Pregnancy Drinking: Dos and Don'ts
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Is soda OK? Is herbal tea toxic? Can I drink tap water? The pregnancy drinking basics in this video can help!
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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As a woman ages, her chance of getting pregnant decreases. Watch this video to learn more about the correllation between age and fertility.
Transcript: Having a healthy pregnancy, and a healthy baby, becomes increasingly difficult with age. Why? A woman...
Having a healthy pregnancy, and a healthy baby, becomes increasingly difficult with age. Why? A woman is born with all of the eggs shell ever have. After puberty, she begins to ovulate and releases one of these eggs every month. As she ages, therefore, her supply of eggs dwindles. This reduces her chances of being able to conceive. As a result, the likelihood of a woman getting pregnant in any particular month, under optimal circumstances, is about 25 percent for a woman in her 20s, 15 percent for women in their early 30s, 10 percent in the mid-30s and just five percent for women over 40. Another difficulty with pregnancy later in life is that the number of genetically normal eggs that a woman has decreases with time. This leads to a higher rate of miscarriage and a greater chance for genetic abnormalities in babies of older women. In fact, the odds of a woman in her 20s having a child with Down syndrome are about one in 1,200. In contrast, among children born to women over 40, one child in 38 has a genetic abnormality. While this can be difficult for women trying to conceive after the age of 30, other fertility options, like using donor eggs, are quite successful in later life.More »
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Considering artificial insemination? Watch this video to learn more about how this procedure works.
Transcript: Many couples have difficulty conceiving, and artificial insemination is a commonly used method to help...
Many couples have difficulty conceiving, and artificial insemination is a commonly used method to help them to get pregnant. Artificial insemination, or intrauterine insemination as it is known today, involves inserting your partner's sperm directly into your uterus. This procedure may be used when a man has a low sperm count, or sperm that are weak swimmers. IUI may also be an option for a woman who has an abnormal uterine growth or endometriosis. Here's how IUI works: Your doctor uses a blood test to ensure that you're ovulating. Once it's confirmed that you're releasing an egg, your partner produces a fresh sample of sperm. The sperm are then "washed," a procedure that enhances the likelihood of fertilization by collecting the most active sperm. At this point, the sperm are placed in a catheter and inserted through the vagina into the uterus. This helps the sperm to bypass any possible obstructions, and makes it easier for them to reach your egg. This procedure won't take more than thirty minutes, and may feel similar to a Pap smear. After IUI is complete, you will be sent home to wait and see if you're pregnant. While artificial insemination is not successful for all couples, for some, it can be an effective way to conceive a baby.More »
Last Modified: 2012-10-12 | 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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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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If you and your partner are under a considerable amount of stress, it may be more difficult to conceive. You may just need to relax to get pregnant. Watch this video to learn more.
Transcript: Under pressure? Couples with extremely high stress levels may have more difficulty conceiving than their...
Under pressure? Couples with extremely high stress levels may have more difficulty conceiving than their calmer counterparts. In women, stress causes extra uterine contractions which can delay ovulation and even prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus. 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 stressand 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. Preparing for pregnancy with diet and stress relieving exercises can help ensure that it occurs.More »
Last Modified: 2012-10-12 | Tags »
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Worried that your sperm is not strong or capable enough to conceive? Check out this video for your guide to super sperm.
Transcript: Ready to have a baby, but not sure if your sperm are up to snuff? Get 'em swimming stronger with these...
Ready to have a baby, but not sure if your sperm are up to snuff? Get 'em swimming stronger with these tips. To achieve baby-making goals, sperm need to have friends: 20 million of them in fact! They also need to be shaped appropriately, and be superb swimmers. But how do you get such super sperm? Start by taking a daily multivitamin, which provides selenium, zinc, and folic acid, each of which is important for sperm production. Now get out there and exercise, a great way to improve sperm's motility! But don't overdo it! Too much exercise can lower hormones and decrease your sperm's quality. Similarly, maintain a healthy weight. Too much or too little body fat can reduce your sperm count and increase the percentage of abnormal sperm. Finally, get sperm ready to swim by avoiding heated pools yourself. Spending too long in water over 102 degrees can lower sperm count. These tips are simple, but they'll ensure that your sperm earn their superhero colors!More »
Last Modified: 2012-10-09 | Tags »
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If you think you may be expecting, it's great to be on the lookout for early pregnancy symptoms. Watch this video to learn more about the earliest signs of pregnancy.
Transcript: Whether you're praying for a baby, or petrified that you might have made one, there are plenty of early...
Whether you're praying for a baby, or petrified that you might have made one, there are plenty of early signs to watch for. It is almost impossible to know for certain if you are pregnant until you take a pregnancy test - but a pregnancy test won't provide accurate results if you take it too soon. That's because a pregnancy test measures urine levels of human chorionic gonadatropin, or hCG, a hormone produced by the placenta during pregnancy, and... because levels of hCG are usually too minute to measure immediately after conception, a false negative result is possible at this point. In fact, a home pregnancy test will not provide reliable results until - at the absolute soonest - about four days before your next period is due. The later you take the test, the less likely a false negative becomes. Although you may need to wait a couple of weeks before taking a pregnancy test, that doesn't mean that there aren't other signs of pregnancy to look for in the meantime. While not every pregnant woman experiences symptoms during their first month, most do notice some changes - even before their first missed period. For example, as early as two days after you conceive, your breasts may suddenly feel extremely swollen and tender to the touch. Wait another five to ten days and you may notice a light to medium pink discharge on your underwear. This is called implantation bleeding, and occurs when the fertilized egg burrows into your uterine wall. In the following weeks, many women notice other symptoms, including fatigue, bloating, and an ever increasing need to urinate. Morning sickness, which hits 80% of women eventually, can also strike an unlucky few in their first several weeks of pregnancy. If you're pregnant, the second week after conception may also bring another change to your breasts: A darkening of your nipples' areolas. And of course, if your period is late, that's a clear sign that you may be pregnant. No matter what the symptoms might suggest, the only way to know for sure is to take a pregnancy test. If you do get a positive reading, it's 99-percent likely that you are indeed expecting, and should visit your Ob/Gyn as soon as possible. Your physician can do a blood test, urine analysis, or even an early ultrasound to confirm your pregnancy.More »
Last Modified: 2013-04-15 | Tags »
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Many women perform simple pregnancy tests to determine if they are pregnant or not. See how pregnancy tests work by watching this informative video.
Transcript: Whether you're desperate to make a baby or are petrified that you are pregnant, your first step will...
Whether you're desperate to make a baby or are petrified that you are pregnant, your first step will most likely involve taking a home pregnancy test. To get the most accurate result on a home pregnancy test, it helps to know how the test works, and when you should take it. Quite simply, a home pregnancy test detects the presence of a hormone in your urine called human chorionic gonadotropin, or HCG. HCG is a pregnancy hormone that a woman's body starts producing when a fertilized egg implants in her uterus. In most women, this implantation and subsequent hCG production, occurs up to six days after sperm and egg meet. Because of this, many women will get the MOST accurate result if they take the home pregnancy test a full week AFTER their missed period. Although many tests claim that they are "99 percent accurate" as soon as the FIRST day your period is due or earlier. That's because some technically pregnant women may not have experienced implantation by this day in their cycle. Plus, the amount of HCG that a woman makes may be so minute at first, that a home pregnancy test won't be sensitive enough to detect it. When you do take your home pregnancy test, you'll get the best results if you test first thing in the morning, when your urine is the most concentrated. Since tests work in various ways, make sure to read the instructions and pick the one you think will work best for you. Whatever the test results say, you should still take another pregnancy test in a few days to confirm. This is partly because of the extremely unlikely chance that your test will say you're pregnant when you're actually not. This false-positive result can occur if you had a miscarriage or abortion in the past eight weeks, or if you're taking certain fertility drugs. More common are false-negative results, where the test SAYS you're baby-free when you're actually pregnant. False-negatives are often the result of taking a pregnancy test too early, or not following the test directions. Additionally, you could get a false-negative if you drink a great deal of water pre-test, in turn diluting the amount of HCG in your urine. If you DO get a positive result, make an appointment with your doctor to confirm the pregnancy. Your physician will probably take a blood test to measure HCG in more minute amounts than the home pregnancy tests are able to. Your doctor may also confirm your pregnancy with a sonogram. If you are indeed pregnant, prenatal care should begin right away!More »
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Calculating your due date is simple if you remember the date of your last period. Watch this video to find out how this date is important in the calculation.
Transcript: Congratulations-you're pregnant! But how will you know when to expect your bundle of joy? Once your pregnancy...
Congratulations-you're pregnant! But how will you know when to expect your bundle of joy? Once your pregnancy has been confirmed, what you most want to know is your due date. Luckily, calculating your baby's due date is pretty easy to do at home. The average length of a pregnancy is 40 weeks, or 280 days, from the FIRST day of the LAST menstrual period, or LMP. Calculating the due date, or expected date of delivery, for a pregnancy is quite simple, then, if you know that date. Simply add nine months and seven days to the date, and you've got your pregnancy due date.Here's an example of how it works: say the first day of the last normal menstrual period was February 1st. Add seven days to that number, and you get February 8th. Add nine months, and you get November. The expected due date of that pregnancy, then, is November 8.Many factors play into determining the exact day you may have conceived. If your cycle length is irregular, you may not be able to use the first day of your last menstrual period as a marker. And similarly, if you have no idea when your last period was, don't worry!In these types of circumstances, your doctor will likely use an early ultrasound to measure the fetus' size and thus determine its gestational age. You may be wondering why you use your period, and not the day you CONCEIVED the baby, as a starting point. This is because it's rarely possible to gauge the PRECISE day that you got pregnant. After all, your ovulation schedule may be unpredictable, and sperm can live inside you for a few days. Remember, though, that your baby's estimated due date is just that-an estimate. In fact, only 5% of babies make their debut on the EXACT day predicted for their birth! So don't worry if your baby is born before or after that big X on your calendar.More »
Last Modified: 2013-04-15 | Tags »
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Can time of conception really affect the gender of the baby? Learn more about sex and your baby's gender from this video.
Transcript: Have sex when the moon is full and you'll conceive a girl. Eat lots of red meat and a boy is in your...
Have sex when the moon is full and you'll conceive a girl. Eat lots of red meat and a boy is in your future. Sound ridiculous? That's because determining the gender of your unborn child based on old wive's tales generally IS ridiculous. But if you're like 83% of hopeful moms, you DO have a gender preference, and may wonder if it's possible to tip the odds in favor of a boy or girl. According to a 40 year old theory created by Dr. Landum Shettles, determining the gender of your child is as easy as having sex on a schedule. On the other hand, most modern research suggests that influencing your baby's gender based on the timing or type of sexual intercourse is statistically very unlikely to make any difference. To understand the Shettles Method, remember biology 101, where you learned that a woman's egg contains one X chromosome. Meanwhile, a man's sperm can contain either a Y chromosome, which joins with the egg to make a boy-or an X chromosome which joins with the egg to make a girl. According to Shettles, boy-making Y chromosomes move more quickly in a woman's body, BUT are also less hardy and die faster. On the other hand, girl-guaranteeing X chromosomes don't swim as strongly, HOWEVER, they live longer in a woman's body. Based on that idea, Shettles explains that it's vital for a woman to know when she is likely to release an egg. This can be tracked by taking one's basal body temperature daily, by watching the cervical mucous, or by using an ovulation kit. Once ovulation has been predicted, couples who want a girl should make love two to four days BEFORE the woman releases her egg. For girl results, it is also recommended that the male penetrate shallowly in the missionary position. The idea here is to give the slower, more resilient female sperm a chance to reach the egg when it is released. To make a boy, just reverse the terms-have sex as close to ovulation as possible, and do so using deep thrusting positions, like rear entry. This will put the short living, fast swimming male sperm even closer to the already available egg. Proponents of the Shettles method swear that it's 75% accurate-but remember that nature provides a 50% chance of having one's desired sex anyway! Additionally, it can be very hard to track an ovulation schedule, which can be thrown off by changes as subtle as a new medication or an increase in sexual activity. Because of this, the medical community doesn't put much stock in using sex to INFLUENCE sex. However, many doctors encourage eager couples to give it a go anyway, as it absolutely can't hurt to try!More »
Last Modified: 2013-05-15 | Tags »
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