All posts by Monica


Should Pregnant Women Avoid Taking Hot Baths?

What could be better than soaking in a nice, hot bath after a long hard day? For many women this is a great way to unwind and relax in the evening. Hot baths have been known to calm stress, relieve tension and quiet our minds. For many women, taking a hot bath may even be a part of their evening routine before getting into bed.

However, pregnant women may want to think twice before stepping into a hot bath. Some doctors say that, for pregnant women, hot water can be a concern for your baby. Elevated body temperatures can be bad for maturing babies, so it is important to be careful.

Because of this, many pregnant women avoid taking baths at all, but this doesn’t have to be the case. If pregnant women do decide to take baths, they need to be conscious of how hot the water is getting. In many homes, tankless water heaters can be a great way to regulate water temperature. A best tankless water heater for whole house can be adjusted to so that it doesn’t overheat past a certain temperature, which is ideal for taking baths. Even if you don’t have a tankless water heater at home, tank water heaters can still be adjusted to avoid overheating the water. Before you heat the water for your bath, make sure to check your water heater and ensure that the maximum temperature is set low enough.

It has been shown that a body temperature over 101 degrees Fahrenheit can have harmful effects on developing babies. Make sure that your tankless water heater is set to only heat up to a temperature that is below this. Also, be cognizant of the amount of time spent in the bath. Even if the water temperature is not very hot, soaking in the warm water for a long period of time can gradually raise the body temperature. Staying in the warm water for more than 10 minutes is usually not advised. Soaking in the warm water for longer than this may raise your temperature above the recommended temperature.

If you are pregnant, putting your baby at risk is the last thing that you want to do. And although soaking in a bath may sound peaceful and calming, especially when you are pregnant and your body is working constantly to take care of your baby, be aware of the risks that soaking in hot water can impose upon your growing child. Take into account how warm your water is getting and if you have a tankless water heater or a tank water heater, be sure to adjust the maximum temperature before you heat the water for your bath. This will ensure that your water heater doesn’t heat up too much, which will in turn keep you and your baby safe. Being aware of these factors will give you a greater sense of security. So if you are pregnant and thinking about jumping into a steaming hot bath tub, consider these risks and take the necessary actions to keep your baby safe.

Read More

What to Expect When You and Your Spouse Opt for In Vitro Fertilization

In vitro fertilization can be extremely helpful to couples who are struggling with infertility. The IVF procedure involves multiple steps that utilize specific fertility enhancements to encourage fertilization and help the embryo implant properly into the uterus. The process of in vitro fertilization for a viable pregnancy typically includes:

Inducing Ovulation

Many women’s infertility issues stem from ovulation problems caused by age or other conditions that suppress the normal release of a viable egg. Several medications exist that can help induce a woman’s ovulation and increase egg production. Timing is extremely important when trying to conceive. If a woman ovulates early, it can be difficult to know when to attempt conception or egg retrieval. Medications that prevent premature ovulation may be used in these cases.

Retrieving the Egg and Sperm

The eggs are retrieved before ovulation occurs, generally after the medication is injected to stimulate the production of eggs. This procedure is typically done in a fertility doctor’s office under mild sedation and pain medication.

Sperm retrieval can typically be done at any time and is not an overly complex process. When both the eggs and sperm are harvested, fertilization is attempted with intracytoplasmic sperm injection or a similar procedure in a laboratory setting.

Transferring the Embryo

After fertilization, the embryo is usually implanted into the uterus using an embryo transfer catheter. Your fertility doctor may introduce several embryos to increase the chances of establishing a viable pregnancy, though this can also increase the likelihood of multiple births. Fluid is injected and pushed into the uterus for implantation. Mild bloating may occur after the procedure. Testing is later performed to determine if the procedure was successful.

Fertility specialist Laurence A. Jacobs, M.D. specializes in providing fertility treatment that will increase the chances of a successful pregnancy. We offer many fertility procedures, including IVF fertility treatments, in our Chicago clinic.

Read More

A Guide to Your Vitrification and Cryopreservation Options

Cryopreservation is an aspect of fertility treatment that accounts for family planning later in the future, as it offers preservation of fertility along with an opportunity to maximize IVF treatment success. There are several procedures included in cryopreservation that may benefit you and your partner, and these are discussed in further detail here:

  • Embryo Cryopreservation: In IVF treatment, several eggs are used to make as many embryos as possible, but only a few are actually used for implantation. Because the unused embryos may still meet the criteria for use in treatment, they can be saved for future use with cryopreservation. Unlike simple freezing, cryopreservation has a high rate of pregnancy success. The reason for this improvement in successful implantation is that the embryos are frozen through vitrification, which eliminates ice crystals by fast-freezing them.
  • Oocyte Vitrification: Egg freezing is a procedure that can preserve female fertility, as it is used when eggs are most healthy. This means that women desiring to get pregnant after the age of 35 will have a better chance of doing so. Recent techniques for egg vitrification have significantly increased the reliability of this procedure, which used to be highly problematic in future IVF procedures using previously frozen eggs.
  • Sperm Cryopreservation: Sperm cryopreservation is an established procedure that has been in use for decades to preserve healthy sperm for later use in IVF treatment. Sperm is quickly frozen through storage in liquid nitrogen, and it can be safely thawed for later use. Men who are opting for vasectomy or who are about to undergo cancer treatment will often choose sperm cryopreservation to keep family planning options available in the future.

For more details about these procedures and a look at how they can play into your goals to have children, schedule an appointment with Dr. Laurence A. Jacobs by calling (877) 672-4234. With a background in endocrinology and infertility training through the Mayo Clinic and a practice featuring the latest technology in fertility care, Dr. Jacobs can create a personalized approach that will help you start your family.

Read More

What’s IUI

IUI stands for intrauterine insemination, or an artificial insemination method designed to bypass the cervix and cervical mucus in order to deliver healthy, motile sperm directly into the uterus. IUI is a great treatment method for couples who are struggling with infertility due to inhospitable cervical mucus, the presence of sperm-antibodies, and poor sperm quality or movement.

Just before the ovulation process begins, healthy sperm is collected from the male partner or donor and processed before being deposited into the uterus using a small catheter placed through the cervix. However, the treatment must coincide with the female partner’s ovulatory cycle, and will therefore require blood test monitoring, ultrasound examinations, or the use of a special kit to detect LH hormones within the urine.

You can find out if intrauterine insemination is right for you by contacting your Chicago fertility clinic. With extensive experience, infertility doctor Dr. Laurence A. Jacobs, M.D. is devoted to helping patients determine and treat the underlying causes of infertility.

Read More

How Acupuncture Can Improve Fertility

Acupuncture works by improving circulation. When you are infertile, you often have low circulation in your ovaries and uterus.

Acupuncture improves blood flow to the ovaries, it is also used to regulate the fallopian tubes. When you improve blood flow and circulation in your uterus and fallopian tubes, they can function in a normal way.

The uterus point is often used to treat fertility. It regulates the uterus and fallopian tubes.

There are other points below the belly button that treat infertility. The Ren meridian goes in the middle of your torso and is very effective to improve blood flow in your uterus also.

Acupuncture points such as Spleen 6 are used to balance hormones and relieve liver stagnation and kidney energy weakness.

Read More

Dang Gui and Fertility

Dang gui is a very commonly used herb in Chinese medicine. It is used to nourish or “supplement” the blood. If you are blood deficient, which sometimes corresponds to anemia in Western diagnosis, Dang Gui is used to nourish the blood and improve not only the quantity, the the ability of the blood to flow.

It improves the circulation of blood at the same time as it nourishes the blood, so it can be very helpful for infertility and many menstrual issues.

Dang gui is sometimes called “Tang Kuei” in the west. The Chinese name is “Dang Gui”.

Dang gui is typically not taken alone. It is combine with other herbs in a formula. Chinese herbs are typically 4-15 single herbs combined in a specific way to achieve a certain effect. For example, if you have stress there are several formulas you can pick from.

If you have insomnia, you can be prescribed a variety of formulas, depending on your symptoms. Sometimes, you will need to try several formulas to see what works best for you. Also, your herbal formula can be changed as needed. You do not take Chinese herbs forever. You take them until your health issue is resolved. Some people like to take Chinese herbs on a regular basis as a tonic to continue improving health and to prevent further problems.

Read More

Infertility Treatments

When weighing the option of pursuing infertility treatments older women sometimes ignore their biological clock.  Nowadays, women have so many ways of staying youthful, that they sometimes forget that their eggs can’t keep up appearances as well as the rest of them can.  There aren’t any wrinkle creams or liposuction procedures that can make a woman’s eggs act younger than they actually are.

The general opinion among infertility specialists is that the quality of a woman’s eggs, or oocytes, decreases over time. Considering that the average age of women seeking infertility treatments is increasing, the manner in which oocytes are affected by age has been of increasing interest to specialists in the reproductive field. Recently, Coleen Murphy PhD. of Princeton University, performed a study analyzing exactly what makes women’s eggs age faster than most of her other cells. The study was discussed at the American Society for Cell Biology conference and in the article on

Reproductive and somatic aging use different molecular mechanisms that show little overlap between the types of genes required to keep oocytes healthy and the genes that generally extend life span, according to Coleen Murphy, Ph.D., of Princeton University, who described her new findings on oocyte aging at the American Society for Cell Biology Annual Meeting Dec. 6 in Denver.

The different genetic pathways help explain why a woman’s fertility begins to decline after she is 35 years old, while her other cells do not show significant signs of aging until decades later, Murphy explained.

To compare the molecular mechanisms that are switched on or off with the aging of oocytes and somatic cells, Murphy’s lab turned to the model organism, Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans), the worm-like nematode that set off the whole field of longevity research with the discovery in the 1990s that gene mutations affecting insulin regulation doubled the worm’s life span. Insulin/insulin-like growth factor (insulin/IGF) signaling pathways also have been identified in humans. These pathways also seem to regulate longevity in humans.

Using DNA microarrays to measure the expression levels of genes, Dr. Murphy and her colleagues noted a distinctive DNA signature for aging oocytes. They also found that the oocytes of aging insulin and transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) mutant mice had the same DNA profile that characterized young females.

The researchers then compared the oocyte gene expression patterns with microarray transcription data on worms carrying the famous long-life mutations. Murphy and her colleagues found that even though somatic and reproductive aging in C. elegans both involve the insulin regulation pathway, the molecular mechanisms to maintain youthful oocyte function and to combat body aging are very different.“It seems that maintaining protein and cell quality is the most important component of somatic longevity in worms,” Dr. Murphy said, “while chromosomal/DNA integrity and cell cycle control are the most critical factors for oocyte health.” Original here.

Because there are no signs that they will stop pursuing infertility treatments older women need to understand the limitations of their aged eggs.  But, with advances in science like the one described here, perhaps the aging process of oocytes can be slowed down so women can use their eggs for a longer time.Do you know someone who is considering using an egg donor due to her own poor egg quality?

Read More