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Friday, July 18th, 2014
Trying to conceive can be a stressful time. Maybe it leads to sleepless nights, and maybe that insomnia leads to late-night TV benders, or endless scrolling through a phone or tablet for Internet guidance. Does that sound like you? If so, you might have developed a coping habit that’s actually detrimental to your chances of making a baby.
According to a new report, women who are trying to become pregnant, and those who are already expecting, should avoid staying up late, or other exposure to light during the nighttime hours. The study, published in Fertility and Sterility and cited by LiveScience, suggests that sleeping in a completely dark room—that means no light from inside or outside, and no screens—is the most conducive environment for reproductive health, and for protection of a fetus in utero.
“If women are trying to get pregnant, maintain at least eight hours of a dark period at night,” said cellular biology professor Russel J. Reiter of the University of Texas Health Science Center in the study. “The light-dark cycle should be regular from one day to the next; otherwise, a woman’s biological clock is confused.”
Primarily, this is because turning on the light signals the body to turn down the production of melatonin, which is useful in protecting eggs, as well as maintaining healthy cycles for incubating babies. The researcher points out that evolutionarily speaking, humans’ sleep schedules were determined by the rising and setting of the sun, with the natural light-dark cycles regulating our circadian rhythms–and in short, modern conveniences can kinda mess us all up.
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So what can you do? If you wish, consider springing for a set of blackout shades. And if possible, avoid turning on the lights at night, even if you’re struggling to sleep. You might even find you can soothe yourself back to sleep more easily this way—and that’s the best thing for you for all sorts of reasons!
TTC? Talk to other women trying to get pregnant. And don’t forget to like Everything Pregnancy on Facebook to keep up with the very latest in pregnancy news and trends!
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock
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Wednesday, May 14th, 2014
As women, we often think, “Of course, I’ll be able to get pregnant” no matter what our age. But, unfortunately, that’s not always the case. And though it may become harder to get pregnant as you age, you can still have infertility issues in your twenties or thirties—not just your forties. That said, here’s a happy story about good things coming to those who wait.
Hart of Dixie star Jaime King, 35, recently revealed to ABC News that she tried to get pregnant for four years before finally conceiving her son, James Knight, with husband Kyle Newman. Though she didn’t reveal what the key was to finally getting pregnant (a reproductive surgery? IVF or another fertility treatment? I guess you have to keep some things private), she shows that it is possible to become a mom, even when you’re not a Fertile Myrtle.
“This baby was a long time in the making,” she said about James, who is now 7 months old. “And I feel like the universe put a little extra magic dust in him. He’s like the happiest, most joyful, social, and loving child.” Aww!
“Everything takes on a new meaning,” she added about becoming a mom—something she’s always dreamed of. And though she’s a naturally skinny model-turned-actress, Jaime embraced her curves, and even shared a beautiful bikini bumpie of herself.
“There’s definitely an identity crisis you go through [when your body starts changing], but it took a long time to get pregnant,” she said, acknowledging her infertility struggle. “For me, the baby was such a blessing that the most important thing for me was that I was active…I was never obsessive about dieting or exercise. I didn’t care how much I gained. I just wanted to make sure he was healthy.”
Are you trying to conceive? Talk to other women in our community who are, too!
TELL US: How long did it take you to get pregnant?
Photo of Jaime King and James Knight Newman via Instagram.
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Bikini Bumpie, fertility, Fertility Treatments, Hart of Dixie, infertility, IVF, Jaime King, James Knight, Jessica Alba, Kyle Newman, pregnancy, pregnant | Categories:
Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014
Though infertility is often kept hush-hush, it’s more prevalent than you might think: It turns out that one in eight couples has trouble getting pregnant.
If you’re struggling with infertility, one of the first things you probably think is: What am I doing wrong? (We always blame ourselves, don’t we?) But surprisingly, where you live might play a role in how successful your attempts to conceive may be. RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association, recently released its second annual Fertility Scorecard, which sheds light on the discrepancies between access to fertility treatments and support by state.
The report found that the most “fertility-friendly” states to live in are Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, and New Jersey. The reason? According to RESOLVE, they have better insurance coverage of in vitro fertilization, a higher number of fertility specialists relative to the state’s infertile population, more infertility support groups, and less of a history of trying to pass laws that negatively impact infertile couples. Therefore, they all received an “A” grade.
Meanwhile, Alaska, New Hampshire and Wyoming are pretty much the exact opposite—with little insurance cover for IVF, few infertility specialists and support groups, and more laws that hurt infertile couples in the long run, which is why they earned an “F” grade. The majority of northern states scored a B or C, while most southern states were more likely to earn a C or D. (For a closer look at your state’s rating, click here.)
With this being National Infertility Awareness Week, RESOLVE is hoping their findings will “bring attention” to these state-by-state discrepancies. And wouldn’t it be nice if every state eventually earned an “A”? I think we all know someone who has struggled to get pregnant, and they definitely need plenty of support—both emotional and financial—while going through expensive and trying rounds of IUI (intrauterine insemination) and IVF.
Trying to conceive? Talk to other women who are, too!
TELL US: What grade did your state get on RESOLVE’s scorecard?
Image courtesy of RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association
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Cost of IUI, Cost of IVF, fertility, In Vitro Fertilization, Infertile, infertility, Intrauterine Insemination, IUI, IVF, National Infertility Awareness Week, pregnancy, pregnant, Resolve | Categories:
Must Read, Pregnancy News
Tuesday, March 25th, 2014
Women’s lives are stressful as it is, trying to juggle being a good wife or girlfriend with being a good daughter, sister, friend, and co-worker. It’s enough to drive you nuts! Then throw into the mix the pressures we put on ourselves to get pregnant, and stress levels are off the charts!
Women tend to think it’s going to be easy to get pregnant, and when it isn’t, we start blaming ourselves, stressing over every last thing that could be “our fault” we’re not conceiving. The problem is that stressing over not getting pregnant, can prevent you from getting pregnant quickly—or even at all—according to a new study published in the journal Human Reproduction.
Researchers from The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center tracked 501 American women ages 18 to 40, who weren’t known to have any fertility issues, and had just started trying to conceive. They followed them for 12 months or until they became pregnant as part of the Longitudinal Investigation of Fertility and the Environment (LIFE) Study.
The study found that “women with high levels of alpha-amylase—a biological indicator of stress measured in saliva—are 29 percent less likely to get pregnant each month and are more than twice as likely to meet the clinical definition of infertility (remaining not pregnant despite 12 months of regular unprotected intercourse), compared to women with low levels of this protein enzyme.”
Germaine Buck Louis, director of the Division of Intramural Population Health Research of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) and the LIFE Study’s principal investigator, said, “Eliminating stressors before trying to become pregnant might shorten the time couples need to become pregnant in comparison to ignoring stress. The good news is that women most likely will know which stress reduction strategy works best for them, since a one-size-fits-all solution is not likely.”
So, ladies, whether you’re trying to get pregnant for the first time or fourth, you have to figure out how to compartmentalize and not let your stress take over, or it could prevent you from getting pregnant. And you don’t want that!
TELL US: How do you keep your stress in check?
Image of stressed out woman courtesy of Shutterstock.
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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.
Image of woman with headphones courtesy of Shutterstock.
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Conception, conception study, fertility, In Vitro Fertilization, infertility, IVF, Music, pregnancy, pregnant | Categories:
Must Read, Pregnancy News, Pregnancy Tips