Everything You Need to Know About IVF

IVF-imageIn Vitro Fertilization(IVF), is a procedure in which a woman’s eggs are combined with a man’s sperm inside of a laboratory dish along with a special culture that allows them to survive outside the woman’s body. The dish is kept in an incubator and closely monitored by lab staff to watch for fertilization and cell division to occur. Once the eggs have developed into embryos, they can be transferred back into the woman’s body. This process has helped thousands of couples conceive children who otherwise may not have been able to, yet many are still unaware what IVF is, and how it works. In this post, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about In Vitro Fertilization.


IVF has a long history leading up to the first successful human baby being born in 1978 in England. You may be surprised to know that research on this subject goes back to the early 20th century, most notably funded by the Rockefeller Foundation through the Committee for Research in Problems of Sex. During the initial trials of IVF, there was quite a heated debate about the subject in the United States, so research and subsequent live births were well behind the UK, with the first successful human test-tube baby born in 1981 in Virginia. If you would like more information, there is a very detailed description of the history of IVF on PBS.

Why Have IVF

There are many conditions and treatments associated with infertility, and IVF is only one of those treatments. In fact, IVF is usually not the first treatment option for infertile couples- other options may include IUI or fertility medications. Your fertility doctor may recommend IVF if you suffer from:
- Endometriosis
- Uterus Issues
- Low Sperm Count for Males
- Damaged or Blocked Fallopian Tubes
- Ovulation Problems

These are just a few of the reasons you may need IVF- only your fertility doctor can tell your for sure.

What to do if you think you need IVF

If you have been trying to get pregnant on your own and are concerned you may have fertility problems, your first step should be to visit an IVF Doctor in your area. A simple search will probably provide several options in your area if you live in an urban area, otherwise check neighboring urban areas if there are none in your town. If you’re around Scottsdale, AZ IVF Phoenix is a great fertility clinic that comes highly recommended.


IVF What to Expect

IVF usually begins with your doctor giving you fertility medication at the start of your cycle which is meant to stimulate your ovaries to produce several mature eggs for fertilization. Your doctor will ask you in for another visit, where she will inspect your eggs to make sure they are mature before retrieving them for fertilization.
During this process, you may be sedated or given local anesthesia. Eggs are removed from ovaries by inserting a thin needle through the back of the vagina. Your doctor will gently suck the eggs into the test tube. You may be given pain medication after this to relieve discomfort.
Your partner will provide a sperm sample the day of the procedure, which will be used to fertilize your eggs. Your partner’s sperm and your eggs will then be placed inside a lab dish and watched closely for several days. These may develop into embryos, which can then be transferred into your uterus. To transfer the embryos, your doctor will insert a thin catheter through your cervix and into your uterus. After the embryo has been transferred, you must rest for several hours. You will know within a couple of weeks whether this treatment was successful or not.

How To Talk To Your Parents About Senior Care

Mothers and fathers have grown used to being in charge and looking after everyone else, including you. But there comes a time when they’ll need help, and they might be resistant to accepting support. How can adult children convince their parents to allow a senior care provider into their home to provide assistance?

Be Upfront
First of all, don’t try to arrange for a professional to come to your parents’ home behind their backs. Make sure you are honest and respectful in your approach. Loved ones are more likely to trust your judgment if they can trust you. Besides, getting older does not necessarily render a person unable to reason things through, unless a person is suffering from late-stage dementia. That means it’s entirely reasonable for an older parent to want to have a say in their home care. Let your parent have that say.

Dig for Answers, Gently

If a parent is reluctant to accept home care, the reasons may not be obvious and they may be deep-rooted. Is your parent afraid of abuse or fearful of losing independence entirely? Could your parent be frightened of aging? If so, denying help could be his way of pretending the aging process isn’t happening to him. Give your loved one information, as well as the time to let it sink in. Then do what you can to help your parent open up to you.

Respect Their Wishes
While you might be certain that some level of home care is necessary, be prepared to compromise. Maybe you would feel safer if someone was with mom and dad 24 hours a day. Maybe they would prefer a little assistance with shopping and cleaning. Make suggestions and explain why you hope your parents will see your point of view, but refrain from pushing a decision onto a senior who is still capable of making decisions. The idea should be to protect your parent’s independence to the extent you can.

Talk While You Can
In a few months your mom might not be able to express herself so clearly. Signs of Alzheimer’s such as loss of words and memory will eventually rob her of the ability to think and act independently. Talk about her options before this happens so she can help make intelligent decisions about her own care needs. When it was clear my mother was going to need some assistance, we worked together to chose a local senior care agency that she thought would fit her needs.

Starting With Companionship
Sometimes companionship is what elderly singles need to manage loneliness and to prevent depression from setting in. That companionship can serve as a pleasant entry to more formal care. After a while, an hour every second day for tea and a chat could turn into daily visits plus more practical help. A care giver could also begin to drive a client to appointments, check that she is taking her medication, and give her assistance with bill-paying or letter-writing.

Act Sooner Rather Than Later
Put a loved one’s mind, and your own, at ease by discussing this difficult stage of life and planning for the stages to come – before you both get there. If you can, arrange for a professional caregiver to be there when you do. An elderly person will sometimes respond better to the prospect of receiving home care if a caregiver is there to provide all the answers in a caring but objective manner.

Encourage Your Child to Make Healthy Choices on Their Own

kid and veggiesEnrolling your child in preschool or day care is a big step – for both you and your little one. Perhaps for the first time in your child’s life, he will be spending a significant part of the day out of your sight and in someone else’s care. Up until this point, you’ve always been around to correct your child’s behavior and ensure that he is making appropriate, healthy choices. But when your toddler is spending four hours or more in preschool during the day, you have to be able to trust the teacher’s guidance, as well as the life lessons you have thus far imparted to him.

Preschool offers a major opportunity in the development of your child’s independence. This independence should be encouraged, but supported by your guidance and lessons. To ensure that your child will make the right decisions on his own in preschool, consider the following helpful tips:

Be a Good Example

Even if your child already wants to do things on his own and act independently, you are still his primary role model. Whatever you do, it’s likely that he will want to behave the same way. When making choices regarding your health and nutrition, it’s important to set a good example for your child. Don’t simply stress the importance of eating vegetables while you eat a piece of cake. Instead, practice what you preach and make healthy habits like brushing your teeth before bed and regularly washing your hands along with your child.

Establish Routines

Young children require a sense of structure to feel safe and in charge of their environment. Routines help children to develop a sense of self-discipline by knowing what to do at a certain time, and reduces stress and anxiety. For example, by establishing a nightly routine of changing into pajamas, brushing teeth, and then getting into bed for a bedtime story at 8, you will encourage your child to be independent. He will start practicing this routine on his own without you telling him, and feel a sense of pride and mastery in taking charge of his life. By setting a routine, you’ll feel confident that your child will be following through even when you’re not watching.


Your child’s cognitive skills are rapidly improving. Whereas previously you may have been able to simply tell your child not to do something just because it’s “bad,” you may be noticing that you can no longer get away with avoiding explanation. Your child’s going to want to know why something is bad, and chances are that he will most likely follow a rule if he knows there’s a good reason. Use open communication with your child as a way of educating him. By being honest and easy to understand, your child will feel more independent, “grown up,” and trusting of your authority. Instead of simply punishing your child for not brushing his teeth, for example, explain to him what may happen as a result of poor dental hygiene.

Sending your child off into the “real world” of preschool and day care can be a nerve-wracking experience for a protective parent. However, with your careful guidance, by way of being a role model, establishing daily routines, and offering honest communication, you can trust that your child will be able to make the right decisions when it comes to health and nutrition during the school day. For an additional sense of security, be sure to speak with your local Blue Springs day care provider about your child’s personal needs.

Exercises for Seniors

senior-exerciseGetting older means that we’re not able to move around as well as we used to.  However, keeping a healthy and active lifestyle can help you stay mobile for longer.  So it’s important that throughout life we maintain our daily exercise and nutrition routines, although some of those exercises may need to change as our body’s ability changes too. Below I’ve put together a list of low impact exercises that can help seniors healthy and mobile.


Walking is a great low impact exercise.  It’s very easy on joints and can provide enough cardiovascular activity to keep you feeling young and healthy.  Getting started is very simple, as you just need a good pair of walking shoes that provides great support and a good route to follow.


Swimming is a terrific way to help build flexibility and endurance.  Because of swimming’s low stress on joints, it’s the perfect exercise for seniors who may have arthritis.  Because of its unique motions, swimming allows you to stretch your muscles with each stroke, which helps blood better circulate through your body.  Think about joining a local gym or YMCA if you don’t have access to a pool in your neighborhood. Click here for more information on pool-related programs.


Cycling is another great low impact exercise option for seniors.  Whether it’s indoors or outdoors, cycling is a great way to get a good cardio workout which can help with those with arthritis and high blood pressure.


Stretching is a great exercise to do after any workout or just on its own.  It allows your muscles to relax and create better blood flow.  Regular stretching is very beneficial to your body and is recommended by the National Institute on Aging.

There are many options for keeping healthy as you age.  Staying active can help your body age slower and keep you mobile for longer.  However, as we age, it’s often a good idea to have someone around to help us out as well.  Besides, it’s always nice to do exercises with others.  A great option for seniors is to look into senior home care services.  These services allow seniors to have a partner come to their home to help out with chores, errands, and other activities.

Steps for Healthy Joints

How to Prevent Joint Pain

Stretches can improve joint function

Stretches can improve joint function

Joints are important in our daily function, and we need to take care of them to stay mobile. A joint is where 2 or more bones come together, often cushioned with cartilage to prevent them from rubbing together. There are a couple of key points to keep in mind to keep your joints working properly.


First of all, it’s important to get proper nutrition for strong bones. Eat plenty of calcium and vitamin D, and take a supplement if you aren’t able to naturally factor these nutrients into your diet. Calcium rich foods include any kind of milk and green vegetables such as spinach and kale.


Watching your weight is also an important part of keeping your joints healthy. Joints bare most of your body’s weight, so each gained pound could put extreme pressure on these areas. Your knees, for instance, support most of your body.


Exercise is important for weight loss and to keep a wide range of motion for your joints. However, running and jumping can pound on your joints and actually be counterproductive. If your joints aren’t what they used to be or you already have issues, try a low impact exercise like swimming, yoga, cycling, or the elliptical.

When in doubt, ice!

When in doubt, ice!

Loosen Up

Another important thing to keep in mind is to avoid sitting in one position for too long. If you have a desk job, for instance, you could harm your shoulders from sitting in a stiff, hunched over stance all day. Make sure you regularly get up and move around or stretch periodically to avoid complications.

Physical Therapy

Finally, if all else fails, you may need to implement some special exercises into your routine. A trusted physical therapist or orthopedist from a medical network like Ortho VA can help build muscles around your joints to strengthen the area, eliminate pain, and prevent further discomfort. If you are currently in pain, use ice to numb the area and reduce swelling.

Taking care of your bones and joints is a key part to staying healthy and active! Remember to take your supplements, stretch, exercise, and see a doctor if you are experiencing any sort of pain.

Senior Diet, Nutrition, and Supplements

Staying Healthy as a Senior

As we age, it becomes increasingly important to watch our nutrition. Not only is it easier to gain weight, but our bodies also begin to have a higher demand for certain nutrients. For instance, as bones weaken over time, calcium is an essential. Whether you turn to taking supplements or add more milk, cheese, or calcium rich foods for your diet, it’s important to find ways to get your vitamins and minerals.

The issue with seniors needing to eat properly is that they are often set in the eating habits they have had for years or don’t have the energy to grocery shop and cook healthy meals. If you, a relative, or a loved one is in this situation, consider senior home care as an option. A help as needed service can come to the home and prepare meals regularly for a decent price. Aids are also senior vitaminshelpful to divide up medication and make sure seniors lead healthy lives, even if they are not ready to move to a nursing home or assisted living community.

Another option for seniors is to take supplements each day. As a rule of thumb, remember to make sure that these capsules will not interfere with current medications. For instance, ginkgo biloba helps prevent memory loss and increases blood flow to the brain. However, this supplement should never be taken with blood thinning medication. It can drastically change your blood pressure and prevent blood from naturally clotting if you are cut.

Take ginseng, vitamin C, and zinc to prevent colds and other viruses. Seniors with low immune systems need to be careful about growing ill, as it may be harder than ever for them to bounce back. Furthermore, antibiotics necessary to cure bacterial infections could react with current medications. Always ask a doctor or professional about combining supplements and herbals with current medications. You might be surprised about which substances shouldn’t be combined!

In order to get a clear summary of the vitamins, supplements, and diet tips, see a doctor. Care providers are happy to make suggestions on how to stay healthy as a senior.

Keeping Your Dog’s Teeth Clean and Healthy

Dogs don’t brush their teeth at least twice a day or schedule check-ups every six months the way most people do. They don’t floss or use mouthwash, and if their breath isn’t that great – well, isn’t that just part of being a dog? Maybe because Richmond’s dogs seem to get by without much in the way of dental care, a lot of local dog owners take their dental health for granted.

That’s a mistake.

While it’s true that dogs can get away with less regular care than we do, most pet owners still don’t do nearly enough to ensure their dog’s dental health. As a result, many dogs suffer from inflamed, swollen, or receding gums as well as painful diseases or infections; these factors can result in tooth loss as well as other conditions that can compromise the overall health of your dog.

Thankfully, there’s a lot anyone can do to safeguard the dental health of their dog. Start with a basic, weekly visual exam. While your dog is seated, lift his lips to get a good look at the teeth and gums. You’ll want to see white teeth and pink gums; if you see redness or swelling, or teeth that exhibit brownish tartar, you’ll need to take steps to correct the issues.

The first step is to clean your dog’s teeth more regularly. A great thing to do is to brush your dog’s teeth. Your dog can’t use the same toothpaste you do, but local vets sell toothpaste that’s made for dogs. Apply it with a doggie toothbrush – also available from your vet – that fits over the end of your fingertip. Or simply use a gauze-wrapped finger to apply the paste.

If your dog is anything like mine, he may resist this practice – at least at first. So make the first few tooth brushings short ones. Be gentle but persistent, and build your way up to two or three regular brushings per week. Your dog shouldn’t mind the taste of the paste, so you should have that in your favor.

Your weekly exam may reveal other problems that regular brushings may not be able to help: Bring your pet in for a visit if you see more serious issues like cysts or loose teeth. If your dog’s breath is particularly bad, this could also indicate a more serious concern that merits professional attention.

You may also find that regular brushings are not enough to remove the tartar that has already accumulated on your dog’s teeth. If this is the case, several Richmond veterinarians like Wellesley Animal Hospital offer dental care. They can clean your dog’s teeth much like your dentist cleans yours, although your buddy’s cleaning will require general anesthesia.

There are a couple of much simpler things you can do to help in the meantime. Consider cutting back on giving people food to your dog, which is more likely to cause plaque than his usual dog food. Instead, plan to give your dog more tooth-friendly treats like chew toys, Milk Bones, or other treats that promote dental health.

My dog’s smile warms my heart a few times a day – even more so now that his teeth look whiter than ever. If your dog’s smile matters to you, too, start taking steps today to make sure it’s a bright, healthy one.

Importance of Good Oral Hygiene

Everyone thinks that if you exercise properly and eat the right kinds of food then you will be safe from disease and sickness. This is completely false and a lot of healthy people end up getting sick, but it is true that if you are out of shape and don’t eat right you will have a higher chance of getting sick. One aspect of people’s health that they never think is useful is oral hygiene.  While some are very up to date on their oral hygiene and some go as far as creating their own natural toothpaste.

I am not saying that you need to go out and make your own natural toothpaste, but it is important to maintain good oral care. I always talk with my dentist at Modern Dentistry of Richmond and they are always giving me new ways to improve my oral health. If you don’t take care of your mouth by brushing, flossing, and rinsing with mouth wash then you are allowing bacteria to grow inside of your mouth.

Most individual’s main idea for brushing their teeth is to make sure that they have white teeth. While white teeth are a great indicator that you have a healthy mouth – the color of your teeth doesn’t improve your health. Even if you rarely brush you could still have the ability to go through a teeth whitening process. You can always purchase a do it yourself kit from a drug store or even go to a professional and have a serious procedure done on your teeth to whiten them.

This is how most sickness is passed throughout the body; because the food we eat carry certain viruses and bacteria and if we don’t remove those from our mouth they can germinate. By making sure that you are brushing at least once or twice a day then you will not only have white teeth but you will also be less susceptible to health problems.  If you are in a constant routine of brushing, flossing, and rinsing then you will be on your way to healthier and whiter smile!