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Monday, November 25th, 2013
Food is such a hot topic when it comes to pregnancy—what to eat, what not to eat, how much to eat, what’s a healthy amount of weight to gain while pregnant…the list is endless! The amount of information out there can be overwhelming! So I spoke to Elizabeth Ward, a registered dietician and author of Expect the Best, Your Guide to Healthy Eating Before, During, & After Pregnancy, to give you a quick and easy rundown of what to eat and what to steer clear of. Here are her recommendations.
The five best foods for fertility and pregnancies:
• Eggland’s Best Eggs: “EB eggs contain four times more vitamin D than ordinary eggs and they provide a lean source of protein,” says Ward. “In addition, they contain no trans fats and nearly all the fat in EB eggs is unsaturated. Eggs are also a source of choline. In observational studies, choline has helped reduce the risk for birth defects in the first month of life. During pregnancy a child’s brain is developing at a very rapid pace. It needs the omega-3 fats found in seafood and in Eggland’s Best Eggs, which provide twice the amount of omega-3s in ordinary eggs. Healthy women can have 2 EB eggs a day.”
• Canned light tuna and salmon: “They are excellent sources of vitamin D and lean protein. They are also relatively low-risk fish in terms of mercury. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends eating at least two fish meals a week.”
• Legumes: “Chickpeas, black beans, and other beans are free of trans fat, are low-glycemic carbohdyrate sources and are full of filling fiber. Start with 1/4 cup to your daily diet, and you can eat up to a cup of beans daily.”
• Fortified whole grains: “Whole grains have fiber and are low-glycemic carbohydrate sources. Women should eat at least three servings of whole grains daily.”
• Full-fat vitamin-D fortified milk: “According to the research, full-fat dairy is associated with fertility. A total of three servings from the dairy group daily is the goal.” Also, according to some research, drinking milk while pregnant can cause your children to be taller!
Trying to Conceive: 5 Ways to Get Pregnant Faster
Five things to steer clear of if you want to get pregnant or are pregnant:
• Alcohol: “Alcohol is of course bad for pregnancies, but what all women don’t know is that drinking can also put a damper on fertility.”
• Caffeine: “It may also be surprising to know that there is a lot of conflicting research about caffeine. Some studies say it causes miscarriage and small babies and others say no. I err on the side of caution and go with the March of Dimes suggestion to limit caffeine during pregnancy to 200 milligrams a day or less. When you’re trying to conceive, excess coffee may be crowding out other more nutritious beverages but may not actually be limiting fertility.”
• Red meats: Lean red meat is one of the best sources of iron, “but fatty meats should be avoided.”
• Trans fats: “Things like French fries, donuts and pastries, and margarine may sabotage fertility.”
• Refined carbs: “Excessive amounts of refined carbs (white bread, white rice, white pasta, etc) and added (not naturally occuring) sugar are also problematic.”
According to Ward, “Women should take their preconception diet and lifestyle very seriously.” Weighing too much delays time to conception (being underweight can, too) and starting your pregnancy overweight may mean a bigger baby who goes on to be overweight later in life. “The number one issue for women,” says Ward, “is achieving and maintaining a healthy body weight (based on BMI) on a balanced diet to encourage fertility and to help insure a healthy pregnancy for mom and baby.”
Always try to start pregnancy in the best shape possible. “Manage any underlying health conditions, including body weight, high blood pressure, and anemia before conception occurs,” advises Ward. “There’s no way to figure how much of a change women will see in their fertility based on healthy eating but it is known that they will begin pregnancy in a much healthier state that will reduce complications for them and their child.”
TELL US: Did you make any dietary changes before getting pregnant or during your pregnancy?
NEXT: Your personal pregnancy calendar (It’s free!)
Image of woman drinking milk courtesy of Shutterstock.
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Friday, November 22nd, 2013
What if there was a test you could take—at home without having to go into an infertility clinic—that could tell you your chances of IVF success? What if instead of spending up to $20k per cycle of IVF, you’d know how likely you’d get pregnant before going through IVF for only $49.50? I know it sounds a little too good to be true (and it could be—this is in no way an endorsement of the product because I haven’t tried it), but after meeting with Dr. Mylene W. M. Yao, a Harvard-trained reproductive endocrinologist, it sounds like the technology might already be available.
She and her team have created what they claim to be a cost-effective IVF success predictor for those who haven’t tried IVF yet (Univfy PreIVF), and for those who already have unsuccessfully (Univfy PredictIVF, a more complicated analysis for $175), and want to know whether their odds of eventual success are high enough for them to put in the added expense of another round of costly IVF.
Univfy’s products—which are three years in the making—take into account multiple factors beyond just age. Dr. Yao explains, “It looks at BMI, reproductive history (whether you’ve had pregnancies or miscarriages in the past), ovarian function, semen function, smoking history, etc and analyzes them together against data from tens of thousands of IVF cycles to provide them with a personalized prognosis that’s 1,000 times (on a likelihood scale) more accurate than age-based estimates alone.”
While recent studies now say, your chances of getting pregnant after 35 aren’t actually abysmal, like we’ve been told for years, Dr.Yao says age is still a factor in fertility. “There’s no question, as each woman ages, her ovaries’ functions are going to decline,” says Dr. Yao, who has more than 15 years of experience in reproductive medicine and embryo and uterine biology research, has been published in reputable scientific journals, and is a former faculty member at Stanford University. ”But for each woman, that decline is happening at a different rate. Someone at 38’s ovaries could be functioning really well, and another 38 year old’s ovaries may not be.”
Univfy’s prediction models actually show more than 60 percent of the women who use them have a higher probability of IVF success than their age-based estimates alone suggest. That in itself can cause some relief in women trying to get pregnant in their 30s and 40s. I’m Ms. Prepared, so I like the idea of being realistic about what your chances of getting pregnant might be, because IVF always seems to be the great unknown.
As Dr. Yao points out, “People think IVF is a roll of the dice,” she says. “You just go try it, and wonder, ‘Why does it work for some people and not for others?’ But there is rhyme and reason to it all. We can’t remove all the uncertainty—it’s not like a crystal ball—but giving women more information about their chances of getting pregnant empowers them to be able to take charge of their reproductive decisions, and make ones that make the most sense for them financially as well, since IVF is such an expensive process and many clinics offer package deals.”
That’s right, fertility clinics do bargain bundles—just like cable companies and fast food joints. A package might be three rounds of cycles, or five. So if a program can narrow down the likelihood of getting pregnant from IVF, you can make a more informed decision on how many cycles you might need, which would save you money in the end. Now the question is: Would you want to know your chances of having IVF work before actually trying it? Or would you rather go in blindly with all of the hope in the world? Only you can decide.
The 13 tell-tale signs you’re expecting, decorate your child’s nursery from our shop, and track your most fertile days.
TELL US: Do you think a computer program can predict IVF success? If so, would you want to know your chances of IVF success before you went for IVF treatment?
Image of woman with pregnancy test courtesy of Shutterstock.
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Thursday, November 21st, 2013
Could your lotion, perfume, even deodorant cause you to have a preterm birth—the leading cause of infant death? A new study published by JAMA Pediatrics suggests that pregnant women exposed to phthalates (the same chemicals found in contaminated food and water that are also used in many toiletries) are at an increased risk of going into labor before 37 weeks, which can lead to breathing and developmental problems for the baby (oh, and PS previous research has shown an association between phthalates with thyroid conditions, endometriosis and breast cancer—yikes!).
I read a lot of studies regarding pregnant women, and pretty much every day there’s a new one published that says something you’re eating, exposed to, or doing—or not doing—could cause something disastrous to happen with your pregnancy. I believe it’s important to be informed, and to know what’s going on with your body and your child inside it. But—and that’s a big but—if you listen to every study you read, you would need to live in a hermetically-sealed bubble, never exposed to anything or anyone! That, or the sheer paranoia of wondering if all of the horrible things that could happen will happen during your pregnancy will put you in a psych ward (or at least scare the bejeezus out of you)!
I want you to know what the leading experts are saying, and that’s why I’m telling you about the above study by researchers at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, but my intention is not to upset you. As my mom has always told me, read everything and take from it what you will. Will I be going au naturale from here on out by cutting out all beauty products? No—a girl needs her pampering! But do I think it’s smart to look at labels on lotions and deodorants in the same way you’d check out food labels to see what the heck is in them? Why not?
TELL US: Will this study make you stop using lotions, perfumes and deodorants? Will you change the ones you’re wearing now for ones with less phthalates?
All About First Trimester Screening
Next: Find out how much weight you should gain during your pregnancy.
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Wednesday, November 20th, 2013
It looks like actress Ginnifer Goodwin is getting her fairytale ending after all! First the Once Upon a Time star, who plays Snow White, found love on set with her on-and-off-screen Prince Charming, Josh Dallas. Then they became engaged last month, and now the adorable couple confirms a baby is on the way!
Fashion-forward Ginnifer had been wearing loose-fitting clothes and bulky jackets for weeks, sparking baby rumors. But Ginnifer has had babies on the brain for quite a while! She told InStyle UK back in 2010—when she was engaged to actor Joey Kern—that she has always wanted a big family. “I want three or five children, but I need a bigger house or a smaller closet!” she joked. So it sounds like this baby is not going to be alone for long!
Let the bump watch begin! I can’t wait to see what amazing designers that belly is going to be donning!
PS Could there be something in the water at ABC that’s getting everyone pregnant? First, Kerry Washington from Scandal’s pregnancy was announced, then Daphne Oz from The Chew, and now Ginnifer! Who will be next? My bet is on Hayden Panettiere from Nashville!
Are You Pregnant? How to Know for Sure
TELL US: How did you find love and get to your fairytale ending?
NEXT: Follow along as Ginnifer’s baby bump grows!
Image of Ginnifer Goodwin and Josh Dallas courtesy of Shutterstock.
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Wednesday, November 20th, 2013
Kelly Clarkson has finally confirmed what we’ve all been waiting for via Twitter: “I’m pregnant!!! Brandon and I are so excited! Best early Christmas present ever.” A big congrats to my all-time favorite American Idol!
Believe it or not: Kelly says she never wanted to be a mom. But all that changed when she met the love of her life, Brandon Blackstock (who has two kids from a previous relationship). While everyone presumed Kelly’s recent slim down was to look good in her wedding pictures, Kelly told Taste of Country it was actually baby-making prep. “It’s all about making my body the most healthy inside out. And I’m reading all these books,” she said.
Ever since she and Brandon got married a month ago in Tennessee, having a baby is pretty much all the singer has talked about! “I want babies!” the newlywed declared in a radio interview on Oct. 30. ”Everybody keeps saying, ‘What do you want for Christmas?’ And I’m like, ‘I want to be pregnant.’”
She continued the baby talk on Jay Leno on Nov. 11. Though Jay pressed her on whether she was pregnant, Kelly wasn’t ready to make her big announcement—only telling the talk show host, “[We want a baby] like now! Practice makes perfect! We’re trying, trying, trying. I never wanted kids before, but now I want, like, five.”
I’m so happy for Kelly, and I love that she told her devoted fans first! She is the most down-to-earth celebrity, and is going to be the cutest pregnant woman ever. You know she’s going to have one rockin’ baby shower too! I can’t wait for more details!
Your Pregnancy: 5 Early Pregnancy Symptoms Most Women Deal With
TELL US: How long after getting into a relationship did you wait to have kids?
NEXT: Follow along as Kelly’s baby bump grows!
Image of Kelly Clarkson and Brandon Blackstock via Twitter.
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