8 episodes

IVF-Assist has a single purpose - to help people having difficulty conceiving to get pregnant! This is especially so if you are trying to get pregnant using In Vitro Fertilisation or IVF.

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    • Health & Fitness

IVF-Assist has a single purpose - to help people having difficulty conceiving to get pregnant! This is especially so if you are trying to get pregnant using In Vitro Fertilisation or IVF.

    Pregnancy symptoms

    Pregnancy symptoms

    • 6 min
    Causes of Ovulation Pain or Ovulation Discomfort

    Causes of Ovulation Pain or Ovulation Discomfort

    In my last post, I addressed ovulation pain or discomfort. Several women have asked concerning the cause of such discomfort.

    Of course, the best person to address your particular symptoms of ovulation is your physician. However, I will respond to the questions asked by over-viewing some of the more commonly known causes of ovulation discomfort.

    For those of you just now beginning to follow this blog – Welcome!

    I mentioned last week that by far the majority of women experience no pain during ovulation or related to ovulation. For the 15-20% who do, headaches and abdominal pain/discomfort are most common.

    In this post, I’ll address some of the reasons for the abdominal pain sometimes experienced around ovulation.

    Follicle related: Ovulation involves the release of an ovum or egg from a follicle or sac within the ovary. Some theorise that the action of the follicle rupturing to release an egg might give rise to some discomfort in the form of pain or cramping.

    Body Fluid Related: When the mature egg is released from the follicle, a small volume of blood and fluid is also released into the abdominal cavity. If this irritates any of the contents of the abdomen, or the lining of the abdomen, ovulation cramping might result.

    Fertility Regime Related: If you are on an ‘IVF’ programme and have used fertility enhancing drugs to stimulate the development of mature eggs, it’s likely that multiple eggs will be the consequence. Some experts believe the process of producing multiple mature ova may possibly contribute to ovulation camping.

    Generally speaking, most women will not experience ovulation-related pain or discomfort. However, ovulation discomfort is normal for some women. The positive side of the discomfort, of course, is that if you do experience ovulation pain, ovulation cramps or other ovulation discomfort these can be a great indicator in determining the time when you are most fertile – VERY useful information if you want to conceive.

    Until next blog “fiat lux– et graviditas” – Let there be light – and pregnancy!

    • 3 min
    Ovulation Pain

    Ovulation Pain

    Most women don’t experience pain as a symptom of ovulation. However, some do. When ovulation pain is experienced, it can be a clear symptom of ovulation.

    Women who do experience pain as a symptom of ovulation report feeling different types of discomfort.

    Headaches: Women who are prone to headache, especially migraine headache, sometimes report noticing an increase in the number of headaches they have – or in the severity of these headaches during the days immediately prior to ovulation.

    Another type of headache that might be experienced is the cluster headache. A cluster headache is a one-sided pain, which can be accompanied by teary eyes and stuffy nasal passages. These are more likely to be experienced closer to the time of ovulation than in the earlier days leading to ovulation.

    Cramping: This is the most commonly experienced type of ovulation pain. Ovulation – related cramping is usually reported to be less severe than menstrual period-related cramping. Some women who experience ovulation-related cramping also report light spotting around the same time.

    Ovulation related cramping is usually reported as only mildly uncomfortable and lasting from a couple of hours to a few days.

    Pain in the Lower Stomach: Ovulation is often accompanied by a sharp pain to one side or the other of the lower abdomen. This is called Mittelschmerz, which is a German word meaning ‘middle pain’. The pain usually lasts from 1-7/8 hours but some people do experience is for up to 24 hours or so.

    In summary

    Pain is not commonly a symptom of ovulation, but up to around 20% of women reports various levels of discomfort around ovulation time.

    Because ovulation pain is not overly common, if you do experience severe or continuing pain around ovulation – especially if it’s different from your usual cycle characteristics – you should consult your physician to discount the possibility of the discomfort being associated with any serious disorder.

    Until next post “fiat lux– et graviditas” – Let there be light – and pregnancy!

    • 3 min
    Are we pregnant? Reviewing the signs of pregnancy

    Are we pregnant? Reviewing the signs of pregnancy

    Clients often ask about post-ovulation symptoms. What they usually mean is, “are
    there any signs of pregnancy to look out for before missing a period?”
    I’ve never had a client report post-ovulation symptoms, although I am aware changing
    hormone levels can give rise to hot flushes and/or sweating (or night sweats) in come
    women.

    Frankly, I think the best thing to do between ovulation and the end of the cycle is
    R-E-L-A-X. It might be easier said than done, but with the correct tools, relaxation
    can be achieved.

    Listen to hypnosis programs, meditate, exercise, read, contemplate, pray – it doesn’t
    really matter - just do anything other than worry about whether or not you’re
    pregnant. It’s really important to work achieve a level or calmness and relaxation,
    because that worry about the forthcoming pregnancy test (while completely
    understandable) at sufficient intensity, could give rise to the kind of stress that might
    very well affect your ability to become pregnant and sustain the pregnancy.

    Having said that, I do realise that most people who’ve been trying to get pregnant for
    some time are going to tend to take little notice of my advice.

    Accordingly I succumb, out of compassion, to your demands and will outline a few
    symptoms which post ovulation and pre pregnancy test, MIGHT indicate pregnancy,
    provide a basis for optimism, and so alleviate some concern.

    Sore or Swollen Breasts. While these can be symptoms of ovulation, if they arise or
    continue post ovulation, they might very well be an early indication of pregnancy.
    Those swollen breasts just might have been caused by your hormones changing in
    early pregnancy (especially progesterone).

    Hot Flushes and or Night Sweats. If you’ve experienced ovulation without these
    symptoms for some time and now begin to experience post-ovulation hot flushes and
    night sweats, then its possible you’re experiencing early signs of pregnancy (except of
    course, if you’re in your fifties, in which case there’s an even-money chance you’re
    experiencing signs of menopause).

    Nausea. Most people would have heard of ‘morning sickness’ – the condition which
    has pregnant women going through a ritual of holding their head very, very close to a
    toilet pedestal for the mornings of the first trimester of pregnancy. (By the way,
    morning sickness can quite often be effectively treated with a simple
    hypnotherapeutic intervention).

    Post ovulation nausea might well be a pre-pregnancy form of morning sickness and so
    indicate you might be pregnant. This nausea, by the way, is usually hormone-change
    related.

    Please note:
    If you’re taking fertility drugs such as Clomid it’s possible you’ll experience postovulation
    symptoms due to increased hormone level changes. This being the case, I
    don’t want to give the impression that the signs of pregnancy outlined herein are final
    and finite.

    Nothing beats missing a period and having a properly administered pregnancy test
    return a ‘positive’ when it comes to determining whether or not you’re pregnant.
    If you’re feeling stressed post-ovulation and pre-pregnancy test, why not download
    my FREE Relaxation Audio Programme to help you attain the desired state of calm
    and relaxation leading up to your test. It’s available on this site.

    Until next post “fiat lux– et graviditas” – Let there be light – and pregnancy!

    • 5 min
    Is the Fertility Cycle the same as the Menstrual cycle

    Is the Fertility Cycle the same as the Menstrual cycle

    I’ve often been asked to explain the difference between the ovulation cycle or fertility cycle and the menstrual cycle.

    Well, they’re pretty much the same thing. When people speak of the menstrual cycle there’s a focus on the ‘period’ of menstruation or bleeding at the beginning of the cycle. When people speak of the fertility cycle or the ovulation cycle, their focus is on what’s happening leading up to, at the time of, and soon after ovulation.

    You’ll recall from an earlier post that ovulation typically occurs around 14 days from the end of the cycle when the egg is released from the follicle to move into the fallopian tube to await fertilisation by the sperm.

    When we speak of the fertility cycle or ovulation cycle we refer to two key phases of the cycle. Those are the Follicular Phase and the Luteal Phase.

    The Follicular Phase commences on day one of the cycle (the day the menstrual period commences) and ends when ovulation occurs (i.e. when the egg is released from its follicle).

    Because it’s thought that there’s relative consistency in the timing of ovulation at around 14 days prior to the end of the cycle, the length of the follicular phase can vary quite dramatically between women experiencing significantly different cycle lengths.

    For example if we were to examine menstrual cycles varying between, say, 23 and 36 days, we’d be looking at follicular phases of those cycles of between 9 and 22 days respectively. The purpose of the follicular phase is to develop the follicle with which the egg can develop to maturity prior to ovulation.

    For women undergoing various “IVF” interventions, the drug protocols prescribed by your specialist physician are, in part, directed at enhancing egg and follicle quality – even follicle numbers – to ensure the eggs collected provide the best possible chance of successful fertilisation.

    The Luteal Phase. On release of the egg from the follicle, the corpus luteum forms. Thus commences a complex series of hormone reactions designed to ensure no further eggs are released and to prepare the uterus to receive and sustain a fertilised egg. (You can read about this in more details in my explanation paper, “The Human Fertility Cycle”, available FREE from this website.

    If the egg is not fertilised, it will disintegrate and moves from the body along with discarded endometrium (or uterus lining material) during menstruation.

    Now, all the technical stuff aside, here are the main considerations for pregnancy, presuming healthy ovulation occurs:


    The egg, left unfertilised, can be expected to survive only 12-24 hours – probably 36 hours at the outside
    Healthy sperm can be expected to survive longer – over 48 hours and even up to several days.
    It makes sense that having sex after ovulation is probably NOT the best approach if you’re keen on becoming pregnant.
    Regular unprotected sex commencing around 3 days prior to ovulation and continuing until say, the day after, makes a lot more sense if pregnancy is your objective.




    For those of you who might’ve missed my earlier post on signs of ovulation and ovulation symptoms, I’d recommend you either revisit the post – or read my brief explanation paper “The Human Fertility Cycle – an overview” to gain insights on how to identify when ovulation symptoms are present for you. You can download a copy of this from this site.

    There’s no doubt about it, knowledge is almost as important as eggs and sperm for couples wanting to become pregnant.

    Until next post “fiat lux– et graviditas” – Let there be light – and pregnancy!

    • 5 min
    Understanding the basics of your fertility cycle

    Understanding the basics of your fertility cycle

    I was surprised at a client question last week – the woman was in her late twenties. It
    was a simple question really – but getting the answer wrong would definitely mean
    the difference between her possibly getting pregnant quickly and not conceiving.

    Getting pregnant involves having sperm in the fallopian tubes around the time an egg
    released during female ovulation is entering the tube from the other end.

    Having this occur involves a basic understanding of human anatomy, physiology and
    fertility cycles.

    My client’s question, as I said, was simple…. “Does my cycle begin on the first day
    of my period or the first day after bleeding stops?”

    It’s easy for those in the know to get a bit ‘uppity’ when they read something like this,
    but far better to direct that energy to informing those who might be missing out on the
    joys of parenthood essentially because they’ve received an incorrect response to their
    question when they were younger, and have been progressing through life illinformed.

    The female cycle commences on the first day of menstruation. In other words, the
    first day of bleeding is Day 1 of the menstrual cycle.

    For this post I’d like to use that ‘simple question’ as a metaphor for so many issues
    surrounding people facing fertility issues.

    For several years now I’ve worked closely with couples trying desperately to
    conceive. Some had undergone multiple rounds of IVF – one fell pregnant on their
    eleventh round. I’ll relate some of their stories in future posts.

    For now, sufficient to say that several of my clients were facing ‘unexplained
    infertility’. Perhaps you are as well.

    ‘Unexplained infertility’ is a term used by doctors to explain the circumstance where
    a couple cannot conceive despite their being no apparent physiological reason for the
    lack of conception.

    No physiological reason, perhaps, but as I’ve discovered in my work, quite possibly
    psychological reasons. Perhaps complex psychological reasons like the effects of far
    too much stress for far, far too long. Maybe even the often extreme stress associated
    with simply wanting to get pregnant yet having difficulty achieving that.

    Or maybe some apparently minor psychological reason such as some clients have
    discovered immediately before they became pregnant. My point however, is
    successful clients are happy to ask questions, and have questions asked – about the
    things that might be contributing to their fertility challenges.

    Like the case of our client at the start of this post – the correct answer to a question
    about which some might believe the answer is blindingly obvious …and some might
    even scoff at your asking…..might really make the difference. And that difference
    could open the gate to conception.

    Until next post “fiat lux– et graviditas” – Let there be light – and pregnancy!

    • 4 min

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