TTC COUPLES NOW HAVE NEW NATURAL SUPPLEMENT OPTIONS FOR MEN

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Innovation in over-the-counter supplement is helping situations when the male partner may be the cause of a couple’s infertility.

In America, an estimated 7 million couples struggle with infertility.  Don’t get caught up in the misinformation out there.  And there is plenty of it. You’re not considered infertile after just a few months of trying to conceive (TTC) unsuccessfully.

TTC spouses and partners are considered infertile after they try to have a baby for at least six months, if they are over 35 years old, or for at least a year, for those under age 35.

There is usually one culprit that causes infertility for prospective would-be moms.


“In women, a common cause of infertility is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), a hormonal imbalance that can cause irregular and sometimes no ovulation,” says Michael Krychman MD, a board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist in Newport, CA

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According to the PCOS Foundation, PCOS may be responsible for 70 percent of infertility issues in women who have difficulty ovulating.

Self-diagnosis or internet diagnosis are not good ways to get to the bottom of the reason why you cannot conceive.

It’s best to seek the intervention of the medical community and consider lesser invasive options before jumping into more invasive procedures and options like IVF (intravenous fertilization) or other procedures.

Fortunately, there are non-prescription natural therapies on the market, Krychman recommends, and supplements you can pick up at your Wallgreens, CVS drug store like Pregnitude which is one of the common ones for women.

And from the company that makes Pregnitude, comes Evolution60. It is a brand new, just released non-prescription fertility support dietary supplement for men. (available online for now).

Listen, there is actually science behind some OTC options, and for Pregnitude and Evolution60, in particular, they contain nutrients that have been shown in clinical studies to support fertility.

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For example, there is a substance that naturally occurs in our bodies called myo-inositol that we can also take as a dietary supplement in a daily pill to boost fertility health.

By now, it has been pretty widely known that we (both women and men) require ample doses of folic acid to maximize fertility health.

But, seriously, who also knew folic acid was actually a form of  B vitamin that promotes cell growth, and in therapeutic doses can promote menstrual regularity, ovulatory function and higher quality eggs? I didn’t I always assumed folic acid was its own supplement.

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But if you’ve been TTC for a while, you know healthy eggs are key to getting and staying pregnant, so I’m thinking it makes sense that we get sufficient support for those eggs.

The struggle is real. No really.

And a lot of times, we hear about fertility options for women, but in the case for a lot of couples, it is the male partner who is the cause of infertility.

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For some reason, it is more unspoken.

In men, being older, certain aspects of their lifestyle, environmental factors and certain medical conditions they may have can affect their reproductive health.

Men too need nutrients like myo-inositol, selenium, folic acid, Vitamin E, L-carnitine and L-Arginine, and if it’s not naturally occurring in the body, supplements are the way to go for optimal support!

Dr. Krychman states “if a patient is having trouble getting pregnant due to cycle irregularity, I’ll first recommend that she should consider trying Pregnitude- which contains these ingredients in therapeutic doses, but adds “women and men should always consult with their physician before taking any vitamins or dietary supplements and should get proper medical work ups if fertility concerns are problematic.”

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And now it looks like men have options as well finally with OTC supplements like Evolution60.

Bravo for science, innovation and options!

This is The Pregnancy Discomfort Support Belt Your Mom Wishes She Had

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Pregnancy is a joyful time but also causes a series of discomfort and pain. Achy feet from weight displacement in the growing baby bump area, water retention, acne, hair loss and back ache are among the variety of issues many women experience.

Back pain is also very common. When I was pregnant with my first child I suffered from sciatica, pain in the lower back and back of the leg from nerve pressure; and diastasis recti, a separation of my abdominal muscles as my uterus grew with the baby.

Back then, sadly, there weren’t as many commercially-available options available as now for expecting moms dealing with this kind of discomfort. While more companies are developing back braces and other innovations to help women, one company stands out: The Babybellyband by CABEA Orthopedic Designs.


And the plus with the BabyBellyBand is the available options for the groin and shoulder area for added comfort and support. Aw Man! I get relieved just looking at it. Imagine getting to have your entire bump lifted and supported off your shoulders and back!?! Wowee! That’s exactly what the shoulder straps add on does for you!

There is also an option to purchase a compression therapy groin straps which I would have killed to have had on those days when my sciatica was really inflamed an acting up.

Moms in this new generation are so fortunate to have something like the BabyBellyBand to come to their rescue. If you want total comfort options, you can get both for a few bucks more, making the entire system quite versatile and practically useful for all stages of a pregnancy and postpartum.

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From the company’s website:

The belt is designed to provide immediate relief on the body from a growing baby, but also provides relief for non-pregnancy related hernias.

  • It provides immediate support and relieves discomfort as your baby grows, giving you the freedom and confidence to enjoy your pregnancy and to get on with your daily life, whether that be in the workplace, at home, doing the school-run or out and about with friends.

Material Used

  • Made from a medically approved fabric the system is discreet and easy to fit.
  • Comprising of an abdominal band for initial abdominal and back support.
  • Shoulder straps for extra support as your baby grows and groin bands to relieve pressure on your lower body.

Also, they shared with us recent research from customers who corroborate and back up the effectiveness of the product. Of those Babybellyband surveyed, 93 percent of women said they felt pain relief after wearing it and 73 percent reported being able to return to normal activity after wearing it. Niceness!

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The Babybellyband apparently relieves  22 pregnancy discomforts such as back pain, various types of hernias, vulvar varicosities, and diastasis recti. What a total body solution, huh?

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There are so many pregnancy support bands on the market but the babybellyband is a full care system from the beginning of pregnancy through postpartum recovery. The BabyBellyBand starts at about $35 US just for the belt and $71 for the groin add on $91 for the full body support, including the groin and shoulder straps. That’s a worthwhile investment for the level of pain relief you can expect. And they have good reviews from users of the product. Check them out here!

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I can relate to the need for a belt that you can wear at every stage and beyond. Although it has been years since I’ve had a baby, I return to my support band to help alleviate lower back pain so the investment is worthwhile and can be used for subsequent pregnancies.

The folks at BabyBellyBand are offering Bellyitch Blog readers a discount of  10% for your total order using the CODE: bbb10jj at check out! Awesome!

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Viral: This Batman-Themed Pregnancy Announcement is All Sorts of Creative

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A couple on Reddit has gone viral with their Batman and Bat girl pregnancy announcement.

In the set of pics, shared widely on the social bulletin board site, after getting her positive pregnancy test, Batwoman tells her news to her man by placing a tiny Robin size outfit on her belly.

img_4932My wife and I have a sidekick on the way,” the redditor, ocularis01, shared.


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In a series of other pics, Batman reads the famous parenting book,”What to Expect When Expecting”, and downs cans of beer while Batgirl eats junk food.

So cute and quite creative!

photo: Reddit/ocularis01/imgur

 

Authors: Sorry to Rain on Your Twin Obsession Parade, But Twins Are Risky, Period

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Twins are always considered a blessing and lately, they’ve been getting even more glorification, especially with celebs like Beyonce and Amal Clooney making recent headlines for the fact they are carrying twins.

But as with any celebration, there are those who will swoop in to offer a reality check. Like one Daily Mail columnist, Jill Foster, herself a mom, who wrote about how twin pregnancies are high risk and come with a boat load of additional concerns, cautions and care that mom (and dad) must undertake.

“Multiple births are fraught with risk, no matter how rich you are,” Foster writes in a recent column. “Carrying my twin girls was the most arduous and terrifying thing I’ve done — and the professionals agree with me.”

She quotes consultant obstetrician and gynecologist Shazia Malik, a sub-specialist in reproductive medicine at London’s Portland Hospital, who said that “people underestimate the risks of a multiple pregnancy.”

There is a risk “of miscarriage, stillbirth or pre-term birth is around five times higher than a singleton pregnancy. Once premature babies are born, they may spend several weeks or even months in Special Care and may have growth restriction, brain damage, problems with vision and later have developmental delay,” Malik said.

She adds: “There’s a higher risk to the mother, too, of developing gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia, which could lead to death.”

Foster says her identical twin daughters were conceived without medical intervention but that she went thru her pregnancy in fear because her twins developed in the same sac, increasing the chances of dual death were something to go wrong.

“At 11 weeks’ pregnant, I’d learned that the babies were growing in the same amniotic sac. Called a mono-amniotic pregnancy, it meant their umbilical cords could easily become entwined and strangulated.

“Not even one baby would survive if this happened. They would live or die together, and death would be sudden or spontaneous. I lived my pregnancy on a knife edge. It seemed sensible to only tell my closest family and friends.”

She also thinks she suffered post partum depression which is common among moms of multiples.

According to the Twins and Multiple Birth Association (TAMBA), mothers of multiples have almost twice the average risk of postnatal depression and it tends to last longer and can still require treatment up to seven years after the birth.

Then there are the myths of twin pregnancies.  In a new book Twin Mythconceptions: False Beliefs, Fables, and Facts about TwinsDr. Nancy L. Segal attempts to bust over 70 myths regarding twin pregnancies.


Here are some of the top 10 Myths, (many of which we have blogged about before here on Bellyitch), Dr. Segal has identified:

the “Top 10” myths or beliefs about twins, which include:

  • Identical twins can communicate by extrasensory perception or ESP (False)

o   There is no scientific evidence that twins exchange thoughts or ideas by reading each other’s minds—identical twins’ social closeness is better explained by studies showing that their common genes underlie their within-pair communication skills.

  • Older mothers are more likely to conceive fraternal twins than younger mothers (True)

o   Since releasing two eggs at the same time is not typical, this is possibly a reflection of the aging process.

  • Identical twins have identical fingerprints (False)

o   These features, which develop between the 10th and 25th gestational week, are affected by factors such as temperature, intrauterine position and density of amniotic fluid near the fingers.

  • Your consumption of yams and other dietary choices increase the chances of conceiving fraternal twins (True)

o   It is thought that the white yam contains fertility-inducing properties that trick the female body into releasing hormones that promote ovulation–this may partly explain the high fraternal twinning rate among the Yorùbá of western Nigeria.

Dr. Segal is currently Professor of Psychology at California State University, Fullerton and Director of the Twin Studies Center. She has authored more than 200 scientific articles and book chapters, as well as four highly acclaimed books on twins.

The moral of the story is celebrate twin births. Admire them. Dote on moms carrying twins. Offer help and support to family and friends who deliver twins, especially afterwards, given the higher PPD risk. But certainly, be very aware that they are risky pregnancies and deserve extra care and consideration before venturing into IVF in hopes of carrying them if you cannot conceive a set without medical intervention. Don’t let these celebrities out here lull you into a fairy tale la la land.

You Might Be Pregnant If You’re Having These 15 Symptoms

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We assume most people who read this blog are already expecting or well versed on signs of pregnancy. It’s never a good idea to presume.

So just in case you’re planning a family or wondering what some symptoms you’re experience, here are 15 signs curated by TodaysParent.com that you might be pregnant:


1. Swollen and tender breasts Soreness or tingling in breasts is one of the most common pregnancy signs. Early in pregnancy breasts will fill out and change shape as they prepare to produce milk. Breasts may become very tender and sensitive for a few months as a result. But, Teresa Pitman, doula and lactation expert, notes: “that not all women experience these changes, especially if they have been on birth control pills.”

It is possible to know you’re pregnant in those first few weeks—some women even “know” from the moment of conception. Here are the very earliest pregnancy signs, that you might not notice.

2. Darkening areolas For many women, hormones can cause the areolas, the circles around nipples, to widen and darken during pregnancy. This occurs as the body prepares itself for breastfeeding.

3. Spotting About five to 10 days after conception, some women notice light spotting when the embryo implants in the uterus. So if you’ve had a light period this month, you might still be carrying a little bundle of joy—psst, here’s what you need to know about home pregnancy tests, including when it’s best to take one.

4. Urinary frequency or constipation When you’re pregnant, your uterus presses directly on the bladder leading to more frequent urination. The added pressure and intestinal changes may also cause constipation. Of course, the more a baby grows, the more the uterus presses against the bladder and other organs.

5. Fatigue Feeling very tired is a common pregnancy sign (it takes lots of energy to create a baby!). In fact, fatigue is often one of the first pregnancy signs. If you are pregnant, chances are you’ll start to feel less tired around week 12, when the placenta is fully formed.

6. Nausea Nausea is one of the most common pregnancy signs. It’s caused by an increase in hormone levels (about 80 percent of women experience “morning sickness” during the first 3 months of pregnancy). For many, this nausea is not necessarily confined just to the morning – some feel it all day long.

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Study: Breastfeeding Doesn’t Make Babies Smarter After All, This Does

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A new study casts doubt on whether breastfed-kids are smarter than their formula-fed peers, though it does note there are benefits to breastfeeding babies including reduced hyperactivity.

The study, published in the journal Pediatrics, finds that while kids between 3 and 5 years old who were breastfed as babies scored higher on cognitive tests than their counterparts, the difference was not that significant.”We weren’t able to find a direct causal link between breastfeeding and children’s cognitive outcomes,” Lisa-Christine Girard, an Irish researcher who authored the study, told NPR.


Socioeconomic factors and the overall behavior and environment of a child contribute to a higher cognitive ability, the study found. When the researchers accounted for those factors, it was harder to link breastfeeding by itself to smarter children, NPR reports.

The researchers did, however, note that the breastfed kids were less hyperactive by age three if they had been breastfed for six months as a baby. But by age five, the impact on hyperactivity appeared to fade.

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What We Love About this Christian Fashion Blogger’s IVF Pregnancy Announcement

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In recent past, pregnancy announcements were simple joyful releases of information to friends and family about an impending arrival.

As they should be, all rejoiced in the happy news none the wiser of any potential struggle to arrive at that blissful point in a woman and her partner’s life.


These days, couples are being more transparent about their journey as was the case in one pregnancy announcement we happened upon in social media.

Washington, DC area blogger Jenny Metellus of the Au Bob Prix fashion blog shared a couple of endearing photos on her Instagram announcing her pregnancy with her hubby of five years.

Awwwww congratulations! God is awesome! Repost @aubonprixstyle THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! From the bottom of our hearts THANK YOU! We're so overwhelmed by the texts, calls, DMs, & prayers. You rejoiced with us & you shared in our story! Strangers & friends alike, Thank you for sharing your stories with me because they encouraged me. Our amazing @tamaraandco, you darling, are incredible & patient, your sweet & willing spirit will bring you far in life. To a husband willing to freeze his butt off (as shown in the pic😩😂) for his wife's grand idea 🤷🏽‍♀️and support me in sharing our story, you are the real MVP! @pwpierre 😘 #IVF #ivfjourney #ivfsuccess #ttc #ttcjourney #infertility #pregnant #babypierre #ivficsi #ivfsisters #ivfcommunity #infertilitysucks #Godisgood #wonthedoit #ivfpregnancy #haitian #blogger #fashionblogger #dvf #style #mystyle #love #thebump

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Whilst the Haitian-born mom-to-be is outfitted in a cute green lace Diane Von Furstenberg mini wrap dress and leopard print pumps, she leans in for an Eskimo kiss with her husband above a chalkboard sign that shares the details:

Thanks “After 715+ days of prayer
53+ needles
3+ surgeries
2 Failed IUIs
1 Round of IVF
1 Fresh Transfer
1 Incomparable God
Baby Pierre Coming Summer 2017

Children are a gift from the Lord. They are a gift from him.” Psalm 127.3″

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The obviously Christian couple seemed to have relied on prayer and science to help them arrive at parenthood.

It’s interesting and we are happy to take note of this detail  given that to be religious is often thought to be anti-science.

Congrats to them both!

Here’s to a safe and healthy remaining pregnancy, labor and delivery too.

We’re On This List of Top 16 Blogs to Read Before Baby Arrives

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Every now and then we are featured on a round up or grouping of the best pregnancy, mom and/or parenting websites and blogs for parents and parents-to-be to read.

In appreciation and acknowledgement of the inclusion, we like to say thank you and this time, we are shouting out Babyprepping.com for including us among its listing of the “Top 16 Must-Read Pregnancy Blogs to Visit Before Baby Arrives”.

About Bellyitch, the post reads:


BellyItchBlog is an informative blog not only on the issue of just your experience but also celebrity pregnancies and upkeep. It is fully-staffed with proud parents like yourself and is updated 5 times daily. This is a great blog if you are looking into the latest gossip on the Beyonce pregnancy, or just looking for information on your own.

Nice!

We are in good company with some other top sites that we follow and equally enjoy.

Take a gander when you get a chance at the list and a brief description of each blog, which you can find Here!

 

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People Have Been Adopting Leftover Frozen In Vitro Embryos; and Bringing Them to Life

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There are now well over one million embryos frozen in storage in the United States, many left over by people who have completed their families through IVF. Rather than discarding the frozen embryos or donating them to science, many families are now choosing to put their embryos up for adoption to give them a chance at life.

Embryo adoption is the newest nationwide trend in adoption and is gaining a lot of popularity.  In fact, the 500th baby was born last month to a loving and adoptive family as part of the Snowflakes Embryo Adoption program. This program allows couple to adopt embryos, some of which have been frozen for more than a decade, to become healthy, happy babies and children!


Couples who have used donated embryos to achieve pregnancy have learned that genetics really don’t matter at all, says Kimberly Tyson, director of the Snowflakes Embryo Adoption program.  What matters is they experienced what it was like to be pregnant and give birth to their child, the child they adopted just nine months earlier than ‘normal’.

The babies born this unique and special way to their adoptive parents are known as “Snowflake Babies“.  The Snowflakes Embryo Adoption Program is celebrating its 20th anniversary since being first established in 1997 as the first program of its kind in the world.

Since that time, more than 1,400 babies have been born to families following an embryo adoption model. Working with fertility clinics, the program allows couples to place their remaining embryos from their in vitro fertilization treatment with a family of their choice, just like with traditional adoption of a live child.

The difference is actually a bonus: the woman who gives birth to this non-genetic child is declared the legal mother of the child on the birth certificate and the man to whom she is married is declared the father.  No court finalizations are necessary to affirm parentage, as with adoption.

There is a higher cost than  simple frozen embryo transfer at a clinic.

“That’s because the adoption agency is providing both families with security of the placement,” Tyson declares.  “The agency is encouraging an open relationship between two families who are both parenting full genetic siblings. The agency is helping the right two families connect with one another.  No secrecy.”

Many embryo adoption organizations have embryos waiting for families to adopt them, she adds.  “Families placing their embryos for adoption are attracted to the fact they can have some control regarding who receives their embryo gift.”

If you are interested in learning more about embryo adoption visit www.embryoadoption.org or www.snowflakes.org.

Editor’s note: In vitro fertilization, surrogacy and other artificial means of impregnating a woman who eventually gives birth to a human child are excellent ways for couples struggling to have a baby achieve their dream.

However, these processes are also controversial for Catholics, pro-lifers, like myself, and others who struggle over the fact that fertilized eggs that would otherwise develop into a human child, but are leftover or unwanted are destroyed every year.

Embryo adoption provides some comfort in knowing that the leftover eggs are saved and donated to other couples who cannot conceive on their own; or women who want a baby but are without a partner. Bravo!

STUDY: Smoke While Pregnant and Your Kid May Become Schizophrenic

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A study by researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC), New York State Psychiatric Institute and colleagues in Finland reports an association between smoking during pregnancy and increased risk for schizophrenia in children.

Results show that a higher maternal nicotine level in the mother’s blood was associated with an increased risk of schizophrenia among their offspring.


Findings are published online in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

The paper evaluated nearly 1,000 cases of schizophrenia and matched controls among offspring born in Finland from 1983-1998 who were ascertained from the country’s national registry.

Heavy maternal nicotine exposure was associated with a 38-percent increased odds of schizophrenia.

The findings persisted after adjusting for factors, including maternal and parental psychiatric history, socioeconomic status, and maternal age.

“To our knowledge, this is the first biomarker-based study to show a relationship between fetal nicotine exposure and schizophrenia,” said Alan Brown, MD, MPH, senior author and Mailman School professor of Epidemiology and professor of Psychiatry at CUMC.

“We employed a nationwide sample with the highest number of schizophrenia cases to date in a study of this type.”

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