Category Archives: Babies

Family Planning Simplified

Planning a family involves sometimes preventing pregnancy and desperately seeking to conceive at other times. For those who are unable to conceive, there are alternative methods such as female egg donation. For those who choose female egg donation (learn more about the egg donation process), they’ll want to ensure the person who is donating the eggs is healthy. The term “family planning” most often refers to birth control and therefore, pregnancy prevention.

When deciding not to get pregnant, whether a temporary or permanent choice, there are a myriad of birth control options available, depending upon your medical history and lifestyle.

Hormone Related Options

Birth control pills (BCPs): This is the most popular method of contraception. There are a wide variety of BCP choices that contain differing amounts of hormones, especially estrogen and progesterone.

Birth control patch: A hormone-embedded skin patch is worn for three weeks a month. The hormones are slowly absorbed through the skin and migrate into the blood. The skin patch is changed weekly and is removed for one week per month to allow a menstrual period.

Hormone Shots and Implants: Hormone shots are given by a physician and provide three months of effective birth control. A matchstick-size plastic implant, which is impregnated with hormones, is placed in the upper arm by a trained physician for up to three years of birth control coverage.

Contraceptive ring: This hormone-impregnated ring is manually inserted into the vagina by the patient and is left in place for 3 weeks per month. The ring is removed for one week during the month to allow a menstrual period.

Intrauterine Devices (IUD)

An IUD provides 5 to 10 years of contraception, depending upon the device choice. The T-shaped IUD is inserted into the uterus by a physician. It works on the premise that the copper-releasing IUD prevents sperm from getting through the uterus to fertilize the woman’s egg.

One brand of IUD, Mirena, does contain the hormone, progestin. Mirena slowly releases the progestin, which dramatically thickens the cervical mucus making it difficult for sperm to fertilize the egg.

Barrier Methods of Contraception

Diaphragm, Sponge, Cervical Cap: These methods of birth control are all placed in the vagina, against the cervix, before intercourse. They are used with a spermicide to obliterate the sperm. Each method has specific directions about how long before and after each act of sexual intercourse it should stay in place and/or more spermicide be reapplied.

Vaginal contraceptive film: This spermicidal film is inserted in the vagina, as close to the cervix as possible, by the wearer. It dissolves immediately in the vagina but must be in place for 15 minutes before intercourse and is effective for about one hour. It must be repeated before each act of intercourse.

Condoms: A condom is a latex or plastic sheath worn over the penis during intercourse. It acts as a receptacle for the ejaculated semen. Condoms are the only effective method of preventing sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

Natural Birth Control

Rhythm Method or Natural Family Planning: Basal body temperature and vaginal discharge characteristics are important factors to determine a woman’s fertile days, when choosing the rhythm methods of birth control. Once established, intercourse should be avoided on the days before and during the woman’s fertile period.

Withdrawal: Withdrawal is when the man pulls his penis out of the woman’s vagina before ejaculating. The fluid that leaks out of the penis before ejaculation does contain sperm and can result in pregnancy.

Surgical Options

Tubal ligation: The woman’s fallopian tubes are sealed (blocked, cauterized or severed) during tubal ligation surgery. This prevents the woman’s egg from reaching the uterus, where it can be fertilized. This is a permanent method of birth control and is effective immediately after surgery. If you have eggs you won’t be using, consider female egg donation so that a couple who is looking to have a child may benefit from your eggs.

Vasectomy: The male’s vas deferens or sperm ducts are sealed during this surgery. This prevents sperm from being ejaculated in the semen. After a vasectomy, semen is still ejaculated during intercourse but will be sperm-free after 10-20 ejaculations or 1-2 months. An alternative method of birth control should be used until lab analysis confirms that there is a zero sperm count in the semen. This is considered a permanent form of birth control.

Birth control is a personal choice with many different options. It is important to discuss your safest, most effective method of birth control with your physician.

Aurora May writes for Family Cord on topics related to the use of cord blood, and the benefits of cord blood banking and cord blood storage.

Why Switch to Natural Family Planning?

Since the day they were invented, artificial birth control methods have been the cause of debates and controversies worldwide and remains a hot topic among religious groups, women’s groups and even in various government parties. In the middle of all these disputes, women and couples find themselves in a confusing and distressing position. More often than not, they’ll simply opt for artificial birth control since these are heavily promoted by more and more governments and sold conveniently in stores.

What most of these women and couples don’t know is that they’re buying into a slew of harmful side-effects as well.

Not Just a ‘Religion’ Thing

Others would argue that artificial birth control methods are only getting heavy criticism because of how they promote lifestyles that go against some religious teachings, but the truth is that arguments against them go beyond just religion.

The side-effects of artificial birth control methods have been widely published, but not as publicised as their apparent effectiveness. There’s no doubt that these methods are effective, but their use poses some serious health risks to women. They can cause headaches, dizziness, nausea and even bleeding. Those methods that tamper with hormones often result in mood swings, decreased libido and dryness that have severely affected the intimacy of many couples.

Artificial birth control methods such as the birth control pill and injectables have also been associated with breast cancer, high blood pressure, heart attack, ovarian cancer, cervical cancer and a higher rate of contracting the AIDS virus. Barrier methods such as Intrauterine Devices have been shown to cause preeclampsia, a complication during pregnancy; dyspareunia or painful intercourse and ectopic pregnancies, where the embryo implants itself in a location other than the uterus causing complications in pregnancy and even maternal death. All of these methods have resulted in extended periods of infertility even after discontinued use as well as induced early abortions.

What’s Nice about Natural

When it comes to family planning the best and only risk-free option is to go natural. Aside from avoiding health risks altogether, natural family planning methods gives couples plenty of benefits:

  • Freedom from worry. With natural family planning couples don’t have to worry about unplanned pregnancies, infertility or various health risks. It follows the body’s natural ovulation calendar, so it doesn’t need to ‘trick’ the body with chemicals that bring numerous side-effects.
  • Increased intimacy. Many couples think that the abstinence required in natural family planning can limit intimacy but it actually results in the total opposite. Many who have been using it for years testify that their intimacy increases because of their anticipation for when the time is right.
  • Improved relationships. In natural family planning the responsibility doesn’t just rest on the woman’s shoulders but with the couple. They have to openly communicate and make decisions together on when to be intimate, and they both develop a better understanding of both their physical needs.
  • Helping the environment. Artificial birth control products are made with many harmful chemicals that not only harm the body but the environment as well. Natural family planning doesn’t require any unnatural chemicals at all, so it has no negative effect on the environment whatsoever.
  • Fertility when you want it. Unlike artificial birth control methods, natural family planning works both ways. It can help you avoid unplanned pregnancies, and it can also help you conceive when you want to.

Simple But Complicated?

Natural family planning is an excellent and wonderful way to go, but it is no walk in the park for sure. It can be difficult for couples to abstain at times, and other times it can be hard to keep track of a woman’s natural cycle, especially if she has irregular cycles. Irregular cycles can occur to women when they undergo stress or starvation, take certain medication, smoke, lack sleep, have an illness or have hormonal disorders. But for these women there are other natural options, like those offered by Lady-Comp. Lady-Comp is a company that manufactures handy fertility computers that can accurately tell when a woman is ovulating. So no matter how inconsistent a woman’s cycle can be, she can still go natural with the help of Lady-Comp.

Debra Wright blogs about a plethora of topics including natural birth control in Family and Personal and other fields. Wright considers Lady-Comp as one of the leaders in fertility monitors.

Swaddle the Baby, Stretch the Dollar: An Infancy Money Saving Guide

The first year of your baby’s life is not just the most precious, but is also the most expensive. An average American family shells out anywhere from $8,000 – $15,000 on medical bills and supplies for babies below 12 months of age, which means that your little bundle of joy can probably eat up a significant chunk of your entire family’s income.

While you may want to give your child everything, there are still a number of ways you can effectively tone down expenses without compromising your baby’s comfort and safety. Here are just a few money saving tips to get you started.

1. Understand your Needs

As a mother, you want nothing but the best for your baby, but money isn’t exactly in abundance these days so you have to learn to let go of a few luxuries that your little one won’t really need or remember. At this stage in your life, it is important that you learn to differentiate between your needs and wants. Why pay for a fancy crib when you can find one that costs only a third of its price and is just as sturdy and useful? Every time you go out to buy something for your baby, make sure to first ask yourself if it falls under the category of a need or a want.

2. Know Where to Shop

In a span of 12 months, your baby will have outgrown all their clothes and shoes several times, leaving you with a closet full of barely used things that you will have no more use for. During your infant’s first year, it is better to go clothes hunting at consignment shops that sell the same brands of clothes at half the price. Also keep an eye out for discounts and coupons that can substantially add to your savings.

3. Welcome Hand-Me-Downs

There is nothing wrong with accepting hand-me-downs from your relatives and friends if you don’t have money to burn. Instead of spending for your baby’s furnishing and clothes, why not try to scour your family’s attic for items that can still be used or go to eBay or Craigslist to find secondhand cribs and cabinets. You will be surprised how much you can save by simply opting to score a few hand-me-downs from people that you trust.

4. Scrimp on Disposable Diapers

Given our current fascination for all things disposable, asking a new mother to settle for cloth diapers is often met with skepticism.

Disposable nappies cost anywhere from $8 – $15 a pack, and as your baby grows, you will need to use more and more diapers to keep them dry. Compare that to reusable cloth diapers that only cost about $20 a bundle, but can be used and re-used as long as your baby has the need for them.

Yes, it’s work, but it also means real savings.

5. Breastfeed your Baby

The best and most efficient way to save on your expenses is to breastfeed your baby. Apart from the fact that breast milk is the best source of nutrition for your baby, opting to breastfeed your child will save you from having to pay for expensive formula. That can mean the difference of several hundred dollars over the span of a year.

Brenda is a writer for DueDateCalculator.org, which offers a Pregnancy Ovulation Calendar for those trying to get pregnant. You’ll also find detailed information on pregnancy symptoms and the different stages of development at DueDateCalculator.org.