Pregnant or planning to be? Get your flu shot now

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, influenza (flu) is more likely to cause severe illness in pregnant women than in women of reproductive age who are not pregnant. Changes in the immune system, heart and lungs during pregnancy make pregnant women (and women up to two weeks postpartum) more prone to severe illness from flu, including illness resulting in hospitalization.

Flu also may be harmful for a pregnant woman’s developing baby, the CDC says. A common flu symptom is fever, which may be associated with neural tube defects and other adverse outcomes for a developing baby. Getting vaccinated also can help protect a baby after birth from flu, because mom passes antibodies onto the developing baby during her pregnancy.

Flu shots have been given to millions of pregnant women over many years with a good safety record, the CDC reports. Many scientific studies supports the safety of flu vaccine in pregnant women and their babies.

To learn more, visit the CDC’s Flu Vaccine Safety and Pregnancy web page.

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PCOS awareness—all year long

September—and PCOS Awareness Month—are coming to an end. But that doesn’t mean we should stop talking about this devastating disease.

According to the PCOS Awareness Association, symptoms of PCOS may begin shortly after puberty, but can also develop during the later teen years and early adulthood. Because symptoms may be attributed to other causes or go unnoticed, PCOS may go undiagnosed for some time.

We have a web page devoted entirely to PCOS. After you read it, please call us if you have any questions.

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‘An honor to be under your care’

A patent recently posted these kind comments about her treatment at RSCNJ:

“After a stressful and upsetting time my life, my husband and I were referred to your office. I heard such wonderful things, but the entire staff at RSC exceeded our expectations. Their professionalism, knowledge, kindness, and continuous support is beyond appreciated. I cannot speak more highly of your team. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you! It was an honor to be under your care.”

The honor is ours. Thanks to her, and to everyone who posted comments online. You can read more of them here.

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Why seek infertility counseling?

Infertility, like many other medical conditions, affects all aspects of your life. It can create one of the most stressful life crises that an individual or couple has ever experienced and can affect your relationship with others, your perspective on life and how you feel about yourself.

Feelings of grief, loss, guilt, shame, disappointment, anxiety, depression, isolation and dealing with the multitude of medical decisions and the uncertainties that infertility brings can create great emotional turmoil for most people. Research shows that depression among women with infertility is similar to those with cancer or heart disease. Men also get depressed, and it is important for many individuals and couples to seek counseling as a means to navigate and negotiate the many thoughts and feelings that arise when experiencing infertility and its treatments.

There are many different reasons for seeking infertility counseling, including for help coping with the stress, anxiety, grief or depression; communicating with your partner/spouse; and choosing the right medical treatment.

We have more information about infertility counseling on our web site, and as always you can call us for a free phone consultation to learn more.

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A “phenomenal” review

A patient writes:

“Dr. Martinez is phenomenal at his work. When I thought that all the possibilities of pregnancy were dwindling, he reassured me to keep positive and stay strong. After 17 days of stimulation medication and 1 egg produced and 1 egg transferred, we have one growing baby. The staff and doctors are excellent.”

Thanks to her, and to all who post reviews online. You can read more here.

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E-cigarette usage may impair fertility and pregnancy outcomes

E-cigarette usage may impair fertility and pregnancy outcomes, according to a mouse study published in the Journal of the Endocrine Society.

Many young and pregnant women are using e-cigarettes as a safer alternative to smoking, but little is known about the effects on fertility and pregnancy outcomes. E-cigarettes are driving increases in tobacco product use among youth. According to the CDC, the number of middle and high school students using e-cigarettes rose from 2.1 million in 2017 to 3.6 million in 2018—a difference of about 1.5 million youth.

“We found that e-cigarette usage prior to conception significantly delayed implantation of a fertilized embryo to the uterus, thus delaying and reducing fertility (in mice),” said the study’s corresponding author, Kathleen Caron, Ph.D., of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, N.C. “We also discovered that e-cigarette usage throughout pregnancy changed the long-term health and metabolism of female offspring—imparting lifelong, second-generation effects on the growing fetus.”

In this study, researchers examined whether e-cigarette exposure impairs fertility and offspring health. After exposure to e-cigarette vapor, female mice showed decreased embryo implantation and a significant delay in the onset of pregnancy with the first litter. Female offspring exposed to e-cigarettes in utero also failed to gain as much weight as control mice by the 8.5 month mark.

“These findings are important because they change our views on the perceived safety of e-cigarettes as alternatives to traditional cigarettes before and during pregnancy,” Caron said.

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How to make infertility care affordable

According to RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association, “In most cases (not all of course), it is not a fertility diagnosis that stands directly in the way of becoming a parent, it is the ability to afford the treatment and other family building options that becomes the biggest barrier. Sadly, this disease already is emotionally exhausting. Add in the heavy, financial burden that most people end up carrying alone and two-fold the impact of infertility can be crushing.”

However, there are many ways to help cover the cost of care. RESOLVE has complied some great tools and information on a few alternative options to help make infertility affordable. You can find them on their web site.

We also have a page on our site describing how we can help make treatments affordable. You can read about those here.

And of course, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call one of our offices for a free phone consultation.

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Scientists find new way to study endometrial diseases

Biomedical researchers have found a new way to study endometrial diseases such as endometriosis and cancer. They were able to grow three-dimensional cell structures from diseased tissue of patients. The biobank can be used to unravel the disorders and test drugs.

Diseases of the endometrium are an important cause of infertility. One example is endometriosis, which is characterized by growth of endometrial-like tissue outside the uterine cavity, resulting in chronic abdominal pain and painful sexual intercourse. Up to half of the patients are subfertile or infertile. Treatment usually requires surgery and permanent hormonal therapy, which is incompatible with pregnancy.

Another important disorder is endometrial cancer, the most common gynecological cancer, with tumors growing in and from the endometrium. We need a better understanding of, and more effective treatments for both diseases. But in order to make progress, researchers have to be able to grow and study the endometrium in the lab.

Researchers at KU Leuven, a research university in Belgium, developed “organoids” from a healthy endometrium. These three-dimensional cell structures are grown in a petri dish from tissue fragments and cells of clinical biopsies. The organoids accurately replicate the original endometrial tissue from a broad spectrum of endometrial diseases, including endometriosis and endometrial cancer.

“The organoids form ‘avatars’, as it were, of the diseased tissue and can also be used to test the effect of drugs and new drug candidates,” senior author Hugo Vankelecom explained. “Our study shows that endometrial cancer organoids of different patients are each in a specific way sensitive to chemotherapeutic drugs. Further research will show whether such tests can be of help in the clinical treatment of individual patients. This is an example of what we call personalized medicine. Our new research model offers the potential to better understand and eventually treat uterine diseases such as endometriosis.”

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Couple is ‘forever thankful’ for RSCNJ care

“My husband and I first came to Dr. Martinez’s office in 2017,” a patient of ours writes. “Over the next two years, we would get to know him and his office staff very well. Our appointments were always thorough, never rushed, and everyone at the office was gentle with us during our time there. The office was always attentive and supportive, and never let us lose hope. Dr. Martinez even called me from home on a Saturday afternoon when I got sick during IVF, and Krista at the front desk was always waiting for me with a smile and a hug. Kim, Marianela, and Domenica always made me feel so welcome and comfortable.

“After much consideration, Dr. Martinez finally convinced me to have fibroid surgery, and a few months later we were absolutely thrilled and shocked to find out that we were pregnant naturally. It is so important to find an office that is sensitive and compassionate during this time, and I could not imagine anywhere else meeting the standards of the RSC office. I would recommend them to anybody, and I can truly say that I miss the staff there and wish I could stay there for the rest of my pregnancy! We will forever be thankful for Dr. Martinez’s office and the staff will always be an important part of our family.”

We are also thankful for her kind words. You can find more reviews like this one on our web site.

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Know the symptoms of PCOS

This month, we are supporting PCOS Awareness Month. Held every September, this event is intended to increase awareness of and education about polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS, among the general public, women, girls and healthcare professionals. That starts with knowing the symptoms of PCOS.

PCOS may begin shortly after puberty, but can also develop during the later teen years and early adulthood. Because symptoms may be attributed to other causes or go unnoticed, PCOS may go undiagnosed for some time.

People with PCOS typically have irregular or missed periods as a result of not ovulating. Although some people may develop cysts on their ovaries, many people do not.

Other symptoms include:

  • Weight gain. About half of people with PCOS will have weight gain and obesity that is difficult to manage.
  • Many people with PCOS report increased fatigue and low energy. Related issues such as poor sleep may contribute to the feeling of fatigue.
  • Unwanted hair growth (also known as hirsutism). Areas affected by excess hair growth may include the face, arms, back, chest, thumbs, toes, and abdomen. Hirsutism related to PCOS is due to hormonal changes in androgens.
  • Thinning hair on the head. Hair loss related to PCOS may increase in middle age.
  • PCOS is a leading cause of female infertility. However, not every woman with PCOS is the same. Although some people may need the assistance of fertility treatments, others are able to conceive naturally.
  • Hormonal changes related to androgens can lead to acne problems. Other skin changes such as the development of skin tags and darkened patches of skin are also related to PCOS.
  • Mood changes. Having PCOS can increase the likelihood of mood swings, depression, and anxiety.
  • Pelvic pain. Pelvic pain may occur with periods, along with heavy bleeding. It may also occur when a woman isn’t bleeding.
  • Hormonal changes prompt headaches.
  • Sleep problems. People with PCOS often report problems such as insomnia or poor sleep. There are many factors that can affect sleep, but PCOS has been linked to a sleep disorder called sleep apnea. With sleep apnea, a person will stop breathing for short periods of time during sleep.

To learn more about PCOS, got to our special PCOS web page.

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