Posts tagged with "Pregnancy"

Natalist offers monthly subscription boxes curated to help couples conceive

August 28, 2019

Getting pregnant is life’s lottery: Some couples hit the jackpot the first time they try; others start to feel as if it’s never going to happen. But for most, it’s an emotional journey, with ups and downs, insecurities and hopes.

That’s the thinking behind a new “get pregnant bundle” delivered each month by a startup company called Natalist to the homes of those who are trying to conceive.

After all, says Dr. Nazaneen Homaifar, the chief medical advisor of Natalist—and a Duke Univesity-trained OBGYN—“Trying to get pregnant can be confusing, frustrating, and not as romantic as we imagined it to be. At Natalist, we understand. And we want to help support you through this journey.”

In addition to “Dr. Naz,” the company’s founders include CEO Halle Tecco and Chief Scientific Officer Elizabeth Kane. Together, they have the business and medical knowledge that a couple trying to would appreciate.

“We’re moms, doctors, and scientists building Natlist to give you what you need—from concept to conception,” they say on their new website.

 Starting this week, according to a report by Fast Company, Natalist will discreetly deliver its first boxes (and individually purchased products) to customers’ doors.

As founder and CEO, Halle Tecco envisions arming consumers with everything they need before starting a family, including plenty of TLC. Consider it the self-care of conceiving.

The monthly “Get Pregnant Bundle” subscription box ($90 for a one-time purchase; $81 monthly) changes as one progresses through the fertility journey and continues on until birth. (Customers can cancel at any time.) The first month, for example, includes an illustrated Conception 101 guidebook complete with the basics of human reproduction and practical tips on getting pregnant.

In addition, buyers can expect a range of items ranging from ovulation tests to prenatal vitamins, the majority of which physicians recommend during a preconception visit. The cost is on par with drugstore prices, if not less, Fast Company notes.

In many ways, the business news outlet says, Natalist resembles other startups streamlining transformative stages of a woman’s life: Fridababy sells postpartum recovery products for new moms; Blume is the first cohesive line of self-care products for girls navigating puberty; while Genneve is a complete telehealth and product line for women going through menopause.

While Natalist isn’t bringing new conception products to the market, it did redesign them with a modern feminine look. The pregnancy test is sleek, compact, eco-friendly, and in a warm color palette. Such improvements stem, in part, from a Natalist survey of 1,200 women with planned pregnancies.

“If you look at the pregnancy and ovulation tests that are on the market today, they don’t feel like they belong on your bed stand or in your bathroom next to beauty products,” says Tecco.

The collection features more personal—and less clinical—language along with elegant illustrated instructions. There’s none of the medical jargon typically found on a traditional pregnancy test box.

The website features materials on conception and pregnancy—from both a medical and lifestyle perspective. On-staff doctors quash junk information from actual science-backed studies, with articles ranging from miscarriage grief to debunking sex-position myths. The team also shares their own personal pregnancy journeys on social media and a private Facebook group. The goal is to be approachable while projecting authority.

Over the long-term, Natalist envisions physicians and clinics suggesting its boxes to patients. Currently, the company is in talks with multiple employers interested in subsidizing subscriptions: They’re looking to help their employees get pregnant naturally, thereby bringing down the cost of fertility treatments.

Research contact: @FastCompany

Taking sides: Sleeping on your back could be bad for your unborn child

April 9, 2019

Research spearheaded by a lecturer at the University of Huddersfield in West Yorkshire, England, has found that pregnant women can significantly reduce the risk of a stillbirth by sleeping on their left or right sides—but not on their backs, because that position reduces blood flow to the fetus.

In the United Kingdom, there are about nine stillbirths a day—which works out to about one in every 225 births. The findings of the new study, published on The Lancet’s EClinicalMedicine website, now will be incorporated by the NHS into its Saving Babies’ Lives advisory “care bundle” for pregnant women.

Dr. Tomasina Stacey , a reader of Midwifery Practice at the University of Huddersfield, carried out her doctoral research while based at University of Auckland in New Zealand—investigating whether sleeping position could be a factor in causing stillbirths. She concluded that the small proportion of pregnant women who sleep on their backs did run a higher risk of losing their babies, because the weight of the uterus can reduce blood flow to the baby.

Her findings from this initial exploratory study were described in an article published by the British Medical Journal.

And since Stacey’s study was the first to report maternal sleep-related practices as risk factors for stillbirth, it triggered further research—culminating in a large-scale international project that gathered data from 851 bereaved mothers and 2,257 healthy pregnant women in New Zealand, the UK, Australia, and the USA.

The chief finding: After the 28th week of pregnancy, “back sleeping” increases the risk of stillbirth by 2.6 times. This heightened risk occurred regardless of the other known risk factors for stillbirth.

The NHS care bundle states: “In later pregnancy (after 28 weeks), it is safer to go to sleep on your side than on your back”. It advises practitioners to “encourage women to settle on their side when they go to sleep or have a day-time nap, rather than on their back. A woman who wakes up on her back shouldn’t worry, but should settle to sleep again her side.

Sleeping position remains an important strand of Dr. Stacey’s research. It originated when she and a team at the University of Auckland—including her PhD supervisor Professor Lesley McCowan—were investigating the relatively high rates of stillbirth in New Zealand.

“We decided to look at a range of modifiable risk factors and this was one of them,” said Dr Stacey, further noting, “The next phase is to ensure that there is consistent advice from healthcare professionals and we will be looking to see if there are ways of helping to support women to sleep in the side position.

“Only a small proportion of women will be affected,” continued Dr Stacey. “But the studies that we [conducted] following the first findings suggested that women were quite happy to change their going to sleep position if it was better for their babies.”

Research contact: T.Stacey@hud.ac.uk

Cold comfort: If you always feel ‘chilled out,’ here’s advice on bringing the heat

November 27, 2018

Does even the thought of winter send a shiver down your spine? Most of us want to bundle up when the temperature drops—but if you are always turning up the thermostat or turning down the AC, there may be some good reasons.

The Huffington Post talked to experts and posted some advice on November 26. Do any of the following factors apply to you?

  1. Your thyroid is out of wack. Hypothyroidism—a condition in which the thyroid gland does not produce enough hormone to regulate the body’s metabolism—can cause cold sensitivity, Chirag Shah, a specialist in Emergency Medicine and co-founder of Accesa Labs, a thyroid lab-testing service, told the online news outlet.
  2. You’re older: “The elderly [are] more prone to being cold because their metabolism is slower and they produce less heat,” said Marcelo Campos, an Internal Medicine physician at Atrius Health, a large nonprofit independent medical group based in Newton, Massachusetts. Another factor may be decreased muscle mass.
  3. It could be something you’re eating. Josh Axe, a clinical nutritionist and co-founder of Ancient Nutrition, told HuffPost that certain foods may be to blame. “People who eat lots of water-dense, cold foods are going to feel cooler,” he said. Examples of these are smoothies, iced drinks and salads. To combat this, try switching to items like soups instead of smoothies, and stir-fry meals in lieu of salads.
  4. You’re anemic. Shah also said that iron deficiency anemia can definitely cause a person to feel frostier than usual—noting that iron is a mineral that is a key component of red blood cells. “Red blood cells are important for carrying oxygen around the body. Without enough iron, the red blood cells cannot function properly and can lead to the sensation of feeling cold in addition to other symptoms,” Shah said. Other symptoms may include exhaustion, light-headedness, rapid heart beat, or shortness of breath.
  5. You’re pregnant. When you are carrying a baby, your body temperature rises, HuffPost reminds us. A pregnant woman’s normal core temperature rises from a norm of 6 degrees to around 100 degrees. “What’s more, pregnant women are prone to both anemia and poor circulation, especially in their legs. They are likely to complain about feeling a chill, especially in their hands and feet.
  6. You’re dehydrated. Carol Aguirre of Nutrition Connections, a nutrition counseling center in South Florida, said that water drives the metabolism by helping break down food, which creates energy and heat. “Not enough water slows your metabolism and prevents your body from making enough energy to keep you warm,” she said in an interview with the news site.
  7. It could be your hormones. According to the experts, estrogen generally dilates blood vessels—dissipating heat in the body. Progesterone has the opposite effect. For women, the time of month may affect how warm or cold they feel. In men, higher testosterone levels may reduce sensitivity to the cold by desensitizing one of the main cold receptors in the skin.
  8. You have poor circulation. If your hands and feet feel like ice but the rest of your body is comfortable, a circulation problem that keeps blood from flowing to your extremities might be to blame.
  9. You may be anxious. “People with anxiety usually feel cold more than others,” said Maryam Jahed, founder Airo Health, which makes an anxiety-tracking wearable device. When you experience anxiety, she told HuffPost, the feeling activates your amygdala ― the part of the brain responsible for protecting the body and responding to danger. “This makes your body put all of its reserves and energy into keeping you ‘safe,’” she said—and your extremities may feel colder, because it’s harder for the blood to circulate there and keep you warm.
  10. Your BMI is too low. Your body mass index affects whether you feel cold, but the amount of fat and muscle you have can also be a factor.  “Muscles are metabolically more active and this generates more heat. Fat is an insulator and this can reduce the amount of heat you lose,” Campos said.

Research contact: @NicolePajer