...
Your whole alcohol MO has to change once you're pregnant. But what if you were drinking before you knew you had a passenger? Whether you're the daily cocktail type or you only imbibe on special occasions, you may accidentally consume alcohol during the early weeks of your pregnancy. If this happens, you shouldn't be too hard on yourself - after all, you didn't even know you were pregnant! Fortunately, it is usually the case that when you drink alcohol at this stage of the pregnancy, it's too early to negatively affect the fetus's organs. This is because there isn't a strongly established blood connection between you and your baby during the time when you ovulate and the end of the month. Of course, this "safe window," is short! Once you know you're pregnant, or even suspect that you may be, you should stop drinking. There is, after all, a risk of fetal alcohol syndrome when you consume any amount of alcohol during pregnancy. But don't worry, you'll have plenty of time for a glass of wine after the baby is born. If you are breastfeeding, though, you'll have to wait until the baby is no longer nursing to enjoy that cocktail.More »
Last Modified: 2013-04-15 | Tags »
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Smoking during pregnancy will harm your fetus's health. Watch this video for details on cigarettes and pregnancy.
Transcript: Up to 13 percent of women still smoke during their pregnancies. Cigarette smoke contains over 4,000 chemicals,...
Up to 13 percent of women still smoke during their pregnancies. Cigarette smoke contains over 4,000 chemicals, all of which enter the blood stream and head straight for your baby. Two of these in particularcarbon monoxide and nicotinenarrow the blood vessels in the umbilical cord. Since this is the babys source of oxygen, when this happens it becomes much harder for him to breathe. Oxygen deprivation in the womb can lead to stillbirth, premature delivery, low birth weight, learning disorders and a lower IQ. If youre a non-smoker, but your partner lights up, your baby is still subjected to serious risks. In fact, the CDC says that women exposed to secondhand smoke have a 20 percent greater chance of delivering underweight babies than women who arent exposed. Even women who spend a great deal of time around wood fires may experience similar negative effects due to inhalation of carbon monoxide. This risk, however, is smaller than the risk of smoking, and not something to be worried about if it occurs in moderation. If youre pregnant and cant stop smoking, talk to your doctor about quitting. If you can do so by week 14, youre about as likely as anyone to have a healthy baby!More »
Last Modified: 2013-04-11 | Tags »
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Many women wonder what's safe to drink during pregnancy. Check out this video to learn about drinking dos and don’ts during pregnancy.
Transcript: You know that alcohol is a no-go while you're expecting, but what about your morning java jolt? With...
You know that alcohol is a no-go while you're expecting, but what about your morning java jolt? With a few exceptions, most pre-pregnancy drinks are also just fine during pregnancy. So have your fill of milk, water, juice, and decaffeinated sodas, coffees and teas. While some women worry that tap water isn't safe for a baby, this commodity is regulated by the government, ensuring chemicals are present in very trace amounts, if at all. Other moms-to-be are concerned about drinking milk from cows that have been given hormones. But the FDA asserts that these BVF hormones do not harm humans, particularly in the very teeny amounts found in milk. When it comes to drinking soda, some women worry about the artificial sweeteners found in diet brands. But aspartame, the sweetener used in diet drinks, is certifiably safe for fetuses. Most herbal teas are also fine, as long as you avoid those that contain ingredients with pharmacological uses, like kava and St. John's wort. Aside from alcohol, which is definitely not OK, caffeine is the most hotly debated drink during pregnancy. Until very recently, about 300 milligrams a day of caffeine were seen as being safe for baby-that's the equivalent of about three cups of coffee or five cans of soda. But a recent study found that pregnant women who had just 200 milligrams of caffeine were twice as likely to miscarry as women who didn't consume caffeine. While this knowledge advises caution, most doctors still believe that controlled amounts of caffeine are probably safe with baby on board.More »
Last Modified: 2013-06-13 | Tags »
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Think getting pregnant is just a matter of having sex? Well, it's a lot more complicated than that. Check out this video to learn more about natural fertility boosters.
Transcript: Ready to expand your family? While your most vigorous efforts will probably come in the bedroom, you...
Ready to expand your family? While your most vigorous efforts will probably come in the bedroom, you may want to invest some energy in the kitchen, too. While you're trying to get pregnant, both mom and dad can make some easy nutritional and lifestyle changes that will help improve your chances of conceiving. A. Because shark's fins were said to look like the male organ B. and figs like the female's, early civilizations encouraged eating them to boost fertility. Unfortunately though, there's no one magic food that will lure sperm to egg. Practicing all-around good nutrition, however, can help. The more natural your diet, the better off you'll be! Think bright reds, yellows and greens for fertility-boosting foods. Salad greens, peppers, carrots, mangos and oranges are particularly rich in the folic acid, Vitamin C and other nutrients your baby-making bodies need. Whole grains like oatmeal and brown rice are also full of folic acid. This mineral can help conception and lower the chances that your baby will develop neural birth defects like spina bifida. While trying to conceive, be sure to consume lots of calcium, a mineral vital for mom and her baby to-be. Milk, orange juice, salmon and edamame are all great sources of calcium. To fill dietary gaps, both mom and dad need to take a daily multivitamin. Look for one rich in folic acid, calcium, iron and zinc minerals that give fertility a boost. As with any supplement, never take more than the recommended dose. Doing so can actually make you less fertile. There are also some foods and drinks you should avoid. Alcohol decreases fertility in women and studies have shown that it increases the amount of abnormal sperm produced by men. Also, cut back on the caffeine. More than 300 milligrams, or three cups of coffee, daily can decrease fertility and even trigger a miscarriage. How you eat is as important as what you eat. To ensure healthy weight gain and proper delivery of nutrients for mother and baby-to-be, don't skip meals or go on a diet. A. Under pressure? B. Couples with extremely high stress levels may have more difficulty conceiving than C. their calmer counterparts. This is because, in women, stress causes extra uterine contractions which can delay ovulation and even prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus. Stressed-out men may experience reduction in both sperm count and sperm mobility. While no alternative therapies have been proven to increase fertility, there are certainly many that reduce stress-and that can help lead to conception. Finally, an excuse to get a couples massage. Yoga is another excellent way to de-stress and get your doctor-recommended exercise at the same time. Look for a fitness center offering classes in prenatal yoga. It can help to shop for aromatherapy candles and bath products scented with lavender, sandalwood or sage. These scents stimulate the release of relaxing melatonin. Preparing for pregnancy with diet and stress-relieving exercises can help ensure that it occurs! Remember, always consult your doctor if you're planning to become pregnant.More »
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Are you ready to begin a family? Keep in mind that preparing to conceive a baby may not be as easy as you think. Watch this video for more information.
Transcript: Congratulations! The decision to have a child is an exciting one. Surprisingly, prepping for the healthiest...
Congratulations! The decision to have a child is an exciting one. Surprisingly, prepping for the healthiest baby starts not in the bedroom, but with some lifestyle changes. It is vital to start by meeting with your ob-gyn for a preconception appointment. This checkup allows your doctor to uncover any health problems you may have that could affect a pregnancy, or your baby's development. At this appointment, your doctor will be looking for anemia, diabetes, kidney disease, genital infection, high blood pressure and immunity to rubella. Your doctor will also advise you of your optimal weight right now, and will discuss the amount you should gain during a pregnancy. If you are underweight, you are more likely to give birth to a low-weight baby, which can cause difficulties after delivery. If you are overweight, you are more likely to have complications, and you will have a higher chance of having a baby too big to pass safely through the birth canal, a condition known as macrosomia. Proper diet and nutrition are essential to your preconception health. You should never diet while trying to conceive, and always avoid eating undercooked meat and raw eggs. So, watch that ceaser salad dressing! Doctors also recommend taking prenatal vitamins prior to conception. This prepares your body for pregnancy and helps to fill in any dietary gaps you may have. Folic acid is arguably the most important prenatal vitamin for women. Folic acid can lower the risk that your baby-to-be will develop neural birth defects. And don't forget to exercise! Engaging in a cardiovascular activity that gets your heart pounding, like running or biking, will keep you fit and healthy, increase blood flow to the uterus, and will help prepare your body for conception. It is also recommended that you cease certain unhealthy habits before you conceive. Smoking, drinking, and recreational drug use are among these no-nos. It is also advisable to limit your caffeine consumption. Finally, be sure to ask your doctor about any prescription medications you take that could be harmful to your baby once you conceive, or which could make it difficult to conceive in the first place. Taking positive steps to ensure a healthy pregnancy (before it even begins) will help ensure a smooth ride for both you AND your baby-to-be. Remember to talk to your doctor before attempting to conceive!More »
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Think getting pregnant is just a matter of having sex? Well, it's a lot more complicated than that. Check out this video to learn more about boosting fertility.
Transcript: Before you try to get pregnant, it will help to be familiar with your personal menstrual cycle. Believe...
Before you try to get pregnant, it will help to be familiar with your personal menstrual cycle. Believe it or not, you can ONLY conceive during your small fertile window, which occurs during each cycle, on the five days before, and the actual day of, ovulation. During ovulation, the ovary sends a mature egg through the fallopian tube and into the uterus, where it can be fertilized by your partners sperm. Egg release typically occurs in the middle of your cycle. You can determine your cycle length by noting the number of days from the first day of one period to the first day of the next. Keeping a menstrual calendar will allow you to know at a glance when your fertile window opens. In addition to watching your period, it can help to watch what you eat! A nourishing diet complemented with a multi-vitamin supplement increases your chances of conceiving by correcting any hormone imbalances you may have. Diet is important for other reasons, as well. Extra weight can cause the release of excess female hormones, resulting in a disrupted menstrual cycle and infrequent ovulation. For this reason, it can help to supplement your diet with a smart exercise regimen. Aim for thirty minutes a day, five times a week. Keep in mind, however, that weighing too little can lessen hormone production, with the same fertility-interfering result. So talk to your doctor regarding an ideal weight for you. Watching what you drink is almost as important as watching what you eat. Women who drink more than 300 milligrams (about three cups) of caffeine daily tend to have a harder time conceiving than those who dont. Youll also want to keep alcohol-intake to a minimum. More than two alcoholic drinks a day can impair fertility, because alcohol alters the levels of estrogen in your body, in turn, interfering with egg implantation in the uterus. Now is also a great time to cut out cigarettes. Toxins from the smoke can damage your eggs, alter the release of hormones, and decrease the ability of the embryo to implant. But there ARE fun parts about preparing to conceive. Get ready to relaxguilt free! Studies have shown that women experiencing psychological stress are less likely to conceive, because these feelings can alter your bodys hormone production. While youre relaxing, why not try some yoga? Its thought that certain yoga positions can increase your fertility by specifically targeting the reproductive organs and increasing the flow of blood to your pelvis, while other poses can stimulate your ovaries. Finally, make love! Of course, youre doing this already when youre trying to make a baby. But women who engage in regular intercourse have steadier ovulation patterns and increased estrogen production. Missionary is the best position to use if youre trying to conceive. Your partners penetration will be deeper and gravity will work in your favor, enhancing sperm movement towards the egg. Fertility experts also agree that lying down and elevating your hips for a few minutes after intercourse increases the chances of sperm reaching your egg. While many women have trouble conceiving, these tips can help. But remember to discuss any diet or exercise changes with your doctor before proceeding!More »
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Male infertility can be caused by a number of things--from low sperm count to exposure to toxins. Learn more about male infertility by watching this video.
Transcript: Infertility is medically defined as the inability to become pregnant after one full year of trying. Although...
Infertility is medically defined as the inability to become pregnant after one full year of trying. Although both females and males can have problems that lead to difficulty conceiving, ninety percent of MALE infertility derives from a deficient sperm count. Because most sperm are destroyed before they even reach the egg, a count below 500 sperm per milligram can make conception very difficult. Let's look at some medical difficulties that can lead to infertility. A varicocele is an abnormally enlarged vein in the scrotum which occurs in 40 percent of infertile men. Varioceles can cause blood to pool in the scrotum, raising temperatures and killing sperm there. Testicular overheating, and consequential sperm death, can also be caused by high fevers and excessive hot tub or sauna use. In up to 70 percent of men who struggle with infertility, infection of the reproductive organs is a problem. This can stem from any number of issues, but is commonly a result of the sexually transmitted disease chlamydia. Another medical problem that can lead to male infertility is hormone release. Low levels of the male hormone testosterone, or particularly high levels of the female hormone estrogen, can both lead to conception difficulties. Sometimes, infertility can be related to a man's environment. For example, emotional and physical stress can impair the production of sperm, lowering levels until they become almost non-existent. Exposure to environmental toxins and chemicals can further lower a man's sperm count. Because sperm are so vulnerable to the damage of free radicals like these, doctors have found sperm counts to be falling dramatically in the past few decades of increased pollution and industry. Another reason for decreasing sperm count relates to consumption. A diet deficient in the vital Vitamins E and C, and in the nutrients zinc and folate, can lead to low sperm count and infertility. Consumption of illegal drugs can play a role, too. Abuse of drugs like cocaine and marijuana temporarily reduce the quantity and quality of sperm by up to 50 percent. Cigarette smoking also impairs sperm movement and lowers fertility in men. A final factor that can adversely affect male fertility is...not surprisingly...aging. As a man grows older, he will experience a decrease in sperm movement, as well as an overall decline in the genetic quality of the sperm he releases. Because there are so many reasons that a man may be infertile, it is important to talk to your doctor if you are part of a couple that is having trouble conceiving. A variety of treatment options may be able to help!More »
Last Modified: 2013-08-29 | Tags »
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Becoming preganant is not so easy for some women. Learn more about female infertility by watching this video.
Transcript: Infertility is medically defined as the inability to become pregnant after one full year of trying. When...
Infertility is medically defined as the inability to become pregnant after one full year of trying. When a female is infertile, it is usually because there is something wrong with her reproduction system. Let's take a closer look at the female reproductive system, which begins with the vagina, a muscular organ that connects to the cervix, the opening of the uterus, or womb. The uterus, or can expand to accommodate a growing fetus. The ovaries produce, store, and release eggs into two fallopian tubes in the upper corners of the uterus during ovulation. The egg can then fertilized by a man's sperm. Based on this complex reproductive system, the causes of female infertility can be separated into distinct categories: ovulatory, cervical, uterine, and pelvic, which refers to problems in the fallopian tubes. Ovulation difficulties can occur if a woman releases excessive male hormones, called androgens, or if she makes too much prolactin, the hormone that encourages breast milk production. Severe physical or psychological stress can also disrupt ovulation, or even stop it completely, making conception difficult. A damaged cervix is another difficulty that makes it hard for sperm to enter. Sexually transmitted diseases like chlamydia and gonorrhea can both infect the cervix and cause infertility. Cervical mucous, which is produced before ovulation to assist with sperm movement, can also be a source of infertility. If a woman makes too little mucous, or if her mucous reacts negatively with her partner's sperm, it will be unable to reach her egg. The pelvic, or tubule, area is another region that can suffer from abnormalities that lead to infertility. Normal scar tissue, distorted fallopian tubes and benign tumors are examples of disruptions to this area. Another common pelvic condition is endometriosis, whereby the tissue lining in the uterus grows outside of it. This can lead to a build-up of tissue that blocks the fallopian tubes or ovaries, making pregnancy difficult. The primary cause of pelvic infertility, however, is pelvic inflammatory disease, or PID. Like cervical damage, PID follows from sexually transmitted diseases such as gonorrhea and chlamydia. Conditions relating to the uterine lining make up the final grouping of fertility problems. Uterine polyps and uterine fibroids are typically benign, fleshy growths that grow on the inside, or around the opening of, the uterus. They can cause distortion in the lining of the uterus, in turn interfering with egg implantation. Although female infertility is often due to a problem like these, age plays a role, too, because a woman's finite supply of eggs begins to decline after the age of 30. The female reproductive system is incredibly intricate, and doesn't always work the way it should. If you are having difficulty conceiving, talk to your doctor about possible causes and treatment options.More »
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Getting pregnant can be difficult for some couples. Luckily, there are steps you can take to solve this problem. Check out this video to learn more about infertility solutions.
Transcript: Infertility is defined as the inability to conceive after one year of actively trying. Fortunately for...
Infertility is defined as the inability to conceive after one year of actively trying. Fortunately for the 20 percent of couples that DO have trouble, a number of assisted reproduction techniques can aid in getting pregnant. Intrauterine insemination is a process used in couples where the man experiences impotence or premature ejaculation, or the woman has problems with her cervical mucous. During intrauterine insemination, a thin catheter allows sperm to be inserted into the cervix through the vagina. The process, which takes place during ovulation, is fairly painless and is over in minutes. If a woman is considered a good candidate for intrauterine insemination, she will often take fertility medication that helps induce ovulation, hopefully increasing her future pregnancy rates. Another option, in-vitro fertilization, or IVF, is a technique in which a woman's eggs are removed and fertilized with her partner's sperm in a laboratory. The fertilized eggs are then implanted in her womb. IVF is a good option for couples where the woman suffers from a condition called endometriosis, which can result in blocked fallopian tubes. It is also considered when the man has a low sperm count. Like in an intrauterine insemination, the woman will be given fertility drugs to stimulate ovulation and egg development. However, some women may have more luck using a donor's eggs, or may need to try IVF more than once. In some cases, a woman will not be able to get pregnant even with these fertilization techniques. At this point, some couples will consider surrogacy. Gestational surrogacy is a procedure where the commissioning parents produce an egg and sperm which are combined in a lab and then transplanted into a surrogate mother who will grow and birth the baby. In this procedure, the surrogate does not contribute genetically to the baby-to-be. Traditional surrogacy is a more common procedure, where a surrogate mother agrees in advance to give her genetic child to the couple who want a baby. In this case, the surrogate usually gets pregnant via artificial insemination, sometimes with the commissioning man's sperm. Infertility can be devastating for couples who wish to have a child, but modern science offers a host of options that can help. If you believe you may be infertile, talk to your doctor about the procedure that is right for you.More »
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A miscarriage can never be easy but understanding the facts on miscarriages may help you to cope with it better. Check out this video to learn more.
Transcript: A miscarriage is the natural loss of a fetus, which occurs before a pregnancy has reached its midway...
A miscarriage is the natural loss of a fetus, which occurs before a pregnancy has reached its midway point of twenty weeks. When a woman has a miscarriage, her fetus and placenta can be expelled naturally from the body through her vagina. This manifests as vaginal bleeding, spotting, or blood clots, and as abdominal pain or cramping. For those women unable to expel the tissue naturally, a surgical procedure may be required to extract the fetus from the womb. Miscarriages are devastating, but they usually occur when there is something very wrong with the baby or the pregnancy. There are three common causes of a miscarriage, which can be subdivided into chromosomal abnormalities, internal difficulties, and substance abuse. Chromosomes are strands of DNA which carry a person's genes and help to the pass on hereditary traits from parent to child. Humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes, or 46 total, which are with them from their first day in the womb. Occasionally though, a developing fetus will not have the proper number of chromosomes. For example, in a trisomy, a baby receives three chromosomes of one type rather than a standard pair. With one extra chromosome, the pregnancy will often not carry to term. Conversely, a fetus with a condition known as monosomy is missing one chromosome. This is also a common cause of a miscarriage. Sometimes, a mother may have internal difficulties of her own that can lead to an interrupted pregnancy. One example is a misshapen uterus, in which a woman's uterus is not large enough to accommodate the needs of a growing baby. Some women experience miscarriages (or even infertility), due to non-cancerous tumors in the uterine cavity, which are called submucous fibroids. Others have adhesions, or scar tissue, inside the womb, which can restrict the implantation of the fetus and stunt its growth, leading to a miscarriage. Cervical incompetence is a problem that occurs less frequently, when a weakened cervix shortens and widens, expelling the fetus prematurely. On a rare occasion, a chronic condition present in the mother...such as diabetes, kidney disease, high blood pressure, or lupus...can also provoke a miscarriage. But don't worry: with careful monitoring, women with these conditions usually deliver perfectly healthy babies! Rarely, outside toxins like high-dose radiation, insecticides, and lead, may lead to a miscarriage. Miscarriages are devastating, but there can be ways to reduce the chances of having one. If you are attempting to conceive, make sure that you speak with your doctor about preconception care and your own health risks.More »
Last Modified: 2012-10-08 | Tags »
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Endometriosis is a condition that affects many women and its symptoms can be tricky to spot. Watch this video to gain a better understanding of endometriosis.
Transcript: Endometriosis occurs when tissue that looks and acts like the lining of the uterus actually grows in...
Endometriosis occurs when tissue that looks and acts like the lining of the uterus actually grows in other areas of the pelvic region. Because this condition is one of the leading causes of infertility, it helps to be familiar with endometriosis. The tissue that lines the uterus, or womb, is called the endometrium. Every month, female hormones cause the endometrium of a woman's uterus to build up with tissue and blood in preparation for pregnancy. If pregnancy doesn't occur, the uterus sheds this built-up lining via the vagina as a menstrual period. Although this process occurs in women with endometriosis as well, it's a bit more complicated. That's because women with endometriosis have patches of endometrium that grow OUTSIDE the uterus, in places like the ovaries, the fallopian tubes, the bowels, or the bladder. This misplaced tissue responds to the monthly cycle just as the endometrium does. Each month, the patches, or plaques, grow thicker. As the tissues affected don't have a natural "exit route," there is no place for the build-up to leave the body at the cycle's end. These endometriotic plaques can grow larger over time, and the symptoms can worsen. A symptom suggestive of endometriosis is chronic pelvic pain that tends to be worse during menstruation or ovulation. Other symptoms include very painful or heavy menstrual periods, pain during or after sex, and uncomfortable urination or bowel movements during menstruation. Contrarily, some women have no symptoms at all. Infertility is another sign that can suggest that endometriosis is present. Indeed, some women do not realize they have endometriosis until they attempt to conceive and cannot do so. Endometriosis can lead to infertility because it may cause scarring or blockage of the body's fallopian tubes, which are necessary to transport eggs from the ovaries to be fertilized. Because infertility-causing endometriosis tends to show up most frequently in women who are of childbearing age, the condition can become a concern. Unfortunately, no one has identified endometriosis's exact cause, although a genetic link is often theorized. In fact, women with a first degree relative, like a mother or sister with the disease are six times more likely to have endometriosis. Some doctors theorize that endometriosis is caused when normal menstrual debris flows into the pelvis, a fairly common condition called retrograde menstruation. In women with endometriosis, however, the debris takes root and grows into misplaced patches, or plaques, of endometrial tissue. Regardless of the cause, there is currently no cure for endometriosis. However, medication can help to ease the pain and menstrual symptoms that can accompany the condition. In addition, surgery aimed at removing the build-up may assist women with infertility-causing endometriosis, as well as patients with very severe cases. Endometriosis is very common, and the symptoms of the condition ARE treatable. If you have concerns about endometriosis, please make an appointment to discuss them with your doctor.More »
Last Modified: 2012-10-09 | Tags »
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If you're trying to get pregnant, learning about the best sex for conception may help the process along. Watch this video to learn about conception sex timing and optimal sex positions.
Transcript: If you want to get pregnant, try the missionary, or man-on-top, position, which is optimal for baby-making!...
If you want to get pregnant, try the missionary, or man-on-top, position, which is optimal for baby-making! You can really enhance sperm's ability to swim by placing a pillow under your hips and keeping your legs raised after his orgasm! Try remaining in this position-or at least horizontal-for 15 minutes after intercourse to trap semen. Meanwhile, certain gravity-defying positions such as sitting, standing, or woman-on-top may actually discourage sperm from swimming upward. And although it may seem counterintuitive, having sex every other day around ovulation gives a man a chance to recharge his sperm count. Finally, remember that while the female orgasm isn't a necessary component of conception, orgasmic uterine contractions may help sperm move toward the fallopian tubes! Remember, practice makes baby, so keep up the good work!More »
Last Modified: 2012-10-09 | Tags »
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