Fertility Food Myths: Beneficial and Harmful Fertility Foods

By Danielle Bucco

One of the first things that happens when trying to conceive is a change of diet. Everyone tells you what you should and shouldn’t eat, what is going to help or hinder you from conceiving. This can get overwhelming trying to find what is actually helpful for you to eat. There are many myths surrounding the food that you should eat when you’re trying to conceive. Eat yams if you want to have twins is one of the many myths that people hear. There are foods that can help you with fertility but it is because of their innate health benefits.

veggiesOne thing that is important is to eat a lot of organic fruits and vegetables. If drinking dairy, try to get organic as well or switch to alternative sources such as almond milk or hemp milk. Dairy that is not organic should be avoided due to the added hormones and antibiotics causing hormone levels to be imbalanced. Organic fruits and vegetables lack all the added herbicides and pesticides that can be harmful to the body whether trying to conceive or not. Getting enough Omega 3 is important as well. This can be found in fish, nuts, and seeds. This fatty acid can have a healthy effect on the reproductive system as well as hormone functions.
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Some of the don’ts of fertility foods are anything containing a lot of caffeine. It may be hard to give up that morning coffee but it is important when trying to get pregnant. Soy foods are also something that has been shown to have hormone mimicking properties and should be avoided when trying to conceive. Foods containing high sugar levels should be avoided for health purposes during any point in life but particularly when trying to get pregnant. Artificial sugars can throw off your blood sugar levels, negatively effect your immune system, and hinder your hormone balance.

By leading an all-together healthier lifestyle the chances of conceiving raise higher. Eating healthy is something that will benefit your body no matter what stage of life you are entering into so it can be beneficial to let this healthy eating continue even after the need to become more fertile has stopped.

Guide to the Zika Virus

By: Danielle Bucco

With the Zika Virus starting to spread further there is a fear that it will reach the United States. This can be a scary thought for people trying to become pregnant. Many people are worried and afraid, especially since the World Health Organization has declared a public health emergency. However, learning more about the Zika Virus can decrease your chances of contracting it.

What is it?

On the news, they seem to spend a lot of time talking about the spread of the virus but not on exactly what it is or how it is carried. The Zika Virus first started in areas of Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Isles, but in May 2015, it was confirmed to be in Brazil as well. Since then, it has traveled to other areas of South America moving up into Central America. The United States has not confirmed its arrival here but it has been seen in some of the returning travelers, and sources say those numbers will only go up.

zika map

Now that we know where it can be found, we can answer the question of what exactly it is. The Zika Virus is a disease that is mainly carried by infected mosquitoes. When it bites a person, it spreads to them causing the person to get infected with the virus as well. Since mosquitoes are air borne, it makes it next to impossible to control it from spreading. These mosquitoes can be found both indoors and outdoors, wherever there is a small amount of stagnant water.

 What does it do? How does it affect pregnancies?

The symptoms of the virus usually include a fever, rash, joint pain, and eye irritation (conjunctivitis). However, if a woman is pregnant and she is infected with the virus things can get slightly more complicated. It is possible for the pregnant mother to pass this virus to the fetus, which can cause some birth defects to the child. The birth defect that has been most commonly reported is what is called microcephaly, which is an abnormally small head and can also be associated with brain damage.

How can it be prevented?

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There are still many unknowns when it comes to this virus, such as a cure, but one thing that is known is how to prevent getting it. The first prevention would be to avoid the places that have been known to spread this virus. However, if traveling is required it can be helpful to remember the following tips:

  1. Limit exposure to places most commonly known to have mosquitoes, such as forests, marshes, or stagnant water.
  2. Always wear insect repellent. This will help keep away the mosquitoes and prevent you from getting bitten by one that could potentially be carrying the virus.
  3. Wear long sleeves and pants. The less places the mosquitoes have to bite, the less likely you will be bitten, which can save you from infection.
  4. Stay in air-conditioned places with screens on the door to keep mosquitoes outside.
  5. If you are unable to stay inside an air-conditioned room, sleep under a mosquito bed net to help protect you from mosquitoes.

By following these simple prevention tips, it will not only help to keep an individual from contracting the virus, but also others as well. The more everyone tries to prevent it, the slower it will spread, which will hopefully cause it to be longer before it enters the United States. By being more aware for what to look out for and the risks involved, people looking to become pregnant can rest easy knowing they are doing their part in preventing the Zika Virus from infecting the fetus.

70 Tips for Surviving the Holidays with Infertility

Aaah, the holidays. If you’re like me, this time of year has definitely been made more challenging by your infertility diagnosis. Years ago, before I had any idea that I’d one day be traveling around the country with an infertility art exhibit, collecting oral histories, and running art and writing workshops, I compiled this list of tips for coping with infertility during the holidays.

Some of the ideas are mine, some are of those of people I’ve met along the way, some are from online blogs, or resources like RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association. I wish now that I had kept track of where I’d found them so I could give credit where credit is due. However, it’s been too helpful to me, and those in my infertility support groups, over the years to keep it to myself. So, I’m sharing it with all of you this week. I’m particularly fond of #s 12, 17, 42, 52, 68, and 69. What are your favorites? Do you have any you’d like to add?

Hang in There!

Elizabeth

Tips for Surviving the Holidays

  1. Treat yourself.
  2. On a good day, make a list of things you’re grateful for and read it when you’re feeling down.
  3. Give yourself an enjoyable challenge.
  4. Shop Therapy!
  5. Enjoy one on one time with your partner.
  6. Take good care of yourself.
  7. Tell parents and other family members how you are feeling using “I” statements.
  8. Limit time spent with family if you find it too stressful.
  9. Change the way you celebrate.
  10. Create new traditions.

    smothering_web

    An image from s/m/othering, by Marissa McClure. Part of the ART of IF permanent collection.

  11. Volunteer.
  12. Plan at least one day during the holiday that you are really looking forward to.
  13. Make a date to see your siblings and/or parents away from children so you can really catch up.
  14. If you think you may act badly under stress, decide ahead of time how to behave.
  15. Be sure to incorporate the usual events that are meaningful and joyful for you into your plans. Don’t let infertility rob you of your joys.
  16. Don’t go to holiday events.
  17. If you do go to holiday events, have an escape plan.
  18. Instead of attending an entire event, go to only the portion of the event that you find enjoyable or tolerable.
  19. Don’t feel like you have to hold babies.
  20. Alternatively, hold every baby available to get your “fix.”
  21. Be prepared for the “When are you having kids?” question.
  22. Decide ahead of time whether or not to tell your family about your infertility.
  23. Don’t be afraid to cut off uncomfortable conversations.
  24. Be ready to cope with pregnancy announcements.
  25. Be forgiving of yourself.
  26. Hide in the bathroom for a few minutes (or more) when necessary.
  27. Put yourself first.
  28. Be interesting! Adjust the focus from your inability to have a baby to something positive about you.
  29. Shop online instead of in the stores to control what you see and when.
  30. Ban the baby department if you must go into stores.
  31. Create mantras.
  32. Cry.
  33. Focus on the lighter side of infertility by joking with your partner or friends who understand.
  34. Don’t open holiday cards. It’s okay to throw them away or put them aside to open on a good day.
  35. Get exercise.
  36. Avoid television to avoid the holiday commercials.
  37. Party with adults only!
  38. Rely on your support person/people.
  39. Have an emergency to-do list of enjoyable activities. Write it when you’re having a good day and then pick an item from the list when you’re having a bad one.
  40. Take a break from Facebook.
  41. Be honest with others about your feelings.
  42. Dress up!
  43. Think positive! Let yourself dream about future holidays as a parent.
  44. Remember the reason for the season, whatever it is to you.
  45. Plan a January “get away” or other reward.
  46. Ask for/tell others what you need from them.
  47. If it’s too hard to shop for baby and kid items, buy a gift card instead.
  48. Try to avoid sitting next to new/expectant moms at dinner.
  49. Slow down.
  50. Start each day with intention.
  51. Do what you need to do for yourself with no apology.
  52. Remember that “No.” is a complete sentence. You don’t need an excuse.
  53. Do what’s right for you.
  54. Find a way to honor your lost baby or babies.
  55. Schedule time to grieve.
  56. Don’t expect to live up to others expectations.
  57. Practice empathy.
  58. Make your own holiday cards and avoid the card aisle.
  59. Decorate for the holidays or don’t. Either way, do what feels right to you.
  60. Write an uplifting note to yourself on a good day. Keep it in your purse or a pocket to read when you are feeling down.
  61. Journal your feelings.
  62. Create memories with a special child in your life.
  63. Write down your favorite childhood memories.
  64. Avoid talking about Infertility at holiday parties. If someone brings it up, say you’d rather enjoy the holidays instead.
  65. Watch a holiday classic.
  66. Make a list of resolutions, sticking to things you can control.
  67. Give yourself an infertility break by not trying to get pregnant over the holidays.
  68. Educate others by being ready with infertility statistics when the topic comes up.
  69. Find a creative outlet like coloring, painting, or another kind of crafting.
  70. Remember that it won’t feel like this forever.