Sunday, 31 July 2011

Early Pregnancy: Conception

The moment of conception
Early pregnancy explained. Conception is one of those amazing, life changing events in every woman's life. We are going to examine what goes on inside your body in early pregnancy before you even discover you have conceived.

Some women have mixed feelings about their pregnancy but if you have been trying to get pregnant for quite a while now you will be overwhelmed with a combination of joy and relief. All the same, you still have a long way to go. Lets start at the very beginning. The first week of pregnancy.

This is the week that your egg will be fertilized and start its amazing process of becoming your baby.

When the sperm and egg meet, an explosion of new cells begin to form. It moves down the fallopian tube, and in about 5 days it implants itself into the uterus.

You probably don't even know you are pregnant, unless you have been keeping track of your cycles and know when you ovulated. Your baby is now known as a zygote and in two weeks it will an embryo.

This is the end of your baby's first week of a long journey towards birth. And what an exciting journey it will be!

This is the week of implantation. Implantation is much easier in theory - in fact, an enormous number of miscarriages happen at this point but they are unrecognized and brushed off as an unusually heavy (sometimes a little late) period. Implantation usually takes place more or less 5 days after conception.

At this point in time, the embryo (currently called a blastocyst) reaches the uterus and looks for a place to tunnel itself beneath surface. After finding that perfect spot, the cells then split into two groups: a cluster of cells which will become your beautiful little baby and a cluster of cells which will become the placenta.

You possibly don't realize your pregnant just yet. You possibly be a touch tired or queasy...or possibly not. A lot of women feel as though they have PMS because this is about the time she is supposed to start her period. Your breasts may feel tender and you may also experience some mild pain in the pelvic area.

By the end of this second week, your baby's backbone, spinal column and nervous system are well on their way to forming. Kidneys, liver and intestines are starting to take shape. Facial features are emerging although you baby will still look almost alien and unrecognizable at this moment.

Wow, this miracle of life is really beginning. Your baby will continue to develop until very soon that magical heartbeat will begin! This is your time - take care of yourself and let others spoil you. Let somebody else worry about the dishes and laundry for now. Pregnancy is all about the new life growing inside look after yourself, there is a long and sometimes arduous journey ahead until that special day you welcome your baby into the world.

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Infertility: What Is Infertility?

There are now many options available to couples suffering infertility
If you have been trying to fall pregnant for some time now and still haven't been successful, then you may be suffering from infertility. By definition, infertility means that a woman is unable to get pregnant after one year of trying or has an inability to carry her baby to term.

Infertility affects approximately 1 in 6 couples in The states today. That's 10 million people who know exactly what its like to want something beyond their clutch. In some area's, the decision to post pone childbirth (for career purposes) would make 1 in 6 a very conservative number. It's a sad truth, infertility is seldom discussed openly among friends and family and unless you have had personal experience with infertility, it is understood even less.

Its not an easy thought for couples to try and come to terms with. It a shock that is difficult to understand much less learn to live with. And it comes as little surprise. Secondary infertility is especially hard for couples to understand - it seems impossible that after conceiving one perfect child (or several) that a woman is suddenly unable to have anymore. Secondary Infertility is something that you cannot explain to friends or family who reply with hurtful yet well intended comments like "At least you already have one" or "Your body knows what to do - its done it just have to be patient."

Although infertility can affect people of all backgrounds, the childless poor usually have neither the time nor the money to undergo a lengthy series of tests - commonly called an infertility work-up - to determine the cause of the problem. When you are thinking about starting a family, you should always begin with a pre-conception check up at your local Dr surgery. If your Dr has any concerns or you have been trying for more than a year or you are in your 30s you will be referred to a Fertility Specialist. There are many tests that will help to determine the source of the problem and many treatments that can range from something as simple as lifestyle changes, to medications to "minor" corrective surgery (its called minor up until you're lying on the table panicking!) to the very costly and invasive IVF treatment.

The anguish of infertility will strike increasing numbers of couples in the next few years, however, as the children of the baby boom reach their late twenties and early thirties. Others who till now have postponed marriage and childbearing for their careers will turn to both to round out their lives - and find conceiving a child is not possible.

The men, after years of enjoying what they consider a sizable sex drive, will be dismayed to discover that their sperm are too few in number or perhaps not active enough to result in a conception. The women may be diagnosed with endometriosis, a condition in which parts of the uterine lining seed themselves in various places along the reproductive tract. Unknown in cultures where women marry young, it is a common finding in American women past 30. Or the women may be part of the 10.9 million who took the Pill every day despite having pre-existing gynecological abnormalities which should have warned the physician against the prescription.

You should always discuss your options with an sympathetic doctor - do not waste time with a doctor who Refuses take your concerns seriously. Seek a second opinion. A generation ago, before the current explosion in medical technology, couples had few options. However today we are blessed with many options that have brought thousands healthy children into the arms of their ecstatic parents. My advice is to work closely with your Doctor who can instruct you on the best options you have at your disposal be that a holistic approach or medical intervention.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Peanuts During Pregnancy

 Peanut allergies although common can be one of the most fatal allergies a child could suffer from. Some children are so sensitive to their peanut allergy that if they come into contact with peanuts just from someone else's skin, their life can be at risk. Peanut allergies can lead to anaphylactic shock which is a sever allergic reaction that can be fatal.

Ask any parent who has a child who is allegeric to peanuts how difficult their live has become. Food shopping can take hours because every food label must be read it and studied to make sure it contains no traces of peanuts. Arrangements for peanut free foods must be made with the child's school ahead of time and other children's birthdays parties can be a parent's worse nightmare.

Peanut allergies are usually not diagnosed until a child reaches the age of 2 or even three years old. The American Academy of Pediatrics states that parents who have a peanut allergy in the family should wait until their child is at least three years old before giving them peanuts or anything containing peanuts.

There are even some conservative obgyns who advise their pregnant patients not to eat peanuts especially if when they are in their third trimester regardless of if there is a history of peanut allergy in the family or not.

The reason for this is because in order for a peanut allergy to develop, the child has to come into contact with small traces of a peanut. This contact sensitizes the child so that they later have a severe allergic reaction. Some experts believe that this first sensitization can occur during pregnancy.

It is believed that a tiny amount of peanut protein can cross the placenta.

In fact a recent study showed that if a women ate peanuts or peanut butter while pregnant their baby could be four times more likely to develop a peanut allergy than a child whose mother didn't eat any peanuts during her pregnancy.

This isn't to say though that if you have a no history of nut allergies you should avoid peanuts at all costs. In fact, peanuts and peanut butter are very beneficial to you and your baby. Peanuts are a useful source of folic acid and protein, both which are very important to your and your growing baby.

Peanuts and peanut butter has been said to help some women get through the first trimester morning sickness. Keep in mind however that there have been some instances when women who had no history of peanut allegeries in their family and ate a over whelming amount of peanuts or even peanut butter through out their pregnancies wound up with children who had a peanut allergy.

Before you decide to throw out all your peanuts and say good bye to peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, talk to your doctor. Give your doctor a detailed family history and let him know if there are any peanut allergies in your family.

With your doctors help you will be able to create a healthy peanut eating plan for your pregnancy. If you do not feel comfortable at all eating peanuts due to the risk do not let anyone change your mind. At the end f the day, it is your body and your child and you have the right to make that decision.

Treating Acne During Pregnancy

Pregnancy brings with it many changes in the body and many women will notice that their hair, nails and skin radiate with the change in hormones. Other women are not so lucky. Instaed of glowing in the spotlight of pregnancy, they shy away from it (and the camera) no thanks to ance.

As wonderful as it is to know that a new life is growing within, you can't help but feeling a little resentful when you're staring back at the mirror to a face full of bright red, painful blemishes. It's hurtful to know that while other women are enjoying better skin, you're facing the worst case of acne you've ever had. So what can we do about it?

 Acne is most likely to develop in the first trimester of the pregnancy due to changing hormonal levels that take place in the body. The most difficult problem that you'll face is finding a treatment because many of the medicated ance treatments available on the market are not suitable for use during pregnancy and can cause harm to a fetus. Some over-the-counter drugs for treating acne can even cause birth defects in the baby.

Treatments to be avoided during pregnancy:

Acne treatment which contains Accutane : Studies have revealed that when this ingredient is used, it might be very dangerous to the baby causing birth defects. In some cases, it might lead to miscarriage. This ingredient should also be avoided during the breast feeding period.

Tetracycline not recommended: Tetracycline is an oral antibiotic used in the treatment of adults and teenagers, but not recommended during pregnancy as it has been linked ti cases of poor bone development in the baby. It is also said to cause teeth discoloration in the infant (when they are a little older, of course).

Medications containing female hormones: Researchers are still debating this one and the information is inconclusive on this subject. These hormones, which are related with the development of the fetus and the female hormones, can be passed on to the baby either during breast feeding or during pregnancy. But then, it is thought large quantities can cause birth defects in the baby.

So it all looks pretty darn hopeless, doesn't it? Although prenatal acne is rather common, it does still pose a difficult challenge to treat and using any sort of topical treatment can be a great cause of stress for many expectant Moms.

By following a simple and easy- to-follow methods, women can avoid and control acne during pregnancy without any side effect:s. If you're thinking that you've heard them all before...that's because they work, given the chance.

Drink plenty of water, for a clear skin.

Mild exercises during pregnancy can stimulate the blood circulation to all the parts of the body preventing from the outbreak of acne.

Fresh fruits and vegetables should be consumed after a thorough wash.

Pregnant women should minimize junk foods and foods prepared in the microwave oven.

Cleanliness is the secret in the prevention of acne, hence pillows covers can be changed often,

Hair brushes and combs should be free from dirt, face could be washed with mild soap and cold water, if possible massaging and steaming can be done to get a clearer skin.

Remove your make-up carefully at night. Make-up...the anti-anti-wrinkle treatment!

Wash you're face with a gentle cleanser, (those with micro-beads are less likely to scratch and irritate the skin than those with ground up apricot stones which have jagged uneven edges) both in the morning and at night.

Gently apply a toner to your skin with a clean cotton or make-up pad.

Moisturize - if your skin thinks that it is dry, then it starts to produce even more oil to combat the dry areas.

A simple three step wash routine both at night and in the morning along with low or no oil based make-up will go a long way to treating acne naturally during pregnancy.


You must also keep in mind the first rule of beauty during this period....

"I am waaaay to busy caring about what I look like to care about what you look like!"

I have taught my son this little gem of advice since he was old enough to answer "How do I look?" and it's so very true. People are far too self-conscious about their own faults to notice your own so take heart and know that with a precious new life growing inside you, you are more beautiful today than you have ever been.

Not At All "Morning" Sickness

Morning sickness, also known as morning "suckness" is one of those things seasoned mothers don't talk about until it's too late - you're they can tell you the truth!! Unfortunately, it's not exactly "morning" sickness, the nausea can strike at any time - morning, noon or night and although it isn't always the first sign of pregnancy, it's definitely the most notable one! Perhaps the strangest fact about morning sickness is that there are remote regions of the world where it is virtually non-existent. The women in these far flung place's haven't been pre-conditioned by the film and tv industry to believe that every woman must suffer from it. Combined with healthy eating habits, very few of them are even aware of morning sickness.

Morning sickness will normally start at any point in the first trimester of your pregnancy and often finishes around 12 weeks but each pregnancy, like each woman is different and morning sickness is quite unpredictable. It's not entirely unusual for morning sickness to continue throughout the pregnancy. Whilst fasting for my scheduled caesarean, I remember hoping that I would make it through the surgery without vomiting (too much info!) but what surprised me most was how quickly it stopped. By the time I was back in my hospital bed, the symptoms had vanished. A wonderful relief after the previous 8 months were spent fighting morning sickness. Following pregnancies were easier to cope with because I knew my triggers and knew how to deal with them.

Nausea can happen immediately or you may get lucky and have no morning sickness at all. No one is for certain what causes morning sickness however the sudden changes in hormones and your body are bound to have some influence. Many women seem to get sick after taking the prenatal pill, so if you're one of them try taking it later in the day. Your doctor may even advise you to take some other form of vitamin instead of the pill. NOTE: Always consult your Doctor about any medications and treatments during pregnancy, even those designed for pre-natal use.

I've put together a few of the most common natural morning sickness remedies that will work to calm the tummies of most women however each woman is different. What works for one of us may have no effect on others. A little bit of trial and error is in order but I do suggest talking to the women who share your genes - find out what worked for your Mom or your will give you a great starting point.
  • Try keeping for favorite crackers on hand, salty one's seem to be popular.
  • Try drinking some ginger ale (or your favorite soft drink), it calms the stomach down.
  • Dry cereal is another good thing to eat, it's one of those things you can have just a little snack on until you're feeling up to having a meal
  • Small portions are helpful - they are a lot easier to bring up again...too much info again!
  • Get plenty of rest - you will need to tune into your body throughout your pregnancy, now's a good time to start.
  •  Keep yourself hydrated, dehydration will trigger more morning sickness which can lead into a vicious cycle which finishes in the Emergency Room of your local hospital
On a personal note...
  • I found the dried crystallized ginger sweets to be helpful. Ginger is an age old remedy for morning sickness but not something that you can easily work into your diet and 7am - which is why I always had a stash of crystallized ginger within arms reach.
  • I also suggest taking note of your triggers - long distance driving would always set  me off, as did particular smells. Once you know your triggers you can minimize your contact with them.
  • Find out what your "fall-back food" is. We all have a favorite food that we can always eat, even if we are full to the point of exploding, we can make room for this one fall-back food. It's possibly the first food you crave for after a bout of gastro or when you're unwell.
MY BIGGEST TIP OF ALL...was making sure I never had an empty stomach. When I could feel myself sliding, I would try to eat just a little bit of my "fall-back food" (mine is vegemite on raisin toast btw!).

After it's had a little time to digest (10-20min) I could go ahead and eat a full portion. For me, morning sickness was my body's way of saying "Hey! Your blood sugar is low and this baby is stealing you nourishment reserves....keep the food coming woman!"

 There is no fool proof morning sickness cure but there are plenty of options out there to try. Morning sickness bracelets are available in most drug stores these days. They work just like the motion sickness bracelets do. You will also find morning sickness tablets in your local drug store that are based on natural ingredients - with your Doctors consent, of course..

For more natural morning sickness remedy's, ginger is an age old treatment however nothing is more successful than tuning into your body and sleeping when you need to sleep, eating when you need to eat, taking a load off when you need to take a load off.