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Stress Can Increase The Odds Of Having Left Handed Babies

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Are you one of the thousands of women out there who is desparately trying to have a left handed baby?  I have a little stress trivia that just might help you make that happen.


As I was reading through my medical journals, I found a tiny article burried amongst the back pages.  To paraphrase the wine tasters, it was an amusing little article, making up in pretension what it lacked in content.  

In other words, an article so thoroughly useless that one wonders just how it ever got published.  The headline screams "Older women have more left-handed babies". 

Carried on the Reuters wire service, so that it will appear in every corner of the globe, the article reported that a forty year old woman is twice as likely to give birth to a left-handed child than a twenty year old woman.  The survey done by a University of British Columbia researcher studied more than 2200 college freshmen, or should we say freshpersons.  Compared with women 17 to 24 years old, the likelihood of giving birth to a lefty was 11 percent higher among women 25 to 29, 25% highter in the 30-34 age group, and almost 70% higher in women 35 to 39. 


But here comes the shocker, hang on to your hats: for women over thirty nine, the likelihood of delivering a sinister, rather than a dexter was an amazing 228% greater.  The author, Dr. Stanley Coren, wrote in the New England Journal of Medicine that his findings coincide with previous research suggesting that babies subjected to excess stress during birth tend to be left handed whan they grow up.  Dr. Coren wrote that his findings are consistent with the supposition that older mothers have mores stressful deliveries and gestational periods, and that prenatal and perinatal stress contributes to the appearance of left-handedness. 

Well, I'm sure I can speak for the rest of you when I tell you that this article is certainly going to change my life. 

Here's an action tip:

According to the lastest research, if you are desperately hoping to have a left handed baby, make sure you wait until long after your fortieth birthday, and then try to argue with your spouse throughout the entire pregnancy. With useful applications like this, is it any wonder medical research costs so much...  

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A Beginner’s Guide to Having a Baby

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Recently, I have been seeing patients that wish to start a family. 

For parents who have never had a child or pregnancy before, there are some basic questions that should be considered, first from the female:

beginners guide to having a baby

1. “How long do we wait after stopping the birth control pill?:    

Once you stop taking the birth control pills in your package, a normal period will occur within a couple of days.  That’s how long it takes for blood levels of the pill to go back to zero.  After this normal period is done, pregnancy can begin during the very next cycle.  There is no need to “wait for a few cycles” to “clear out” the last of the pill’s hormones. 

2.     “Do I need to avoid certain exercises like horseback riding or running?”

In answering this, I remind patients that the best favor they can do for their obstetrician (or midwife) is to be in the peak of physical condition as they reach term.  The old advice of resting, or avoiding strenuous activities was well intentioned, but bogus unless you have uterine bleeding, or have a n incompetent cervix (with habitual miscarriages).  Now, falling is not brilliant, so learning how to ride a horse or a cross-country motor bike is probably best left until the pregnancy is over.  However, if one is already an accomplished rider, there is no reason to avoid reasonable use of these activities.  As for the rest of the gym or sporting menu, go for it!

3.     “When is the best time to get pregnant?”

Ovulation occurs two weeks before one’s next period, irrespective of whenever the last period took place. 

ovulation cycle

For women with regular 28 day cycles, then day 14 is pretty simple to figure out.  Also, some women will have a tiny cramp at the time of ovulation, helping them to know their timing.


But for those who have irregular cycles, or want to optimize their chances,

a home ovulation kit

there are kits available at the drug store for daily (basal) oral temperature recording, or for (vaginal) cervical mucous assessment.

a home ovulation kit


4.     “Must we try daily?”

No. There can be such a thing as “trying too hard”.   Daily ejaculations can actually reduce the effective sperm count, reducing chances.  In the old days doctors would suggest trying “every other day” leading up to the ovulation, which certainly seems to make sense.

5.     “Are Hot-tubs OK?”

Not for men.  When testicles are exposed to body temperature or higher, they will not produce useable sperm.  That’s why they descend from the abdomen into the scrotum during fetal development. And hot tubs are often set well above body temperature.  For the same reason, tight pants in the summertime could also produce the same effect. 


For more information, consult your doctor.  A full physical examination (including blood work) would be a good starting point for both parents.


In addition, as we discussed in another post, acupuncture could also be very helpful as an adjunct, as could occasional week-end breaks for a change of pace.

acupuncture can help with improving fertility


Remember, not everything happens as fast as you want it.  Infertility doctors usually do not get involved until at least a couple of years of trying to conceive.  So unless the clock is really ticking (ie if you are almost entering the menopause), take the pressure off yourself.

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