Category: Pregnancy And Parenting

Pregnancy Week By Week

There are three stages of pregnancy. These are the first, second and third trimesters. The first trimester runs from week one to week fourteen, the second covers weeks 15 – 26, then the third is weeks 27 – 40.

Week 1+2: This is actually before you get pregnant. It’s the stage where your body prepares itself by ovulating. And it’s in these 14 days that the egg is fertilized by the sperm

Week 3: The fertilized egg now moves down the fallopian tubes, fluid passes into the ball of cells, dividing them into two. The inner cells will form your baby and the outer cells will form the placenta. Your body, at this stage, is still unaware that it is pregnant. The implantation begins as the cell ball reaches the wall of the uterus. In this process the cells actually bury into the uterus wall, which can sometimes lead to you having spotting. The implanted cell ball now becomes an embryo.

Week 4: This is a week of rapid development, and your body now realises it is pregnant. The amniotic sac and cavity begin to develop and also the Yoke sac appears (this will later form the baby’s digestive system). The placenta now starts to form where implantation took place and blood from you will now go into the placenta. It is usually about day 27 that we start to feel the morning sickness.

Week 5: The primitive streak (the fore runner of the brain and spinal cord) is now developing. Through this primitive streak the cells will develop into three layers:

The endoderm: the bottom layer – develops the glands, lung linings, tongue, bladder, digestive tract, tonsils, urethra and associated glands.

The mesoderm: the middle layer – forms the muscles, bones, heart, lungs, spleen, blood cells, and the reproductive and excretory systems.

The ectoderm: the top layer – forming the skin, nails, hair, eye lens, nose, mouth, anus, tooth enamel, pituitary gland, mammary glands, and all parts of the nervous system.

Other cells will be starting to develop the spine (called the notochord). The first steps towards forming the embryos head, and the first formation of the babies blood cells happen this week.

Week 6: The first few days of this week is when your baby’s heart starts beating. The aorta (the largest artery in the whole body) will be starting to form at around day 40. By mid week many organs are starting to form: eyes, arm buds, liver, gall bladder, stomach and intestines, lungs and pancreas.

Week 7: This is a busy week for your growing baby. During this week your baby will double in size. The lenses of the eyes are developing and there is also a recognisable tongue. The legs and arms are developing into paddles, the jaws are now visible.

Week 8: The cerebellum starts to form this week. That’s the part of the brain responsible for the movement of muscles. Also hand and foot plates, elbow and wrist areas are forming. Towards the end of the eight week the hand plate has formed ridges where the fingers will be. There is further development of the eye; pigment is now appearing on the retina. Teeth buds are now forming within the gums, along with the wind pipe, bronchi, and voice box. The heart is now starting to develop the four chambers.

Week 9: Your baby is now starting to form cartilage and bones. During this week the ovaries will develop into the sex organ determining whether you’re having a boy or a girl. The fingers and thumbs are now taking shape. Also the baby is now becoming more active.

Week 10: It’s now that your embryo has become a baby, all be it on a rather small scale. There is a fully formed upper lip. The development of the heart now slows as it is past the critical stage. By mid week the earlobes are fully formed. Toes start to develop on the foot plate. As the bones of the palate (roof of the mouth) start to fuse together, the tongue starts to develop taste buds.

Week 11: as the morning sickness starts to subside, you may feel your appetite increase. Your baby’s body starts to straighten. In males the penis is now distinguishable and in females the vagina is beginning to develop. This stage is where the baby starts to show individuality, as the muscle structure varies in each baby.

Week 12: Your baby will start to develop fingernails over the next three weeks. The brain is now the same structure as it will be at birth. By the end of the week, the gall bladder and pancreas will be fully developed. Also the baby will now be opening and closing its mouth.

Week 13: This week vocal chords will form in the larynx. Also the intestines will move from the umbilical cord into the abdomen, and will start to form folds and become lined with villi.

Week 14: You may have noticed some changes to the areola (the area around your nipple); it may be getting larger and darker. Your baby’s heart beat will now be able to be heard using a Doppler. Breathing, sucking and swallowing motions will be being practised. The breathing practises will take the amniotic fluid in and out of the lungs. Baby’s hand also becomes more functional.

Week 15: The baby’s neck is now defined, with the head now resting on the neck rather than the shoulders. The hair pattern of the baby will be defined by the 102nd day of the pregnancy your baby will now be able to turn its head, open its mouth, kick, press its lips together and turn its feet.

Week 16: This week the baby’s toe nails will start to grow. The muscles will be growing stronger and the neck and head are growing straighter. As the uterus starts moving upwards you may start showing more, but this does mean less pressure on your bladder, making you feel like urinating less.

Week 17: Your baby will be working on more reflexes this week; blinking, sucking, and swallowing. Development is carrying on with all the existing structures. Through the course of this month your baby’s weight will increase 6 times.

Week 18: By mid week your baby’s eyes and ears will now be in the right places. The finger tips and toes will develop pads, and toe and finger prints will start to develop later in the week. Myelinization, a process of coating the nerves with a fatty substance called myelin which speeds up nerve cell transmission and insulates nerves, will start happening this week. Also by the second day of this week meconium (faecal waste) will start developing in the baby’s bowels.

Week 19: A creamy looking substance that covers the baby’s body, vernix coseosa, will start to form. This protects the baby and its developing glands and sensory cells. If you’re having a baby girl primitive egg cells are now developed in the ovaries, in fact females are born with all the eggs their ovaries will ever have.

Week 20: Most of the major development has now taken place, and the danger zone of the first three months is now over. Your baby will be waking and sleeping, just as newborns do. Also the formation of fine scalp hair and eyebrows will begin.

Week 21: Your body is replacing the amniotic fluid very three hours at this stage of your pregnancy. Baby’s leg and arm movements increase as the muscles and bones become stronger. By the end of the week a stethoscope will be able to detect the baby’s heart beat.

Week 22: If the baby is a boy, the testes will start to move from the pelvic area into the scrotum. The hair on the head and eyebrows is now visible as white and short.

Week 23: The bones in the middle ear start hardening making the conduction of sound possible. The baby will start to gain some considerable weight between now and next month. The size of the baby’s body will start to get into proportion though the head will remain larger than the rest of the body.

Week 24: The skin of your baby is wrinkled, but will smooth out as fat is deposited. Also by the end of this week the baby’s heart beat is so strong it is some times possible to hear it by placing an ear on your stomach.

Week 25: Baby’s skin is now turning a reddish/pink as capillaries start to develop. The nostrils will now start to open, as they have been plugged unto now. The lungs will start developing blood vessels and the finger and toe nails will now be covering half the nail bed.

Week 26: with the nostrils now open, muscular breathing will start. By the end of the week the lungs will be secreting surfactant, a substance which prevents the lung tissue sticking together. Also with the formation of blood vessels in the lungs, they will now also be developing air sacks. Brain wave activity starts this week for auditory and visual activity.

Week 27: Bumping and thumping is becoming stronger as your baby grows stronger, you should be feeling around 10 kicks in a two hour period. Baby’s lungs are growing rapidly and there is continual development with brain patterns.

Week 28: This is when the eyelids un-fuse and open up. Muscle tone is improving, and the lungs are capable of breathing air. The chances of a baby being born premature from now on, has a greatly improved chance of surviving.

Week 29: Eye lashes have now grown, and although still unable to focus, baby’s eyes are now sensitive to dark and light. At this stage of pregnancy the senses of sound, smell and taste are developing. By the end of the week your baby will be able to move its eyes in their sockets.

Week 30: Baby is now storing up nutrients taken in by you. Calcium for skeletal development, protein for growth and iron for blood cells. By the end of the week the languno (the small hairs that covered the baby’s body), is nearly all gone apart from some patches on the shoulders and back.

Week 31: As the actual growth starts to slow down, the internal organs are still maturing, so make sure your still getting enough folic acid, iron and calcium. Should your baby be born this week they would have the ability to breath, see, listen learn and remember.

Week 32: The baby’s iris is now reacting to light. All five senses are now registering with your baby, although smell is limited as baby can’t breathe air in the uterus.

Week 33: your baby may now be sucking its fingers. Constipation could be starting for you as your uterus puts more and more pressure on your bowels.

Week 34: The pigment of the eyes is not quite fully developed yet, this leaves the eyes looking blue regardless of final colour. And this week your baby will start to develop its own immune system.

Week 35: In baby boys the decent of the testes will complete any time now. Your baby may now shift into your pelvis in a head down position, but not all babies’ do this before birth.

Week 36: Dimples on the elbows and knees will be forming as well as creases in the neck area due to continual deposits of fat. Also this fat will help baby maintain its body temperature.

Week 37: Around 85% are born within two weeks of their actual due date (either before or after), so as you enter this stage be aware for signs of labour. The baby is practising being more aware of its surroundings; this is the ‘orientating response’. This is where the baby will turn towards any source of light. The end of this week marks the end of development, growth will now slow down.

Week 38: Meconium is accumulating in the intestines. Meconium is a dark green mass of waste product and cells from the gall bladder, liver and pancreas. Although shortly after birth this will all come out.

Week 39: as the baby is settling into your pelvis, you maybe feeling clumsy and off balance. This is because your centre of gravity shifts. Make sure you’re prepared for your trip to the hospital.

Week 40: welcome to the final week, that’s if you have not given birth already. Your body will be giving the baby antibodies so it can protect its self from many diseases. The baby will finish dropping into its resting place before birth. So congratulations and welcome to your new born child.

Kegel Exercise for a Healthy Pregnancy

With Kegal exercise, your pregnancy can be more comfortable before, during, and after your baby is born. With the proper kegal exercise, you can strengthen the vaginal muscles and allow for smoother pregnancy. Kegal exercises strengthen your pelvic muscles, which become weakened during childbirth. This could lead to bladder control problems.

To find the correct muscles to target, pretend that you are trying to stop urinating. Squeeze those muscles for a few seconds and then relax. Repeat this every few seconds. It’s as simple as that. Nobody even has to know that you’re doing them. Just make sure you breathe while doing the kegal exercises.

It’s important that you don’t overdo your kegel exercise in the first few weeks after birth. Otherwise, you may become very sore. Three sets of ten repetitions per day is probably ideal.

So, What are some other healthy exercises that can be performed during pregnancy? Some of
the best ones are listed below.

Swimming: Many doctors and fitness professionals profess that swimming is the safest exercise for pregnant women. Swimming keeps your body tone without stressing your joints. This is a safe cardiovascular exercise that can help keep you toned throughout your pregnancy.

Walking: Walking is one of the best exercises overall and especially if you are pregnant. It’s safe for your body and it can keep you in great shape. Be sure to stretch thoroughly before hand. Set attainable goals and always wear good shoes.

Yoga: Yoga has a reputation for relieving the stress and pressure in your body. Most forms of yoga are safe when you are pregnant as long as you avoid the more rigorous ones. Some Yoga instructors even offer special classes for pregnant women. While doing yoga, avoid lying flat on your back and try not to over stretch.

With proper kegal exercise and safe cardiovascular workouts, you are well on your way to a healthy pregnancy

Is a Healthy Pregnancy Possible After Gastric Bypass Surgery?

When a woman in the child bearing years undergoes gastric bypass surgery to lose weight one of the first things she will hear from the nay-sayers is that after surgery she cannot have a healthy pregnancy because of presumed nutritional deficiencies. The contrary is true. Morbid obesity results in a high rate of complicated pregnancies and a high rate of miscarriage. Women who become pregnant after achieving weight loss with gastric bypass generally have lower risk pregnancies than morbidly obese women.

The United States Surgeon General lists several reproductive complications associated with pregnancy in women who are obese. Complications include an increased risk of death in both the baby and the mother and increases the risk of maternal high blood pressure by 10 times. In addition to many other complications, women who are obese during pregnancy are more likely to have gestational diabetes and problems with labor and delivery.

The Surgeon General concludes that Infants born to women who are obese during pregnancy are more likely to be high birth weight and, therefore, may face a higher rate of Cesarean section delivery and low blood sugar (which can be associated with brain damage and seizures). Obesity during pregnancy is associated with an increased risk of birth defects, particularly neural tube defects, such as spina bifida.

In a study by Dr. Alan C. Wittgrove, past president of the American Society of Bariatric Surgery and pioneer of the laparoscopic technique, post-gastric bypass pregnancy indicates fewer risks than commonly reported by women who are obese during pregnancy. His study was conducted with nurse-practitioner Leslie Jester who had a low-risk pregnancy and delivered a healthy baby after gastric bypass surgery.

The Wittgrove Center has an active patient list of over 2000 people. The patients are informed to contact the Center when they become pregnant. In the study 41 women in the patient population became pregnant. Using personal interview, questionnaire, and review of perinatal records, pregnancy-related risks and complications were studied.

The study found less risk of gestational diabetes, macrosomia, and cesarean section than associated with obesity. There were no patients with clinically significant anemia.

Dr. Wittgrove concluded, “Since the patients had an operation that restricts their food intake, some basic precautions should be taken when they become pregnant. With this in mind, our patients have done well with their pregnancies. The post-surgical group had fewer pregnancy-related complications than did an internally controlled group that were morbidly obese during their previous pregnancies.”

Conception Tips and Tips For Getting Pregnant For Those Who Are Trying To Conceive

CONCEPTION TIPS

Conception takes place in three basic stages: ovulation, then fertilization, and the division of the fertilized egg, which then implants in the uterus – which it isn’t until then when pregnancy is considered successful! To better understand the process, we have explained in greater detail below each step of the process. If you are trying to conceive, keep reading these conception tips and your chances of getting pregnant are greater.

WHAT IS OVULATION

Ovulation usually occurs midway through a woman’s menstrual cycle. At this point, the follicle which outgrows the others, ruptures and the egg is released. The site of this release is called the stigma, and the follicle goes on to form the corpus luteum.

The corpus luteum produces progesterone which is a hormone responsible for nurturing the baby until the placenta takes over. Barely visible to the naked eye, your baby at this point isn’t bigger than a pencil dot. Keep reading if getting pregnant is what you want!

Tiny hairlike projections called cilia move the released egg from the ovary along the fallopian tube to the uterus. If conception is successful, chances are this will take place toward the outer end of the fallopian tube, near the ovary.

The egg usually has no more than 12 hours to be fertilized, otherwise it will die, the follicle will dry up and the uterine lining will be shed. If this happens, the menstrual period will begin, and conception and getting pregnant will be unlikely.

However, if the egg becomes fertilized, then the progesterone levels will increase, the uterine lining will thicken, and conception will be considered a success! To make things easier to understand, we will breakdown a typical woman’s menstrual cycle and help with these conception tips:

DAYS 1-5 OF YOUR CYCLE:

We start the menstrual period when you first start to menstruate. So day one is the day you begin to have discharge. It is very important to record this date, as we will need it to calculate your estimated ovulation date.

DAYS 6-11:

These days are called ‘dry days’, as you are not menstruating nor are you fertile. Your body at this stage is simply preparing to release the egg. If you are having problems getting pregnant, read on. The next part of your menstrual cycle will be the opportunities to conceive.

DAYS 12-18:

These are the days when you will be at your most fertile. Your body will release the egg during the course of these 6 days, so this is the best time to be having sex.

DAYS 19-32:

If you are only having sex now during this period, then I am afraid to say you have missed your chance, and will have to wait for the cycle to begin again. It is highly unlikely that you will have any success in falling pregnant during this time.

SIGNS OF OVULATION

Most women are unaware when they ovulate. Roughly 25% experience lower abdominal pain, which is located primarily near the ovary that’s ovulating. The pain is caused by irritation of the fluid or blood from the ruptured follicle. Although this is a symptom of ovulation, it’s not always considered a reliable sign that ovulation is occurring. While trying to conceive, it’s important to understand ovulation and getting pregnant depends on this. Read more conception tips.
To better ensure that you are ovulating, a more concrete sign is the change of cervical mucus which is secreted by the cervix. Normal after menstruation, the consistency of the cervical mucus is somewhat scant – thick, and usually stick, this makes it impenetrable to sperm.

As ovulation draws near, the cervical mucus becomes thinner and wetter, allowing the sperm to travel through it at higher speeds, and with greater ease. Getting pregnant is imminent.
Lastly, another sign of ovulation can be found by taking your body temperature. A small, yet distinct rise in body temperature is caused by the increase in the level of progesterone. Even though this increase might only be .5 degrees F, women can still detect this. While trying to conceive, this is a great indicator.

The most optimum time for conception to occur is when ovulation has just happened or is imminent. To better ensure your chances to become pregnant, making love during this time would result in the best chance for getting pregnant and having a baby!

YOUR CHANCES OF CONCEIVING

Fertility varies significantly between couples, as it can take one the first month to conceive, while with others, it can take years. On average, couples will conceive 25% of the time the first month, 60% of the time within 6 months and 80% of the time within one year. Keep trying to conceive, even if you are unsuccessful at first.

There are several risk factors involved that might prevent or delay conception. These may include smoking, drinking alcohol, certain medications, obesity, exposure to heat and chemicals, drug use, and a few others. Causing poor sperm count and quality, this can create an unsuccessful journey towards the fallopian tube.

To improve your chances of conceiving, the following is a list of activities and habits that will make your pregnancy more imminent:

Regular exercise Not only will regular exercise improve your well-being, it will also help reduce stress. In addition, it can also result in good sleep, and promotes relaxation.

A general health check Visiting your doctor on a regular basis will help ensure that you are in tip-top shape while you are trying to conceive.

Track your ovulation Keeping a menstrual calendar is very effective while trying to conceive. Since ovulation usually occurs 14 days after menstruation, it is easy to know what timeframe is most optimum to conceive. You can check your basal body temperature, as well as purchase ovulation detection kits found at most local grocery and drug stores. Making love at least every other day during your fertile period will result in the best chances to conceive.

Avoid smoking Not only does smoking damage your overall health, it can also affect your partner’s sperm count.

Eat a well-balanced diet The most important thing to take is folic acid, as it is a catalyst in the process of conception. In addition, be sure to receive ample amounts of vitamin B12, which is found in meat, fish, eggs and milk.

Stress And Pregnancy

Stress Relief During Pregnancy

If you truly want to ensure a great pregnancy, you should work on keeping a healthy and positive physical, mental and spiritual state. There is substantial evidence which suggests that a mother’s physical and mental wellness during pregnancy can affect not only the outcome of their pregnancy but the well being of their child later in life. You relationship with your baby begins at the moment of conception.

There are many things aside from physical factors that can impact your pregnancy. Stress is one of the more common problems many pregnant mothers face at some point during their pregnancy. While stress in and of itself isn’t always bad, prolonged stress can be damaging to a pregnancy. Most people associate stress that is harmful during pregnancy with physical labor. However, emotional stress may be just as damaging. Stress actually causes certain hormones in the body to be produced, and some scientists have suggested that these hormones can promote miscarriage or even bring on pre-term labor.

The best thing you can to do to ensure the well being of your baby is to minimize both physical and emotional stress as much as possible. Here are some stress reducing tips you can engage in during your pregnancy to promote a happy and healthy outcome:

Accept the fact that you are pregnant. Some women stress because they thrive on working a very demanding schedule, and attempt to continue to do so throughout their pregnancy. At some point or another however your pregnancy will catch up with you, and you will need to slow down a little bit. Rather than see this is as a burden, consider this a great time to prepare yourself for the life you are about to bring into the world. Take some time to pamper yourself a bit and give yourself more time for rest and relaxation during the week. This can be time that you spend just with yourself and your baby, without having to share with the world around you.

Give up some control. Having a baby changes everything. If you are the type of person that likes to be in control, keep in mind that there are many things related to pregnancy and child raising that will be out of your control. You won’t for example be able to sail through pregnancy without any aches and pains (unless you are extraordinarily lucky) but you can work to minimize them. You may have other symptoms such as fatigue and nausea that don’t go away. Some women have to go on bed rest during pregnancy. Simply recognizing however that some things are not under your control will help you get a better grip on your pregnancy and arm you to face the challenges that lie ahead.

Expect the unexpected. You just never know what will happen when you are pregnant. Your baby for example, might decide to come a few weeks early. You may find that midway through your pregnancy your physician recommends bed rest. If you prepare for the unexpected ahead of time however, when it happens it won’t seem like such a challenge and you will be better prepared to handle it.

Maintain close ties with friends, family and loved ones. Pregnancy is an emotional time. The more people you have around you to lean on, the less likely you will be to feel stressed.

Accept help. Let people know when you can use a hand. You don’t have to manage everything alone during pregnancy. If people offer to help you out and relieve some of the burden you are facing, be glad that there are people around you that love you enough to help out.

Another important thing to consider during pregnancy is communication. It is particularly important that you keep the lines of communication open with your partner during pregnancy. Remember that pregnancy is a very emotional time, and many women act in ways they would not ordinarily during their pregnancy. Don’t assume that your partner is a mind reader. This assumption has negatively impacted many relationships. If you have concerns, anxiety, feel sad or are even angry, be sure you share your feelings with your loved ones. Let people know what you are experiencing physically and emotionally and how it is affecting you. This will help them understand where you are coming from, and will help them learn the best way to help you during your pregnancy.

If you haven’t considered a prenatal massage already, you should during your pregnancy. Prenatal massage can be particularly helpful during the third trimester when your body is feeling burdened by the heavy load it is carrying. There are many qualified practitioners that offer prenatal massage in medical offices, chiropractic offices and even in traditional spa settings.

10 Pregnancy Risk Factors that Every Pregnant Woman Should be Aware of

Many factors affect the development of a fetus into a healthy child, some which are beyond your control and others that are within your control. Here are ten of the most common pregnancy risk factors that can be controlled or influenced:

  1. Smoking – Smoking is not only bad for you, but bad for your baby as well. Smoking during pregnancy reduces the amount of oxygen that the baby receives and increases the risk of miscarriage, bleeding, and morning sickness. Chemicals inhaled while smoking may lead to other health problems with the baby. Reduced birth weight, premature birth, increased risk of SIDS, and stillbirth are other possible consequences. Pregnant women should also avoid second hand smoke.
  2. Alcohol – Drinking can cause fetal alcohol syndrome, including symptoms like low birth weight, medical problems, and behavior abnormalities. As soon as you know you are pregnant, stop drinking.
  3. Caffeine – There are many conflicting studies about caffeine and pregnancy and some believe that caffeine is not as harmful as it was once thought to be. Nevertheless, the FDA warns against caffeine consumption during pregnancy and suggests quitting or reducing consumption at the very least. Caffeine has been shown to affect fetal heart rates and awake time (fetuses grow when sleeping). Decaffeinated coffee can also be harmful since producers often add additional chemicals to remove the caffeine. Caffeine can also increase risk of stretch marks. Suddenly quitting coffee intake can cause headaches; so most experts recommend gradually reducing the amount consumed.
  4. Drugs and Herbal Remedies – Always be careful about drugs or herbal remedies that are not prescribed by a doctor. These substances may affect the development of your unborn child.
  5. Nutrition – Good nutrition is crucial to a developing child, particularly getting enough folic acid. Lack of folic acid can cause birth defects. At least 400-1000 micrograms of this B vitamin is suggested (about ten times more if you’ve already had a child with neural tube birth defects) starting one month before pregnant and throughout the entire pregnancy. Leafy vegetables, orange juice, and beans are some natural sources of folic acid. Many stores sell vitamins with folic acid.
  6. Exercise – Moderate exercise is helpful as it improves the mother’s mental state and can increase oxygen flow to the fetus. However, over-exertion can be dangerous. Most experts recommend reducing your exercise intensity during pregnancy. Activities like walking, swimming, and yoga are popular for pregnant women.
  7. Prenatal Care – Regular doctor visits are important to your baby’s development. The body undergoes many changes during pregnancy. Some side effects may be completely normal, whereas other may not. Regular monitoring by a professional will help ensure that your baby will be born healthy.
  8. Multiple sex partners – Multiple sex partners can increase risk of STD’s, which in turn may lead to birth and pregnancy complications, like low birth weight or premature birth.
  9. Exposure to chemicals – During pregnancy, reduce exposure to unnatural chemicals, particularly pesticides in food. Many people now eat organic produce, which is grown without chemicals. The simplest precaution to take before consuming vegetables or fruits is to wash them thoroughly. Also, removing the outer surface of vegetables can be helpful since most pesticides will rest on the outside of the vegetable or fruit.
  10. Other factors – Many other factors can affect fetal development, including heart disease, the mother’s age (before 15 years and after 35 years is riskier), asthma, excessive stress or depression, diseases, and bleeding. Consult your physician if you are affected by any of these conditions.

New Zika Study Raises Questions About Extended Condom Use

Zika virus might not remain in the semen of some infected men as long as previously thought, a small study suggests.

The researchers said Zika may only be present in semen for about a month. Previous research had suggested that Zika virus can be found in semen for as long as 188 days after the onset of symptoms.

The new study included 12 men in French Guiana who had Zika virus. Four of the men never had any detectable Zika in their semen. One excreted Zika virus in his semen for at least three days. And seven had Zika-laced semen for at least a month, the researchers reported. The maximum duration of detectable Zika in semen in the study was 45 days.

“These data suggest that not all men who are symptomatically infected with Zika virus will have Zika virus RNA detectable in semen,” Dr. Franck de Laval, of the Military Center for Epidemiology and Public Health in Marseille, France, and colleagues wrote.

The results also showed that Zika does replicate in the testicles or semen-producing glands, since the amount of Zika in semen was significantly different than the Zika load found in the men’s blood.

“More data are needed to better inform public health recommendations,” the study authors suggested.

Zika virus is most often transmitted via mosquito bite. But the virus also can be sexually transmitted, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC recommends that men potentially exposed to Zika use condoms or abstain from sex for at least six months, to prevent a Zika-infected pregnancy resulting in neurological birth defects.

It’s unlikely the CDC recommendations will change based on these findings, an infectious disease expert said.

“Unfortunately, the fundamental recommendations of public health experts regarding delaying pregnancy after Zika virus infection or exposure are unlikely to change, given the degree of uncertainty that remains from other studies in which the genetic material of the virus was detectable for longer periods of time,” said Dr. Daniel Caplivski, director of the Travel Medicine Program and associate professor for the division of infectious diseases at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City.

And despite these findings, people should still follow the CDC’s Zika guidelines for safe sex, health experts said.

According to Dr. Amesh Adalja, a senior associate with the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, in Baltimore, “Because it is unclear which men will have longer persistence, it is important for Zika-infected/exposed men to practice safe sexual practices for six months post-infection to avoid transmission of the virus.”

Women’s health specialist Dr. Jill Rabin said the small size of the study warrants a larger follow-up.

“The good news is it may last a shorter period in men than recorded previously, but we need to have a larger sample size and follow people for a longer period of time,” Rabin said.

“Because we don’t have enough data and we don’t have enough people, we can’t really say what is the time period needed to be free of infection,” she added.

Zika causes neurological birth defects, most commonly microcephaly, a condition in which a baby’s brain and skull are underdeveloped, Rabin said. She’s co-chief of the division of ambulatory care with Women’s Health Programs-PCAP Services at Northwell Health in New Hyde Park, N.Y.

There’s also concern that Zika-exposed babies seemingly born healthy will develop learning disabilities or problems with hearing or sight later in life, Rabin noted.

“Women of reproductive age do not want to have a baby born with Zika,” she said. “You want to follow the worst-case scenario, and the worst-case scenario is it could last up to six months. Why would you take a chance with your baby?”

 

5 Ways to Prepare for Pregnancy

Technology can help in many ways, but don’t overlook basic health practices when planning for pregnancy. For example, one of the most important things you can do for yourself and your baby is also one of the simplest: remember to take a daily vitamin before you try to get pregnant and throughout your pregnancy. Folic acid, found in prenatal vitamins, can slash the risk of major birth defects of the fetus’ brain and spine between 50 and 70 percent. There’s even some evidence it can reduce the risk of other birth defects, including cleft palate, stomach problems and defects in arms and hands.

That’s why the U.S. Food and Drug Administration mandated fortifying all cereal products with folic acid in 1998. Since then, the incidence of neural tube defects dropped 26 percent.

All of which makes pre-pregnancy planning important, says Michelle Collins, CNM, a certified nurse midwife and clinical faculty member at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN. Pre-pregnancy or “preconception” planning involves a visit to your health care provider for a full medical evaluation, including a detailed medical history before you begin trying to get pregnant.

Consider the affect of preexisting conditions and current medications on pregnancy
It’s a time to consider how you’ll treat any preexisting condition that requires medication, such as depression, diabetes or epilepsy. A woman with diabetes, for instance, runs the risk of having a child with cardiovascular disease or other problems if her blood sugar levels aren’t well-controlled before and during her pregnancy, says Ms. Reynolds. Plus, certain anti-seizure medications may cause defects in the infant by interfering with a woman’s ability to use folic acid. And in late 2005, the FDA warned pregnant women not to use paroxetine (Paxil), a popular antidepressant, during pregnancy because of a potentially higher risk of birth defects.

That doesn’t mean you have to stop taking all medications during pregnancy, says Ms. Reynolds. Usually, there are alternatives available that have been shown to be safer during pregnancy.

Understand how your weight can affect your chances of conceiving
The time before pregnancy is also the time to address any weight problems. Studies find that being overweight can increase your risk of gestational diabetes and may even make it harder to get pregnant. Conversely, being underweight can interfere with fertility.

Quit smoking before you get pregnant
And, of course, it’s a time to quit smoking. Smoking not only increases the risk of having a low birth-weight baby, but also a baby with Down syndrome and a multitude of other birth defects.

Discuss preconception and genetic counseling with your health care provider and your options for pregnancy
In addition to preconception counseling, women might consider genetic counseling before they get pregnant, says Ms. Reynolds. During genetic counseling, a specially trained counselor takes a detailed medical history of you and your partner, as well as your families, to identify any potential or known genetic disorders. “Often, it is only when a woman becomes pregnant that genetic disorders come up, and for some, it’s too late to make a difference in promoting a healthy outcome,” she says. But even here, technology can step in.

A relatively new form of in vitro fertilization called preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) can enable couples who carry genes for genetic disorders like Tay-Sachs or sickle cell anemia to have a healthy child. The procedure involves removing one cell from an eight-cell embryo and studying it for any genetic abnormalities. Only those embryos with no obvious problems are implanted into the woman’s uterus.

The procedure isn’t 100 percent effective, however. University of Florida researchers find that about 1.5 percent of embryos may be implanted with undetected genetic disorders because of a rare condition called chromosomal mosaicism.

But for women who know they have a genetic risk for one of these devastating diseases, PGD can be a tremendous advantage.

Another advantage is a test given to women in the first trimester of pregnancy who have a risk of having a child born with Down syndrome. The disorder is the most common chromosomal abnormality, affecting about one in 800 babies born each year.

Previously, the only way to know if a woman was having a baby with Down’s was with second-trimester blood tests and/or invasive amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling (CVS) tests, all of which carry a slight risk of miscarriage. If a woman then decided to terminate the pregnancy, she faced a more complex and emotionally wrenching second-trimester abortion.

But a major study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in November 2005 found that screening in the first trimester with an ultrasound and blood test can identify most fetuses with Down syndrome between the 11th and 13th weeks of pregnancy, allowing women to decide what they want to do earlier in their pregnancy.

The blood tests measure levels of certain proteins and hormones that could indicate Down’s, while the ultrasound assesses the thickness of the fetus’ neck, called the nuchal translucency. By learning of her risk in the first trimester, often before she even starts showing or telling people about her pregnancy, a woman has more privacy to make her decision and, if she decides to continue the pregnancy, more time to grow accustomed to the idea of having a child with Down syndrome, says Dr. Wu.

First Signs of Pregnancy

Getting a healthy start on your pregnancy can do a lot to ensure that you have a smooth nine months ahead of you. The earlier you find out that you are pregnant, the better. Taking a pregnancy test is the only surefire way to know, but there are earlier signs of pregnancy that can help you decide if you should take the test.

HOW FAR ALONG ARE YOU? 4 Weeks Pregnant Symptoms

Perhaps the most obvious signs of pregnancy are changes in menstruation. Between six and 12 days after conception, you may notice spotting or bleeding as the embryo becomes implanted in your uterine wall. This is known as implantation bleeding and is one of the first signs of pregnancy.

After that, your periods will likely become delayed or stop altogether. This is when most women suspect pregnancy. However, some women continue to experience bleeding even while pregnant, though it is rarely like a normal period. Because of that, you shouldn’t wait for menstruation to end as the only sign you need a pregnancy test.

You may notice that your breasts are tender, sore, tingly or fuller than usual. This usually sets in one or two weeks after conception. Additionally, your areolas—or the skin around your nipples—may become darker due to hormonal changes.

Morning sickness is another telltale sign of pregnancy. This can occur two to eight weeks after implantation. Nausea tends to happen because elevated hormone levels may cause food to empty the stomach slowly. Also, pregnancy may make you more sensitive to smells, making certain odors more likely to trigger nausea.

If you’ve been feeling overwhelmingly sleepy or tired lately, this may be a symptom that you have successfully conceived. While it’s true that many conditions or factors can cause fatigue, pregnant women tend to experience this due to changes in hormone levels, blood sugar, blood pressure and higher blood production.

You’ve probably heard that pregnant women have strange food cravings, and this is no wives’ tale. Like many other symptoms of pregnancy, your unusual cravings can be chalked up to fluctuating hormones. Conversely, these changes may cause aversions to certain foods or beverages, such as coffee or fatty foods.

Keep in mind that every pregnancy is different and you may or may not experience the symptoms mentioned here.

Meet a Specialist Doctor Immediately if You See These Symptoms During Pregnancy

Pregnancy is amongst the critical most junctures in life. Certainly, the majority of pregnancies go smooth way, and hardly there are any complications. However, sometimes unexpected twists and problematic conditions cause a need for consulting lady specialist doctors in vijayanagar.

Experts suggest that no abnormal situation should be taken lightly as far as pregnancy is concerned. Medical intervention is required, and it has to be obtained as soon as possible. The early a problem gets diagnosed, the better it can be treated.

It is very much important that the hospital is conveniently located. A pregnant woman should be treated with utmost accuracy.

What are the typical cases that need immediate hospitalization?

  • Intense pain in the lower abdomen is one condition that needs immediate medical help. It is not a good sign for pregnant women. Particularly, in the first and third trimester, it is more critical. Sharp and intense pain sometimes indicates ectopic pregnancy when the embryo gets implanted in the fallopian tube instead of the uterus. Only seasoned lady specialist doctors in vijayanagar can diagnose and treat it well.
  • When a woman feels contractions and there is a watery discharge as well, it is an alarming sign. Yes, it could be an emergency where you need diagnosis and consultation from an expert. It could be due to the rupture in the amniotic sac. If you are running 36th week of pregnancy or above, then it could be preterm labor pain. Do not assume anything because it could be dangerous. Simply give a buzz to the nearest hospital.
  • Any type of vaginal bleeding is a red signal. It indicates a problem. The severity may vary but medical intervention is must. Spotting is not considered a major issue by some experts. However, one has to meet a specialist if it is followed by abdominal pain and nausea.
  • Swelling and headache are also not good signs. They indicate hypertension which causes harm to the fetus.
  • Monitor the fetal movements carefully. When there is a sudden stop of movements, meet the doctor as soon as possible. Tests are required to find out the actual cause of it. An ultrasound test is necessary to find out the basic cause.

Pregnancy is really important in your life. Do not let it become problematic just because you do not pay attention to the symptoms.