Women's Health and Issues

Parenthood Dreams Through Vitrification

March 15, 2011

new baby and momThis guest article is from our friends at Laurel Fetility Clinic, a local fertility practice with offices in Mill Valley, San Francisco, and Modesto. Visit them online at www.laurelfertility.com.

Vitrification is the latest method for freezing unfertilized eggs to preserve fertility options for hopeful mothers. “This cutting edge practice is still fairly new and not many programs are doing it,” commented Laurel Fertility Care Lab Director Dr. Marlane Angle, PhD. “However, survival rates using vitrification are much higher for eggs and embryos when compared to previous freezing methods like slow cooling.”

Why Choose Vitrification?

“It's the technology of the future,” commented Dr. Angle. “People, especially women, need this and are asking for it. We were originally used fertility preservation for women undergoing cancer treatment. These women often experience fertility challenges following radiation or chemotherapy. If these women preserve their fertility before cancer treatment, they have a much better chance of conception down the road.”

Hidden Hypothyroidism: How Undiagnosed Thyroid Disorders Can Affect Your Health

March 9, 2011

Mom and son runningThis guest article is by Lisa Brent, ND, LAc. Lisa is a naturopathic doctor specializing in women’s health and integrative gynecology at the Owning Pink Center in Mill Valley, CA.

It is not uncommon for a patient to come in to my office with all of the signs and symptoms of low thyroid function and to tell me that her recent blood tests had “come back normal”. While there are many medical explanations for some of the most common indications of a thyroid disorder—weight gain, hair loss, fatigue, etc.--it is also possible that the gland is not working optimally even without laboratory evidence.

The Problem
As many as 27 million Americans may have some type of thyroid disorder. Of that number, approximately half remain undiagnosed. The consequences of untreated thyroid dysfunction can be serious. For example, a recent study showed that individuals with “subclinical” hypothyroidism (low thyroid function that does not show up on lab tests) demonstrated a 41% increase in relative mortality from all causes versus people with normal thyroid function.

Marin Alternative Mothers Group

February 22, 2011

Are you passionate about natural childbirth or homebirth, and are you looking for like-minded families for support, information, and friendship? The Marin Alternative Mothers Group (MAMG) may be for you. The MAMG is a group of women devoted to alternative birth choices and proud of their educated and informed decisions to birth drug free in a safe and supported environment.

MAMG was founded by Marin mom Ozzie Ozkay-Villa—whose son was born at home in 2010—after she wasn't able to find exactly what she was looking for through existing local mother's groups. She and her fellow MAMG moms have found that surrounding themselves with like-minded women who support their decisions about childbirth and parenting gives them a strong sense of empowerment and community. "When we get a new pregnant mom in MAMG I feel over-joyed because I know she will find the support that I didn't have," says Ozkay-Villa. "Every once in a while I have a mom email me and say something like "I found my people" and it just makes my day."

The MAMG meets every other Friday at 11 am, and holds family days one Sunday a month. The next Friday meet is on March 4th. The group is rapidly growing, so more activities are planned. Membership dues are $35 a year or $60 for two years. For more information on the MAMG, visit www.marinalternativemothersgroup.com.

Must Know: How Health Care Reform Will Affect Your Family

January 11, 2011

This guest article is by Autumn Robertson, Co-Founder of Golden Gate Health Insurance, a local health insurance brokerage serving Marin, San Francisco, and the East Bay.

Health care reform is here, but how will it affect you and your family?

With all the changes taking place in the health care system these days, it can be difficult making sense of what it means for families. While businesses may not be cheering for the reforms, there are many benefits families will be able to take advantage of, such as insurance companies putting more money toward wellness benefits and preventative care. Wherever you and your family fit into the reforms, these times offer an opportunity to re-evaluate your current coverage and potentially, save money.

Although changes will take place between now and 2014, some will immediately affect your family:

Pre-Existing Health Conditions
Reforms will prohibit insurance companies from excluding children with pre-existing health conditions. This means your insurance company can’t drop you if a child gets sick or deny your family if one of your dependents is deemed “high-risk.”

Dr. Bob Sears, MD, Presents: Immune and Sinus Health for Children and Adults at Pharmaca-Novato

January 3, 2011

Pharmaca's Healthy Living Lecture Series in Novato presents the well-known pediatrician and author Dr. Bob Sears, MD, FAAP, on Tuesday, January 18 at 7 pm. The topic is: Immune and Sinus Health for Children and Adults.

You may be familiar with many of the books Dr. Sears has written or co-authored, including The Healthiest Kid in the Neighborhood, Father’s First Steps, The Baby Book, The Premature Baby Book and The Baby Sleep Book. Dr. Sears received his medical degree in 1995 from Georgetown University and completed his pediatric training at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles in 1998. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to meet “Dr. Bob,” as his little patients call him. This is a free event. Attendees will also receive a coupon for $10 off a $30 purchase the night of the event.

Seating is limited, so advance reservations are required by calling (415) 892-3700. Pharmaca-Novato is located at 7514 Redwood Blvd. in Novato (next to Trader Joes).

7 Insemination Tips

December 6, 2010

This guest post is from Fertility Expert, Dr. Lee Kao of Laurel Fertility Care, a local fertility practice with offices in Mill Valley, San Francisco, and Modesto. Visit them online at www.laurelfertility.com.

The journey to conceiving for child number two (or more) can be stressful and difficult. However, parents can make small changes and help grow their parenthood dreams. Below are some suggested tips from Dr. Lee Kao of Laurel Fertility Care to help grow your fertility success:

  1. Take daily multiple vitamins at least three months prior to attempting pregnancy. Vitamins like folic acid, a B-complex vitamin, helps produce red blood cells and facilitates cell production and division. Research has shown that intake of folic acid reduces pregnancy complications like preeclampsia, certain kinds of anemia, and Neural Tube Defects. It also facilitates healthy fetus growth through reducing Neural Tube Defects.

Busy Moms: The Importance of Caring for Your Marriage

November 22, 2010

This guest article is by Marin County therapist, writer, and mom Lisa Brookes Kift, MFT.

If you’re married with children—and your life is a whirling dervish of chaos as you struggle to keep all of the balls in the air—this is for you. In all that you do for your kids, career and hopefully self, are you forgetting anyone? Is there a special person who no longer gets the amount and quality of attention they used to “pre-kids?” Hmmm???

I’ve heard it over and over. Couples come into my office disconnected in their marriages and upon closer inspection, it’s revealed that after children landed on their radar, their relationship changed. As reasonable and expected as this is when children arrive on the scene, many forget to return to caring for their marriages. The reality is your relationship needs care in order for your family to thrive.

Four Signs of Secondary Infertility

November 8, 2010

This guest post is from the nurses at Laurel Fertility Care, a local fertility practice with offices in Mill Valley, San Francisco, and Modesto. Visit them online at www.laurelfertility.com.

As a parent with one or more children, it’s hard to imagine not being able to conceive again. However, secondary infertility is a heartache experienced by many parents. “Often parents have a difficult time knowing whether the challenge for growing their family is just a fluke or a problem,” states Dr. Collin B. Smikle of Laurel Fertility Care, “many say if it happened before, it will happen again and sometimes parents wait too long to find out if there is a problem and their chances of conceiving become even less likely.”

Similar to infertility, there are a few key signs that may signal a higher chance of secondary infertility. These signals include:

  1. Unsuccessful conceiving after trying over six to twelve months: If you have been trying to get pregnant longer than the amount of time it took with previous pregnancies, it’s time to talk to your doctor or a reproductive specialist. Your OB/GYN may be able to give some insight into what’s happening. However, it’s best to visit a reproductive endocrinologist if you have any concerns, especially if the female is over 35.

This Isn't What I Expected… Postpartum Depression

November 1, 2010

Mom and babyThis guest article is by Elizabeth Greason, LCSW, is a licensed clinical social worker specializing in the treatment of perinatal mood disorders, trauma, attachment and parenting issues.

During the past two weeks have you:

  • Felt nervous, anxious, or worried?
  • Felt so unhappy that you seem to be crying all the time?
  • Felt like you were going crazy?
  • Had recurrent thoughts that you are not a good mother?
  • Felt scared that you will never feel happy again?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you may be suffering from a form of postpartum depression. The term “postpartum depression” actually describes a continuum of postpartum emotional and physical reactions ranging from the common and relatively mild “baby blues” that resolve in a few days to the rare and extreme cases of “postpartum psychosis”. It can occur anytime during the first year postpartum. Affecting 10–20% of expectant and new mothers, postpartum depression is a common complication of pregnancy and is a treatable medical illness.

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