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Tips for a healthy pregnancy

Making reference to the concept of responsible parenthood, it is advisable to get pregnant in a context of stability of the couple.

In case the woman is undergoing treatment for hormonal problems, chronic illness or psychiatric conditions, you should make prior medical c

It is important that the mother stops smoking and drinking alcohol, as these products may have adverse effects in infants. In addition, these substances can reduce fertility.Follow a healthy balanced diet before and during pregnancy is essential for both the mother and the child.

While it is advisable to continue with physical activity is recommended to suspend high-impact sports, such as step aerobics, skiing, mountain biking and horseback riding.

For the prevention of birth defects such as spina bifida, anencephaly and cleft lip, we recommend eating a daily supplement of 0.4 mg of folic acid. This nutrient is found in green leafy vegetables, nuts, peanuts, citrus fruits and cereals.

It should be avoided exposure to hazardous substances such as drugs, pesticides or radiation. This is true both for men and for women, since both can be altered in their sex cells.

Despite these are non-routine, the mother may conduct medical examinations to verify if you are immunized against rubella and toxoplasmosis (these conditions can cause spontaneous abortion or birth defects). If the woman wishes, she can be given a vaccine three months before conception.

Fertility and age

One in four couples of reproductive age have fertility problems, this is related to many factors, but one of the most important is the woman's age. There is evidence that women's fertility declines with age, and after thirty-five years, the probability of spontaneous pregnancy is only 15% each month. This is worse after 40 years, when this probability drops below 10%.

Before birth a woman has four million eggs, but at birth he has only about 400 thousand.After puberty, women usually ovulate only one egg every 28 days. Although the number of eggs a woman exceeds the number of eggs would need in his life, a woman of age 35 has 35 years old eggs and egg quality will progressively diminish with age.

This situation is different in men, since they produce new sperm throughout their lives.

Fortunately, when the woman is under 40, between 20% and 60% of couples with fertility problems become pregnant through assisted reproduction on the first try.

With the changing role of women in society, through the years, it has been observed that professional women postpone pregnancy, but should not be postponed beyond age 35,age when egg quality begins to decline.

If a woman under 35 years has been trying to get pregnant for a year, and has not achieved it , she should seek the assistance of a fertility specialist to investigate the causes of the problem and determine which assisted reproduction technique is most suitable for her case.

Women 38 years or older, must be given the opportunity to start at once with advanced techniques (in vitro fertilization, ICSI, blastocyst), which even though they are more expensive, are also more efficient than Directed Relations and Artificial Insemination.

Besides age, other factors may be causing the problem. If, regardless of age, the couple have any of these problems, they should seek as soon as possible a fertility specialist:

  • Low tubal obstruction
  • Sperm Concentration
  • Low sperm mobility or sperm morphology altered
  • Endometriosis
  • Ovulatory dysfunction
  • Immune Factor
  • Unknown causes

Birth Control

ORAL CONTRACEPTIVES

Effectiveness:

Its effectiveness can be diminished by forgetting to take the pills, use of antibiotics and anticonvulsants. The progesterone-only pills have a higher failure rate and is used primarily in smokers over 35 years, nursing mothers and women with intolerance or contraindication to estrogen use.

Absolute contraindications include: pregnancy, history of thromboembolic disease,history of breast cancer, estrogen-dependent tumors, stroke, and coronary artery disease and tumor or liver damage.

Relative contraindications may include hypertension, smoking, severe headaches,diabetes, increased cholesterol levels, active disease, gallbladder disease, some types of anemia, mononucleosis active, major surgery within 1 month, 40 years or over age with cardiovascular risk factors and undiagnosed abnormal vaginal bleeding.

Safety:

The risk of adverse cardiovascular effects decreases with the use of low-estrogen pills(35 micrograms or less). There is risk in smokers over 35 years. Oral contraceptive use may protect against endometrial cancer and ovarian cancer, even though there is inconclusive data of a possible increased risk of breast cancer.

INTRAUTERINE DEVICE (D.I.U)

Progestasert, is a progesterone-releasing IUD, causing less menstrual blood loss and less dysmenorrhea. Is replaced annually.

Copper T 380A IUD can remain inserted for 8 years.

Contraindications include muco-purulent cervicitis, history of pelvic inflammatory disease or ectopic pregnancy.

The risk of ectopic pregnancy is lower than in women not using any contraceptive method, but higher than in those using oral contraceptives.

SPERMICIDE

They may be eggs, creams, jellies and foams. Those containing nonoxynol-9 destroys the wall of the sperm and provide some protection against sexually transmitted diseases.

BARRIER METHODS

Condoms (condoms), diaphragms, cervical caps, sponges, and the new female condoms. Decreased risk of sexually transmitted diseases when used properly.

WITHDRAWAL PERIOD

Using this method during the fertile days presumably diagnosed with calendar,temperature and cervical mucus, requires long periods of abstinence. The big gestfailure are in women with irregular menstrual cycles. Here is an outline of sex to prevent pregnancy based on menstrual rhythm.

MONTHLY INTRAMUSCULAR INJECTIONS

Recently, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) of USA, accepted the application of 150 mg. Medroxyprogesterone intramuscular every 3 months in Mexico decreased its use for about 15 years, because most of the women had amenorrhea (unregulated)after one year, and some others had irregular bleeding during the year. In the long terms afety is not very clear.

PROGESTERON IMPLANTS (Norplant)

It consists of the subcutaneous administration of 6 Silastic capsules containing slow-release levonorgestrel, provides contraception for 5 years. Can be withdrawn at anytime. In the long term safety is unknown.

Men

The Male Reproductive System

Aparato Reproductor Masculino

Unlike what happens to women, after the initiation of sexual maturation, male sex cells production continues throughout life. This process begins at puberty and is maintained with cycles of about seventy days (time of maturation of sperm). That is, after each cycle there is a whole new population of sperm.

The role of hormons...

Testosterone is the most important male sex hormone and is produced by specialized cells called Leydig cells, found in the testicles. While testosterone contributes to the formation of sperm, its main function is related to male sex characteristics such as hair growth, voice changes, muscle development, etc.

It should be noted that these Leydig cells are not part male the seminiferous tubules, which explains why there is no relationship between male phenotype (external characteristics associated with the concept male virility), which depends on the production of testosterone, and fertility, which is related to sperm production.

The production and maturation of sperm in the seminiferous tubules is stimulated by FSH secreted by the pituitary.

The odyssey of sperm...

During intercourse the man ejaculates millions of spermatozoids that travel through the uterus into the fallopian tubes. Because the acidity of the vagina, many of them will die, leaving the rest in the crypts of the cervix for 48 to 72 hours. During that time, some spermatozoids are released in small quantities and are directed to the tubes, the possible site where fertilization happens. This explains why sex in the days before ovulation can lead to pregnancy.

Definitions:

Testicles:

During the fetal period are located on both sides of the spine, at the height of the kidneys. Shortly before birth, they descend from the abdominal cavity and lodged in the scrotum. The testicles are ovoid in shape, and inside are the seminiferous tubules and blood vessels. Thanks to the action of FSH and LH, produced in the pituitary gland,the male gonads produce spermatozoids and secrete testosterone.

Epididymis:

A long, narrow body, which is located on the surface of the testicles. Its function is to receive sperm from the seminiferous tubules of the testicles and keep them there until their maturation.

Vas deferens:

Duct connecting the epididymis to the seminal vesicle.

Seminal vesicle:

The organ that collects the sperm produced in the testicles. Their secretions contribute to the production of seminal fluid.

Prostate:

Fibrous gland, size of a walnut, which has the function to secrete a viscous liquid called alkaline prostatic fluid, which helps to maintain mobility and vitality of the sperm.

Bulbourethral or Cowper's glands:

Two small structures on each side of the prostate that secrete a viscous fluid that is part of the seminal fluid.

Penis:

Organ used for coupling, which to a stimulus of the nervous system is filled with blood and become erect, so as to penetrate the woman's vagina during sex. It holds the urethra, duct through which urine, created in the bladder, and semen, when ejaculation happens, exit.

Women

The Female Reproductive System

Menstrual Cycle

Aparato Reproductor Femenino

The menstrual cycle is the period during which the woman's body prepares for pregnancy. Begins on the first day of menstruation and ends on the first day of the next. In general, lasts an average of 28 days, but is considered normal between 21 and 35 days.

All normal women are born with about 300 000 eggs in her ovaries, which are found in immature state. The onset of sexual development at puberty drives the maturation of the first egg and, therefore, is the beginning of the first menstrual cycle, a situation that occurs on average at the age of 12 years and is called menarche. This condition marks the beginning of the fertile period that extends until the last period, known as menopause. During this period, one egg matures each month, reaching the phenomenon repeated about 500 times during the entire reproductive life.

The menstrual cycle has two phases: the follicular, extending from menstruation to ovulation and luteal, which includes the post-ovulatory period until the next menstruation.

Mestrual Cycle

During the follicular phase, the action of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) causes 15 to20 eggs from both ovaries begin to mature. These are encapsulated in follicles, but only one, exceptionally two or more, will be sufficiently prepared to discard, a process called ovulation.

The follicle produces estrogen, which stimulate endometrial maturation and production of mucus in the cervix. With this mucus, sperm can stay for a few days there, then travel in waves into the tubes in search of the egg and thus achieve fertilization. This explains why a woman can get pregnant with intercourse occurred even 5 days before ovulation.

The elevation of luteinizing hormone (LH) causes the release of the egg from the ovary,this being captured by the fallopian tube. In general, ovulation occurs between days 12and 16 of the cycle, taking the egg survival is approximately 24 hours, a period in which there is a greater chance of fertilization to occur, either with a sperm lodged in the cervical uterine mucous days before or one entered the same day.

The egg is fertilized in the fallopian tube and the developing embryo travels to the uterus to be implanted in the endometrium about seven days after ovulation. The endometrium maintains its eligibility for a pregnancy by the action of chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), which is secreted by the new pregnancy tissues.

With ovulation begins the second phase of the menstrual cycle, the luteal. The follicle becomes corpus luteum, which produces high levels of progesterone. If there has been no pregnancy, estrogen and progesterone levels fall between 12 to 14 days after ovulation. This hormone causes the scaling down of the endometrium was prepared to receive the embryo occur subsequent period. The day appears menstrual bleeding is day 1 of a new cycle.

Definitions:

Ovaries:

These are the gonads which develop female gametes or eggs and secrete estrogen and progesterone, sex hormones that coordinate the menstrual cycle, pregnancy and influence the development of secondary sexual characteristics, such as growth of hair and mammary glands. They are located on either side of the uterus andweigh about 15 grams. The ovaries are stimulated by follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH).

Fallopian tubes:

These organs communicate with the ovaries to the uterus and abdominal cavity, allowing the contact and the conditions for the fertilization of egg and sperm. Are cylindrical in shape and are about 10 cm. long.

Uterus:

A hollow muscular organ with thick walls and the size of a fist, about 7 cm. long and 50 grams of weight. It is located in the pelvis just behind the bladder. It has a body and a neck portion. The uterine body is covered internally by the endometrium, where the embryo is implanted. The cervix connects the uterus to the vagina and is composed of elastic fibers that allow the expansion required upon delivery. Inside has glands that produce mucus, cervical mucus, which facilitates or blocks the passage of sperm, depending on the time of the cycle.



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