Fertility – What You May Not Know

Image10 percent of couples end up facing infertility, which is defined as an inability to conceive after having unprotected sex for six months to a year. Though age is the most common cause, researchers are identifying a host of other factors that could cause trouble. The good news is that many are easy to change. Read on for a pre-baby correction course.

1) Exercising too much may hurt your chances of getting pregnant

If you’ve got babies on the brain, consider giving your body a break. New research in the journal Fertility and Sterility found that normal-weight women who exercised vigorously (including running and fast cycling) five or more hours a week were 42 percent less likely to conceive each month than those who were sedentary. Intense exercise can disrupt hormones and ultimately interfere with ovulation. The group with the best luck getting pregnant consisted of moderate movers who enjoyed activities like walking.

2) Make sure to add vitamin D to your prenatal vitamin mix

The “sunshine vitamin” is emerging as a major player in the fertility game as it may affect egg quality and embryo implantation. Ask your doctor to test your levels. If you’re lacking, she’ll probably recommend a supplement, as it’s hard to get ample D from the sun or food sources.

3) Scale back caffeine intake while you’re TRYING to get pregnant

A study from Denmark revealed that women who downed 300 to 700 milligrams of caffeine per day had a 12 percent lower chance of conceiving in a given cycle; those who drank more than that reduced their odds by 37 percent. Caffeine may decrease uterine blood flow, which can make conception and implantation more difficult.

4) Too much mercury could reduce your chances of getting pregnant

This toxin is well-known for interfering with neurological development in the womb, but it’s also associated with conception problems. In fact, a Chinese study found that infertile couples at more fish and had higher mercury concentrations in their blood than fertile pairs. Researchers think that this harmful compound may damage eggs as well as sperm.

5) Garden-variety stress can wreak havoc on fertility

Intense emotional turmoil can throw off your cycle, and even at lower levels can cause ovulation problems. A recent research review of women who had used assisted reproductive technology found that stressed-out women were less likely to conceive than their calmer counterparts.

5 Tips for Saving Money on Family Summer Travel

Summer is arguably the best season of the year. The weather is warm and the kids are out of school. Now is the perfect time for a family vacation. Vacations are expensive, especially with kids thrown into the mix, but you can keep the cost down by planning ahead, doing research, and getting creative. You can start by saving money in advance with a savings account or certificate of deposit, but that’s only the beginning. Here are five kid-friendly budgeting tips to help you plan your next vacation.

1. Buy your own food, snacks and drinks

It’s fun to eat out when you’re on vacation, but if you have to do it for every meal, it’s time consuming, expensive and exhausting. You can save money and time by buying your own meal ingredients at a local grocery store. If your hotel room doesn’t have a kitchen or a mini-fridge (or won’t let you rent one), you can still stock up on kid-friendly snacks like cereal, granola bars, peanut butter, and even fresh goodies like apples, bananas and oranges. You can even bring a small cooler with you to store vegetables and cold items.

2. Pack light

We know this is difficult to do with kids, but consider yourself warned: any extra bags may cost you. If you’re traveling by car, extra bags translate to lost visibility and legroom, but if you’re flying, you may literally have to pay more for your extra bags. Many airlines have started charging fees for checked bags, and since they aren’t displayed in the ticket prices, they can easily catch you off guard. Be sure to research airline fees in advance, or pick an airline that lets you check bags for free. Southwest offers two free checked bags per person, and JetBlue offers one. Stay away from Sprint and Allegiant, sine they charge for checked bags and carry-on bags.

3. Consider your sanity

Sometimes the cheapest travel options aren’t the most kid friendly. For example, you might save money on plane tickets by booking an early flight, or opting for a layover, especially if you’re traveling abroad. But, before you book, ask yourself: is it worth the extra stress? Imagine trying to rush your sleep-deprived kids and spouse (and yourself) out of the house to catch a bargain red-eye flight. If you can afford something more convenient, you should probably just pay for it.

4. Take public transit 

Depending on your destination, public transportation may not be an option. However, if you’re traveling in a big city, public transportation can be a fun and cost-effective way to explore with your kids. Imagine exploring New York by subway or San Francisco by cable car. These types of excursions can be especially exciting for small children. If you’re traveling cross-country, you may also want to consider taking a train. Trains are slow (especially in America), but you’ll be able to enjoy the scenery along the way. Plus, you and your restless kids can get up and walk around anytime without disturbing the other passengers.

5. Get outside

Kids are full of energy. Use that as an excuse to explore the local parks on your next vacation.  If you’ve rented a car, consider making a trip to a nearby national park or beach, or keep it simple and explore the city parks in your area. Everyone knows that the West Coast is perfect for nature lovers, but did you know that New Mexico, Maryland and Virginia are great destinations for park lovers too? Pack a picnic and spend an afternoon exploring your neighborhood, wherever you are.