Archive for September, 2010

HPP Grins Big For SFSmiles


SFSmiles Founder & Director Chad Christensen with HPP Aftercare Case Manager Ramona Shewl

Here at the HPP, we see many families who lack the day-to-day items needed to ensure their children are living in a healthy and stable home. From bedding to new baby bottles, these basic essentials make a world of difference to the homeless and low-income families we serve. Enter SFSmiles. A partner of HPP since July, this gem of a budding charity has donated and delivered a myriad of items, from new baby accessories to a couch for an HPP family who recently and successfully moved out of homelessness.

“SFSmiles is a godsend,” HPP Aftercare Case Manager Ramona Shewl exclaimed. “They are a great resource and active participant in our community are are fueled by a sincere sense of giving.”

With a mission to serve as the central agency in a sustainable “network of giving” comprised of community members, small businesses and local charities, SFSmiles acts as a middleman to connect nonprofit organizations with needed items donated by generous supporters. They partner with approximately 25 different agencies in San Francisco, ranging from homelessness to children’s programs, to make their “wish list” of goods a reality. Proudly dubbed a “charity that supports charities”, SFSmiles is currently volunteer-run and spearheaded by the larger than life founder and director Chad Christensen.

“During the holiday season, I would always be on the lookout for items to be donated to charities; however, I realized that resource-strapped nonprofits needed items year-round.” Christensen said. “I launched a ‘reverse garage sale’ at my home with a list of items we were collecting to be distributed to charities. It turned out to be a huge success, with over 4000 different items donated! With the help of an amazing team and word of mouth, SFSmiles has really gotten off the ground, and I couldn’t have asked for a better fit for us than HPP. We were so impressed by the tour, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many smiling faces and so many people happy with what they do!”

You can join SFSmiles’ efforts by checking out their upcoming October events at Mission Comics and the Juri St. Block Party.

HPP is so fortunate to partner with such a wonderful organization. You make us smile! :)

Homeless Prenatal Program

Reasons for Infertility in Women

Infertility is the biological inability of a person to conceive or contribute to conception. Even if a women is not able to carry pregnancy to full term, this is also a type of infertility. About 90% of the cases can be treated, depending on the reason. For this we need to know the reasons causing infertility in women.

Reason for infertility in Women
Infertility is mainly caused by the following:

Problem in the Ovaries: These ovaries secrete the female hormone called the progesterone which results in the thickening of the uterine lining. If the hormone that is secreted by the ovaries is less then the uterus cannot hold the growing fetus. This leads to miscarriage.

Endometriosis: The tissue that is supposed to be found in the uterine lining grows outside the uterus in the abdominal pelvic cavity. This is called endometriosis and the most commonly seen symptoms include painful intercourse, painful menstrual periods and normal pelvic pain, but in some women, there are no symptoms seen at all.

Ovulation Problem: Ovulation may not occur if the hypothalamus does not secrete a hormone that helps in ovulation. So, as a result the eggs are not released from the ovaries which can lead to ovulation problems that can result in heavy bleeding in the menstrual cycle.

Pelvic Inflammatory Diseases (PID): PID is the most common cause of infertility in women. This infection of the pelvis is caused by bacteria that can cause infections in different parts of the intestine and reproductive system. There are a number of causes that can cause PID and they include pelvic tuberculosis, sexually transmitted diseases, ruptured appendix non sterile abortions and herpes viral infection. About 75% of people suffer from PID due to sexually transmitted diseases.

Poor Egg Quality: The egg quality reduces in the late 30′s and in the early 40′s. These eggs get damaged and they have chromosomal abnormalities because of which they cannot retain pregnancy. This is caused mainly because of the age that results in the decline of the quality of the egg.

Poly cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS): Small cysts are found in the ovaries of women suffering from PCOS. These women have hormonal imbalance which results in ovulation problems. The common signs are irregular menstrual cycle, excessive hair growth, excessive weight gain and acne.

Blocked Fallopian Tubes: When there is a block or damage in the fallopian tubes, it hampers the travelling of the eggs into the uterus or stops the sperm reaching the egg. This is another major reason for infertility among women.

Now, since you know the reasons for infertility in women firstly, meet your gynaecologist as she may conduct few tests to find out the exact problem and start the treatment as soon as possible.


Sleep Tips for the Expectant Mom

Sleep disturbances are seen very commonly in pregnancy and they very often cause heartburn, frequent bathroom visits, restless leg syndrome and snoring. According to the National Sleep Foundation, 78% of women complained of disturbed sleep in pregnancy than at other times. They usually get aggravated by poor sleeping habits that was developed before pregnancy. So, here are some tips for sleeping.

Sleeping for Two – Tips for the Expectant Mom
To prevent discomfort during sleeping in pregnancy follow the advise given:

Invest in a Good Mattress
Choosing a good mattress can make a great difference in the quality of sleep in the night and the way you feel in the day time. The Sleep Number bed is the perfect one for expectant parents because it can be adjusted to the comfort level of each of the partners. Many people do not realise that the bed is the one thing that is preventing pregnant women from sleeping well. So, invest in a good mattress.

Choose Good Pillows
Select a pillow that allows you to sleep to the side that is the “side Sleeper” pillow to help a pregnant women adjust to the new sleeping position. Sleeping on the left side helps in the maximum flow of nutrients and blood to the placenta and reduces the chances of low blood pressure, indigestion, haemorrhoids and impaired breathing in pregnant women. This position also helps in reducing the swelling of the feet, hands and ankles.

Eat a Bland Diet and Drink Fewer Fluids Before Bedtime
Many of the women suffer from nausea, heart burn that can be disturbing in the night. So, eat bland foods like dry toast, crackers before bedtime as these can reduce the symptoms. When the fluid intake is reduced, this leads to fewer trips to the bathroom in the nights. Avoid the intake of tea, soda, coffee and chocolate.

Take Short Naps in the Daytime
Pregnant women feel tired as the body changes due to the growth of the baby. Hence, doctors recommend to take short naps in the day time. It is advised that a pregnant women should take a 30 – 60 minute nap as this improves and sharpens the memory, reduces the signs of fatigue and keeps the pregnant women alert during the day.

So, follow these simple tips to prevent discomfort during the sleep.


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Good Pregnancy Nutrition Tips

Pregnancy is that stage of life in women when they slowly graduate to becoming a mother. It is a time when they need to take proper care of their nutrition. According to some people, pregnant women ought to eat more until they deliver a baby for ensuring that the developing child gets all the needed nutrition. However, this might actually result in a weight problem for women, post birth.

For those women, who are in their pregnancy stages, there are a number of baby nutrition tips for pregnant women, which they may follow for ensuring sound health for both the mothers as well as their babies. A common rule is that adult women require around 2100 calories daily, whereas pregnant women need 400 calories more each day. Of all the calories, 10% ought to come from protein sources. Protein is present in eggs, meat, dairy products, beans and fish.

Nearly 35% calories have to be from fat sources, such as from nuts, dairy products and butter and the remaining percentage of calories has to come from carbohydrates that are richly found in rice, pasta and potatoes. It is extremely important that pregnant women receive folic acid in sufficient quantity, which ensures proper nervous system of the developing baby. It is obtainable from rice, orange juice, green vegetables and fruits.

Intake of iron is also important for pregnant mothers. It guarantees enough production of blood for nourishment of the placenta. It is obtainable from whole-grain breads, berries and dark-green vegetables. If women feel that there is lack of iron in their food, then they may take iron supplements to make up for this deficiency. It is advisable that pregnant women do not consume more vitamin A, as it may cause damage to the embryo.

Pregnant women need to eat sensibly from the initial stage of their pregnancy, so that they deliver healthy babies without any complications. They may resolve any queries as such through asking their doctors, who may offer valuable nutrition tips for pregnant women. Pregnant women notice a change in their energy levels and well-being all through the nine months of their pregnancy. They may do little bit of exercise to deliver the babies safely.

Where pregnancy is concerned, nutrition indeed plays a vital role. Below are some additional nutrition tips for pregnant women, which they need to follow before, throughout and post pregnancy.

Additional Tips:

1. It is vital that women have a Body Mass Index between 20 and 30 for getting pregnant and for being healthy.

2. Few months before a woman conceives, she needs to build up her immune system well through quality nutrition and proper exercise for preparing her body to get hold of healthy pregnancy.

3. Pregnant women also need to increase the intake of vitamin B12, zinc, vitamin D, Folic acid and magnesium.

4. The initial few weeks post conception are extremely crucial, since here the internal organs develop in a woman’s body. Energy needed for creating the vital systems of a baby is only achievable through nutrients present within the circulatory system. Exercise and diet both are important during these stages.

5. During the early pregnancy stages, placenta in women does not form due to which babies show some deficiencies in growth. Women need to bear in mind that whatever they eat is bound to have an effect on the growth of their babies.

6. It is better to increase calorie intake by about 200 counts daily in the final trimester.

7. It is equally good to consume enough riboflavin that is essential for tissue development.

8. Post pregnancy, the metabolism increases due to breastfeeding. Here, eating healthy and at short intervals is a good idea. Women may feel as if they are consuming a ton. However, the body’s metabolism is fired up to such an extent that numerous women discover that they lose much of the weight gain at this time.

9. It is advisable for women pick up an exercise program once again after four to eight weeks of delivery while they continue to eat nutritious food.

Almost all expectant mothers know that staying properly nourished all through their pregnancy is indeed necessary. Below are few more baby nutrition tips for pregnant women:

Few More Nutrition Tips for Pregnant Women:

1. Eating an apple daily saves pregnant women and their babies from asthma. Research shows that women who eat an apple regularly that too during their pregnancy days save them and their babies from asthma to a great extent. Studies note that those mothers, who consumed apples daily in their pregnancy tenure showed no symptoms of asthma such as the wheezing.

2. Women may eat bananas to reduce swelling. For pregnant women, who suffer from edema, it is good for them that they eat bananas. Potassium present in bananas helps in reducing the swelling of feet and legs.

3. Women may also eat chocolates if they wish to deliver happy and healthy babies. Medical reports reveal that intake of a little quantity of chocolate daily during pregnancy leads to delivering happier babies. While many women may crave for more chocolates as an excuse, it has to be noted that merely a small quantity is enough for satisfying the cravings.

4. It is indeed excellent for pregnant women to include skimmed milk in their diet. For women who are accustomed to drinking semi-skilled or skimmed milk and just cannot stay away from it, they may have it. Both semi-skimmed and skimmed milk are rich in calcium and are less in fat. It means women may include them in their diet and continue enjoying a nutritious diet, which is helpful for the developing baby as well.

Overall, by following all the nutrition tips for pregnant women, they may deliver their babies safe and sound. The tips emphasize not only on women’s nutrition alone, but also on baby nutrition care. Most important to reap success in acquiring a highly nutritious diet during pregnancy is knowing about the proper intake of food right from the beginning. Women need to concentrate a lot on their nutrition and keep away from foods that might have adverse effects on their health, which may in turn, lead to poor health of their babies.

Baby Nutrition Care Tips With Ideas…

How to Find Foods to Increase Fertility

When you are planning to conceive, try to consume foods that are rich in vitamins as this increases the conceiving rate and reduces infertility problems related to problems of ovulation. Some of the common advices include stopping the intake of alcohol and other unhealthy foods that are full of trans fats. So, change your eating habits and include foods that increase the rate of fertility and corrects the imbalances in the hormones.

How to Find Foods that Increase Fertility
Here are some of the steps to increase the fertility rate:

  • Find foods that has plant-based proteins than animal-based proteins. Eat something that is rich in proteins like beans, nuts or soy instead of one meat based meal. This reduces the ovulatory infertility.
  • To increase the female and male fertility, increase the consumption of foods that has zinc. Foods that are rich include chicken, crab and turkey as these help in cell division, which is an important factor when planning to get pregnant.
  • Increase the intake of those foods that has high amounts of vitamin B12, iron, vitamin C and E. Iron deficiencies are another reason for infertility. Foods like apricots, fish, tofu, green leafy vegetables, pastas and iron fortified cereals can be of great help when planning to conceive.
  • Eat one full serving of dairy foods every day as this reduces ovulation problems. Have a glass of whole milk with two ounces of cheese or one cup of fruit yogurt as this can increase the fertility rate.
  • Follow an anti infertility diet that has lots of mono saturated fats. Olives, peanut butter, avocados, nuts and olive oil are those foods that are considered to increase fertility.
  • Increase the intake of water as this flushes the toxins from the body. Try to drink fruits and vegetable juices, antioxidant rich green tea. Take vitamin C rich foods and coconut milk as this also helps in the fertility process. Avoid caffeine as this keeps the stress levels down.

Hence, eat foods that fight stress and improves the chances of conceiving because anxiety can increase the infertility rate in females. When trying to conceive, try to follow an anti-infertility diet that is mentioned above as this can help to increase the fertility rate.


Special Precautions for Pregnant Woman

The first three months are the most vital phase in the development of the baby because all the organs begin to take its form. You need to be very careful and take precautions about using medication, drugs and alcohol. Here are some of the precautions that has to be taken during pregnancy.

Be Cautious when using these Substances
A pregnant woman should take precautions against the following. They include:

Fish and Sea Food: Though sea food is an excellent source of many of the nutrients, there is a concern abut the consumption of seafood and fish in pregnancy.

  • Avoid the intake of fast food sandwich and fish sticks as they are made from fishes that has mercury in it.
  • Limit tuna that is canned and white albacore to once a week.
  • Do not eat king mackerel, sword fish and shark.
  • Do not eat more than 12 ounces of cooked fish in a week.

This can cause Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) and babies with this syndrome suffer from abnormal facial features, grow slowly and also have problems with learning.


  • The only precaution is to completely avoid all the alcoholic beverages and the other thing is to talk to your Doctor about pregnancy and alcohol.

Caffeine is a stimulant that affects unborn babies. Some of the research studies state that this can cause smaller than normal babies or premature births along with birth defects.


  • Stop taking foods and drinks that has caffeine in it like tea, coffee, colas, cocoa and other soft drinks.
  • This is also an ingredient in many of the non-prescription drugs like cold, headache and allergy.
  • If you have been consuming caffeine, then slowly reduce the intake as stopping at once can cause severe headaches, fatigue and nausea


Cigarettes: Cigarette smoking can lead to serious health problems in pregnancy like giving birth to low birth weight babies who suffer from various infections, breathing and feeding problems and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

  • The only precaution is to stop smoking when pregnant or take the help of communities like the American Cancer Society for information for smoke-stopper programs.
  • Avoid smoking areas and smokers as much as possible.

Food Additives
Try to minimize the use of processed foods like hot dogs and those items that has sodium nitrate like cured meats such as bacon or ham.

Food Handling: Eating raw meat, fish or poultry products can increase the risk of parasitic infection.

  • Drink pasteurized milk.
  • Avoid the intake of raw fish like ceviche, sushi, eggs or meat.
  • Wash the chopping board after cutting raw meat, fish or poultry.

Medications and Herbs: Some of the herbs and medications can harm your baby. So, consult your Health Care Professional before consuming any.

Saunas and Hot Tubs: Avoid the use of hot tubs and saunas, but maintain a temperature that is greater than the body.
Some of the precautions include prevent over heating and check with your doctor for any specific recommendations.

Toxoplasmosis: This is mainly caused by parasites in plant soil, cat feces, raw or undercooked meat.This parasite can cause damage to the brain of the baby.


  • Avoid the direct contact with cat feces and let someone else change the litter box.
  • While gardening, use gloves.
  • Cook meat properly.

These are some of the common precautions that have to be taken by any pregnant women to have a healthy pregnancy and baby.


Depression due to Infertility

Every couple enjoys the beautiful experience of having a child, but not every couple enjoy this happiness. Many of the couple who do not conceive after many trials usually suffer from depression. This occurs mostly in women who undergo emotional turmoil due to fertility problems. Even a man who cannot conceive are not regarded manly. These social and emotional problems are connected with infertility that leads to depression.

Depression due to Infertility

  • Depression due to fertility problems is different from the usual depression.
  • Many of the women try to withdraw themselves and get isolated from social activities.
  • The notion of happy family is related with children and is also connected with pregnancy.
  • So, couples when they do not have children they feel unhappy and incomplete.
  • During this phase, a woman blames herself and the feeling of guilt becomes more stronger when the spouse or other relatives wait desperately for the baby.
  • They start feeling that they are depriving others of their happiness, which makes them lose their confidence and feel guilty.
  • At this stage, it becomes very much difficult to deal with depression.
  • In some of the women, after a few miscarriages, couples lose faith in the gynecologist, which makes them careless towards taking medications.
  • This when gets combined with imbalanced mental health reduces the chance of conceiving.
  • In some cases, infertility forces the couples to maintain a distance with each other that makes the problem worse.
  • Therefore, infertility leads to depression and not only affects the couple, but all the family members.

Hence every mother should have a positive frame of mind as this helps you to find solutions for all the problems. So, the mother should be physically and mentally sound. Take treatment for infertility and they should be supported and counselled. This gives them emotional relief and they try to vent their feelings of guilt and despair which makes them a better person. There are many treatment options for fertility problems, but dealing with depression is a great challenge.The last option is adopting a child because he/she will surely bring sunshine to the life of grieved couples. This can not only make you feel satisfied and happy, but also deal with infertility and depression.


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Getting Pregnant: Ways to Increase Your Fertility

You can always reduce the period of waiting by trying to conceive and get that good news. For few couples, the wait to conceive ends within a short period of time while some of them may have to wait for months or years. The infertility rate is increasing owing to the present day lifestyle, but there are many ways to increase the fertility rate. Even though you do not have any problems with the fertility rate, you can follow these techniques to increase the chances of getting pregnant faster. Here are some of the ways to increase your fertility.

Tips to Increase the Fertility Rate among Men and Women
Follow the tips given below to increase the rate of fertility:

Get a Preconception Check-up
This checkup is compulsory for both the partners to find out any problems related to fertility. Some of the problems can be corrected by simple treatment like using certain drugs that can increase the fertility rate. Preconception checkup is a must as this makes you know that there are no infertility signs. This helps you to continue with the attempts for conception and without this test, you may never know about the issues of infertility and therefore, you keep trying from several months to years without any further results.

Sort Out Your Weight Issues
If you are overweight then it may be directly linked with infertility. If you are overweight even by few pounds this can be a barrier for conceiving. Obesity is another common problem as there are hormonal imbalance which can create problems in the fertility rate. Some of the people are too thin and they too face problems with conception as there is a reduced production of the hormone oestrogen. Try to maintain a normal weight according to the height if you want to increase the fertility rate in women.

Lead a Healthy Lifestyle
Now-a-days, most of the problems related to infertility is due to sedentary and unhealthy lifestyle. Alcohol and smoking also can reduce the fertility rate. Hence, if you are serious about getting pregnant faster then you need to quit smoking and drinking. Cutting down on the intake of caffeine can also resume infertility issues.

Eat Balanced Foods
Balanced diet is the only key to all the issues of health including fertility problems. There are many foods that can increase the chances of conception like seeds, nuts, green leafy vegetables, dairy products like cheese and milk. Fresh fruits like kiwis and yams can also restore fertility. Eat those foods that are rich sources of Vitamins A, C and E along with some of the minerals like folic acid and selenium.

Exercising promotes physical and mental health. Stress is another factor that can reduce the rate of conception.Do not do vigorous exercises as this can have adverse affect on your chances of getting pregnant. Men should not try to do exercises like cycling and marathon runs as this may reduce the sperm count. Exercising helps one to relieve from the stress and strain by keeping you relaxed and calm.

Do Your Math Right
Getting pregnant is just like the number game because the rate of getting pregnant reduces if you are above the age of 30 in the case of women and above 35 among men, so conceive before you reach these numbers. There are only 25 % of chances of you getting pregnant in a month. A women is considered fertile during her days of ovulation, that is any day between the 12th to 18th depending upon the cycle. Hence, making love on these days can increase the chances of conception.

If you are not able to conceive even after following these tips and if you feel there is no problem with either of you try to consult your doctor. Never hesitate to consult a doctor, but try to be patient.