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Oregon Birth Photographer | PCOS and Infertility

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This is something that is near and dear to my heart. Being a PCOS sufferer myself, I wanted to write about this for a while.  My TTC Journey

My dear husband and I have been TTC for over 5 years now. Without getting into too much details, my story is that I have PCOS. I ovulate sometimes. And I have suffered 5 miscarriages. I have a 12 year old son, however sadly he's not my husbands son. We have been TTC ever since we said "I do". It's been a rough journey, with so much sadness. Only a couple who have gone through this can understand it. 

I think many women don't realize that being able to have a baby is something that women are made for, and when a woman cannot do this, she feels "broken". PCOS breaks you. It messes with your hormones. It messes with your body. It messes with your mind. And sometimes, it destroys families. I am happy to say that my dear husband is very understanding, and does not see me as broken, nor does he feel like I am inadequate. He understands that PCOS is impartial, and his wife has it. 

The reason I wanted to write about PCOS is that so many women today still have no idea what PCOS is, what the symptoms are, what the causes are, and how they can manage it. So I wanted to gather some useful links to sites that are a great resource for every woman with ovaries.

The following information is taken from : http://natural-fertility-info.com/pcos-fertility-diet this is by far my favorite PCOS and Feetility informational websites.

Causes of PCOS

Signs, Symptoms & Risks

Tests & Diagnosis

Menstrual Cycle Irregularities

Medical Options

PCOS Diet

Natural Therapies

Summary

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome may be one of the most complex female health issues of our time. It is the most common endocrine disorder in women of reproductive age. PCOS is accompanied by a variety of different health issues, many of which directly impact fertility. Classic PCOS presents with obesity, polycystic ovaries (multiple ovarian cysts that look like a strand of pearls), elevated levels of androgens and absent or irregular menstrual cycles. Not all women who will go on to be diagnosed with PCOS will have these issues though. What Causes PCOS?

Doctors are unsure of what causes PCOS, but information suggests there are several links including genes, possible abnormal fetal development, insulin resistance and inflammatory response contributing to the cause. We know that insulin resistance plays a key role in PCOS, but what leads to the development of this has not been pinned down. PCOS is also negatively affected by diet, lifestyle and exposure to certain environmental toxins. PCOS directly impacts fertility, but has serious health implications as well, especially if left untreated. Genetic Predisposition and Abnormal Fetal Development

Women whose mothers, sisters or grandmothers had PCOS are at a higher risk for developing PCOS. Research suggests that exposure to excessive amounts of male hormones (androgens) by the developing fetus may alter proper gene expression. This means that the affected genes will not function correctly later in life, which may cause PCOS during the reproductive years of a woman’s life. A recent, first of its kind genome-wide association study of PCOS has identified two areas of DNA that leave women of European ancestry susceptible to developing PCOS. The researchers also found one region of susceptibility in the DNA of Chinese women. Of particular interest was one area of DNA that contains the gene for the hormone FSH (follicle stimulating hormone). This finding provides evidence of disruption of the pathway that regulates FSH and in turn ovarian function which plays a crucial role in the development of PCOS. The human genome project has allowed researchers to pool more than 700,000 genetic markers from the DNA of thousands of women with PCOS. This is what helped them identify regions of genes associated with PCOS.

“For a number of years, researchers had been thinking that it was testosterone produced by the ovary that was a major problem in PCOS, but our study did not find signals for genes regulating testosterone… In contrast, we did find a signal for the FSH gene, which is produced in the pituitary gland at the base of the brain. This suggests that FSH, in either how it acts on the ovary or how it is secreted, is very important in the development of PCOS. This is a new way of thinking about the biology of PCOS.”

– Dr. Andrea Dunaif

Researchers are planning on mining the DNA of women of African ancestry with PCOS next to see if there is a shared genetic basis for PCOS over other ethnicities. Doctors plan to use all of this research to identify girls who may be at-risk for developing PCOS and create a medical treatment protocol to cure it. Another interesting study of 235 women with PCOS sought to discover if there is a link to the development of PCOS later life that may be influenced by factors beginning in the womb. The women were divided into two groups. The groups were categorized by: 1. obese women with elevated androgens, elevated LH and testosterone, and 2. by thin to normal weight women with elevated LH and normal levels of androgens. The results of the study showed a pattern in both the mothers weight and baby’s birth weight and fetal gestation time. The women in group 1 had above-average birth weight and were born to obese mothers. The women in group 2 were born after 40 weeks gestation. The conclusion was that events occurring during fetal development may have long-term effects on endocrine function later in life. Insulin Resistance

Insulin is a hormone produced in the pancreas and is responsible for signaling cells in the body to function correctly, most importantly to convert glucose to energy and to control their growth. It also plays a key role in the metabolism of carbohydrates, lipids and proteins. Insulin resistance happens when the body’s cells become resistant to the effects of insulin. When this happens, higher levels of insulin are needed so that insulin can have the proper effects. At this point, the pancreas must overcompensate, working harder and harder to produce more insulin. Insulin signals the ovaries to secrete testosterone and inhibit hepatic sex-hormone binding globulin (SHBG) production which leads to an increased level of circulating testosterone. This is why many women with PCOS experience acne, facial hair growth and male pattern baldness (hirsutism). Excess insulin in the bloodstream also signals the ovaries to release more estrogen which can suppress ovulation. Low-grade Inflammation

It has also been found that women with PCOS have low-grade inflammation, which may be a cause for insulin resistance. White blood cells produce substances to fight infection, this is known as inflammatory response. In some predisposed people eating certain foods, or exposure to certain environmental factors may trigger an inflammatory response. When inflammatory response is triggered, white blood cells produce substances that may contribute to insulin resistance and atherosclerosis. Signs, Symptoms and Health Risks

Signs and Symptoms of PCOS Irregular menstrual cycles

Absent period

Anovulatory cycles

Abnormal mid-cycle bleeding

Excessive or heavy menstrual bleeding

Alopecia (balding)

Hirsutism (excessive body hair)

Acne

Acanthosis nigricans – a darkening of the skin in the armpits, back of the neck, or groin

Polycystic ovaries

History of ovarian cysts

Mood disorders

Obesity

Recurrent Miscarriage

Health and Fertility Risks Associated with PCOS Infertility

Menstrual cycle irregularities

Possible increased risk for endometrial and breast cancer due to unopposed estrogen

Cardiovascular disease

Diabetes

Gestational diabetes How is PCOS Diagnosed?

When PCOS was first discovered it was named Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome because of the presence of polycystic ovaries seen by ultrasound. Over time doctors began to realize that PCOS was a complex array of health issues. To date there is a push by doctors to change the name of this condition. “Patients read into the name and just think, ‘Okay, this is about my ovaries, it’s really not about anything else…’ But from a doctor’s perspective, the most worrisome aspects of the disorder are the long-term consequences, such as diabetes.,” said Dr. Melissa Goist, ObGyn. (Livescience, 2013). This led to certain criteria that must be recognized to be diagnosed with PCOS, rather than just the presence of polycystic ovaries. In fact some women with PCOS do not have polycystic ovaries. In order to be diagnosed with PCOS the following should be evaluated by your healthcare practitioner: Pituitary and Ovarian Hormone serum levels: Luteinizing Hormone (LH)

Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH)

Estradiol

Progesterone

Prolactin

Circulating Androgens: Free testosterone

Free androgen index (FAI): 17-hydroxyprogesterone

Sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG): 24 hr. urinary free cortisol

Dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEA-S)

Endometrial Biopsy

Glucose Tolerance Test

Thyroid Panel

Blood Lipid Profile Are you wondering what your test results mean? Please talk to your doctor in detail about what your test results mean for your fertility. Some doctors may tell you that you have mild PCOS. Women may have some or all of the symptoms of PCOS, some may have normal menstrual cycles and some may not. Testing is the best way to find out if you have PCOS for sure or not. Click here to learn more about the different presentations of PCOS… How PCOS Affects the Menstrual Cycle

What happens in a normal menstrual cycle? In very simple terms the hypothalamus produces GnRH (gonadotrophin-releasing hormone) which signals to the pituitary to produce LH (luteinising hormone) and FSH (follicle stimulating hormone). The release of GnRH is pulsatile in women with regular menstrual cycles. The normal pulsatile release of GnRh signals some of the follicles in the ovary to begin maturing and for the ovaries to release estrogen and progesterone. This estrogen/progesterone signal is recognized by the pituitary gland. As the follicles begin maturing they release and increase the hormone estrogen over time. The rising estrogen level signals the pituitary gland to curb the release of FSH. This communication allows for ovulation to occur. In women with PCOS the menstrual cycle follows a different pattern of endocrine function and communication. What the menstrual cycle is typically like in a woman with PCOS… In women with PCOS the menstrual cycle starts off irregular, with the hypothalamus releasing GnRH in a higher than normal pulsatile frequency. This allows for increased LH and decreased FSH, which in turn leads to excessive production of the androgens androstenedione and testosterone. This causes the follicle to only mature some, but not enough to achieve full maturity in order to be released for ovulation. This also allows for continued increase of estrogen, primarily estrone. During a woman’s reproductive years, estrone levels are relatively low. Typically we associate estrone with menopause, not the the fertile years of a woman’s life. The higher levels of androgens and estrogen create a chronic state of low to very low progesterone and anovulatory cycles. Classic polycystic ovaries are a result of chronic anovulation. Endocrine function is imbalanced from the very beginning of the menstrual cycle causing mild to severe hormonal imbalance, depending on the individual. Excessive levels of estrogen may also cause uterine hypertrophy, also known as endometrial hyperplasia. Unopposed estrogen may cause excessive cell proliferation of the endometrium. The endometrium is the innermost layer of the uterus that is shed as menses during menstruation. Endometrial hyperplasia may cause heavy menstrual bleeding or prolonged bleeding during menstruation. The uterus may become bulky and larger than normal. Medical Options for PCOS

Anovulatory Cycles Oral Contraceptive Pills (birth control) are the number one most prescribed medication to regulate menstruation in women with PCOS. While this may help to create a regular menstrual cycle (which is important) it prevents pregnancy. This is not helpful for women with PCOS who are trying to conceive. OCPs do not solve the root of the problem and may actually cause long-term reproductive health problems.

Other hormonal medications may be commonly used as well. This is determined by case. Clomid is commonly used for women with PCOS to hyperstimulate the ovaries to ovulate. Once again the problem we encounter here is that Clomid does not resolve PCOS, though it may help a woman to get pregnant. Ovarian drilling done by laparascopic surgery. This is done with the intent to stimulate ovulation. Insulin Resistance Metformin

This drug is commonly prescribed for women with PCOS, even if they are not insulin resistant or have any signs of type 2 diabetes. Metformin helps to control the amount of glucose in the blood. Metformin is used to treat type 2 diabetes. PCOS can often be helped by specific diet changes, similar to a diabetic diet. Metformin comes with risks and side effects, please talk to your doctor in detail before choosing to use Metformin to control PCOS. Many natural therapies may be used with Metformin with your doctor’s approval.

Note: Long-term treatment with Metformin has been shown to cause malabsorption of vitamin B12 in some patients. Before choosing to use this medication, talk to your doctor about the long-term goal and duration of treatment. There are a variety of other medications prescribed depending on the symptoms of PCOS. There are medications for hirsutism or alopecia, weight gain and more. Your doctor can provide you with specific information on medications. Learn to Eat a PCOS Fertility Diet

Eating a specific PCOS Fertility Diet is one of the best things you can do to improve your chances of becoming pregnant. Eating a specific PCOS Fertility Diet is one of the best things you can do to improve your chances of becoming pregnant.The biggest part of the problem with PCOS is insulin resistance. Resistance to insulin increases the body’s insulin levels which can have a negative affect on ovulation by limiting the maturation process of an egg and in turn delaying or preventing ovulation from taking place. Insulin resistance also makes it difficult for the embryo to attach properly to the uterus for implantation. This has a direct impact on your fertility and ability to conceive. Women with insulin resistance are 4-5 times more likely to have a miscarriage. PCOS is also a huge red flag for the beginning of type 2 diabetes. I do not say all this to scare you, but I do want you to know that this is a serious matter. Fortunately, there are many natural options you can do on your own to turn this all around. The biggest step you can take is to change your diet to a PCOS diet. The benefits of following a PCOS Diet are: Increases the rate of spontaneous ovulation

Significantly improves the environment of the uterus, preparing it for implantation

Increases the likelihood of a healthy conception

Decreases the potential for miscarriage

Helps to prevent insulin resistance from turning into diabetes

PCOS Diet Guidelines

1. Balance your daily protein intake with an equal amount of carbohydrates This will help to eliminate the insulin yo-yo. When you eat equal amounts of protein and carbohydrates this helps to keep your insulin at a balanced level, thus increasing your fertility. A low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet helped insulin resistance. A high-carbohydrate, low-protein diet made insulin resistance worse.

– Medical Journal Metabolism; no. 12: 1481-1487 A diet containing 25% carbohydrates improved insulin resistance, whereas a diet that included 45% carbohydrates did not.

– International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders; 20 no. 12:1067-1072 The types of carbohydrates you choose are also an important factor. Choose whole grain, or sprouted grain products. They contain more protein and fiber (better for balancing insulin levels) than their processed counterparts. Avoid processed carbohydrates, especially the white variety (white flour, rice, potato, etc.) which cause a spike in insulin levels and provide little to no fiber, or nutrients. Some examples of whole grain and sprouted grain products are: Ezekiel Bread Ezekiel breads

Spelt

Quinoa

Millet

Brown Rice

Buckwheat

Amaranth

The best place to find these foods are at your local health foods store or Whole Foods Market. Make sure the proteins you are eating are complete and organic. Organic meats and dairy contain essential fatty acids and will reduce the negative impact on hormonal imbalance. 2. Eat foods low on the glycemic index and glycemic load list Blood glucose rises and then falls when you eat a meal containing carbs. How high it rises and how long it remains high depends on the kind of carbs (glycemic index, GI) and the amount you ate (glycemic load, GL). Low glycemic index foods are carbohydrates that break down slowly in the body, and don’t cause such a dramatic spike and then drop in insulin levels. The glycemic load takes into consideration the amount of the glycemic index food you consumed and how that affects your blood sugar. The glycemic load combines both the quality and quantity of carbohydrate into one ‘number’. It’s the best way to predict blood glucose values of different types and amounts of food. The serving size of the amount of carbohydrates consumed really matter here. Be sure to eat no more than 100g of low glycemic index carbohydrates a day if you have insulin resistant PCOS and are overweight. Increase the amount of low glycemic index carbohydrates consumed a day to over 100g if you are thinner or underweight. Some examples of low glycemic index foods are: Kale, broccoli, asparagus

Beans and lentils

Grapefruit and apples

Walnuts and almonds

Processed carbohydrates that break down quickly make insulin levels jump dramatically. Avoid foods that have a high glycemic index such as sugary and starchy foods such as: pancakes, syrups, sugar, white potatoes, jams, scones, white bread products, pasta, soda, alcoholic beverages. Click here to learn how to make low GI fertility smoothies friendly for PCOS… 3. Eat a diet high in fiber Fiber helps in two ways with PCOS. The first way it helps is by slowing down the digestion of sugars in the body, so there is no spike in insulin. The second way fiber helps is by promoting healthy estrogen metabolism which aids in the reduction of elevated levels of androgens. Great sources of fiber are: broccoli, celery, whole grains, Ezekiel bread, apples, and dark leafy greens. 4. Eat 5 meals a day PCOS portion size plateBy eating more often, the body will not go into fasting mode. When you look at the way most Americans eat, it is usually three big meals a day. With such a large gap of time between meals the body goes into fasting mode which may cause the metabolism to become imbalanced. Your five meals a day should consist of three regular meals and two healthy snacks, or 5 small meals. The first snack should be eaten in the mid-morning before lunch and the second snack to be eaten less than an hour before bed. At each meal a day be sure you are eating a serving of protein (3-4 ounces), a low GI/GL carbohydrate (1/4-1/2 cup or serving size), and vegetables (1 – 1 & 1/2 cup). Here is what the 5 meals a day could look like: Breakfast (right away, when you wake up): 2 eggs scrambled in 1 tsp. coconut oil with spinach and 1/2 cup of black beans

Snack: Smoothie with unsweetened coconut or almond milk, 1/2 of a peach, 1/4 tsp. of ground cinnamon, hemp protein powder and spirulina

Lunch: Organic Turkey lettuce wrap with celery sticks and hummus on the side

Dinner: Organic chicken with steamed broccoli and half a cup of baked yam

Snack (less than an hour before bed): organic unsweetened yogurt with half a serving of low glycemic index fruit (blueberries, raspberries, papaya) and 1/2 tsp. chia seeds

Alternately, you could have your last snack between lunch and dinner, eating your dinner right before bed. Find out what works best with your lifestyle. 5. Eat essential fatty acids daily Eating essential fatty acids (EFA’s) helps you to lose weight, aids hormonal balance, and are important building blocks for the body to create a healthy environment for conception. The best source of omega-3 EFA’s is Cod Liver Oil, and omega-6 EFA’s is Evening Primrose oil. Cod Liver Oil– Take 1 capsule daily with one of your meals. Cod Liver Oil is a rich source of DHA which is essential for a developing baby’s brain health. You can take this daily and during pregnancy. Evening Primrose Oil– Take 1500mg of this oil from day one of your cycle (menstruation) till ovulation. Evening Primrose Oil helps to increase cervical mucous and metabolic function. Use in addition to flax or cod liver oils. 6. Exercise for 30 minutes, 5 days a week Exercise helps PCOS by improving insulin sensitivity, increasing metabolism and helping to shed any excess weight. Both aerobic and resistance exercises are good. Researchers found that participants of resistance exercises showed better improvement in insulin sensitivity than with aerobic exercise alone. Avoid excessive exercise programs because too much exercise overworks the adrenal glands which increases inflammation and in turn makes PCOS worse. Restorative exercise programs are best. You could walk and lift weights, or take a Pilates class and run on the treadmill, or do some Zumba and then Fertility Yoga. Discover what you enjoy doing and do this 5 days a week for at least thirty minutes a day. 7. Eat Organic You will be eating a high protein diet, so it is essential that any animal proteins (meats and dairy) you are eating are organic. In commercial meats there are large amounts of added hormones (estrogens) that make the animals grow bigger, faster, and produce more milk. With PCOS there is usually a progesterone deficiency and adding more estrogens can make it even worse. Studies have shown that organic foods contain more vitamins, minerals and healthier proteins. 8. Quit Coffee Caffeine increases estrogen levels. A study from Fertility and Sterility shows that drinking just two cups of coffee a day boosts levels of estradiol, a natural estrogen. Women who drink 4-5 cups of coffee a day produce 70% more estrogen in the follicular phase of the menstrual cycle (when the body is trying to produce a viable follicle for ovulation, which is already an issue for women with PCOS.) If you need help getting off the bean, check out Teeccino. It is a coffee alternative that tastes great and is alkalizing for the body. Click here to learn more about Teechino and other herbal coffee alternatives…

PCOS Herbs and Supplements

Important note: It takes at least 6-12 months of consistent lifestyle and diet changes, along with natural therapies to bring about real change in the body when living with PCOS. In addition to eating the PCOS diet, supplements have shown to be effective in helping those with PCOS boost their fertility and give birth to healthy babies. The overall goal with PCOS is to balance blood sugar levels, maintain hormonal balance, promote healthy digestion for improved estrogen metabolism, while also working to promote regular ovulation and menses. Adaptogen herbs are also important, this is because adaptogens increase resistance to mind-body stress and enhance overall vitality and health through non-specific adrenal (known as stress glands) support. Plants recognized as adaptogens help to normalize the body’s functions, most importantly the endocrine system, even during diseased states, are non-toxic, nutritive, and have been deemed safe for long term use. Herbs and supplements are not meant to be a substitute for dietary and lifestyle changes! If diet and lifestyles changes specific to PCOS are not in place, herbs and supplements cannot aid the body properly! Supplements That Are Beneficial for PCOS… Whole Food Multivitamin

A major part of decreasing the effects of PCOS on your health and preparing the uterine lining is to take a prenatal multivitamin. Making sure your body has all of the nutrients necessary is a lot easier when you are taking a whole food multivitamin. Synthetic multivitamins won’t have the same effect. Other vitamin and mineral considerations… Chromium

This trace mineral enhances the action of insulin. Some studies have shown supplementing with chromium may improve blood sugar control. In one study, women with PCOS were given 1,000 mcg per day of chromium for two months and in that time results showed improved insulin sensitivity by 30% in average weight women and by 38% in obese women with PCOS.

Foods that are high in chromium are onions, tomatoes, brewer’s yeast, oysters, whole grains, and bran. Most foods contain very little chromium, so supplementation may need to be considered. Calcium and Vitamin D

Both calcium and vitamin D play significant roles in the health of many parts of the body. Where PCOS is concerned, calcium protects cardiovascular health. Vitamin D plays a role in glucose metabolism. Studies have shown that people with type 2 diabetes are often deficient in vit. D. A small study of 13 women with PCOS showed that 7 out of the 9 who had absent or irregular menstrual cycles, had a return of normal menstrual cycles within two months after being given 50,000 IU once or twice per week of vitamin D and 1,500 mg per day of calcium. This is a marked improvement! Of the 13 women, 5 were shown to be vitamin D deficient. Good food sources of vitamin D are cod liver oil, eggs, salmon, mackerel, tuna and whole fat yogurt or other dairy products. Vitamin D can also be obtained for free by sitting out in the sun for 15 to 20 minutes per day. Forget using sunscreen it will actually block the ultraviolet light that is needed to produce Vitamin D. The warm sun helps your skin to create Vitamin D3 that is then transformed into the active hormone form of Vitamin D by the kidneys and the liver. In fact, by being out in the sun for just a few minutes a day, a woman’s body can create between 10,000 to 25,000 IU of Vitamin D. Calcium can be found in kale, turnips, collards, mustard greens, kelp and wakame seaweed. Hiziki, a type of seaweed has 10 times more calcium than a glass of milk. Herbs and supplements that promote hormonal balance and support regular ovulation: Cod Liver Oil Again, cod liver oil is a rich source of omega-3 EFA’s. Eating omega-3 essential fatty acids can help to lose weight, balance hormones, and creates a healthy environment for conception. Omega-3 EFA’s have been shown to aid hormonal regulation and reduce inflammation. Licorice root (Glycyrrhiza glabra) Licorice root helps the body to maintain proper hormone production and release. Licorice also supports healthy insulin levels and liver health which is important for women with PCOS. Maca (Lepidium meyenii) Maca works to balance estrogen and progesterone in the body which may help to encourage a healthy menstrual cycle. Maca is an adaptogen and an incredible fertility superfood. It helps to balance the hormones, but does not contain any hormones itself. It is able to do this by nourishing the endocrine system. Vitex (Vitex agnus-castus) Vitex (Chaste Tree Berry) is one of the most powerful herbs for women’s fertility and menstrual health. There are numerous studies and testimonials of Vitex and its effects on the body. Vitex supports hormonal balance in the body by having an effect on the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis (hormonal feedback loop), correcting the problem at the source. Tribulus (Tribulus terrestris) Tribulus has been found to help encourage regular ovulation in infertile women when used prior to ovulation. This herb has been found to be wonderful in aiding women with menstrual irregularities, improving the timing of the entire menstrual cycle. Tribulus has also been found to be a nourishing tonic for the female reproductive system as a whole, especially concerning the ovaries. White Peony (Paeonia lactiflora) and Licorice Rt. (Glycyrrhiza glabra) Most clinical trials have found that when White Peony is combined with Licorice Rt., it performs better, especially for relaxing muscles, reducing painful menstruation, as well as lowering serum and free testosterone levels in women with PCOS. Natural Progesterone Cream Progesterone cream can help to oppose estrogen dominance that may occur in some women with PCOS. Through the topical application of progesterone cream one can mimic a natural cycle and help the body to establish its own cycle, including ovulation, once again. Dr. John Lee believed that with progesterone cream, along with changing to a PCOS specific diet and regularly exercising, PCOS could become obsolete. Healthy Estrogen Metabolism DIM DIM balances the hormones and aids in the breakdown of estrogen. Estrogen is a major culprit to many of the fertility issues women face today including PCOS. Unopposed estrogen has been shown to cause menstrual cycle irregularities and in more advanced cases, endometrial hyperplasia. Removal of excess estrogen is vital to overall hormonal balance in women with PCOS. Insulin Resistance Cinnamon (Cinnamomum spp.) A pilot study published in 2007 by Fertility and Sterility showed cinnamon to greatly reduce insulin resistance in women with PCOS. Another study suggests cinnamon may also reduce insulin resistance by slowing the movement of food from the stomach to the small intestine. This slows the breakdown of carbohydrates, which is important for people with diabetes and women with PCOS. Gymnema (Gymnema sylvestre, G.sylvestris) Gymnema has been used for hundreds of years to reduce high blood sugar. This herb has a “sugar blocking” action on taste buds and the small intestine. Gymnema blocks the typical paths that sugar molecules take during digestion, delaying the absorption of sugar. It works by stimulating the regeneration of pancreatic cells that produce insulin, which aids in more insulin production; in turn stimulating production of enzymes that help with the uptake of glucose into cells; and then prevents stimulation of the liver to produce more glucose. Gymnema also appears to have a lipid-lowering effect, which aids in weight loss. Hirsutism and Endometrial Hyperplasia Saw Palmetto (Serenoa repens) Saw Palmetto has been found to inhibit DHT production by reducing 5 alpha-reductase production, which may help prevent hirsutism in women with PCOS. This herb also helps to reduce endometrial hyperplasia and hormonal acne symptoms. To purchase a harmonizing herbal blend supportive of hormonal balance click here… Inflammatory response

Because women with PCOS usually have low-grade inflammation constantly present in the body, it is important to support the body by promoting a healthy inflammation response. Some foods are known to trigger inflammation in the body. If you have food allergies, avoid foods which you are sensitive to because they trigger an inflammatory response. Omegas Omega essential fatty acids decrease the risk of inflammation, especially omega-3 and 6. Getting enough essential fatty acids in the diet may help, both through foods you eat and through supplementation. Systemic Enzyme Therapy Systemic Enzyme Therapy or using systemic enzymes is another option. Systemic enzyme blends work as a biological response modifier; working with the bodies own immune defense system to moderate inflammatory response. They also break down the proteins in the blood that cause inflammation. Royal Jelly and Bee Propolis Royal jelly and bee propolis have been shown to reduce inflammation and naturally boost the body’s immune system. They may also aid in hormonal balance through endocrine system support. Click here to learn about other herbs helpful for women with PCOS…

Summary

PCOS is a complex female health issue. It consists of many different health concerns and risks. If permanent diet and lifestyle changes are implemented, these risks and health issues may become obsolete. There are many ways to support the proper health of a woman’s body that is dealing with PCOS. Important key tips… 1. Make sure your doctor performs the correct tests and you get a proper diagnosis. 2. Follow a PCOS specific diet to help decrease insulin resistance, balance weight, and improve estrogen metabolism. 3. Promote hormonal balance and support regular ovulation through supportive herbs and supplements. 4. Support a proper inflammatory response. 5. Stick to your plan, believe in yourself, only you have the ability to change your circumstances!

Portland Birth Photographer | The Art of Birth

As a Birth Photographer in Portland Oregon, Your baby's birth is one of the most timeless and momentous occasions of your life. Whether it is your first or fifth child, no two births are ever alike. Nothing compares to the moment you meet your little one for the first time. The beautiful beginnings of a new family, new traditions, and a new life. Sadly, these memories can fade so quickly. I can barely remember what happened during the first hour after I delivered my son. Adrenaline and excitement clouds your memory. Birth photography helps capture & preserve these precious memories for you. Parents at that time are so focused on a million different things- the health of mom, the health of baby, the pain! Who wants to think about taking pictures at a time like this?! That's where I come in! Wouldn't you rather hold your partners hand during this special time, than be distracted by taking photographs?

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I regret not hiring a birth photographer for my son's birth.

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Portland Oregon Birth Photographer | 15 Tips by Trimester for First-time Pregnant Moms

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As a Portland Birth Photographer I wanted to share somethings that I get asked a lot! What to expect when you are pregnant? While that is a hard question to answer, here is a good attempt:

The countdown is on – the final days are here! I’ve nested, prepped, packed, organized, re-organized, and been thinking and reflecting a lot. Over the last 40 weeks (and even some time before that) I received a lot of advice about being pregnant – some good, some terrible – but thought I would pay forward some of the most useful tidbits. So, here goes!

15 Tips for first-time pregnant moms

First Trimester

1. Find the right care provider for you.  Just because you’ve been going to the same OB for the last 10 years doesn’t mean they are a good fit for you and your baby. For us, we found great midwives and a hypnobirthing coach. They have made this whole experience 10,000 times better than I ever could have imagined. So, explore your options… and don’t feel guilty about it!

2. Don’t read pregnancy books (or internet discussion boards) that cause you anxiety. Sorry, What to Expect When You’re Expecting, but you are kind of scary. And Google? You are way too quick to lead me to believe that there is something majorly wrong with the little cramp I just felt “down there.” There is such a thing as too much information, and it’s really hard to avoid but… try to stay away. If you really think something is wrong, call your care provider before trying to self-diagnose.

3. Buy a nightlight for your bathroom. During the first and third trimesters I’ve spent more time peeing in the middle of the night than I can count; the overhead light in the bathroom was too jarring and I found it hard enough to navigate my way there without stepping on the dog, any of his toys, or walking into the wall half asleep. That little beacon of light coming from the bathroom has saved me many times… best five dollars I’ve spent!

4. Go easy on the maternity clothes. I mean, maternity pants are kind of amazing and I never want to wear anything with a normal waistband again but… save some money this trimester. Pick up very few essentials that you really need (for me, it was a pair of black maternity slacks and a new bra) and wear the hell out of them until you have a better idea of how your body is changing as you go.

5. Find your support system. Find family, friends, a new mom group, La Leche League, whatever works for you! Make a point to stay engaged, ask questions, and meet new moms. Having the support as you go through pregnancy and beyond is invaluable. As one of the midwives at the birthing center said, “When you grow babies together, you form lifelong friendships.” Truth!

Second Trimester

6. Go away – no, really! Whatever it is that will help you relax – time away with your partner, your friends, or just you… make a point to get away and enjoy it.

7. Cross major items off your to-do list. Get the nursery set, finish projects around the house, and tie up loose ends before third trimester exhaustion creeps up.

8. Take a childbirth class and learn about your rights as a patient and parent. The more you know, the better off you and your baby are during birthing and beyond. Decide what type of birth experience you want to have, learn everything you can about the procedures in place where you’re birthing (from what you can do during labor, what tools do they have available to help you, to what their procedures are for the baby after birth including tests, vaccines, etc.) and then decide if it’s a good fit for your family.

9. Sleep a lot (and write down your crazy dreams). Sleeping was one of my favorite parts of the second trimester – for me, I was still sleeping comfortably and wasn’t peeing as often as I was during the first or third trimester. And those crazy pregnancy dreams? Write them down and share them with people (if they aren’t too weird) because they are hilarious.

10. Back to those maternity clothes. It’s probably time to expand your wardrobe – see what you can borrow from friends or find second-hand; save your money to buy a really cute outfit for your shower or maternity photo shoot if you’re doing one. Other than the hand-me-downs I received, my go-to shopping spots for a few necessities (which I’ve worn to death) included the clearance racks at Macy’s, Target, and Kohl’s.

11. Start looking for a Maternity and Newborn Photographer. It’s probably time to start indulging in your glow. Your pregnant and you want the world to know! Finding a professional Maternity / Newborn Photographer is a worthy investment and requires some time and research. But don't overwhelm yourself. Call and speak with the photographer you have your eye on, and see if you click. Chemistry is very important. Also make sure he or she practices Newborn Photography safely. Make a list of who you like and don't like. Sleep on it. When you are ready, make the call! It is important to book early to ensure a smooth photo session and secure your booking.

Third trimester:

12. Everything is harder on your body so celebrate the small victories – and ask for help. Honestly, I didn’t even feel that pregnant (other than my bout with morning sickness) until I hit the third trimester. All of a sudden everything was harder and I needed help with things… I hateasking for help. My low point came at the end of a long day at work when I found that I could not comfortably reach down to unclasp my sandals; I decided my small victory for the day was getting them on in the first place, and then sucked it up and asked my husband to reverse-Cinderella the shoes off my feet.

13. Time to BOOK that Photographer! Now that you have had some time to sleep on it, it's time to BOOK! Booking a Maternity or Newborn photographer should be done as early as possible. Many photographers offer "Belly to Baby" packages. These offer the most value because you are capturing the glow of your pregnancy, and your newborn baby all in one. Your session should take place between 30-36 weeks, so booking 2-3 months in advance should be sufficient. And your Newborn session should be done when the baby is 6-14 days old. But that's not a rule! Remember, professional photographers are an investment, and as those little tiny toes grow into huge feet, you will see that it's a worthy one!

14. Savor the time your baby is in your belly… it’s almost over! I have felt nothing but amazement every time I feel the baby move (OK, and a little bit of discomfort during those kicks and punches to the cervix) or wake up and see that my belly has grown. It’s just SO cool! As excited as I am to meet the little guy or girl, I’m a bit sad that pregnancy is almost over. Baby is safe and always with you when they’re in your belly. It’s a special time – so take every opportunity you can to soak it in.

15. Put a waterproof pad underneath your fitted sheet. Your body will continue to do things that are out of your control, and you will appreciate the waterproof pad saving your bedding if your boobs leak/you pee yourself/your water breaks at night/etc. at any given point in time from here on out. After baby comes, use it for any and all of the inevitable messes you’ll be dealing with.

16. Stock up! It’s helped me mentally prepare for a big change knowing that I have easy-to-eat-with-one-hand meals in the freezer, ready to go, and that I’ve stocked the house with necessities and recommendations from friends like:

  • Post-birth goodies: chux pads, maxi pads (yes, like the ones you used in middle school), mesh underwear (the least sexy underwear you’ll ever put on, or so I hear), Preparation-H wipes (in case that happens, again)
  • Baby essentials: diapers, wipes, shampoo, gentle laundry detergent, clothes
  • Kitchen goods: paper towels, dish soap, napkins, dried & canned goods
  • Bathroom supplies: toilet paper, shampoo, soap
  • Other important stuff: bottles of wine, cheese, updated netflix queue for middle-of-the-night feedings

17. Make a wishlist – plenty of people (family and friends, near and far) will ask what they can help with. Be ready with an answer (or two). Don’t be afraid to take someone up on their offer of walking the dog, throwing in a load of laundry, or even picking up a few things for you at the store. People want to help, but sometimes don’t know what to do so… help them help you and be ready with that wishlist!

If nothing else… enjoy every minute of your pregnancy – the easy days and the hard ones. This is just the beginning of a fantastic journey so keep a journal, take pictures, and savor it.

What did I miss? I know there’s more great advice out there from moms and mom-to-bes! Leave your advice in the comments!

 

Source: 15 Tips by Trimester for First-time Pregnant Moms

Serious Cuteness!

Dear Photo lovers, today I have the distinct pleasure of introducing you to this little munchkin, who's officially 10 days new!

I think we can all agree: His hair & cheeks, should earn him a spot on the cover of every baby magazine in the nation! Seriously, I'm practically melting from cuteness overload!

Anyway, as you can see from the pictures below, he and I had one of the best sessions together. His mom, Cori prepared by trying to keep him awake for 2 hours prior to our session. Her preparation efforts allowed us to have an especially awesome shoot together.

This little guy slept through 80% of the session. And when he wasn't sleeping, he was happy, calm, relaxed, and cuddly. He couldn’t have been any better.

“I was 2 days away from my due date, but I was very relaxed.” says Cori.

Because the shoot went so well, I asked Cori if she would share one helpful piece of advice with other mothers planning a newborn session (See – I've got your back, moms around the world). Her biggest piece of advice is: “Schedule Early! I waited till last minute."

Without further adieu,

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KEYWORDS: MONTROSE FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHER, PASADENA FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHER, GLENDALE FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHER, LA CANADA FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHER, LA CRESCENTA FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHER, MONTROSE NEWBORN MATERNITY PHOTOGRAPHER.

Cori's Maternity Mini-Session

Absolutely in Love with these images! The dress is amazing, and the colors are just gorgeous! This mama to be is glowing, and I'm glad I was able to capture these beautiful moments. Each pregnancy is different, each birth is different, and each child is different. Taking maternity photos gives the advantage of capturing a snapshot of how you feel while carrying your baby. Children love seeing photos of their Mommy's carrying them in their bellies. HAVE YOU BOOKED YOUR SESSION YET?

To BOOK NOW MashaGPhotog@gmail.com

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KEYWORDS: MONTROSE FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHER, PASADENA FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHER, GLENDALE FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHER, LA CANADA FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHER, LA CRESCENTA FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHER, MONTROSE NEWBORN MATERNITY PHOTOGRAPHER.

Kim Collection

nbi-1-2 nbi-1-3 nbi-1 nbi-1-3 nbi-1-8 nbi-1-9 nbi-1 nbi-1-12 nbi-1 nbi-1-2 nbi-1-3 KEYWORDS: MONTROSE FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHER, PASADENA FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHER, GLENDALE FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHER, LA CANADA FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHER, LA CRESCENTA FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHER, MONTROSE NEWBORN MATERNITY PHOTOGRAPHER.

Why I LOVE Making MY OWN PROPS?

FullSizeRender Photography props are very important for both the photographer and the client. As the photographer I want to deliver exactly what my client desires. The look of the photos are of highest importance to my clients. If you want a timeless classic look, or something more bohemian, props make that happen.

If you know me personally, you will know that I am a mini "Mother Nature" type of person. I buy fluoride free toothpaste. I shop ONLY at Trader Joe's and Whole Foods.  I believe the cure to anything can be found in nature, and I have a reverse osmosis water filtration system. In a nutshell, I like things "ORGANIC" & "OLD SCHOOL".

So why make my own props? Simple. It is the easiest way to bring all of that into my photography. When I am making my own props, I envision a part of myself in that prop. Whether I am crocheting a hat, a blanket, or a wrap, or gluing flowers on head bands, IT-IS-ME! At that point I have created something completely unique. Something that only I can offer. And that transforms over into my photography. When I see a pice of art in my clients nursery or bedroom, and the baby in the photo is wrapped in the wrap that I hand made, and the tie back that I created, I feel the greatest joy!

Do you have a personal prop or family heirloom that you would like to use in your session? I want to know about it! What is it? Do you have a picture of it? Why is it so important? What is the STORY behind it?  Post below, or email me: MashaGPhotog@gmail.com I'd love to hear from you!

-Masha Georgiev

www.MashaGeorgievPhotography.com

"If you enjoyed this post, I’d be very grateful if you’d help it spread by emailing it to a friend, or sharing it on Twitter or Facebook. Thank you!" -Masha

KEYWORDS: MONTROSE FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHER, PASADENA FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHER, GLENDALE FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHER, LA CANADA FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHER, LA CRESCENTA FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHER, MONTROSE NEWBORN MATERNITY PHOTOGRAPHER, PHOTOGRAPHY PROPS, DIY PROPS, DIY.

Why hire a Newborn Photographer?

1) So that YOU and the father can be in some of the pictures too!   Even though you’re not feeling 100%, I truly believe that this is important so that your child can see one day how excited you both were to have her/him.  Plus, you will probably have many pictures of your husband and the baby, but not enough of yourself in them!  

2) They are only this little once!  We all know that babies grow tremendously fast.  The newborn portraits that you see on my website are usually taken within the first 4-7 days after birth while they sleep deeply and are flexible to get into those curled up poses. The “fresh newborn” look of a baby does not last very long and babies grow and change every day. Many times baby acne appears after that 2 week mark. Having a baby is a HUGE thing and deserves to be captured in quality photography. You have a limited time frame to get these photos done, so hire a professional to document/record one of the most precious times in your child’s life.

3) You won’t have the time or the energy.  The first two weeks after  birth is such a difficult adjustment time for the parents.  In-between late night feedings, caring for the new baby and recovering from delivery….  I didn’t have any energy to grab my camera and photograph my baby until he was  past 2 weeks old. :(

Lastly, you won’t want to hand your sweet new baby over to just any photographer.  You want someone who is trained to safely handle newborns.  Posing a newborn baby is a great responsibility – their little bodies are still adjusting to life outside the womb.  You must be able to trust the photographer to hold your precious little one.  After being on the “other side” and in front of the camera, I learned more about the importance of my career – I am capturing a moment in time that can never be replicated.  Also,  I am so thankful to my past clients who had spent time with me while they were still recovering from delivery and more importantly, putting their trust in me and my photography!

KEYWORDS: MONTROSE FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHER, PASADENA FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHER, GLENDALE FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHER, LA CANADA FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHER, LA CRESCENTA FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHER, MONTROSE NEWBORN MATERNITY PHOTOGRAPHER.