John Legend and Chrissy Teigen thank IVF for baby Luna – and a stronger marriage

Singer-songwriter John Legend and model wife Chrissy Teigen say struggling to conceive and ultimately undergoing in-vitro fertilisation have brought them closer.

“Having a baby is a big challenge for a couple, and going through that together strengthens your bond because if you can make it through [having a child], you know you can make it through anything,” Legend told Cosmopolitan.

The interview follows the birth of their 16-month-old daughter, Luna Stephens, in April last year, who was conceived with IVF.

The couple has now revealed they will use IVF again in the hopes of giving Luna a little brother or sister.

“We’re lucky that we’re living in an age where we can conceive in other ways; [IVF] brought us Luna and hopefully, it will bring us a few more awesome kids too,” Legend said.

The 10-time Grammy winner confirmed they had been challenged enough  in their efforts to have a baby that turned to medical science for help.

“I think it’s especially difficult when you can’t conceive naturally,” Legend said.

“You want to feel like everything’s working properly and want everything to be perfect, but sometimes it’s not,” the singer-songwriter and father-of-one said.

The All of Me singer and his cookbook-author spouse were seen on Wednesday (US time) taking time off on a super yacht in Sardinia, Italy

IVF Australia clinical director and University of New South Wales Associate Professor Gavin Sacks told The New Daily it was quite common for IVF to clinch and strengthen relationships.

Professor Sacks said he had assisted many infertile couples, adding that it was relatively rare to see a break-up through the course of an investigational treatment.

“The journey becomes a big part of what the couple share together,” Prof Sacks said.

Legend also shared the couple’s IVF journey on a British morning television program, saying people shouldn’t be afraid to talk openly about the topic.

“A lot of people struggle with fertility and they shouldn’t be ashamed of it,” he said.

“A lot of people want to have kids and maybe can’t do it the natural way … I think people should do it if that’s what will work for them.”

Teigen shared with People the celebrity couple’s decision to have a girl in February last year.

“Not only am I having a girl, but I picked the girl from her little embryo. I picker her and was like, ‘Let’s put in a girl’,” she told the magazine.

At the time she said a boy would follow. “We’ll get there too, so it’s not like we really have to pick”.

The unwavering couple of 10 years have also been recently open about Teigen’s struggles with alcohol.

In another Cosmo interview, the Smirnoff vodka spokeswoman admitted she was “point blank, just drinking too much”.

Teigen said her drinking began to get out of control when alcohol was readily available at events and award shows as a celebrity.

In response to the problem, her soul-crooning husband said the couple discussed everything on their minds and were always honest with each other.

“Whenever she sets her mind to anything, I always tell her, ‘I want to support you and help you do it’.”

5 things women with PCOS want you to know

If you’re unfamiliar with PCOS, let us school you. PCOS, short for polycystic ovary syndrome, occurs when a woman starts developing many small cysts on her ovaries. These cysts aren’t harmful themselves, but they lead to hormone imbalances and, as a result, create other symptoms (think facial hair, acne, and weight gain). It can also make your period ultra-light, ultra-heavy, or stop altogether.

While the syndrome might feel isolating, it’s certainly not uncommon: Over 200,000 women are diagnosed with it every year. If you just got diagnosed, know someone who has, or just want to know more about the condition, we got the low-down from women who kick PCOS’ ass day in and day out.


1. “If you’re not getting your period… girl, get that checked out.”

“I spent 23 years wondering what was going on with me and having seemingly bored, uninterested gynecologists tell me ‘you’re just thin, it’ll come.’ Nope, it didn’t. Push your doctors if you feel like something is wrong. I’m glad I eventually did.

“You owe it to yourself to know. You know when something is wrong with your body. Going to get ‘checked out’ is self-care and everyone owes that to themselves. Leaving something like PCOS completely untreated could have some pretty shitty side effects so why not go get checked just to be sure one way or the other? I’d tell a girl that likely, they’ll feel better if they do. Even if they are diagnosed, at least they can start to do something about it and educate themselves. This is a fairly common issue among women — there are a lot of support groups out there — it’s manageable. You can still exist and live your life fully with PCOS — so just get checked to know for you.”

– Lindsey, 28, blogger at I Haven’t Shaved in Six Weeks, diagnosed with PCOS four years ago.


2. “When I was first diagnosed with PCOS, little information was given to me about alternative treatment options.”

“Instead, I was just given metformin. In my work providing nutrition counseling women with PCOS, I have researched and found how beneficial nutrition supplements can be for managing PCOS symptoms. Taking supplements has helped curb my sugar cravings and regulated my cycle. They are also lowering my risk for diseases that women with PCOS are at risk for like type 2 diabetes.”

– Angela, 41, founder of PCOS Nutrition Center, diagnosed with PCOS 13 years ago.


3. “I wish that I had gotten diagnosed sooner.”

“I would have been able to better explain my weight gain, and could have worked to get it under control before it got to the point where it seemed as if I’d reached the point of no return. I can get the weight off, but the hill is now much steeper. I also wish I had known that there’s no easy fix — it’s not just weight control, but it’s making sure you’re managing stress, identifying how to get endocrine-disrupting products out of your beauty routine, and getting emotional support for those days when it just seems like it’s too much to bear.”

– Megan, 35, VP, diagnosed with PCOS one year ago.


4. “At times, it feels like controlling PCOS is a rollercoaster.”

“I can get in an amazing grove of working out regularly, keeping a strict diet, and getting my weight to a healthy place, while other times (like now) it feels as though I have zero control and there’s no fixing it in sight. I always find it helpful to remember that I am not the only one dealing with this and there are plenty of other women out there, just like me. It helps me not to feel so self-conscious about some of my more physical symptoms!”

– Jessica, 26, senior account executive, diagnosed with PCOS seven years ago.


5. “I wish that the symptoms were treated seriously, and not brushed aside as a female complaint.”

“Nothing made me happier than the incredible yelp of pain I released when my doctor gave me a pelvic exam and told me that this ‘wasn’t in my head’. He ordered an ultrasound there they were: the cysts. Two years later, and the cysts have shrunk and I’m managing. I went from almost bedridden to running every other day. It’s so powerful when you treat something the right way.”

Sharon, 29, director of communications, diagnosed with PCOS for two years.

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Genetic factors may link early menopause with diabetes

The early onset of menopause has been shown to correlate with a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes, according to a new study. Researchers have investigated the premise that whatever makes some women predisposed to early menopause may also make them more susceptible to diabetes.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that more than 29 million adults in the United States have diabetes. According to their 2014 National Diabetes Statistics report, around 11 percent of these people are women.

Recently, a study conducted by Drs. Taulant Muka and Eralda Asllanaj, both from the Erasmus University Medical Centre in the Netherlands, investigated the links between the natural onset of menopause and the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

The study is published in the journal Diabetologia.

Unclear menopause-diabetes link

The basis for this research hails to a previous study by Dr. Muka and colleagues, which found that women whose menopause naturally sets in early – that is, before the age of 45 – are likelier to be diagnosed with cardiovascular disease (CVD) and are at a higher mortality risk.

Reports show that type 2 diabetes is an important risk factor for CVD, yet the links between early menopause and diabetes are still debatable. The new study aims to answer some of the questions surrounding this issue, taking a step forward in tackling diabetes risk in women.

The study analyzed data on 3,969 women sourced from the Rotterdam Study, the aim of which was to conduct research into the risk factors for various diseases and conditions among a large cohort of adults aged 45 and over. The participants underwent medical examinations once every 3 to 5 years.

The study defines as “postmenopausal” someone who has not menstruated in at least a year. To assess the women’s status, questionnaires were distributed that asked them to report the age at which they experienced their last period.

Both newly diagnosed and previously diagnosed cases of type 2 diabetes were confirmed at the participants’ baseline assessments, as well as in follow-up examinations. To this end, medical records, hospital discharge letters, and glucose level assessments were used. The study collected follow-up data until January 2012.

Early menopause correlates with diabetes

To identify factors with a potential impact on the overall findings, the researchers gathered additional data on the participants, including their baseline state of health, medical history, medication, age at menopause onset, physical activity levels, and whether they had been diagnosed with CVD.

Other relevant baseline measurements included height, body mass index (BMI), levels of insulinand glucose during fasting periods, and sex hormone levels.

Furthermore, since single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), which are variations in a person’s DNA sequence, are known factors for the early onset of menopause, genetic risk was also taken into account.

Out of the 3,639 women who did not have diabetes at the beginning of the study, 348 were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes during the follow-up period.

The researchers found that women who started menopause early (before age 40) were 3.7 times more likely to develop diabetes than women who started menopause later in life (between the ages of 45 and 55).

Women who had a normal onset of menopause (between ages 40 and 44) were at a slightly lower risk, but they were still more than twice as likely to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes than their counterparts with late menopause onset.

In a previous study, Dr. Muka and colleagues had identified a link between diabetes risk, estradiol (the main female sex hormone) levels after menopause, and premature estrogen production owing to the start of menstruation at an early age.

In the same study, they also suggested that these factors might moderate the impact of early menopause on the risk of diabetes. However, their new research does not support this premise.

DNA might hold the key

Instead, the study found that the link between sex hormone levels, menopause, and diabetes did not explain the correlation between early menopause and risk of type 2 diabetes.

The researchers suggest that whatever may cause early menopause in some women might also be responsible for their predisposition to diabetes, hinting at hidden genetic factors. They say, “Our findings might suggest that the risk of diabetes related to menopause is already there before menopause begins.”

This could explain why other risk factors for diabetes do not explain the link between menopause and T2D [type 2 diabetes] – early menopause is an independent marker for T2D, indicating that something else is the driving force behind this observation, possibly defective DNA repair and maintenance.”

However, they explain that further research is needed to test for possibilities and find more accurate answers.

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This is the best diet for PCOS, according to a dietitian

This expert advice comes with a meal plan, too. 

PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) is a hormonal condition that effects up to 20 per cent of women.

Diagnosed based on the presence of two of the following signs and symptoms – presence of ovarian cysts; irregular or absent menstrual cycle and or unexplained weight gain, unwanted hair, fatigue and low mood, PCOS not only has serious implications for fertilitybut is can negatively impact wellbeing on a daily basis for the many sufferers.

PCOS can be largely genetic and it is also becoming increasing common as lifestyle factors result in many women rapidly gaining weight during their reproductive years. This weight gain is linked to increased insulin levels which in turn can cause the development of cysts on the ovaries.

While PCOS is a medical condition and as such needs to be diagnosed by a medical practitioner and can require medication for optimal management, PCOS too needs a relatively strict lifestyle approach with regular exercise, movement and a high protein diet to help manage insulin levels and support weight loss.

Should I eliminate carbs?

As insulin is the hormone that controls carbohydrate and fat metabolism, a common belief of women with PCOS is that they should eliminate carbohydrate from their diet completely. Now while a diet packed full of carbs will not do your insulin levels any favours, the body does need some carbohydrate to fuel the muscle to burn body fat. So while reducing carbohydrate intake is important, so too is not consuming inadequate amounts that will compromise energy levels and metabolic rate.

While there is no set carbohydrate prescription for PCOS, an intake of 30-40% of total calories, or roughly 100-140g per day depending on age and activity levels will support sustainable fat loss. In food terms this translates into 20-30g serves of carbs at breakfast and lunch, while focusing the evening meal around protein and vegetables as opposed to heavy rice and pasta based meals.

What about protein?

Protein rich foods including lean meat, chicken, fish and dairy are a key component of a PCOS specific diet. Teaming these foods with small amounts of carbohydrate at regular meals throughout the day will help to regulate blood glucose levels and help to keep you full. Good meal and snack examples of this teaming including an egg on wholegrain toast, chicken and sweet potato salad or cheese and wholegrain crackers as a snack.

Get your good fats

When we reduce the amount of carbohydrate we consume, it means that we can increase the amount of fat we are eating, slightly. The key is to get the right type of fats and specifically in the case of PCOS, to get the mix of fats that helps the cell to become more sensitive to insulin. These fats include the omega 3 fats and the long chain plant version of these fats found in walnuts, pumpkin seeds and soy and linseed bread. In food terms it means a PCOS diet should include 3-4 serves of fat each day via some olive oil, nuts and seeds and tuna or salmon at least 3-4 times each week.

Skip the sugars and white flour

If there were specific foods that were best avoided if you have PCOS it would be any sugary foods including juices, dried fruit, lollies and large milk coffees and smoothies as well as any food made with refined carbohydrate including pizza, rice crackers, white bread and snack food. These processed and sugary foods send blood glucose levels soaring, trigger cravings and are best avoided as much as possible.

Stick to your meal times

While eating regularly is important to manage your hunger and glucose levels, eating too regularly disrupts this cycle and can lead to gradual weight gain, or an inability to lose weight. For this reason if you have PCOS make sure you leave at least 2-3 hours in between eating occasions.

Your sample PCOS friendly meal plan

Breakfast: 2 eggs + 1 cup vegetables + 1 slice soy and linseed toast

Snack: 4 Vita Wheats and 2 slices of cheese

Lunch: Tuna wrap and bowl of vegetable soup

Snack: Small mixed nut bar

Dinner: 120g grilled salmon + 2 cups vegetables roasted in olive oil

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How To Chart Your Fertility, Because It’s Important To Know Your Cycle

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Whether you are trying to get pregnant or trying to avoid pregnancy through natural methods, it is a good idea to get familiar with your body’s cycle. Tracking your period and menstrual cycles is a start, but there are a few other ways to get in tune with your fertility. If you’re trying to get pregnant (or just want to avoid it), you’ll want to know how to chart your fertility. (It’s not as difficult as it sounds.)

When you chart your fertility, according to the American Pregnancy Association (APA), you observe certain aspects of your body’s natural functions in order to determine which days you are the most fertile. This can help you achieve pregnancy by finding the most fertile days to have sex if you want to get pregnant, and can help you avoid it by skipping sex on those days. The best place to start, suggested the APA, is by keeping track of your period to get a general idea of your cycle length and timing.

Two major parts of fertility charting are tracking your basal body temperature and checking your cervical mucus, suggested the APA. Your basal body temperature (BBT), according to the Mayo Clinic, is your body’s resting base temperature, which increases with ovulation, and your most fertile days will be right before your temperature rises. Charting the rising temperature can show you when your most fertile days are.

Even though it seems a little weird and gross, checking your cervical mucus can provide a lot of insight into fertility, too. Planned Parenthood explained that throughout your cycle, hormones can change the texture, quantity, and color of your cervical mucus. You can chart your cervical mucus by taking some between your fingers and rubbing it or stretching it to check the consistency. Then, make a chart of period days, dry mucus days, and wet mucus days. When your cervical mucus is clear, slippery, and stretchy, like a raw egg white, noted the APA, this indicates ovulation and is the best time to have sex if you’re trying to get pregnant.

You can also use an ovulation test or fertility monitor to help chart your fertility, suggested the APA, and detect the increase of the luteinizing hormone, which surges right before ovulation. The luteinizing hormone, when increased, triggers the release of an egg from your ovary, which is the ideal time for sex. If your ovulation test indicates this surge, the APA recommended having sex within the first three days of the positive result to increase your chances of pregnancy.

After charting your fertility for a year or more, with no positive results, you might consider talking to a fertility specialist, who can accurately test your fertility and help you with conceiving. The first step in trying to get pregnant, or trying to avoid it, is knowing the mechanics of fertility and ovulation, so that you are better prepared for either outcome.

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The ‘I Had a Miscarriage’ Instagram Account Is Breaking the Silence Around Pregnancy Loss

After she had a miscarriage, psychologist Jessica Zucker wanted to help other women tackle the stigma.

Jessica Zucker, M.P.H., Ph.D., was 16 weeks pregnant with her second child when she had a miscarriage in 2012. Zucker, a Los Angeles-based psychologist specializing in women’s reproductive and maternal mental health, had spent almost a decade treating women after pregnancy loss. But it wasn’t until it happened to her that she truly understood the stigma and silence surrounding miscarriages. After her own pregnancy loss, she set about telling her own story through essays and using the hashtag #IHadAMiscarriage. In 2015, she started the @IHadAMiscarriage Instagram account, where women can submit their own stories of pregnancy loss.

Sadly, miscarriages are incredibly common. But women often feel alone when it actually happens to them.

According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), 10 percent of clinically recognized pregnancies end in miscarriage, and many more people will lose a pregnancy before they even knew they were expecting. Most miscarriages happen in the first trimester, and as ACOG notes, around 50 percent are caused by chromosomal abnormalities.

Zucker’s own traumatic miscarriage happened in her second trimester. “My first pregnancy was smooth and simple and fine,” she says. “All the while I was coming across women in my practice talking about miscarriage, stillbirth, infant loss…. It didn’t pique my anxiety, I felt like I would be fine. Several years later we decided to try again. We got pregnant again quickly but at 16 weeks, I started spotting.”

She went into labor and delivered alone at home, cut the umbilical cord herself, and began hemorrhaging. Her husband returned home and rushed her to the hospital, where she underwent an unmedicated dilation and curettage to remove the placenta and the remnants of the pregnancy.

“Two hours later I went back to my house and was no longer pregnant,” Zucker recalls. “That was pretty much the most profound thing that ever happened in my life. The most traumatic.”

Medical tests revealed the fetus had chromosomal abnormalities, and Zucker would likely have made the decision to terminate had she known this. She and her husband began trying again when they were ready, and she eventually gave birth to a rainbow baby. “I was [debilitated], psychologically, through my subsequent pregnancy,” Zucker says. “Pregnancy after loss…you’re basically returning to the very place of your trauma. You are meant to be there for nine months, every single day.”

Zucker’s own experience informed her clinical practice going forward. “My loss really scared a lot of my patients and comforted other people,” she says. “In the most profound way it changed my lens on my work. I was able to understand these women from the inside out now.”

Ever since her pregnancy loss, Zucker has worked to spread awareness about just how common miscarriages are and help women deal with their feelings of shame and helplessness.

“My personal experience was a way to model for other women around the world that there is absolutely no shame in loss,” she says. “The research overwhelmingly points to women experiencing shame, self-blame, and guilt following pregnancy and loss. I had to really think it through. As a psychologist, you don’t typically share the details of your life. But [pregnancy loss] doesn’t mean anything about who you are, or your body being a failure.”

Each year in October, Zucker commemorates National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month with a project. One year she released a line of sympathy cards specifically designed for women who have lost a pregnancy; another she made T-shirts encouraging women to have intergenerational conversations with their mothers and grandmothers about miscarriages. Through her Instagram account and the #IHadAMiscarriage hashtag, Zucker hopes to show other women that they are absolutely not alone.

“By putting it out there in the world and sharing it with women globally, people then feel this sense of recognition and a robust community,” she says. “I don’t have to know you, because it’s social media, but I know those feelings so well. In so many of comments or messages people say, ‘I could have written this myself.’ Part of the point is to really show that we’re more similar than we think.”

Check out some of the stunning posts from @IHadAMiscarriage below.

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