Friday, 16 September 2011

Who is best to parent? Boys or girls?

From the moment an expectant parent sees those two blue lines they fantasise about the gender of their unborn child. However which are best to parent – daughters or sons? This collection of facts and stats should prove a good antidote to any gender disappointment.

The Joys of Having a Daughter:

The Baby Years:

  1. Mothers eat less in pregnancy when carrying a baby girl, which means less baby weight to lose (New Scientist).
  2. Mothers of baby girls are less likely to be angry or anxious during pregnancy (Evolutionary Psychology).
  3. If you’re stressed during pregnancy you’re less likely to miscarry a baby girl (The Economist).
  4. The labours of first-time mothers are almost 100 minutes shorter with a daughter than a son (Canadian Parents).
  5. You are less likely to suffer labour and delivery difficulties with a daughter (New Scientist; The Guardian).
  6. You’re less likely to need assisted delivery with a daughter  - e.g. forceps (The Guardian).
  7. You’re less likely to have a c-section with a daughter (The Guardian).
  8. Baby girls are less likely to display signs of foetal distress during labour (The Guardian).
  9. You’re less likely to suffer postnatal depression after giving birth to a girl (The TelegraphMSN NewsJournal of clinical Nursing).
  10. If your first born child is a girl you’re less likely to suffer future miscarriages (New ScientistThe Guardian).
  11. If you have a daughter you are more likely to have a toy boy husband (New Scientist).
  12. Little hairbands.
  13. You won’t get a face-full of projectile pee whenever you remove her nappy.
  14. No undescended testicles or cleanliness of foreskins to worry about.
  15. Adorable smocked dresses.
  16. Breastfeeding protects baby girls from serious chest infections (The Guardian).
  17. She’s less likely to suffer from cot death (BupaThe Economist).
  18. You’re an instant member of the coveted SMOG club - “Smug Mother Of Girls” (The Telegraph).
  19. Girls potty train easier and faster than boys (Baby Centre; Mother and Baby Magazine).
  20. Baby girls cry less than baby boys (Suite 101).
  21. When you're having a fat day remember, beautiful people are more likely to have girls (News Australia).
  22. Baby Girls are more sociable (Mother and Baby Magazine).
  23. Baby girls smile more (The Economist).
  24. She’ll start to talk sooner (Mother and Baby Magazine).
  25. She’ll cope better when separated from you (Gurgle).
  26. Mothers of daughters are less stressed when their baby is 3 months (Evolutionary Psychology).
  27. Mothers of daughters have better hour glass figures – higher waist:hip ratios (Evolutionary Psychology).

      1. The Preschool Years:

      2. She’s likely to outperform boys in the classroom from as young as four (The Guardian).
      3. She’ll be easier to discipline (
      4. Stronger neural connectors in girls’ brains create better listening skills, more detailed memory storage, and better discrimination among the tones of voice (Gurian, M. & Stevens, K. “With Boys and Girls in Mind,” Educational Leadership, Nov 2004).
      5. She’ll take less risks to their physical safety (
      6. You can style her hair more than two ways.
      7. She won’t need her hair cut every three weeks.
      8. She’s less likely to suffer from glue ear (Bupa).
      9. She has more oxytocin, the primary human bonding hormone - who says boys are more affectionate? (William McBride, Ph.D).
      10. You’ll worry less about whether violent play and the use of guns should be banned or permitted (The Guardian; The Telegraph; Nursery WorldBBC).
      11. She’s more likely to enjoy vegetables (Nursery World).
      12. She’ll have a better memory (Baby Centre).
      13. She’s more likely to consider the consequences of their actions on others (Developmental Psychology).

          1. The Primary School Years:

          2. Girls are already on average two months ahead of boys at the start of primary school (The Guardian; Teacher Development). This gender gap is also reflected in the animal kingdom (New Scientist).
          3. You’ll share greater empathy with each other (Baron-Cohen.S PhD, The Essential Difference: The Truth About the Male and Female Brain 2003; The EconomistThe Guardian).
          4. She’ll be more creative. 71% of five-year-old girls were found to be imaginative in art and design, music, dance, role play and stories. They responded in a variety of ways to what they saw, heard, smelt, touched and felt, compared with just over half (52%) of boys (The Guardian; The Independent).
          5. She’s likely to love reading (The Guardian).
          6. She’s likely to read more complex books than the ones her male friends read (The Independent; The Telegraph; BBC; The Guardian).
          7. She’s likely to be better at writing (The GuardianColumbia University).
          8. She’ll be free to indulge her masculinity in a way that hasn’t really begun to open up for her male peers. “They can wear dresses one day and trousers the next; their hair in plaits or cut short; they can be girlish or tomboys; play with Barbies and guns, footballs and skipping ropes; they are allowed to cry and they are allowed to be stoics. When they grow up, they can be doctors or nurses. They are granted access to the whole range of emotions and forms of behaviour” (The Observer; The Guardian).
          9. You’ll save money on first aid equipment (BupaThe Times; Nursery World).
          10. She’s better behaved - 80% of school discipline is done to boys (Human Gender Differences).
          11. She’s better for your health than a son (EQSQ).
          12. She’s more polite (ABC News).
          13. She’s less likely to suffer from childhood cancers (Bupa).
          14. She’s less likely to be hyperactive (Bupa; Behaviour Genetics; ADHD Child Parenting).
          15. She’s 4x less likely to suffer from Autism (BupaNew Scientist; ABC News).
          16. She’s less likely to withdraw in one-to-one interactions (Developmental Psychology).
          17. She’ll tend to multitask better than boys do, with fewer attention span problems and greater ability to make quick transitions between lessons (William McBride, Ph.D).
          18. She’s less likely to develop dyslexia (NHS).
          19. She will have a better grasp of grammar and spelling (Columbia University).
          20. She’s 2x less likely to wet the bed (Reuters).
          21. She is less likely to be obese (The Guardian; NHS; Harvard).
          22. She can express their emotions more easily (The Guardian).
          23. You’re less likely to have to get up at the crack of dawn on freezing winter mornings and drive around the country to stand aside a pitch.
          24. You’re less likely to be on the receiving end of the latest WWF wrestling move.

              1. The Secondary School Years:

              2. She’s less likely to commit a crime (Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology; The Guardian; The Times).
              3. You’ll have no worries about her growing unsightly bum fluff on her top lip.
              4. She has more serotonin and likely to make fewer impulsive decisions than boys (William McBride, Ph.D).
              5. She’ll mature earlier (Healthy Children).
              6. You won’t have to change her bed sheets as often (Time).
              7. You’ll have another ally in the toilet seat wars.
              8. She’s likely to have fewer attention span problems and can make faster transitions between lessons (Gurian, M. & Stevens, K. “With Boys and Girls in Mind,” Educational Leadership, Nov 2004).
              9. She’s less likely to end up in remedial classes - where about 80% of the students are male (The Guardian; BBC).
              10. She’s less likely to be suspended or excluded - 95% are male (The Guardian).
              11. She’s less likely to go haywire if you get a divorce (New York Times; Journal of Family Issues).
              12. She’s 4x less likely to develop Tourette's syndrome (Bupa).
              13. She’s less likely to mope in self pity when things don’t go her way (The Guardian).
              14. Contrary to popular belief, she’ll be cheaper to raise than a son (The Guardian).
              15. She won’t be intimidated by Smart Alecs at school, instead she’ll be inspired by them (The Economist).
              16. She’ll enjoy learning languages more than her male peers (The Guardian; University of Columbia).
              17. She’s less likely to be violent and aggressive (The Guardian; Sex Roles).
              18. She is more likely to be interested in after-school clubs (Harvard).
              19. She is more likely to do volunteer work (Harvard).
              20. She’s more likely to use computers for doing homework rather than solely playing games (The Guardian).
              21. She’s less likely to be victimised by violence or to witness violence (Harvard).
              22. She’s less likely to feel unsafe at school (Harvard).
              23. She’s more likely to have confidence in her ability to avoid fights and to use other methods to deal with anger (Harvard).
              24. She’s less likely to be unemployed at age 16-19 (University of Glasgow).
              25. She’s more likely to talk to you about her dating habits (Science Daily).
              26. You’re less likely to be faced with pictures of Loaded or FHM’s scantily dressed young women appearing on the bedroom wall.
              27. If she falls pregnant (heaven forefend!)  she will have all the rights and choices.
              28. She’s less likely to find violent TV entertaining (The Independent; BBC; Journal of Experimental Child Psychology).

                  1. The University Years:

                  2. She's more likely to get into uni (The Guardian).
                  3. She's more likely to look after her money whilst at uni (The Guardian).
                  4. She's more likely to work harder than her male peers at uni and thus gain better grades than most of them (The Guardian).
                  5. She's more likely to get a job when she graduates from uni (The Guardian).

                    1. The Adult Years:

                    2. You’re likely to be the only woman your daughter ever loves. 
                    3. Opinions about handbags.
                    4. She will drain your resources for shorter time than her brothers - 14% of 25-34 year old men live with their parents. 8% of 25-34 year old women live with their parents (Human Gender Differences; Journal of Marriage and Family; University of Texas).
                    5. When you’re older she’s more likely to change your bedpan, clean your denchers, wipe your arse, etc (New York Times; Daily Finance; Handbook of Marriage and the Family).
                    6. You can relive the ‘joys’ of pregnancy and childbirth with her.
                    7. You’re likely to maintain a good relationship with her (The Guardian; Marriages and Families) and she’ll phone more often (Journal of Marriage and the Family).
                    8. Maternal grandmothers tend to be favoured by their grandchildren; so when your daughter has kids you’ll be first in line for hugs (The International Journal of Aging and Human Development).

                    The Joys of Having a Son:

                    The Baby Years:

                    1. You’re less likely to suffer from morning sickness if you’re pregnant with a boy (New Scientist; The Guardian).
                    2. If you’re pregnant and unmarried, your partner is more likely to pop the question if you are carrying a son (Slate).
                    3. Optimistic mothers are more likely to have boys, so give yourself a pat on the back for your mental health (New Scientist; The Guardian).
                    4. You’re also more likely to have boys if you’re a strong woman (New Scientist).
                    5. He’s less likely to develop cleft lip and palate (New Scientist).
                    6. Breastfeeding has a more beneficial effect on boys’ intellect than girls (New Scientist).
                    7. Mothers of sons score higher on spatial ability (Evolutionary Psychology).
                    8. Baby boys can cope with raised voices and loud noises a lot easier than baby girls because their hearing isn’t as acute (Mother and Baby Magazine).
                    9. Miniature suit and tie combos.
                    10. He’s more likely to crawl and walk earlier than his female peers (Gurgle).

                        1. The Preschool Years:

                        2. Mummy’s Boy.
                        3. His clothes are easier to change (no tights, knickers, ribbons or bows to faff with).
                        4. His clothes are easier to buy (almost everything goes with denim or shorts; you don't have the endless task of finding just the right shoes and accessories that colour coordinate perfectly with each outfit).
                        5. His toys will be more interesting with levers to pull, buttons to press and vehicles to pull-back. No worrying about the politics of Barbies (The Guardian; Sex Roles).
                        6. Your husband is likely to earn more if you have a son (The Guardian; New Scientist).
                        7. The world is their urinal.
                        8. He’ll keep you fit.
                        9. Your husband will be expected to do public toilet duty.
                        10. He’s less likely to be scared of nasties lurking under the bed (New Scientist).
                        11. Your husband will spend more time with him than he would with a daughter (Annual Review of Sociology).
                        12. Mothers report more marital happiness in families with sons (Annual Review of Sociology).
                        13. He’s less likely to become possessive of friendships (Nursery World).
                        14. He’ll show a better "knowledge and understanding of the world" – one of the early years goals. More than half of preschool boys (54%) can build objects using appropriate tools and techniques compared with 48% of girls and more could identify everyday technology (The Guardian).

                            1. The Primary School Years:

                            2. Football coaches, rugby trainers and karate teachers are fit.
                            3. Cheap haircuts.
                            4. In our patriarchal society, raising a kind boy can be an act of subversion and revolution. Major brownie points from your future daughter-in-law.
                            5. He won’t care if his tshirt doesn’t coordinate with his pants.
                            6. He’ll perform better in his SATs exams (EQSQ).
                            7. Fathers tend to invest more time in sons, than daughters (New Scientist).
                            8. Girls have more cooties than boys - Even though males are less sanitary than females, they carry significantly fewer bacteria (Human Gender Differences).
                            9. Clothes that do not have glitter or words on the arse.
                            10. You don’t have to worry about finding him appropriate role models in children’s television, as two-thirds are male (The Independent).
                            11. Same goes for books (The Guardian).
                            12. You won’t have nightmares about children’s beauty salons (The Telegraph), padded bras for 7 year olds (The Telegraph) or cosmetics for 3 year olds (The Independent).
                            13. If he is shorter than average, doctors are more likely to investigate it than if he was a girl (Yahoo News; Reuters).
                            14. Bruises don't cause tears, they cause high fives for who's got the biggest.
                            15. They learn to make fart noises with their armpits faster.
                            16. He’ll develop the left side of their brain faster than girls: visual-spatial-logical skills, perceptual skills, better at math, problem solving, building and figuring out puzzles (Columbia University).
                            17. Less body worries (The Independent; The Telegraph; The Guardian; University of Glasgow).
                            18. He’s less likely to get head lice (Bupa).
                            19. He’s less likely to withdraw in group interactions (Developmental Psychology).
                            20. He’ll get more exercise (New Scientist; Harvard).
                            21. TV advertisers target him x2 less (Karen J. Pine, PhD).
                            22. Boys play outdoors more than girls which heightens their immunity in the long term (The Medical News).

                                1. The Secondary School Years:

                                2. Ages 13-18. Period.
                                3. You’re less likely to have the “you’re not going out dressed like that” convo (The Guardian).
                                4. You won’t have to worry about the message his wardrobe sends about his sexual availability (The Independent; The Telegraph).
                                5. You won’t have to cope with his PMS as well as your own.
                                6. Another person to deal with the spider behind the wardrobe (New Scientist).
                                7. Human garbage disposals for left overs.
                                8. He’s less likely to skive off school (The Guardian; The Economist).
                                9. Free 50 inch TVs and Rebock trainers (The Telegraph).
                                10. Less prickly social navigations.
                                11. Less body image drama. Whereas girls who grow into women see themselves becoming fatter and losing the boyish figure they crave, boys grow into their cultural norm (The Telegraph; Sex Roles;  Journal of Youth and Adolescence; BBC).
                                12. He’ll laugh at your jokes more than a daughter would (EQSQ).
                                13. He’s less prone to unhealthy perfectionism (The Guardian).
                                14. He’s 2x less likely to develop depression (BBC; Bupa;  Journal of Youth and Adolescence; New Scientist; Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review; The Guardian).
                                15. He’ll never understand what Back Fat is.
                                16. He will run faster than his female peers, ...until the year 2156 (Human Gender Differences).
                                17. Having a son means you’re less likely to get divorced (New York Times; Slate; Annual Review of Sociology; ABC News; Harris Law Firm). 13
                                18. If you do get divorced you are more likely to find another partner if you have a son, and your remarriage is more likely to survive (Slate).
                                19. After a divorce, fathers and sons are more likely to maintain contact than fathers and daughters (Amato.P & Keith.B).
                                20. He’ll only need 3 minutes notice to leave the house.
                                21. He won’t care what shampoo he uses.
                                22. He is less likely to be bullied (Scotsman; The Guardian; The Independent).
                                23. He’s less likely to binge-drink (The Times; The Independent).
                                24. He’s less likely to smoke (The Guardian; The Independent).
                                25. He’s less likely to shoplift (The Telegraph).
                                26. He’ll eat a healthier diet than his female peers (The Independent).
                                27. He’ll be more confident talking to teachers (BBC).
                                28. You’ll be less troubled by his sexual antics (The Guardian; The Economist).
                                29. He’s less likely to suffer from migraines (Bupa).
                                30. His self esteem will be higher and it will be less reliant on the quality of his friendships (Sex Roles).
                                31. He’s more likely to get along with his peers (Harvard).
                                32. He’s less likely to suffer from anxiety (Annuals of Epidemiology).
                                33. He’s more likely to understand computers (The Guardian).
                                34. You’ll fight with him less than you would with a daughter (The Guardian).
                                35. He’s likely to feel more confident speaking in public than girls (Children and Young People Now).
                                36. He’s more likely than his female peers to outgrow asthma (Reuters).
                                37. He’s more likely to play on a sports team (Harvard).
                                38. He’s less likely to be suspicious of others (Harvard).
                                39. He’s more likely to trust his teachers and neighbours (Harvard).
                                40. He’s less likely to self-harm (University of Glasgow).
                                41. He’s significantly less likely to use a sun bed, thus decreasing his risk of skin cancer (Cancer Research).

                                    1. The University Years:

                                    2. Once in uni he’s more likely to get a 1st class degree (The Independent).
                                    3. He will need less emotional support when in uni (Journal of Youth and Adolescence).
                                    4. He will rely less on the “International Bank of Mum and Dad” (MSN Money).
                                    5. It will take him less time to pay off his uni fees (The Guardian).

                                        1. The Adult Years:

                                        2. He is less likely to suffer sexism or unfair pay.
                                        3. He can carry on the family name, if you’re traditionally inclined.
                                        4. You won’t be expected to pay for his wedding.
                                        5. He’s more likely to become a Member of Parliament. The more prestigious and powerful the elected position, the more this is true.
                                        6. He’s more likely to be a scientist (EQSQ; The Guardian).
                                        7. If he returns home he’s more likely to pay rent, lend a hand with the housework and accept parental advice on careers and love (Reuters).
                                        8. If he has children and a career, no one will think he’ selfish for not staying at home.
                                        9. If he turns out to be gay you have an instant passport to a fabulous life of pampering, holidays and heart-to-hearts (Daily Mail Sorry I don't normally quote the Daily Fail but what can you do).
                                        10. He’s more likely to provide financial assistance in your old age (Daily Finance).
                                        11. Sons spend more on Mother’s Day and are more likely to send flowers (CNBC).
                                        12. He’s more likely to live closer to you (Journal of Gerontology).
                                        13. Sons are less likely to say that their mothers irritate them (The Guardian).

                                        Monday, 5 September 2011

                                        Top 5 Baby-Making Gadgets

                                        When it comes to conception, lying back and thinking of England is SO 1900s. Now consumerism informs us that we NEED gadgets to help us put peg A into hole B. Despite what the charming guests on Jeremy Kyle may depict, baby-making is actually a technical art form. A woman is only fertile for a day or two each month. This is because once her ovary has released an egg, the little tinker only has a life span of approximately 12-17 hours before it dies. Never mind, Capitalism to the rescue! Check out the array of gadgetry created for the sole purpose of increasing the population.

                                        5. Ovulation Microscope

                                        Just like a dildo but with much less functionality. The lipstick-sized contraption you see in the picture is called “Julia” and it’s a load of crap. How does it work? (and I use the word ‘work’ lightly). The manufacturers tout that, “It could not be simpler - just add a little saliva to the top of the unit and observe through the included microscope the structure of the saliva”. So you unscrew off the top and gob into the lens, then you wait the prescribed “10-15 minutes” for it to dry. Then you wait some more, because it hasn’t dried. Then you resort to leaving it over night to dry. When it’s finally dry you peek through the tiny window and press a small button which causes a light to blind you. The manufacturers claim that this product has a focus, but they’re quite frankly talking bull. Turning the plastic top is meant to adjust the focus but all it does is move the lens around. The quality of this product would make Poundland blush. The theory is that if you’re ovulating your saliva will form crystals on the microscope. Sounds like fun right? And it is, for the first few times until you realise that nothing is ever going to fecking happen. On the plus side, it can be used an unlimited amount of times which is great if you like spitting on things and watching nothing happen.

                                        Value for Money: 2/10.
                                        Accuracy: 2/10.
                                        Fun Factor: 4/10.
                                        Involves peeing on something: No.

                                        4. OvWatch

                                        Currently only available in the States the snazzy-looking OvWatch takes readings from your skin every 30 minutes during the night to track your body chemistry (read: sweat). The instructions are clear, “Just wear the watch at night while you sleep knowing that you will be alerted 4 days before ovulation, giving you plenty of time to plan multiple romantic interludes if desired”. Four whole days!! Which TTC woman’s heart doesn’t leap at the sound of that? However as one Amazon customer commented “once the watch detects the change in your sweat it goes on auto pilot, meaning it will cycle through four "fertile" days, two "ovulation" days and then two "less fertile" days. I suppose if every woman's body was that exact and consistent and the watch was accurate, that might work...”

                                        But accuracy is not OvWatch’s strong point. Nor is durability. After each cycle the watch’s sensor must be replaced, and at $30 per sensor and $125 for the watch itself, it looks like the manufacturers of OvWatch know how the exploit the TTC crowd. What’s more is that the sensors do not stay in place and there is nothing to hold them in place. Furthermore you must keep the watch on TIGHT to avoid it moving around throughout the night. Hello carpal tunnel syndrome!

                                        If, or should I say when, you discover that you are displeased with the OvWatch you’ll be delighted to know that there is a returns policy. But it is completely useless. The item must be returned within 30 days of purchase. You quite rightly order the OvWatch ahead of time in preparation for the beginning of your cycle, however you cannot return it after figuring out it is worthless, because you just can't figure that out in 30 days or less.

                                        But wait, the best feature of this product is yet to come. There have been reports of OvWatch notifying its owner of their fertile period even when its owner was not wearing the watch!! Either the sensors have one hell of a range or I smell a scam. It’s been suspected that once you program your cycle length into OvWatch the device simply counts to the middle of your cycle and estimates ovulation. Even your dog can do that! And everyone who has ever read The Bible (aka Taking Charge of Your Fertility) will know that ovulation does not always occur smack bang in the middle of your cycle. My advice is to save your $125 for one of the more worthy gadgets bellow.

                                        Value for Money: 1/10.
                                        Accuracy: 3/10.
                                        Fun Factor: 3/10.
                                        Involves peeing on something: No.

                                        3. BBT Thermometer

                                        This is the Granddaddy of baby-making gadgets. Like the OvWatch, the BBT thermometer let’s you track your fertility without even getting out of bed. Unlike the OvWatch, the BBT thermometer actually works. And what’s more, it’s cheap as chips! A fiver for the thermometer and away you go.

                                        BBT stands for Basal Body Temperature. This is your temperature immediately after you wake up in the morning, before you do anything. A woman's basal temperature changes in a regular pattern throughout her cycle, based on hormonal changes in her body. Tracking your temperature is a way of tracking your reproductive hormones, and thereby knowing just where you are in your cycle. Ovulation is indicated by a significant thermal shift in your temperature followed by sustained high temperatures for a week or so then a drop back down if you're not pregnant.

                                        You must take your temperature at the same time every morning for accuracy’s sake. Just insert the thermometer into your mouth, or if you feel so inclined you can insert it into your anus or foof; I’m not judging. Then plot your temperature onto the chart that comes free with the thermometer. If you can’t be arsed messing around with your pens and a paper chart, may I recommend a site like Fertility Friend which will do all that maths crap for you.

                                        The BBT thermometer is different from an ordinary household thermometer used for detecting fever. It detects smaller changes in temperature, even fractions of a degree. It is a good way of showing when conception has occurred - your temperature stays elevated when it would otherwise drop. Here’s my chart from the cycle where I conceived my recent pregnancy. Notice that the second half of the graph is elevated and stays elevated:

                                        I know what you’re thinking, it looks like something a physics professor might use, but fear not, you’ll get the hang of it after a cycle or two. Charting will soon become second nature and more addictive than crack.

                                        On the downside, what if you need to wee in the middle of the night? You get out of bed and wee but then your morning temperature is botched. This is because you must have at least 3 hours of solid sleep prior to taking your temperature. The activity involved in getting out of bed can raise your body temperature and skew results. So you lie in bed for hours with a full bladder, praying yourself to sleep and waiting for temperature-taking-time, only to develop a unitary tract infection in the process.

                                        Another reason why this traditional method failed to nab first place on this list was because it can only tell you that you have ovulated AFTER the big event. Which really doesn’t help in pinpointing when you should get your freak on.

                                        Nevertheless, using a BBT thermometer can teach you a lot about what happens to your body throughout your cycle. In doing so, it can also help uncover certain fertility issues such as “luteal phase defect” (where your period arrives so soon after ovulation that any fertilised egg would not have time to implant).

                                        Value for Money: 9/10.
                                        Accuracy: 8/10.
                                        Fun Factor: 8/10.
                                        Involves peeing on something: No.

                                        2. Ovulation Predictor Kits (OPKs)

                                        If you love peeing on sticks - and let’s face it, who doesn’t enjoy the satisfaction of urinating all over something you just purchased from a shop - then Ovulation Predictor Kits are your new best friend. Unlike the BBT thermometer, OPKs can tell you when ovulation is about to occur, which means that you can plan your baby-dancing to perfection. These little soothsayers work by detecting a hormone in your pee. Your body produces something called luteinizing hormone (LH). It is present in your urine almost all the time, but increases significantly (surges) about 12-36 hours before ovulation. An OPK detects LH in your urine and gives you a positive result when it detects this surge. So when you get a positive test, it’s time to get your sex on.

                                        These bad boys come in a range of styles to suit every budget. From so-called “internet cheapies” to digital piss-takers and everything in between (dippers, midstream, cassette). Each box contains several tests. You will use about 5-10 tests each cycle depending on the length of your cycle. Yes, this means you get to pee on a lot of sticks! But don’t do it in the morning because LH is naturally high at this time of day and you could get a false positive result, thus knackering your poor husband before the real window of opportunity opens. Instead, take your daily OPK around midday.

                                        There’s a snag though. It is possible (though rare) to get a positive OPK result and yet fail to ovulate. This happens when your body “gears up” to ovulate, leading to an LH surge - and then, for some reason (such as stress, illness, travel, or random fluke), your body fails to release an egg. When this happens, your LH surge will dissipate. Once the stress is resolved, your body will try again. This can happen more than once per cycle. Therefore, there is no way to be sure you ovulated, even if you had a positive OPK (more information can be found at the wonderfully addictive site: For this reason I suggest using OPKs in conjunction with a BBT thermometer.

                                        Value for Money: 6/10.
                                        Accuracy: 7/10.
                                        Fun Factor: 8/10.
                                        Involves peeing on something: Yes.

                                        1. Clearblue Fertility Monitor (CBFM)

                                        The CBFM has the same soothsayer qualities of the OPK but with an added bonus – this bitch is electronic!! What’s more, in addition to measuring LH, it measures oestrogen. The oestrogen hormone also rises prior to ovulation, usually a day or two before LH surges. Therefore, the CBFM can detect more subtle changes in your fertility than OPKs. The device reads tests sticks (yes more peeing involved) and will produce either a "Low" (both LH and oestrogen are low), "High," (oestrogen is increasing, LH is increasing but not yet surging), or "Peak" (LH is surging and oestrogen is high) result. It’s best to ask your husband for a deposit of the good stuff on high and peak days.

                                        To use the monitor just switch it on every morning (unlike OPKs the CBFM wants your first wee of the day), wait for it to request a test stick, wizz on a stick, then insert the stick into the monitor. After a few seconds it will tell you whether or not your husband will be getting lucky tonight.

                                        As well as saving you from the hassle of having to read your sticks (taxing I know), the CBFM also has a "memory" and "learns" your cycles so you don’t have to write anything down. Also, it will count the days and tell you which days to test; It will warn you when your period is due; It will tell you when you should take a pregnancy test; It will make your dinner. (That last one is just a guess but based on prior performance it’s pretty much a cert).

                                        The monitor itself is a bit pricey. I purchased mine for £100. Then the test sticks come in at £20 per pack. But no one said having a baby was cheap. You may as well get used to buying unnecessary gadgets now because you’ll find yourself buying them in abundance when you’re up the duff.

                                        Value for Money: 5/10.
                                        Accuracy: 8/10.
                                        Fun Factor: 9/10.
                                        Involves peeing on something: Yes.

                                        Sunday, 4 September 2011

                                        Friday, 2 September 2011

                                        183 Signs That You're Pregnant

                                        After the success of "You Know You're Trying to Conceive When..." Here is the next instalment in nature's saga.

                                        You Know You're Pregnant When...
                                        1. You can smell the neighbours’ five houses down the street cooking Sunday roast.
                                        2. Every commercial on TV either makes you sad or hungry.
                                        3. You wear out the carpet in the path to the bathroom.
                                        4. Your vocabulary is lessened by at least 1,000 words.
                                        5. You hold your boobs in the shower because the streams of water feel like you're getting them pierced.
                                        6. You give up booze, coffee, pills, basically anything you saw on “Absolutely Fabulous,” for nine whole months. And let’s face it: booze is what got you preggers in the first place!
                                        7. Aunt Flow stops visiting.
                                        8. You learn Braxton-Hicks isn’t a law firm.
                                        9. You know exactly where all the restrooms are at the local shopping centre.
                                        10. You have the appetite of a truck driver.
                                        11. You used to laugh at your granny for having a wardrobe full of clothes with elasticated waistbands. Who’s laughing now?
                                        12. You have the continence of a granny.
                                        13. You make a “don’t forget” list but then forget where you put the list.
                                        14. You can burp louder than your husband.
                                        15. Tena Lady suddenly becomes appealing.
                                        16. You feel like you are going through menopause as you get a huge hot flash and turn on the A/C just to turn around and start shivering because you are cold.
                                        17. You step on public transport and everyone avoids eye contact.
                                        18. Your belly arrives before you do.
                                        19. Your toes and fingers look like sausages.
                                        20. You develop man feet.
                                        21. You need a running start to get out off the sofa.
                                        22. You can't see your feet let alone the shoes you need to tie.
                                        23. You can't see anything else down south either, you just have to trust that it is still there.
                                        24. You feel like Sigourney Weaver from "The Alien" when your belly moves on its own.
                                        25. You didn't realize somebody else's hiccups could be so entertaining/annoying/painful.
                                        26. You can't wait to start getting "the bump", then when you get it you can't wait to get back your pre-pregnant tummy.
                                        27. You suddenly realize that for every good smell in the world there are about ten horrible ones.
                                        28. You spend hours getting ready for a super fancy night, then crop all the resulting photos off mid-belly.
                                        29. You spend hours wondering why there is no hot water only to realise you have been running the cold water tap.
                                        30. You visit the health centre more often than you visit your mum.
                                        31. You excitedly tell everyone you just pooped cause you've been constipated for days.
                                        32. You consider sleeping on the toilet because you spend most of your night there.
                                        33. You yell at your husband because he ordered chips and jumbo sausage when you wanted chips and cod and he asks you then why did you say that you wanted jumbo sausage in the car? and you respond with that was 10 minutes ago, not now!
                                        34. You look all over the house for your car keys and they are in your hand.
                                        35. People ask how old you are, and you respond with X amount of weeks.
                                        36. You move like a 90 year old penguin.
                                        37. You don't have to pee until you are in bed and comfortable.
                                        38. Dry cold toast becomes your favourite meal.
                                        39. You're starving to death, to death, to freakin DEATH, and spend an hour and a half driving around and going through the grocery store and wind up with one pack of lunchables because the thought of EVERYTHING makes you sick to your stomach.
                                        40. Sleeping on your back makes you feel guilty.
                                        41. Leaning forward on the toilet at the end of a pee gets extra pee out.
                                        42. You make a cup of tea and then find out when you go to drink it that you really should've boiled the kettle first.
                                        43. Your sheets and pyjamas are stained with the coconut oil.
                                        44. Your "innie" becomes an "outie".
                                        45. You go to Wetherspoons for a baked potato and when they tell you that they just ran out, you cry erratically while your friends look scared and say they are just going to go wait out in the car.
                                        46. You eat an entire family bag of Doritos.... for breakfast.
                                        47. You lie in bed for a catnap at noon and wake up at 8 p.m. Oops! You missed dinner with your Aunt Betty.
                                        48. You find yourself reading online reviews of breastfeeding pillows at 3am.
                                        49. Summer is your enemy.
                                        50. You cry at McDonald's commercials because it's really emotional that you can't have an egg mcmuffin RIGHT THIS SECOND.
                                        51. Your Facebook page is littered with pregnancy applications describing your baby’s development and showing what size they would be if they were a fruit.
                                        52. Making scrapbooks and memory boxes suddenly feels like a good idea.
                                        53. Ebay doesn’t know what hit it.
                                        54. You cry at well just about anything; a happy couple, a good deed, someone being kicked off The Apprentice.
                                        55. Cankles. ’nuff said.
                                        56. Your bath towel no longer covers your belly - you’re scared you will have to resort to using the shower curtain.
                                        57. When you wake up at 3am for your first round of breakfast.
                                        58. You try to unlock the front door by pressing the unlock button on your car keys then shout at your husband because it’s not working.
                                        59. You whine because you’re so nauseous, but when you’re not sick you freak out.
                                        60. You change your underwear several times a day.
                                        61. You know the exact location of your uterus in relation to your belly button.
                                        62. You no longer own a bathroom scale.
                                        63. You have to take prenatal vitamins aka horse pills every morning.
                                        64. Missionary position is about as erotic as ‘cake farts’ (don’t google that).
                                        65. You suddenly find yourself fixating on sushi, espresso, margaritas, deli meat, and unpasteurized cheese.
                                        66. Of course you are going to breastfeed till your baby is at least 2; they will be weaned on only organic produce at exactly 6 months old and no they won’t be ever having a dummy.
                                        67. You start sleeping in on Saturdays like a teenager, knowing this will be the last time, until your kids are grown, this will ever happen.
                                        68. You begin to panic, realizing you've read tons of books and research on pregnancy, labour, and delivery, but absolutely none on parenting the child after it comes out of your womb.
                                        69. You start yelling at your dog/cat for stuff you used to think was cute.
                                        70. You forget to remove your shoes before your jeans, and then you forget to take your bra off before getting in the bath.
                                        71. You swear your house won’t be one of those that looks like a Gymboree exploded in it. Then you find a baby swing, complete with an obnoxious fish mobile and a moving, light-up, singing, flashing, glowing aquarium, and you fall in love with it. It now has prime position in your living room, detracting every bit of attention away from your understated, shabby chic decor.
                                        72. Pushing a poo out is terrifying.
                                        73. You’re tired. all the time and yet remarkably sleepless.
                                        74. Your life is no longer about living through each day, but counting down days to milestones / appointments. i.e....12 days till my scan.
                                        75. Your boyfriend runs off.
                                        76. You start getting ‘bump envy’ at women more pregnant than you (the only time you will ever envy another woman for being bigger).
                                        77. Did I mention tired?
                                        78. You notice your husband has put on about as much weight as you- and you envy him because you know it will take him no time to lose it.
                                        79. The word "baaaaaabe" spoken to your beloved has them roll their eyes and brace themself for whatever obscure request you are about to make, usually about food and usually just after he has gotten himself comfortably settled on the sofa.
                                        80. You’re too scared to do anything 'just in case it hurts the baby' and you use this as an excuse to try and get out of doing the housework.
                                        81. An important thought is interrupted by whatever food or drink sounds good at the moment, at every imaginable time of day - such as scrambled eggs.
                                        82. You are thinking about scrambled eggs now.
                                        83. Your farts scare even the dog.
                                        84. When you can't walk down the stairs without holding your boobs to stop the pain. Not a good look at work.
                                        85. You drop something on the floor and stare at it like “do I really need that?”
                                        86. You make your husband listen to your rumbling stomach as proof that even though you just ate 15 minutes are now hungry...and that justifies eating his food..cause it ain't your fault he's a slow eater.
                                        87. You are constantly finding crumbs in your boobs aka crumb catchers.
                                        88. Your once PERFECTLY poreless forehead looks like a Klingon has just erupted a new planet on it.
                                        89. You dry heave so violently that a loud fart escapes at the same time.
                                        90. You step into your "luke warm" bath with your shoes still on.
                                        91. You see a baby in person or on the TV and you can barely control your emotions and want to bust out crying because the thought of an actual baby is just so precious right now.
                                        92. You can't do the dishes without ending up with a giant wet spot on your stomach.
                                        93. You roll over and greet your husband good morning but 5 seconds later are diving for the toilet because his morning breath makes you puke.
                                        94. You break into a sweat walking to the post box.
                                        95. You find crumbs on your belly (how did they end up there when you have boob catchers).
                                        96. Your vagina feels like it is going to fall off every time you are on your feet for more than five minutes.
                                        97. You’d rather take the chance of someone nearby possibly hearing what could be a loud fart instead of having to deal with any gas pains.
                                        98. You are so excited for your new baby to get here that it’s all you can think about, but you get annoyed when someone asks you about it.
                                        99. You plan your next meal before you’ve finished eating the current one.
                                        100. Your day is RUINED when you order something at a restaurant and it isn't that good.
                                        101. You use foot spray under your ta-tas because they get so sweaty.
                                        102. You pee thinking you are done, and then you need to poo and a ton more pee comes out.
                                        103. You buy your first pair of Bridget Jones knickers and enjoy wearing them.
                                        104. Your areola are the size of saucers.
                                        105. The eye of hurricane Irene is outside your house but you still keep the windows open because you’re boiling hot.
                                        106. Friends and family have gotten used to knowing where “that” smell came from.
                                        107. You have to use the disabled toilet for logistical reasons.
                                        108. Your nightmares are so vivid that you are exhausted by the time you wake up.
                                        109. You have a mountain of pillows in the bed and your husband has a slither of mattress to sleep on.
                                        110. You know that he won't argue about the above if he values his life.
                                        111. You don't even wait for the stranger to finish their question: “When are you...”
                                        112. Your idea of a good night sleep is only getting up three times to pee.
                                        113. Picking your nose in the morning (I know you do it) results in blood loss.
                                        114. The highlight of your day is taking of your bra.
                                        115. You remember just how disgusting a cold really is because you aren’t allowed to use proper painkillers and decongestants to drug it into submission.
                                        116. You start taking Gaviscon before food as well as after.
                                        117. Your pelvic floor does a runner.
                                        118. The first thing you look for when you walk into a room is something to throw up in just in case.
                                        119. The only moaning sounds you make are no longer from vigorous sex but from getting off the sofa.
                                        120. In the middle of serious conversations you grin insanely like The Riddler because you can feel your baby moving.
                                        121. The only clothes that fit u are your husband’s.
                                        122. You eat two breakfasts each morning. The first when you wake up. The second after the first has ended up down the toilet.
                                        123. You are in a mood with someone all day because of something they said/did in the dream you had the night before.
                                        124. You look at Clarks shoes and find yourself thinking how comfy they must be, even though your granny has better taste.
                                        125. The image of smothering your poor husband with a pillow because he is snoring like a freight train is enticing. Then you turn into a weepy mess when after 45 minutes on the couch he doesn't realize you have left the bed.
                                        126. If you stand up too quickly your vision resembles a kaleidoscope.
                                        127. You actually panic if you start losing weight.
                                        128. You stare at mums and their babies, but only because you want to check out the pram.
                                        129. In the middle of the night one of your hands feels like it no longer belongs to you.
                                        130. Brushing your teeth is a deadly experiment.
                                        131. You get to practice breathing for labour by giving birth out your arse to whatever you ate a couple nights before.
                                        132. EVERY single pocket of EVERY item of clothing contains food debris.
                                        133. You have more chins than a Chinese telephone directory.
                                        134. You see the word desert and think of desserts!!! Yum.
                                        135. You've got tickets for Take That and all you can think is “I hope there's enough toilets”.
                                        136. A really bad day at work ends up with sobbing at Eastenders instead of a stiff drink.
                                        137. You look forward to going food shopping and linger in the freezer section because you’re so hot.
                                        138. Everyone turns and looks at you when the Commodore's song “Brick House” comes on the radio.
                                        139. You contemplate wearing adult nappies to bed because, frankly, you're sick of getting up four times every night to pee.
                                        140. You pray before, while, and after you eat.
                                        141. Finally the excuse “Not tonight honey, I have a headache” is legit.
                                        142. Your face looks as swollen as your arse feels.
                                        143. You casually leave a link to some porn on your husband’s laptop in the hope he won’t want to harass you tonight.
                                        144. Not eating and eating both make you nauseous.
                                        145. You beg your husband for a Stannah stair lift.
                                        146. Your flatulence could be considered biological warfare. Your husband is terrified to turn over in bed lest he disturb the covers.
                                        147. You’re sitting on the bed putting on your body butter and your husband asks you politely to move and your reply is to throw the body butter on the floor shouting “FINE I WON'T FUCKING PUT CREAM ON I'LL JUST GET STRETCH MARKS THEN!”
                                        148. You find inventive ways to pick something up dropped on the floor, including using salad tongs and tape on the bottom of your shoe.
                                        149. You turn down plans with your friends/ family as it will coincide with your afternoon nap.
                                        150. The closest your husband gets to your vagina is to shave it so it won't scare the midwife.
                                        151. Wiping is an event.
                                        152. Sneezing feels like being punched in the uterus.
                                        153. Coughing feels like being punched in the uterus.
                                        154. Having an orgasm feels like being punched in the uterus.
                                        155. You keep POAS because you don’t believe the first 10 tests you took, or the ultrasounds or the blood test.
                                        156. No one looks at your face anymore.
                                        157. You want sex all the time. You want to eat all the time and would be happy to eat a sandwich whilst having sex.
                                        158. You cruise every single baby development website just in case they have different info from the previous.
                                        159. You tear up watching a Johnson’s baby shampoo commercial. No more tears, my arse!
                                        160. You’re the permanent ‘designated driver’ on nights out.
                                        161. It takes at least 4 manoeuvres to roll over in bed...and 6 to get out of it.
                                        162. You are willing to read a 300 page book with nothing in it but baby names.
                                        163. You have to change your pants if you sneeze.
                                        164. Complete strangers approach you to ask when you’re due and proceed to tell you all about their awful birthing experience.
                                        165. You realize that there is NO SUCH THING as pregnancy glow - You may look like your glowing but really - that’s sweat, grease, nausea or gas.
                                        166. Puking becomes such a normal occurrence you don't even get embarrassed about doing it in public. In Morrisons: “Babe where's my plastic bag? Thanks. Bleechdhdjdkdjr...!!!”
                                        167. You find your toddler’s pretend food and put it away in the real fridge.
                                        168. You get into a nesting/cleaning fit and start noticing all of the weird things that you never clean (like the door bell chime).
                                        169. You don’t care how you look when you go somewhere cause dammit I'm dressed and that’s all you’re getting from me at this point.
                                        170. Your breasts have more veins than Madonna’s arms.
                                        171. You find yourself admiring your bump in shop windows, mirrors, cars, anything with a reflection.
                                        172. You know the meaning of fun new words like fundus.
                                        173. All your PJs are faded in colour from the amount of use.
                                        174. You start snoring before you're completely asleep.
                                        175. Croc flip flops become more fashionable by the day.
                                        176. All your shoes have shrunk.
                                        177. You wish death upon the clearly non-priority people sitting in priority seats on public transport.
                                        178. You throw your trash in the sink and your plate in the trash.
                                        179. You have a semi-erotic dream about Daniel Craig where he’s topless and you’re having a beach picnic and you’re more interested in his lunch than his lunchbox.
                                        180. The handicapped lady at work (on crutches) speeds ahead to get the door for you.
                                        181. You have to take a “breather” half-way up a flight of 7 steps.
                                        182. Your lady-garden resembles an extra from Night of the Triffids.
                                        183. You do the world’s biggest burp and smile cause it didn't contain sick.

                                        Big thank you to all the forum preggos without whom this list would be a third of its size.