Sunday, March 15, 2009

MTHFR gene

Standing for "Methylene Tetrahydrofolate Reductase", the MTHFR gene is responsible for absorbing folate. (And of course, most readers familiar with trying to conceive have heard of the importance of folate/folic acid. Taking folic acid reduces the risk of having a baby with neural tube defects (which is why most of the grain products on the market are fortified with folate).)

An unexpected miscarriage can shatter dreams. Two or more can be devastating. I have had 3.

Research shows that high homocysteine levels and/or those with the mutation show a higher propensity for thrombosis (blood clots), arteriosclerosis (hardening of arteries), Alzheimer’s, stroke, heart attack, Fibromyalgia, migraines (especially with “Aura” migraines), osteoporotic fractures, bone marrow disorders and for those of child bearing years, it has found to be connected to higher incidences of down’s syndrome, spina bifida, other neural tube defects, trisomy, miscarriage, stillbirth, implantation failure, placental abruption, preeclampsia, higher incidences of autism, amongst others.

For those undergoing fertility treatments, often times the treatment includes Lovenox (low molecular weight heparin) or Heparin (both are anti-coagulants) during the cycle. If you have a history of implantation failure or early miscarriage, it is becoming more acceptable to use the protocol established by the well-respected Reproductive Immunologist Dr. Beers by beginning Lovenox (40mg/once a day) on cycle day 6 and continuing throughout the cycle. If pregnancy is confirmed, this dosage is likely increased (Typically up to 40mg/twice a day, but potentially higher doses are prescribed dependent upon blood work results since homocysteine levels tend to increase with pregnancy) and usage continues throughout your pregnancy. Approximately two to four weeks prior to birth, the patient is converted to Heparin and continues to take an anti-coagulant for another 6 weeks postpartum (typically switched back to Lovenox). During that time, you will typically be directed to take additional Calcium and Vitamin D, as anti-coagulants can cause bone loss (Heparin more so than Lovenox). Some doctors will recommend a bone scan after use is discontinued to ensure there are no bone density issues. While being treated with an anti-coagulant, you will typically be asked to discontinue taking the 81 mg. baby aspirin since the anti-coagulants will replace the need for the thinning property of the Low Dose (LD) aspirin. The FDA has placed Lovenox in the pregnancy category B. Lovenox is not expected to be harmful to an unborn baby. It is not known whether Lovenox passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not use Lovenox without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby. However, many doctors believe it is fine to breastfeed for the 6 weeks postpartum while still receiving Lovenox.
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I will post what my diagnosis is and more information later. For tonight I just wanted to get what my issues are out there so anyone with questions will have them answered by these blog posts. I hope you find this blog informative. I will be updating it very often, relaying information as I find out my treatments and what I am going to have to do to get pregnant and stay that way with a healthy baby.

Thank you for reading,

till my next post :)

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