Top 5 Fertility Tips

Lots of women become pregnant without needing to do much more than have sex that one time. For others, it can be a more difficult and even emotional process, especially if the woman has been trying for some time without success.

 

Although each woman’s life and situation is different, and each pregnancy, in turn, is different, here are a few tips that doctors recommend for women looking to become pregnant. Please consult your primary care physician before trying anything different your routine, however, to remain safe.

 

Consider counseling.

If you’re picturing a couch and a psychologist asking “And how does that make you feel?” you’re thinking of the wrong kind. Instead, women looking to become pregnant should receive pre-conception counseling about two to three months before trying, and this can be done with your OB-GYN. Pre-conception counseling is a conversation where your doctor will ask about your goals in getting pregnant, as well as take that time to screen you for potentially harmful conditions. By receiving counseling early, you’re able to find warning signs before they develop further.

 

Get checked out.

Both you and your partner should see a doctor, to make sure your vaccinations are all up to date, in particular. Getting sick while pregnant could lead to a higher risk of complications. By making sure both you and your partner are in the best possible health, you are creating the optimal condition to make a baby.

 

Quit the caffeine.

You could also stand to benefit from abstaining from alcohol and any kind of drugs. In general, though, if you shouldn’t have something while you’re pregnant, it might be a good idea to kick the habit beforehand. And, remember—energy drinks have caffeine, too! Not just coffee!

 

It’s also advisable to not be in the same vicinity as anyone who partakes in smoking. No matter how you ingest the smoke, second-hand or not, it could hurt your chances of becoming pregnant without complications.

 

Stay active.

This is just good life advice in general, but it’s especially true when gearing up to grow another human. The goal is to have thirty minutes of cardio five or six days each week. This is to keep your heart healthy and your weight at a manageable level. If you’re worried about the intensity affecting your fertility, talk with your doctor about the best exercises to do instead of your usual routine. Overall, though, if your period cycle is regular, you won’t need to change too much.

 

It’s okay to feel stressed.

The idea that you need to be completely serene and at peace to conceive a child has no basis in science. So if you’re feeling guilty because you’re always busy, but you still want to have a baby, don’t feel like you’re cheating yourself out of your chance. Anxiety is normal, and it won’t ruin your chances of having a healthy child.

 

Top 3 Questions You’re Embarrassed to Ask Your OB-GYN

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For first-time and veteran mothers alike, pregnancy can bring up a variety of questions that might feel a little awkward asking out loud. The good news is that most women have had those same questions at some point and that there are answers from trained professionals.

 

Here are some questions about pregnancy you may have wanted to ask but felt too nervous to do so:

 

How Likely Is a Bowel Movement During Delivery?

This fear comes up frequently with new mothers, to the point where they can become so fixated on not having a bowel movement that it inhibits their ability to push.

 

It’s actually extremely common to have a bowel movement during labor, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. There’s a simple reason why it happens: the same muscles a woman uses to push a baby out of her uterus are the same ones she uses when having a bowel movement. With the added weight on her colon and rectum as the baby moves through the birth canal, it’s a very natural bodily reaction.

 

While it may seem embarrassing, keep in mind that childbirth is a very private affair. Doctors are not only undaunted by this, but generally expect it. They’re trained professionals and their primary concern is making sure the mother and baby are healthy throughout the entire pregnancy and delivery.

 

Will My Vagina Be Stretched After I Give Birth?

Not really. Believe it or not, vaginas have muscle memory. The vagina is also made to accommodate childbirth; in other words, it stretches during childbirth and then contracts to its normal size. If a woman wants to strengthen her pelvic floor muscles, there are Kegel exercises, though make sure to check with a doctor first before trying them.

 

Why Does Sex Hurt After Birth?

Having a baby is hard work! With childbirth comes natural trauma to the vaginal area, and it needs time to heal. It’s natural for the sex drive to decrease, given how exhausting caring for a newborn can be. On top of that, if mothers choose to breastfeed, that can change her hormone levels as well, particularly her estrogen levels. This can lead to problems with lubrication. One potential solution is to use a lubricant, as well as giving the body time to adjust postpartum.

 

If the pain continues to exist months after birth, however, it’s best to speak to a doctor to make sure there aren’t any lasting issues.

Do You Fear Period Sex?

Do You Fear Period Sex | Dr. Lori Gore-GreenFor some people, the beginning of a menstrual cycle means the end of sexual intercourse until the cycle has passed. This mindset should be reconsidered, however, when all the benefits of sex during your period are taken into consideration.

1. Reduced Risk Of Pregnancy

When you strip away the passion, pleasure, and excitement, sex is ultimately designed for procreation. Any form of vaginal penetration by a penis that results in ejaculation has the chance to cause pregnancy. Due to the nature of a woman’s menstrual cycle, there is a reduced risk of pregnancy from sex, although not an entirely eliminated risk. Sperm can live inside of a woman’s body for up to five days, so if you have sex near the end of your cycle, you can still conceive a child once your menstrual cycle ends. The safest time to enjoy a reduced risk of pregnancy is to have sex near the beginning of your period.

2. Natural Pain Relief

Sex brings an incredible amount of pleasure that, when done properly, results in an orgasm. Orgasms are fun and enjoyable, but they also play a pivotal biological function with regards to the brain. This is especially true in women. The female orgasm causes the brain to release a healthy dose of endorphins which are chemicals that spread through the body to promote a boost in overall mood and help to relieve pain. A 1985 study shows that a woman’s pain tolerance increases drastically after an orgasm. So, having sex can help relieve the pain of menstrual cramps and other pains commonly associated with that time of the month.

3. Sleep Aid

Endorphins aren’t the only biological substances released by the female brain during an orgasm. The hormone known as prolactin is also released during an orgasm. Prolactin is a hormone that helps to calm the body and prepare it for a long, restful sleep. This is why people tend to become lethargic and sleepy after sex that causes an orgasm.

4. Ease Of Penetration

Some women have issues with vaginal dryness that causes difficulties during sex. The benefit of engaging in sex during a period is that this issue is almost entirely alleviated. There is more than enough lubrication present during this time of the month to allow for easy penetration and increased pleasure because of the lubricated sensation.

5 Foods to Increase Your Vagina Health

Increase Your Vagina Health | Dr. Lori Gore-GreenThere are many factors to your vaginal health. What you may not realize is that food is one of the largest and easiest to control factors. Whether it’s a smell that you would prefer not to have, dryness, or just not feeling very fresh, food just might be the answer. Taking the time to add certain healthy foods to your diet can greatly improve your well being down there.

So which foods should you be eating and for what reasons?

  1. Garlic

Consuming garlic is a great way to combat vaginal infections. This includes the dreaded vaginal yeast infection. The reason garlic helps heal is because it has strong antibacterial properties. This helps give your body the edge it needs to fight bacterial and fungal infections. Look for ways to incorporate more garlic into your daily diet to not only cure but prevent vaginal infections.

  1. Cranberry Juice

Cranberry juice is highly beneficial for your feminine well-being. Drinking a glass (or two!) of cranberry juice helps your body work hard to fight against harmful bacteria. This makes it a viable option for curing and preventing issues like Urinary tract infections. However, be sure to choose an all natural, no sugar added cranberry juice. High sugar content and unnatural dyes can do the opposite of helping cure your problems.

  1. Flax Seeds

Flax seeds contain phytoestrogens which help increase estrogen levels in the body. This can help your body keep your feminine area healthy. It may also aid in added wetness if you’re feeling a little drier than you should down there. Because flax seeds contain these fantastic phytoestrogens, they are great for your overall female upkeep as well. They are definitely worth taking advantage of!

  1. Kale

Kale is rich in kaempferol which has been shown to help reduce the risk of ovarian cancer. Other healthy foods that contain kaempferol include broccoli, Brussel sprouts, and green tea. Incorporating these healthy foods into your daily diet is a huge step to taking care of your vagina and overall female health.

  1. Greek Yogurt

Leaving the best for last, Greek yogurt might just be the greatest food you can eat for your vagina! Greek yogurt contains live and active cultures. This good bacteria makes it a super star for helping keep your pH balanced down there. Overall this will aid in keeping your vagina feeling fresh and healthy. If you’re experiencing itchiness, dryness, or just general discomfort, try adding more Greek yogurt to your diet!

It is absolutely vital to take care of your vagina and overall female well-being. Simply adding these five beneficial foods to your diet will go a long way in helping you take care of your own beautiful body today.

10 Tips for a Healthy Pregnancy

Dr. Lori Gore-GreenFor many women, one of the most exciting times is becoming pregnant and getting ready for the arrival of the baby. Many women prepare by setting up a nursery or planning a baby shower. To ensure that your child is strong and healthy, there are a few important tips to follow for the next nine months.

  1. Take a Multivitamin

Taking a multivitamin will ensure that both you and your baby are getting enough nutrients during the pregnancy with vitamins that may not be in your diet. Folic acid, calcium, and iron are also essential to develop the neural cord, which becomes the brain and spinal cord.

  1. Monitor Your Weight

Purchase a scale and weigh yourself each week to avoid putting your baby at risk of a low weight if you gain too much. A normal weight gain is between 25 to 30 pounds.

  1. Prepare for Delivery

Educate yourself and prepare for delivery by taking a childbirth class where you’ll learn what to expect after you go into labor. This will allow you to practice breathing exercises and even report birth defects that have occurred in your family history.

  1. Stay Active

Although it may be easy to slow down after becoming pregnant, it’s important to exercise three to five times a week to maintain your weight and increase your blood circulation. Opt for workouts that include pilates, yoga, or swimming and attempt to work out for 30 minutes each day.

  1. Wear Comfortable Shoes

Wear shoes that have proper support on your feet and don’t put you at risk of falling as you begin to carry the baby.

  1. Sleep on Your Side

Avoid putting excess pressure on your baby as you sleep at night by avoiding sleeping on your back or stomach. Opt for sleeping on your left side, which will allow more nutrients and blood to reach the placenta.

  1. Practice Kegels

Strengthen your pelvic floor muscles by performing Kegels each day to support your uterus, bladder, and bowels. This will help you during the pushing process after you go into labor.

  1. Eat Foods That Contain Folate

To increase your health during your pregnancy, opt for consuming foods that are rich in folate, which will allow the neural tube to develop correctly and covers the spinal cord. Consume foods that include asparagus, orange juice, cereal, and lentils.

  1. Consume Less Caffeine

Instead of relying on coffee to get energy during your pregnancy, you can maintain your health by reaching for fruit instead. The natural sugars that are available in the food will allow you to recharge without consuming caffeine, which is considered to be a psychoactive drug.

  1. Pay Attention to Pain

Know when to call the doctor by paying close attention to any pain that you may be experiencing. Contractions at 20-minute intervals and strong cramps can be a cause of concern and should be evaluated by a medical professional.

Evolution of Wearable Technology: Women Can Track Fertility Levels, Stop Menstrual Cramps

Apple_Watch-Beyond pedometers, fitness and health trackers are doing a great job of helping to improve the lives of women and men.

Wearable technology has achieved something incredible,  incorporating advanced electronic technologies with clothing. In some cases, this is called “tech togs,” while other refer to it as “fashion electronics.” No matter what you called it, it’s been recognized that wearable technology is being used to boost the health of women.

Women face specific health issues, which stand apart from health issues faced solely by men. More and more, businesses are looking to meet the unique needs of women, developing and perfecting wearable technology that intends to keep them healthy. These technologies aren’t restricted to tracking running and walking, smart fitness clothing and wearable technology to track fertility levels and other things that a technician would be required for.

Livia

Livia, for instance, is a gadget that promises to stop menstrual cramps, which is debilitating for some women. Drug-based pain relief can be temporarily sufficient, but doesn’t help quite as much as it should and could become expensive. Livia targets ‘the pain gates’ and attempts to close them. This is done by stimulating the nerves involved, and blocking pain signals being sent to the brain. The compact device can fit comfortably on a waistband while two electrodes are applied to the abdomen to put an end to the pain. The USB-chargeable device has no side-effects, and can last about 15 hours.

Elvie and OhMiBod’s Lovelife krush

Whether you’re attempting to recover from childbirth or improve your bladder and bowel control, pelvic floor exercises are likely quite beneficial to you. Elvie, which is a tampon-like device provides pelvic floor workouts in five-minute increments. In conjunction with a cell phone, users can control program and strength rating before they complete kegel exercises. The device is able to meet the needs of different body types and ‘skill levels.’ As kegel muscles strengthen, the device adapts and become gradually more difficult in order to encourage and track progress. OhMiBod’s Lovelife krush is a similar device, but it has a slight twist. It’s part pelvic floor exercise gadget and part sexual health device. It has built-in sensors, a supplementary app that tracks daily activity, and it has special vibration patterns for sexual intimacy.

The Looncup

The Looncup is a wearable sensor for your period, tracking menstruation volume levels and color variations. The device analyzes the health of a woman’s period, it checks for discrepancies and determines if a visit to the doctor is warranted. This device is made from hypoallergenic silicone, and has a battery life of about six months, and it’s relatively inexpensive compared to other conventional options.

iTBra and OMbra

The iTBra is a smart bra that detects the early signs of breast cancer. The bra can detect if there have been any sudden changes in a woman’s circadian temperature, unveiling abnormal developments within the breast cells. Examinations take anywhere between two and 24 hours, and the results are sent to the wearer’s smartphone or personal computer for future consultation. The detection rate for the iTBra is higher than for mammograms. Also, OMbra is a smart bra, which adapts to body and workout, absorbing pressure and reducing stress on one’s back and shoulders. Feedback is shared on heart rate, cadence, impact, and breathing rate. It perfectly captures how much you push yourself when working out.

The Pilldrill

The Pilldrill is an updated take on the pillbox. As opposed to just housing your pills, this pillbox delivers timely visual and audio alerts for each dose. A user only needs to scan the pill container, and the Pilldrill tracks tablets. The box works in conjunction with a number of other apps, such as Mood Cube, which tracks adverse side effects when switching birth control methods.

The digital resources available to women can truly change their lives and improve their personal health.

Micro Technology : The Wireless Baby

dr lori gore greenAs new technologies continue to flood the market at an increasingly rapid rate, consumers are faced with the chance to make decisions about what devices they want to include in their homes and those that they can skip. But what does this mean when it comes to technology for your baby?

I wrote earlier on the studies performed on advanced monitoring technology like those found in bluetooth onesies and sleep apnea monitors. These high tech devices monitor a child’s breathing habits, vitals and more. However, in most professional opinions, these devices do not guarantee the prevention of SIDS or necessarily contribute in any significant way to the overall well-being of the infant. These devices cannot replace the attention of a parent to a child. And a parent should not rely on these sorts of technologies as any sort of substitution for actively attending to their child. Instead, these devices should be considered aids in the rewarding and exhausting job of being a parent. While I do not condone the effectiveness or safety of the products listed below, it is interesting to see what kinds of wearable devices and advanced monitoring systems are currently available to assist in the process of child rearing.

Connected Wearables

Dr. Lori Gore - GreenMimo is the most well-known brand to incorporate wearable technologies into infant care. The mimo kimono houses the “turtle”, this is a bluetooth device encased in a plastic turtle covering. This device collects information regarding your baby’s breathing, body position, activity while sleeping as well as monitors the infant’s skin temperature. This information is sent to the “lily pad” which streams data and live audio to the cloud. This information then streams your information to your connected device. This intensive monitoring of vital signs allows you to gain insight into how your child is sleeping.

 

Dr. Lori Gore GreenThe Owlet is another wearable device that provides constant monitoring of a small child. This device is enclosed in the owlet smart sock, and monitors the heart rate and oxygen levels of the infant. Unlike the Mimo kimono, the owlet alerts you only if your baby’s heart rate and oxygen levels are outside the norm. Alerts are sent to both your base station and your phone. The device utilizes hospital grade technology of pulse oximetry while monitoring a child. Again, this is not meant to replace the careful attention of a parent, but instead to aid in the monitoring process.

dr lori gore greenIn the same vein as both owlet and mimo is MonBaby. This is an award-winning baby monitor that snaps onto any article of a child’s clothing. MonBaby monitors breathing movements, body position (on the back or on the stomach), fall detection, proximity removal, but you get to choose which alerts you will receive.

 

Video Monitors

Dr. Lori Gore-GreenWhile baby monitors are nothing new, the form that they have taken as of late is much more advanced than the sound monitors of old that were essentially 1 way walkie talkies. Companies from Sony to Samsung to Motorola are getting in on the chance to provide top-notch monitoring for parents of infants. One of the most advanced connected products in the way of video monitoring devices is the Drop Cam. This system includes a camera to be placed in the infant’s room. The picture quality of the lens is unbeatable, and the wide angle lens surveys a larger area of the room than most baby video monitoring systems. The cloud connected camera then alerts you to noises and movements via an app on your phone, freeing you up from traditional video monitors.

 

In this world of ever changing technologies, it’s worthwhile to at least be aware of your tech choices as a parent, whether you choose to incorporate them into your child’s life or not. It’s also important to remember that nothing replaces a parent’s undivided attention and that these new technologies intended to assist the job of the parent… not replace it. Whether you are considering a new wearable, an advanced video monitor, or a self-warming bottle, remember that none of these can or should replace your attention.

Warning Signs: Common Symptoms of Endometriosis

C-Section Rates Too High in China

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The C-section rate in China stands at about 50% of all deliveries and must be reduced.

According to a commentary recently published in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology and summarized in an article completed for Science Daily, the rate of cesarean sections in China is far too high and efforts need to be made to reduce the reliance on the procedure.  The research completed for the commentary indicates that, of the sixteen million babies born in 2010, approximately half of them were delivered through cesarean section.  However, the article did acknowledge that the exact rate of births by cesarean section, but the literature available on the topic in China indicates that the rate of C-sections could range anywhere between thirty six percent and fifty eight percent.

Several reasons for the priority placed on cesarean sections are discussed.  With the existing high number of deliveries occurring in the nation, cesarean sections may simply be the preferred method, due to the advantages of managing an enormous volume of births with limited resources.  There are also a series of financial incentives for hospitals and physicians who engage in cesarean sections as opposed to traditional vaginal deliveries.  Insurance is more willing to cover the costs of childbirth, if the baby is delivered by cesarean section.  Physician and hospital revenues are also increased with the procedure as well; in addition, physician salaries are often supplemented, based in patient volume and collections.  In this sense, cesarean sections allow for a higher salary for physicians, as they collect more than traditional vaginal deliveries.

Money also plays a role in the staffing influences over choosing cesarean sections as the preferred method of delivery.  Staffing levels in China public hospitals are low and limited, due to government regulation.  Per one thousand people in the population, there is only one and a half nurses or midwives.  As cesarean sections require less nursing hours when compared to vaginal deliveries, it makes sense to pursue this avenue in the interest of staffing.  Finally, training is varied and inconsistent in obstetrics and gynecology in China; less than two percent of physicians complete a masters or PhD level in their training.

There is also a factor of patient preference.  Since the One Child Policy has been passed, mothers demand perfect outcome on the one and only attempt, particularly in wards that don’t offer pain control, epidurals or much nursing support.  Fundamentally, there is a fear of labor that inclines mothers towards cesarean sections.  However, in November, a less strict version of the One Child Policy is expected to go into action, which would allow for the birth of a second child.  With the increased number of births would come an increased reliance on cesarean sections; therefore, the commentary postulates that this will force medical professionals to return once more to traditional vaginal deliveries, as to cut back on the risks in childbirth.

Controversy Over Necessity of Pelvic Exams

Pelvic exams may not be a necessary procedure during an annual gynecologist exam for women who are not pregnant.

Pelvic exams may not be a necessary procedure during an annual gynecologist exam for women who are not pregnant.

The yearly trip to the gynecologist can be a dreaded event for many females.  Pap smears are unpleasant and can often be only the tip of the iceberg, as many doctors also include pelvic and rectal exams as well.  However, according to an article completed by the Daily News that summarizes a new series of guidelines released by the American College of Physicians, the pelvic exams may no longer be a necessary procedure to inflict upon women who are not pregnant.

In the procedures involved in the yearly check up with a gynecologist, women are often subjected to pelvic exams under the pretense that the ordeal can help in finding possible signs of ovarian cysts, sexual transmitted infections, uterine fibroids and early detection of cancer.  However, according to findings published by the ACP in their journal Annals of Internal Medicine, the routine pelvic exam has not shown to benefit as it was previously thought to.  The exam is now believed to rarely detect important disease and doesn’t reduce mortality in the average risk woman who is not pregnant.  In fact, the examination is often associated with discomfort for many women, including a round of potential false positives and negative exams, along with additional unnecessary costs.  However, this finding does not apply to pap smears, which are believed to still be beneficial.

The researchers with the American College of Physicians are not the first to suggest that pelvic exams could be excluded from the routine trip to the OBGYN.  Carolyn Westhoff was the first to suggest eliminating the procedure, with an article published in 2011.  The article indicated that if the woman was experiencing none of the typical concerning symptoms—such as discharge, abnormal bleeding, pain, urinary problems or sexual dysfunction—the procedure was very unnecessary.  She, in turn, approves of the announcement made by the ACP.

However, Westhoff and the ACP are not without their opponents.  The guideline is expected to stir up quite a bit of controversy. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology remains in favor of the annual pelvic exam, as it allows doctors to fully explain a patient’s anatomy to them—including a reassurance of normality and an ability to answer any questions.