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TTC: Ready to Start A Family | What Will Happen At Your First Doctor’s Visit

Deciding to start or expand your family is one of the most exciting times in your life!

It can also be one of the most nerve-racking. That’s why it’s so essential to confirm you’re properly caring for your health before you become pregnant to both settle those nerves, and ensure you’re building the right foundation for both you and for your future baby.

This is called Preconception Care, and talking with your doctor is one of the best ways to check for any potential risks or medical issues you may have before getting pregnant. Before you begin, you should start by setting a “Preconception appointment” with your doctor.

What Will My Doctor Review with Me During My Preconception Visit?

During your preconception appointment, your doctor should discuss histories related to medical, surgical, family (of both you and future dad), and reproductive histories.

She/He should also talk about your diet & exercise, alcohol & caffeine consumption (or other drugs/stimulants), along with any medications or supplements you may be taking.

Your preconception visit is really the perfect time to ask your doctor anything that may be on your mind. Whether it’s health concerns, past histories, sex, diet, or prenatal vitamins, this visit is all about you and your health. It’s so much about you, that it’s worth saying again.

Preconception Care is all about you, and your doctor is on your side to help you give birth to a beautiful baby.

Physical Exam.

Because you’re about to embark on this exciting new journey, a physical exam is one of the best ways to ensure you’re ready. You should also ask her/him about a pelvic exam or Pap smear.


If you’re not vaccinated for chickenpox or rubella (or you’re not sure), it’s essential to ask your doctor to check your medical records, and if you’re not, request a vaccine. If you develop chickenpox or rubella during pregnancy, you are at higher risk of developing pneumonia, or congenital disabilities (birth defects). While a vaccine may delay your attempts to conceive by a month or so, it will be well worth it in the end if you’re not vaccinated.

Genetic Counseling.

This may require a separate appointment with a genetic counselor, however, it will help you understand your family’s risk of passing on an inherited medical condition, and how easy it may be for you to conceive.

Prenatal Vitamins.

Even before you become pregnant, it’s important to start to think about taking a prenatal vitamin or at least increasing your consumption of Folate & Iron-rich foods such as Leafy Greens or Broccoli every day. Along with several other vitamins and minerals, Folate, in particular, plays a significant role during pregnancy, as it aids in neural tube development, and its importance starts the day you conceive (when you may not know you’re pregnant yet).


Similar to Genetic Counseling, getting a firm grasp on your diet may require a separate appointment with a nutritionist, but remember, “we are what we eat”, and you’ll soon be eating for two! Understanding the right foods for you and your potential allergies, will help give you a leg up on a more comfortable, successful journey to motherhood.

Remember, this appointment is ALL ABOUT YOU, so take a deep breath and get ready for one of the most exciting journeys of your life.

couple trying to conceive

April Fool’s Day: Why You Shouldn’t Do the Fake Pregnancy Test Prank

Today is April 1, also known as April Fools’ Day, a day which traditionally involved people playing pranks on one another, dating back before the 1800s.

Jokesters have gotten bolder and more brazen with their tricks and a few have taken things too far, and so far that people have actually gotten hurt, physically, emotionally and mentally from jokes.

There are tons of harmless pranks to play: switching out salt with sugar at the coffee station, putting a whoopee cushion in someone’s chair, rapping on someone’s door and disappearing before they open it. Silly stuff like that, but there are others that should be avoided because they can be triggering.

One common prank is telling other people that you’re pregnant, or that your girlfriend/wife/friend is pregnant with your child.

That is not a good one to pull because it is insensitive to thousands, if not millions, of couples out there are are trying to actually get pregnant but cannot.

Briefly, they may be happy for your news, wish it was them, think about their own struggles, and possible losses, and go through a roller coaster of thoughts and emotions at their expense….only to learn later you were joking! Ugh!

It has been done before casually and aloofly without forethought to this very large group of people in the TTC (Trying to Conceive) community!

Carry on!

7 Things To Cut Out If You’re Trying to Conceive

If you are trying to conceive, you have probably already started taking pre natal vitamins and may be engaging in habits to help along the process.

However, did you know there are several things to avoid when attempting to get pregnant?

Here are 7 things that Mary Jane Minkin, MD, Clinical Professor of Ob/Gyn at Yale University recommends giving up to increase your chances of getting pregnant this year:

1. Alcohol. Studies focusing on alcohol’s effect on conception have produced mixed results, with some indicating that pregnancy is more likely if women give up drinking entirely and others suggesting that those who drink moderately might increase their chances of conception – perhaps because an occasional glass of wine makes them more relaxed. But experts agree that women who give up alcohol will increase their chances of a healthy baby once conception does happen, and that alone is reason enough for most women to quit.

2. Tobacco. Unlike alcohol, the data smoking’s correlation to pregnancy is undisputed. Both primary and secondhand smoke are detrimental to a woman’s chance of conceiving and to a developing fetus as well. Quitting is never easy, but resources and support to help you find a plan and stick to it.

3. Caffeine. As the daily substance of choice for most Americans, dependency on those morning cups of coffee or afternoon soft drink is difficult to break. But even if caffeine’s link to fertility isn’t universally upon, reputable studies exist that suggest caffeine – especially in excess – can stunt the maturation of an egg or increase the chances of a miscarriage. If giving up your cup of morning joe can help you get pregnant, the sacrifice is worth it.

4. Your Spot on the Couch. In other words, get up and move around! Couch potatoes aren’t helping any aspect of their health, but women who are trying to conceive have an extra-compelling reason to kick it into high gear. Experts agree that women who stay within their ideal weight have a better chance of becoming pregnant, and a recent study by Obstetrics and Gynecology reported that women who exercise 30 minutes or more a day had a reduced risk of ovulation disorders, which often lead to infertility.

5. Junk food. Generally speaking, any change that moves you toward a healthier lifestyle will promote fertility. But when it comes to diet, advice seems to fall all over the map. Specific fertility diets advocate for eating foods like oysters, garlic and yams, but an extensive 2009 study advised women to follow simpler guidelines – healthy fats, selective proteins, whole grains and plenty of iron and other vitamins. The sooner you can start taking a prenatal vitamin with sufficient folic acid like OB Complete One, the better! And, obviously, putting down the potato chips and the candy bars is an excellent first step to take to help you get pregnant this year.

6. Excessive Stress. Granted, this step is easier said than done, especially when the chief cause of the stress is the infertility itself. But if external factors are causing undue anxiety, a women’s chance at conception can decrease, and the stress of waiting for that positive pregnancy test month after month could be the last straw for her emotional health. Give up extra responsibilities whenever possible, talk to your boss about reducing your job stress and work in regular “mental health” days to be refreshed by activities and people you enjoy.

7. Lubricants Containing Glycerin. According to the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) “Guidelines for Optimizing Natural Fertility”, several leading vaginal lubricants (e.g. K-Y) may decrease fertility based on their observed effects on sperm survival. Another study showed that lubricants containing glycerin had an adverse effect on sperm motility. Fertility experts recommend using a fertility friendly lubricant like Pre-Seed that is specially formulated without glycerin that will not harm sperm and allows sperm to swim freely.

Good luck!

Are you TTC (Trying to Conceive)? Download our Fertility 100 ebook FREE!

fertility 100 bellyitchblog.com
Is 2015 the year you plan to start a family or hope to finally become successful and conceive a baby after some fertility struggles? If so, we here at Bellyitch have assembled 100 of the common tips, suggestions, old wives’ tales, dietary and lifestyle advice we’ve heard and read in various sources over the years.
Download our Bellyitch Fertility 100 ebook FREE at Gumroad enter $0! (Or if you’d like to contribute to its production, feel free to enter a fair price! (smile))
Enjoy, God Bless and Good Luck!

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The Pregnancy Test Hack that May be giving TTC women false hope


So…the new thing in women’s online parenting and pregnancy forums is a practice called pregnancy test “tweaking”.

It entails a woman who is trying to conceive posting an image among other members of the online or bulletin board community of a recent pregnancy test that doesn’t’ definitively indicate she is pregnant. There is usually a very faint second line or indicator that could be perceived to be indication that she is pregnant.

Afterwards, members of the community use digital imaging tools to enhance the photo so they can decipher better if there is a second line.

The “tweaking” process give women false hope, some critics say. They worry it could be a damaging practice that toys with the emotions of  women who are struggling to conceive.

Some tweakers defend the practice.

“We can NEVER bring something out that IS NOT ALREADY THERE,” says Brandy Linex, who says she tweaks photos on BabyCenter.com  “We do not create positive tests out of negative ones. It’s either already positive or it isn’t and we are VERY up front and honest about that.

There is a common explanation for the faint line that is seen after the tweaking: It could be residual indication of an early miscarriage.

Doctors warn that some tweaked photos may actually reveal a chemical pregnancy, which often times go undetected and women recognize them only as a late menstrual period.

Only a follow up test at a doctor’s office, usually a blood one, can confirm the home-based test.

The tweaking process is just an exercise that lasts only until the obvious is confirmed a few days or weeks later when there is either positive confirmation of an active pregnancy or not.

What are your thoughts about “tweaking”?

h/t Dr. Drew at HLN

Study: Acupuncture boosts chances of conception in infertile couples

Many couples trying to conceive a child may turn to modern Western medicines such as hormone, in vitro fertilization (IVF) and other treatments and procedures if they realize they have fertility struggles. 
And some couples are looking to the East and exploring options like acupuncture and other treatments Asia have relied on for years to increase their fertility. Acupuncture involves placing very thin needles at specific points on the body.
Several studies have linked increased fertility to acupuncture. A 2002 study published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information found that women who did acupuncture on the day of embryo transfer had double the success rates of those who did not have acupuncture. That German study led by the famous Dr. Wolfgang Paulus was subsequently followed up and repeated with the same results by Dr. LarsWestergaard. A study by Dr. Stener Victorin demonstrated increased blood flow in uterine arteries with the use of electronic acupuncture. And for men, an earlier study showed increased fertilization rates when male partners did 10 sessions of acupuncture in preparation for IVF. 
The Paulus study showed  a success rate of 43% in the acupuncture group vs 26% in the non acupuncture group. The Westergaard study and other follow up studies turned up the same results. 
What generally happens for couples who have failed to conceive naturally is that they could attempt 3-6 months of acupuncture and lifestyle adjustments usually to speed up conception rates, said Dr. John Zhang of New York’s New Hope Fertility Center

“The acupuncture treatments would be about once per week and the protocol would be adjusted according to the phase of the woman’s cycle,” Dr. Zhang  told Bellyitch. “It is recommended for men to do once to twice weekly  during this period to improve the odds.”
That number increases to twice a week for couples going through IVF or other fertility treatments with medication. 
Moreover, acupuncture can also be helpful in maintaining the pregnancy and relieving many types of discomfort associated to pregnancy (i.e. nausea, fatigue, headaches, insomnia etc.), while reducing the stress associated to IVF, Zhang wrote in a recent post in wellroundedny.com
For those considering trying acupuncture, Dr. Zhang  and Christina Burns from Geneseed Acupuncture share some of his tips for finding the right acupuncturist: 

  • An acupuncturist should have a minimum of 3 years training but it would be better if he or she had gone through a  4-5 year program. Ask them how much experience they have relation to the treatment  of fertility and see how informed their answer is. 
  • An acupuncturist should know that the treatment (acupoints) should change according to the phase of the cycle (menses, follicular phase, ovulation, luteal phase). 
  • One might ask if they have an additional training in herbs and/or nutritional counselling as they are often a helpful complement to the acupuncture. 
  • It may also be good to know their “needling style” (i.e. are they aggressive? do they do a lot of manipulation?) because some acupuncturist are gentle and others not so much. Both approaches work. It just depends on what is favourable to you (i.e. are you a “no pain no gain” person or a little timid of needles). 

Good luck!

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