A Healthy Diet for a Healthy Pregnancy

Amy Grayson-Hyman MS, RD, CDN, CDE

Amy Grayson-Hyman MS, RD, CDN, CDE

How to maximize your nutritional status in preparation for pregnancy.

On the journey to conceive you may find yourself re-evaluating your lifestyle and diet in an effort to create the most ideal environment for your baby to grow. While there is no magic food or diet, there are many things you can do to improve overall wellness and fertility.

How important is your weight status before you get pregnant? Weight is very important in overall health and numerous studies have demonstrated the benefit of achieving a healthy weight in improving fertility. Healthy weight ranges are based on your BMI and the goal BMI range is between 20 and 24. In order to calculate your BMI follow this formula:

Weight in pounds/(height in inches x height in inches) x 703

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Posted in Women's Health

More Hope For Those With PCOS

24499479_sPolycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) affects anywhere from 1 in 10 to 1 in 20 women of childbearing age, making it much more difficult to get pregnant naturally. In the past, in vitro fertilization (IVF) has been helpful for these women, but now a new technique could make getting pregnant even easier for those with PCOS.

PCOS causes women to have irregular menstrual cycles and difficulty ovulating. When undergoing IVF, a woman must take hormone shots for two weeks to stimulate the growth of multiple eggs at a time. Once the eggs are ready, they are harvested and combined with sperm in a laboratory. But women with PCOS often produce too many eggs, which can cause painful and sometimes dangerous hyperstimulation, and these eggs are frequently immature, leading to poor results.

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Posted in Blog, Infertility Contributing Factors, IVF, PCOS

Are You a Candidate for PGD?

PGD IVFPreimplantation Genetic Diagnosis, or PGD, is a screening performed in order to determine whether or not chromosomal or genetic disorders are present in embryos created using in vitro fertilization (IVF). The process is done prior to implantation, allowing couples to make an informed decision on how to proceed.

But how does PGD compare to other screening methods? And, most importantly, are you a candidate for PGD?

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Posted in IVF

How Does Your State Rank?

Every year, RESOLVE—the national infertility association—releases their rankings for each state in how they deal with infertility. This year’s results are in:



There were four things the rankings were based on:

–state insurance mandates (or lack thereof)

–the number of fertility doctors at accredited clinics

–the number of women in the state who experienced physical difficulty getting pregnant or carrying a pregnancy to term

–the number of peer-led RESOLVE infertility support groups

What set apart the top states? “These states all have a pretty decent IVF insurance mandate, so that made all the difference,” according to RESOLVE president and CEO Barb Collura. Clearly many states have room for improvement. The blue-dot states are ones that are at a critical action point, meaning there’s legislation that RESOLVE is concerned about and they want each state’s inhabitants to get involved.

You can get involved in changing the fertility laws in your state by starting a peer-led support group, lobbying for change, and spreading the word about infertility and the help available to deal with it.

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Posted in Blog, Infertility, Research, Study

Consulting a Fertility Specialist

14806728_sYou have made the decision to start a family, but are finding that getting pregnant isn’t always as easy as it seems. If you’ve been trying with no success, it can be frustrating. A doctor can help guide you in the right direction and equip you with the knowledge necessary to overcome infertility, including advising you on treatment options.

After a consultation or before, your doctor refer you to a fertility specialist. This is especially true if you are under the age of 35 and have been trying to conceive for at least a year by having unprotected sex on a regular basis—or, if you are over 35 and have been trying for at least 6 months. In fact, if you are over the age of 35, your doctor may advise you to go straight to a fertility specialist, since egg quality and viability decrease as age increases.

But now what?

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Posted in Fertility Treatments, infertility specialist

Dr. Howard Jones, IVF Pioneer, Passes at 104


An autographed portrait of Dr. Howard Jones, addressed to Dr. Hershlag, in the hallway at the Center for Human Reproduction’s Manhasset office.

Dr. Howard Jones, the pioneer of IVF in the U.S. , passed at the age of 104. How befitting was it that “Dr. Howard,” as anyone who has had contact with him liked to call him, was given a gift of longevity.  Rather than mourn his passing, we should celebrate his life, his legacy. Rarely does one person matter to the lives of so many people. Dr. Howard’s life is a story of a doctor who kept reinventing himself. The young surgeon who operated on over 300 Allied soldiers during WW II, chronicled every single surgery on a separate card, yet not a day went by when he didn’t write a love letter to Georgeana, his life and professional partner.

Upon his return, Dr. Howard led the Ob/Gyn Department at Johns Hopkins and developed a surgical expertise in gynecology that made him the prime surgeon in the country. He would get referrals of many complicated cases in the country and many from abroad. It was in that capacity that he met young Bob Edwards and gave him human eggs to fertilize – experiments that led to the birth of the first IVF baby in England, Louise Brown, in 1978. When Dr. Howard and Georgeana “retired” at the age of 65 from Johns Hopkins, they reinvented themselves by pioneering IVF in the US in Norfolk, Virginia, which led to the birth of Elizabeth Carr, the first US IVF baby, in 1981.  

Dr Howard continued to lead the Jones Institute at Norfolk and inspire the viral spread of IVF in the country and worldwide. Millions of babies, children and adults owe their being to a person they’ve never met who, with humility, wisdom, perseverance and awareness of calling pursued what only 4 decades ago was considered science fiction.

Dr. Howard, you have been a huge inspiration to us fertility doctors. We have climbed on your shoulders to see the infinite terrain that is yet to be conquered. Your legacy will go on forever. And it is encumbered upon us to carry your torch!

- Dr. Avner Hershlag 
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Posted in Avner Hershlag, IVF, News

World Breastfeeding Week 2015

2012-Paul-CarterSaturday marked the beginning of World Breastfeeding Week, a week dedicated to raising awareness for breastfeeding in communities around the world. The week is sponsored by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA), whose organization is focused on the protection, promotion, and support of breastfeeding worldwide.

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Reduce Stress and Increase Fertility


Jenny Cutolo, RN

Infertility can place tremendous stress on any woman and even the strongest relationships. Research shows that these elevated stress levels may contribute to infertility, thus perpetuating the emotional rollercoaster that many of our patients experience. Each couple’s path to conception is unique, but the potential for healing along the way is the same. For some, healing can be physical, while for others it may be more spiritual or emotional. There are a number of different tools that our patients can utilize to cope with their stress in a positive way.

Mind/body approaches show the greatest promise in promoting overall health and wellness. Some techniques that our patients may find helpful are breathing exercises, journaling, and cultivating gratitude.

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Posted in Blog, Improve your Fertility

Anti-Inflammatories Can Impact Fertility

18961617283_21108e3c84_zMany women experience some pain, discomfort or cramping at the onset of their menstrual cycle and often take a pain reliever. But would you continue taking an over-the-counter medication if you knew it might hinder your chances of conceiving?

Dr. Shahryar Kavoussi, a reproductive endocrinologist at St. David’s South Austin Medical Center, explained that the results of the study showed that in as little as 10 days the drugs could take their effect.

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Posted in Blog, Improve your Fertility, Infertility Contributing Factors, Research, Study

Helpful Tips for Detecting Ovulation

ovulationOvulation occurs when the ovary releases a mature egg. That egg then migrates to the fallopian tube and awaits fertilization. For most women of childbearing age, ovulation occurs each month. This means that each month couples that aren’t actively trying to prevent pregnancy, have roughly a 20% chance of conception.

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Posted in Women's Health
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