ivf singapore

Improve Your Uterine Lining for A Successful IVF

By PregnancyNo Comments

Did you know the lining thickness of a woman’s uterus is crucial for a successful IVF?

IVF Singapore Bao Ma

Also known as the endometrium, this is where the embryo implants at the beginning of the pregnancy and continues to develop. Every month, when the ovaries release an egg, the uterine lining thickens in size in preparation for embryo implantation. If egg fertilization does not happen, then the lining sheds itself and gets expelled by the body in the form of menstrual blood.

ivf singapore

If you are undergoing IVF treatment, your fertility doctor will usually measure the thickness of the uterine lining to ensure that it is adequately thick enough for implantation to occur. This is because the uterine lining is rich in nutrients and provides steady sustenance for the embryo to grow healthily. The ideal thickness of the lining is at least 7mm to 8mm with a trilaminar (three layered) appearance on an ultrasound. A uterine lining that is too thin is not the ideal environment for the embryo, as the embryo may fail to attach properly to the lining and lead to early pregnancy loss.

ivf singapore

A woman may have a thin uterine lining for several reasons, the main reason being a deficiency in estrogen, poor blood circulation in the uterus, uterine fibroid, chronic endometriosis (inflammation of uterine lining), hydrosalpinx (blockage of a woman’s fallopian tube), and scar tissues in the uterus.

A thin uterine lining needs to be fixed before a couple tries to conceive. A thick uterine lining is important to sustain a growing fetus. Although it is possible to conceive with a thin lining, your fertility doctor may suggest improving and thicken your lining before the embryo transfer happens.

In many cases, most women are unaware that their uterine lining is thin, as this issue may have been going on for a long time before a woman decides to get pregnant. Proper testing is required to determine this, however, some noticeable signs of a thin uterine lining may be abnormal and painful periods, as well as problems with carrying a baby to full term.

A Thin Uterine Lining can be Fixed by Several Methods

ivf singapore

These are tried and tested routines that encourage the growth of your uterine lining to improve your chances of having a successful IVF treatment.

Estrogen Supplements

ivf singapore

Estrogen plays an important role in reproduction, and low estrogen levels can sometimes lead to a thin endometrial lining. Estrogen supplements introduce extra estrogen into the body from outside and promotes endometrial lining growth. These supplements can come in the form of patches, oral pills or suppositories.

Physical Exercise

ivf singapore

A good supply of continuous blood flow is necessary for the healthy growth of the uterine lining. If you are not previously active, you should engage in regular exercise to improve blood flow. Low to moderate-intensity exercise will do, as high-intensity exercises are not recommended for women who are trying to conceive.


acupuncture singapore

Acupuncture has been shown to improve fertility in both men and women in several medical studies. Acupuncture increases blood flow to the uterus, improves ovary function, and balances the hormones in the body. This is the key reason why acupuncture has been included in many modern-day fertility treatments.

Quit Smoking and Drinking Coffee

ivf singapore

Caffeine and nicotine can impede blood flow in the body and affect blood circulation. If you are able, quit smoking and caffeine entirely. If that’s too challenging, try to cut back on your consumption.

Maintain A Healthy BMI

healthy bmi singapore

Women with a low BMI may find it more difficult to conceive because fat cells are responsible for producing extra estrogen in the body. Consider working with a nutritionist to reach your ideal BMI weight, which is usually in the range of 18.5 to 24.9.

ivf singapore

As a final word, even if your uterine lining isn’t growing to the ideal thickness, there is still a chance for you to conceive. Be rest assured that as much as you try to plan ahead, some things may not go according to plan. But not all hope is lost. There are plenty of fertility treatments available in the market today, and you should speak to your fertility doctors for more advice.

Tips to Manage Labour Pains

By PregnancyNo Comments

Here is a list of tips from moms across the world about how they manage the pain during labour.

Many future mums to be are terrified of giving birth, and epidurals are usually at the top of the list in terms of pain management. While that is completely understandable, what many women don’t realize is there are enormous alternative options for managing pain during labour.

Emotional Support

Emotional Support Pregnant Singapore

Studies have shown that the “doula effect” does exist – this refers to the emotional support provided by a doula or partner that helps women cope with labour pain. Most of the time, this reduces their need for drug intervention during labour as well. The presence of an attentive friend or family members also improves a woman’s experience of going into labour. The most important thing is to ensure the pregnant mother feels as comfortable as possible to get through the most difficult situations.


Massage Pregnant Singapore

Massage is a great technique to induce relaxation, and this applies to women in labour as well. Massaging her lower back, hips, pressure points on hands and feet helps women relax, and when paired with cold compression on the lower back, it can be especially effective in managing pain.

Bao Ma offers prenatal and postnatal massages for mummies and click here to find out more.

Acupuncture and Acupressure

Acupuncture Singapore

Acupressure and acupuncture are becoming increasingly popular in helping women deal with labour pain. Contrary to popular opinion, acupuncture doesn’t numb the pain, but instead calms and soothes the body’s nervous system. Being in a “fight or flight” mode is never conducive to having a baby.

Wondering how it works? After your contractions have started and labour has begun, a licensed acupuncturist is dispatched to your hospital room or home. They will start by inserting a few needles in between contractions – often on the acupressure points on the hand or ear.

Armed with this comprehensive guide, you have a plethora of tips to choose from. And you don’t need to choose just one. Because let’s face it, you’ll never know what works until your knee deep in contractions. Never underestimate the power of non-drug coping techniques that are supported by modern science and research. At the very least, it should get you past the early labour stages.

Changing Positions

Changing Positions

Most women think sitting in bed all day is the most suitable position for labour. It couldn’t be further from the truth! Studies have shown this isn’t the ideal position to help labour progress at all. In fact, having lots of movement can help you cope with the pain. Try walking, rocking, squatting, or changing positions constantly as moving about not only eases the pain but also takes advantage of the force of gravity to encourage the baby to move down the birth canal.

If you are bedridden in a hospital, your physical movement may be limited due to the medications or being hooked up to fetal monitors and IV drips. However, you can still position yourself onto your hands and knees on the bed, as well as standing or sitting by the side of the bed.

Water Therapy

Water Therapy Pregnant Woman

Being in the water helps keep pregnant women stay calm and relaxed. Research shows that women experience less painful contractions, shorter labours, and require less medical interventions when they spend more time submerged in water during labour.


Breathing Singapore

Deep breathing techniques are useful compared to the traditional fast breathing in and out, which may sometimes lead to hyperventilation in an already anxious mother. Plenty of women find that deep breathing gets them through the contractions until the sensations start to fade. Pregnant women should not hold back on loud noises as well. Toning, a type of low-pitched humming is another technique that helps women relax and cope with the pain.



Many health professionals teach visualization as a relaxation technique to calm and soothe women in labour. One of the techniques is to visualize the cervix opening and drawing an image of what is going inside the body. Knowing that the contractions are tied to her cervix opening can give pregnant women a mental picture to process, and this, in turn, helps her relax and cope with labour. With that being said, visualization works best when it is personalized to a person. What works for one woman may not work for another.

How to Tell If You Are Approaching Labour

By PregnancyNo Comments

For all soon-to-be-parents, these are some signs that your baby is on the way.

Most parents are understandably confused about signs of labour as many of the signs are vague and misleading. Here at Bao Ma we have listed down the most telling signs that labour is on the way. However, bear in mind that these symptoms may not necessarily happen in any particular order. You may some of the symptoms simultaneously on the same day or a few days apart.

You Experience Vaginal Pain

Pain in the vaginal area is an early indication of labour. It can happen weeks before labour actually happens, so please take note, new mothers! The sensation is akin to shooting pains in the vagina and pelvis. This is due to the baby changing position as they move lower down into the birth canal.

You Have Bloody Discharge

Bloody Discharge Pregnant Singapore

If you notice an increase in vaginal discharge, this is a good sign that you may be going into labour. The cervix is closed and covered with mucus during the entire duration of pregnancy. This is known as the operculum, or mucus plug, and is your body’s way of protecting the baby by preventing bacteria from entering the womb. The texture of the discharge is similar to uncooked egg white and may come up to a teaspoonful size. When the mucus plug dislodges, this means that the cervix has begun to soften and dilate to prepare for labour. The discharge color ranges from brown (due to old blood) or pinkish in color.

The pink color is due to the rupture of blood vessels along the cervix surface as it continues to expand. This discharge can occur as early as 2 weeks before labour. If the discharge is heavy and tinged with bright red blood, it means that your body has gone into labour.

You Have Lower Back Pain

This symptom may be confusing for some new mothers because plenty of pregnant women experience lower back pain at some point during their pregnancy. In this case, you may start noticing a dull ache in your lower back that feels similar to period pain. This is because when labour happens, the baby goes down the birth canal with the face leaning against the mother’s spine. When the pain becomes more unbearable, then it is likely that labour is near.

You Are Experiencing More Braxton Hicks Contractions

Braxton Hicks contractions refer to the uterus contractions. They often practice contractions as your hormones change and your cervix becomes more flexible. Some pregnant women may experience these contractions in the early stages of pregnancy and it does not necessarily indicate labour is near, but that a woman could be exhausted or dehydrated. But if you notice cramps and pain with increased Braxton Hicks contractions, then it could be a sign of early labour.

You Are Frequenting the Toilet More Often

Plenty of new mothers notice that as their due date draws near, they feel the urge to pass motion more often than not. Diarrhoea or loose bowel movement is not uncommon as well. This is the body’s signal to make way for the baby to come through. The emptying of bowels is also to ensure the uterus is able to contract properly. Other symptoms may include vomiting or indigestion before labour contractions start.

Your Bump Dislodges or Drops

You may feel a pressure change as your baby drops lower into the pelvic region. In other words, your baby’s head has engaged with your pelvis and is in the correct position for childbirth. As your baby’s weight is no longer pressing on your diaphragm, you may find it easier to breathe as a result. If you have been experiencing heartburn, this should stop as well. Bump dropping may happen a few weeks before labour or just when labour contractions start.

Your Energy Level Changes

Some women feel more energized and awake before they go into labour, while some women feel their energy levels drop and actually sleep better! Feeling increasingly emotional is also common – many mothers report feeling overwhelmed and poor sleep just a few days before labour.

Your Water Breaks

80% of women report having regular contractions and going into labour within 12 hours after their water has broken. However, instead of having amniotic fluid gushing out dramatically like in the movies, in real life, it will likely be a slow, steady leak as your baby’s head prevents the fluid from leaking out all at once. However, if your water has broken and you have yet to go into labour by 24 hours, doctors will usually artificially induce labour. This is because the risk of infection is higher once the amniotic sac has burst and bacteria are able to enter the womb.

With that being said, every pregnancy is different, and there is really no sure-fire way of predicting when labour will start. Despite contrary opinion, most women do not go into labour suddenly without warning. Your body will send cues that the big day is close, so pack the bare necessities and be ready to head to the hospital when you see these signs!

Pregnant Lady

Dealing with Pregnancy Complications

By PregnancyNo Comments

Not every pregnancy is smooth sailing. Your pregnancy journey may hit some bumps along the way. Here are the common pregnancy complications and ways to manage them effectively.

Pregnancy complications can happen to any woman, even women who were perfectly healthy before getting pregnant. Some may be minor, and some conditions may be more serious and can turn the pregnancy into a high-risk pregnancy where the mother’s and infant’s health may be at stake.


Preeclampsia High Blood Pressure

Preeclampsia is a condition of high blood pressure induced by pregnancy. It occurs when the blood vessels in the placenta do not develop properly, causing the blood vessels to be narrower than usual. They also react differently to hormones, and therefore less blood is able to flow through the blood vessels. Symptoms of preeclampsia include severe headaches, nausea, vomiting, blurry vision, and abdominal pain near the ribs. It generally occurs in first-time pregnancies after the 20th week and may develop suddenly without any symptoms. This is why blood pressure monitoring is important in prenatal care because a spike in blood pressure is usually the first symptom of preeclampsia.

If left unchecked, preeclampsia can lead to serious or fatal complications for mother and baby. Seizures, stroke, and severe bleeding are possible complications until your blood pressure decreases. Delivery of your baby is the only solution for treating preeclampsia. If you are diagnosed too early in the pregnancy, you may need to be hospitalized and be continuously monitored as it will be too early to deliver to the baby. Alternatively, your doctor may suggest C-section delivery or early induced labour.

While there are no successful treatments for preventing preeclampsia, complications from preeclampsia can be managed with early detection and proper prenatal care. Several preventive measures have shown promise in treating preeclampsia. For example, low-dose aspirin therapy and calcium supplementation has been shown to improve symptoms for high-risk pregnancies. Calcium reduces blood pressure in pregnant women with mild to moderate hypertension and low dietary calcium intake. A low dose of aspirin therapy at 100mg per day can also reduce the risk of preeclampsia.

Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes is a condition in which pregnant mothers have high blood sugar. Gestational diabetes can happen to women of all sizes, even women who are not diabetic. The exact cause of gestation diabetes is still under debate, but doctors suspect that it is due to hormones from the placenta that supports the baby’s growth. In some cases, these hormones also block the function of insulin in the mother’s body. This results in insulin resistance, which makes it harder for the mother to use insulin. Glucose is unable to exit the blood without sufficient insulin, hence it keeps building up in the blood, causing hyperglycemia. As blood sugar is also transported through the placenta to your baby, your baby may also have high blood sugar levels and be at risk for developing obesity and diabetes as they grow older.

A healthy diet is important for pregnant mothers, regardless of having gestational diabetes or not. It is important to eat foods high in nutrients that keeps your blood sugar in check, provide your baby with the necessary nutrients and maintaining a healthy weight. When your blood sugar is stable, you will experience fewer cravings for sugary sweets and snacks, thereby preventing your blood pressure from spiking. Your baby will also grow at a normal rate, as blood sugar is a major factor in your baby’s weight gain in the last trimester.

A low-carb diet based on meat, eggs, dairy, vegetables and a little fruit is recommended. By low carbohydrates, we mean cutting out junk food, refined grains and snacks with added sugars. There is plenty of carbohydrates that are safe for pregnant women to eat. Complex carbohydrates such as whole-grain bread, crackers, beans, and rice are good examples.

The key point is to follow your body’s cues and eat when you are hungry, instead of obsessing over calorie count. Gestational diabetes is completely manageable and the first thing to do is to check your blood sugar levels and understand which foods are causing your blood sugar levels to fluctuate.


A pregnant woman who has less than normal red blood cells count in her blood is deemed to have anaemia. Anaemia can occur at all stages of pregnancy and is commonly caused by iron deficiency. Pregnant mothers need more iron to make red blood cells as the mother’s blood volume increases during pregnancy, and also to meet the demand for iron by the growing baby. When you are anaemic, you may often feel exhausted, sometimes out of breath and have a pale complexion. Anaemia is risky for pregnant women, as they are less capable of coping with blood loss during labour and delivery.

The good news is anaemia is easily treated. Your doctor may prescribe iron and folic acid tablets to replenish iron levels in your body. You should also include more iron-rich foods in your diet, such as leafy green, chicken, beef and beans.

Getting regular prenatal care goes a long way in preventing pregnancy complications. Just be sure to follow a healthy diet and lifestyle, attend your prenatal appointments, and inform your doctor if you are experiencing any abnormal symptoms.

Cold Vs Flu

Combating Flu During Pregnancy

By PregnancyNo Comments

In this article, we list out the dos and don’ts of managing the flu while you are pregnant to keep you and your baby safe.

In recent times where COVID-19 is running rampant, you can’t be too careful about flu and colds. Getting pregnant also leaves you more vulnerable to viral infections as your body undergoes changes in your heart, lungs, and immune system. But do you know the difference between a cold and the flu? The two are often confused for the same, as both illnesses has similar symptoms.

Cold Vs Flu 

Cold Vs Flu

A cold is defined as virus infection of the nose, throat, sinuses and upper respiratory organs. Symptoms include runny nose, sneezing, sore throat and coughing and usually last for a week. There is no cure for a cold at the moment, and most people recover on their own without medical treatment. Colds also do not develop into the flu as both illnesses are caused by different viruses.

The flu has similar symptoms as a cold, however, it is a much more serious respiratory illness and the symptoms generally last longer. If you have caught the flu bug, you may have a fever, muscle aches, and cold-like symptoms that come on strong at the onset. You may continue to feel ill for several weeks. In certain cases, flu symptoms may worsen and become pneumonia, bacterial infection, and even hospitalization in serious cases. As a matter of fact, pregnant women are more likely to be hospitalized from flu complications than other women of similar age.

Flu is caused by influenza viruses. Contrary to popular opinion, antibiotics don’t work against colds and flu. In most cases, the best way is to let the infection runs its course and allow your body’s own immune system to fight off the virus.

Having a Cold or Flu During Pregnancy

Pregnant Lady with Cold or Flu

If you have caught a cold while pregnant, just drink plenty of fluids and get more rest to allow your body to fight off the cold. As new mothers, your developing baby will cause your womb to expand and press against your lungs, which is why you may find breathing to be more laborious. This condition is exacerbated more so if you catch a cold and find your noses blocked! The good news is, you can alleviate these symptoms by taking over-the-counter medications such as Panadol, cough drops, or Decolgen. Rest assured that catching a cold is unlikely to harm you or your baby.

However, if you have caught the flu while you are pregnant, consult your doctor as soon as possible. Getting the correct diagnosis earlier can get you treated faster and ensure that you and your baby are safe. Your doctor may prescribe antiviral medicines for you as having the flu increases your chances of pregnancy complications down the road. For example, fever may harm your baby and is often associated with neural tube defects, premature birth, and miscarriage.



Antiviral medication is not to be confused with antibiotics – most antibiotics work by killing the pathogens, while antiviral medications treat viral infections by limiting the progress of the virus. The antiviral medication works best when taken within 48 hours of flu-like symptoms developing, and while it will not cure the flu, it will certainly help decrease the symptoms and prevent further medical complications. High fever is potentially dangerous, hence you will need to take medication to reduce the fever. Paracetamol (the active ingredient in Panadol) is a pregnancy-safe option for treating headaches, fever, body aches and other moderate pain associated with flu. Avoid non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAID) such as Ibuprofen and aspirin as these medications may increase the risk of miscarriage. However as with any medication taken during pregnancy, it is always best to use the lowest dose for the least period of time.

Cold and Flu Natural Home Remedies

Natural Home Remedies

If your symptoms are mild, why not try using natural home remedies such as honey, lemon and saltwater for some relief? A couple of teaspoons of honey mixed with hot water and lemon provides the much-needed relief for those pesky sore throats. Sea salt is also a natural antiseptic, hence gargling with sea salt can shorten the time you spend sick as it kills viruses. If you have a blocked nose, a non-steroidal decongestant spray may help. Nasal sprays made from sea salt have been proven to soften mucus and clear the nasal passageway. Last but not very least, resting well, keeping warm and drinking plenty of fluids will also help you recover faster.

Flu Vaccinations for Pregnant Women 

Flu Shot

As best as antiviral medications may work, it is still no substitute for a flu shot. This is why it is always recommended to get a vaccination to prevent the flu. People who caught the flu after receiving a flu shot often have much milder symptoms than those who have not been vaccinated. In pregnant women, flu shots reduce the risk of contracting serious respiratory infection by half. Vaccinated pregnant women are also 40% less likely to be hospitalized.

You may be wondering, is it safe for me to get a flu shot while I am pregnant? Yes, it is completely safe! You can get a flu shot at any stage of your pregnancy as well. Neither does flu vaccinations affect breastfeeding in any manner. In fact, your little one will have a stronger immunity as mothers are known to pass on antibodies to their babies in the womb and through breast milk. Your little one will be protected for up to 6 months after childbirth, which is a huge plus since at this period babies are too young to be vaccinated.

To guard against the flu, it is recommended that pregnant women should get a flu shot every year as the influenza virus mutates all the time. This is the reason why flu shots change by the year. Even if you have gotten a flu shot previously, you will still need to get a new shot annually. The phrase “prevention is better than cure” has never been more true when it comes to your health!

Support Pillows

How to Sleep Comfortably During Pregnancy

By PregnancyNo Comments

It can be challenging to find a comfortable sleeping position during pregnancy. Should you sleep on your stomach, back or side? We round up several tips to make sleeping easier when you are pregnant.

Pregnancy can be tiring. To complicate things further, almost 80% of pregnant women have trouble sleeping, and 15% of women complaining of restless leg syndrome in the third trimester. Hormonal changes, cravings, nausea, and other pregnancy symptoms can also make it harder to sleep comfortably at night, especially in the third trimester when your bump is the heaviest.

Although most women complain of fatigue, they also worry whether certain sleeping positions might affect the health of their unborn baby. In this article, we look at some of the best sleeping positions to try, tweaks that you can make to your bedtime habits to get better sleep, and sleeping aids that are safe to use for expecting mothers.

Sleep On Your Left Side

Sleep Pregnancy

Pregnant women can actually sleep in any position they choose to during the first trimester. However, sleeping on your stomach and back isn’t the best choice in the long run. If you’re used to sleeping on your stomach, that’s fine – until your growing baby bump makes it impossible to continue sleeping that way. As for sleeping on your back, experts generally do not recommend this sleeping position because this rests the whole weight of your growing body on the back, intestines, and the vena cava, which is the main vein that transports blood from your lower body back to your heart. Sleeping on your back restricts the body’s circulation, and may affect the flow of oxygen and nutrients to your baby. Especially in the second and third trimester, sleeping on your back can lead to backaches, low blood pressure, and even hemorrhoids.

So what is the best sleeping position? Sleeping on your side (on the left, preferably) is the most ideal position for you and your growing baby, as this position allows maximum blood flow to the uterus and puts less pressure on the surrounding organs. This means the kidney is able to process waste fluids more easily, resulting in reduced swelling on the hands and feet. Sleeping on your side has also been proven to help with backaches.

Use Support Pillows

Support Pillows

If you have back pain, try sleeping with your knees bent with one or two support pillows tucked in between your knees. Bent knees helps stabilize you while you are sleeping, making you less likely to roll over onto your back. The pillows provide extra cushion that helps keep your back straight and reduce pressure on your spine and hips. You can use body pillows specifically made for pregnancy sleeping, otherwise normal pillows is also fine.

Avoid Eating Trigger Foods

Heartburn is one of the side effects of pregnancy that can keep expecting mothers up at night. Your digestive system is slower than normal due to hormonal changes, and your expanding uterus can compress the stomach and push stomach acids upwards, causing heartburn. Try to have smaller meals near bedtime while staying away from spicy food and heavy late-night meals.

Elevate the Head of Your Bed

If you are still experiencing heartburn, propping your head up on pillows can provide some relief. If that still doesn’t work, try sleeping in a semi-upright position in a recliner instead of the bed.

Get Regular Exercise

Exercise Pregnant Woman

Regular exercise can improve your quality of sleep tremendously. Just 10 minutes of low-impact, aerobic exercise such as jogging or cycling will do the trick. In the long run, exercise can strengthen your back and prevent the nagging back pain that many expecting mothers experience.

Stretch Daily

Stretching Pregnant Woman

Cramping is an issue many pregnant mothers face. The exact reason is unknown, but pressure from your growing uterus and redistribution of calcium is thought to be the reason. To avoid being awoken by painful leg cramps in the middle of the night, drink lots of water beforehand as dehydration can increase cramps. Incorporating a daily stretching routine and stretching your calves before bedtime also helps in preventing cramps.

Empty Your Bladder Before Going to Bed


In the first trimester, a pregnant women’s blood volume increases, and this puts pressure on the kidneys as the organ needs to process more fluids. As your baby bump grows, the uterus will start to move down through the pelvis and press down on the kidneys. You may feel the urge to take bathroom breaks all the time, especially in the middle of the night. To avoid this, experts recommend going to the bathroom just right before sleeping.

Safe Sleeping Aids for Pregnancy

Sleeping Aids

Sometimes vitamin deficiencies can be the reason behind pregnancy discomforts. Low levels of iron and folic acid can trigger restless leg syndrome, hence supplementing with folic acid and iron can help relieve the symptoms. If you experience heartburn regularly, taking over-the-counter antacids may help. In any case, you should consult your doctor before taking supplements during pregnancy.

Pregnancy can be stressful. While you may have a lot of things to worry about, your sleeping position shouldn’t be one of them! Sleep guidelines notwithstanding, you should always listen and follow the cues from your body. If you wake up in the middle of the night and find yourself sleeping on your back, fret not – just flip back over to your side and continue sleeping. It is exceedingly rare for people to sleep in one position throughout the night, and there is no evidence that accidentally sleeping on your back will cause lasting harm to the baby. Just try not to sleep on your back for prolonged periods of time.

Get Pregnant Faster: Dos and Don’ts

By PregnancyNo Comments

If you have been working on getting that bun in the oven, these tips might just help you get pregnant faster.

Whether you have been trying to conceive for some time, or you’ve just decided you can’t wait to be new parents, it always helps to put some planning behind your baby-making. Here are the dos and don’ts of increasing your chances of getting pregnant.

Do Stop Using Birth Control Early
birth control singapore
If you have been using birth control previously, get off it a few months before you start trying for a baby. A regular menstrual cycle is crucial for conceiving, and you might need to go through a few cycles before your body starts ovulating regularly again. Generally speaking, three months is ideal if you were previously on the pill or patch. If you had the birth control shot (hormonal injection to prevent unplanned pregnancies), then you might be looking at a minimum of nine months or longer.

Do Track Your Menstrual Cycle

Most fertility advice says the best time to conceive falls on the ovulation day, however in practice 12 hours after ovulation gives the best chance of getting pregnant. It helps to keep track of your menstrual cycles too, so you know exactly which day you will ovulate. No matter how often you are intimate with your partner, if you miss the fertile days of your cycle where your eggs are ready, you may find it harder to conceive. This is because sperm can survive in the uterus for two or three days, but your eggs only last for 12 to 24 hours after being released.

Do Plan Ahead
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine beliefs, the best age to conceive is 25 to 29 years old for women, and 27 to 35 years old for men. At this age, men and women are generally more stable physically and emotionally, not to mention financially! Research has shown that early and late pregnancies (earlier than 20 or after 35) tend to have a higher mortality rate and increased risk of birth defects.

Do Keep A Healthy Weight and Eat Right
Research shows keeping a healthy weight plays a huge role in fertility, as being overweight or obese actually decreases fertility in men and women alike.

Diet-wise, you should add more antioxidants, leafy greens, and protein to your diet. For men especially, antioxidants protect the sperm from free radical damage. Women should consume more folic acid as this nutrient is essential for a healthy pregnancy. Folate supplementation has been shown to increase fertility, enhance fertility treatment results and lessen the risk of the baby being born with neural tube defects.

Don’t Smoke
Female fertility is complex and could stem from various reasons, but male fertility is surprisingly easy to resolve by leading a healthy lifestyle. Did you know smoking causes a decline in sperm count, reduces sperm motility (the sperm’s ability to swim), and abnormal sperm shape as well? When a man quits smoking, he will be able to see improvement in his sperm count in just 3 months.

Not only does smoking affects a man’s fertility, but it may also affect their partner’s fertility. Women who are exposed to secondhand smoke have lower IVF success rates and a higher risk of losing the pregnancy.

Don’t Take Long Hot Baths or Soak in Hot Tubs
Sperm is damaged by high temperatures, and this is one of the reasons why the male reproductive organs are outside of the body – the scrotums need to be kept cool and lower than our normal body temperatures (36.5 °C)

Avoid soaking in hot tubs or taking long hot baths as these activities can raise the scrotum’s temperature. Prolonged sitting is bad for a sperm count as well, most likely due to increased heat without any breathing space.

Don’t Stress It/
Severe stress can decrease fertility by causing erratic hormones levels, reducing cervical mucus, and even throwing you off your regular period! While it is debatable whether mild or moderate levels of stress can affect fertility, prolonged and acute stress often pushes you to unhealthy habits such as drinking, insomnia, overeating, smoking and even losing interest in intimacy. All these habits may lead to trouble in getting pregnant.

Don’t Over Exercise
Exercise in general is great for fertility, but excessive exercise has the opposite effect.  When your body is pushed to the brink of exhaustion, cortisol and stress hormones kicks in, and this cascade of hormones negatively affect menstrual cycles, ovulation and fertility. Exercise for fertility, not for vanity.

While these recommendations set the stage for pregnancy, they may not work for every couple. There are many factors leading to infertility, and these tips work great for ovulatory infertility but are less effective for infertility due to medical impediments such as blocked fallopian tubes. If you are over 35 years old and don’t see any improvements within six months or to a year (if you’re under 35), then it’s probably best to seek a professional opinion. Left untreated, fertility issues may sometimes go from bad to worse, and you may be able to reach your fertility goals much quicker with the proper treatment. Good luck!


The Truth About Weight Gain during Pregnancy

By PregnancyNo Comments

What is the recommended pregnancy weight? How much weight gain is too much? How much is too little?


Weight gain has always been a controversial topic, especially in the case of pregnant women. The truth is, weight gain is absolutely normal and healthy during pregnancy. As a general guideline, if you are at a healthy weight before getting pregnant, gaining an extra 11kg to 16kg is normal. If you were underweight before, you would need to gain more weight. Conversely, you should gain less if you were overweight before.

That being said, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to determine pregnancy weight gain. Many women gain more weight than the recommended range, yet are still perfectly healthy. There are many factors at play here.


How Much Weight Do Women Gain During Their First Trimester?

Generally, women tend to gain 0.5kg to 2kg in the first trimester, followed by 0.5kg every week for the rest of the pregnancy. However in reality, every pregnancy is different and may not necessarily follow this pattern of weight gain. Some women don’t gain much weight at all during the first trimester. In fact, some women even lose weight in this period due to the constant vomiting and nausea caused by morning sickness. On the other hand, you might gain weight rapidly (up to 5kg even!) in the first trimester, before slowing down during the rest of the pregnancy.


What is Pregnancy Weight Made Up From?

Most people think that if you gain weight during pregnancy, it means you gained more fat. That is untrue! Fat only makes up a small percentage in the added weight.

  • Fat storage for breastfeeding

Pregnant women gain 2kg to 5kg of fat as the body prepares for breastfeeding after delivery. Fat cells stored in the body is used to produce milk and feed your baby. This is also why breastfeeding mothers tend to shed their pregnancy weight faster.

  • Breast Tissue

Similar to the increase in fat cells, your breast tissues will also grow in size to prepare for breastfeeding. This may add around 1kg of additional weight to your body.

  • Muscle Mass

Most women come to realize the benefits of exercising during pregnancy. When you exercise, your body weight tends to increase slightly as you gain more muscle mass.

  • Blood Volume

Did you know your body’s blood volume will increase by 50% during pregnancy? That translates to approximately 2kg extra weight! The extra blood volume is needed to carry oxygen to your baby and the rest of the body. This is another reason why pregnant mothers often have swollen hands and feet.

  • Growing Uterus and Baby

As your baby and uterus grows in size, this packs on additional weight as well. Your uterus may weigh up to 2kg, while your baby may weigh around 3kg to 4kg near the end of the pregnancy.

  • Placenta

Placenta is a completely new organ that only grows during pregnancy, and it may weigh up to 1kg.

  • Amniotic fluid

Amniotic fluid is the fluid that surrounds your baby in the uterus. It is an important part of your baby’s development. Low amniotic fluid is dangerous, hence it is always safer to have more amniotic fluid as your pregnancy progresses. Amniotic fluid in the body weighs approximately 1kg.

With that in mind, now you know why it makes sense to gain at least 10kg of weight during pregnancy in order to deliver a healthy and strong baby!

The mental pressure of gaining weight (or not!) adds stress to many pregnant women, on top of dealing with existing pregnancy woes. But here’s the truth: too much or too little weight gain is usually not an issue. It only becomes an issue when the baby is not growing properly.

As new mothers, women should realize that your bodies are incredible and stop obsessing over the perfect body, and follow your bodily cues. If you are feeling hungry, eat! But do know that pregnancy is not a license to eat for two and to give in completely to your pregnancy cravings. Eating a healthy and balanced diet is the way to go. And most importantly, trust that your body is getting the right nutrition and gaining the right amount of weight to nurture a wonderful new life inside!

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What Are Pregnancy Cramps and Should You Be Worried About It?

By PregnancyNo Comments

Here is our guide on pregnancy cramps – what’s normal, what’s a source of concern, and how to tell the two apart.

Cramps are normal parts and parcels of pregnancy and are likely to occur throughout all trimesters. Women often get worried about cramping during pregnancy and wonder if it’s a sign of miscarriage. The good news is – most pregnancy cramps aren’t dangerous as long as the pain isn’t alarming, persistent, one-sided, or accompanied by spotting (bleeding). Also, cramping in itself is not generally a sign of miscarriage, and neither does it lead to miscarriage. Miscarriage is caused by an unusual growth in the egg or embryo, in which the body responds to by terminating the pregnancy.

When Your Cramps are Normal

The first cramps may come as you first discover you are pregnant. Also known as implantation cramping, it can feel like the onset of a period as the fertilized egg implants itself on the uterine wall.

In the first trimester, your uterus will begin to expand and this may cause mild to moderate cramping in your lower back. The sensation may be similar to period cramps. This is because the uterus is a muscle, and when it contracts, it may feel like a cramp. Another explanation could be the Braxton Hicks contractions, where your cramps are actually practising contractions that can start as early as the second trimester. These contractions are more uncomfortable rather painful, last for roughly 30 to 60 seconds, are irregular and tend to stop entirely on its own. It is not a cause for concern. Over the next two trimesters, it is normal to feel mild cramps once in a while as your body continues to grow. Especially in your third trimester, you will begin to feel more pressure and cramping in your pelvis as your baby is growing very large by now. Changing positions and lying down on your side may ease your discomfort.

Pregnant women tend to feel pain on one side of the abdomen. This is not a cramp, but simply the ligaments around your belly stretching itself. The pain usually lasts a few seconds and is perfectly harmless.

If you get cramps, but a trip to the toilet or passing gas gives your relief, this means the cramps are likely caused by gas, bloating, indigestion or a full bladder, which are commonly experienced by expecting mothers.

As much as your cramps may be normal, do bring it up at your next prenatal appointment as your doctor may be able to pinpoint the issue and offer practical solutions.

When Your Cramps are Abnormal

In the third trimester, frequent cramping is generally not considered normal. If you are experiencing 6 or more contractions within an hour, you should speak to your doctor to rule out premature labour. Other symptoms of premature labour include back pain, pressure in the pelvic region, spotting and leakage of fluids from the vagina.

However, when you start to notice bleeding, sharp pain and dizziness accompanying cramps, you should beware as it could be a sign of miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy. An ectopic pregnancy is when the fertilized egg does not enter your uterus but stays in the fallopian tubes. In serious cases, it may attach itself to one of your ovaries, cervix or even abdomen. However, it is a rare condition that only occurs in 1% to 2% of pregnancies.

Bleeding can also be a sign of miscarriage or placenta previa, a condition where the placenta detaches from the uterus wall and covers the cervix. This could lead to excessive bleeding during childbirth that seriously affects you and your baby’s health. Placenta previa occurs in 1 out of 200 pregnancies. While uncommon, women who have had C-section, an abortion, or previous uterine surgery are at an increased risk of getting placenta previa.

Another cause for concern is one-sided pain or cramps, which may be linked to preeclampsia. Preeclampsia is a pregnancy complication where the mother has high blood pressure, protein in urine and swelling around the legs and hands. It usually happens after the 20th week of pregnancy and may cause pain in the upper right area of your abdomen. Around 5% of expecting mothers have preeclampsia. Preeclampsia can lead to eclampsia, a severe condition that results in seizures and poses a serious health risk to mother and baby.

For the most part, cramps tend to go away on its own when you get enough rest. The best way to manage cramps is to lie down, get plenty of rest and make yourself comfortable. However, if you feel your cramps are not getting better over time, it would be wise to talk to your doctor immediately. It is better to be safe than ignore an issue that may turn out to be a serious concern!

How to Cope with Mood Swings during Pregnancy

By PregnancyNo Comments

Gain insight into why you are experiencing pregnancy mood swings and how to manage it.

Pregnancy is a journey full of physical and emotional challenges. A huge emphasis is usually put on the physical aspect of pregnancy, but less attention is given to the emotional ups and downs a new mother could be experiencing.

What Triggers Pregnancy Mood Swings?

Physical changes during pregnancy have a huge effect on your body, mood, metabolism, physical appearance and sleeping habits.

Pregnancy hormones

Hormonal changes during pregnancy cause the brain chemicals that control moods to change, and as a result, many women experience a range of emotions from elation, anxiety to depression from one moment to the next, especially during the early days of pregnancy. The hormonal culprits behind this? Estrogen and progesterone.

Estrogen activates the part of the brain that controls mood, hence a surge in estrogen can cause fear, moodiness and melancholy.
Progesterone helps muscles and ligaments to loosen up, but on the flip side, it can cause you to feel tired and lazy. Sometimes this hormone may make you feel sad for no reason at all!

Insufficient sleep

The first and last trimester can be very tiring for new mothers. It’s natural to feel more tired as your body works extra hard to nourish and develop the baby. In the first trimester, sudden hormonal changes will make your energy levels dip. The increase in progesterone and estrogen also acts as a natural sedative to make you feel groggy.

New mothers may also experience insomnia due to restless leg syndrome (the urge to move your legs while you are in a relaxed or sleepy state) in the third trimester. Your may it difficult to sleep with your ever-growing belly bump, and you are most likely to be experiencing backaches and pains as well.


It has been noted that women who experience premenstrual mood swings (PMS) are also more likely to have pregnancy mood swings as well. A study also found that PMS was also prevalent in women who suffered from postpartum depression.

How to Cope with Mood Swings

Sudden fluctuations in mood are hard to deal with, and you might feel as if you have little control over these flare-ups. Relax, take a deep breath, and take a look at our tips for managing your emotions better.

Get quality sleep

Prioritizing sleep is the best decision an expecting mother can do. If you’re having trouble sleeping due to backaches, try sleeping on your side. Some doctors suggest sleeping on your left side, as your liver is on the right side of your body, and sleeping in this position avoids having your uterus pressing down on your liver. Lying on the left side also improves blood circulation to your heart and to your fetus as well.

If you have restless leg syndrome, try doing some light stretches before going to bed. Ensuring that you are getting sufficient calcium and magnesium in your diet also helps with leg cramps.

Do low-impact exercises

Endorphins released after exercising is a real mood booster. If you’re feeling cranky, just doing some light walking, swimming or other low-impact exercises can instantly lift your mood and get you feeling positive in no time.

Mindful awareness activities such as yoga and meditation are also extremely beneficial for lowering stress, so learn to take deep breaths and shift your focus when the going gets tough.

Eat right

Yes, food can influence how you feel! It’s important to eat by the food pyramid to get all the necessary nutrients for your body. A well-balanced diet is crucial for your baby to grow healthily as well.

An unhealthy diet and irregular eating habits may lead to insufficient nutrients being absorbed by the body, which in turns affect your mood and energy levels.

Lean on your loved ones

Often times women try to do everything themselves even while expecting. But carrying a baby for 9 months is tough, and as new mothers, it’s time to learn to ask for help and relieve the pressure. There are many tasks that can be delegated to your partner and don’t be shy to rope in family members for some help in mundane tasks such as sterilizing bottles and doing housework. Joining a support group or connecting with other pregnant mothers in the neighbourhood who could relate to you can also go a long way in easing pent up emotions.

But if you feel you’re experiencing more than just pregnancy blues, don’t feel afraid to reach out to your doctor or therapist for some help. Sometimes our emotions get the best of us, and there is no shame in seeking professional help.

Pregnancy mood swings are just like a tornado of emotions – sometimes you just never knew what hit you! The good news is – mood swings are temporary and part of the wonderful journey of pregnancy, and be rest assured that it will eventually pass.