Archive for the ‘ Pregnancy Tips ’ Category

Playing Music During IVF Helps Fertilize Eggs

Thursday, March 13th, 2014

I’ve heard playing music for plants can actually help plants grow to be taller and stronger, thanks to the mild vibrations the music emits. But could the same technique help to fertilize eggs during IVF? A new study suggests yes.

This far-out idea could potentially help the 7.3 million infertile couples in the U.S. as well as millions of others struggling to have children around the world. While infertility affects one in 8 couples in America, one in four couples are plagued by it in developing countries. That is a lot of people who want desperately to have kids, but can’t.

This promise of new hope is music to their ears. At the Institut Marques fertility clinic in Barcelona, Spain, researchers studied whether playing music in IVF labs would boost the odds of fertilization by injecting sperm in almost 1,000 eggs and putting them in dishes in incubators.

Then they divided the incubators in half. Five hundred received no music, while the other 500 had speakers placed in them, where everything from pop tunes by Michael Jackson and Madonna to rock songs by Nirvana and Metallica to classical works by Mozart and Vivaldi were played 24/7.

Not all of the eggs were fertilized, but fertilization rates were 5 percent higher in incubators with music (there seemed to be no difference in success rates based on type of music played). The theory is that musical vibrations could mimic what occurs naturally during conception, where the fertilized egg is rocked as it rolls down the fallopian tube, and then receives gentle contractions in the womb. As bizarre as it sounds, according to The Daily Mail, “Music is thought to ease the passage of nutrients into the egg and speed the removal of toxic waste, so increasing the odds of fertilization taking place and the fledgling embryo surviving.”

Though it is too early to say whether the technique makes a significant difference in the odds of giving birth, couples in 17 countries have become parents thanks to the unorthodox technique. So just as music can help a couple get in the mood for baby-making, it seems it has the same effect on your eggs—even if they’re in a petri dish.

TELL US: Do you think music really can make a difference in conception? If so, what tunes would you want on your eggs’ IVF playlist?

Take our fertility maximizer quiz to see if you’re making all the right moves to get pregnant.

Sperm Meets Egg: Weeks 1 to 3 of Pregnancy
Sperm Meets Egg: Weeks 1 to 3 of Pregnancy
Sperm Meets Egg: Weeks 1 to 3 of Pregnancy

Image of woman with headphones courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Choosing Godparents: Would You Pick Zach Braff?

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

Zach Braff’s longtime buddy, and former Scrubs costar, Donald Faison bestowed upon Zach one of the greatest honors a parent can give someone: the title of godfather. In true celeb fashion, Zach turned to Twitter to announce the big news with an adorable photo of him and baby Rocco (similarly, Jaime King recently announced Jessica Alba and Topher Grace are her son James’ godparents on Instagram). The funnyman couldn’t resist a silly caption: “Me and my god son. Made with @donald_faison’s sperm.”

But choosing Godparents is no laughing matter, and it can be a daunting task—one that takes more thought than you’d think. It’s not just about picking your sister or your BFF, you really need to think about who will be the best fit for your family in every way.

Godparent means different things to different people, so first think about what it means to you. Are you looking for religious role models who will give your children spiritual and moral guidance throughout their lives? Do you want your baby’s godparents to be emergency guardians in case anything should ever happen to you and your baby’s dad? Or do you just want your children to be surrounded by people who love them, and who will be there during the most important events in their lives—basically, a second set of supportive loved ones to talk to and confide in? Or are your ideal godparents all of the above?

Proximity is something to consider too. If someone lives across the country, can they be as big of a life influence on your child as someone near by, who can make it to every game, recital or birthday? Or if something does happen to you, are you ok with your child being uprooted to move to another city or state (though obviously where someone lives now doesn’t mean they’ll be living there forever anyway)?

Do you want godparents who are very similar to you? Or would you prefer them to give your kids a new perspective on life that is different from yours but still compliments it? How involved do you expect them to be?  For instance, your ER surgeon/former sorority sister that you’ve loved and treasured for years may not be able to be as present in your baby’s life as someone with a less crazy job.

There are so many questions to ask yourself before deciding. It’s good to start thinking about it while you’re pregnant, so hopefully you have ones chosen by the time the baby is born. Confession time: my son’s 16 months old and my hubby and I still haven’t settled on godparents. At this rate, he could have a wife before he has a godmother!

TELL US: How did you choose your child’s godparents?

Image via Zach Braff’s Twitter.

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Time to Get Pregnant? When You’re Most Likely to Conceive

Thursday, October 3rd, 2013

Apparently, November is one big love fest. At least that’s what research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention seems to point to, because more women conceive in November than in any other month. (Confession: I feed into that statistic. My son was conceived in early November, due in early August, but came a week early and ended up a July 28 baby).

While there’s no clear data on why everyone’s knocking boots in November, I have some theories of my own. First off, it’s cold out, and who wants to go outside in the cold and snow, when you can stay inside with your honey and keep yourselves warm (and busy!)? And if you do make your way out of the house to build that cute snowman or make snow angels, when you get back in, you’re going to want to dive right into bed and find some way to warm each other up.

And while November is the kick-off of the holiday season, it’s before the full-on December rush and stress hits you (don’t forget, people, stress hormones reduce your chances of getting pregnant!), so you’re still in good, happy spirits and open to both long, passionate romps or just a quickie. You’re also traveling a lot and so the many chances of forgetting to pack your birth control could be another reason for all of those babies.

Thanksgiving makes you feel all lovey-dovey and grateful for each and every amazing person in your life—and that of course includes the person you’re sleeping with! So to show your appreciation for each other, you—what else?—have sex. A lot.

In November, you also have your high school and college homecomings to attend, and nothing gets you more in the mood than reminiscing about the good ol’ wild days, right? Oh, and the tailgate parties! Let’s put it this way: for many women, booze = loss of inhibitions, which means all of those sexual fantasies you’ve had are about to come true (making tons of boyfriends and husbands very happy campers).

So now that you know November is the best time to conceive, you have exactly 29 days to plan every last sexscapade for the month. Here’s to getting lucky, ladies!

TELL US: Will you be trying to get pregnant in November? 

Image of couple courtesy of Shutterstock.

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How Tia Mowry-Hardict Conquered Infertility (and Other Pregnancy Advice)

Friday, September 27th, 2013

Endometriosis InfertilityActress and momtrepreneur Tia Mowry-Hardict may always seem upbeat and über-positive, but she went through a very dark period when she was struggling with infertility. The cause? Endometriosis, which is an abnormal growth of cells from the lining of your uterus that appear outside of the uterine cavity. It can be painful and cause fertility issues. Now, 35, Tia was diagnosed with Endometriosis at 27, and underwent two surgeries and a major lifestyle change before getting pregnant with son, Cree, now 2.

Tia shares her experiences with Endometriosis, as well as some smart pregnancy tips all moms-to-be can learn from.

Due to your Endometriosis diagnosis, you had two surgeries and were told you needed a third. Was there ever a point where you thought you wouldn’t be able to have kids?
Yes, despite my diagnosis I still wanted to try and have a baby, but not being able to have kids was an immediate fear. It made me feel out of control. I knew that I desperately wanted to have children and after speaking with a nutritionist that came recommended by my doctor, I was reassured that with the right eating habits and lifestyle changes (no sugar, no carbs!), I would have a better possibility of getting pregnant.  I started to see a light at the end of the tunnel. I became extremely health conscious, changed my diet, and I think those changes helped with ultimately getting pregnant.

Now that you are a mom, what do you wish you could tell your pregnant self about all of the fears you had about being a mom?
The baby is going to come when he/she is ready and it’s really important to let nature take its course. There’s only so much we can control, like vitamins, exercise etc…but when all is said and done, the baby will come out however he/she is meant to come out. You have to be ok with that.

What were you most excited about when you were pregnant?
I was most excited about seeing my baby (and my belly) grow.

What were you most scared of?
Natural childbirth! And like any mom I was anxious about making sure my baby was healthy.

What was the best piece of advice you received while pregnant?
Sleep while you can!

How did you get through the not-so-fun parts of pregnancy? Any tips for moms-to-be?
For the nausea that comes with morning sickness, what really, really helped me were seasickness bands. You wear them and they work on a pressure point that deals with seasickness. For exhaustion, listen to your body. When you’re tired, rest. Don’t try to be superwoman.  But also don’t be afraid to exercise when your’re feeling up to it. My advice for women struggling with stretch marks would be to use Stretchy by needbrands.com, a line of products I launched with my sister Tamera.

Why did you two decide to launch your own line for pregnant women, moms and babies?
We felt that there were certain products that didn’t exist out there that we absolutely could have used during our own pregnancies.  So, if there was a need on our end, there must be other moms out there looking for the same types of things. Milky—an herbal tea supplement to help boost the quality and quantity of your breast milk—is important because it is a need (no pun intended).  It’s quick, convenient, affordable, natural and tasty. Next up, we’re looking to have six more products in stores at Destination Maternity nationwide by January 2014, that focus on the needs of moms (during and post pregnancy) babies, infants and toddlers.

 Was it hard to be a working mom-to-be?
It was really challenging. The hardest thing was hiding my pregnancy for the first two months. When you’re working on a set, it can be extremely hard. I found myself running to the bathroom several times with morning sickness, but had to tell those around me that I had gastro-intestinal issues. I’d also fall asleep in between takes. I didn’t really deal with mommy brain until after I had Cree. I went to the grocery store once and left my car running the whole time! I found the best way of working through all of the absent mindedness was to write everything down.

You have your series of yoga DVDs. How do you think yoga can help pregnant women?
Yoga opens up parts of the body that otherwise stay shut down, and it helps with breathing techniques, which are vital to the childbirth process. Yoga also helped me lose weight post-baby but it’s important to remember that it deals with more emotional and spiritual weight than physical. Yoga combined with cardio and weight training is ideal. I gained 60 pounds when I was pregnant and it took two years to get back to where I was pre-pregnancy.

On Instant Mom you fall in love and you’re suddenly a step-mom of three. What tips have you learned from your character that you can share with other moms with newly blended families?
Even though you are a step-mom, it doesn’t mean that you can’t be a mom to the children. A mom is someone who nurtures and loves, and shares responsibilities with the rest of the caretakers in the family. Having kids is a blessing.
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Tia Mowry-Hardrict’s new show, Instant Mom, debuts Sunday, Sept 29, at 8:30 p.m. on Nick at Nite, then airs again at 10:30 p.m. on Nick Jr. The third season of her reality show Tia & Tamera premieres on E! Tuesday, Oct 15, at 9 p.m. And her Need products are available at Destination Maternity.

 TELL US: What are your best pregnancy tips for other moms-to-be?

Image of Tia Mowry-Hardict courtesy of Shutterstock.

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When Should You Tell The Boss You’re Pregnant?

Thursday, August 8th, 2013

Being mommy-tracked at workIt can be nerve-wracking trying to figure out how and when you should spill the beans about the bun in your oven at work. You could be extra sensitive if you’ve just recently started the job, you’re up for a promotion, or your company is rumored to have layoffs coming up. It’s a very personal decision of when to share your big news, so do it on your own time. But a good rule of thumb for most pregnant women seems to be at the beginning of their second trimester. That way, they know things are going well with the pregnancy, many haven’t fully started showing yet, and it still gives them enough time to work out the minute details about their maternity leave.

But could giving your boss and colleagues too much notice backfire on you? According to a new survey of 432 moms conducted by Slater & Gordon in London, the answer is yes! A staggering 75 percent of women suggested that moms-to-be should actually wait till the last possible minute to tell their bosses that they’re expecting. Why? Because the attitudes of their bosses and colleagues changed once they found out they were pregnant (not in a good way), and a whopping 48 percent felt their chances of rising in the ranks had come to a halt since becoming pregnant.

Suddenly, you’re seen differently in the eyes of your co-workers. You’re no longer the capable, confident go-getter, but fragile. What’s up with that? I’ve had friends who’ve said they’ve been moved from high-profile accounts—without their request—because they required nighttime entertaining of clients, or longer hours, and their bosses felt that those weren’t the right fit for a pregnant woman. Whether it’s intended to be helpful or not—who knows?!—often times bosses take it upon themselves to do what they think is best for you and your family. And by that I mean they think you should be at home more—whether that’s your intended career path or not.

Sadly, for the women in the survey, the news didn’t get much better once they returned from maternity leave. Twenty-nine percent felt that they had been passed over for promotions because they had taken maternity leave, and were now perceived as having family obligations that would prevent them from doing as well of a job as they had done before having kids.

Discrimination is never a good thing, but I really hate that this sort of blatant stereotyping would never happen to men. Fathers aren’t “daddy tracked” in the office, so why are mothers “mommy-tracked”?

TELL US: When did you tell your boss you were pregnant? Did you feel anyone at work treated you differently because you were pregnant?

Image of woman courtesy of Shutterstock.

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