pregnant. My doctor wasn't so sure. The embryo on the ultrasound wasn't big enough, and he didn't hear a heartbeat. I looked closer to 5 weeks along. This revised timing seemed unlikely — I was sure of the exact date sperm met egg. But I wasn't going to let pesky details get in the way of my party. "Great!" I said. "When's the new due date?"I'll say this for myself: The denial came from an honest place. I was 33. My husband, Scott, and I had been married for almost a year. We'd just bought our first house, in Los Angeles, with an extra bedroom (for a kid) and a sun-dappled backyard (also for a kid). Our tangerine tree sagged with fruit. Hummingbirds sipped nectar from our flowers. So when the doctor said not to worry, I'd probably see a heartbeat at my next ultrasound in a couple of weeks, I didn't. I cheerfully filled my prenatal vitamin prescription. I began a list of baby names. I checked out pregnancy Web sites, including one that advised women who'd had ultrasounds like mine … [Read more...] about How to Cope with a Miscarriage
Gestational sac at 4 weeks
A Discovery In 1952, when my twin brother John and I first emerged into the world by cesarean section, our exhausted mother took one glance at our minuscule nether regions and cried out bittersweetly: "It's a...boys!"Manhood, on a philosophical level, transcends mere flesh, inhabiting instead the mind and soul. But the mind and soul are not where new parents look for the leading indicator of their baby's fate. With the debatable exception of wisdom teeth, most body parts are important, but very few are definingly so. The penis, testicles, epididymis, and prostate—"male reproductive organs" to the high-minded, "privates" to the polite, and endless trendy variations on "package" or "junk" to our buddies—these items are the embodiment of maleness.I can't speak for John, but as far back as I remember I've been fascinated with, and more than occasionally appalled by, my own urogenital organs. On the "uro" side of this elegant system, I've managed to live unremarkably so farno … [Read more...] about Your Privates: The Complete Instructions
Amniotic fluid is a clear, yellow fluid which is found within the first 12 days following conception within the amniotic sac and surrounds the growing baby in the uterus.1-4 Amniotic fluid has many important functions and is vital for healthy fetal development.1,2 However, if the amount of amniotic fluid inside the uterus is too little or too great, complications can occur. This Knowledge Center article will describe the many functions of amniotic fluid, as well as what happens when the levels of amniotic fluid are either too high or too low. While a baby is in the womb, it is situated within the amniotic sac, a bag formed of two membranes (the amnion and the chorion) in which the fetus grows and develops. Inside the sac, the baby is surrounded by amniotic fluid.5 Initially, the fluid is comprised of water produced by the mother. It is soon entirely replaced by fetal urine (as it swallows and excretes the fluid), however, around 20 week's gestation.1 Amniotic fluid is not only … [Read more...] about What is Amniotic Fluid? What does Amniotic Fluid do?
Spina bifida is a condition where the bones in the vertebral column do not fully cover the spinal cord, leaving it exposed. Symptoms range from mild to severe, and it can affect physical and intellectual development. It is a congenital problem, present before birth, and it is caused by the incomplete closing of the embryonic neural tube. It is a neural tube defect. There are three main types of spina bifida: myelomeningocele, spina bifida occulta, and meningocele. Myelomeningocele is the most serious type, and symptoms can be severe. In spina bifida occulta, symptoms may be barely noticeable. Surgery and other treatment options can improve the quality of life for a person with severe symptoms. This article will look at the symptoms, causes, and treatment for the most serious type, myelomeningocele. During the first month after conception, the embryo develops a primitive tissue structure known as the neural tube. This structure gradually develops into bones, nerves, and tissue. These … [Read more...] about What you need to know about spina bifida
An undescended testicle is a testicle that has not moved into the scrotum, the bag of skin that hangs behind the penis, before a baby is born. It is estimated that 3 percent to 4 percent of full-term boys and 21 percent of male infants born preterm are born with this feature. Usually, only one testicle is affected, but 10 percent of all cases, both testicles are affected. Undescended testicle (UDT) is also known as cryptorchidism. It is one of the most common endocrine problems affecting newborn males, and it is the most common genital condition that is identified at birth. It is more likely to affect boys who are born prematurely. Whether it affects one or both testicles, cryptorchidism generally corrects itself within a few months, but sometimes surgery is needed to relocate the testicle, or testis, into the scrotum. The scrotum is a small pouch, or sac, of skin that hangs behind the penis. Inside the scrotum is a pair of testicles, the oval-shaped sex organs that form … [Read more...] about What is Cryptorchidism, or Undescended Testicle?