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Expect the Best Pregnancy


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June 29, 2009

USA Today Article Features Expect the Best!

Filed under: General Information, Nutrition During Pregnancy, Weight Issues — Tags: , — Elizabeth Ward @ 10:26 am

Today’s print and online versions of USA Today feature a story about Expect the Best! Nanci Hellmich interviewed me about nutrition during pregnancy, including vitamin and mineral needs, weight gain guidelines and the importance of physical activity. Check out the story at: www.usatoday.com/news/health/weightloss/2009-06-28-pregnancy-weight_N.htm

June 25, 2009

What’s Dad Got to Do With It?

Filed under: Info for Dads — Tags: , , , — Elizabeth Ward @ 5:06 pm

Future fathers, listen up! Having a healthy baby is up to a father-to-be, too.

The notion that dad has anything to do with his child’s health before baby-making begins is relatively new to the pregnancy nutrition scene, but it’s garnering more attention. Expect the Best delves into what men should do to prepare for conceiving the healthiest, brightest baby possible. I was recently interviewed on Fox 25’s Morning News in Boston to discuss this very topic.

Now, there’s even more evidence to back up the claims that guys should prepare for pregnancy, too. A study published last month in Fertility and Sterility suggests that men who eat healthier diets may also have healthier sperm. In this study, the subjects were attending fertility clinics. Thirty men had poor sperm quality and 31 men had normal sperm. Those with poor quality sperm had low sperm counts and higher percentages of abnormally formed sperm.

Turns out, the men who ate more fiber, carbohydrate, folate, vitamin C, and lycopene (found in watermelons and tomatoes, for example), and less fat and protein had more normal sperm.

While this study is by no means conclusive, it never hurts to eat a healthy diet, especially if you’re planning on your first baby or your fourth. Balanced diets and regular physical activity helps prevent diabetes, and reduces the risk factors for heart disease, including elevated blood cholesterol concentrations, and high blood pressure.

June 15, 2009

Relax, Get Pregnant?

Filed under: General Information — Tags: , , , — Elizabeth Ward @ 12:54 pm

When conceiving a child is not going as you had planned, trying to become pregnant is more like work than pleasure. Enter stress, which often plays havoc with your fertility.

The topic of stress came up over and over at the workshop about mind/body medicine I attended last week. It was conducted by the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at the Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

Learning about how to elicit the Relaxation Response (RR) was one of the components of the course. The RR is a state of quiet in the mind and body that reduces tension, and lowers blood pressure, breathing, and heart rate. To elicit the RR, you can do any number of activities such as meditate, pray, or practice progressive muscle relaxation. To get the desired effect of the RR, it’s important to sit in a comfortable position in a quiet environment for at least 10 minutes, two times a day.

It’s no great surprise that women who are having problems getting pregnant report feeling feelings of stress more often than more fertile women. Training yourself to feel calmer by eliciting the RR may be helpful when tension gets the better of you. It’s beneficial no matter what your stage of life, however. The Relaxation Response and Beyond the Relaxation Response are two books by Herbert Benson, MD, who has been teaching people about the benefits of calming down for more than 35 years.

If you’re struggling with getting pregnant, I suggest Conquering Infertility: Dr. Alice Domar’s Mind/Body Guide to Enhancing Fertility and Coping with Infertility as a resource. Dr. Domar is the head of the Domar Center for Mind/Body Health Waltham, MA. She has conducted studies that show that there is a connection between your mind and your body when it comes to fertility. Check out her book and the Domar Center at www.domarcenter.com.

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