Musings About Life... After Birth

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Hurricaneprepyoumightnothaveconsidered…...

Posted by Chelsea on August 26, 2011

I just got back from our (quite large and well-stocked) local hardware store where they were completely sold out of batteries and flashlights. I guess Hurricane Irene hysteria is fully upon us here in the DC metro area. Aside from picking up a little extra non-perishable food, I haven't really done a whole lot to prepare. Am I being dumb? We will likely lose power for a while, but aside from fretting about what the heck I will do to entertain my kids, I am not completely freaking out. I just kinda feel like we'll weather this storm as we have others, no pun intended.

I recently received an article that made me consider that if I were breastfeeding right now, I would probably need to plan a bit more in the wake of this impending weather crisis. In it, Gina Ciagne, CLC and Senior Director of Breastfeeding Relations at Lansinoh Laboratories, offers a checklist for breastfeeding moms to consider when faced with a possible power outage. Some of Gina's advice includes:

  • Keep a cooler of dry ice on hand just in case your electricity goes out and you have frozen milk stored in your freezer.
  • Have extra batteries on hand in case your electricity goes out and you need to use your pump.
  • Familiarize yourself with hand expression in case you don't have batteries and need to pump. Remember that the baby is the best way to remove your milk, so even if you are predominantly a pumper and breastfeed sporadically in an emergency situation, you should focus on feeding the baby on demand. You can also use a manual pump.

You can view Gina's full list on OnCloudMom.com in the event that you need to be prepared for whatever Irene blows our way!

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Post-vacationblahs…plusagiveaway(yea!)

Posted by Chelsea on August 23, 2011

I just got back from a wonderful family vacation in Cape Cod, MA. We hung by the beach and pond, ate lobsters like it was going out of style and hung out with all of my husband's family, who we see less frequently than we'd all like, as we're spaced out all over the East Coast. Kinda bummed to be back because it was so much fun, and now I'm zooming around trying to get the kids ready to go back to school. Guess this means summer is over. Boooooooooo.

As awesome as the trip was, what was not so awesome were the major-league breakouts I experienced while there (likely the cause of the copious amounts of sunscreen with which I slathered myself - sunburn/skin cancer or breakouts: pick your evil). I didn't bring any good stuff with me to combat acne, but when I got home, i ran for my Let Me Clarify, a refinining gel treatment from mybody. 

,

Let Me Clarify Refinining Gel, $56.50 at doctors' offices nationwide

 

Y'all, this stuff works miracles. Its gentle, so it won't leave your skin all red and raw (and its safe to use while pregnant), yet it works like a champ, so you'll be clear of pesky blemishes in no time. After a couple of days of use, my skin is zit-free and glowing again. LOVE.

The good folks at mybody are offering one for us to give away, so if you've got some clearing up to do, let us know by posting a comment here, sending us a tweet or posting on our facebook page. We'll select one winner next week!

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I*Kinda*WanttoForceMyKidtoPlayFootball…

Posted by Janna on August 20, 2011

Ladies and Gentlemen, the next JASON ELAM!!!

One of my favorite pregnancy memories is the sensation created by fetal movement in the latter stages. As my pregnancy progressed, I was amazed by how my son’s movements changed from these tiny little flutters to strong kicks. They were particularly pronounced in the evenings, and I can remember just placing my hands on either side of my growing belly and thanking my baby for the reassurance his motions provided. Not to get all “out there” or whatever, but there was definitely this sort of cosmic bliss in those experiences. I’m sure a lot of you momma’s know what I mean. It is just indescribable, and there’s nothing else I can think of that comes close to being similar.

I was pregnant during football season, and my favorite piece of maternity wear was a fitted Atlanta Falcons tee. I stretched it over my pregnant self every week when the Falcons played, certain that I was doing my part to create another Dirty Birds fan. Over the course of the NFL season, my growing baby began to feel less like a butterfly and more like a football player. As such I began daydreaming about him growing up to be a kicker for my beloved Falcons. I know that football is a brutal sport – but it is AWESOME! And anyway, I figure that a kicker has the best odds of escaping each game without serious injury.

I was so excited about this idea, that I began doing “research.” I asked the students in my classes who were football players if there was anything I could do to help my son obtain the skills needed to become a kicker. Their advice was that he should definitely play soccer – several of them felt like that was even more important to a kicker’s skill set than football. I went home and immediately began searching online to find out how old a kid has to be in order to sign up for soccer.

Now my boy is no longer in utero and as football season gets ready to take off, you can bet that my baby will be decked from head to toe in Falcons gear on each and every game day.

In a few short years, I guess we will hit the soccer fields… and the football fields shortly thereafter. And it’s gonna be awesome, right?

Unless he hates it. Unless he begs me not to make him play. Unless he throws a tantrum on the way to every practice. Then what?

I’ve talked to a lot of my friends about the whole “should kids be forced to play a sport” debate. Most seem to lean towards yes. Interestingly, most are also the offspring of parents that did not force their children to play a sport.

That got me thinking. I did a little Googling, and you know what? It seems that our parents were much more likely to have been required to play a sport (or an instrument, or take ballet, or whatever) than we were, regardless of their level of interest. It kinda makes you wonder if this isn’t some sort of parenting backlash cycle. Odd.

I guess, though, the real question here is which school of thought is the better school of thought? We know that sports offer all sorts of potential benefits for children, such as improved self-confidence, discipline, and an affinity for teamwork. However, most every sport also carries the risk of injury (even golf – read this if you don’t believe me). And when you start talking about football (or lacrosse, hockey, or rugby), the risk of injury increases and the types of injuries that can occur are downright scary. I mean, have you read any of the recent articles about sports-related concussions? It seems that they can have some rather devastating consequences, especially for young people.

Luckily, I’ve a few more years to sort out my own stance on this issue. For now, I still plan to enroll Tommy in soccer and football as soon as he is old enough. If he doesn’t like either of those, I guess my course of action will be to help him find a sport that he does enjoy and encourage him in that direction. Can’t promise I will be happy about that though, because I reallyreallyreallyreallyreallyreallyREALLY want him to play for the Falcons!

PregnancyMythsDebunked

Posted by Chelsea on February 17, 2010

Whether it’s your first pregnancy or your fifth, it’s nearly impossible to get a clear handle on the rules of which activities, foods and drinks to avoid when pregnant. While there are countless do’s and don’ts swirling around the prego-sphere counseling you on what you should and shouldn’t do during your nine months of gestation, the information isn’t always clear. Some docs okay certain things, while others don’t. Confused? I gathered the latest info for The Family Groove and am reprinting it here on The Momtourage, but if you’ve still got reservations, ask your doctor.

MYTH: Pregnant women shouldn’t take baths.
TRUTH: Lori Albright, a certified nurse-midwife at The Midwife Center for Birth and Women’s Health in Pittsburgh, says a warm bath is a wonderful way for anyone to relax—pregnant or not. “The danger is when the water temperature is too hot,” she notes. “In the first trimester, very hot water can cause developmental problems in the fetus, and later in pregnancy it can cause preterm labor.” In general, a pregnant woman should avoid anything that raises her body temperature above 102 or 103 degrees, whether it’s hot baths, fevers or Jacuzzis. “Also, if a pregnant woman is leaking fluid or bleeding, she should avoid bathing altogether and consult her care provider,” Albright says. Hot tubs, steam rooms and saunas, however, are all off-limits.

MYTH: Avoid caffeine.
TRUTH: Good news: There’s no need to give up Starbucks for the next nine months. According to Dr. K.B. Lim, an ob-gyn at Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla, Calif., there is no proof that small amounts of caffeine—which means one cup of coffee or tea a day—adversely affect a normal pregnancy. However, if you are having a complicated pregnancy, you may want to limit your caffeine intake. If you have questions or concerns about how much caffeine is okay for you and your particular situation, check with your doctor to be sure.

MYTH: You must sleep on your left side.
TRUTH: Often, pregnant women are told that they must only sleep on their left side. However, it’s not necessary to change your sleep habits. “While some women who sleep on their backs can get dizzy or sweaty from too much pressure put on the vena cava, during a normal pregnancy, sleeping on the right side is just as good as the left,” says Trish Woollcott, a certified nurse-midwife in Chicago. However, if you have high blood pressure, if your kidneys aren’t functioning properly, or if the baby isn’t developing well, sleeping on the left side is slightly better than the right, she says. Bottom line: Whichever way you can sleep comfortably at night, just do it.

MTYH: It’s okay to have an occasional drink.
TRUTH: Despite any disapproving looks they may receive, some pregnant women still have an occasional glass of wine. Experts, however, advise that you think before you drink. “No safe level of alcohol consumption has been established—but since there is no safe level, you and your doctor need to decide,” says Siobhan M. Dolan, MD, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, N.Y. Dr. Dolan recommends excluding all alcohol, especially during the first trimester, when so much of the baby’s nervous system is being formed.

MYTH: Don’t color your hair.
TRUTH: Most research, although limited, does show that it is safe to color your hair while pregnant, as the chemicals in permanent and semipermanent hair dyes are not highly toxic. While some studies have shown that very high doses of the chemicals in hair dyes may cause harm, it would take using a massive application of hair dye—we’re talking using enough for a thousand women—to cause any harm.

If you’re still concerned and would prefer to stay on the utmost safe side, wait to dye your hair until after the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, when the risk of chemical substances—hair dye or otherwise—harming the baby is much lower. If you’re coloring your hair yourself, wear gloves, leave the dye on for the minimum time, and work in a well-ventilated room. As highlighting your hair doesn’t involve the dye touching your skin and reaching your bloodstream, it poses less of a risk. Of course, semipermanent pure vegetable dyes, such as henna, are a completely natural, safe alternative.

MYTH: Steer clear of soft cheese.
TRUTH: In the past, pregnant women were told to avoid soft cheeses like brie, camembert and gorgonzola altogether during pregnancy. These days, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says it’s safe to eat soft cheese as long as it has a label clearly stating that it’s made from pasteurized milk. Raw milk and any cheeses or other dairy products made from unpasteurized milk can carry disease-causing organisms, including the potentially deadly bacterium listeria. While raw-milk soft cheeses are thought to be the Martha Stewarts of hosts for listeria, the pasteurization process kills the bacterium and other potentially harmful organisms.

What’s 100 percent safe? As most dairy products made in the U.S. are pasteurized, your local grocery store has a whole range of pregnancy-safe dairy options. Cottage cheese, ricotta, cream cheese, processed cheeses like American, and hard cheeses such as cheddar and Parmesan are fine, as are cultured dairy products like yogurt and buttermilk. Regardless, before you indulge, check the label and make sure that it’s been made with pasteurized milk.

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Setyourradios!

Posted by Chelsea on October 27, 2009

Just because you’re about to hit the big 4-0 (or are already there), doesn’t mean you have to look like a scary ‘ol cougar. Today I’ll be joining almost-40 Broads Molly and Christine of Sirius and XM Radio’s “Broadminded” to explain what goes on with your skin when you’re in your 40s, and what over-the-counter beauty products are best for keeping yourself looking young. Tune in at 12:15 p.m., 2:15 p.m. and 8:15 p.m. EST on XM 155 or Sirius 102! If you can’t catch the show, here’s what I’ll be discussing:

What’s going on with skin in your 40s:

Uneven skin tone:
By your 40s, you skin has endured quite a lot of environmental damage – sun, pollution, smoke (if you were a puffer), etc. By your 40s, sadly, that damage is pretty visible. Your skin may be a bit more red and blotchy or your skin tone may be uneven due to sunspots.

Skin dryness: Skin becomes drier as you age, as your skin naturally decreases its oil production as you get older. As a result, dry skin looks a little flaky, and certainly less “plump” and radiant. Think of a wilted plant versus a freshly-watered one, and you get the picture.

Fine lines and wrinkles: As you age, your body’s natural collagen production mechanisms slow and the collagen that already exists in your body begins breaking down. Collagen, a type of fibrous protein that supports and connects bodily tissue, works with elastin to give strength and firmness to your face, keeping skin firm, flexible, tight and youthful-looking. By your 40s, this decrease in collagen production and retention leads to skin looking less “plump”, which increases the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Also contributing to the appearance of those fine lines and wrinkles: all the environmental damage listed above (you know about sun causing wrinkles!) and dryness, which makes wrinkles appear more pronounced, as skin isn’t as plump as it could be.

Never fear, ladies – there IS help! Here’s what you can do:

Of course, there are all kinds of prescription-strength medicines, cosmetic dermatological procedures and plastic surgery procedures that can correct these age-related issues. Retinol products like Retin-A or Tazorac, Botox, laser treatments, dermal fillers – even facelifts are sure-cures. However, all come with some risks, and they certainly aren’t cheap. If you aren’t quite ready to take the plunge, here are some over-the counter products that will get your 40something skin looking great. I’m a big fan of scary chemical-free organic products, so many of these are all-natural. Sometimes, however, it’s still most effective to go the lab-created route, so pick and choose based on your level of comfort.

Check out my favorites, here:



If your main concern is sun/environmental damage:

1) Patricia Wexler MD Dermatology 2-Step Exfoliating Glyco Peel, $60, bathandbodyworks.com
This month-long supply of maximum strength, at-home glycolic acid peels encourages skin cell turnover by intensifying exfoliation in a safe micro-peel. In two simple steps, you’ll reduce visible skin discolorations, including marks left by acne and uneven skin tone, and contribute to overall skin clarity. Bonus: it’s also great for preventing adult acne. Use it after cleansing your skin, then follow with serum and moisturizer.

2) Suki Targeted Bio-Brightening Face Serum, $75, sukipure.com
This highly concentrated, organic, oil-free serum is specifically designed to brighten & diminish the appearance of hyper-pigmentation, scars, spots & redness for a more overall radiant, even complexion. Use after cleanser and treatment, and before moisturizer.

3) NIA 24 Intensive Recovery Complex, $110, nia24.com
This is one of my favorite lines – not organic, but all of the products include Niacin (vitamin B3), which helps skin repair itself from sun damage and aging. This night cream has brighteners that help lift signs of discolorations and restore radiance. Use after applying serum.


If your main concern is dryness:

1) La Mer The Hydrating Facial, $250 for 6 applications, saks.com
A thousand times better (and certainly more convenient!) than a facial, this product delivers an intensive dose of hydration to skin. It’s not organic, but has all sorts of nourishing sea-plant derivatives. I know this product is expensive, but again, it’s so much cheaper than six facials, and really - using one of these treatments will yield facial-esque results!

2) CellCeuticals CerActive, $45, cellceuticalsskincare.com
This organic, deep penetrating moisturizer and barrier repair treatment soothes skin and provides long-lasting skin hydration. It was developed by celebrity dermatologist Dr. Garth Fisher - Kim Kardashian is, apparently, a huge fan of this product! Use after


If your main concern is sagging, fine lines and wrinkles:


1) Skin 2 Skin Anti-Sagging Renewal Serum, $75, skin2skincare.com
The components in this age-defying serum promote skin firmness by rehydrating and facilitating healthy new skin cell growth. It is formulated with one of the most innovative anti-aging ingredients on the market today, Matrixyl (Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-3) at a 17% content level, the maximum clinically allowed. Matrixyl significantly decreases the appearance of surface wrinkles on the cheek, under the eye and over the neck areas. Use after cleansing and before moisturizing.

2) Kinerase C8 Peptide Intensive Treatment, $98, nordstrom.com
This treatment product contains C8 Peptide, a collagen-production stimulator that in lab tests created noticeably younger-looking skin in 28 days. With regular use, you’ll see it greatly reduce the appearance of wrinkles on the face. Use this after serum and before moisturizer.

3) Bremenn Upper Eyelid Lifter, $59, bremennresearchlabs.com
From the folks who brought us StriVectin, this product tightens the upper eye area, making your eyes look fresh and awake. It’s not quite an eye job, but it delivers pretty dramatic results! Use after cleansing and applying serum and moisturizer, patting gently on the eye area.

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MondayMomMust-Have(andGiveaway!):TheBritaxFrontierBoosterSeat

Posted by Chelsea on June 30, 2009

When it comes to most things, I am not brand-loyal. I dip my fries in Heinz ketchup as well as the brand from my beloved Trader Joe’s, alternate between Chanel, Prescriptives and Lancome mascaras and wrap my kids in both Pampers and Huggies. For a select few items, however, I will use one brand and one brand only. Car seats are one example of such a product; when I buy a car seat, it’s Britax and Britax only.

The reason why I love Britax car seats are simple: they’re super sturdy, easy to install, comfortable (at least my kids never complain about them) and, most importantly, consistently receive the highest safety ratings from Consumer Reports. Though they’re not the least expensive car seats available, I have no problem justifying spending a little extra on something so important. The rest of The Momtourage, it seems, agrees. Nearly all of our kids ride around in Britax Marathons, Decathlons or Boulevards:

The cutest Britax around: the Britax Marathon Convertible Car Seat in “Cowmooflage” $249.99, amazon.com. It comes in other (read: more traditional/sedate) colors, but isn’t this one fun?


Britax’s most recent addition to its fleet is the Frontier Combination Harness-2-Booster, a seat for when your child is ready to make the transition from convertible car seat to a booster. It can be used two ways: if your child is at least two years old and weighs between 25 and 80 pounds, you can use it strapped in as you would a traditional forward-facing car seat. If your child is between 40 and 100 pounds, the combination seat can be used as a vehicle seat belt-positioning booster. All in all, it provides eight harness positions and three buckle strap positions, and includes the Versa-Tether, HUGS and premium LATCH connectors. In terms of what the seat itself offers, it’s got rotating, soft armrests, adjustable head support that also serves as sleep support for the child and retractable cup and snack holders.

Britax Frontier Booster Seat, $249.99, amazon.com.


I’ve seen the product, and it’s fantastic - just like all of Britax’s other products. When it comes time to get a booster, you know which one’s going in my car…...

Want to win a Frontier or a Boulevard of your own? In order to be eligible to win, you must be a member of The Momtourage’s Mailing list, so click on the green “Join Our Mailing List” box at the top, left-hand side of this page for a chance to win. Winners will be chosen on July 15 and notified by email. Good luck!

Tags car seats

Askthepediatrician:DoIhavetocircumcisemyson?

Posted by Chelsea on December 23, 2008

Reader Fiona in New Orleans asks, “Medically, is it an OK choice to not circumcise your son?”

We asked our on-call pediatrician, Dr. Reva Snow, for her thoughts on the (delicate) matter:

In short—absolutely yes. You should feel comfortable with whatever decision you make on the issue.  The decision of whether or not to circumcise your son is a very personal one that involves religion, culture and ethnicity in addition to any medical concerns. If you’re trying to make the decision based mainly on the health perspective, I’ll go over the known health benefits and risks to circumcision.

Benefits:

1) A lower risk of urinary tract infection in infancy. Circumcised boys under a year have about a 1 in 1000 chance of having a UTI, while the chance for an uncircumcised boy is about 1 in a hundred.  Bear in mind though that UTIs are, generally, very treatable with a low risk of any future problems.

2) A slightly lower risk of STDs. Studies have shown that circumcised adults are somewhat less likely to acquire or transmit HIV and other STDs. However, uncircumcised men can lower their risk through proper hygiene.  And while we’re on the subject, though it’s impossible to think of your baby boy ever being a teenager, talking to him then about safe sex and condoms can go a long way towards keeping him healthy!

3) A lower risk of developing penile cancer as an adult. Now, “cancer” is never a word you want to hear, but penile cancer is actually pretty rare (about 10 in a million) so whether or not your baby is circumcised, he probably won’t be up against this particular disease.

4) Less chance of minor and manageable issues like foreskin infections and phimosis (a too tight foreskin).

Risks:

1) It is a painful procedure. Anyone who performs a circumcision in this day and age should be using some form of pain control.

2) Complications of the procedure.  These are most often minor and might include bleeding, infection, leaving too much or too little foreskin, and problems healing.  It’s a somewhat more involved and risky procedure in older boys, so it’s recommended to do it in the newborn period if you’re going to do it.

You might hear people say that circumcision diminishes male sexual pleasure. There’s really no research supporting or disproving that claim, not to mention it’s a pretty subjective outcome, no?
Bottom line (to quote to American Academy of Pediatrics): circumcision is not essential to a child’s health. Take all the facts and your personal influences into account and make the decision that makes sense to you.

(Editor’s Note/Chelsea’s take: Do it, Fiona. You don’t want all the chicks in the sorority house making fun of your kid one day. Then again, if all the chicks in the sorority house are talking about his penis, perhaps he’s doing something right…....).

Tags circumcision

PresidentBushandtheRepublicanscouldgiveacrapaboutyourkids’safety

Posted by Chelsea on July 29, 2008

I don’t care if you’re a Democrat or a Republican - if you’re a parent and are anything but disgusted by President Bush and the Republicans, you’re not paying attention. Here’s the deal:

In today’s Washington Post, there’s an article about how yesterday, Congressional negotiators agreed to a ban on a family of toxins found in children’s products. This ban will include three types of phthalates, which are found in plastics (they make plastic softer and more durable) commonly used in children’s toys, and to outlaw three other phthalates pending a study of their health effects in children and pregnant women. Why? Well, phthalates act as hormones and cause reproductive problems, especially in boys. Federally funded research found that male babies born to women with high levels of phthalates in their blood exhibited low sperm count, undescended testicles and other reproductive problems. Other studies have connected some phthalates to liver and kidney cancer. For purposes of global comparison, the European Union banned the six phthalates in question from children’s products in 1999 and more than a dozen other countries have done the same.

In a mind-blowing response, White House spokesman Tony Fratto said that President Bush opposes this ban. I’m going to repeat this and make it bold, because I want to make sure everyone gets this: President Bush opposes banning plastics that are harmful to children and pregnant women.

This makes me so angry that I am shaking. Shaking. Do I even need to explain why?

Joining President Bush on the deplorably disgusting list: (no shocker here) Exxon Mobil, which manufacturers the phthalate most frequently found in children’s toys. The company spent a chunk of its $22 million lobbying budget in the past 18 months to try to prevent this ban and try to get people to believe that banning phthalates may inadvertently expose children to greater risks, because manufacturers will be forced to use substitute chemicals that may be even more hazardous. Let me get this straight, Exxon Mobil: the U.S. should so allow toxic chemicals to be placed in kids’ toys because there’s a chance that whatever we decide to replace them with might end up being toxic too? Um, I’m gonna go out on a limb here and recommend we just go right on ahead and get rid of the stuff we know is highly toxic, mmmkay? I have faith that on he next go-‘round we’ll make sure that sperm and kidney-destroying chemicals aren’t allowed into rubber duckies. Seriously, how do these people sleep at night?

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who sponsored the ban, said yesterday that the action is a first step toward moving the United States closer to the European model, where industry must prove the safety of a chemical before it is allowed on the market. Now seriously, doesn’t that make sense? Perhaps some prelim research prior to a chemical additive’s approval (as opposed to waiting until children suffer health consequences and THEN taking action) is a wise plan, no? Sadly, only the Democrats agree with her. Senate and House Republicans all voted against the ban, and you know why. Of course, the jerks at Exxon Mobil, etc. poured all kinds of obscene money into the Republicans’ re-election campaigns (check their campaign finance records - it’s publicly available info) in exchange for promises that they’d vote to oppose this ban. Really, how can we not be disgusted by the fact that our governmental representatives can and are willing to be bought at the expense of our safety - ESPECIALLY that of our kids?

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know that do not hide the fact that I am a liberal. To me, however, this shouldn’t a partisan issue; liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican, parent or not, you should support a ban on using toxic ingredients when making kids’ toys. The record is clear, though: the lawmakers against this ban are Republicans, and the ones supporting the ban are Democrats.

We must keep this in mind when we vote this November.

 

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Askthefertilityspecialist:Howmany“tries”shouldittakebeforeIgetpregnant?

Posted by Chelsea on July 15, 2008

Rachel from Grosse Point, MI writes: My husband and I are both in our early thirties and are in good health. We’ve been trying to conceive for about four months now, with no luck. Neither of us have any reason to believe we’d have trouble getting pregnant. Is there a certain time you recommend “trying” before seeing a specialist?

Our on-call Reproductive Endocrinologist, Dr. Eve Feinberg, answers:

The classic definition of “infertility” is the inability to achieve pregnancy after one year of unprotected intercourse.  With that being said, however, 80 percent of couples will conceive within four months of trying and an additional 10 percent will conceive between months four to six.  In other words, 90 percent will achieve pregnancy within six months.  If you are under the age of 35, it is a good idea to make an appointment to see a Reproductive Endocrinologist, a fertility specialist, after six months of “trying” without success, though traditionally, the recommendation is to wait a full year.  If your menstrual cycles aren’t regular or you have reason to suspect fertility issues, I advise seeing a specialist sooner rather than later regardless of your age.

There are many reasons why men and women in good health may not be getting pregnant, most of which a Reproductive Endocrinologist could discover with testing.  Common causes of fertility issues are ovarian dysfunction, blocked fallopian tubes, uterine issues and male-oriented issues like low sperm count, irregularly-shaped sperm and motility issues (meaning, how those guys swim).  “Ovarian dysfunction” issues can include things like problems with ovulation and problems with your ovarian reserve (a marker of how “old” your ovaries are acting).  If you have regular menstrual cycles every 28-34 days without the pill, there is a high likelihood that you’re ovulating.  If the interval between your menstrual cycles is longer than 34 days, chances are you’re not. Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a very common cause of not ovulating, and is present in six to ten percent of reproductive-aged women (Chelsea’s note: I’m one of them!).  If you have irregular or non-existent periods, PCOS could be your issue. Problems with ovarian reserve are much harder to diagnose, as there are no outward symptoms that a woman might experience.  Smoking is a common cause of diminished ovarian reserve, so if you are still smoking, this is one additional reason to quit! Blocked fallopian tubes are also a common cause of fertility problems that also have no outward physical signs. If you have or have had endometriosis, pelvic inflammation or prior pelvic infections, this may be what’s giving you trouble. The thing is, many women are not aware that they have any of these issues, so they go about “trying” not knowing there’s actually an impediment there. Additionally, the majority of couples with male factor infertility (which accounts for 35 percent of all causes of infertility) also have no symptoms.  Therefore, it’s never a bad idea to get yourself and your partner “checked out” if you or he suspect something might be up.

On a good note, once a diagnosis is established and treatment begun, the odds of becoming pregnant are greatly increased!  The mistake many couples make is waiting too long to be seen by a specialist. Seeing a specialist will not only improve your chances of pregnancy, but will make that dream come true faster.

Got a fertility-oriented question for Dr. Feinberg? {encode="info@themomtourage.com" title="Click here to contact her!"}

Tags dr. eve feinberg, fertility

MondayMomMust-Haves(andGiveaway!):twistWatersandBALANCEBarBareSweetandSaltybars

Posted by Chelsea on July 14, 2008

I am so sick of seeing stories about how celebrities lost their baby weight that if I read one more, I think I’ll puke until I lose all of mine. It’s neither original nor all that funny anymore to complain about how unrealistic the rates as which celebrities lose their baby weight are. Obviously, it’s their job to do so, and because they’re multi-millionaires whose job is to look amazing, they literally spend all day and millions of dollars ensuring that within 4 or so months after popping out their kids, they’re lean and mean again.  Certainly, if you and I had Jennifer Lopez’s money, we’d have nannies caring for our kids (b.s. to her and Skeletor’s claims that they don’t employ nannies, by the way) while our personal chef, trainer and nutritionist (according to this week’s US Weekly) literally worked our butts off. And then, of course, we’d be rocking bikinis four months after having twins, just as she was recently seen doing.

Okay, so not totally perfect, but well on her way. I hate you, Jennifer.


For us real gals, the real way to lose weight is the un-fancy “eat less and exercise” program. I’m no health expert, but I know (and, naturally, hate) the simple truth that when you burn more calories than you consume, weight comes off. When I finally decided to lose my weight after Big Bro was born, I lived on BALANCE Bar Bare Sweet & Salty bars. They come in Chocolate Almond and Peanut Butter flavors, but my favorite was Yogurt Nut. What I like about these bars is that unlike other nutrition bars, they actually taste good and not all artificial and cardboard-y. They’re the perfect combo of salty and sweet, and they really do keep you satisfied for hours (note to Weight Watchers devotees: they’re four points each).

$14.49 for 15 bars, drugstore.com. Yum.


This go-‘round, I’m still on the bars, but I’ve added Momtourage member Alicia’s not-so secret secret: drink lots of water. Because I find drinking loads of plain water rather boring and therefore somewhat painful to actually do, I’ve been guzzling this new water beverage called twist. I’m freaked out by most things artificial in my drinks (my food, not so much - see above), so this stuff has none of it. Essentially, it’s an organic, low-calorie (less than 10 per serving), preservative-free water flavored with juice and organic agave nectar for just a touch of sweetness. They come in six fruity flavors: Lemon, Mandarin White Tea, Mango Acai, Pomegranate Blueberry, West Indies Lime and Peach (my favorite, because I’m from Georgia like that).

I kinda bet these would be good with a little vodka, but that would defeat the purpose. Sigh.


Seriously - these drinks are awesome. If you need inspiration to drink yourself come water - you must try them. You can get these waters for around $1.29 for 19-ounces at specialty grocery stores (like Whole Foods) around the country. If you’d like to try them, I’ve got a set of all six flavors to give away to 10 winners each. To be eligible to win, you must be registered for The Momtourage’s mailing list, so if you’re not, click on the green “Join Our Mailing List” box at the top, right-hand corner of this page to register. 

15 (okay, 20) pounds to go…...

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