Sunday, 30 November 2014

Food items which should be avoided during pregnancy





When you’re carrying, the food which you eat and drink directly affects the health of your baby and some of  the food items have the potential of  endangering your unborn child’s life. So during pregnancy you should not only have a balance diet, but also try to avoid the following food items which you might have been regularly eating or drinking during the pre - pregnancy period.

Raw   eggs –     Raw eggs can be  infected with salmonella bacteria, which can be killed only by thorough cooking. But many of the icecreams, puddings, custards, salad dressings and sauces have raw egg as an ingredient. Pregnant women should strictly avoid these.

Raw fish -    Raw shell fish, sushi and other smoked or uncooked fish dishes is a strict no to expecting mothers as these may contain parasites or bacteria.

Raw or undercooked meat –     When you are expecting, your risk for getting bacterial infection is more, hence extra care and precaution should be taken. During pregnancy you should altogether avoid eating of partially or undercooked meat as these pose risk of  Salmonella, E. Coli, toxoplasmosis etc. It is better to avoid  stakes or grills as the meat may not be cooked properly from inside.

Unpasteurized  milk products –   Unpasteurized milk may be infected with listeria, which can be a serious threat to an expecting mom. Listeriosis is extremely dangerous, as this can cause miscarriages and stillbirth. Before consumption, do not forget to check the label of the milk products to confirm that it is pasteurized. Certain types of cheese like Brie cheese, feta cheese and blue cheese are made from unpasteurized milk, so give it a skip.

Processed deli meats –    Processed deli meats like sausages, mortadella, salami, hotdogs should be avoided at all costs, but if you are bend on eating these, see that it is cooked properly in optimum temperature, even if it is mentioned on the packet that food is precooked as they may still be infected with Listeria.

Liver and liver products –  Liver contains a high amount of Vitamin A, which has been linked to birth defects, hence avoid excessive intake of these products

Raw sprouts –   FDA has advised not to eat sprouts without cooking as bacteria can enter the sprouts and doesn’t  leave even after washing.

Fish with high mercury content –  Sea food  is  rich in Omega 3 fatty acids which is good for the fetus, but fishes like King Mackerel, Sword fish ,Shark etc. has high levels of mercury which can harm the child’s nervous system and cause brain damage.

Caffeine/alcohol -  Intake of Caffeine found in coffee, tea,  soft drinks and energy drinks  in moderation is considered fine. But excess consumption is said to increase the chance for miscarriage and low birth weight. So it is better not to take chances and stay away from caffeine at least during the first trimester. No level of alcohol can be termed safe during pregnancy. Alcohol elevate the risk of miscarriage and still birth, cause heart defects, mental retardation and curb brain development.

Fruits  -   Some fruits like pineapple, papaya and grapes are known to be bad during pregnancy. Pineapples contains bromelain  which can soften the cervix leading to premature delivery, so you should have this fruit only in limited quantities.  It is better to avoid  unripe and semi ripe Papaya as this  contains latex which can trigger uterine contractions. Also you should take care to wash the fruits and vegetables thoroughly, so as to avoid bacterial infections. Fresh juice is good during pregnancy, but it is not safe to drink fresh fruit juices from outside, make it a point to prepare them fresh at home.

Aspartame  -   Aspartame is found in artificial sweeteners used by diabetic patients and calorie conscious people. But recent studies have shown that this do more harm than good. It may also trigger a miscarriage.


MSG – commonly known as ajinomoto or Chinese salt is not only bad for pregnant ladies, but also for children.
Dr. Anita Mani
Infertility& Surrogacy Specialist at Gift IVF Centre
anitadane@gmail.com
bangaloreivf.blogspot.in
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Dr. Anita Mani is a renowned infertility specialist in south India with 15 years experience in ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology). Dr. Anita has successfully set up ART hospitals in Cochin and Bangalore,  along with her spouse  Dr. S Mani, who specialises in surrogacy. She completed MRCOG, from Royal College of Obstetrician and Gynaecologist  London, DFFP from  ART Warwick university and  worked in UK for 5 years. Dr. Anitha believes in scientific and ethical practice and is currently the director of Gift Gyno IVF centre Cochin and  Bangalore.  Apart from advanced laparoscopic surgeries, she is also an expert in various ART techniques including IVF, IUI, ICSI , donor egg / sperm  and surrogacy . Her proficiency is in genetic abnormalities and high risk pregnancies.

Friday, 28 November 2014

Lose weight, cool your body and keep your reproductive organs healthy with ash gourd

Ash gourd, (white gourd) known as petha in Hindi and kumbalanga in Malayalam has been traditionally used in Ayurveda for treating infertility, obesity  epilepsy, lung diseases, asthama, coughs, urine retention and internal hemorrhage. The rind is used to treat diabetes and the seeds to expel tapeworms. In Chinese medicine,  the rind is used to treat urinary dysfunction and the seeds for vaginal discharge.

This vegetable can be taken in the raw form as juice on empty stomach. Do not remove pulp as it is rich in fiber which is quite handy for our body. The low calories and high water content makes it an ideal vegetable for countering obesity.

Ash gourd assists in curing the urinary tract infections and vaginal infections. It has been proven to reduce symptoms in urinary diseases and prostatic diseases like BPH. So it is useful in men with thick or viscous semen, which fails to liquefy in normal time limits.




The cooling properties of this vegetable is well known and one of the best summer juices can be made out of this. Those individuals who complain of overheating of body does not have to look for expensive solutions and can take this cheap and extensively available veggie to cool down their body. This is also an ideal vegetable for diabetic patients  as it has sugar regulating properties.

Delicious curry can be prepared with ash gourd by adding curry leaves, coconut paste, yogurt, green chilies and turmeric, this makes a savory side dish for rice. Turmeric makes it colourful and acts as a strong antioxidant. Keralites call this dish Kumbalanga Pulisserry and it is a regular in their diet. The lactobacilli in yogurt adds to the benefits of ash gourd and helps in keeping the reproductive organs healthy.


Dr. Anita Mani
Infertility& Surrogacy Specialist at Gift IVF Centre
anitadane@gmail.com
surrogatemothersinindia.com
www.giftivf.com
bangaloreivf.blogspot.in


Should you have your fibroids removed to attain pregnancy ?



Fibroids  are just benign tumors of the uterus and around 30 % of women develop fibroids as they enter their thirties.

The relation between fibroids and fertility is often confusing to the patients. The clinician has to find out the location and size of fibroid to ascertain, if it can cause any negative effect on pregnancy. The fibroids can be left alone if they are small and do not affect the chance for a healthy pregnancy.

There are different types of fibroids depending on the location. If they are small, situated on the outer lining and growing outside the uterus (subserous fibroids),  generally they do not hinder conception,  unless they are very close to the area  of the opening of the tubes.

Big sized fibroids (more than 5 cm) may have negative effect on pregnancy, even if they are located on outer lining due to the alteration in the anatomy, as the sheer weight might change position of uterus, thus reducing chance of egg pickup by the fallopian tubes.


If the fibroids are small and situated in the myometrium,  inside of  muscle mass of the uterus (intramural fibroids), they may be harmless if they are less than 2 cm, but larger ones may reduce chances of  pregnancy.



Laparoscopic myomectomy ( removal of fibroids) is a good option to remove subserous fibroids  and the intramural fibroids.


Most of the fibroids which grow near the inner lining  and bulge into the uterine cavity   distort the cavity where the baby has to grow leading to infertility or subfertility. Even a tiny fibroid of .5 cm can be bad news, if it is submucous (inside the uterus). These kinds of fibroids need to be removed by endoscopic surgery and it can be done by hysteroscopic myomectomy.

If the fibroids are causing symptoms due to compression on nearby structures like bladder and ureter, then they have to be  removed.

Although there are injections to shrink fibroids, the results are temporary and stops ovulation in the woman, so this may not be the right treatment for subfertility. The only indication would be to give them prior to surgery.

Even after considering all these factors, the treatment cannot be generalised,  as it will be different for  different individuals. To  make a decision, the clinician has to personally do a detailed transvaginal scan to assess whether to go for a  surgery or not.

It needs to be kept in mind that  surgery does have a very small risk of hysterectomy (removal of uterus) in case of bleeding. Heavy bleeding during the procedure is a potential risk, especially in complicated cases, wherein any surgeon would opt to remove the uterus to save the patient's life.

We see many patients coming for  surrogacy  with history of failed IVF and failed surgery, as the fibroids tend to reoccur after removal. Surrogacy is a good option for women with multiple large fibroids where hysterectomy is needed, or in cases of  recurring fibroids.

for more details you can visit the following blogs



Dr. Anita Mani
Infertility& Surrogacy Specialist at Gift IVF Centre
anitadane@gmail.com

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Dr. Anita Mani is a renowned infertility specialist in south India with 15 years experience in ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology). Dr. Anita has successfully set up ART hospitals in Cochin and Bangalore,  along with her spouse  Dr. S Mani, who specialises in surrogacy. She completed MRCOG, from Royal College of Obstetrician and Gynaecologist  London, DFFP from  ART Warwick university and  worked in UK for 5 years. Dr. Anitha believes in scientific and ethical practice and is currently the director of Gift Gyno IVF centre Cochin and  Bangalore.  Apart from advanced laparoscopic surgeries, she is also an expert in various ART techniques including IVF, IUI, ICSI , donor egg / sperm  and surrogacy. Her proficiency is in genetic abnormalities and high risk pregnancies.

Green gram (hara moong) for fertility and weight reduction


Green gram, known as hara moong in Hindi and cherupayar in Malayalam is traditionally used to treat infertility, enhance breast milk production, recover from different illnesses and for weight reduction. In India, it is given the same weightage as non vegetarian food like mutton or chicken because of its health benefits and high lean protein content. Green gram is considered as one of the best vegetarian super foods.


Benefits include

Low calorie - only 100 cal per 100 gm 
Low fat
High protein 
High fibre 
Rich in vitamins  A, B, C and E 
High in Minerals like Iron, Calcium and Potassium
Anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-Cancer properties 


Those of you who are trying to lose weight, should make green gram a part of your diet. It has very few calories, but keeps you satiated and full for a long period of time due to the presence of lean protein. It is also a good source of Iron and the antioxidants present are said to be effective against skin cancer. The high potassium content in this pulses helps to lower blood pressure.

Ayurveda recommends simple home detoxification for  enhancing fertility, which includes a regime of simple eating, lots of oil massage and a mild detoxification for 2 weeks . During this whole regime the diet is only kicharee  (kichadi). 

Kicharee recipe:
1/3 cup organic mung dal, 2/3 organic basmati rice (or other grain) cooked in 3-4 cups of water (ratio of 1:3 or 1:4). Ghee and seasonal organic veggies can be added to the above preparation.

Fresh green gram  has more benefits than the dried ones we buy from grocery shops and can be easily cultivated and plucked fresh from your garden pots. Just sow some Green gram seeds  in any of the flower pots in your garden. As it enhances the fertility of the soil, it helps the other plant as well . It starts yielding in 2 weeks, the whole process is so simple that even kids can do this easily .


Dr. Anita Mani
Infertility& Surrogacy Specialist at Gift IVF Centre
anitadane@gmail.com
bangaloreivf.blogspot.in

Friday, 21 November 2014

Home made products to avoid chemicals

Next time you reach for that jam, pickle or sauce bottle, just remember that they contain lots of artificial colors, preservatives , flavors and other chemical additives.Preparing  jams , pickles , tea and juices at home  is beneficial for your health.  Home made products are not only tasty, but will be easy on your purse.


Make jam with any seasonal fruits available fresh and cheap. The above picture illustrates the making of Banana jam, just by smashing bananas, cooking in sugar and lime juice (it works as natural preservative) 


You can make pickles out of many fruits and vegetables. For a change you can make pickle with Indian Asparagus (shatavari) , just like mango pickle is made.



When you visit tea estates , you will realise how much chemicals you drink everyday , as they spray pesticides   weekly , and the leaves are directly used for tea . As the margin is coming down and the estates are in loss , they try to get more yield for business. We can avoid the daily intake of pesticide if we switch to other forms of herbal home made tea.

Lemongrass tea- just boil few leaves / stem  to make a relaxing and healing drink 

Tulsi tea( holy basil) - boil the leaves in water 

Ginger honey tea - Boil crushed ginger in water and add honey

Pepper tea  -  Boil  crushed black pepper  with guava leaves or tulsi

Hibiscus tea  - Boil hibiscus  flower petals in water.

Banana tea   -  Boil  banana leaves in  water ( reduces blood sugar , so effective medicine for diabetis) 


Aloe vera gel can substitute chemical creams and lotions and will leave your hair and skin soft and supple. Aloe vera can be taken as juice also and is very good for health. 



Dr. Anita Mani
Infertility& Surrogacy Specialist at Gift IVF Centre
anitadane@gmail.com



Monday, 17 November 2014

Tips to make salad attractive and tasty


You can  make your salad alluring, nutritious and mouthwatering !!!!!




There is a general feeling among people that salads are boring, bland are tasteless. Predominantly Indian men are  not very keen, when it Comes to salads. Many of my patients makes a face when I advice   salads in diet regularly.


What can we do to get rid of this unfounded belief? The answer  doesn’t lie in laborious or strenuous effort.  We can effortlessly make salads attractive, colourful and alluring and which has a combination of taste, texture and nutrition.


Three aspects which can make a vast difference to food are colour, texture and taste. Presentation can make food appealing.   Nice, fresh, green, and crisp salad, full of life and health should be made part of our daily meal.  Fiber content in the ingredients will help prevent constipation and cholesterol. Health requires healthy food, the human body heals itself and nutrition provides the resources to accomplish this task


Combine smooth papaya,  crunchy  apple, grainy kiwi or fig, soft avocado, nutty almonds, fibrous carrot, juicy melons, leafy lettuce and flowery hibiscus, you will find the result is amazing. Wide range of  veggies, fruits and nuts with a dash of pepper and lime can turn into a scrumptious and colourful salad. Incorporate contrasting colours like  red (tomatoes, red bell pepper, apple, pomegranate), yellow (pineapple, yellow bell pepper,sweetcorn),orange (papaya,carrot),green (lettuce, kiwi, green apple), peach (honeydew melon), white (cucumber), blue(berry), black (olives) and brown(nuts) .

A perfect blend of sweetness, sourness, tanginess and crunchiness will give excellent results.  While the fruits can infuse the  sweetness, nuts can impart  the crunchiness. Olives will not only look good, but give slight sour taste, which will get the gastric juice flowing. When you are cooking chickpeas, don’t forget to save some for adding to salads.

Herbs generally have strong taste and should be carefully added according to individual preferences. Spices like hot chilies and pepper, can make the salad very yummy, when added in  small amount. Avoid using ready made salad dressings , as they are loaded with salt and calories and will never give the taste of fresh  ingredients, instead you can opt for a dash of olive oil, lemon, pepper and or shredded cheese.

It is not an easy task to convince your little ones, or for that matter your husband to feast on salads. I use this secret method to make kids have salad, just to  get them in to that habit and also to develop their taste. I take my kids and their friends for swimming or for a game, after the long haul, when they come back starving and thirsty, I keep a large plate of tantalizing  salad on the table. (never make the mistake of asking  them to eat it). You can pretend that you are heating or serving  other food, while they gorge on and empty the plate. Delay  the main course or the salad will  stay there untouched !!



Grown up men are not very different from  the kids, take them for exercise or a long walk, keep salad on the  table, never ask them to eat it and the plate  will be empty in no time.



I will wrap up with a simple kiwi salad, which I made today. The green coloured Kiwi is quite unique in it’s taste and appearance and adds a dramatic tropical flavor to the salad. It is a very rich source of Vitamin C and  is available in most of the cities in India. The tiny black seeds speckled  gives the sweet and sour fruit  a  slight grainy feel.




Dr. Anita Mani
Infertility& Surrogacy Specialist at Gift IVF Centre

A cheerful and exuberant evening with my Australian patient


A cheerful and exuberant evening  with my Australian  patient 


The Australian couple Mr and Mrs Gerard were very tense , as  the big day was approaching. The big day of delivery of the surrogate mother who kindly carried their baby for 9 months . Dr.Mani sensed their tension and he invited the couple to join us on the Sunday evening for the informal gathering at home with our family and friends  .



They had never been to south India before , and hence was quite apprehensive as to what to expect. But even we were taken aback when we noticed how easily they blended with the Indian families. Our friends and families were goodhearted  to chat with them, show them around and explain to them about our local customs and traditions .Our advocate friend and his graceful wife  were kind enough to brief them about local history .





My son and his cousin , were more than  happy to chat  with him, sharing the teenage thrills , sports and games . As he was into lots of sports himself , the boys were delighted to listen to him . It was amazing to watch how the cultural boundaries were vanishing in thin air .Looking at the three equal aged  girls playing cheerfully with the dolls , it was difficult to make out which was the Australian kid as they all looked and sounded the same with the innocent looks on their faces.

The kids were excited and delighted to walk around the farm attached to our house. The time which  we spent time in the farm made us forget  the different age , culture and nationalities . The children were happily  petting the goat kids ,running after the ducks and  hens and were quite thrilled  to touch the cow .





They were simply amazed to see for the first time, herbs like lemon grass and holy basil, spices like pepper , cardamom  cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. They simply wouldn’t let go the leaves for the full evening, as they were enchanted by the aroma. It was probably a rare  and extraordinary moment for them  to be able to  pluck the  local fruits which they have never seen or tasted before from our garden.




The lady found a good friend in my mother , as she was pious and my mother gave her strength and reassurance with stories of Jesus and the Bible. Every one enjoyed the home cooked delicious food, which we were proud to have cooked ourselves . My son had made  appetizing  marinade of assorted fresh fishes, and we all enjoyed the sumptuous evening meal.

This  gathering has forced me to think about the cultural and geographic boundaries. Love has no culture, boundaries, race or religion. It is pure and beautiful like early morning sunrise falling in lake. It would be wonderful  to live together in harmony and peace, as there is goodness  inside every human being , which ever country or race he belongs to .


We are happy and contented  that we are able to provide service and happiness to  families from far away  and be with them and share their joy .


Dr. Anita Mani
Infertility& Surrogacy Specialist at Gift IVF Centre
anitadane@gmail.com

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Health benefits of Kiwi before and during pregnancy



The green coloured fruit kiwi is quite unique and has a dramatic tropical flavor. This fruit has lot of nutritional and medicinal properties. It facilitates weight loss and aids in improving the general health. The low glycemic content of the fruit qualifies it as one of the best fruits for PCOS and diabetes patients. It is a major source of Vitamins C, E and A. Eating one fruit daily will take care of your daily requirement for vitamin C. The vitamin C & E content helps in boosting the immunity system. Kiwi is also rich in phosphorous, magnesium and copper. The low level of sodium and high level of potassium helps in lowering the blood pressure.


The fruit is rich in the nutrients which can assist in a healthy and smooth pregnancy. Kiwi is rich in folic acid, which is essential before and during pregnancy. Folic acid takes care of the proper development of the vital organs of the fetus in the womb. The fruit has about 10% of daily recommended dosage of folate and helps in preventing birth defects in unborn babies. The risk of having neural tube defects in the fetus is reduced and the blood circulation to the fetus  is facilitated, which makes it healthier.




Kiwi benefits pregnant women by providing a healthy amount of dietary fiber. During pregnancy, intake of dietary fiber will reduce the risk of hemorrhoids and constipation and the fiber binds and cleanses toxins from intestines. Regular consumption of kiwi fruit aids to keep digestive issues like gas, nausea, and discomfort of the stomach at bay.

Kiwi is rich in antioxidants, capable of fighting off the free radicals. Flavonoids present increases the nutritional value of kiwi fruit. These are useful to protect the cells of the body from the oxidative stress, DNA damage and cancer.  It is an excellent fruit for boosting energy levels and strengthening the immune system.


Kiwi fruit also supports a healthy heart, as it is a natural blood thinner. Consuming kiwi can cut down the risk  of blood clotting and reduces fats in blood that can lead to blockages and clots, diminishing the risk for strokes. Kiwi abets absorption of iron, which will ward off anemia. 



Dr. Anita Mani
Infertility& Surrogacy Specialist at Gift IVF Centre
anitadane@gmail.com

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Dr. Anita Mani is a renowned infertility specialist in south India with 15 years experience in ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology). Dr. Anita has successfully set up ART hospitals in Cochin and Bangalore,  along with her spouse  Dr. S Mani, who specialises in surrogacy. She completed MRCOG, from Royal College of Obstetrician and Gynaecologist  London, DFFP from  ART Warwick university and  worked in UK for 5 years. Dr. Anitha believes in scientific and ethical practice and is currently the director of Gift Gyno IVF centre Cochin and  Bangalore.  Apart from advanced laparoscopic surgeries, she is also an expert in various ART techniques including IVF, IUI, ICSI , donor egg / sperm  and surrogacy. Her proficiency is in genetic abnormalities and high risk pregnancies.

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Don’t let azoospermia (absence of sperm) turn your life upside down






Azoospermia is a medical condition in men, where there is a a complete absence of sperms in the semen. After the first test, It is not a pleasant task to inform my patient that, we did not find any sperm in your semen sample. To confirm azoospermia, semen testing should be repeated at least 3 times with a gap of one month between each test, because sometimes test may indicate lack of sperms due to some injury, illness or reproductive tract infection even in men with normal sperm count. There are a wide array of blood tests and investigations which will give sufficient information to confirm whether the condition is treatable or not.

I have done a number of successful  ICSI for  azoospermia cases with obstruction using TESA, but I advise my patients to opt for donor sperm treatment in cases of failure, especially in the cases of financially unstable patients. Instead of repeated ICSI failures, I want to see the couple have a healthy baby and save their finances. ICSI is expensive and emotionally taxing for both patients and the treating doctor.


Generally, I have observed in my practice that, most of the men take the news of azoospermia calmly and maturely. Contrary to the normal perception that men will feel inadequate and depressed, most of them are confident and not reluctant to opt for  donor sperm. Seeing their concern for their better half, I feel happy for the wives. So much of understanding and love is never seen in a couple when everything is perfect. Many of them are more than willing to have their wives undergo donor insemination, (in case of untreatable azoospermia as in testicular failure cases), so that  the wife is happy and contended to have a baby. In some patients, the low levels of testosterone may be a reason  for their less aggressive nature and flexibility and caring nature.  

Compared to women, who do not  have healthy eggs of their  own going for an egg donor, I find azoospermic men are more acceptable to the idea of a donor gamete. Acceptance does not just imply agreeing for donor gamete, but to accept the child as his own. Proper counseling does play an effective role in the decision. 

I also come across some conservative men, who wants to have donor embryo from donor egg and sperm even though their wives have normal eggs. The best option for these couple would have been adoption, but I understand their reluctance is because of the social pressure and opposition  from own family members and society. I wish our society was as broad minded as western societies when it comes to adoption.

Few years back, I had a patient working in Middle East who had low hormones (panhypopituatarism) and azoospermia. He trusted me so much that he was ready to take hormone injections for six months and wait for the results. So the injections were ice packed and given to be taken to gulf. After few months, I  was extremely happy,  when the  couple came to meet  me with a  positive pregnancy test, when he came home on a one month leave. Every year, without fail they send me the birthday photos of the child. It gives me so much of contentedness, satisfaction and positive energy to continue my  practice. 


Dr. Anita Mani
Infertility& Surrogacy Specialist at Gift IVF Centre
anitadane@gmail.com
www.giftivf.com 
+91 484 2475031,  +91 484 2475034, 

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Dr. Anita Mani is a renowned infertility specialist in south India with 18 years experience in ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology). Dr. Anita has successfully set up ART hospitals in Cochin and Bangalore,  along with her spouse  Dr. S Mani, who specialises in surrogacy. She completed MRCOG, from Royal College of Obstetrician and Gynaecologist  London, DFFP from  ART Warwick university and  worked in UK for 5 years. Dr. Anitha believes in scientific and ethical practice and is currently the director of Gift Gyno IVF centre Cochin and  Bangalore.  Apart from advanced laparoscopic surgeries, she is also an expert in various ART techniques including IVF, IUI, ICSI , donor egg / sperm  and surrogacy. Her proficiency is in genetic abnormalities and high risk pregnancies.