Hot Question: Should I Find Out My Baby’s Sex or Not?

should-i-find-out-my-babys-sexDuring pregnancy, it’s very common for soon to be mother & father to ask at some point: should we decide to find out our baby’s sex or wait until the baby is delivered (in order to be surprised)? In fact, it’s the second most common question asked in the pregnancy world. The first being, “when is your baby due?”

For one, it’s a very subjective question that both parties should sit down and discuss together what the pros and cons will be.

Some Advice for You on Waiting or Not

To help you decide on whether or not you should wait, let me offer you some advice on what to expect.

Most often, soon to be mothers will develop a bond with their child while the child is inside the womb and developing. Mothers generally form a bond that begins once the sex is determined. If you already have children, then knowing the sex gives you a topic of discussion to the siblings on how their new sister or brother will be welcomed into the family soon. Each small kick and movement becomes much more special when the sex is determined. Finding out that you’re having a boy or girl helps you begin forming a bond with your child before they are even born.

Mothers who choose not to know the sex often will not experience this bond. However, for first time pregnancies it may not make any difference.

Is It Worth the Wait?

Again, whether you decide to wait or not – the decision is entirely up to you. Most parents find the entire pregnancy 9-month process exciting whether they choose to wait or not. Once the baby is born, of course both parents will say it was “worth the wait”, however you may have slight regret by not finding out sooner, which tends to be the case in those who have had multiple pregnancies.

Those who decide to wait often find it very tough not giving in at any moment to determine the sex, however it makes it seem that much more special when the baby is finally delivered. Also, those who decide on waiting often have a lot of conversation with friends and family on the outcome of the sex. Some families will even place bets or have games as a result of waiting.

Final Note

Whether you wait or not, pregnancy is exciting either way and your decision will not be something you go back in time and wish you had done otherwise. Either choice will result in a lot of happiness for both sides and well, if you decide to wait for your first pregnancy, then you could choose not to wait on your 2nd pregnancy (if you decide on having a sibling for your child) and get the best of both worlds. And by the 3rd child, you’ll know exactly what you’ll want to do.

Dr. Torbati is a obstetrician in Tarzana, serving nearby areas including Encino, Woodland Hills, Van Nuys, and more with pregnancy and obstetrics for women. For more information, please visit our website or call us @ (818) 344-0300.

Can You Visit the Dentist While Pregnant?

dentist while pregnantAs a result of the excitement and anticipation when preparing for a new baby, families and new parents tend to forget about their dental health. For a short period of time, their focus is exclusively on the moment such as decorating a nursery or making special arrangements for the big day. Although those are all important moments, remember to take extra time to take care of yourself also, especially your teeth. It is important to be thoroughly informed of all the possible changes in your body as well as your teeth while pregnant so there’s nothing that could potentially harm the baby.

What To Expect When Expecting

Keep in mind that just like the rest of your body, your mouth also changes. Therefore as a result of all the hormonal changes that come with pregnancy, many women run the risk of developing “pregnancy gingivitis.”

Your gums become swollen, red and tender, many times even bleed – Although this is something that’s uncomfortable especially while expecting, the good news is that with professional cleanings, along with careful attention to your regular brushing and flossing, can help keep pregnancy gingivitis under control.

Aside From “Pregnancy Gingivitis” What Else is Expected?

Along with the discomforts of pregnancy gingivitis, becoming pregnant also introduces your body to morning sickness. Which can affect your teeth as well, due to the vomiting and exposing your teeth to stomach acid. Stomach acid tends to dissolve tooth enamel – once your tooth enamel is damaged it is difficult in fact almost impossible to get it back.

You can’t fully control morning sickness and this isn’t something to stress about. After experiencing morning sickness, and once you’re feeling well enough to rinse your mouth with water and baking soda, do so. By rinsing your mouth with a water and baking soda solution, you will help neutralize the acid before you can brush your teeth. By doing this routine not only will you be protecting your teeth but this will help you feel better.

Can Bad Oral Health Impact the Baby?

You may be surprised how much impact your oral health has on your overall health. Which means that any issues that may arise with your oral health, your baby might be affected. Some studies have lined gum disease to pre-term and low birth weight babies.

Is it Safe To Visit A Dentist While Pregnant?

Yes of course, with all the hormonal changes happening when pregnant, remember that it could potentially affect your oral health. As mentioned above your gums are more likely to bleed and there is a greater chance for inflammation and infection. So try to make a regular and thorough teeth cleaning part of your daily routine.

For more information regarding your visits to the dentist while pregnant, contact us today!

Increased Risk of Metabolic Diseases in Infertile Men

infertility risksA study presented at a conference held in Munich, Germany has revealed the possibility that almost 1/3rd of men who suffer from infertility problems are at an increased risk of developing metabolic diseases as they age.

Infertility is a Common Issue

Before we even get to the study background & results, it’s important to understand that roughly fifteen percent of all couples will experience infertility. Infertility is the inability to become impregnated, which can be the result of a combination if different factors, however in most infertile couples around half of these cases are due to male infertility. Studies have already shown that men with poor semen quality experience a shorter life expectancy.

Study Background

In the study, a group of 192 men with a low sperm count were compared with 199 men with age-matched controls. Variables such as sex hormone levels, bone mineral density, and HbA1c (which is a biomarker for diabetes) were factored in to the comparison.

The study found that in men under 50 with fertility issues, sex hormone levels (i.e. low testosterone) were really low and this was 7 times as common as amongst the men in control groups. The study also noted that in these men with low sex hormone levels, low bone density levels were found, as well as elevated glucose levels and insulin resistance leaving these men susceptible to metabolic diseases such as diabetes and osteoporosis.

Here’s what the study leader had to say in reference to the findings:

“We found that a significant proportion of men from infertile couples show biochemical signs of hypogonadism. This may be affecting their fertility, but they can also serve as early warning signs for metabolic diseases in later life, such as osteoporosis or diabetes. We would recommend that levels of reproductive hormones should be checked in all men seeking advice for fertility problems. Those at risk of serious disease should be followed after the completion of fertility treatment.”

Dr. Torbati obstetrician tarzanaDr. Torbati Addresses Infertility Issues

Dr. Torbati addresses infertility issues in Tarzana and surrounding areas. His consultations are all private and personal for a comfortable experience. You can expect to be treated with care at his office. Both partners are evaluated. Dr. Torbati is board-certified and possesses ample experience as an OB-GYN.

Recent Phenomenon: Understanding the Zika Virus

understanding zika virus symptomsThe “Zika” virus has been quite the phenomenon lately going around the world. Understanding it can help you stay in the loop and make sure you are out of harm’s way.

Exactly what is the “Zika” virus?

It is a virus that occurs from the result of mosquitoes that carry the virus. This virus has been reported to cause these symptoms:

• Fever
• Rash
• Red eyes (conjunctivitis)
• Joint pain

The symptoms being to appear roughly two weeks after exposure to the virus. However, it is estimated that 80% of those infected do not even experience any symptoms.

Pregnant women that contract this virus are at risk of having children born with a disorder known as microcephaly, as well as other Zika-induced birth defects. Pregnant women are at the most risk, but non-pregnant women may still experience the symptoms above.

Where is the virus currently?

The virus has been spreading across the globe, with a few cases occurring in the United States as a result of those traveling from outside the country. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a travel warning for pregnant women to the following places:

• South America
• Central America
• Mexico
• Caribbean
• Puerto Rico
• Pacific Islands

The list is updated often so if you are pregnant and plan on traveling soon, view this list first.

How can I prevent this virus?

The best way to prevent this virus at this time is to avoid traveling to the locations that are at risk as specified the CDC. Currently, there is no vaccine or treatment developed for the Zika virus.

Also, if you do decide to travel to an affected area, it is strongly recommended that you invest in insect repellant and follow the manufacturer’s directions.

New Report Finds Eating Light Meal During Labor is Beneficial

eating light meal during laborIt had traditionally been believed that fasting was necessary while a woman was in labor. The reason being to avoid aspiration that could lead to pneumonia. However, a new report has found that this actually may not be the case. The report, presented during the Anesthesiology 2015 annual meeting found that eating a light meal is beneficial for the labor process.

What The Researchers Found…

Researchers visited hundreds of cases on women who have had birth in a hospital. They found that the energy demands of a woman undergoing labor is similar to a marathon runner, whose body will use fat as an energy source if it cannot be found elsewhere (i.e. through adequate nutrition).

For laboring women, this phenomenon would lead to reduced uterine contractions, leading to longer, more strenuous labor and lower health scores for newborns.

Aspiration is a Very Rare Phenomenon

To re-emphasize, the main concern eating during labor was because of aspiration troubles.

Advancements in anesthesia have made the pain involved during labor a lot more manageable and safer, which reduces risks related to eating. Aside from this, the researchers also noted that aspiration is very rare citing only one case that had occurred between 2005 and 2013 of a woman suffering from obesity and pre-clampsia.

Benefits of a Light Meal During Labor

Provided you are in good health standing, which is to be determined by your doctor, a light meal during labor could provide benefits. Researchers note that light meals would “give expectant mothers more choices in their birthing experience and prevent them from being calorie deficient, helping to provide energy during labor”.

Always Follow Your Doctor’s Advice

Regardless of the findings, you should always follow the advice of your obstetrician or doctor. They will direct any laboring women as to whether a light meal would benefit them or not.

Dr. Torbati is a board-certified OB/GYN in Tarzana. He specializes in obstetrics, family planning, and other related services. He has been practicing for over 20 years, having delivered several newborns to happy Mothers. For more information, please contact our office @ (818) 575-6021.

When Does Pregnancy Brain Start?

Is “Pregnancy Brain” Real?

When does pregnancy brain startSome may argue that “Pregnancy Brain” is real and that it’s only normal to develop it during a pregnancy. Conveniently speaking, this would be a great deal for all women and moms-to-be, imagine for a moment you have an excuse to be ‘forgetful and unaware’, which honestly isn’t the case. There’s no doubt there may be many changes that happen to women’s bodies during pregnancy, but your ability to process and analyze ideas isn’t one of them.

Pregnancy Brain – Myth or Reality?

It is believed that “Pregnancy Brain” develops during pregnancy and women reach a state of incomprehensiveness. A number of women across the globe have actually bought into this idea, they genuinely believe that they are in fact expected to go through this haze during pregnancy.

Any research on the topic that tries to support this idea has been close to compromised since there’s just a lot to be discovered when it comes to pregnancies. Dr. Louanne Brizendine, a neuropsychiatrist at the University of California, San Francisco, and author of The Female Brain, informs her readers that women’s behavior is in fact affected by changes in their brain during pregnancy. But it isn’t unawareness or incomprehension but rather women become exhausted and fatigued by all the hormonal changes throughout their body.

Tips on Preventing Pregnancy Brain

In order to prevent exhibiting signs and quickly diagnosing yourself with “Pregnancy Brain” practice the following tips to help ease the stress and tiredness all of these changes in your body during pregnancy. Pregnancy tiredness is only normal during the first trimester and reappears again in the third trimester, luckily for you, there are natural ways for you to help lessen the intensity of these moments.

  • Start by food swapping cravings for anti-inflammatory yet satisfying foods.(Try more organic fruits and vegetables and less processed foods.)

  • It is highly recommended to stay hydrated during pregnancies, fluids are extremely precious at this point. Try natural fruit juices, milk, and tea (decaf only) if the idea of only water saturates your taste.

  • Commit to daily exercise and light stretching. Aerobic exercising would be a great style of exercise to practice during pregnancies, such as brisk walking outdoors will help blood flow and leave you feeling refreshed.

  • Avoid skipping opportunities to nap. Give into your need to sleep, taking 15 to 20-minute naps can help you feel rejuvenated and diminish any stress you might’ve developed during your day.

There’s going to be a lot of changes in your life and your body during this new experience. It might feel overwhelming at times, but there’s no need to doubt or question your thinking. You are designing a life within you and you need the rest and tranquility, don’t fall into the whole pregnancy brain syndrome or ‘momnesia’ and its sociopolitical theories. They’re nothing but a whisper in the wind.

Signs of Labor – How Do I Know if I’m in Labor?

how do I know when signs of labor

Just delivered a newborn!

While every woman’s experience of labor is unique, you are still likely to recognize the signs when the time comes. The only way to really know when labor started is after you’ve been through it. That said, your body starts to prepare for birth up to a month before the due date, though you may be unaware of what is going on, or notice some new changes in early labor to let you know that labor is imminent.

In the latent phase of labor (per-labor or early labor), you may experience:

1. Lightening

In your first pregnancy, you will experience a phenomenon known as “lightening” a couple of weeks before the start of labor. This is characterized by heaviness in your pelvis, accompanied by a reduction in pressure just below your rib cage, making it easier to catch your breath.

2. Intense contractions or tightening

When your Braxton Hicks contractions get more frequent and intense, it means that your cervix is ripening and you are getting ready for true labor. In some cases, you may experience a menstrual-like, cramp feeling during this period.

As true labor sets in, the Braxton Hicks contractions may become quite painful and strike more frequently, around every 10 or 20 minutes, making you think that you are due. But if they don’t get stronger, longer, and closer together, and cause your cervix to progressively dilate, then you could be experiencing false labor.

3. Persistent lower back pain and bladder control

Backache is a common sign of labor, though it does not indicate the onset of childbirth. Many women usually experience backaches throughout the third trimester because the fetus grows the most during these three months, placing a lot of pressure on your back.

You may also experience a sudden and urgent need to use the toilet during labor, because the fetus is re positioned for delivery (head facing downwards), exerting extra pressure on your bladder.

4. The “show”

This refers to the passing of your mucus plug, which is a sticky brown/red substance that has sealed the cervix (opening of the womb) for the last nine months. The “show” signifies the start of labor, or may happen just before labor starts. This mucus can come away in one or several pieces, and usually contains a small amount of blood – perfectly normal.

Finally, the most obvious sign that you are in labor is when your water breaks. The amount of water (amniotic fluid) released can vary in amount, so you should consider keeping a sanitary towel. This fluid usually resembles urine, clear and a pale straw color, and may be a little blood stained.

If the waters are colored or smelly, you should contact your midwife immediately, as this may mean that your baby needs urgent attention. Even if there is no smell, you should still contact your midwife, because your baby will be unprotected from shock and at risk of infection without the amniotic fluid.

Dr. Torbati obstetrician tarzanaDr. Torbati is an obstetrician located in Tarzana and has delivered hundreds of new babies into the hands of happy Mothers. He provides services high risk pregnancies, premature birth, C-Section patient choice, miscarriages, and other obstetrics services. Dr. Torbati has been in practice for over 20 years.

The Vital Role of Vitamin D in Pregnancy | OBGYN Explains

role of vitamin d in pregnancyVitamin D is not a “true” vitamin because it can be synthesized through the skin. It is actually a steroid hormone – group of fat-soluble pro-hormones – that encourage the absorption and metabolism of calcium and phosphorus. Vitamin D is also important for facilitating normal immune system function, as well as the normal growth and development of teeth and bones.

Requirements for vitamin D are high at certain stages of the lifecycle, especially during infancy and pregnancy. It is essential to bone health, though recent studies suggest that it contributes to human health beyond the skeletal system.

Importance of Vitamin D in Pregnancy

Pregnancy and breastfeeding are a critical time for both the mother and child; when the mother is giving her infant all the building blocks that he/she needs to build a foundation for future cardiovascular health, bone health, glucose metabolism, immune function, brain development, and the prevention of brain disorders.

So, what does vitamin D have to do with it?

The human body synthesizes vitamin D when you expose your skin to optimal sunlight, consume fatty-fish or vitamin D fortified foods, or take quality vitamin D3 supplements.

The female reproductive system consists of billions of cells, each of which contains genetic codes and a receptor for vitamin D. These cells, including the breasts, vagina, decidua, placenta, uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries are chock-full with vitamin D receptors.

When you have sufficient amounts of vitamin D in your cells, the vitamin D binds with its receptor, regulating genes in your reproductive system. For instance, vitamin D pathway genes influence in utero fetal development. On the other hand, when the female system has insufficient activated vitamin D, the genes critical to complete fetal health and smooth pregnancy are not articulated.

Importance of Vitamin D for the Mother

Pregnant women with sufficient vitamin D intake can enjoy reduced risk of pregnancy complications, such as:

  • gestational diabetes mellitus
  • pre-eclampsia
  • preterm birth
  • Caesarian section

Unfortunately, many pregnant women have insufficient vitamin D blood serum levels.

According to recent findings in a 2014 Canadian study, low maternal vitamin D is associated with increased risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes. So, vitamin D supplementation is critical to optimize maternal and neonatal vitamin D levels.

Other studies suggest that maternal vitamin D helps to decrease labor pain, while ensuring that the baby gets enough vitamin D during breastfeeding.

Importance of Vitamin D for the Baby

Vitamin D is important for fetal cell and bone development. Medical studies have revealed that some seeds for disease are sown before birth, and insufficient vitamin D during pregnancy may be one of those seeds. So, children born to mothers with vitamin D deficiency are more likely to develop certain medical conditions, including soft bones (rickets or craniotabes), cardiovascular malformation, asthma, autism, and type 1 diabetes mellitus.


The important role of vitamin D for the health of mothers and babies cannot be overstated. Besides getting vitamin D from 10 minutes of sunlight and certain foods like sardines, salmon, shrimp, egg yolk, and fortified foods, you can also get it from supplementation to reach the daily intake recommendation of 6,000 IU for pregnant and breastfeeding women (IU – international units – per day), as per the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) reports.

Pregnant and worrying about going past your due date? Dr. Torbati explains.

What Happens If I Go Past My Due Date? | Obstetrics Physician Answers

what happens when going past due dateResearchers show that only four percent (one in 25) of babies are born on their exact due date. 20 percent of babies are born at 41 weeks or later, so there are quite a few mothers concerned about going past their due date.

Is it normal to go past the expected due date?

For starters, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) define prolonged (post-term) pregnancy as a gestational period of 42 weeks or more (beyond 294 days) from the first day of the last menstrual period (LMP). The gestation period is usually adjusted during the course of your pregnancy to give a more accurate date of when delivery is expected.

The organizations suggest that close to 14 percent of pregnancies proceed beyond the 42 week mark, while 4 percent continue past 43 weeks.

In other words, it is common to go beyond your due date. Most babies arrive between week 37 and week 41 of pregnancy – which is within a week on either side of their likely due date. Most twins and triplets usually arrive before 37 weeks of pregnancy.

Risks of Prolonged Pregnancy

Pregnancies that go beyond the 42nd week have some increased risks, including the possibility of:

  • requiring forceps or vacuum to assist delivery
  • baby “breathing in” amniotic fluid matter leading to complications after birth
  • c-section
  • still birth

As more time passes, researchers show that more calcium gets deposited within the placenta – a process called calcification – that interferes with its function. This is likely what contributes to the risks of a prolonged pregnancy.

Post-term infants are also usually larger than term infants. Statistics show that between 2.5 and 10 percent of babies delivered after 42 weeks exceed 4,500 grams compared to 0.8 – 1 percent of babies delivered at 40 weeks. Larger or heavier babies have a greater risk of mechanical labor problems, such as shoulder dystocia, requiring c-section, prolonged labor, and cephaslopelvic disproportion.

When Induction is Offered

To avoid complications arising from a prolonged pregnancy, induction may be offered at 41 weeks, or between days 7 and 10 after your due date. That said, labor is only induced if the pregnancy was straightforward, and the cervix is ready.

If induction is not planned and the pregnancy continues, fetal surveillance is mandated, and may include any combination of biophysical profiles (BPP), non-stress testing (NST), or modified biophysical profiles (amniotic fluid volume).

Dr. Torbati is an obstetrician in Tarzana that specializes in all types of pregnancy options including high-risk pregnancy and pre-term delivery. For more information on pregnancy, obstetrics, or family planning, please contact our office @ (818) 575-6119 and our specialists will be happy to assist you with your questions.

Calcium Requirements for Pregnant Women

Young couple in loveMaintaining an adequate intake of calcium is important to prevent or reduce bone loss. Nutrient Reference Values (NRV) suggests that an average diet should include 3 to 5 serves of calcium rich food every day, which translates to a total daily calcium intake of between 1,000 and 1,300 mg per day. The highest daily requirements are recommended for teenagers, women over 50, and men over 70.

Pregnant women need to fulfill their own body’s calcium requirements, as well as those of their developing baby, in order to build strong teeth and bones; develop blood-clotting abilities and a normal heart rhythm; and grow a healthy heart, muscles, and nerves. If your calcium intake during pregnancy is insufficient, your baby will obtain it from your bones, which may affect your health later on.

Recommended Daily Intake of Calcium for Women

To ensure that women are consuming the appropriate amount of calcium throughout their pregnancy, the Recommended Daily Allowance for calcium is set at 1,200 mg (milligrams) per day for both pregnant and lactating women over age 24. Calcium is also important after pregnancy as it helps to prevent bone loss later on in life. The recommended daily calcium intake for women under age 24 is 1,200 – 1,500 mg.

Calcium Rich Foods Pregnancy

The best way to ensure that you are getting the recommended amount of calcium in your daily diet is by consuming a minimum of 4 servings of calcium—rich foods and dairy products a day.

calcium requirements pregnancyDairy products are the top sources of calcium:

  • milk
  • yogurt
  • cheese
  • pudding
  • cream soups

Other excellent sources of calcium:

  • canned fish
  • beans
  • dried peas
  • green vegetables (i.e. spinach, broccoli, greens)

You can also meet your daily requirements by consuming calcium-fortified foods, such as rice beverages, bread, cereal, soy, and juice, though you should first check the label to ensure that they contain calcium. Non-dairy sources are particularly ideal for lactose intolerant women.

Watch Your Intake

It is important to note that excessive consumption of calcium, over 2,500 mg per day, can lead to constipation, interfere with your body’s absorption of zinc and iron from food, and increase your risk of kidney stones. So, pregnant women should take into consideration the amount of calcium in their prenatal vitamin when tallying their daily calcium intake.