(BPT) - Many women trying to conceive are confused about their period, the 28-day cycle and when they’re most likely to get pregnant.
When a couple is planning to have a baby, understanding the 28-day cycle can mean the difference between success and disappointment, says Gloria Richard-Davis, MD, Ob/Gyn, fertility specialist and author of Planning Parenthood.
Timing is a critical factor when you're trying to get pregnant. As more and more women are waiting to conceive until later in life, we have seen an uptick in fertility tracking technologies — from apps to wearables that help women pinpoint their most fertile days. However, it's important to supplement an app or fertility monitor with simple ovulation tests to accurately identify your fertile days.
Each month, the body prepares for ovulation, or the release of an egg from the ovaries. The cycle begins on the first day of menstruation and serves as a detox to dispose of old uterine lining and make way for the next cycle. Day one, the first day of menstrual bleeding or spotting, represents a new opportunity to conceive. Days eleven-sixteen are the optimal time to kick-start baby-making efforts, as ovulation is nearing.
A simple at-home ovulation predictor kit like First Response Ovulation Test Kit will identify your two most fertile days by pinpointing a surge in the luteinizing hormone (LH) that triggers ovulation. Women can maximize their chances by having sex within 24-36 hours after detecting this luteinizing hormone (LH) surge. If a sperm successfully fertilizes the egg, conception occurs.
The lining of the uterus thickens between day seventeen and twenty-four, and if the egg and sperm have successfully met, the fertilized egg will soon implant or attach to the uterine lining (endometrium). The end of the cycle is near, and PMS symptoms may present themselves if pregnancy has not occurred, as progesterone peaks around day twenty-one or twenty-two.
If you think you might be pregnant, but haven't missed your period yet, try the First Response Triple Check Pregnancy Test Kit. It includes one Early Result Pregnancy Test that can let you know six days before your missed period, a Digital Pregnancy Test for women who like to see a yes/no answer, and a Rapid Result Pregnancy Test to take on the day of your missed period or anytime after.
Other important considerations to keep in mind when trying to conceive include:
* Keeping a healthy, well-balanced diet and practicing stress relief.
* Prenatal vitamins with sufficient folic acid like prescription OB Complete are critical even before trying to conceive to ensure a healthy pregnancy journey for both mom and baby.
* Vaginal dryness is twice as common in women who are trying to conceive due to the stress of ‘sex on demand.’ Traditional lubricants can harm sperm motility, which is why using a fertility-friendly lubricant like Pre-Seed is crucial, as it encourages sperm to swim freely and meet an egg.
Don’t guess at your fertile window when it’s so easy to identify the best time to conceive. Every woman is born with millions of immature eggs, but the quantity and quality of remaining eggs, known as the ovarian reserve, decreases. If you’re not able to get pregnant, your ovarian reserve may be low. Tracking ovulation can be challenging as well, especially if your menstrual cycle is irregular. Remember to note your cycle and its symptoms so you can discuss concerns with your medical provider and schedule a preconception checkup.
Before you give birth, ask these 4 questions about your hospital
(BPT) - As you get closer to your delivery date, many decisions lie ahead, all centered around care, maternity leave and even decorating the baby's room. But one question may rise to the top: Where will you give birth?
If you are like most expectant mothers, you will be giving birth in a hospital. In spite of the rising popularity of home births, most moms choose hospitals to have their babies. The most recent statistics released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that fewer than 2 percent of babies born in the U.S. are born in a home setting.
When you're looking at where to give birth, expectant parents should consider the following while choosing a hospital, according to the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA).
The place to begin is with your doctor. Most women go to the hospital where their physician has admitting privileges. So when you choose your doctor, the hospital where your baby will be born is tied into that. Discuss your birth plan in detail with your physician and make sure you both are at an understanding. If you have specific preferences, ask your doctor if they can be accommodated. For example, if this is not your first child, and you want to try a vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC), have that discussion in detail with your physician. And while doctors are on call after office hours, it's always a possibility that your doctor cannot attend your birth. Know who would take the place of your doctor if those circumstances arise.
If you're proceeding along in a healthy pregnancy, you may be planning a vaginal delivery. But a cesarean section is something to be aware of because one third of U.S. births are delivered by C-section, according to the Blue Cross Blue Shield, The Health of America Report. It turns out that the city you live in can have a big impact on how you give birth. Some cities see rates as high as 50 percent, however, cities like Albuquerque, New Mexico, have rates as low as 22 percent. It's important for patients to be aware of this because C-sections raise complications for both babies and mothers, and experts say these should be used only when medically necessary. In addition, vaginal births cost $4,000 less than surgical births.
The Blue Distinction Centers for Maternity Care program evaluates hospitals on several quality measures, including the percentage of newborns that fall into the category of early elective delivery, an ongoing concern in the medical community. The program is meant to identify facilities that offer maternity care safely and affordably. The maternity programs also must offer family centered care, such as promotion of breastfeeding.
If you're interested in a list of hospitals that deliver quality maternity care, visit bcbs.com/healthcare-partners/blue-distinction-for-providers/ and select "maternity care."
Not all hospitals are alike, so take time to review what it has to offer. Some maternity centers offer birthing tubs and fold-out couches. Knowing whether the hospital has a newborn intensive care unit may be a consideration, depending on the circumstances of your delivery and birth. If the hospital does not have a neonatal intensive care unit, ask your physician how these newborns are evaluated and transferred to other facilities. If you are interested in breastfeeding, ask if lactation consultants are available and how and when you can seek assistance.
(BPT) - Your toddler sits in unusually quiet concentration as you smile and give two thumbs up, the universal sign of encouragement between parent and child. After what seems like an eternity, when you're about to give up hope, you suddenly hear the long-awaited sound of victory - that little tinkle that signifies potty training success!
Before having kids, most parents would never imagine they'd be so excited for another person to go to the bathroom. While potty training is an eagerly anticipated milestone for toddlers and parents alike, it is important to note there will be victories and setbacks along the way. This is why both parents and toddlers need to stay encouraged throughout the journey.
Dr. Laura Jana - pediatric, parenting and early childhood expert - encourages parents to always keep in mind that potty training is a learning experience unique to each child. Even when things don't go as planned, you can be your child's best coach.
"Parents want potty training to be a positive experience for their toddlers, but leaks, accidents and less-than-successful attempts to switch from training pants to diapers can often feel like setbacks," says Jana. "By shifting our thinking and focusing efforts on helping them overcome these common obstacles, we can best help our little ones ultimately achieve and celebrate potty training success."
As many parents begin the potty training journey in anticipation of summer fun and the start of preschool in the next school year, Jana shares her top tips for keeping the experience as simple and positive as possible.
Tip 1: Promote potty "learning."
Learning how to use the potty takes plenty of time and patience. It's more than just training; it is a learning opportunity for toddlers and parents alike that should be enjoyable. After all, mastering this concept of "potty learning" with your little one is a big accomplishment and milestone.
Tip 2: Be prepared.
Stock up on practical supplies that foster your child's interest and independence - from a potty seat or toilet ring and step stool to training pants that all help potty-training toddlers proudly set aside their diapers and make the diaper-to-underwear transition. The fact that Pampers Easy Ups offer an toddlers an underwear-like look and feel while containing accidental leaks and messes at home, on-the-go or overnight, makes them an effective option for facilitating the potty training process. Learn more at www.pampers.com.
Tip 3: Watch for signs of readiness.
Keep an eye out for subtle (and some not-so-subtle) signs that children are ready for potty training such as:
* Verbal expressions about having to go or a desire to use the "big potty."
* Able to toddle to the bathroom and pull down their own pants independently.
* Awareness of the sensation of peeing or pooping, characteristically noticeable when young children suddenly stop what they're doing as they feel themselves start to go.
* Bothered by poopy and/or wet diapers.
Tip 4: Start making connections.
You can do a lot to help your child prepare for using the potty long before your toddler actually begins. Making up a fun song or reading engaging children's books about potty training, such as "You and Me Against the Pee!," can help make the idea of potty learning fun. Additionally, you can help make the potty routine familiar by letting your toddler accompany you in to the bathroom when you need to go.
Tip 5: Proudly promote team spirit.
It is important to keep in mind that "teamwork makes the dream work," especially in the case of potty training. You get to be your child's biggest fan, teammate, and potty training coach. In all these roles, remember to stay calm in the face of potty accidents and encourage your little one to rise above and try again.
Tip 6: Celebrate every win.
As with any experience, young children can learn a lot from both their potty successes and setbacks. While potty accidents are an inevitable aspect of potty learning, they shouldn't dominate your day-to-day discussions. Instead, simply help your child learn to cope with and clean up any messes, and focus your attention on celebrating your child's efforts and successes with plenty of hugs and words of encouragement.
No one said potty training would be easy, but it can be fun! Every day is a step toward victory.
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