What Can Cause A Miscarriage And What Can’t?

We have all heard of women having miscarriages, but we never hear of what causes them. A miscarriage is defined as the loss of a pregnancy within the first 20 weeks. It is the most common type of pregnancy loss. If it is so common, what causes it and what can’t cause it? That is the question we are going to answer in this article.

The causes of a miscarriage vary and most often cannot be identified, but the most common cause is a chromosomal abnormality. This means that something is not correct with the baby’s chromosomes. Most chromosomal abnormalities are due to a damaged egg or sperm cell, or to a problem at the time the zygote went through the division process. Some other causes may include the following: 

– hormonal problems,

– maternal health problems of infections,

– lifestyle (such as smoking, drug use, malnutrition, excessive exposure to radiation, etc.),

– if the implantation of egg into the uterine lining does not occur properly,

– maternal age,

– and maternal trauma.

These are all common causes, but all miscarriages are not caused by these as there may be other factors.

There are several causes of miscarriages, but what doesn’t cause a miscarriage? Three main factors have been found to not cause miscarriages. These include:

– sex,

– moderate exercise, and

– working outside the home.

It is actually recommended that you get 30 minutes of moderate exercise on most days during your pregnancy to stay healthy. Some suggestions for moderate exercise include walking, swimming, and low-impact aerobics. Always consult your doctor before starting any exercise program.

Working outside the home during your pregnancy is safe as long it is not a job that does not expose you to harmful chemicals. Pregnancy may present some challenges, so you should know how to alleviate common pregnancy discomforts such as nausea and when a work task might jeopardize your pregnancy.

Sex won’t harm the baby because the baby is protected by the amniotic sac and the strong uterine muscles. There are some complications that may make sex a no-go. You should consult your doctor before you engage in sexual intercourse.

Now that you know causes and non-causes, hopefully you feel more informed. If you have any of the factors listed above, I would highly recommend talking with your doctor before considering becoming pregnant as he or she can recommend the best course of action for you.

Sources:

www.babycenter.com

www.mayoclinic.com

www.americanpregnancy.org

           

Getting Pregnant After Using “The Pill”

Getting pregnant after using “the pill” is a common concern. As a woman, deciding you have reached a point in your life where you want to get pregnant comes with many different emotions. It is a very exciting time, but also can be filled with trepidation. Many of us have been on birth control for years and query if there will be issues or difficulties. How will our bodies respond? Will there be consequences because of our choice to utilize birth control?

With the exception of Depot (DMPA), most birth control leaves the body quite quickly. Birth control pills in particular tend to use relatively low doses of estrogen and progesterone. As a result, women can get pregnant in as little as 1-2 weeks after discontinuing their regimen. It is generally recommended to complete the cycle of pills to avoid irregular bleeding. Once the pills have been stopped, the hormones preventing ovulation are no longer present, and the body can begin to produce its own and instigate the ovulation cycle once again. The average time for this to recur is 1-3 months.

The general recommendation for waiting to attempt pregnancy is after the first normal menstrual cycle off birth control. This likely will be 4-6 weeks. If one becomes pregnant before then, there is no increased risk to the developing fetus and no reason to be alarmed. If there has been a previous pregnancy or miscarriage, then a three-month wait is endorsed to allow the body time to recover. Literature indicates half of all women will become pregnant in the first three months, and most are expecting within 12 months. If normal periods have not commenced within three months, talking to a doctor would be advised to ensure there are no underlying issues. A physician may need to be involved as well if pregnancy hasn’t occurred within the first year. Self-education about the ovulation cycle and when women are most fertile is highly encouraged.

A common concern is whether or not birth control pills have an adverse impact on the ability to become pregnant later in life. The answer is a resounding NO. As mentioned, the hormones are low dosage and leave the body quickly with no residual effect. In fact, there is some evidence that birth control pills actually decrease the risk of infertility by preventing/decreasing endometriosis; a condition which is not only painful but increases the incidence of difficulty conceiving.

Stopping birth control pills is a life-changing decision. Please be sure to discuss it with your doctor. There are prenatal vitamins, especially folate, which should be should be implemented before birth control pills are discontinued. Professional medical counsel is always advantageous.

Things To Know About IVF Costs

In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) is a procedure that you may be considering if you’ve been diagnosed with infertility. A woman may be diagnosed with infertility if the woman is under 35 and has not conceived after 12 months of contraceptive-free intercourse. This diagnosis can be heartbreaking for a woman who, for her entire life, has expected to naturally be able to conceive when the time was right. Depending on your specific causes of infertility, you may want to consider other, cheaper, ways to try to boost your chances of being successful before resorting to IVF. But, if you have exhausted other avenues, you might be at the point where you are considering this process.

The bad news first:

Basic cost in the US is between $12,000-$17,000 per cycle. The probability of one cycle being successful (in general) is between 30-40%.

The cost and probability of success can be completely dependant on your individual situation. There are some factors that will impact your bottom line. Your age and the reason for your inability to reproduce will impact your cost. The cheapest would be if you are under 34 years old and you don’t need a donation of eggs, sperm, or a surrogate.

The good news:

Fifteen states have laws in place that require insurance companies to provide coverage for diagnosis and treatment for infertility: Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, Texas, and West Virginia.

What if you do not live in a state that offers coverage:

CNY is a highly recommended Fertility Center in Syracuse, New York, which offers several different ways to make payment feasible. They also offer a military discount. You may want to look into CNY if you’re even remotely in driving distance, because they end cost may be worth the travel costs/time. One client boasted of spending just $3,900 for one successful treatment (not including the medications). Another client revealed that the total cost was under $5,000.

If you are a veteran, active duty, or a spouse, as of January 2017, you are eligible for fertility counseling and treatment coverage. It’s strongly encouraged to begin this journey at your local VA for initial diagnosis and to map out your individual plan and financial needs.

Attain is a company that offers several difference financing plans which may suit your individual needs. One such plan is a guarantee of success. If you are not successful, they agree to give back a portion of your expenditures.

Most fertility centers will have some sort of payment plan that they will offer to you to help make the procedure accessible for your unique situation.

The procedure is a risk, but may be worth it for you.

7 Things I Wish You Knew About Miscarriages

  1. It’s not your fault

Repeat after me: “It’s. Not. My. Fault.” I felt that somehow, as a woman, I had failed. I remember thinking, “Maybe I shouldn’t have worked out, lifted that box, or walked around so much. Maybe if I’d only sat longer with my feet up,” that maybe somehow the outcome would have been different. Worse yet, I felt like my body had failed me. I felt I had let my partner down. I felt inadequate. It took me a long time to accept that I couldn’t have changed the outcome.

  1. It’s really common

…That doesn’t make it hurt less

I’ve read that up to 20% of pregnancies end in miscarriage–that’s 1 out of 5! It seems that so few people talk about these experiences, and yet chances are, your neighbor, co-worker, even a family member, may have been through this and suffered in silence. Find who those people are in your life. Talking to someone with a shared experience helps.

  1. It’s not your fault

(I just thought it was worth saying again.)

  1. It’s a loss, no matter when it happens

Both of my miscarriages were early on, and in one case, had I not been going through IVF treatments, I would not have even known I was pregnant. The first miscarriage occurred right before my scheduled early ultrasound. We have a tendency to compare and ‘one-up’ one another’s tragedies and stories. Be it five weeks or 20, it’s the loss of life, and a tremendous one at that. You have the right to grieve. Do not let others minimize.

  1. It’s hard for the men, too

Let’s face it: the women have an added element. Our lives change as soon as we pee on a stick and get a positive pregnancy test. The miscarriage takes a tremendous emotional toll, but the physical aspect adds another dimension for processing the loss. My husband was grieving too, but due to the hormones and physical symptoms–including pain–I could hardly find the room for his grief. Sadly, a second one came around, and we were better prepared to support one another. It was a loss for him just as much as it was for me. The loss of a dream, of excitement. The loss of life.

  1. It changes you

It’s okay to tell people what you’re going through. The age-old adage has been to wait until after the first trimester to tell people, and with social media, there may be helpful prudence here. Having been through this twice myself, I know that no one around me knew I was experiencing a darkness unlike anything I’d ever gone through before. Even if you do not share specifics, letting others know you are struggling is giving yourself a buffer to grieve and process. Miscarriage changes you and is likely something that will remain with you throughout your life. Be patient with yourself and find a way to honor the loss and bring closure.

  1. There IS hope

There really is. I can guess what you’re thinking right now, and I recognize that I have the gift of 20/20 hindsight. What I can say is that the path to becoming a parent may not always follow the initial route envisioned, but I found peace in trying to open my heart up to the possibility of that altered route taking me to the desired outcome.

How Women Get Pregnant

How do women get pregnant? Conception and pregnancy can often feel like a mystery. When trying to become pregnant, knowledge is power. Understanding how the process of conception works can help take some of the guess work out of things. The more you know, the better you can improve your chances of having the child of your dreams. Here are the steps of conception.

  1. Ovulation occurs. This is the process when a woman’s ovaries release the ripest egg. During this time, certain chemicals in the female body including luteinizing hormone increases. Most over-the-counter ovulation tests are designed to react to an increase in this hormone.
  2. The egg travels down the fallopian tube towards the uterus.
  3. Sometime during its journey, the egg will encounter a live, healthy sperm.
  4. The sperm will tunnel its way through the layers of protein protecting the egg until it reaches the inner most layer and will fuse with the egg. Thus, the egg is fertilized.
  5. The fertilized egg continues its journey down the fallopian tube to the uterus where it will implant itself in the uterus lining.
  6. The hormones estrogen and progesterone continue to be produced, signaling the woman’s body that she is carrying a fertilized egg.
  7. This officially marks the beginning of pregnancy.

Here are other facts about conception that are helpful to know.

Every baby girl is born with between one and two million eggs in her ovaries. Most of these die off immediately. When women begin their menstrual cycles between the ages of eleven to fourteen, only about six hundred thousand eggs remain. Those eggs rapidly decrease in quantity and quality as you age. This is why most women struggle to conceive as they age.

Once an egg has been released, during ovulation, it will only live for roughly 24 hours. If it does not come into contact with a healthy sperm during those crucial hours, it will disintegrate and be discarded. To improve your chances of conception, it is best to have intercourse sometime during those critical 24 hours. However, most sperm are hardy and can survive up to five days within a woman’s body following intercourse.

Ovulation usually occurs about 14 days before your next menstrual cycle starts, almost exactly halfway through a cycle. However, this can vary from woman to woman depending on the length and/or regularity of her cycle.

Conception is a complex process that leads to the creation of new life. Educating yourself on how it works will help you conceive the child of your dreams. Remember, even under the best of circumstances, things don’t always work out according to the statistical averages. If you are struggling with conception, please meet with your doctor to discuss your options. They may have insights as to why you are unable to conceive or will be able to direct you to another medical professional who can help you.

Conception: How It Works And What To Know

Conception in its simplest explanation is the act of getting pregnant. I believe conception happens at the time of fertilization, which is when the sperm penetrates the egg. I’ll break that down a bit, and then after seeing all that must take place for a single egg to be fertilized, implanted in the uterus, and successfully remain throughout an entire pregnancy ending in a healthy delivery into the world–I think we will see that conception is ultimately up to God. He is sovereign overall and all powerful, and the Creator of all things living. And this complicated process known as conception is all in His hands.

How it Works: the EGG

Once a month, approximately every 28 days (the exact day varying for each woman), an egg is released by the hormonally driven ovary and captured with the help of fine finger-like tentacles at the end of the fallopian tubes, called fimbriae. Fimbraie actually guide the egg into the fallopian tube. This is where cilia take over to move the egg along down the tube where the egg awaits for that one sperm that has made the trip up the other end of the fallopian tube. An egg can be fertilized for up to 12 to 24 hours.

How it Works: the SPERM

Unlike a woman’s limited number of eggs, sperm is produced constantly throughout a man’s lifetime–approximately 1,500 per second to be exact. Sperm are also hormonally driven–once they have been produced it takes about two and a half months to mature and be ready for flight. At the end of the maturation process, sperm make their way into the seminiferous tubules to the epididymis, and eventually into the prostate gland. From there, the sperm are released and met with fluid released through the seminal vesicles to create that known concoction called semen during ejaculation where they can live while they travel to their goal: the egg. Sperm can survive in the optimal temperature and environment for up to five days. These swimmers who make their own journey to reach the egg are a miracle in their own right.

How it Works: Fertilization

It takes about 30-60 minutes for a single sperm to reach the egg. A woman’s vagina is highly acidic and only receptive to sperm during ovulation. The great sperm must have good motility to propel itself all the way to the egg. Once through the cervix and uterus, the sperm finally makes its way through the fallopian tube to meet the egg. After just one sperm penetrates the wall of the egg, it is no longer penetrable to other sperm. This little swimmer has made it! And now fertilization takes place.

The first cells start to divide while the egg hangs out in the tube before traveling to the uterus. A woman may notice cramping during this time as the fertilized egg makes the short trip to the uterus. Then approximately seven days after ovulation, the fertilized egg will begin to implant into the uterus. It is at this time there should be enough HCG present to detect pregnancy.

What To Know:

Conception depends on physiological, anatomical, and hormonal perfection. Meaning, everything must be in good working order, everything must be at the right temperature, the environment must be optimal, and the hormones that control the production of the egg and sperm and sustains a pregnancy must be optimal as well. But know that even in the ideal circumstances, conception does not always take place. And this is when we realize the miracle of it all.

A few last thoughts. . .

  1. Know your body. Begin charting (which is an entirely new article) your temperatures, cervical changes in height, touch, and fluid.
  2. Timing is everything. The temperature, cervical fluid, acidity of the vagina, location of the egg, and the hormones involved all need to be timed at the right time for conception to take place.
  3. Don’t forget the male side of things. Hormonal issues, sperm production issues, sperm motility and viability, and temperature issues all play a role in the success of conception.
  4. Visit your doctor. It’s ideal to check in with your doctor to make sure you know the do’s and don’ts and begin a healthy lifestyle for both you and your partner prior to trying.
  5. Learn the art of waiting. You can only control so much and then you wait. Have a plan on how long you will wait until you proceed to the next step in your fertility journey.

The miracle of conception is both joyous and stressful for many. Finding a great support group, educational book, and open communication with your partner will ease the tensions along the way.

The Truth About Pregnancy After Adoption

The journey of adoption is mentally exhausting. You plan for months or even years to bring home your new baby or child. You make sure everything is set up perfectly for their arrival, you get your paperwork in order, and you open your hearts and your home to caseworkers, among many others, just to make it all work out. Perhaps you had tried to have a biological child and it just didn’t happen yet, or you have children who are older now and were now looking into the path of adoption. Either way, you spent a lot of time, possibly money, and definitely love to bring about this adoption. There is no greater joy than when it finally comes to pass and everything is finalized.

Years ago, we had just begun the process of adoption with a kinship foster care placement of four siblings. For our family this very slow process was literally years in the making. With three biological kiddos of our own, we were soon to be a family of NINE, with a total of seven children. There was lots of planning and consideration on the part of my husband and I as we thought of how we could make this all work. And that’s when, much to our surprise, I started feeling a bit nauseous in the morning and a little more sleepy than usual. Two blue lines later it was official–we were going to be a family of TEN.

So what now? What happens when you find out your pregnant after you’ve adopted? Here is the truth. There is an initial panic, millions of questions, logistics of the new reality to contend with.

  • Will you be able to love your children equally? Will you favor one or the other?
  • Will you have enough time, enough resources, and enough money?
  • How will you tell your friends and family? What will they think?
  • How will their birth stories and welcome home stories be complicated by the timing of the new pregnancy?
  • Why am I so excited, worried, scared, anxious, elated, or nervous? Is how I feel okay?

Let me reassure you. There is nothing more precious than a new baby, a pregnancy, or a growing family–in whatever way God makes that happen.

  • You will find the time, the resources, and the money.
  • You will love every one of your children endlessly and equally, though possibly for different reasons and attributes which are unique to just them.
  • Your extended family will be blessed for every new addition and will be just as excited as you are.
  • Your children possibly being close in age, or birthdate, or otherwise are all a part of God’s bigger plan, and the timing was intended to be just the way it is.
  • Your emotions are normal–all of them. And you should be comfortable in expressing them and talking them out as they come.

Adoption is a blessing; pregnancy is a blessing. No matter when they happen. I think you will find you are doubly blessed for having experienced both.

How Long Does Ovulation Last? And 6 Other Things About Ovulation

Ovulation is the process by which a woman’s ovary releases a mature egg into the fallopian tube for impregnation. The ovulation stage can be broken down into three phases: pre-ovulation, ovulation, and post-ovulation.

The pre-ovulation phase begins on the first day of your period and continues until ovulation. When you are ovulating, the mucous becomes stretchy and clear, resembling egg whites.

The next phase is the actual ovulation phase. Most women ovulate sometime between the 12th and the 21st day after your last period starts. Sometimes there can be a slight pain, much like a cramp on the side of the abdomen the ovary is releasing the egg. At this time, a woman is fertile. This phase lasts from 24 to 48 hours.

The post-ovulation phase begins on the day of ovulation and lasts until the next period. If the egg has been fertilized it will implant into the womb, if not, it is flushed out with the lining of the uterus as the period.

There are multiple products on the market that can assist you in knowing if you are ovulating. Additionally, you can download a number of apps from your app store. These apps can help you track your ovulation and period, making it easier for you to know which days you are the most fertile.

Other things you should know about ovulation:

  1. By tracking your ovulation you can plan or prevent pregnancy.
  2. Sometimes ovulation can happen later than normal and can affect your fertility. If this happens see a doctor to prevent infertility issues.
  3. During ovulation, your egg is fertile for 12 to 24 hours.
  4. If you ovulate after intercourse, there is a possibility of getting pregnant up to seven days afterwards.
  5. Other signs you are ovulating include changes in your cervical mucus, cervical position, and cervical firmness. Sometimes this also includes spotting, increased sex drive, breast sensitivity, abdominal bloating, heightened sense of smell, and changes in the basal body temperature.

   (American Pregnancy Association, 2017).

  1. Parents Magazine (2017) reports that body weight and other conditions such as lupus, diabetes, arthritis, stress, alcohol, smoking, and some medications can change your ovulation cycle.

What You Should Know About Surrogacy

Surrogacy is an agreement method where a woman agrees to carry a pregnancy/child for another person(s), who become the child’s parent(s) after the birth of the child.

After our second child’s failed adoption match, my husband and I started researching surrogacy. We happened to know a woman from my hometown who was willing to carry a child for us. She had already successfully carried triplets for another family in the area in addition to four beautiful children of her own. We started the process of learning all we needed to know about surrogacy.

  • Whether you decide to find a surrogate on your own, or to go through an agency, you’ll want to hire a family law attorney to read, write, and edit any contracts that you enter into. Since surrogacy is a fairly uncommon process in some areas, it may take a few calls to find someone willing to take on a surrogacy case.
  • You’ll want to meet with your potential surrogate. At this point she will likely have an idea of fees/expectations. For us it was paramount to find someone who would let us be involved in the pregnancy as well as continuing a relationship after the child is born. It is important to discuss each side’s hopes and expectations of the process/pregnancy.
  • You’ll want to discuss eggs. Our surrogate was not willing to use her own eggs for various reasons. We discussed and researched egg retrieval and egg adoption. There are many different options, and if your eggs aren’t viable, you may have a friend or sister that would be willing to donate eggs for you as well. You may also want to look into embryo adoption.
  • In our initial meeting with our potential surrogate, we discussed medical facilities that she was comfortable with. For us, it was a relief knowing that she had success and experience. I trusted her and knew if she was comfortable then I would be to.
  • Costs of IVF and egg donation differ by city, by region, by state, and even from clinic to clinic. You’ll want to do your research and find the best fit for you and your surrogate.

Ultimately, my husband and I decided against surrogacy. It was no longer a driving need to have a biological child, and we were committed to adoption. There are days, however, that my mind drifts back to surrogacy, and I still explore it in my mind. If we were geographically closer to clinics and hospitals, it may have outweighed the negatives.

There are challenges and successes with every road to parenthood. I’ve found that it is paramount to find what works for you, for your family.

Top 5 Natural Remedies For Infertility to Increase Fertility

While there may be little science backing up these natural remedies, if you are anything like me you are willing to try anything while you are trying to create a family. I didn’t try all of these while we were going through our treatments/infertility, but if I would have known about them, I would have tried all of them. And of course, speak with your primary doctor before trying anything.

  1. Essential Oils. Most essential oils have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, but I certainly don’t think they will hurt you. Three of the best oils to use are Clary Sage Oil, Thyme Oil, and Sandalwood Oil. Clary Sage oil helps balance out estrogen production in the body. Thyme oil benefits the body by improving progesterone production in both men and women. Sandalwood is beneficial for balancing out testosterone levels in both men and women.
  2. Healthy Diet. Probably one of the most important natural remedies for infertility treatment is eating a balanced diet. Try eating organic as much as possible. Also eating foods rich in Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and folic acid (a B vitamin) will help balance your system to allow for a healthy pregnancy. You should also try to avoid eating foods such as items that contain refined sugar, processed meats, alcohol, and caffeine as much as possible. It is best to avoid them before getting pregnant as well. A lot of these foods increase inflammation, resulting in a negative impact on your reproductive system.
  3. Chiropractic Care. Your first thought might not be to try chiropractic care when faced with fertility issues, but it certainly is a good route to explore. Chiropractic care is usually focused on your entire body, not just one specific area, resulting in better overall health. Try finding a chiropractor who focuses on holistic care as well, allowing for a more balanced approach to infertility.
  4. Exercise/Sleep. Try keeping your stress level as low as possible to allow for a good night’s sleep. Plus, get your sleep while you can because once those babies come, there goes your sleep! Getting enough sleep has a significant impact on your hormonal system. Not getting enough sleep can cause a disruption on your menstrual cycle, changing your ovulation. Getting enough exercise will also help with your sleep. But exercise in general will also help improve your mood, help you sleep better, and could even increase your sexual desire. Engaging in weight training or interval training is the best way to exercise to effectively balance your hormones. Try to get in at least 30 minutes a day.
  5. Supplements. These supplements are taken to promote fertility. They include taking evening primrose oil which contains high levels of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), an essential fatty acid to strengthen your uterine lining, Vitamin C, Vitamin B-Complex, and Vitamin E, which will all help with hormonal balance.

Struggling with infertility is an emotional and personal experience that is tough on everyone. Try to take care of yourself and your spouse as much as possible. Of course these natural remedies won’t “fix” anything, but they may be worth trying. Eating right, exercising, and taking care of yourself can only help your body.