Ornament

The gentlebirth.org website is provided courtesy of
Ronnie Falcao, LM MS, a homebirth midwife in Mountain View, CA

Ornament

Getting Pregnant/Infertility

If you are buying holiday gifts from Amazon, they will donate a portion to Citizens for Midwifery!
A Holiday Treat from gentlebirth.org
Sing Along with the Nutcracker Suite - Yes, there are lyrics!

See also:

Subsections on this page:




Participate in a research study - Ann Weinstein is conducting a study on the experiences of women with persistent symptoms of stress who are also receiving infertility treatment.  The information gained from this study may help women, their partners, and health care providers increase their understanding of the importance of working together to positively impact the quality of a woman's experience as she goes through infertility treatment.  If you live in the Greater New York area (NY, NJ, CT, MA, RI, PA), are experiencing persistent symptoms of stress while undergoing reproductive endocrinology treatment for infertility, contact Ann for information (516-972-0388) or email (weinsteinann@hotmail.com).


WARNING!!!  If you have Aetna health insurance, you may want to change at the next opportunity, when your employer has their annual "open enrollment".  Aetna doesn't cover homebirth, citing a single study based in rural Australia which shows that high-risk births far away from a hospital are high risk.  They further cite the policies of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, both business competitors to homebirth providers. Their policy statement ignores a mountain of evidence that homebirth is as safe as or safer than hospital birth for normal, healthy pregnancies..  If their policymakers have any integrity, this logic will soon lead to cessation of coverage for planned VBAC's . . . there's no dearth of studies and AAP and ACOG policies proclaiming the danger of VBAC's . . . and then they'll stop coverage for any woman who declines standard ACOG/AAP recommendations regarding routine ultrasound, routine induction, routine IV's, routine use of continuous electronic fetal monitoring, routine administration of antibiotics for all GBS positive women (up to 40% of birthing women), and prompt cesareans for any woman who fails to progress in a timely fashion during labor and pushing.  They may also stop coverage for children who are not vaccinated according to the full schedule of vaccinations recommended by the AAP, even though many intelligent parents decline the newborn hepatitis B vaccine and practice selective vaccination according to their child's own needs.

If this is troubling to you, as it should be, let them know.  You can easily send e-mail to Aetna's National Media Relations Contacts and simply tell them that they should not be in the business of denying coverage for reasonable healthcare choices, such as homebirth, waterbirth and VBAC.  They will especially want to know if you are choosing another healthcare provider because of this unreasonable policy.  You might also suggest that they expand their research beyond ACOG and AAP recommendations.  They could start at:  http:


NOTE - The Atkins Diet can cause infertility in both males and females.  Sperm need fructose for motility!


Cascade HealthCare Products now has a Doppler Rental and Purchase Program



Pre-Conception Care




Is Having A Child A Rational Decision? by Tania Lombrozo [3/11/13] - Debates about whether it's rational to have children are nothing new. Recent books like David Benatar's Better to Have Never Been: The Harm of Coming Into Existence, Bryan Caplan's Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids, Christine Overall's Why Have Children: The Ethical Debate, and Jessica Valenti's Why Have Kids? span the full range of views, from passionate pleas against procreation to more light-hearted defenses.


Pre-Pregnancy Lifestyle Impacts Gestational Diabetes Risk By Roxanne Nelson [Medscape, 10/15/14] - NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - A woman's pre-pregnancy lifestyle may strongly impact her risk of developing diabetes while pregnant. Healthy eating, regular exercise, healthy weight and no history of smoking before pregnancy were each powerfully linked to gestational diabetes, according to a new U.S. study. Women with all four healthy lifestyle factors before becoming pregnant were more than 80% less likely to develop gestational diabetes than those with none of them, researchers found.


From publichealth.org/prenatal-care

What is preconception care?

While about half of pregnancies in the U.S. are unplanned, this does not make preconception care any less important. Ideally, women thinking about getting pregnant should meet with a health professional at least three months prior to conception to discuss their current health and to gain a better understanding of what to expect from the pregnancy. Topics for discussion should include:

    Family planning and birth control
    Nutrition and exercise
    Vaccines and disease screenings
    Management of any existing health problems
    Medication
    Personal and family health history



Avoid Progestin and other Progesterone Derivatives

Maternal Progestin Intake and Risk of Hypospadias
Suzan L. Carmichael, PhD; Gary M. Shaw, DrPH; Cecile Laurent, MS; Mary S. Croughan, PhD; Richard S. Olney, MD; Edward J. Lammer, MD; for the National Birth Defects Prevention Study
Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2005;159:957-962.

Conclusion  This study found that pregnancy-related intake of progestins was associated with increased hypospadias risk.


I've heard that this study is flawed in that it lumps together synthetic progestins (which are molecules tweaked from testosterone and nor-testosterone) and bio-identical progesterone(which has a different chemical composition and different biological effects).  If you give a pregnant women something that displaces testosterone off its receptors, wouldn't you expect it to have an effect on an organism (the male fetus) that relies on having a normal level of testosterone to develop properly?



Preconception Health [Medscape, 01/20/2012] Maternal and Child Health Journal. 2012;16(1):31-39


Preconception Checklist for Women Planning Pregnancy [Medscape -04/30/2012]

There's increasing evidence that the developing egg/embryo/fetus are very sensitive to environmental contaminants.

You can read more about Environmental causes of infertility and miscarriage


Recommendations to Improve Preconception Health and Health Care - United States [4/21/06]


What Can Be Done to Prevent Autism Now - This article is about preventing autism, but it's really a good summary of excellent self-care during pre-conception and pregnancy.


In an ideal world, all women would undergo complete detoxing before becoming pregnant.  Hair analysis can diagnose problem areas, and homeopathic detox programs can be a gentle way of detoxing and even removing heavy metals gradually.

It would also be ideal to have a complete nutritional analysis done. SpectraCell Laboratories offers a Functional Intracellular Analysis™ (FIA™).  This is a very pricey procedure (about $1200), but it's covered by most PPO insurance plans with a $75 co-pay.



Obesity May Increase Risk for Brain Abnormality in Newborns [2/15/13] - Genes in the amniotic fluid of pregnant women who are obese suggest that the brains of their growing babies are developing differently, according to a new study.

It's best to lose weight  before getting pregnant, rather than during pregnancy.  Weight loss can release toxins stored in fats, and you don't want a growing fetus exposed to those liberated toxins.  Control of carb intake and monitoring of blood sugar can be a huge help in losing weight and will set you up for a healthier pregnancy.


There's physical detoxing, and then there's emotional detoxing:

Enchanted Beginnings for Pre-Pregnant and Pregnant Couples - course offered by Karen Melton

"If your mom was stressed throughout her pregnancy, you may be too. It is not that we are making a conscious decision to be stressed, it is an unconscious imprint stored in our energy, our cells and our limbic brain. These imprints are stored in our body, and that’s why we don’t remember them cognitively. They are present in our daily life, but especially so when we contemplate, or enter into, parenthood. Often they are expressing themselves in relational behaviors and patterns, fears, anxieties and terror, bodily aches, pains and dis-eases, blocks and stuckness, an inability to feel at home in our body, feeling unsettled or anxious, and in many other ways."

Preparation before pregnancy affects birth outcomes.


Preparing for Your Baby Before Conception with Karen Melton Part I

Preparing for Your Baby Before Conception with Karen Melton Part II


Ask Every Woman: Focusing on Preconception Care


EU study suggests PCBs may damage human sperm [10/12/05]  LONDON (Reuters) - Toxic man-made industrial chemicals in the environment can damage sperm but do not seem to dramatically effect male fertility, scientists said on Thursday.  [Ed.: This means that damaged sperm can still fertilize an egg, with unpredictable consequences.]


Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon offers recommendations about pre-conception nutrition.


General health and especially health in pregnancy will benefit from the intake of probiotics.  It is now believed that many cases of cerebral palsy are caused by exposure to infectious agents during pregnancy, even without causing any symptoms in the mother.  Probiotics can also reduce Group B Strep colonization.

I recommend that my clients take a daily probiotic supplement.  Some of the better ones are from New Chapter's Line.  My default recommendation is their Probiotic Immune Support™ formula or their All Flora® formula.  If your local health food store doesn't carry this, you might be able to special order it there, or you could order it online.

Probiotic May Reduce Sick Days From Work  CME
Short-term illness is usually  caused by respiratory or gastrointestinal diseases.  Prophylactic use of the probiotic Lactobacillus reuteri can reduce short term illnesses by 55%.


Before Your Pregnancy - Expert Advice on Nutrition and Exercise for the 30-90 days BEFORE conception (by a Registered Dietitian & Exercise Physiologist, 1998) - book and video


Preconception Care: Life Preparation and Pre-Life Risk Reduction of Disease By Douglas Husbands, DC, CCN, ABAAHP
How can couples plan ahead for having a healthy baby? What about mommy rebounding quickly from the rigors of carrying a developing baby for 9 months...and the changes involved in giving birth and caring for a newborn? What about special tips for a fortyish woman preparing for conception? In all of these cases the basics of preconception nutrition, toxin reduction and structural balance are essential components for prevention of health problems. Additionally, advanced functional diagnostic tests can identify underlying biochemical or genetically linked problems which could lead to birth defects if the appropriate measures are not addressed preconceptually.

Fitting Into Your Genes, 1- How nutritional and lifestyle factors can influence genetic disease predisposition.
Fitting Into Your Genes, 2- The second part of how nutrition influences genetics.
Fitting Into Your Genes, 3- The final portion of the article with some basic, though very surprising, NO-COST ways towards improving your health.

The take home point to focus on from that article is that the process of oxidative stress, the underlying cause of DNA damage, is an easily measurable and modifiable risk factor...Easily modified through proper diet, proper nutritional supplementation, lifestyle modification (appropriate exercise, stress reduction, etc.).  The statistics on DS are simply an average of the result of the processes which preclude to the probability and may change slightly over time, but that should not be the focus. The focus should not be on the "fear" that if one is older and having a child that one should be discouraged or worried about getting pregnant.  The point of the article is to actually encourage being aware of the processes involved in preclusion to DS and being proactive in a simple, non-invasive, painless (using urine testing) advanced objective test which measures oxidative damage, and if found, to take measures to correct that so there is a greatly decreased chance of DS!

 FYI: The changes to decrease the levels of 8-hydroxy-2-deoxygunosine, a biomarker of DNA oxidative damage, can occur in as little as a month or two with proper dietary, supplementation and lifestyle modifications!!


Breast is Best, but it Could Be Better: What is in Breast Milk That Should Not Be? [Medscape registration is free]  This article provides many helpful tips about avoiding toxic chemicals that could be passed to your baby during pregnancy or postpartum through breastmilk.


There are many environmental contaminants that aren't a problem for a health adult, but which can cause birth defects or lifelong vulnerabilities in a developing baby.  The section on Medications and Teratogens has subsections on:

  • General
  • X-Rays
  • Infectious Disease
  • Medications
  • Depression and Anti-depressant Medications
  • Pollution and Chemical Teratogens
  • Caffeine
  • Drinking Water
  • Water Bottles and other Plastic Food Containers
  • Personal Care Products
  • Food Teratogens
  • Eating Fish and Seafood in Pregnancy
  • Mercury
  • Tobacco, Second-Hand Smoke and Pregnancy Risk
  • Alcohol/Substance Abuse


  • I must applaud all of the women who try to find caregivers before they become pregnant.  They are more likely to find someone who "clicks" with them, than when those pregnancy hormones are flying, and for me, makes me want everything either "calm and okay" or "nothings okay, the world is coming to an end."


    Foresight, the Association for the Promotion of Pre-conceptual Care.  Foresight is a charitable organisation based in Surrey in England, run mainly by volunteers. It was first established in 1978 and since then has worked tirelessly to promote the importance of good health and nutritional status in both parents before conceiving a baby.

    Foresight Preparation for Pregnancy Programme - a summary of the Foresight philosophy.


    Preparing for Pregnancy from fertilityhealthnaturally.com


    Having a Health Baby - The March of Dimes wants all parents to know the joy of having a healthy baby.


    10 Ways to Address Your Root Causes of Infertility -- Naturally from Dr. Mercola.


    Essential Oils for Preconception


    This is a complicated issue, but, in general, most preventative medicine should be obtained before even trying to get pregnant. We call this "preconceptual counseling" and I encourage each of my younger patients to come in for a preconceptual appointment 4 months or so before beginning to try to conceive. If they are on insulin, it is critical to "tune up" the blood sugar before conception. Patients considering pregnancy should be on a vitamin with 0.4mg of folic acid about 3 months before pregnancy. (The spinal cord is developed by 1 month after conception, so by the time a lot of women realize they are pregnant it is perhaps too late to prevent spina bifida and anencephaly). Finally, this consultation is a chance to discuss problems with previous pregnancies, family history, and general health. If not previously done, I obtain a hematocrit to check for anemia, a rubella titer to check for immunity to rubella, and any other blood work that is necessary (usually none). Prenatal vitamins are prescribed, and the best timing for intercourse is discussed, if necessary.

    As to the original question, I like to see patients before 6-8 weeks. You cannot really do anything to prevent a miscarriage, and this time frame is almost never clinically important. In fact, the overwhelming majority of patients who have previous medical problems (i.e. diabetes) already know they need to be seen ASAP.


    The Chemical Scorecard - Just type in your zip code and find out what chemicals are being released into your neighborhood environment by manufacturing plants, which of these chemicals are potentially the most harmful, and what companies are responsible.


    Michel Odent, M.D., Director of the Primal Health Research Center, London, has initiated an experimental program to help preconceptual women to protect their future offspring from environmental hazards. He reminds us that we are carrying in our bodies three to five hundred synthetic industrial chemicals that would not have been there fifty years ago, and that most of them collect and accumulate over the years in the fatty tissues. Pollutants are passed on to the next generation as they cross the placenta and disrupt the endocrine system during the critical period of construction in utero.

    Dr. Odent has devised a regimen focused on replacing(to the extent possible) the stored fat that holds the pollutants with new and better fats. The group program involves an intensive week of dietary changes, brief periods of fasting, discussions, steam baths, swimming or walking, and ends with personal recommendations designed for each participant to continue on their own.

    [The Primal Health Research Center doesn't seem to have an online presence yet.  Please e-mail me if you find anything more about this, either online or offline.  Thanks!]



    Warning about Dopplers



    See also:  How Doppler Devices Work and Alternatives to Doppler Ultrasound Devices


    Concerns about Frequent Ultrasound, even hand-held Doppler devices

    Women struggling with infertility issues may be tempted to purchase or rent a hand-held Doppler device so that they can listen to their baby's heart beating in those fragile early months; they do this because they believe their risk of miscarriage is high, and they feel on the verge of madness not knowing whether or not they are still pregnant.

    Unfortunately, hand-held Doppler devices may themselves cause miscarriage.  We have no studies proving their safety.  We do have studies showing that frequent ultrasound exposure causes Intrauterine Growth Retardation in later months, so we know it does affect the baby.  In addition, the ultrasound generated by the hand-held Dopplers is continuous, whereas the ultrasound generated by visualizing ultrasound machines is intermittent.  We have absolutely no evidence regarding the safety of the continuous ultrasound generated by hand-held Dopplers.

    Midwives who routinely use Dopplers are already familiar with the way that babies will move away from the ultrasound; we don't really know why, but we see it happening all the time.

    I know that the uncertainty can be maddening, but the use of ultrasound of any kind is not helpful to the baby and could actually be causing harm, possibly enough to cause a miscarriage, which would be unspeakably tragic.  There are other good ways to connect with your baby that are beneficial rather than harmful, such as guided visualizations or meditations.  Or you could try one of the non-ultrasound audio devices intended specifically for listening to the baby's heart: Tiny Tickers.

    And, certainly, once you're feeling the baby move, using the Doppler to hear the heartbeat is of no additional value and is likely to be causing harm.

    Sometimes it's not easy doing the best thing for your baby.


    Read the FDA's response to a petition to have Doppler fetoscopes changed to an over-the-counter status, rather than a controlled medical device.  "OTC purchase and use of Doppler fetoscopes by a lay user raises new issues of safety and effectiveness.  . . . These products introduce acoustic energy into the body.  The potential for adverse effects from long-term exposure to the fetus in early pregnancy are unknown.  For example, there are some studies that suggest exposure to diagnostic ultrasound during pregnancy can have an effect on human development.  (Keiler et al., Early Human Development 50:233-245 (1998); Keiler et al., Epidemiology 12:618-623 (2001).) You may also be aware of ultrasound bone healing devices that operate at frequencies and output levels similar to those of ultrasound Doppler monitors.  These devices have been shown to produce biological effects in humans when used for only 20 minutes daily. (Duarte, L.R., Arch. Orthop. and Trauma Surg., 101:153-159 (1983).)  The agency has concluded that unsupervised exposure to ultrasound may pose a risk to the health of the mother or a developing fetus. . . . FDA has seen no evidence that there are benefits that would outweigh these possible risks associated with OTC availability of fetal ultrasound devices.  The materials you have provided do not establish that OTC purchase and use of these products would result in any medical benefit to the fetus or the mother.  FDA cannot rely upon the absence of  specific adverse events as a basis to determine that repeated, prolonged, and unsupervised ultrasound is safe.  . . . While I agree that women want to hear their unborn babies, I do not believe that consumers would purchase devices enabling them to achieve that purpose if the device might potentially cause harm to the fetus through uncontrolled and unlimited use."

    See also:  Prenatal Screening for Birth Defects/Ultrasound



    General Information




    Clearblue - Advanced Pregnancy Test with Weeks Estimator - [Nov., 2014] The first and only pregnancy test that also estimates weeks since ovulation (1-2, 2-3, 3+ weeks), for women testing pregnant.

    • The Clearblue Advanced Pregnancy Test with Weeks Estimator is over 99% accurate* in detecting pregnancy from the day of the expected period1
    • It is sensitive enough to be used up to 4 days before the expected period1,† (which is 5 days before the missed period)

    [Editor: For women who really aren't sure when they conceived and are opposed to ultrasound, this can be an excellent option.  If it convincingly shows that conception was on one end or the other of the window, then you might be able to avoid an ultrasound.  You could also get serial HCG testing done from a standard blood draw, which might give you more accuracy.  However, getting good dates is very important, and an early ultrasound is the best way to get accurate dating of the conception.  If this test isn't completely convincing, I would encourage you to have a detailed discussion with your care provider about the ramifications of inaccurate pregnancy dating.  Getting a good conception date from an early ultrasound can prevent an unnecessary induction.]



    Do You Want to Have a Baby? by Sarah Abernathy & Linda Page - Experience the journey of fertility, conception, pregnancy and birth, naturally!


    Sensitivity of Over-the-Counter Pregnancy Tests: Comparison of Utility and Marketing Messages [11/28/2005] - Medscape registration is free


    OK, this is just plain amazing!!!  PTeq - USB Pregnancy Test


    PeeOnAStick.com is a comprehensive collection of home pregnancy test and ovulation predictor test information and images!


    Discounted Sources for Pregnancy Tests

    The cheapest way to buy pregnancy tests is to buy them in bulk - maybe you have some local friends who are also trying to get pregnancy?  Sometimes it can be hard to share pregnancy tests from a single bottle since the legend for interpreting the results is printed on the bottle.  [However, some manufacturers will send you an extra legend if you call their 800 number.]  Pregnancy tests may have a short expiration date - possibly even 6 months, so you may want to ask about this when you order.

    Wow!  These pregnancy tests from birthjunkie.com are just $1 each!

    Gentle Moon - great prices on ovulation and pregnancy tests

    Early Pregnancy Tests.com - early-detection pregnancy tests and ovulation predictor kits

    Affordable Pregnancy Tests - Early-detection pregnancy tests and ovulation predictors.  Same-day shipping on FDA-approved tests as low as $0.65.

    Baby Hopes

    Gail Buffington at Futuremoms, 13938a Cedar road, PMB #308-GB, University Heights, OH 44118 sells ovulation predictor kits (five to a kit) at just $6.50 and individual pregnancy tests for just $2.50.  These prices INCLUDE shipping and handling. I have never found a better deal. Add one dollar to international orders, however. She accepts checks money orders or buy with credit card on-line.

    From Moore Medical Corp.: Accustat HCG Pregnancy Test Strips (50/$72.95, item #53871) and Pregnancy Test Kit Contrast HCG Urine/Serum (30/$67.99, item #53188)  Moore prices include shipping?

    You can get smaller lots from Cascade, the midwifery supply house, but they charge an extra $7 shipping: AccuStat hCG Urine Pregnancy Test (15/$30, item #4795)

    Please e-mail me if you want to share your source for discounted pregnancy tests.


    A Timeline of Pregnancy Testing - a fun historical view.


    Your Journey to Fertility by Tara Belderok - to help you while you are on your journey to achieving fertility!  You will learn how to achieve fertility by implementing simple lifestyle changes and using specific herbs to enhance your fertility.  We will give you the tools and education you need to understand how your body works and what might be causing your infertility.


    NEW RECOMMENDATION - Pregnancy thyroxine dosage advice - Study findings show that levothyroxine requirements in hypothyroid women increase as early as the fifth week of gestation, before the initial obstetric examination.  Erik Alexander (Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA) and co-workers report that 17 out of 19 women with hypothyroidism required levothyroxine dose increases during pregnancy. This need arose at a median of 8 weeks' gestation, climbing to a 47 percent increased need at week 16, and then plateaued for the rest of the gestation. Noting that changes in the dosage of levothyroxine take 5 weeks to reach equilibrium, the team recommends that "women with hypothyroidism be instructed to increase their usual levothyroxine intake by two additional doses each week immediately on confirmation of pregnancy."


    The Whole Person Fertility Program is the first mind-body program based on the latest scientific research that teaches women and couples groundbreaking methods of conscious fertility that can work with or without the assistance of a physician.


    A New Fertility Factor (from Newsweek) - Stress is just one of many obstacles to pregnancy, but it's one you can control


    Infertility and Chiropractic


    The Infertility Program - Their Mind/Body store has lots of great resources.


    Association of Perinatal Naturopathic Doctors (APND)


    The Whole Person Fertility Program is the first mind-body program based on the latest scientific research that teaches women and couples groundbreaking methods of conscious fertility that can work with or without the assistance of a physician.


    Applying Chinese Medicine - Fertility: Conscious Conception -  The benefits of using Chinese traditional medicine treatments — acupuncture, Qi Gong, herbs and nutritional therapy — to remedy infertility have been known for thousands of years.


    Acupuncture for fertility: Doctors say, 'Why not?' - LATimes, 7/4/05


    You can search herbsgalore.com for articles about the use of herbs to support fertility.


    Ovulation Calendar - a handy software program that calculates your time of ovulation and generates your personal fertility calendar.


    Ovulation-Calculator.com -  a preconception and fertility portal


    Focus on Fertility from BabyTalk


    Infertility by © David L. Hoffmann B.Sc. (Hons), M.N.I.M.H.


    Flower Remedies (aka Flower Essences) for Getting Pregnant


    Infants Born as a Result of ICSI at Increased Risk of Malformations [Medscape registration is free]


    Hospital to Test Reflexology as Infertility Treatment


    Am-I-Pregnant.com - a nice all-around site about getting pregnant.


    Dietary supplement may offer easier solution to infertility - (10/20/03) - A dietary supplement, "


    Can Herbs Impair My Fertility? from GreenTree


    Common herbal supplements may be associated with fertility problems

    A new report suggests that high doses of several popular over-the-counter herbal supplements could impair fertility.  Researchers at Loma  Linda University School of Medicine in California studied the effects of  high doses of St. John's Wort, echinacea, gingko, and palmetto on the  ability of sperm to penetrate hamster eggs in a laboratory setting to  collect data.  They  found that high doses of St. John's Wort prevented  sperm from penetrating eggs, while echinacea and gingko impaired such  penetration; palmetto did not appear to affect penetration.  Authors  further note that sperm exposed to St. John's Wort  for more than a week  appeared to be damaged and say that further study is being planned to  evaluate the actual effects of the herbs on fertility when taken by  humans.   The report is in the journal Fertility and Sterility (February  22, 1999).

    This is information I would consider and pass on to clients as appropriate, but it does seem that the scientific community obsesses about the possible negative effects of herbs in a way that doesn't seem to come up with standard pharmaceuticals.  Who's funding these studies?


    I ordered the book, Taking charge of your Fertility.  It's Wonderful.  I should have bought it three months ago.  The best thing about
    it is that it has MANY examples of basal charts and explains how to interpret them.  Far better than anything else I've found, even on the
    fertility sites on the web that have other good info.


    If your insurance covers it, the best thing is to go directly to a Reproductive Endocrinologist.  Some insurance companies make you go to an OB for a couple of years before they'll pay for a referral to an RE.  Unfortunately, although OBs may happily prescribe Clomid, they may not tell you that it could mess up your cervical mucus.  Getting pregnant has many of the same possibilities for a "cascade of interventions" as giving birth does.


    The Infertility Diet - Get Pregnant and Prevent Miscarriage by Fern Reiss


    Hypnosis May Help You Get Pregnant - some hypnotherapists specialize in prenatal or infertility issues.


    Psychological Counseling for Infertile Women Increases Pregnancy Rates - from Medscape [registration is free]


    This is a shameless plug for the services of a friend of mine: Dan Craft, PhD, SeizeTruth.com, Professional Life Coaching to help you move your life toward what you want it to be.  His services are available by phone if that's easier for you during your pregnancy.  I have known Dan for about 20 years, and I have seen him make tremendous changes in moving his life towards what he wants it to be; I know he can help you, too.  I have a fair amount of experience with guided visualization, affirmations and coaching, and I was very impressed with his Vicarious Coaching CD, which can be mailed for just $4.95 (after follow-through rebate).


    La Belle Dame - Fertility Jewelry


    Study: Genes may hold key to late motherhood - 6/22/05 - Reuters -- Why can some 45-year-olds easily have a baby while much younger women have difficulty becoming pregnant?  The answer, say Israeli researchers, could lie in their genes.  Having a naturally conceived child past the age of 45 is rare. But Dr Neri Laufer of the Haddassah University Hospital in Jerusalem has discovered that some of those older mothers seem to have a distinct genetic profile.


    Womyn's Wisdom - An Online Womyn's Community envisioned by Maka Laughingwolf and including Fertility Awareness Classes


    Pregnancy - A Ritual of Creation from Diane Stein's book Casting the Circle - A Women's Book of Ritual.


    Having a Magickal Child


    Low Tech Ways to Help You Conceive FAQ


    Clear Passage Therapies, Inc. - We treat women whose infertility is either "unexplained" or due to mechanical factors, such as adhesions, blocked fallopian tubes and some uterine conditions that cause miscarriage.


    INCIID - InterNational Council on Infertility Information Dissemination


    ONNA is a mailing list for people who want to have a baby, and who are finding it to be more difficult than they first expected


    Hannah's Prayer - Christian Support for Fertility Challenges, Including Infertility or the Death of a Baby at Any Time From Conception Through Early Infancy - This site contains lists of value to people of all faiths. 


    High-Tech Fertility Treatments

    I keep hearing more and more about the great advances that have been made recently in treating recurring pregnancy loss.  Apparently there's been a lot of exciting research and great success in treating issues of immunology and pregnancy, especially for women experiencing very early (4-5 week) pregnancy loss.

    Reproductive Medicine Program - Dr. Alan Beer is the director and founder of the Reproductive Medicine Program.

    Advanced Fertility Center of Chicago


    Fertility Treatment Does Not Increase Risk of Neural Tube Defects [Medscape registration is free]

    However, Embrel has been implicated in late pregnancy problems, and routine administration of anti-coagulants (heparin, lovenox) to a pregnant woman during pregnancy may also affect the baby.


    How Long Should You Wait After a Pregnancy Loss before Trying Again?


    CDC recommendations for 400 micrograms  (0.4 mg) for all women of child-bearing age to prevent neural tube defects.


    "The LENS" or "The Lipstick" or other Saliva Ferning Pattern monitors


    Fertile Focus Ovulation Microscope

    Maybe Baby Pocket Microscope for Women - lipstick-style fertility tester

    OvuLens  - Ovulation Indicator

    The OvuLook™ Ovulation Tester comes with a slide of different ferning phases for comparison.  They also have a cool demo.

    Purchase the lipstick fertility microscope (with instructions and calendar) - send $48 check to:
    Alison Osborn  PO Box 453, Grass Valley, Ca 95945

    Woman's Window™ with lots of examples of ferning patterns
    Around the Moon
    P.O. Box 3325
    Applegate, OR 97530
    Send $30 plus $4.00 s&h
    with a great picture of how ferning appears in Woman's Window™

    www.birthwithlove.com - distributes The Lens for $35 + $?? for shipping.


    Low-Tech Assisted Reproduction
    These are some basic procedures the non-fertility specialist can perform which have resulted in successful pregnancies in a good number of cases.


    Chinese Conception Chart - Time for a little fun.  This chart predicts the sex of the baby based on the mother's age and the month of conception.


    Early Pregnancy - Including HCG levels and ultrasound findings


    Do-It-Yourself artificial insemination

    I've done this and teach my patients to do it. It's really very easy, if there is no infertility issue. I suggest using a TB syringe, because it's the right size for most frozen sperm, 1cc. If they are using fresh, you have to go with something larger, as you'll have between 5 and 15 cc of semen, hence the "turkey baster" jokes. It works, but so does a larger syringe. Use the needle to draw up the sample, then remove it. Put the syringe into the vagina as far as possible, and slowly inject. I have the woman put her hips on a couple of pillows first, for gravity help. But there will be liquid which runs out. Only the sperm itself goes into the cervix, so the freezing medium or semen will come out again. When you've paid good money for it, it can feel like dripping dollars, though. The sperm follow the mucus, so there is no reason to visualize the cervix, they'll get there. The only change to that is if you know a woman has a very anteverted cervix. Then it might make sense for her to roll onto her stomach for a while before she gets up.

    It would depend on where she is getting her semen from.  If it is from a known donor and she is getting it fresh, she can use a regular syringe with a longish catheter that can be inserted into the back of the vagina.

    If the specimen is from a sperm bank, then the quantity is usually very small and doing the same thing is usually not as effective since there is not much of a pool of semen there for the cervix to sit in.  In that case, visuallizing the cervix and placing the specimen into the cervix (just slightly) would be recommended.

    There are also cervical cap type things that the specimen can be placed in and then place the cap over the cervix.


    Antinuclear Antibodies (ANA) are sometimes implicated in fertility issues.


    Australian Researchers Fertilize Eggs Without Sperm [July, 2001]



    Fertility Awareness / Natural Family Planning (NFP)



    Fertility UK - 'Fertility' is an educational service, offering instruction / counseling in Fertility Awareness and Natural Family Planning (NFP) for women / couples.  Lots of great information.


    Fertility Friend is a FREE comprehensive, interactive online charting tool and service for couples who are trying to conceive.


    Family of the Americas Foundation (FAF) - The most advanced NATURAL Method of Family Planning for Achieving or Postponing Pregnancy (98%-99% effective in postponing pregnancy.)


    THE BILLINGS OVULATION METHOD


    Couple to Couple League



    A Simple Start to Fertility Assessment



    My first step to assess fertility is to refer the couple to a good NFP class so that they can learn their own body signals.  After about 6 weeks of charting, I can often identify some simple problems that are easily addressed.  For example, if there is limited mucous,  guafenesin (Mucinex is the sustained release form, Robitussin is the liquid) 1200 mg daily can make a real difference.  Pyridoxine (vitamin B-6) also enhances cervical mucous.  PreSeed (sp?) is a vaginal lubricant that has no spermicidal qualities (even KY plain and Astroglide are somewhat spermicidal due to pH, antiseptic agents, etc) and may also assist in cases of limited mucous.  Low dose amoxicillin can also enhance cervical mucous but I tend to avoid this as I don't like casually throwing abx around.

    Luteal phase insufficiency can be identified from an NFP chart - the interval from presumed day of ovulation to the 1st day of the next menstrual period should be greater than 10 days and should be internally consistent for the woman.  The herbal therapy for this is chasteberry (either throughout the cycle or in the luteal phase only)- the medical therapy is bio-identical progesterone starting post ovulation (given pre-ovulation it suppresses or delays ovulation.  The original research birth control pill that Dr. John Rock used was progesterone 400 mg po daily).

    There are lots of other simple interventions that can be tried for fertility issues.  I think that for many women a 6 months trial of this is a worthwhile endeavor given the high costs and low returns of the profit driven infertility industry.

    An interesting book is Marilyn Shannon's "Fertility Cycles and Nutrition"

    I have some points of disagreement with her, but she has managed to put together a lot of good info in the same place.



    High-Tech Conception and Low-Tech Birth



    I've had a couple of miscarriages and am pursuing high-tech conception assistance.  In addition to the heartache of the miscarriage and difficulty getting pregnant, I'm now looking at the loss of my dream to have a really great waterbirth at home.  How do you all cope with this?


    Once the pregnancy is well established you can either have your care transferred to a midwife or be under joint care.  I had/have a luteal phase defect and after 3 m/c's I was on progesterone suppositories as well as baby aspirin.  Once past my danger period, I transferred my care from a fertility doctor to a midwife at 14 weeks, and had the best homebirth I could imagine.


    Dr. Alan Beer, director and founder of the Reproductive Medicine Program is alleged to be very supportive of midwives and homebirth.


    You know, after I read Bonding by Klaus, I figured a hospital birth was the last thing I needed after my high-tech conception and pregnancy.  I kept thinking about The Tentative Pregnancy and all the times I'd been anxious and my anxiety must have gotten through to my baby.  (They say that a mother's emotions are conveyed to her baby through hormones within 15 seconds.  Gosh.  My poor little one must have been pretty scared during the amnio because I was terrified!)  So I figured I could make up for all this with a really gentle birth.  So I started looking into waterbirth.

    By the time I got done reading about the differences with waterbirth and the great safety statistics of homebirth, I couldn't imagine exposing my baby to the dangers of an institutional atmosphere.  Not to mention the infections!  Can you imagine going through six months of heparin shots and then an IVF only to have a healthy baby die from a hospital-acquired infection!?!  It's not going to happen to my baby.


    I know just what you mean.  I have friends who ask me how I can expose my "premium pregnancy" to the risks of homebirth.  All I have to do is start quoting the statistics about infection (4 times higher in hospital for healthy term babies in matched populations), and my friends start to understand why I'm planning to have my baby exposed only to *my* family's germs.


    Did you read the March, '99, report about the antibiotic-resistant infections in septic neonates?  Something like 43% of babies with severe infections had an antibiotic-resistant infection.  That's horrible!



    Emotional Inhibitions to Pregnancy



    A Mind/Body Approach to Help Women Cope with Infertility and Enhance Fertility

    Are you currently experiencing any of the following problems? Trouble sleeping (difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking up in the wee hours); increased or decreased appetite; neck or shoulder pain; headaches, stomach aches or pains; anxiety; tearfulness; frustration; anger; isolation; or confusion. While not unusual, these symptoms may be creating less than optimal conditions for conception.



    Can Stress Levels Influence Pregnancy Chances? [5/12/14 - Medscape CME]


    I'm a survivor of child sexual abuse, which has left me with some serious emotional challenges, and I have been in therapy for quite a long time.
    I am now in the healing process and am dealing with the traumas.

    I've been trying to get pregnant for a few years now; I've been to a number of doctors and been examined a number of times; everyone tells me there's nothing wrong physically, so my therapist and I began working on the psychological blocks to pregnancy.  During the times of my abuse, I was psychologically programmed not to become pregnant.  Since working with this issue for the last few months, my cycle has seemed more normal.

    I was wondering if anyone has personal experience of this or any information from clients with similar experience.


    Congratulations! on having the strength to come so far in your healing.

    I definitely think one can mentally prevent pregnancy through one's thoughts.  Some books that deal specifically with mental, emotional and spiritual "openness" to being pregnant are, Mental Birth Control by Mildred Jackson (which also talks about meditations for getting pregnant) and Conscious Conception by Jeannine Parvati Baker.

    There are other good books with specific exercises for dealing with abuse issues and pregnancy, but they don't focus so much on how to get pregnant.



    Sex Selection/Gender Determination



    Stork Select's baby gender selection on method is the safe, natural, and affordable way to choose the gender of your baby before you conceive.


    How To Choose the Sex of Your Baby - by Mohammed El-Hennawy, MD


    It happens that baby girls are easier to birth - they're more robust during labor, and they tend to come a little earlier, which avoids those inductions for postdates for first babies, which tend to come later than second babies.  All other things being equal, it's nice if a first baby happens to be a girl!


    FREE eBook "Choose The Sex Of Your Baby Scientifically and Naturally" is now available for download at GenderLabs.com - software for gender preselection and fertility management is also downloadable complimentarily.


    I have references from a fertility awareness book, which is loaned out to a now-pregnant friend of mine, that tell of favorable environment for either X (female) or Y (male) sperm survival.

    For a girl, the X sperm are slower, heartier, sperm with more resistance to acidic environments. Hopefully, the woman is charting her cycles with BBT/mucous observations, as to be aware of the time of ovulation. Intercourse should occur 3 or 4 days prior to ovulation with no intercourse again until well after ovulation. The vaginal environment should be more acidic. A vinegar and water douche could be used prior to intercourse. These conditions would favor a female child.

    For a boy, the Y sperm are fast, but less-resistant to acidic environments. Intercourse should occur as close to, but not a few days before, ovulation. This gives the Y sperm a chance to be the first one to get to the egg, and by the time the X sperm arrive, it is too late. A sodium bicarbonate and water douche could be used to favor an alkaline environment for the Y sperm, as well.

    The odds are supposedly increased to 85% that you will get your girl/boy.

    THE METHOD:

    This method is based on the scientific fact that, when a semen sample is placed in a test tube, the sperm that make the boys swim to the top faster, but die off sooner, and the girl sperm swim slower, but remain viable longer.

    The woman must know her cycle quite accurately, to be as precise as possible about ovulation date. I always knew exactly, and could feel myself ovulate.

    Method 1: Girl-

    Because the sperm that make a girl stay around longer, you want to make love one and a half to 2 days BEFORE ovulation is expected and then ABSTAIN for the next 5 days. This enables the girl-producers to be around when the egg comes rolling down to meet them, because the boys have all died off by then.

    Method 2: Boy-

    Because the boys swim straight and fast, make love as close to ovulation as possible, so that the sperm that get to the egg first will be boys.

    I don't think position has anything to do with it personally, but some try to say it further enhances chances.



    General Fertility



    A free application to track and predict menstrual cycles.


    There's increasing evidence that the developing egg/embryo/fetus are very sensitive to environmental contaminants.


    Dawn Software - Fertility and Pregnancy Software - A commercial site with a free trial offer


    Natural Family Planning and Feminism - an interesting article with some more helpful links


    Thyroid Disease, Pregnancy and Fertility


    The Thyroid Guide to Pregnancy, Fertility and Breastfeeding Success, by Mary Shomon


    The Garden of Fertility by Katie Singer(Avery/Penguin 2004) explains how to identify when you are fertile and infertile, breastfeeding and ovulation, common products that can be hazardous to reproductive health, natural remedies for strengthening gynecological health including nutrition and nightlighting techniques, and provides stories about healing childbearing losses.


    Here's another site with lots of great information about fertility


    In addition to investigating for the possibility of PCOS along the same line is Insulin Resistance.  I think it is an out-growth of the PCOS studies.  I work with an ARNP in the office that does many of  the workups for the docs infertility patients.

    She always checks fasting glucose levels and fasting insulin levels among other labs.  If the ratio is <4.5 she is considered insulin resistant and diet adjustments are discussed.  Basically reduce carbs to 20gms a meal <60 gms a day and increase protein levels.  Usually within 3-4 weeks the insulin levels are normal and within 3-4 months many of the "infertility" patients are pregnant and they have not seen the doc yet.  Not because there are no appts but because the docs have seen the results of her work and education with these women.

    ADVANCE for NP had several articles about Syndrome X , PCOS and Insulin Resistance in Aug 2000.  They are on line at http: and you can subscribe for the hard copy of the journal without charge.


    My Battle with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) - about one cause of infertility


    Trans Fats May Increase Infertility Risk - Women who want to get pregnant may want to stay away from fast food French fries because the more trans fats she eats, the more likely she is to be infertile.

    Trans fats are found in fried foods, packaged snacks, commercial baked goods, and other sources. They increase the risk of heart disease and diabetes. They interfere with the activity of a cell receptor involved in inflammation, glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity. For every 2 percent increase in the amount of calories a woman gets from trans fats instead of carbohydrates, her risk of infertility increases by 73 percent. To cut trans fats out of the diet, avoid all foods that list hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils in their ingredients.

    Source: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Jan 2006


    NaProTECHNOLOGY® - "The Contemporary Approach to Women's Health Care from the Catholic Church. This new educational technology allows a woman to monitor in an easy and objective way a variety of different biological markers (bio-markers) that reflect the occurrence of various hormonal events during the course of the menstrual cycle.  In a sense, it allows a woman to unravel the "mysteries of the menstrual cycle."

    The CREIGHTON MODEL FertilityCare System can  be used consciously to achieve a pregnancy.


    Conception occurs right after ovulation, as the egg enters the fallopian tubes. With good timing, sperm will be waiting there to fertilize it. The egg only lives a day or so, but sperm can live several days in the fertile type mucus. So achieving pregnancy is a matter of timing coitus just before ovulation.

    If the woman has very short mucus patches (assuming she knows what to look for), this could adversely affect her fertility. Dry-up drugs like antihistamines, or not drinking enough water, can reduce the amount of mucus. Improved nutrition and guaifenesin (e.g., Robitussin cough syrup) can sometimes help to generate more.

    Finding exact ovulation time is impossible without a laparoscope, but you've got a few days of sperm life to work with. Possible signs of ovulation are:

    Secondary signs can be useful, too, but they come after cycles of experience and knowing when to look. One is "mittelschmerz," German for "pain in the middle"; you may prefer just "ovulation pain," which presumes its origin. Medical opinion differs on its cause and timing, but you can assume ovulation is very near it.

    To avoid sperm depletion, coitus should not be on consecutive days, nor for a week before the probable time of the beginning of the mucus patch.

    Once the BBT goes up, ovulation is probably over. If the BBT is up at the post-ovulation level 3 weeks later, there is a 99% probability of pregnancy (no test needed). Many expensive pregnancy tests, sonograms, and inducements are done because people don't know when they got pregnant. Show the chart to the doctor instead. Note: home pregnancy tests are not as accurate as the BBT elevation.

    FERTILITY FACTORS - Fertility varies widely, and about 10% of couples have fertility problems. Talking with NFP teachers (or reading books) may reveal a better picture of what your fertility is, and what your prospects for improving it are. It depends on a lot of factors, and self-awareness of your cycles is the first step.

    Your charts, properly interpreted, show what your cycles are like. Look for anovulatory cycles, length of mucus patches, breakthrough bleeding, delayed ovulation, or symptoms of approaching menopause.

    A gradual decrease in fertility occurs with age, but until menopause there's still a chance. An MD told a friend of Jim and Mary that over 40, women don't ovulate, but they have 60 charts that show otherwise.

    The hormone contraceptives (Pill, Norplant) can have unwanted permanence, and previous IUD use can cause repeated miscarriages. Another good reason not to use them.

    Your health and nutrition is important. Drugs, tobacco, alcohol, and caffeine use affect fertility. Stress and excitement can result in anovulatory cycles. Improving your diet and/or taking certain vitamin and mineral supplements can improve fertility; for example, the father must have sufficient vitamin C in his diet or the sperm can't swim. For the woman, too much exercise or not enough body fat (min. 20%) can reduce fertility. Marilyn Shannon's book, "Fertility, Cycles & Nutrition" (FC&N), is the best on the subject and has specific recommendations and dosages to treat different problems like infertility, PMS or painful cycles.

    If you have low fertility due to low sperm production, irregular cycles, or low mucus there may be additional (and cheap) things you can do to correct these problems. See "The Art of NFP."


    Herbal Support for Fertility

    One of my friends uses the following herbal regimen in the months when she is preparing for pregnancy:

    Dong Quai is for hormonal balance basically.

    During the pre-ovulatory phase of the cycle, take a mixture of:

    During the post-ovulatory/implantatation phase of the cycle, take:  Throughout the cycle, except during menstrual bleeding, take:  dong quai (for hormonal balance)

    Daily, during all phases of the cycle, drink pregnancy tea for general nutritional support.

    There's a professional herbal researcher who may be able to help with your research questions or point you to a source for fresh herbs and tinctures.  For information or to make an appointment, call Pam Caldwell, HerbLore, Santa Clara, CA   (408) 249-8858


    Detecting Fertile Mucous with a Magnifying Glass instead of The Lens

    To use a microscope slide take a cotton applicator or gloved finger covered with the secretion or fluid to be tested for ferning and smear it thinly on the slide, then let it dry [needs a little patience]. [2] Hold the slide in your non dominant hand 1 to 1 1/2 feet from your eye. You will need the light to be coming from behind the slide. [3] Hold a magnifying glass in your right hand and place between the slide and your eye...adjust for optimum focal length. [4] After determining if there is ferning dispose of the slide in a safe manner. Illustrations of ferning in Nofziger's book on cooperative family planning published by the same folks who publish Spiritual Midwifery. 

    Lunaception

    A photocopy of the original book, Lunaception, is available from the author, Louise Lacey, for $11.  She hopes to have it available at FatBrain at a significantly lower cost by the beginning of 2001.  More information about lunaception at fertilityawareness.net.

    There is a book entitled Fertility, Cycles and Nutrition by Marilyn Shannon that covers the use of light and cycles. Just as the chicken farmer knows if we sleep with light our fertility is increased. That's why the chicken farmer keeps a light on at night in the hen house--he can get two layings in one day that way. Women who sleep with night lights, clock radio lights, street lights coming in window, even heating blanket light on dial will have more fertility. This book is really interesting and informative. I advise you read it. [Ed. Different authors say different things about


    Let's see if I can explain this...

    The idea is that you follow the rhythm of the moon. So in  the old days (before electricity) women slept in dark homes till the moon was full (3 days all together) then those 3 days when the moon shone full and bright into their homes it would (I think) stimulate hormones to Ovulate. So all the woman would ovulate and bleed at the same time. Ovulate at the full and bleed on the dark of the moon (I believe that is why so many of us are so moody at the dark moon). So when you try to mimic it you sleep in a dark room except for 3 days. Those days you can put on a night light or closet light, just as long as it reflects on  you to some extent. You do the light on days 13,14,15 of your cycle. Then the following month you can do it on the 12,13,14 day of your cycle. The post ovulatory cycle should still be approx. 14 days so eventually you have moved things over.

    So in theory it should take about 3-4 months to move your cycle over a week. The other way (which will through things off for a bit) is to find when you want to ovulate (this is how I did it) and do the lights for 3 days, and then continue to follow that cycle for 3-4 months till regular. I had 42 day cycles (ovulated day 28 bled 14 days later) which drove me crazy since I was trying to get pregnant. After doing this for about 4 months my cycle went to 28 days and as long as I continued to use the light they stayed that way till I had my 2 boys, since my 8 year old weaned almost 6 years ago, except now I'm doing peri-menopause, Oh well. ( By the way I can't sleep in a lighted room very well since then).

    This is a very detailed thing to do and I have given you a short summery , but even with just this information you should be able to have some success with changing your cycle. I have seen this book mentioned in other books as well, but I would try to hunt it down if Possible. Again the Name of the book is LUNACEPTION by Louise Lacey.  Unfortunately, it's out of print and hard to find.

    I love that we can train our bodies to do what we need using what  is right here that will never hurt our bodies. That made me feel very  good about using this method!


    I can vouch for getting pregnant through lunaception. Worked on the first try with #2 (after 15 months of trying) and the second try with #3 (after 8 months of trying.)


    There is a chapter on Lunaception in Conscious Conception by Jeannine Parvati Baker


    From Your Fertility Signals By Merryl Winstein

    "How does moonlight affect women's cycles?  In the 1970's one woman, Louise Lacey, found literally hundred of anthropological sources indicating that non-technological cultures worldwide expected women to menstruate at the dark new moon.  Since menstruation follows ovulation by about two weeks, such women were most fertile around the time of the bright full moon.

    Lacey experimented with nighttime lighting conditions to see if she could simulate the effects of moonlight, and experience the cycle changes documented by other researchers.  She and many readers of her book Lunaception discovered that by the third or fourth cycle of light regulation, cycles usually shortened to 29-31 days in length.  Also, menstruation become shorter and heavier.  The mucus pattern grew more distinct instead of creamy and confusing.  These changes were a boon to Lacey, since her cycles had been highly erratic after she stopped taking the Pill.

    The experimental technique:
    Day 1:          is the first day of menstruation.
    Nights 1-13:    Sleep in total darkness.  Block out all windows and doorway light.  Use a red photographic bulb for light if needed during the night. Nights 14-16:   Sleep with a dim light on all night.  It can be a 15 watt night-light in the wall, a 40-watt bulb in the closet with the door partly closed or a dim hall light.
    During the rest of the cycle:   Sleep in total darkness again.

    Light regulation might be most helpful when cycles are irregular or have long patches of creamy, confusing mucus (keeping a regular eating and sleeping pattern and resolving stress also helps cycles stay more steady).

    It is thought that sleeping in darkness influences the pineal gland to secrete melatonin, a hormone which inhibits events leading to ovulation. Light at night shuts off the melatonin production, so ovulation proceeds.

    One Historical Example

    Modern menstrual cycles, under the influence of erratic light at night, do not necessarily correspond to lunar cycles.  However, ancient Hebrew customs are evidence of the way one group of people observed a correspondence between their fertility and the lunar cycles.  The new moon marked both the beginning of the month, and the time women would celebrate and menstruate together in the desert.  Couples refrained from intercourse during menses and fore seven days after bleeding ceased.  When the separation period was over, around day 12-14 of the cycle, each woman immersed herself in a ritual bath, the mikveh.  Emerging spiritually and emotionally renewed, she was ready for intercourse again - near her peak of fertility, and probably just as the moon waxed full.



    Fertility While Breastfeeding



    Using Fertility Awareness While Breastfeeding


    Frequently Asked Questions about Lactation Amenorrhea - "breastfeeds at night have more of an impact than day time feeds on suppressing fertility"


    From "LLL's "Adventures in Tandem Nursing", p. 224: "Most breastfeeding women who are experiencing menstrual cycles are back to their normal level of fertility.  In a minority of women who are menstruating and ovulating, breastfeeding continues to hold back luteal functioning for one or more cycles, creating a temporary breastfeeding-induced "luteal phase defect." [ed. this is just a short luteal phase, which inhibits fertility]  In these cases, implantation may be impaired.  In one study, this was most common in mothers menstruating within the first six months postpartum, and even so their corpus luteum ws functioning more normally by the second postpartum cycle.  (If you wish to know whether you are ovulating and whether your luteal phase is approximately the right length, you can learn to chart your cycles with the help of Toni Weschler's Taking Charge of Your Fertility.)"



    Male Fertility Issues



    Cell Phones in the Pocket Reduce Sperm Count - you can read the abstracts at PubMed.


    Paternal Heat Exposure May Raise Risk of Childhood Brain Tumor - The findings of a new study suggest that a father's exposure to heat, saunas for example, just before his partner becomes pregnant may increase the risk of medulloblastoma (MB) and primitive neuroectodermal tumor (PNET) in their offspring.

    Parental heat exposure and risk of childhood brain tumor: a Children's Oncology Group study.
    Bunin GR, Robison LL, Biegel JA, Pollack IF, Rorke-Adams LB.
    Am J Epidemiol. 2006 Aug 1;164(3):222-31.

    "This new observation regarding paternal exposure to heat just prior to the index pregnancy deserves consideration in future animal and human studies of MB/PNET."


    Fathers’ Age as Contributor to Risk for Autism by Leslie Feldman


    Newborns at risk for special education placement: A population-based study.
    Mannerkoski MK, Aberg LE, Autti TH, Hoikkala M, Sarna S, Heiskala HJ.
    Eur J Paediatr Neurol. 2007 Mar 6

    CONCLUSIONS: Among the known risk factors for learning disabilities (LD), our study highlighted the importance of a higher paternal age and a lower SES especially in the familial forms of LD.


    AGE OF THE FATHER AND HEALTH OF FUTURE GENERATIONS by Leslie B. Raschka M.D. paper translated from the Chinese Medical Journal


    FertilMARQ - Male Fertility Sperm Test


    Acupuncture may improve sperm quality


    Plant chemical may harm male fertility - study By Patricia Reaney - 6/21/05 - A plant chemical found in soya, tofu and legumes could potentially damage sperm and affect male fertility, a British researcher said on Wednesday.


    Men Have Biological Clocks Too


    UK Study Finds Conception Takes Longer for Older Men - The older a man is, the longer it is likely to take his partner to conceive irrespective of her age.


    Teenagers, young men warned of laptop health risk [09 Dec 2004 Reuters] - "Laptops, which reach high internal operating temperatures, can heat up the scrotum which could affect the quality and quantity of men's sperm."


    Aging Father's Sperm Can Cause Birth Defects


    Lycopene Aids Male Fertility

    Researchers found that lycopene may help with infertility in men. Using 50 volunteers who had low active sperm counts, researchers gave subjects 8 mg per day of lycopene during this one-year study. Thirty-five patients experienced an improvement in sperm count, 30 had improved functional sperm concentrations, and there was a 36 percent pregnancy rate among the participants' partners by the end of the study. Reference: [The Indian Journal of Urology 56:102, 2001 ]

    Older fathers are much more likely than younger ones to have children with schizophrenia, a study suggests, adding mental illness to the list of diseases linked with advancing paternal age. While previous research has suggested children of older fathers are at risk for certain cancers and birth defects, the study is the first to make the link with a psychiatric illness, said Dr. Dolores Malaspina of Columbia University and the New York State Psychiatric Institute. In the study, men who fathered children at ages 45 to 49 were twice as likely as those under 25 to have schizophrenic children, and men 50 and older were three times more likely. The researchers, led by Malaspina, reviewed data on 87,907 people born in Jerusalem from 1964 to 1976. Their findings appear in April's Archives of General Psychiatry. Schizophrenia occurs in about 1% of the population. It is thought to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors.


    Sperm from Older Males More Likely to Cause Birth Defects

    Babies sired by men over age 35 have TWICE the normal rate of birth defects. This salient point and others regarding the fragility of male sperm first appeared in an April 1991 Health magazine article that was based on studies at the University of North Carolina -- and strangely, the media, many doctors, and the gynophobics haven't publicized it enough for it to be well known to women who are often "blamed" for birth defects of their children.

    Because of recent studies, scientists are challenging the double standards that lead women to overhaul their lives before a pregnancy, avoiding stress, cigarettes, and champagne - while men are left confident that their lifestyle has little bearings on their fertility or their future child's health.

    "Growing evidence suggests that sperm is both more fragile and potentially more dangerous than previously thought," scientific paper said after a review of 15,000 newborns. The University of North Carolina scientists concluded that a father's drinking and smoking habits, even his age, can increase his child's risk of birth defects.

    David A. Savitz, Ph.D., in the North Carolina review said "Because of the constant turnover of sperm, mutations caused by the environment can arise more frequently in men than in women." Sperm is created daily in an exposed place in a man while a woman is born with all the ovum she will have in a lifetime (with their having been developed in a doubly safe environment, inside themselves and inside their mothers).



    Pregnancy After A Loss



    ONGOING RESEARCH

    New research project on the lactation and breastfeeding experiences of bereaved mothers after a pregnancy loss or infant death.


    When Pregnancy Follows a Loss: Preparing for the Birth of Your New Baby (Booklet) by Joann O'Leary


    Pregnancy Journeys After Loss - The birth of a baby isn't always a nine-month process." Journeys: Stories of Pregnancy After Loss, edited by Amy L. Abbey and published by WovenWord Press, is a book of comfort and companionship during a pregnancy following a loss. Stories by bereaved parents coupled with stories of birthing live children are detailed so the reader has a helping hand coping through a subsequent (spals) pregnancy.


    Pregnancy after Loss by J & M Warland


    Pregnancy after a Loss by Carol Cirulli Lanham


    Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Common in Pregnancy After Stillbirth [Medscape registration is free] - Br J Psychiatry 2001;178:556-560.


    Subsequent Pregnancy After Loss from the Hope web site


    Pregnancy after Loss


    SPALS (subsequent preg after loss)--
    contact: sgrimes@mail.coin.missouri.edu

    PAM (preg after miscarriage)--
    contact: pam@fensende.com

    CPLS (Christian preg after loss/miscarriage support)--
    contact: CPLSupp1@aol.com

    MM (Multiple losses/preg after multiple losses)
    You need to go to their website to fill out the form to join.


    How to Counsel Pregnant Women after Previous Pregnancy Losses

     




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