Having trouble conceiving can frustrate and discourage women who are trying to expand their families. Many women turn to expensive and invasive procedures to improve their chances of conception. But taking natural supplements to restore your body’s hormonal balance, increase blood flow, and encourage cell growth can provide a low-cost solution. In this article, Ethan Lynette of Fairhaven Health, lists five specific supplements that can promote reproductive wellness and discusses the benefits each offer in encouraging conception.
Fairhaven Health expands nursing product line to include popular Milkies Milk Saver and Milkies FreezeJanuary 8th, 2014
It’s true – our breastfeeding product line is growing…! In December of 2013, we acquired the popular Milkies Milk Saver and Milkies Freeze product lines. Recommended by lactation specialists around the world, the patented Milk Saver collects precious breast milk from a nursing mother’s non-nursing side as she breastfeeds. The Freeze is a new breastmilk storage system that protects, organizes, and stores breast milk in your freezer in a “first in, first out” manner.
Read the full press release here.
BFP Ovulation and Pregnancy Test Strips may provide the answer to this age-old dilemma. BFP tests provide you with the same type of accurate, high-quality tests used at your doctor’s office, but at a fraction of the price. In fact, you can buy BFP tests for as little as $0.56 each!
What is a “test strip” you ask? Unlike the midstream format tests sold at your local supermarket, test strips are designed to be dipped into collected urine. Simply collect your urine (a Dixie cup works great for this) and immerse the test strip up to the line marked on the tests. Your results will appear within minutes.
Manufactured in the United States, every order of BFP Test Strips ships with complete test instructions. Here’s to hoping you get your BFP (big fat positive) with BFP brand tests!
Basal body temperature charting used to be a tedious exercise involving graph paper, a guidebook, and a whole lot of time, effort, and guesswork.
How far we’ve come! Now you can enter your basal temperature into Fairhaven Health’s own OvaGraph.com website – or the OvaGraph Mobile App – and our proprietary algorithm will interpret your results for you!
That’s right – OvaGraph will tell you on which day you ovulated, what your most fertile days were, and draw your coverline for you. If you have reason to believe the identified day is not correct, you can manually move a line to establish your “revised” ovulation date.
And as always, OvaGraph is a completely free website. Unlike other fertility charting websites that charge users to access premium features, OvaGraph provides all users with access to all features at no charge.
Come check it out!
As you’re probably well aware, pinpointing when you ovulate each month is crucial when you’re trying to get pregnant. That’s because a woman is only fertile during the few days leading up to – and on – her ovulation date.
So how do you determine when you’ll ovulate? Methods of accomplishing this abound, but one of the most tried and true ones is to track your basal body temperature (BBT), your resting temperature, which is usually a bit lower than your “normal” temperature. The premise behind BBT charting is simple: during ovulation, your progesterone production increases, warming your body for a possible pregnancy. By charting your basal temperature each day, you can see that subtle thermal shift indicating that ovulation did indeed occur.
Basal thermometers are nothing new… they’ve been around for decades. But Fairhaven Health’s new ibasal Thermometer represents a quantum leap in BBT technology for trying to conceive purposes. Not only does it measure your basal temperature for you with extreme accuracy, it also algorithmically interprets that data for you – telling you precisely when ovulation occurred. No guesswork… no squinting at charts trying to spot a trend.
Women are born with a finite quantity of eggs, a number which steadily declines with age. A baby girl is born with approximately one to two million eggs, but only 300,000 remain by the time she hits puberty. Throughout her reproductive lifetime, she will only ovulate 300 to 400 eggs.
Since your ovarian reserve is limited, it’s important to keep your remaining eggs as healthy as possible. Egg quality is impacted by multiple factors, including age, chronic exposure to environmental toxins, stress, poor diet, hormonal imbalances often associated with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and ovarian surgeries, all of which can negatively impact fertility. Poor egg quality contributes to fertilization issues, unsuccessful implantation following fertilization, and miscarriage due to chromosomal abnormalities.
While there is no way to increase the number of eggs you have, it is possible to improve the quality of your existing ovarian reserve. Thankfully, recent scientific research suggests that blends of powerful antioxidants can help improve egg quality. Research indicates that egg cells are highly susceptible to harm from free radicals, the unstable oxygen molecules that are produced as the body breaks down toxins, and antioxidants help ensure your egg cells are protected from their damaging effects.
We recently added OvaBoost to our line of fertility supplements, which is designed to help improve egg quality and optimize ovarian function in trying-to-conceive women. This all-natural supplement is especially recommended for women over the age of 35 and for women diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
OvaBoost contains powerful antioxidants including myo-inositol, which works to promote optimal ovarian function and cycle regularity in women with PCOS, a major cause of female fertility issues. The exact cause of PCOS is unknown, but hormonal imbalance plays a big role in the onset of symptoms. Women with PCOS tend to produce higher levels of male hormones like testosterone, which can impact ovulation and menstrual cycles.
Many researchers believe that these higher testosterone levels are related to insulin sensitivity. That’s where myo-inositol comes into play. Insulin is a hormone secreted by the pancreas, and is responsible for carrying sugar into the cells of the body where it can be used for energy. Women with PCOS have cells that are less sensitive to insulin, resulting in higher insulin levels. High insulin levels appear to be correlated with an increased production of male hormones. But the good news is that research in women with PCOS shows that supplementing with myo-inositol can improve insulin sensitivity, helping restore hormonal balance and increasing fertility in these women. Learn more about OvaBoost
If you’ve done any research at all on the OvaCue Fertility Monitor, you have probably read that the OvaCue has been clinically proven to be 98% accurate in monitoring ovulation (based on studies from the National Institute of Health). So, what exactly does that mean? To give these statistics a “real life” perspective, we decided to put the OvaCue up against the transvaginal ultrasound to help showcase its accuracy in a different way. Transvaginal ultrasounds are the most accurate way to pinpoint the exact date of ovulation, as it makes it possible to visually monitor the development of the dominant follicle until it is released from the ovary and into the fallopian tube.
Sarah, Director of Social Marketing and Customer Service at Fairhaven Health, uses the OvaCue daily and blogs about her experience at OvaCue.com. Some of you may know her as “FertilityChartingWithSarah” at OvaGraph.com, and others of you may know her from corresponding with her about OvaCue customer service questions. Sarah has always been interested in female reproductive health and ovulation prediction, so she jumped at the chance to monitor an entire cycle with a series of transvaginal ultrasounds to predict and confirm when ovulation took place. She continued to use the OvaCue Fertility Monitor (oral and vaginal sensor) daily while also going to a fertility clinic for regular transvaginal ultrasounds. What did she find? Read the results here!
As many as 10 million Americans suffer from osteoporosis and 34 million Americans have a condition called osteopenia (low bone mass), according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation. These conditions affect women more frequently than men, due to the fact that as women age, a variety of factors can cause the loss of bone mass, including low estrogen, lack of calcium, vitamin D deficiency, and a sedentary lifestyle. And, during pregnancy and breastfeeding, a woman is also susceptible to bone loss, as her nutrient stores are continually tapped to ensure the growing baby receives proper nourishment.
As a result, it is no wonder women of all ages are constantly reminded to make sure they get enough calcium. After all, calcium is famous for its ability to build bone, and also offers many lesser known health benefits. In fact, results from research studies conducted over the last several decades suggest that dietary calcium intake may help prevent hypertension, obesity and Type 2 diabetes, in addition to helping to prevent bone loss. So, unless you are absolutely certain that your diet contains at least the recommended amount of calcium (approximately 1,000 mg a day), supplementing your diet with a high-quality calcium supplement is a no-brainer.
But, if you happened to see the recent headlines about calcium supplements and heart disease, you might be a bit confused about the benefits and/or potential risks of calcium supplementation. Earlier this year, the controversial results of a study conducted by German and Swiss researchers were released, creating quite a buzz in the health world and generating some unnecessarily alarming headlines, such as Calcium Pills Linked to Heart Attack Risk.
The study, which followed 24,000 people over 11 years, was performed to evaluate the impact of calcium intake (from food and supplements) on cardiovascular disease risk. Participants were asked to report food and supplement intake from memory, using food frequency questionnaires given at specific intervals throughout the course of the study. Once all of the data was analyzed, the researches came out with some controversial conclusions. Contrary to the results of previous research suggesting that higher calcium intake protects against the development of cardiovascular disease, the German and Swiss researchers concluded that increasing calcium intake from diet does not provide significant cardiovascular benefits and calcium supplements might actually increase the risk of heart attack. The researchers went on to theorize that the reason calcium supplements might pose a threat to cardiovascular health is that calcium supplements might cause a spike in blood calcium levels, which may ultimately lead to calcium attaching itself to plaque in the walls of the arteries, leading to hardening of the arteries, a key risk factor for heart attack.
Unfortunately, these controversial results were widely disseminated and may have caused consumers some unnecessary concern about any potential risks associated with supplementing with calcium. But now that the dust has settled a bit, many health experts are pointing to serious problems with the design of this study and are raising doubt about the reliability of the conclusions that were drawn. One thing is certain: any time participants are required to self-report food and supplement intake based on memory, the results are likely to be suspect. And, even assuming that the participants reported their food intake with absolute accuracy (again, highly doubtful), it is important to put the results into the proper perspective. Only 850 of the 24,000 participants reported the use of any type of calcium supplement and dosages were not well-quantified. Among this small group of calcium users, only 40 participants had a heart attack, which equates to fewer than 4 heart attacks per year. Also, national surveys conducted in the United States suggest that nearly 11% of the population takes calcium supplements. In this study, less than 4% of the study participants used calcium supplements, suggesting that calcium use was significantly underreported in this study. The researchers themselves concede that, “It is possible that the unreported calcium supplementation would affect the accuracy of our results if identified calcium supplement users had a different cardiovascular risk profile than unidentified calcium supplement users.” (Heart 2012; 98:920-925)
The moral of this story seems to be that headlines rarely tell the whole story. So, what is a girl to do about calcium supplementation? When all is said and done, the weight of the scientific evidence clearly favors ensuring sufficient calcium intake from a combination of food and supplements, especially during specific life stages, including pregnancy and lactation. If you are currently trying-to-conceive, pregnant or breastfeeding, here are five important things to keep in mind about your calcium intake:
1. Pregnancy and breastfeeding can deplete your stores of nutrients. Adequate intake of calcium is especially important during pregnancy and breastfeeding, unique times in a woman’s life when her own nutritional stores are constantly tapped to ensure that her growing child is properly nourished. Taking a high-quality calcium supplement before, during and after pregnancy ensures that you maintain adequate stores of this important nutrient.
2. Bone health is just one of the reasons that calcium supplementation is important for pregnant women. Research indicates that calcium plays a role in preventing preeclampsia, a serious condition of pregnancy which causes high blood pressure and fluid retention. Ensuring optimal intake of calcium before and during pregnancy can go a long way in helping to prevent pregnancy complications, like preeclampsia.
3. Experts recommend taking no more than 500 milligrams of supplemental calcium at one time. By limiting the supplemental dose to 500 mg, you can minimize the potential “spike” in blood calcium levels that the German and Swiss researchers theorized about, reducing any chance that the calcium will end up in your arteries where it doesn’t belong.
4. Calcium does not work alone. To work effectively, calcium needs both magnesium and Vitamin D: magnesium helps transport calcium into the bones and vitamin D enhances the absorption of calcium. Be sure to choose a calcium supplement that also contains magnesium and vitamin D to obtain maximum support.
5. Consider the form of calcium in your supplement. Supplemental calcium comes in a variety of forms. While calcium carbonate is the most common supplemental form, calcium citrate is thought have better absorption rates. Choose a supplement that contains a combination of calcium carbonate and calcium citrate, and be sure to take your calcium supplement with food.
6. Include calcium-rich foods in your diet. The healthiest choice is always to obtain vitamins and minerals from a variety of food sources, and to supplement when necessary. If you take a supplement containing 500 mg of calcium, you still need another 500 mg from food to meet the recommended daily amount of 1,000 mg. Low-fat dairy products (milk and yogurt) and green-leafy vegetables are excellent sources of calcium.
Fairhaven Health recently introduced the newest addition to our Pregnancy Plus line of products: PregnancyPlus Cal – Mag. This product was formulated by Dr. Amos Grunebaum, leading fertility expert and Director of Obstetrics and Chief of Labor and Delivery at one of the nation’s top university medical centers, to provide the optimal supplemental dose of calcium and magnesium. It contains a combination of calcium carbonate and calcium citrate, and vitamin D, to ensure optimal absorption of calcium. For more information about PregnancyPlus Cal-Mag, see www.pregnancy-plus.com.
When we’re younger, we’re told (with good reason!) that nearly any instance of unprotected sex can lead to pregnancy.
When we’re actually trying to conceive, however, we discover that this is not necessarily the case. The reality is that most women have just a 3-5 day window each cycle in which pregnancy can occur. The result? If you’re not aware of your fertile window, the path to pregnancy can quickly become a very frustrating journey.
In calculating your fertile window, it helps to know your average cycle length and whether you have a regular or irregular cycle. You can determine your cycle length by simply counting the days from when full menstrual bleeding begins (cycle day 1) to when you see menstrual bleeding return. A regular cycle is one that contains roughly the same number of days in each cycle, give or take a few. An irregular cycle is when your cycle length varies considerably from cycle to cycle. For women with irregular cycles, ovulation prediction can be a bit more difficult and may be an indicator of an underlying ovulatory disorder. Many women indicate that FertilAid for Women has helped them in imparting some normalcy to an irregular cycle.
With this information in hand, you can begin to track your fertile window through a variety of means, including monitoring changes in your cervical mucus, using urine-based ovulation tests, taking your basal body temperature (BBT), or even using an electronic fertility monitor like the OvaCue.
Once the menstrual bleeding associated with your period ends, your body begins to prepare for its next opportunity to conceive and your ovarian follicle begins to develop and mature. At this time, production of Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) and Luteinizing Hormone (LH) increases to help facilitate the maturation of the dominant follicle. The dominant follicle is the “chosen” follicle that your body seeks to rupture, resulting in ovulation.
Your most fertile window is comprised of the days leading up to ovulation, as well as the day of ovulation itself. Due to the fact that sperm can survive within a woman’s body for up 4-5 days, it’s recommended that you time your “procreational” intercourse (aka “babydancing”) to occur just prior to ovulation, as well as on the day of ovulation, to increase your chances of conceiving.
During your fertile window, we would expect you to see a change in the quantity and consistency of your cervical mucus. What is referred to as “fertile-quality” cervical mucus very much resembles raw egg whites in both look and feel. This clear, highly viscous fluid provides the sperm with a healthy medium in which it can swim toward the egg for fertilization. FertileCM is a Fairhaven Health product designed to help support your body’s production of fertile-quality cervical mucus.
When using ovulation tests, you’ll find that knowing your average cycle length comes in handy to help you determine when to begin testing. Women with longer cycles will ovulate later; therefore they will begin testing for ovulation later than women with shorter cycles. Make sure to refer to the directions that come with your brand of ovulation test to you know when to begin testing. Ovulation tests detect the LH surge in your urine, and from the first positive test you see, you can expect that ovulation will occur anywhere from 12-48 hours later. This helpful tool provides you with advance notice of ovulation, allowing you to time intercourse to coincide with your most fertile window.
After ovulation, your body increases its production of progesterone to warm the body and prepare for pregnancy. This shift from estrogen dominance to progesterone dominance is a signal that ovulation has occurred. If you are using a basal thermometer, you will see this switch confirmed by the slight rise in temperature on your basal body temperature (BBT) chart. OvaGraph is a free online service that Fairhaven Health has created to allow women to conveniently chart their BBT online. At this point in your cycle you are in your luteal phase, or what some TTC aficionados affectionately call the “two week wait.” If the egg is fertilized, then your body will begin to prepare for pregnancy, and the fertilized egg will attach and implant to the uterine wall. If not, your body will begin breaking down the uterine lining, resulting in menstruation.
Many struggling TTC couples neglect to consider male fertility as a possible contributing factor, despite the fact that male fertility issues contribute equally to infertility. We recommend that all trying-to-conceive men take a comprehensive male fertility supplement, such as FertiAid for Men. Doing so will provide him with all the necessary vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and amino acids needed to ensure optimal sperm health.
Wishing you all the best in your trying-to-conceive efforts!
As a leading provider of natural and safe products to support pregnancy and nursing, we love to hear about the work that people are doing in our community (and throughout the nation) to promote pregnancy wellness and breastfeeding success. And, we especially love it when these people ask us to partner with them in their efforts. Here are some of the exciting people and organizations we have been working with over the past several months to reach pregnant and nursing women.
A few months ago, our website caught the eye of Amelia Axness, a senior at Macelester College in St. Paul, MN, studying both German Studies and Biology. Amelia contacted us at here at Fairhaven Health as she was formulating her plans to complete a service project in her hometown of Medford, Oregon. As part of her required coursework, she had been studying the importance of routine prenatal care and nutrition for pregnancy wellness. Through her research in this area, she discovered that the women visiting the Jackson County Department of Health and Human Services Clinic in Medford, OR needed better educational materials about the role that prenatal vitamins play in pregnancy wellness and early development of the fetus. She received a fellowship that covered the cost of developing and printing new educational materials for the women, but, she also hoped to provide these low-income women with free prenatal vitamins. We were happy to help! Here is what Amelia had to say about her amazing project:
“With the help of Fairhaven Health I was able to provide the Jackson County Health and Human Services Clinic in Medford, Oregon with 60 pregnancy kits. The kits included a two-month supply of prenatal vitamins (PregnancyPlus®) along with a brief, easy to understand 4×5 card listing the various vitamins and minerals vital for a healthy pregnancy and lactating period. Many young women who visit the clinic are of low-income and are there for a pregnancy screening. The majority of the women qualify for the Oregon Health Plan (OHP), Oregon’s Medicaid program. The women are also able to receive prenatal vitamins under their OHP policy. However, from the moment they learn that they are pregnant until the time the paperwork is processed and they can finally get a hold of the vitamins, critical windows of development have come and gone. My goal was to provide those women who couldn’t afford the vitamins during that in-between period with the prenatal vitamins. Years ago the clinic actually would give out free prenatal vitamins to expecting mothers, however that program was canceled due to budget cuts. Ideally I would like to see a permanent reinstatement of such a program and continue to work with the clinic to try and provide those women in need.”
Thanks, Amelia, for stepping out to make a difference in your community and for giving Fairhaven Health the opportunity to help you spread the word about pregnancy wellness.
At Fairhaven Health, we support breastfeeding as the optimal feeding choice for moms and babies. But, we also understand that for some women, “choosing” breastfeeding isn’t always easy. Pregnant woman are constantly bombarded with confusing messages about breastfeeding and formula feeding, and even when new moms want to breastfeed, they often lack the information and support (from peers and professionals) they need to breastfeed successfully.
The American Academy of Physicians recommends exclusive breastfeeding for at least the first 6 months of a baby’s life, followed by breastfeeding in combination with the introduction of complementary foods until at least 12 months of age, and continuation of breastfeeding for as long as mutually desired by mother and baby. While we understand that these guidelines might be easily achievable for some women, for other women, achieving these goals requires a Herculean effort. We are committed to helping new moms reach their breastfeeding goals (whatever those goals might be, 1 week to 1 year or longer) and we are proud to partner with several amazing organizations that are working to normalize breastfeeding, provide moms with the evidence-based, unbiased information they need to make a truly informed choice about feeding options, and ensure that moms have the support they need from peers and lactation professionals to successfully breastfeed.
It is our pleasure to support the work of the following breastfeeding organizations in their efforts to make breastfeeding accessible to all moms and babies.
Many new mothers receive their first can of formula for free, from the hospital where they give birth. These “free” samples come at a tremendous cost in terms of breastfeeding success. Cottonwood Kids was created solely to assist in elevating breastfeeding in the eyes of families across the country and to help hospitals and birthing centers create a breastfeeding-friendly environment for their patients. Cottonwood Kids created the Healthy Baby Bag, a useful product designed to store expressed breast milk that is given to new mothers at the hospital where they deliver. Packaged inside the bag are essential breastfeeding product samples and support information for new moms. The Healthy Baby Bag Program was launched in July of 2009, and since then more than 600,000 bags have been sent to more than 500 hospitals around the country.
Best for Babes was founded by Bettina Forbes and Danielle Rigs, two moms eager to change the way breastfeeding is viewed in the United States. Best for Babes is the only mainstream nonprofit dedicated to raising awareness of and removing the barriers (The Breastfeeding Booby Traps™) that keep millions of mothers in the U.S. from achieving their personal breastfeeding goals. The Best for Babes Credo sums up what makes this organization a champion for moms:
- ALL moms deserve to make a truly informed feeding decision and to be cheered on, coached and celebrated without pressure, judgment or guilt.
- ALL breastfeeding moms deserve to achieve their personal breastfeeding goals without being undermined by cultural & institutional Booby Traps.
One of the things that we love most about Best for Babes is that they use style, fun and glamour as weapons in their fight to eliminate the BoobyTraps. Best for Babes recently partnered with Healthy Child Healthy World and actresses Jenna Elfman, Kelly Preston & former boxer Laila Ali, to host the first-ever event (an afternoon tea at the home of Jenna Elfman) to raise awareness among expecting and new celebrity moms about the barriers to breastfeeding and the benefits of toxin-free living in raising healthy children. Fairhaven Health was honored to participate in this event as a contributing sponsor.
The Leaky Boob
Started in 2010, the Leaky Boob consists of an informative blog, an active Facebook page, and a moderated forum. What caught our attention is the amazing community of support that the Leaky Boob Facebook page provides. With over 500 new people participating in the site each week, the Leaky Boob Facebook page provides a safe and convenient place for breastfeeding families to get immediate answers and support for all of the breastfeeding questions and issues that arise. As most new moms will tell you, this 24/7 help and feedback is vital for breastfeeding success. We are proud to support the work that the Leaky Boob is doing to ensure breastfeeding families feel supported and encouraged in their breastfeeding journey.
La Leche League
La Leche League is an international non-profit organization dedicated to breastfeeding awareness and promotion. Their mission is to help mothers worldwide – through support, encouragement, information and education – to obtain a better understanding of the importance of breastfeeding in the healthy development of the baby, as well as the for the emotional and physical health of the mother. We’ve recently had the honor of supporting our local La Leche League group by donating to their fundraising auction. We provided educational brochures for the attendees as well as provided gift baskets of our nursing supplements and products for the auction. As a leading online retailer, we feel lucky to be able to support our local community as well.
Thanks again to all of these passionate people for allowing us to partner with them in lifting up pregnant and nursing women. Wishing you all pregnancy wellness and breastfeeding success!