Side Effects and Costs of Fertility Treatments-Optimize Natural Fertility First!

IVF should never be the first choice for fertility issues and should only be used once all has been done to address the underlying causes.  Optimizing reproductive health through natural means first is the most beneficial to mom and baby.

Technology, while it has its place, cannot prevent disease nor enhance one’s well-being and overall health.  Infertility treatments are no different.  There is a place for assisted reproductive technology and sometimes it is the only viable option.  You can actually do ART and natural methods to double your chances of success with ART.  Studies have shown that couples going through IVF are 47% more successful if they used pre-conceptual health care first.

Financial Costs of ART – In the US an average IVF cycle costs between $10,000 and $20,000.  Additional charges apply if you choose a donor, artificial insemination and freezing.  Health care usually does not cover the newer procedures.  For women over 40 IVF is up to 4 times less cost effective.

Health Risks of ART – IVF drugs have been shown to be dangerous for the health of mothers as well as babies and there is no clear evidence they increase a woman’s chances of conceiving.  There is a high risk of birth deformity and severe health problems associated with IVF births.  One study in 2005 showed 43 babies out of every thousand conceived using IVF techniques suffered from a variety of abnormalities including genetic deformities, brain disorders, developmental delays and genital malformations.

One study indicated significantly higher risks of long-term medical problems for children conceived via artificial means and advised that the children should be monitored well into adulthood – there is no long-term data available at this time about their health.

Studies show that there is:

  • 20% – 34% higher risk of miscarriage
  • 55% increased risk of pre-eclampsia
  • 155% increased risk of stillbirth
  • 170% – 200% increased risk of low birth rate

Another study conducted in 2007 showed children conceived through IVF visit hospitals more times than naturally conceived children.  It was stated that infections, respiratory ad inflammatory diseases and neurological disorders were more common among those born after IVF.

High unnatural does of artificial hormones play havoc with a woman’s body and mind which impacts their mental health.  They have a higher rate of depressive symptoms and major depression.  Couples become emotionally and physically broke after repeated IVF cycles.

After you’ve optimized your natural fertility which will make you healthier in the long run and increase your odds for conception, IVF may be a choice.  Using preconception health care with IVF minimizes all the risks to you and your baby’s health.



Trying to Conceive? Managing Stress Can Help

More and more studies suggest that stress and infertility have a connection.  This applies to both men and women.  Learning how to deal with stress may help your chances for conception.

It’s been proven that prolonged stress can cause many physical changes within the body.  This emotion triggers neural and biochemical reactions; which in turn can affect the everyday functioning of our bodies.

Chronic stress can produce an abundance of the adrenal hormones which keeps you in constant “fight or fight” response.

Stress and fertility are believed to have a relationship; especially when tests have shown no obvious explanation.  The rates of unexplained infertility have been rising over the years.  Considering our stressful lives, this is no surprise.

When stress is chronic, the brain’s signals to the hypothalamus gets confused.  This is turn can send mixed messages to the pituitary gland, which is responsible for secreting certain hormones essential for sexual organs to function.  The instructions that make certain biochemical reactions occur within the body are not working properly; resulting in hormonal disturbances.

Hormones travel via the bloodstream.  The blood flow to the reproductive organs can also be disrupted through stress.  A stressed body can temporarily shut down some of the non-essential bodily functions (including ovulation, sperm production, or conception).  This is so the body can put all of its energy into action upon the presumed immediate treat to survival (fight or flight response).

In women, stress ca affect hormone imbalances which can upset ovulation by affecting the maturation and release of the egg.  Stress can also cause spasms in the fallopian tubes and the uterus which can prevent the implantation of a fertilized egg.

Trying to conceive can be an extremely stressful event and a vicious cycle can occur.  What can you do?

  • Decrease stress levels
  • Exercise
  • Eat a balanced diet
  • Practice meditation, visualization or guided imagery
  • Participate in energy/body work


Here are some affirmations for fertility


“Listening to Mothers” – Benefits of Midwifery and Doula Support

Each year, more than four million women give birth around the world.  This means, no matter what you may be going through, and no matter how alone you might feel in the process, chances are someone else has experienced the exact same thing at one time or another.  Last year, the Maternity Center Association launched a nationwide survey evaluating the experiences of 1,600 recently pregnant women.  The breakthrough study, “Listening to Mothers,” was designed to “provide healthcare providers, pregnant and parenting women, and the general public with a more complete understanding of the childbearing experience as it is experienced in America today.”

Overall, the survey revealed a high percentage of women reporting generally positive experiences from pregnancy to postpartum.  Among those reporting positive experiences, special emphasis was placed on the role that the labor support team played in their birthing experience.  Doulas and midwives ranked higher than any other member of the labor support team, and were strongly associated with lower levels of pain medications during labor.  Despite this, only five percent of the women surveyed reported having used the help of a doula or midwife.  This research would indicate that doula and midwife care is a sorely underused resource that, when used, can bring a range of benefits to both mother and child.

Doula support has been found to be helpful for:

  • A very high number of positive birth outcomes
  • Women were less likely to have pain relief medications administered
  • They were less likely to have a cesarean birth
  • Having a doula as a member of the birth team decreases the overall cesarean rate by 50%, the length of labor by 25%, the use of oxytocin by 40% and requests for an epidural by 60%



Elective C-Sections

Today, more and more healthy pregnant women are opting for Cesarean delivery over natural births, and many of them are scheduling the all-important procedure to take place before their newborns have reached full-term.  Despite the widely held understanding that a healthy full term pregnancy should last about 40 weeks, recent studies have found that as many as 36 percent of elective C-sections now occur before 39 weeks. 

Research published by the New York Times in August 2011 revealed that this trend has led to an alarming increase in health complications for both mother and child in elective pre-term deliveries.   Complications may include respiratory distress, infection, and low blood sugar, among other things.  Such problems are likely caused by insufficient development of vital organs like the brain, lungs and liver that typically occurs in the 39th and 40th weeks of pregnancy. 

This research confirms what natural birthing experts have been saying all along: When possible, deliver naturally.  Your body is the best judge of when you’re ready to give birth.  So listen to your body.  It will ensure the best for both you and your baby. 


Childbirth: Every Detail Counts

Childbirth is undoubtedly one of the most challenging, yet rewarding experiences in any woman’s life.  But have you ever considered the different factors that can affect the ease
and success of this all-so-important life event?  In 2011, the Cochrane Collaboration, an international group of medical researchers, published their findings on this topic.  The researchers assessed the effects on mothers and their newborn babies of providing continuous one-on-one support for women during childbirth.  The study considered continuous support to be any assistance to the mother addressing physical comfort, emotional support, offering of information, helping the women communicate their wishes to caregivers, and engaging their partners.  Results suggested that the women who were high in all of these factors were less likely to take anesthesia or give birth by cesarean, among many other positive results.

This research emphasizes the vast importance of addressing the mother’s unique needs and desires.  Where do you want to give birth? Would you prefer to be at home or in a hospital? Do you wish to give birth naturally or would you rather receive an epidural?  Will your partner be in the room with you?  Etcetera. When it comes to one of the most important days in yours and your baby’s life, no detail is too small to consider.  So, as your due date fast approaches, think about what it is that you want out of your birthing experience.

Stressed About Getting Pregnant?


For so many women around the world, getting pregnant seems like an impossible task.  Conceiving can be a long, frustrating struggle for aspiring mothers, often causing anxiety    and stress.  However, new research published in New York Times by the Journal of Fertility and Sterility has  found that simply reducing your stress levels can improve your chances of getting pregnant.  The study followed 274 healthy women who had just started trying to conceive.  Researchers tracked the women’s stress levels by taking weekly saliva samples, testing for the stress hormone cortisol.  Results of the study indicated that women with the highest concentrations of stress hormones were 12 percent less likely to become pregnant each month. 

This study supports a larger body of research examining the role of stress on the reproductive system.  It shows once again that there are natural solutions to increasing your fertility and getting pregnant. IVF doesn’t have to be the way.  Before you go down the fertility treatment path, consider holistic options, starting with stress reduction techniques like yoga and meditation.  Trying to get pregnant can be stressful, but there are many natural ways to decrease this stress, increase fertility, and enhance your chances of finally getting pregnant!

Home Birth Advice in Saratoga Springs

Despite negative connotations, home births are making a dramatic comeback in the United States.  While it is still not necessarily popular to give birth at home, since 2004 29% more American women are choosing to abandon traditional hospital births for the comfort of their own homes.

There is not a clear reason for the increase, but some speculate that women are delivering at home in order to remove themselves from hospital procedures such as C-sections. Medical interventions have increased in hospital births the past several years, concerning some women and hospital-birth critics.

Those who birth from home begin planning for the big day well in advance. Finding a midwife or doctor who the mother feels comfortable with is the first step; it is also important to decide what spaces in the home would be most conducive to birthing needs.

Experts suggest that healthy low-risk pregnant women are the best candidates for delivering outside of the hospital.  Home birth may not be for those who are diabetic, have high blood pressure or have given premature birth in the past or are at risk of doing so now. Home births are most successful when the partner is in complete support of the birthing decision.