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Excerpts fromMothers’ Beefy Diet Linked to Sons’ Low Sperm Count
Roxanne Khamsi
New Scientist News Brief, March 28, 2007

"The study involved 387 men and found that men had a 24% reduction in sperm count if their mother ate multiple daily servings of beef while pregnant. Such men were three times more likely to have a sperm count so low they could be classified as sub-fertile.

…hormones given to cattle to increase their growth, such as testosterone and progesterone, or the pesticides consumed by these animals might be to blame for the lower sperm counts.

‘Even though males don't start producing sperm until puberty, it is during the time in their mothers' wombs, and in the early years of life as an infant, that the testicles develop their capacity to produce sperm,’ explains Allan Pacey at the University of Sheffield in the UK.” The findings appear in the journal Human Reproduction.

Related advice from Rosalind: Man-made chemicals and environmental estrogens are fat-soluble and even low doses can become more concentrated higher up in the food chain. When we eat products from contaminated animals, the toxins store in our fat and sexual organs -- and are passed on to the developing fetus. Yet, fats are critical to the growth of your child and to your own reproduction. Please see the “Did You Know?” menu bar for how to safely include fats in your diet.

Excerpts fromIt Seems the Fertility Clock Ticks For Men, Too
Roni Rabin
New York Times, February 27, 2007

"Scientists have reported that sperm counts decline with age, and that sperm begin to lose motility and the ability to swim in a straight line. The researchers also reported a steady increase in sperm DNA fragmentation as men grew older … a small proportion of older fathers may be at increased risk for transmitting multiple genetic and chromosomal defects.”

Related advice from Rosalind: DNA fragmentation is not currently measurable in a standard semen analysis, although this may change in the near future. Please see the “Did You Know?” menu bar for information on how to protect and prolong the production of healthy sperm.

Excerpts fromObesity ‘Link’ to Chemicals in Womb
Mark Henderson
The Times, February 17, 2007

"Prenatal exposure to chemicals found in plastics and pesticides may leave some people more prone to obesity later in life … exposure to chemicals in the womb could encourage a ‘thrifty’ metabolism, in which energy was stored as fat.”

Related advice from Rosalind: It is widely accepted that man-made chemicals cause reproductive and developmental abnormalities and cancer in wildlife, but extrapolating the risk to humans has seen a slow acceptance. Growing evidence is showing that human exposure parallels what we’ve seen in wildlife. Read how 10 simple changes can decrease your exposure to toxic chemicals to protect your fertility and the future health of your children in the “Did You Know?” menu bar.

Excerpts fromMaternal Seafood Consumption in Pregnancy and Neurodevelopment Outcomes in Childhood: an observational cohort study.
Joseph R Hibbeln, John M Davis, Colin Steer, Pauline Emmett, Imogen Rogers, Cathy Williams and Jean Golding.
The Lancet 2007; 369:578-585

"INTERPRETATION: Maternal seafood consumption of less than 340g per week [about 12 ounces, equivalent to three servings] in pregnancy did not protect children from adverse outcomes; rather, we recorded beneficial effects on child neurodevelopment with maternal seafood intakes of more than 340g per week, suggesting that advice to limit seafood consumption could actually be detrimental. These results show that risks from the loss of nutrients were greater than the risks of harm from exposure to trace contaminants in 340g seafood eaten weekly.”

Related advice from Rosalind: Seafood is rich in omega-3 fatty acids (DHA) essential to fetal brain development and is a lean source of protein. As a potential mother you can and should learn to select safe seafood. For information on safe fish choices see the “Did You Know?” menu bar. Omega-3 fatty acids are also found in seeds (hemp, chia, flax), walnuts, kiwi fruit and organic eggs.

Excerpts fromTrans Fats May Raise Risk of Infertility
News from Harvard Medical, Dental and Public Health Schools
Research Brief
s, February 9, 2007

"Women who consumed two percent of their daily calories in the form of trans fat—which translates to 4 grams of trans fats for a woman eating 1,800 calories a day—exhibited a 73 percent greater chance of developing ovulatory infertility than those who consumed those calories in the form of carbohydrates.

Compared to women eating healthier monounsaturated fats such as olive oil, trans fat–eating women had a more than twofold risk of developing ovulatory infertility. The findings appear in the January American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.”

Related advice from Rosalind: Trans fats are liquid vegetable oils that have been altered to make them solid at room temperature, cheaper for processed foods, and to yield a longer shelf life. These altered fatty acids interfere with cell membrane function. For information on how trans fats may affect your fertility and how to avoid choosing foods containing hidden trans fats see the “Did You Know?” menu bar.

Excerpts fromA Prospective Study of Dairy Foods Intake and Anovulatory Infertility.
J.E. Chavarro, J.W. Rick-Edwards, B. Rosner and W.C. Willett
Human Reproduction, 2007

"Conclusions: High intake of low-fat dairy foods may increase the risk of anovulatory infertility whereas intake of high-fat dairy foods may decrease this risk.”

Related advice from Rosalind: Healthy fats are essential to the production of adequate sex hormones and the absorption of vital nutrients for a normal fertility. Please see the “Did You Know” menu bar for information on how to include healthy fats in your diet.

Excerpts fromThat Prenatal Visit May be Months Too Late
Roni Rabin
The New York Times, November 28, 2006

"Public health officials are now encouraging women to make sure they are in optimal health well in advance of a pregnancy to reduce the risk of preventable birth defects and complications. They have recast the message to emphasize not only prenatal care, as they did in the past, but also what they are calling ‘preconception care’.

Half of all pregnancies in the United States are unplanned, experts say, and preparing for a healthy pregnancy can require behavioral changes that may take months. Even daily supplements of folic acid should ideally be taken for three months before conception.”

Excerpts from
Iron Supplements May Reduce Risk for Ovulatory Infertility
News Author: Laurie Barclay, MD
Medscape Medical News, November 1, 2006

"Consumption of iron supplements and nonheme iron from other sources may decrease the risk of ovulatory infertility … given that iron deficiency is commonly found among women of reproductive age and may be associated with adverse pregnancy and perinatal outcomes, women planning to become pregnant should consider using iron supplements because they may help them prevent iron deficiency and also improve fertility."

Related advice from Rosalind: Iron is critical to the formation of hemoglobin and oxygenation of red blood cells, and a deficiency in early pregnancy can increase the risk of miscarriage. Because of the rapid growth of your baby from the moment of conception, the need for iron and folic acid increases in pregnancy far beyond your own needs. You want your body to be confident that it can both maintain your personal health AND grow a healthy child. Therefore, it is important to build adequate stores of iron, folic acid and other B vitamins, vitamin A, calcium, selenium, omega-3 oils and other critical vitamin and minerals before conception.

All supplements are not the same. Many have little or no value, or may actually be harmful. Please see “Do You Need Prenatal Supplements?” in the “Did You Know” menu bar.

Excerpts fromPredicting Preschooler Obesity at Birth: The Role of Maternal Obesity in Early Pregnancy
Robert C. Whitaker, MD. MPH
Pediatrics Vol. 114 No. 1 J
uly 2004

"Obesity before pregnancy linked to childhood weight problems. A new study shows that a child’s weight may be influenced by the mother before the child is actually born. The study showed that a child is more likely to be overweight at a very young age, 2 or 3, if the mother was overweight or obese before she became pregnant. And of course, we now know that if children become overweight, they are more likely to be overweight in adulthood, perpetuating the problem.”

Related advice from Rosalind: Excessive weight greatly increases your risk of infertility, miscarriage, and many pregnancy complications to you and your child. Even a 10 percent decrease in your weight can dramatically improve outcomes. This is very doable. Please see the “Did You Know?” menu bar to calculate your BMI and set a healthy weight loss goal. If your BMI is 19 or less, you risk under producing hormones necessary to a healthy fertility.

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Mothers' Beefy Diet Linked to Sons' Low Sperm Count
It Seems the Fertility Clock Ticks For Men, Too
Obesity 'Link' to Chemicals in Womb
Maternal Seafood Consumption in Pregnancy and Neurodevelopment Outcomes in Childhood: an observational cohort study
Trans Fats May Raise Risk of Infertility
A Prospective Study of Dairy Foods Intake and Anovulatory Infertility
That Prenatal Visit May be Months Too Late
Iron Supplements May Reduce Risk for Ovulatory Infertility
Predicting Preschooler Obesity at Birth: The Role of Maternal Obesity in Early Pregnancy