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Fertility

  • What's the Best Pregnancy Calculator?

    If you’re performing mental gymnastics trying to make sense of your due date and your pregnancy timeline, you’re not alone. Due dates are not usually exact predictions, even when you’re calculating your pregnancy correctly. So how is it done? The official way of calculating your pregnancy due date is with Naegele’s Rule. With this formula, you can estimate the due date by adding one year, subtracting three months, and adding seven days to the first day of your last period. Or instead, you can check out one of these online pregnancy calculators that we found and loved.

    Best dressed: WebMD. This calculator puts its best foot forward. On the front page is a calendar for you to click the first date of your last period, making it easy to use by cutting right to the chase.

    Best sense of humor: The Bump. The Bump is generally known for throwing jokes and puns into its informative pieces on pregnancy, so if you’re looking for a lighter tone, visit here first.

    Most informative: Baby Med. Not only can you calculate your pregnancy timeline, but this website offers extensive info on ovulation, conception, and the science behind due date estimation.

    Most organized: Pampers. This one couldn’t be easier to navigate; it gives you everything you need without the fluff or distractions.

    Best personality: Belly Belly. Not only does this calculator do its job, it also offers insight into the virtue of patience when it comes to pregnancy and waiting for baby to arrive. Reading the articles linked to the calculator will help give you a relaxed perspective (if that’s possible!) on awaiting your due date.

    Biggest overachiever: American Pregnancy. Not only will this website give you an estimated due date, it will also tell you the estimated conception date, estimated gestational age, and your estimated fertility window.

    Most inspirational: Your Fertility. This calculator is for determining ovulation and your fertile days. The information it provides can be a huge help when you’re trying to get pregnant.

    Most school spirit: Babycenter. The Babycenter website is a major cheerleader for Team Pregnancy and it offers a long list of suggested articles, tailored to the trimester of pregnancy its calculator determines you to be in.  

    Most versatile: Your Due Date. How do you want to calculate your due date? This calculator has several different options to choose from, like first date of last period and IVF transfer date.

    Most likely to succeed: What To Expect. The “What To Expect” brand is such a mainstay, even women who’ve never been pregnant know the name. Their calculator is easy to use and is matched with an extensive FAQ section, along with the websites of every article on pregnancy that a person could imagine.

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  • Why PCOS Matters to Your Fertility

    5 things you need to know about PCOS and how it affects your fertility.

    Article courtesy of Well Rounded NY

    You’ve skipped a period or two and have been breaking out like a teenager. It’s easy to dismiss it as stress or lack of sleep,  but these symptoms may indicate that you have polycystic ovarian syndrome, otherwise known as PCOS. Though the exact causes remain unknown, PCOS is a common disorder associated with hormonal imbalances and insulin resistance, which doctors think is caused by genetics. This condition affects 5-10% of reproductive aged women, but millions of women remain undiagnosed.

    Here are 5 things you should know about PCOS.

    1. To diagnose PCOS, doctors are looking for three specific signs. The symptoms of PCOS can vary dramatically from person to person, which can make it tough to diagnose. That said, three symptoms seem to be consistent across the board...

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  • Understanding Fertility: What You Can Do

    Fertility challenges are among the most stressful and disheartening challenges a woman and her partner can face. While many couples feel powerless, there are many things you can do to improve the overall health of both your eggs and your ovaries, and in so doing, better your chances of both conceiving and experiencing a successful pregnancy. The journey to a successful pregnancy starts with a focus on preconception health.

    Please note: the following are general recommendations only. Any plan to improve egg health should only be undertaken after consulting with a fertility counselor, fertility expert and or fertility coach. Every woman is different, and every woman considering fertility treatment deserves an egg health plan customized just for her taking into consideration her current health, family history, fertility challenges, pregnancy goals and unique bio-individuality.

    That said, here are five key things your fertility counselor may recommend to improve egg and ovarian health. Please note these are just some of the ways you can improve egg quality.

    1. The 90 Day Rule. The key window to improve egg health starts 90 days before ovulation. During those 90 days (the tonic growth and protein synthesis phase), the eggs are changing rapidly, and are most susceptible to lifestyle changes and choice a woman may make. It’s not just the egg’s cycle that matters here: any plan to improve egg health will need to be followed for at least 90 days to have an impact.

    2. Diet and Nutrition. How you eat during these 90 days can improve egg quality – or, unfortunately, have the opposite effect. Certain superfoods (dark leafy veggies, salmon, turmeric) can have a significant positive impact, while other things (caffeine, alcohol, sugar, trans fats) may damage egg health during this vital development phase.

    3. Exercise. Yep, you guessed it. Exercise sends fresh blood coursing through the body, and helps oxygenate the body. Exercise can energize you – and the mitochondria in your eggs as well. To be most effective, you may want to ask your fertility coach about various types of exercises known to enhance fertility as well as improve egg quality.

    4. Eliminating Toxins. Toxic substances can damage overall health as well as negatively impacting egg quality. Some toxic substances are obvious, but they bear repeating: alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, and other street drugs. Many toxic substances are less obvious: certain prescription drugs, of course, but also many cosmetics and household products. Toxic metals, lead, xenoestrogens (often found in plastic products): all these can directly harm egg quality in some women. Consult with a fertility expert to learn what toxins are the most important for you to eliminate, and to find out various methods for detoxifying your body and your home.

    5. Supplements. The previous tips are all important, but they’re also generally applicable to overall good health. When it comes to improving egg quality, you may need some additional help in the form of natural supplements. There are a number of supplements that have been shown to improve egg health and fertility outcomes in women, especially DHEA and Ubiquinol. DHEA is not suitable for all women. Ask your fertility coach for more information.

    A special note: the FDA provides very little regulation of supplements. A fertility coach can tell you which supplements (and which brands) have been scientifically proven to work in research settings. Not all supplements recommended improve egg quality. Some commonly used supplements promoted to help improve egg quality, actually further impairs egg quality. Hence why it’s important to know which supplements have been proven scientifically. Even more importantly, supplement dosages are dependent on each person’s unique bio-individuality as well as fertility challenges.

    Beware of anyone who offers a one-size fits all approach. Everyone metabolizes nutrients differently; one woman may need much more or less of a nutrient than another.

    One excellent way to gain insight into how much of a given nutrient you may need is to have your DNA analyzed by a fertility coach trained in DNA analysis. For example, there are specific fertility challenges linked to various ethnic groups. This reality makes DNA analysis far more relevant than simply gaining insight into one’s family tree.

    The Bottom Line

    Egg quality is a vital piece of the fertility puzzle. And despite what some may tell you, there’s more to determining egg quality than knowing a woman’s age. Most importantly, there are effective steps you can take to improve egg health. A fertility counselor, fertility expert or fertility coach can get you started on that journey.

    This article is written by Lin Weinberg, Fertility Coach at Spoken Origins and Your Fertility Guide, who specializes in helping clients conceive using an entirely new and truly personal approach to conception.

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  • Fertility: Egg Quality Myths and Truths

    One of the most common causes of infertility is poor egg quality. Spend just a few minutes researching online, and you’ll find egg quality listed as one of the most important factors in determining a woman’s fertility. Much of what you might read will be discouraging, especially if you’re over 35 and worried about your chances to get pregnant. On the other hand, the encouraging news is that there’s a great deal that can be done to improve egg quality, especially as part of a program designed and monitored by a fertility expert and or fertility coach.

    Optimizing egg quality can – and should – be a vital component of a pre-conception health plan. We’ll discuss that in a moment. For now, let’s start with some important facts about eggs, both quantity and quality.

    Quantity

    While men will only start to produce sperm at puberty, the average newborn girl has an average of one million to two million immature eggs. At this point, they’re not really eggs -- just follicles. Most of those follicles will die before a girl hits adolescence through a process known as atresia. By the time a girl has her first period (menarche), she’s got about 400,000 follicles left. With each menstrual cycle, she’ll lose another 1,000 follicles. On average, only one lucky little follicle will develop into a mature egg (or ovum), and make its way down the fallopian tubes.


    The average woman has 375-425 menstrual cycles over the course of her lifetime. What does that mean? Out of the one or two million eggs she was born with, only about 400 will fully develop. And of course, only a tiny fraction of those, if any, will become fertilized.


    The IVF process changes the numbers. Many IVF treatments involve stimulating the remaining follicles to produce additional eggs during ovulation, increasing the chances for successful fertilization, implantation, and so forth. Fertility specialists will often run tests to determine a woman’s ovarian reserve: that is, how many extra follicles are available. A woman with a lower number of extra follicles may be described as having diminished ovarian reserve. Women with diminished ovarian reserve can go on increase their follicle count, improve their overall egg quality and give birth to a healthy baby; a knowledgeable fertility counselor or coach can explore many natural and effective alternative options with you.


    Quality


    As important as egg quantity is, egg quality is perhaps an even more important factor to consider on your fertility journey. Poor egg quality is emerging as the single most important cause of age-related infertility, recurrent miscarriage, and failed IVF cycles. It is also a major contributor to infertility in PCOS. Unfortunately, there’s far more mystery and misunderstanding about quality than quantity. The tests for ovarian reserve (CCCT, AMH, and so forth) are better indicators of quantity, but may be unreliable indicators of quality. Instead, what the medical literature will tell you is that the chief indicator of egg quality isn’t determined by what’s in a woman ovaries as it is by the date printed on her driver’s license.


    “First and foremost, egg quality is determined by a woman’s chronological age,” writes one popular fertility website. That view is echoed in doctors’ offices across the country and in many other parts of the world. It is nearly universally accepted that ovarian reserve declines with age, though there’s notable disagreement as to when that decline starts to impact a woman’s fertility in a significant way. Casual Googling will lead you to websites claiming the decline begins at 25, while others say at 30, others at 35, and still other only after 40.


    What does all this disagreement tell us? While it’s certainly true that maternal age has an impact on egg quality, there’s still uncertainty about exactly how aging impacts egg quality.


    Percentage Game


    Remember that we noted that the average girl has about 400,000 follicles at the onset of puberty? Let’s assume that 10% of these, or 40,000, are of poor quality. During ovulation, these poor quality eggs will not be chosen for ovulation. Even if the number of poor quality eggs does not increase, the percentage of remaining eggs that are of poor quality will steadily increase as the number of healthy ones are used with each menstrual cycle. If 10% of remaining eggs were poor quality at 15, some estimates suggest that 85% may be of poor quality by the time a woman turns 40.


    Battery Effect


    Another way in which age may impact egg quality is through what’s called the battery effect. Just as batteries in your various devices wear out over time, so too may the “batteries” that power an egg. In the reproductive process, there’s about a week between the time an egg is fertilized and the time it implants in the uterus. During that week, the mitochondria in the egg act as batteries to power the fertilized egg through the process of cellular division or meiosis. Researchers have noted that while the eggs of older women may appear of good quality and have little trouble getting fertilized, they often stop dividing at some point between fertilization and implantation. The mitochondria in older eggs may lose the “battery power” to complete this stage of the process.


    Much of this information may come across as deeply discouraging to those who are contemplating having a baby. That discouragement is made worse by the way that most of the discussion about egg quality and maternal age is framed. You can’t roll back time, you’re told, and so there’s nothing that can be done about age-related declines in egg quality. As an expert fertility coach can tell you, this is unfortunate and incomplete information. You can improve egg quality.

     

    This article is by Your Fertility Guide, which has been helping families conceive since 2014.

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    This article is written by Lin Weinberg, Fertility Coach at Spoken Origins and Your Fertility Guide, who specializes in helping clients conceive using an entirely new and truly personal approach to conception.

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  • Fertility in Focus

    Angela Le is charting the path towards positive conception…and conversation.

    Article & Photo courtesy of Well Rounded NY

    As women, we don’t talk about fertility nearly enough. Whether from shame, embarrassment or even ignorance, it often becomes a topic reserved for hushed voices or spoken about behind closed doors. And yet, there are so many more women than you realize struggling to conceive, and exploring the many different paths you can take to make a baby. The lucky women among them get to travel those paths with Angela Le.

    As founder of Fifth Avenue Fertility Wellness in NYC, Angela has helped thousands of women and men struggling to conceive. Her practice is integrative in every way: a licensed and board certified acupuncturist, Angela works in collaboration with physicians–including renowned holistic physicians Dr. Frank Lipman at Eleven Eleven Wellness Center and Dr. Sami David–to incorporate Eastern approaches to traditional Chinese medicine with Western biomedical research. She’s also a firm believer of treating patients physically, emotionally and spiritually.

    The results are not only beautiful, healthy babies–and there are many, many of those–but also beautiful, healthy mommies. “I want my patients to leave with not only improved fertility and general health,” she says, “but also a new set of skills that they will have for a lifetime and can use as a mother.”

    Below, Angela opens up about fertility, conception and conversation.

    What was the first birth you ever attended?
    I was 15 years old when I attended the birth of my godson. I was my sister’s doula, unofficially! My godson’s birth was such a special moment for me and it felt like such a privilege to be able to attend, let alone assist. Any fears around the birth process took an immediate backseat to the awe and magic of that experience.

    Tell us about your journey–literally across the world–to find your path.
    Honestly, my path found me. I’ve always been a seeker–in adventure, travel and spirituality. A series of coincidences led me to meet an amazing woman in Nepal, an acupuncturist. After meeting her, I realized Traditional Chinese Medicine could be a career that embodies all of my passions and gifts, allowing me to integrate mind-body-spirit in a powerful way.

    Why did you decide to focus on fertility?
    I specialize in fertility because there is an opportunity to educate, empower and transform during the time a woman is trying to conceive. I saw my first fertility patient in 1998, and she was so deeply committed to the process of getting healthy for both herself and her future children that it created opening of sorts. She was open to being an active, instead of passive, participant in her healthcare, and that allowed for me to help her with deep healing–physically, emotionally and spiritually.

    What’s the goal of your practice?
    The goal of my practice is to help women achieve their dream of becoming a mother. I also want to teach women how to nurture themselves. I teach life skills and often get back to the basics with patients–how to nourish yourself properly and how to exercise, sleep, meditate and interact with self-love are all very powerful techniques. It’s important that these skills are sustainable–I want my patients to leave with not only improved fertility and general health, but also a new set of skills that they will have for a lifetime and can use as a mother.

    What are the most common reasons your patients visit?
    My practice supports patients through the entire fertility journey, so patients will typically see us for preconception work or support through fertility challenges, such as diminished ovarian reserve, advanced maternal age, recurrent miscarriages, PCOS, endometriosis, high FSH, fibroids, male factor concerns, and support through IUI/IVF procedures, including donor cycles. They continue treatment throughout their pregnancy and postpartum care.

    When should women start exploring their fertility?
    I believe women should start exploring their own fertility as early as possible. Body literacy is an important first step that is often ignored today. I think we can empower young women about their reproductive health through education and start the conversations earlier, from a place of curiosity instead of fear. The book Taking Charge of Your Fertility is a great place to start.

    When trying to get pregnant, how does a woman know it’s time to see a fertility expert?
    The American Society for Reproductive Medicine says that women under 35 should try naturally for one year before seeing a fertility expert, while women over 35 should see one after six months. I believe that it is never too soon to start preparing yourself for pregnancy through preconception work. Ideally, the work I do at Fifth Avenue Fertility Wellness would start about three months before a woman wants to start trying to conceive.

    Why is integrative fertility work so crucial? How do Eastern and Western philosophies work together in this field?
    Eastern and Western integration is crucial for fertility work because they focus on two different aspects of the process. Western medicine is working on the physical level, while Eastern medicine treats the whole person, including emotional and energetic aspects of whatever the issue is. When Eastern and Western medicine work together, the body is both treated and restored simultaneously. One of the reasons I work in an integrative practice is because every couple needs something different and we want to provide them with as many choices and options as possible under one roof.

    Why do you think women are often reluctant to talk about fertility with other women, or in public? What’s with the shame?
    I think there is a deep sense of self-worth tied up in the basic instinct to bear children. Women particularly are programmed this way from childhood. When conception does not come easily, they feel like their bodies have betrayed them and that there is something ‘wrong’ with them. As a result, many women feel shame and embarrassment, and are reluctant to share their story.

    How do you judge your success with a patient? Is a baby always the final outcome?
    On one hand, success is defined by pregnancies and healthy live births. The public will certainly judge me by those numbers. On the other hand, there is another, almost deeper, level of success. If I’m able to return a woman back to herself, and no matter what the outcome is she is stronger, happier, and more in tune with her own desires and her authentic self, than I feel like I’ve succeeded. For me, the happiest moments are when I’m able to help a woman birth both herself and a baby.

    This article is by Jessica Pallay, courtesy of Well Rounded NY.  Conceived with love by former magazine editors Jessica Pallay and Kaity Velez, Well Rounded NY aims to be the singular pregnancy resource for city-savvy moms-to-be. Through reviews, profiles, expert Q&As, local guides and more, Well Rounded curates the New York City pregnancy and helps its readers come to terms – and term! – with pregnancy in the city.

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  • Help Him Help You: 4 Tips For Future Fathers From PregPrep

    Trying to conceive involves many variables from mom but dad makes up half the equation too! To ensure a healthy pregnancy, both men and women have to be ready. Here are PregPrep’s top 4 tips for helping dad-to-be prepare for little one.

    CHECK WITH DOCTOR. Healthy or not, men should see a doctor for a full physical exam before trying to get their partner pregnant. Besides chronic disease, medication, and problems with ejaculation/erections/libido, anything can affect fertility, so be sure he reveals his family history to his physician.

    EAT HEALTHY. A healthy diet rich in fruits and veggies not only improve sperm quality but certain antioxidants found in said foods, like Vitamin C and E, boost sperm count and motility too. Lean protein, low-fat dairy, and whole grains also enhance overall sperm health. Make sure you and your partner are working on this together–it makes eating healthy a lot easier and more fun.

    CHOOSE BOXERS. Some experts claim that testicles can overheat in briefs, thereby affecting sperm production. While this may seem silly, it’s always better to play it safe, right?

    RELAX & HAVE FUN. Between tracking cycles and everything else you have to consider, trying to conceive can get stressful. But don’t make baby-making feel like a chore. The process can take many months, so unwind and enjoy each other’s company. Ever consider honeymoon #2?

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