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How chemicals in our environment threaten fertility

Posted by Lara Salahi October 3, 2013 11:28 AM
Every pregnant woman in the U.S. is exposed to at least 43 different chemicals during their pregnancy. 

That statistic by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey means that babies too are coming into contact with these same chemicals. 

Sounds scary, right? Not necessarily. For one, “chemical” does not always equate to “harmful.” What’s concerning, however, is how much we don’t know about these chemicals and their potential level of harm to our reproductive health. 

One thing’s for sure: Over the past two decades, medical studies have found that regular exposure to some agents—such as plastics and pesticides -- over a prolonged period of time can have a profound impact not only on an unborn baby, but on both men and women’s abilities to reproduce. 

Thinking About Baby #2? Not Before You Read This

Posted by Lara Salahi July 1, 2013 01:10 PM

Confession: Even sounding out the words “baby” and “number” and “two” in one breath right now scares me a little. No. A lot.

But a recent study published in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology found that as many as one-third of babies that follow are conceived within 18 months of a previous birth. The chances are higher if a woman is between the ages of 15 to 19 or older than 30, or if she was married when the previous child was conceived. And in many cases, the subsequent pregnancy is intended.

From a health perspective, a pregnancy interval of 18 months or less is considered short, and in some cases, can be risky. Short intervals between pregnancies increase the chances of preeclampsia, premature births, and a lower birth weight for the baby.


Overcoming Fertility Guilt

Posted by Lara Salahi June 3, 2013 08:40 AM

At a wedding we attended last week, my husband and I sat next to a young couple who recently had their first child. In true new first-time-parent fashion, our discussion quickly turned to our newborns, and then to the mothers who birthed them.

How long were you trying? Were you trying? Was it natural? How long did it take you to lose your pregnancy weight?

Her pregnancy story was dramatically different than mine.

“So you’re pretty much the girl that women hate,” she concluded.

Mind you, just 20 minutes before her statement she was a complete stranger. She still is. But her remark sounded all too familiar to me.


Live Chat Thursday: Infertility (Part II)

Posted by Lara Salahi April 29, 2013 07:15 PM

Did you miss last week's chat on infertility?

Here's another chance to get your questions answered by Boston IVF's Dr. Alison Zimon.


The Perfect Pregnancy Age

Posted by Lara Salahi April 9, 2013 03:07 PM

Upon hearing that 46-year-old actress Halle Berry is about 12 weeks pregnant, I immediately thought about whether it was a good idea for her to announce her pregnancy so early on. If she was about, oh, say, 20 years younger, I wouldn't have thought this about her pregnancy. But the truth is, no matter how fit she looks, her risk of pregnancy problems – including miscarriage -- is extremely high. That fact is based solely on one number: 46.

Women who conceive between ages 35 to 45 have a 20 to 35 percent chance of miscarriage -- nearly double the risk compared to younger women, according to the American Pregnancy Association. That risk only increases with age.

If she did in fact conceive naturally, she surprisingly surpassed a less than 5 percent shot. Still, regardless of whether she made sure to take her prenatal vitamins while trying, Ms. Berry’s egg quality is the probably lowest it’s ever been before.

Medically speaking, Ms. Berry has passed her pregnancy prime.

But culturally speaking, her decision is no anomaly.


Study: Fertility Problems Raise Risk of Neurological Disorders in Children

Posted by Lara Salahi March 26, 2013 11:47 AM

For nearly 1 in 10 women in the U.S. struggling to conceive, the frustration can feel overwhelming. Fortunately, more than 4 percent of those women will go on to bear children. But the prolonged time it took to finally get pregnant may bring on additional worries for some women.

A new study now suggests that women who get pregnant after about four years of trying may have a 30 percent higher chance of having a child with neurodevelopmental problems compared to women who conceive earlier.


Week in Review: Flu Shots, Fertility, and Folic Acid

Posted by Lara Salahi February 22, 2013 10:56 AM

A roundup of this week’s pregnancy-related scientific research and news:


Pregnant? There’s an app for that

Posted by Lara Salahi January 8, 2013 08:17 AM

Gone are the days when expectant mothers are expected to stay home and focus 100 percent of their time and energy on their pregnancy.

Today, we’re movers and multi-taskers. Sometimes we hold multiple jobs, take on multiple projects, and care for multiple children, all with soon-to-be baby in tow. Chances are, even at times when we feel like we’re in over our heads, we won’t ask for help when we need it.

This is where our smart phones, laptops, iPads come in handy. They are the keeper of our schedules and can also be a convenient way to keep track of the pregnancy process. Here are some apps designed to help us get through.


Should 'the pill' be sold over-the-counter? OB/GYN group says yes

Posted by Lara Salahi November 21, 2012 12:30 PM

Women should no longer need a doctor’s prescription to get birth control pills, according to a new opinion statement released Tuesday by one of the largest physician-based women’s health care organizations.


About the author

Lara Salahi is an award-winning multimedia journalist whose specialty is reporting health and medical stories. She has worked in local, network, and cable television, international print, and documentary film. She More »

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