Another path to Motherhood: I thought not giving birth to my own babies would make me less of a mom

After two kidney transplants and multiple miscarriages, IVF with gestational surrogacy brought Sarah the family she dreamed of

Sarah and Brian Scantamburlo with son Gianluca.

Sarah and Brian Scantamburlo with son Gianluca.

The 2-year-old boy who calls me mommy has big, brown eyes, his dad’s curly Italian hair from his own youth and is a lover of all things Nick Jr.

Many people say children are gifts but Gianluca is so much more than that in many ways – he is the blessing we feared would never be possible.

Being his mom means joining him on his little boy adventures, watching his face light up with wonder when he spots a big truck and giggling with him when he feels Play-Doh in his hands. He is the amazing light at the end of the years-long tunnel of infertility.

And on Tuesday, May 27, Gianluca became a big brother to our newborn son Paolo.

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Baby blues & beyond: New ways to help new moms with depression

From talk therapy to yoga, U-M team offers care and a chance to help others through research

Postpartum depression affects many women in the first months after a baby is born.

Postpartum depression affects many women in the first months after a baby is born.

They’re supposed to be the happiest times of your life, right? But being pregnant or a new mom can have a dark side – temporary or lasting depression.

How quickly you get help, and what kind of help you get, for symptoms like moodiness, insomnia and loss of appetite can make a big difference for you and your baby.

Maria Muzik, M.D., M.S., who leads a University of Michigan clinic focused on mental health during pregnancy and the first year of a child’s life, offers more information on this important issue. May is the awareness month for these issues.

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Talking openly about vaginal prolapse

Five years ago during an annual exam by my gynecologist, my doctor told me I had vaginal prolapse and should go to the University of Michigan Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital for a consultation. I wasn’t experiencing any symptoms and hoped that living a healthy life and exercising would control the situation. Three years ago, I started to experience some symptoms, but they weren’t bad, so I continued with positive thinking and a healthy lifestyle. I did not want to interrupt my workout routine with surgery. I work out six or seven days a week taking a weight-lifting class, doing Pilates and walking.

By April 2013, I knew I had let it go on too long. Continue reading

Are people really that divided over mandated health coverage of birth control?

OB/GYN talks about new poll showing that 7 in 10 Americans support universal contraceptive coverage

BLOGBirthControlAs Obamacare’s contraceptive coverage is challenged in the Supreme Court, we’ve been hearing a lot about the issue from the media, lawmakers and policy experts. Our team of researchers wanted to hear from the general public: What do Americans support when it comes to health plan coverage?

In a recent national poll, we asked people to share their opinions about whether health plans should be required to cover different types of health services, including mammograms, colonoscopies, vaccines, dental care, mental health services, screening for diabetes and high cholesterol, and birth control medications.

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Young woman’s stroke launches Fibromuscular Dysplasia movement

Pam Mace, founder of FMDSA, urges patients to join patient registry

A stroke at age 37 is rare for most any one, but as an active adult who had adventures like scuba PamMace3.fwdiving and skydiving, it just didn’t make sense to me. I knew my body.

The day it happened, I woke up with a headache. After going for a 3 mile run later that day I noticed my pupils were unequal. I should have gone to the hospital right away but I didn’t. I just didn’t think I could have a stroke. But I did.

It would take a year before my doctors could explain why I had a stroke so young: fibromuscular dysplasia. The diagnosis would inspire me to start a movement around a rare vascular disease that affects women in the prime of their lives.

The two most common symptoms of fibromuscular dysplasia are headaches and high blood pressure. Think about how many people are walking around with those symptoms that could have FMD but they are treated as every day symptoms that millions of Americans have.

It’s why FMD has been called the rare disease that isn’t. FMD has always been considered a rare disease, and is still classified as a rare disease. But because it manifests so differently it’s likely underdiagnosed. Some research suggests as many 5 million Americans have FMD. Continue reading

Pregnancy and Weight Gain

Eating for Two You

pregnancy weight gainSeems like the minute you discover you are pregnant, people start reminding you that you are eating for two and to take it easy. While decades ago that was the advice given to women (and is still what many of those around you may be saying), research has shown that a healthy diet, appropriate weight gain and staying active during pregnancy is the best approach for both you and your baby.

Guidelines for how much weight you should gain during your pregnancy were most recently updated in 2009. Continue reading