According to leaked White House memo, President Trump Wants More Women to Implement the “Calendar Method” for Fertility Family-Planning

According to leaked White House memo, President Trump Wants More Women to Implement the “Calendar Method” for Fertility Family-Planning

While no White House official has verified the veracity of the memo just yet, if the memo is real and its plans are true, the politics around women’s access to birth control could be changing.

The Trump administration wants to replace tried and tested birth control methods with “fertility awareness,” a family-planning technique that fails nearly a quarter of women every year. In the leaked memo, White House officials wrote that they intend to slash federal funding to the U.S. Agency for International Development’s family-planning budget and require “equal funding” for fertility awareness. The memo further specifies that fertility planning should be the sole birth control method made available to young girls.

Fertility planning, also known as the “calendar method” or “rhythm method,” requires women to diligently track their menstrual cycles and then pinpoint the days when they’re ovulating and avoid sex during that time. Because about 30 percent of women experience irregular periods, fertility planning has one of the highest rates of failure of any family-planning method.

Healthcare professionals believe an increased use in fertility planning could lead to more unintended pregnancies, some of which would be especially harmful to girls who don’t have an awareness of their bodies or of other evidence-based methods to prevent pregnancy.

Nowadays, rates of unintended pregnancy and teen births have hit record lows over the last two years. So has has the abortion rate. Experts agree that access to birth control and more information about effective ways to prevent pregnancy have contributed to this downward trend. However, Trump’s endorsement of calendar planning could send those rates soaring again if more women adopt the “calendar method,” which is not a suggested form of birth control.

High-Pesticide Grocery Produce Linked to Lower Fertility Rate, says study

High-Pesticide Grocery Produce Linked to Lower Fertility Rate, says study

While a correlation between exposure to pesticides and infertility is not new, previous studies tied higher rates of exposure to pesticides to decreased male fertility. This new study’s research, however, looked at women who are already undergoing some form of infertility treatment.

The new study was primarily done by researchers at Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and the results of the study surprised researchers. In the study, researchers focused on 325 women undergoing infertility treatment at Mass General Hospital in Boston. Specifically, they looked for correlations in whether women successfully got pregnant and gave birth with their diets. The subjects self-reported what they ate, and the researchers took careful note of the amounts of fruits and vegetables associated with very high levels of pesticide residue, based on U.S. Department of Agriculture data.

Among those fruits and vegetables with the highest levels of pesticide residue are the following: spinach, strawberries and peaches. And the fruits and vegetables with the lowest levels of pesticide residue? Avocados and onions.

The results of this new study are staggering, though: of those subjects who consumed more than 2.3 servings per day of high-residue fruits and vegetables, the study found an 18 percent lower probability of getting pregnant and a 23 percent lower probability of successfully giving birth. On the other hand, there seemed to be no correlation between those women who consumed lots of low-residue fruits and vegetables.

It is important too keep in mind that this study is not proof of causality, though. The women surveyed are demographically limited by geographic location (being that they’re all seeking treatment from a single hospital), and they were all seeking fertility treatment in the first place, which might skew the findings. And, of course, the study relied on self-reporting, which can have flaws, too. Nonetheless, it is surprising news that fruits and vegetables, which are thought to be good for you, could be harmful to women who are trying to have children.

Spacey Myth or Startling Fact? Having Sex Under a Full Moon Increases Pregnancy Chances?

Spacey Myth or Startling Fact? Having Sex Under a Full Moon Increases Pregnancy Chances?

Full Moon

For centuries, cultures around the world have tied the moon to fertility cycles, going so far as to say that those who have sex under the full moon will conceive a child that very night.  

Well…I don’t know about that.  

There’s no proof to prove that having sex under a full moon will change anything reproductive-wise (parts are parts, and they work or they don’t).  But then again, there’s no proof to say that copulating in such a way–under the moon and the stars–won’t help your chances at conceiving, either. So jury’s out on this issue, I guess. In the meantime, perhaps you’d like to learn about the culture’s who took this belief as startling fact, not spacey myth.

Primitive people, like the Botocudo tribe of East Africa, conducted crazily elaborate fertility rituals during a full moon because they believed that the moon was the giver of virility to men and fertility to women. Furthermore, Botocudo brides even flashed themselves to the full moon and prayed to it, in hopes that they could sexually satisfy their man.

Furthermore, many African tribes, Eskimos in Alaska, and Bushmen in Australia, along with other indigenous people, believed that sexual intercourse under a full moon always resulted in pregnancy. True to their beliefs, as a preventative measure against pregnancy, Australian Bushmen apparently rubbed saliva on the stomachs of women just before the period of a full moon because they thought the saliva would prevent the women from “swelling” and becoming pregnant.

On the other hand, other cultures thought conceiving under a full moon has an effect on gender.  People in India, for example, believe that if you’re looking to conceive a baby girl, have sex under a crescent moon. If you’re hoping for a boy, have sex under a full moon.  

Interestingly enough, researchers in India did find that 42 women who conceived within 24 hours of ovulation during full moon gave birth to 40 male and 2 female babies. Furthermore, researchers also found that 40 women who conceived on the day of ovulation, three days prior to a full moon, gave birth to 27 female babies and 13 male, but their study was rather small.  

All in all, while such beliefs are interesting to explore, none of them are convincingly backed up by facts and science. In fact, upon further research on my own, statistics show that there’s no increase in births or conceptions during a full moon. So the jury’s verdict on the belief is, of course: Spacey Myth.

To those who want to get pregnant, though? Stick to tracking the ovulation cycle, and have sex during the time that you are expected to ovulate. Who knows? Perhaps a full moon will coincide…

Identifying Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

Identifying Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

PCO

Are your periods irregular?  Are you growing hair in places you know you shouldn’t?  Are you struggling to conceive?  If you answered yes to these questions, you might have a condition called polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).  PCOS affects an estimated 10% of women. But how do you know if you have it?

Symptoms of PCOS

Many doctors have trouble diagnosing PCOS because many of the symptoms are often attributed to stress or an unhealthy lifestyle.

These symptoms include:

  • Acne
  • Irregular periods
  • Hirsutism (excessive hair growth on the face, abdomen, chest, or upper thighs)
  • Weight gain
  • Infertility

Charting to the Rescue

Charting your cycle is a great way to stay attuned to your body’s daily fluctuations.  Here are some patterns you might recognize in your own cycles that could be symptomatic of PCOS.

  • Longer cycles: The typical cycle length is anywhere between 21 to 35 days.  Women with PCOS often report having cycles that last anywhere from 35 to 60 days.  This indicates that ovulation is occurring irregularly, or not at all.  While going months between periods could be PCOS related, it could also be caused by thyroid disease, stress, or an excess of prolactin (the hormone used to make milk after childbirth).
  • Irregular bleeding: Irregular bleeding in non-PCOS cases often means having a heavier flow than usual or bleeding between regular intervals.  But women who go months between cycles may notice brown spotting or bleeding in between their periods that may last for several days.  
  • Prolonged cervical mucus production: PCOS often causes extended periods of cervical mucus.  Cervical mucus is produced by the cervix in response to increased levels of estrogen as the ovary prepares for ovulation.  Typically, women experience this for three to eight days.  Because PCOS often causes fluctuating levels of estrogen, women with PCOS experience more mucus over a longer period of time.  

Remember, a healthy chart doesn’t necessarily mean a clean bill of health.  Whether you observe these patterns in your cycles or not, you should see your gynecologist, especially if you are getting your period less than every two months.

Your Next Step

When you see your gynecologist, they will do a blood test to check your hormone levels and an ultrasound to check that your ovaries aren’t polycystic.  These are small, fluid-filled cysts that form in the ovary when an egg is not regularly released. If left untreated, they can cause heart disease or diabetes.   

There is no cure for PCOS and treatment options are limited.  They include:

  • Lifestyle changes: Taking vitamins, achieving a healthy BMI weight, getting enough sleep—all of these steps can help mitigate the symptoms of PCOS
  • Prescription drugs: If simple lifestyles changes aren’t doing enough to alleviate symptoms, your doctor might prescribe drugs such as Metformin or Clomid to manage your symptoms.  While these drugs are not FDA approved to treat PCOS, they can be helpful in controlling the symptoms.  Make sure you consult with your doctor on which drugs will best suit your needs.

While there is no cure for PCOS, never give up on healing.  Consult your gynecologist on what options are best for you.

Facebook Live Event!

Facebook Live Event!

Hello Everyone!

We are excited to host our 1st Facebook Live Event with a fertility expert on Monday, September 18th at approximately 12:15 PM CT.

Dr. Rob will be answering your questions that we randomly select.

Please post- “What would you like to ask our IVF Expert?”

Doesn’t matter how simple, or how deep, just ask away!

We will go live for about 10-15 minutes, and we will be answering questions that are on the live-chat as well.
To learn more about Dr. Rob Kiltz, click here : Dr. Rob Kiltz, MD

New Treatment Can Eliminate Fibroids Without Affecting Fertility

New Treatment Can Eliminate Fibroids Without Affecting Fertility

pregnancy baby shoes

Thanks to Uterine Fibroid Embolization, or UFE, women with fibroids, which is roughly 35% of women within reproductive age,  have a much better chance at remaining fertile after treating their fibroids.

In the past, the only way to treat fibroids in women was through surgery, where they would simply go in and remove the tumors physically. Now with UFE, women can eliminate fibroids without having to undergo surgery, dramatically increasing their chances of remaining fertile. Essentially, UFE is a treatment that stops blood flow to the fibroids, causing them to stop growing and eventually die.

The treatment is not ideal, however. Since UFE blocks blood flow, there is a chance that there could be less blood flow to the uterus overall, resulting in decreased chances of getting pregnant. In order to solve this problem, Dr. JM Pisco performed a study examining the results of both traditional and “partial” UFE. During partial UFE, only the small arterial branches of the fibroids are blocked, resulting in more blood flow to the uterus compared to traditional UFE.

After the follow-up from the study, Pisco concluded, “Our findings show that UFE is a fertility-restoring procedure in women with uterine fibroids who wish to conceive, and pregnancy following UFE appears to be safe with low morbidity. Women who had been unable to conceive had normal pregnancies after UFE and similar complication rates as the general population in spite of being in a high-risk group.”

How Planned Parenthood Saved My Life

How Planned Parenthood Saved My Life

 

Emily Ferry, an Alaskan native, was 22-years-old when Planned Parenthood saved her life. She had just moved to Alaska, and was balancing being a young adult with a new job in a new city. The transition was hard for her, but that wasn’t the only thing transitioning in her life.

Her stomach had begun to swell alarmingly, so much that others began to congratulate her on her new pregnancy. The only issue? She was not pregnant. With no idea where to turn for quick, easy health care, at a cost she could afford with her entry level salary, she turned to Planned Parenthood.

Like millions of others, Emily received the help she needed, and it ended up saving her life. Planned Parenthood helped recognize right away that Emily’s “pregnancy” was in fact a large tumor engulfing her right ovary. They connected her with the proper care, and a successful surgery lead to her full recovery. Without Planned Parenthood’s speedy, initial care, Emily might not be here today to share her story.

Planned Parenthood is commonly misconstrued to only perform abortions, when in fact abortions represent less than 3% of the overall care they provide. No federal funding goes towards abortions, only towards every day sexual and reproductive help towards women in need across the country. At a time when legislation specifically affects Planned Parenthood’s budget to offer services, please click here to learn more about how you can help –so that women like Emily can thank you for it.

Study Finds New Treatment for Uterine Fibroids

Study Finds New Treatment for Uterine Fibroids

 

A newly published study posted online to the journal Radiology explores a minimally invasive treatment that can help to restore fertility in women who suffer from uterine fibroids.

Uterine fibroids are one of the most common causes of infertility with 1 in every 4 women with fibroids experiencing fertility issues.  The standard treatment of fibroids, abnormal amounts of fiber and muscle tissue found in the wall of the uterus, is the surgical removal of the fibroids through a procedure called myomectomy.  According the the authors of the study, however, myomectomy is not always possible and can lead to serious health concerns such as hysterectomy.

A new alternative to myomectomy is a less invasive procedure known as Uterine fibroid embolization (UFE).  During UFE, an embolic agent is injected in the the uterine arteries in order to block the blood supply to the uterus fibroids.  This allows the uterus to recover as the fibroids shrink and die.

In their study, Dr. João Martins Pisco, M.D., Ph.D. and his colleagues measured the success of partial or conventional UFE in 359 women with uterine fibroids who had previously been unable to conceive.

The study found that in a six-year follow up period, 149 of the 356, of 41.5 percent of the women became pregnant one or more times, with 131 women giving birth to 150 babies.  Dr. Pisco said, “Our findings show that UFE is a fertility-restoring procedure in women with uterine fibroids who wish to conceive, and pregnancy following UFE appears to be safe with low morbidity. Women who had been unable to conceive had normal pregnancies after UFE and similar complication rates as the general population in spite of being in a high-risk group.”

The researchers are continuing their study, with an additional 12 pregnancies reported after the publication of their study.  

One Woman’s Heart-Warming Story and How It Passed a Coverage Bill

One Woman’s Heart-Warming Story and How It Passed a Coverage Bill

 

Her name is Melissa Thompson, and she was diagnosed with breast cancer after the birth of her first daughter, Poppy.

The dilemma she faced involved the future of her family, since her chemotherapy treatments would essentially render her infertile.

So she decided to take on a procedure in which she would preserve her eggs for the chance for another child in the future. However, since her infertility was tied to her cancer treatment, she was forced to pay over $10,000 to store her eggs.

After hearing this, Melissa decided to take action, and she is now responsible for the passing of House Bill 7124.

Check out the full story here.

 

Low Income + High Fertility = Less education

Low Income + High Fertility = Less education

 

As a low income country, Papua New Guinea struggles with providing children with the proper amount of care.

Lack of income is significantly impacting on the health and education of the nation’s children.

“For a lot of low income countries, it takes young adults a long time to really find good jobs and be contributing members to their economies so you have this very large group that is costly” said Andrew Mason, an expert in population, health and economic studies.

He continues, describing  the government must focus on establishing reproductive health programs widely available to anybody who wants them. This includes programs devoted to infant child health, maternal mortality and reproduction services.