You’ve done everything “right” — since you and your partner have been trying for a baby, you’ve taken folic acid, eaten a healthy diet, and exercised regularly. Neither of you smokes or drinks, and you either have lots of intercourse or know when you ovulate so you know you’re intimate during the fertile window.
Still, you’ve been waiting for that elusive positive pregnancy test for what seems like ages. A few times, your period was late and you thought that you finally hit the fertility jackpot. A few other times, you were very tired and your partner started talking you into believing you were pregnant. The months are whizzing by, and you certainly do your bit to make pregnancy happen.
So, why don’t you have a baby on the way yet, Could you have a fertility problem,Your age and your fertility
It’s true that the vast majority of couples who are actively trying to conceive get pregnant within a year, but statistics aren’t everything. You have a certain chance of conceiving during any one menstrual cycle, and that chance depends on your age among other things. Once you are in your thirties, your egg quality already starts to decline slowly. Your forties are another story entirely — you may not even ovulate every month any more.
Age is the single most common cause of infertility, and one that happens to every woman (and most men, too) eventually. Having said that, it’s important to note that trying to conceive may take longer for older couples than those in their early twenties. You actually have more reason to suspect infertility if you are not pregnant after six months in your twenties than you do in your thirties and forties.
This is meant to be encouraging for older couples, but doesn’t take away from the fact that it’s perfectly legitimate to seek medical assistance if you are not pregnant after 12 months of trying — no matter what your age. It is up to you and your partner when to seek out fertility testing, but if you are in your late thirties or early forties, time is indeed of the essence.
Do you have any risk factors for infertility
It is always good to see your doctor before you start trying to get pregnant, for a general preconception checkup. This checkup might weed out medical problems that could interfere with your chances of getting pregnant as well as your potential baby’s health. Sexually transmittable diseases that do not have symptoms (chlamydia, particularly) could go undiagnosed for many years without you having any idea you have them. If you do have an STD, you want to know about it. Couples who are trying to conceive and haven’t gone through STD testing yet can still seize the opportunity and do so now.
You may also be aware of existing medical conditions. Irregular menstrual cycles can point to issues that could prevent you from getting pregnant, such as a hormonal imbalance (see . Any abdominal surgery, including appendicitis, can also lead to fertility problems — if you have had any surgery, look into it further.
Then, there are the more obvious culprits. Women who have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis, fibroids, an past chlamydia or Pelvic Inflammatory Disease diagnosis, cysts… all of these things are risk factors for infertility. They indicate that you have every right to seek medical attention now, even if you haven’t been trying to conceive for a full 12 months yet.
Not getting pregnant can be due to many different factors. They include poor lifestyle choices or nutrition (you’ve already looked into that), simply having sex at the wrong time of the month (you have probably looked into that one too), and female fertility problems. Could you have a fertility problem, Yes, you could. But never neglect the possibility that your partner could be facing a fertility problem too.
In practical terms, this means you should both go to the doctor when you make that initial fertility appointment. Risk factors for male infertility include erectile dysfunction, trouble ejaculating, and overheating the testicles through constant hot baths or laptops in his lap. Vigorous biking can do the same thing. Testicular surgery is another possible cause, as are many chronic diseases including diabetes.
Most women have spent their whole adult life avoiding pregnancy by the time they are ready for a baby — and then, they would like to get pregnant as soon as possible. What do you need to know about trying for a baby if you still need to come off your birth control method, whether it’s hormonal or non-hormonal,
Thanks to xopherlance via Flickr Creative Commons.
The birth control pill is still the most popular hormonal contraceptive method, though there is a huge variety on the market now. Women who quit using the pill may get their fertility back within two weeks of stopping, but some women also need several months before their menstrual cycle returns to normal and they start ovulating again. Many doctors recommend that you wait for a whole cycle, which means menstruating at least once after stopping, before trying to get pregnant. In that case, you would probably be using condoms in the intermediary period.
The same rules that apply to the pill also apply to NuvaRing, the hormonal ring that prevents pregnancy. The situation is quite similar for women who have their Mirena IUD removed, as well. The hormonal IUD works in a way that can be compared to the pill, while also interfering with implantation through its presence in the womb. Many women report a few irregular menstrual cycles before everything settles into its normal rhythm again. Your ovulation is likely to be back within a few months after having your Mirena coil taken out.
Depo provera, the injectable form of hormonal birth control, is another popular method. While depo provera is very effective and can prevent pregnancy for years at a time, it’s a little trickier for women who do want to get pregnant. Not only do you have to wait out the period of time the injection was supposed to work, many women who are trying to get pregnant after depo provera say that their ovulation doesn’t return for a long time after stopping the injections. Others get their fertility back soon, so don’t despair, but do think about discussing your pregnancy chances with your OBGYN.
Non-hormonal contraceptives like condoms and the copper coil (and… is there anything else, really,) are much easier to deal with. You can stop condoms and try for a baby right away, though you should of course make the same health and lifestyle chances anyone trying to get pregnant makes. The copper IUD needs removing, but your fertility will be back right away after it’s gone.
Many parents feel obligated to come up with wonderful, fun activities during the weekend. Spending time together as a family, and reconnecting, is wonderful… but it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. What activities can you do regardless of your financial status, or what kinds of facilities there are in your neighborhood, Here are 10 of our favorite family activities.
Credit: Teapics via Flickr Creative Commons
1. Going for a walk together
It sounds boring, but walking together has a lot to offer — physical exercise, fresh air, a chance to chat with your kids and partner, and renewed energy. When my kids were really little (even littler than they are now), the thought of “going for a walk” every day, as people in the country I live in seem to think is the proper mom/housewife type of thing to do, made me want to run away screaming. Now, we do it fairly regularly, and it’s fun. We grab a hot chocolate when it’s cold, and an ice cream during the summer.
2. Clean up
The weekends provide a great opportunity to clean and tidy your house, as a family. Doing those chores together can make the process fun, and you’ll be so happy to sit down after, and enjoy your lovely home. If you want to go a step further, why not organize a “clean up the neighborhood” event, This teaches your kids to be responsible citizens of the earth, and may help you connect with neighbors.
3. Go to the movies
See a movie on the big screen! Almost every child loves the cinema, and if you choose your film well, it will be fun for you too.
4. Something creative
Depending on the ages and interests of your children, of course. A friend of mine recently built a huge wooden trebuchet from scratch, together with his four sons. After they were done (something that took several weekends), they invited all their mates to launch water balloons with their new siege “weapon”. But playing with clay and baking the results in the oven, drawing a portrait of someone, or teaching your child how to use a sewing machine are ideas too.
5. Go to a house of worship
Even if you don’t believe, visiting different houses of worship can be very educational. You can even visit a few different ones, either during the same weekend or spread out over several weeks. Then discuss the differences in the way they worship, and how the house of worship made you feel.
6. Play games
If you have small kids, games like hide and seek, I spy with my little eye, or just running around, are bound to make them happy. My kids are always begging me to play hide and seek with them, and I make a point of doing what they want during the weekends. Board games can be fun, even if you have teenagers (well, for some teenagers, anyway).
7. Enjoy good food
Cook an elaborate meal, or have your husband or kids make you one! Or order take-out, if that’s what you like. If you make a point of always enjoying some special meal during the weekend, the foodie in all your family members will have something to look forward to. We like to have a sit-down meal together, usually with three courses. It helps us realize the weekend is different from the rest of the week, when we’re too rushed to have an elaborate meal.
Most people will have a public swimming pool in the neighborhood. Why not use the weekend as a chance to check out yours,
9. Nature appreciation
Go bird watching, bug hunting, frog catching, or something similar. Find out what species live in your area. If there is a patch of nature, like woods, a lake, or a nice park, near you, go and enjoy the scenery. And take pictures.
10. Interactive games
If you really have to use the TV or computer, why not play Wii sports games with your kids or partner, It does use a screen, but at least it gives you some exercise and it also encourages family bonding.
If you have trouble conceiving naturally, you should know that even small change in your diet and lifestyle could improve your chances of getting pregnant. There is a lot of natural fertility supplements that may increase your fertility, saving you from expensive treatments and additional stress they cause.
One of the first prerequisites for successful conception is having a regular sex. Increasing libido is thus the primary goal. Few supplements such as Maca root powder could be of great help. Maca Root (Lepidium Meyenii) contains significant amounts of amino acids, complex carbohydrates, Vitamins B1, B2, C, E and minerals including calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, zinc and iron. Maca is used traditionally to increase libido in both men and women, also increasing sperm count and mobility in men, and improving menstrual irregularities and hormonal imbalance in women. Maca differs from other supplements because it stimulates the glands in the body to produce the hormones according to the individuals’ unique requirements, rather than introducing hormones from outside.
There are other herbal based supplements that could help increasing your libido, such as Dong Quai or wild jam, but you should consult qualified herbal specialist before taking any of them.
Vitamins and minerals play very important role in conception process, so they should be included in regular diet as a food or in a form of additional supplements.
Vitamin B is one of the most essential supplements for fertility. Vitamin B6 and B12 are particularly important for fertility and hormonal function. This vitamin needs to be replenished all the time, as it’s water soluble, leaving the body with urination. Foods rich in Vitamin B are turkey, liver, tuna, chili peppers, lentils, bananas, potatoes, oats, barley, wheat bran, avocado, salmon, Brazil nuts. In addition, brewer’s yeast is good source of B vitamins. Other meats, dairy products and eggs are high in vitamin B12, which is essential for the production of genetic material in conjunction with Folic Acid.
Folic Acid or Folate is also a member of the Vitamin B family, very important for the fertility. Human body cannot store Folic Acid, so it must be replenished regularly. It can be deficient in people with Celiac disease and Crohn’s disease. Also, alcohol use, the contraceptive pills and other drugs can cause Folic Acid to be excreted out of the body. Folic acid is found naturally in dark green leafy vegetables, apricots, avocados, carrots, egg yolks, liver, melons, whole grains, and yeast’s.
Vitamin A is an antioxidant essential at conception for the developing embryo. There has been some controversy that high doses of this Vitamin may be harmful to baby development, so smaller amounts of this Vitamin are recommended. Food rich in Vitamin A include carrots, tomatoes, cabbage, spinach and broccoli.
Vitamin C is also an antioxidant, helpful to sperm production and healthy ovulation. Food sources include blackcurrants, red peppers, guavas and citrus fruits such as oranges and grapefruits, strawberries, kiwi, broccoli and Brussel sprouts.
Vitamin E is important as an antioxidant. Low levels of Vitamin E could cause subfertility in men and women. This vitamin is found in wheat germ cereal, dark green leafy vegetables, nuts, sunflower seeds, brown rice, milk, eggs, meat, soya beans and sweet potatoes.
Zinc is an essential component of genetic material and plays an important role in the fertility of women, and especially men, affecting sperm count. Zinc is also vital to healthy cell division, which makes it essential at conception. Zinc occurs naturally in oats, rye, pumpkin seeds, almonds and peas.
Selenium is important antioxidant protecting the body from free radicals. It is especially important for healthy sperm production. However, it should be consumed in small amounts, otherwise it could cause toxicity. It could be found in corn, wheat, rice, Brazil nuts and walnuts, soybeans, animal products such as beef, egg and dairy. Tuna is also important source of selenium.
Iron is important for the production of red blood cells and oxygen transport. Low iron levels can be a factor in subfertility. Great sources of iron are liver, spinach, beans, kale, and broccoli.
Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s) are, as their name says, essential for healthy hormone production. These acids are crucial for the development of the baby brain, eyes and central nervous system. Great source of EFA’s are fish oils.
L-arginine and L-carnitine are two amino acids essential to healthy sperm production. They are found in dairy products, meat, poultry, walnuts, peanuts, chocolate, seafood and fish, wheat germ and flour.
IVF success rates depend on many factors, including age and health. Every woman who is about to undergo invitro fertilization is aware that the first IVF cycle may not result in a pregnancy, even if many good-quality embryos were created and several were implanted.
But at which point should you say that enough is enough
The question of how many IVF cycles a woman can have should be approached from various angles. How many cycles are medically safe, and in what circumstances, How many cycles will your insurance policy cover, or how many can you afford to pay out of pocket, And how do these cycles of IVF affect your emotional wellbeing, and your relationship,
Non-medical concerns carry immense importance when a couple is deciding whether to continue with IVF. But the financial and emotional aspects of fertility treatments are up to the individual to decide. When it comes to medical questions, you have a partner — your fertility clinic. How many cycles are medically safe, This depends on different things, like whether you still have embryos from a previous cycle, or need to go through ovarian stimulation again, to harvest eggs another time. It is of course best to discuss these questions with your medical team, asking concrete questions like:What are my chances of pregnancy during this cycle,What are the reasons the last cycle failed,
What are the risks of continuing with IVF during the next cycle
Recent research does show that the general success rates of IVF — in every age group — are higher when a woman has six cycles than when she has three cycles of IVF. There are those who continue even beyond that, including a blogger who got pregnant after 11 cycles. There are also those who discover underlying reasons why the IVF didn’t work (maternal antibodies attacking the embryos, to name one example), and decide to discontinue.
Everyone, including people who have never even seen a newborn, knows that babies tend to have erratic sleep patterns. They will sleep most of the day in the newborn stage but all that sleep doesn’t do you, the parent, much good when you are trying to catch some sleep during the night, only to be greeted by an awake baby time and time again. The concept of a baby “sleeping through the night” is extremely popular among parents for obvious reasons. And that is where sleep training comes in. Because small babies will not, generally, start sleeping through the night all by themselves.
How does one sleep-train a baby?
There are several methods that are popularly used, including “Ferberizing”. All infant sleep training methods involve allowing a baby to cry himself to sleep, for longer or shorter stretches of time, and with or without a parent next to the baby. This is known as “Cry It Out“. The idea is that the baby will learn to self soothe and a clear schedule will be established, in which the baby goes to sleep at a certain time and will hopefully sleep through the night.
The advantages are hopefully more sleep for the parents, and a baby who will go to sleep without having to be rocked or driven around for long periods.
Babies do not usually sleep through the night for a very good biological reason – their tummy is too small to process large amounts of food at once, and they need to eat and eliminate throughout the day and night. Opponents of sleep training with infants say that babies fall asleep after a “cry it out” period because the baby learns that her needs are not going to be met, and she may as well stop. The other disadvantage is that it is not nice to listen to your baby cry himself to sleep. If your instincts tell you to pick your baby up, even when your newborn just won’t sleep, you should probably listen to them.
If your baby is constantly fussy and crying, you may wonder if she has started teething. When will your baby start teething? That is, as with any other baby milestone, quite individual. The majority of babies will have their first tooth between four and seven months, which means that teething pain can start even earlier.
It is, in fact, possible for a baby to be born with teeth. But that is so rare that we’ll just mention it in passing. Most babies will get their bottom front teeth first, followed by their top front teeth. So, if your baby is fussy and you are looking for signs of teeth, that is where you should be focusing your attention. At first, the gums will turn sore and swollen, and a white spot will emerge underneath.
Besides this, the other signs and symptoms of infant teething are:
- Restlessness and weird nursing behavior
- Drooling – lots of drooling
- Diarrhea and diaper rash
Every parent wants to know what they can do to relieve teething pain. Unfortunately, it is not possible to eliminate all pain for your little one. But you can make the teething process a little easier by giving your baby a teether. These come in many kinds, and you may need to try a few before your baby decides she likes one. We liked teethers with fluid, that can be put in the freezer, in our family.
Some babies prefer biting on foods to ease the pain and help the tooth erupt, but that is only suitable for those old enough to eat solids – which is six months and up according to most research on the topic. Additionally, you can give tylenol or another over the counter pain killer suitable for infants. Discuss this with your baby’s pediatrician. There are also homeopathic treatments and teething gels with local anesthesia available.
Baby carriers come in many forms – from soft structured carriers to mei tais and ring slings. They all have one thing in common though, and that is that they allow parents to carry their baby easily and conveniently. If you are expecting a baby at the moment, or are parenting a newborn, you are probably curious when you can start wearing your baby in a carrier. Depending on the carrier you choose to use, the answer is immediately after birth! So, let’s take a look at what the best baby carriers for newborns are.
Stay away from bag slings
First, I’d like to point out that one of the most well-known bag slings, the Infantino Sling Rider, was recalled from the market last year after several babies suffocated and died in one. Though some other bag slings are still for sale, this type of baby carrier can force your baby into a shape that makes him or her unable to breathe. Because the baby hangs away from the parent, and is quite low down, it is sometimes not possible to notice this immediately, especially when your baby is sleeping. Just don’t risk this, and stay away from bag slings.
Pouch slings and ring slings
The hot daddy in the picture above is carrying his baby in a pouch sling. This type of sling is practical for newborns, as it allows them to be carried in the so-called cradle hold. Later on, when your baby is a toddler, you can have them sit in the sling on your hip. This type of sling is not good for people who have shoulder problems, as all the weight literally goes to one shoulder. They are ideal for short trips. Ring slings are similar to pouches, with the difference that you can make them longer and shorter with the adjustable rings.
A mei tai is a traditional Asian baby carrier. It is what I used for my son from birth to about a year, and we were both extremely happy with it. Newborns get snuggled into a mei tai in “froggy style” with their legs crossed, like in the fetal position. Look for a mei tai that has a good amount of head support for newborns, like a Baby Hawk. Mei tais distribute the baby’s weight evenly among the shoulders and the hips, making it a great option for long rides. With one of these, you can wear your baby on your front or back. They are very versatile.
Soft structured carriers
Perhaps the Baby Bjorn is most famous and easily found in a store. They are not suitable from birth though. The Ergo baby carrier can be used with a newborn, as long as you use an infant insert, which can be bought from their website. The Ergo and similar options are much like a mei tai, but work with buckles instead of the long ties a mei tai has. They can also be used on front or back, and the Ergo has a sleeping hood that allows your baby to sleep in comfort. This is my favorite carrier because it has thick, padded straps and can be used from newborn to toddler – at two years and a couple of months, my son still happily rides in it. It does not hurt my back, at all!