Fertility Food Myths: Beneficial and Harmful Fertility Foods

By Danielle Bucco

One of the first things that happens when trying to conceive is a change of diet. Everyone tells you what you should and shouldn’t eat, what is going to help or hinder you from conceiving. This can get overwhelming trying to find what is actually helpful for you to eat. There are many myths surrounding the food that you should eat when you’re trying to conceive. Eat yams if you want to have twins is one of the many myths that people hear. There are foods that can help you with fertility but it is because of their innate health benefits.

veggiesOne thing that is important is to eat a lot of organic fruits and vegetables. If drinking dairy, try to get organic as well or switch to alternative sources such as almond milk or hemp milk. Dairy that is not organic should be avoided due to the added hormones and antibiotics causing hormone levels to be imbalanced. Organic fruits and vegetables lack all the added herbicides and pesticides that can be harmful to the body whether trying to conceive or not. Getting enough Omega 3 is important as well. This can be found in fish, nuts, and seeds. This fatty acid can have a healthy effect on the reproductive system as well as hormone functions.
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Some of the don’ts of fertility foods are anything containing a lot of caffeine. It may be hard to give up that morning coffee but it is important when trying to get pregnant. Soy foods are also something that has been shown to have hormone mimicking properties and should be avoided when trying to conceive. Foods containing high sugar levels should be avoided for health purposes during any point in life but particularly when trying to get pregnant. Artificial sugars can throw off your blood sugar levels, negatively effect your immune system, and hinder your hormone balance.

By leading an all-together healthier lifestyle the chances of conceiving raise higher. Eating healthy is something that will benefit your body no matter what stage of life you are entering into so it can be beneficial to let this healthy eating continue even after the need to become more fertile has stopped.

Reflections from Advocate Katie Lelito on Managing your Infertility Identity

By Danielle Bucco

DSC_9969Those who are dealing with infertility understand how difficult it can be to decide who they are going to tell. Many want to maintain a level of privacy and only let certain friends and family members in on the news. Others, however, are more vocal about who they tell and explain it to coworkers, distant relatives, or neighbors. It is up to the individuals and couples themselves about what feels right for them and what would be the best decision for their family. Some also choose a third option like Katie Lelito. Katie is able to maintain two different identities, an online identity and a professional identity.

Katie is someone who is really passionate about advocating for infertility and did some great work at the University of Michigan (U-M) when she was a student there. She is very vocal online and in support groups about her story with infertility, however, none of her coworkers knew anything about her struggle to conceive at the time. She specifically wanted to maintain these two different identities because she found it can be much easier to be open online with a stranger as opposed to face to face. Katie only recently decided to break her anonymity by using her name for a few advocacy projects that she has been working on.

One of the ways Katie is active on the issue of infertility is to try and get employers to cover fertility treatments. She petitioned the University of Michigan to change their coverage policies and she was successful. University of Michigan gave all staff and students with grad care $20,000 max lifetime coverage for in vitro fertilization plus $10,000 drug coverage. This was an extremely important step in getting more employers to cover fertility treatments. She was also fortunate enough to bring this issue up with her own employer and was again, rewarded for her effort and passion with another success.

EHW_4856            Katie’s success at U-M was a big turning point for this issue. Many people in the university setting are passionate about many issues, one of them being infertility and how it is viewed in the workplace. Universities are also important because it is a good way to start change. Many people look to them to take the first steps towards certain issues and fertility coverage is no different.

Moving forward, Katie hopes to continue to be an advocate for infertility. She encourages people who want to ask their employers for coverage to talk to her or to read a list of 13 ways to help approach the topic with employers. Approaching an employer about such an important and personal topic can be terrifying but if employers start to accept these coverage ideas, it could help change people’s lives forever. This is only one of the areas that Katie is interested in but she has helped to make a difference in workplaces and is an inspiration to others looking to do the same. You can also learn more from an interview Katie did with Beat Infertility by listening to it here.

Guide to the Zika Virus

By: Danielle Bucco

With the Zika Virus starting to spread further there is a fear that it will reach the United States. This can be a scary thought for people trying to become pregnant. Many people are worried and afraid, especially since the World Health Organization has declared a public health emergency. However, learning more about the Zika Virus can decrease your chances of contracting it.

What is it?

On the news, they seem to spend a lot of time talking about the spread of the virus but not on exactly what it is or how it is carried. The Zika Virus first started in areas of Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Isles, but in May 2015, it was confirmed to be in Brazil as well. Since then, it has traveled to other areas of South America moving up into Central America. The United States has not confirmed its arrival here but it has been seen in some of the returning travelers, and sources say those numbers will only go up.

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Now that we know where it can be found, we can answer the question of what exactly it is. The Zika Virus is a disease that is mainly carried by infected mosquitoes. When it bites a person, it spreads to them causing the person to get infected with the virus as well. Since mosquitoes are air borne, it makes it next to impossible to control it from spreading. These mosquitoes can be found both indoors and outdoors, wherever there is a small amount of stagnant water.

 What does it do? How does it affect pregnancies?

The symptoms of the virus usually include a fever, rash, joint pain, and eye irritation (conjunctivitis). However, if a woman is pregnant and she is infected with the virus things can get slightly more complicated. It is possible for the pregnant mother to pass this virus to the fetus, which can cause some birth defects to the child. The birth defect that has been most commonly reported is what is called microcephaly, which is an abnormally small head and can also be associated with brain damage.

How can it be prevented?

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There are still many unknowns when it comes to this virus, such as a cure, but one thing that is known is how to prevent getting it. The first prevention would be to avoid the places that have been known to spread this virus. However, if traveling is required it can be helpful to remember the following tips:

  1. Limit exposure to places most commonly known to have mosquitoes, such as forests, marshes, or stagnant water.
  2. Always wear insect repellent. This will help keep away the mosquitoes and prevent you from getting bitten by one that could potentially be carrying the virus.
  3. Wear long sleeves and pants. The less places the mosquitoes have to bite, the less likely you will be bitten, which can save you from infection.
  4. Stay in air-conditioned places with screens on the door to keep mosquitoes outside.
  5. If you are unable to stay inside an air-conditioned room, sleep under a mosquito bed net to help protect you from mosquitoes.

By following these simple prevention tips, it will not only help to keep an individual from contracting the virus, but also others as well. The more everyone tries to prevent it, the slower it will spread, which will hopefully cause it to be longer before it enters the United States. By being more aware for what to look out for and the risks involved, people looking to become pregnant can rest easy knowing they are doing their part in preventing the Zika Virus from infecting the fetus.