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6 Ways to Celebrate International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day (IWD) is just around the corner on March 8th. International Women’s Day is a day that’s celebrated worldwide to highlight the social, cultural, political, and economic achievements of women. It’s also a time when women come together to advocate for women’s equality and gender parity. 

How You Can Celebrate International Women’s Day

We’ve come up with just a handful of ways that you can celebrate IWD this year.

1. Connect With Women In Your Network

Even if you have to do so virtually due to COVID, you can set up a zoom lunch meeting or coffee date to connect with women in your professional or personal network. You just need to take 30 minutes to an hour of time and connect. You can talk about anything that relates to being a woman in today’s world. Leadership, professional obstacles, and opportunities, personal struggles and triumphs, or anything else you want to share with other women.

2. Start a Book Club

Understanding some of the challenges faced by women around the world is an important step in advocating for gender equality. To celebrate International Women’s Day this year, consider starting a book club with your team or folks in your community that focuses on educating on women’s issues, empowerment, and achievements. 

3. Screen a Woman-Centered Movie

Representation in film has a huge impact on how audiences learn about gender norms, the issues we focus on, and the way we perceive the world. There are some great movies out there showcasing strong women and the impact they have on the world. Or look for films that are told from a woman’s point of view by finding some that are written, produced, or directed by women.

If you have a daughter, she can get in on the celebration. Try movies like  Mulan, Madeline, Alice in Wonderland, and Akeelah and the Bee. Not only are they kid-friendly, but it gives you a great opportunity to talk with your daughter about the importance the female character played in the movie and introduce her to this internationally celebrated day

4. Support Women-Owned Businesses

Supporting businesses that are owned, operated, and controlled by a woman or women helps contribute to equal economic empowerment, representative products and services, and a more prosperous economy overall. Celebrate this International Women’s Day by deliberately seeking out and supporting local businesses that are women-owned. Share your challenge with your friends and encourage them to do the same! 

5. Be Inclusive

International Women’s Day is obviously a time to celebrate women. But that doesn’t mean that men and people who are outside of the gender binary shouldn’t be involved in the conversations. It’s essential that people of all gender identities are involved in the conversations and become equal advocates for gender parity. 

When you’re planning your International Women’s Day activities, ensure you invite and encourage your male friends or teammates to participate and champion gender equality together. And make sure your gender-diverse and non-binary friends and teammates are included and welcomed into the conversation about how we can promote equality for people of all gender identities. 

6. Celebrate the Amazing Women You Know

Sometimes, simple words of encouragement and love can go a long way in lifting someone up and inspiring them to keep going. Whether it’s your mother, grandmother, sister, daughter, girlfriend, or friend – send a text, call, or Facetime an important woman in your life to let them know how awesome they are.

Make an Appointment at Raleigh OB/GYN

Another great way to celebrate International Women’s Day this year is to prioritize women’s health by taking care of yourself. The physicians, nurses, and medical staff at Raleigh OB/GYN offer a comprehensive list of gynecological and obstetric services to the women of the Raleigh, NC area. If you have questions or concerns about your health, call our office at (919) 876-8225 to make an appointment.

Cervical Health Awareness Month logo vector illustration; blog: HPV and Cervical Cancer Facts

4 HPV and Cervical Cancer Facts

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 12,000 women in the United States get cervical cancer. The leading cause of cervical cancer is the human papilloma virus (HPV), a common type of sexually transmitted disease. That’s why Cervical Health Awareness Month each January was established. Raising awareness about HPV and cervical cancer is a crucial part of helping women educate themselves on how they can protect themselves. 

1. HPV Causes More than Cervical Cancer

HPV is a very common virus that is transmitted through sexual contact. According to the National Cervical Cancer Coalition (NCCC), there are approximately 14 million new cases of sexually transmitted HPV each year in the US. And experts estimate that at least 79 million people in the country are currently infected. 

 

Most HPV cases resolve on their own without complication. That’s because there are different strains, or types, of HPV, and not all cause serious symptoms. Some strains of HPV do create symptoms and are linked to more serious conditions. Certain types of HPV can cause genital warts. Those types are not linked to cancer, though. 

 

The types of HPV linked to cervical cancer can also cause cancer in other parts of the body. This includes:

  • Oropharyngeal cancers
    • Tonsils
    • Back of the throat
    • Tongue
  • Vulvar cancer
  • Vaginal cancer
  • Penile Cancer

2. The HPV Vaccine Can Protect You From Cancer-Causing Strains

Practicing safer sex and using latex condoms can reduce your risk of HPV transmission through sexual contact. However, the best way to protect against the HPV strains that most often cause cancer is to get the HPV vaccine. The HPV vaccine can be given to both men and women.

 

According to the CDC, the guidelines for HPV vaccination are:

  • HPV vaccination is recommended for children age 11 to 12. It can be given starting at the age of 9.  
    • At these ages, the vaccine is given in two doses. The second dose needs to be given 6 – 12 months after the first dose.
  • Teens and young adults can also get the HPV vaccine. It is recommended for everyone through the age of 26. 
  • Adults over the age of 26 can get the vaccine, but it is not recommended for everyone. If you’re over 26, ask your OB/GYN whether you are a good candidate for vaccination.

3. Certain Factors Can Increase Your Risk

Some people may have a higher risk of contracting HPV and cervical cancer. However, you should note that having a risk factor doesn’t mean you’ll get HPV. The following factors are linked to an increased risk of HPV infection:

  • Having many sexual partners
  • Sexual activity at a young age (younger than 18 years)
  • Having a partner that has HPV or is considered high-risk
  • Smoking
  • Having a weakened immune system
  • Poor diet
  • Pregnancy before age 20
  • Chlamydia infection

 

If any of these factors apply to you, make sure you follow your doctor’s recommendations for HPV and cervical cancer screening. They can also advise you on ways to lower your risk.

4. Screenings Can Save Lives

According to the American Cancer Society, cervical cancer was one of the most common causes of cancer death for American women. However, the number of cancer deaths from cervical cancer has gone down significantly in the last decades due to the increased use of the Pap test. This test is used to detect changes in cervical cells that can indicate HPV infection, pre-cancer, or invasive cancer. 

 

Pap tests and HPV tests have helped reduce the number of life-threatening cases because they detect cell changes before cancer develops or becomes invasive. Early detection means that treatment is more effective. 

 

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has details on the official guidelines for cervical cancer screening. But you should consult your physician to make sure you are following the most common guidelines for HPV and cervical cancer screening. 

Contact Raleigh OB/GYN Centre

The physicians, nurses, and medical staff at Raleigh OB/GYN offer a comprehensive list of gynecological and obstetric services to the women of the Raleigh, NC area. If you have questions about cervical health or cervical cancer screenings, call our office at (919) 876-8225 to make an appointment.

Pregnant Woman holding hands on belly close-up. Pregnancy concept; blog: Early Signs of Pregnancy

10 Early Signs of Pregnancy to Look Out For

When you’re trying to conceive, you might look for little signs and symptoms to indicate that you’re pregnant before you can take a pregnancy test. While a reliable test is the only surefire way to know you’re pregnant, these early signs of pregnancy occur within a week or so of conception.

Early Signs of Pregnancy

If you are trying to get pregnant, you can look for some of these early signs of pregnancy. However, it’s important to remember that every woman and every pregnancy is unique, so these signs aren’t a surefire way to confirm a pregnancy. If you think you’re pregnant, contact your doctor to get a reliable pregnancy test.

1. Missed Period

Not having your regular menstrual period is one of the most obvious early signs of pregnancy and the thing some women look out for to confirm they’re pregnant. However, if your periods aren’t regular, it can be hard to determine when you’ve missed a period.

2. Light Bleeding or Spotting

Light bleeding or spotting may occur about 10 to 14 days after conception. This is called implantation bleeding and it occurs when the fertilized egg attaches to the uterine lining. Not all women experience implantation bleeding while some women mistake implantation bleeding for a light menstrual period.

3. Cramping

Another early sign of pregnancy that may be confused with a menstrual period is cramping. At the beginning of a pregnancy, blood flow is increased throughout the body, including in the uterus. This may result in mild cramping.

4.Fatigue

Nurturing a developing fetus can suck the energy right out of you. Feeling fatigued is not uncommon even in the very early days of pregnancy. Your body is putting in hard work increasing your blood supply. Lower blood sugar and blood pressure are also common during the first trimester. When you add those factors to hormonal shifts associated with pregnancy, you might find yourself worn out. Luckily, many women find that they bounce back and have more energy by the second trimester.

5. Changes in Your Breasts

Another one of the telltale early signs of pregnancy is changes in how your breasts feel or look. During early pregnancy, your breasts may become sore, tender, and swollen. You might even notice a change in the way they look. Your areolas (the circles around the nipples) may get bumpy, darker, or bigger.  These changes are caused by the increase in estrogen and progesterone in your system. The discomfort is for a worthwhile cause though because these are signs your body is preparing to nurse your baby. 

6. Morning Sickness

Morning sickness is probably one of the most well-known signs of early pregnancy. It’s poorly named because it can occur at any time of day, not just in the morning. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), nausea and vomiting usually start before the 9th week of pregnancy and may occur before your missed period. For most women, morning sickness usually eases up after the 14th week of pregnancy, but others may experience it throughout the entire pregnancy.

7. New Food Preferences

Cravings during pregnancy may seem like a cliche, but many women do experience changes in food preferences even at the beginning of pregnancy. You may find yourself in the mood for foods or food combinations that you don’t typically want. You may also lose your appetite for foods that you used to enjoy.

8. Sensitivity to Smells

Along with changes in food preference, you might also find that you’re more sensitive to smell. Sometimes pregnancy can send your sense of smell into overdrive, so the smell of certain things might be really strong and unpleasant all of a sudden. 

9. Digestive Issues

If morning sickness weren’t enough to deal with, your digestive system may be upset in other ways. Some women experience heartburn or indigestion during the first trimester of pregnancy. Other digestive symptoms in the first trimester include bloating, gas, and constipation. 

10. Frequent Urination

Some people might associate frequent urination with the later stages of pregnancy as the baby starts putting pressure on the bladder. However, according to the National Institutes of Health, this can also be an early sign of pregnancy caused by increased blood flow to the pelvic area.

Contact Raleigh OB/GYN Centre

The physicians, nurses, and medical staff at Raleigh OB/GYN offer a comprehensive list of gynecological and obstetric services to the women of the Raleigh, NC area. If you have questions about confirming a pregnancy, call our office at (919) 876-8225 to make an appointment.

Pregnant woman wearing medical mask at home; blog: Pregnancy, Anxiety and the Pandemic

Pregnancy, Anxiety and the Pandemic

Everyone experiences anxiety on occasion. Nerves and worry can creep in before a big deadline, presentation at work, or any other situation. Pregnancy is no different and can create a high level of anxiety for new parents. This is to be expected—you’re about to bring a new life into the world!

But since the pandemic, rates of pregnancy and postpartum anxiety have more than doubled. A June 2020 survey showed that while 29% of pregnant women reported having anxiety prior to the pandemic, a staggering 72% reported it during the pandemic.

Let’s dig into what’s causing those nerves, what symptoms to look for, and some tips on managing anxiety while pregnant. 

Causes of Anxiety

Pregnancy symptoms vary from woman to woman and even pregnancy to pregnancy. For some, it’s morning sickness and back pain, while for others its swollen feet and acid reflux. The constant physical changes and uncertainty can be overwhelming under normal circumstances, much less during a pandemic which can limit access to one’s support system. 

Pregnancy also results in an abundance of hormonal changes that can alter your mood and ultimately make it more difficult to handle stress. Excessive or unresolved stress can increase your chances of developing chronic anxiety which can have adverse effects on maternal and fetal health. So, it’s important to know the symptoms of anxiety and what you can do if you experience them. 

Symptoms of Anxiety

It’s natural to worry during pregnancy. But if the constant worrying begins to interfere with your everyday life, that is called anxiety.

Symptoms of anxiety might include:

  • Feeling nervous, restless or tense
  • Having a sense of impending danger, panic or doom
  • Having an increased heart rate
  • Breathing rapidly (hyperventilation)
  • Sweating
  • Trembling
  • Feeling weak or tired
  • Trouble concentrating or thinking about anything other than the present worry
  • Having trouble sleeping
  • Experiencing gastrointestinal (GI) problems
  • Having difficulty controlling worry
  • Having the urge to avoid things that trigger anxiety

There are also some factors that can increase your risk of developing anxiety such as genetics, personality type, or having previously experienced or witnessed a traumatic event. 

Managing Anxiety

Mild cases of anxiety typically don’t require treatment, but you should keep your doctor informed. In severe cases, your doctor may recommend medication after weighing the risks and benefits. You should also consider:

  1. Talking about it—When your anxiety spikes, tell someone. Your partner, a friend, or therapist all can offer support. By verbalizing your concerns with others, you may be able to keep those thoughts from overtaking your life.
  2. Find release—Walking, jogging, doing yoga, working in the garden are all physical activities that help lower stress. Don’t like any of those options? Just do what you love. Being active for as little as five minutes a day can have positive benefits.
  3. Use your mind—Meditate, get a massage, or practice deep breathing exercises. These activities help your body release endorphins without breaking a sweat.
  4. Rest—Making sleep a priority can significantly help with stress and anxiety.
  5. Talk to your doctor—Frequent panic attacks or the inability to manage your anxiety should result in a phone call to a medical professional. There can be treatments available to ease the most severe symptoms.

Managing anxiety while pregnant in the midst of a pandemic isn’t easy, but is doable. What works for others may not work for you. At Raleigh OB/GYN, we are here to help every step of the way. Give us a call at (919) 876-8225 to make an appointment.

Happy Doctor Assisting Woman Undergoing Mammogram X-ray Test; blog: When Should I Get a Mammogram?

When Should I Get a Mammogram?

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so it’s an ideal time to talk about breast cancer screening. An estimated 1 in 8 women (or 12%) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. To give yourself the best possible chance of survival, early detection is critical. The most reliable method for early detection is regular screening tests including self-breast exams and mammograms. Recommendations on when and how often women need mammograms depend on factors like age and risk level. If you’ve been wondering “when should I get a mammogram?” then read on to learn the guidelines.

Breast Cancer Screening Guidelines

The following recommendations from the American Cancer Society are for women at average risk for breast cancer. Meaning, she doesn’t have a personal history of breast cancer, a strong family history of breast cancer, a genetic mutation known to increase the risk of breast cancer (such as the BRCA gene), and has not had chest radiation therapy before the age of 30. 

  • Women ages 40 to 44 have the choice to start annual breast cancer screening with mammograms if they wish to do so.
  • Women ages 45 to 54 are advised to get mammograms every year
  • Women ages 55 and older have the option of switching to a mammogram every two years or continue with yearly screenings.

It is recommended that women continue regular screenings as long as she is in good health and expected to live longer than 10 or more years.

Types of Mammograms

As researchers have continued to learn more about breast cancer, new technologies have been developed to help increase the rate of early detection. So not only should you be asking “when should I get a mammogram?” you should also ask “which type of mammogram should I get?” Your OB/GYN can help give you guidance on the type of screening that’s right for you, but often they will recommend 3D mammography. 

Traditional 2D mammograms take pictures of each breast from the front and the side to create a single image of each breast. Tomosynthesis, or 3D mammography, is an FDA-approved advanced technology that takes multiple images, or X-rays, of breast tissue to recreate a 3-dimensional picture of the breast compared to traditional mammography in which only a single image is obtained.

Multiple images of breast tissue slices allow radiologists to have a clearer image of breast masses, making the detection of breast cancer easier and more accurate. Additionally, this technology allows physicians to detect more cancers, reduces the risk of false positives, and makes it easier to see the cancer size compared to a regular mammogram.

What to Expect During a Mammogram

Women notice little difference between 3D mammography and a traditional 2D screening. The tube taking the X-ray sweeps across the breast in an arch taking about four seconds to obtain an image, just a little bit longer than a digital mammogram.

Because 3D mammography produces more images, it does take radiologists a little longer to read than a single digital mammography image, but the original procedure is much the same. 

The whole procedure takes about 20 minutes. It is far more accurate in the early detection of breast cancer than a traditional mammogram. Your breast must be flattened to obtain a high-quality picture, which can cause discomfort.

 

Preparing for Your Mammogram

Now that you’ve answered “when should I get a mammogram?” now you need to know how to prepare for the screening. The American Cancer Society suggests scheduling your mammogram when your breasts are not tender or swollen to help reduce discomfort, and in turn, get good images. It is advisable to avoid the week just before your period.

Contact Raleigh OB/GYN Centre

The physicians, nurses, and medical staff at Raleigh OB/GYN offer a comprehensive list of gynecological and obstetric services to the women of the Raleigh, NC area. If you have questions or concerns about breast cancer screening or mammography, call our office at (919) 876-8225 to make an appointment.

Woman holding menstrual cup and sanitary pad in hands. Feminine hygiene alternative product instead of tampon during her period. Menstruation, critical days, zero waste, eco, ecology concept; blog: What is Menstruation Awareness?

What is Menstruation Awareness?

Menstruation, or getting your period, is a normal and healthy part of life for most women. However, it’s still stigmatized in many places, including the US.  Some girls and women feel embarrassed or ashamed when they have to address their periods. It can even cause some people to avoid certain activities and miss out on important experiences. That’s why menstruation awareness and events like National Period Day on October 10th are so important.

Why Menstruation Awareness Matters

Menstruation awareness is something of a recent phenomenon on a national stage. While women have been working to make hygiene products accessible and erase stigmas for a long time, only recently has it been making public waves. Menstruation awareness emphasizes making hygiene products available to those who need them, but it has other facets as well.

Breaking Down Stigmas

A girl’s first period can be exciting because it is a symbol of entering womanhood. But it can also be confusing and a bit intimidating. That’s because a lot of girls are not equipped with all the right information to manage their first menstrual cycle. It’s rare that periods and feminine hygiene is openly talked about in a way that would make a girl feel at ease with this new stage in life. 

Society often treats periods and women’s health in general as if it’s something you don’t talk about in public. Menstruation awareness can help erase the stigmas around periods. That doesn’t just apply to girls who will experience menstruation firsthand. Boys need to be in on the conversation too so they know there’s nothing “gross” about a girl being on her period.

Educating Young People

Another really important issue menstruation awareness helps with is educating young people about their periods and feminine hygiene. Because of the stigmas we talked about earlier, some girls may not want to talk to their parents or guardians about their periods. If they hear the facts from reliable sources, they will not have good information to follow, the mystery surrounding periods will go away. 

Normalizing open conversations about menstruation will help girls learn about the different feminine hygiene products available to them and how to properly use them. According to Unicef, poor menstrual hygiene can pose physical health risks and has been linked to reproductive and urinary tract infections. Creating awareness and openness is one of the most effective ways to help teach girls how to properly manage their menstrual hygiene. 

Addressing Period Poverty

Another reason menstruation awareness has become an important issue is period poverty. Period poverty includes According to reporting by Forbes, 35 states in the US have a tax on menstrual products because they are considered “non-essential goods.” The increased cost of things like pads, tampons, and menstrual cups means many women can’t always afford the products they need every month. This is referred to as period poverty. 

Non-profits created and lead by young women have been a huge part of the menstruation awareness movement. Organizations like PERIOD have partnered with brands and other non-profits to form a Menstrual Movement Coalition that is working to make freely accessible period products available in places like schools and shelters.

Contact Raleigh OB/GYN Centre

The physicians, nurses, and medical staff at Raleigh OB/GYN offer a comprehensive list of gynecological and obstetric services to the women of the Raleigh, NC area. If you have questions or concerns about menstruation, call our office at (919) 876-8225 to make an appointment.

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The Top 4 PCOS Symptoms & How They’re Treated

September marks the start of PCOS Awareness Month, so we wanted to take some time to discuss the symptoms and treatments of this common syndrome. Polycystic ovarian syndrome is a hormone disorder that is common among women who are at reproductive age. The disorder can be difficult to diagnose, but there are PCOS symptoms that may help your doctor come up with a treatment plan.

While the exact causes for PCOS are unknown, there is a correlation between women with PCOS also having resistance to insulin. This resistance means that the body is unable to effectively use insulin. If the insulin levels start to build up, this may lead to higher levels of the male hormone androgen. Obesity can also contribute to increased insulin levels, ultimately worsening PCOS symptoms.

The Top 4 PCOS Symptoms

PCOS usually develops during puberty, but can also develop in response to substantial weight gain. 

Women with PCOS most commonly experience:

  • Prolonged or infrequent periods
  • Excess levels of the male hormone androgen
  • Ovaries that develop small collections of fluid, and fail to regularly release eggs

While it can be difficult to diagnose, common PCOS symptoms include:

  1. Polycystic ovaries: Women with PCOS commonly experience enlarged ovaries that contain follicles that surround the eggs. Because of this, the ovaries might fail to function properly. 
  2. Irregular periods: When the ovaries are not able to regularly release an egg, this can lead to prolonged or irregular periods. Some menstrual cycles may be longer, shorter, or lighter than others, and some cycles may be missed altogether.
  3. Infertility: The combination of malfunctioning ovaries and irregular periods make it difficult to ovulate, leading to infertility.
  4. Excess body hair, acne, and/or weight gain: Elevated levels of androgen may result in a variety of physical factors, such as excess facial and body hair, weight gain (specifically in the abdomen), and occasionally severe acne and male-pattern baldness.

If you have two or more of these symptoms, your doctor may administer certain tests to form a diagnosis. Ultrasounds can produce images of the ovaries to see if they are enlarged, or if there are any visible cysts. Blood tests check for hormone levels and can determine if there are high levels of androgen.  

Treatment Options for PCOS

PCOS symptoms can be more extreme if the woman is obese, so diet and exercise are two of the best steps to reducing PCOS symptoms. Making healthy changes can also help your body use insulin more efficiently, lower blood glucose levels, and may also aid in ovulation.

Additional treatments may include certain medications to help aid in ovulation. While these medications can help the ovaries to release eggs regularly, it’s important to note that there are certain risks, like ovarian hyperstimulation, where the ovaries release too many hormones. 

If you don’t plan to become pregnant, birth control may also serve as a treatment to PCOS by helping to control periods, lowering levels of androgen, and clearing up acne.

In some cases, medications used primarily for helping with diabetes can also help with PCOS symptoms. For example, if a woman with PCOS also has a resistance to insulin, these medications can help lower this resistance. In turn, this may lead to more regular ovulation and lower levels of androgen.

If you have any concerns with irregular periods or any other potential PCOS symptoms, give Raleigh OB/GYN a call at 919-876-8225 or request an appointment.

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11 Breastfeeding Tips For New Moms

If you have made the decision to breastfeed your baby, you might have some questions about what it’s like and how you can nurse successfully. To prepare for National Breastfeeding Month in August, we have come up with some breastfeeding tips for new moms.

1. Enlist Help

One of the first breastfeeding tips that can help new moms is to see a lactation consultant. You can research local consultants and meet them before you give birth so they can help you from the very start of your baby’s life. Some insurance plans will cover or pay for part of a lactation consultant’s services. Get your partner involved as well, because they’ll need to provide support even if they aren’t going to be nursing the baby. UNC Rex Hospital has excellent lactation consultants on staff to help you get started and address any difficulties while you are in the hospital, and many pediatricians also have lactation consultants to help after discharge.

2. Join a Lactation Support Group

Some women find it useful to find a local lactation group to join. That way you can get breastfeeding tips in person from other women going through the same process you are.

3. Start Right Away

Experts recommend starting nursing within the first hour after delivery when possible. Skin to skin contact is also recommended as soon as possible. In uncomplicated deliveries, immediate skin to skn is standard at UNC Rex Hospital. It may seem like you’re just producing a few drops, but starting early is important and the first you produce (colostrum) is great for your baby.

4. Get Comfortable & Relaxed

Find breastfeeding positions that are comfortable for you and your baby. If either one of you is tense or uncomfortable, it probably won’t be a very productive nursing session.

5. Help Your Baby Find a Good Position

One breastfeeding tip some moms have found useful is to make sure the baby’s feet touching a surface like your leg, a pillow, or the arm of a chair. This can help make them feel more secure when they’re tucked up against you.

6. Try a Nursing Stool

Many moms swear by nursing stools to help them find a comfortable position while nursing. You put the stool at your feet while you sit on a chair or the couch. The stool will allow you to stay in a comfortable position that is good for your back, neck, and shoulders. 

7. Hold Off On Bottles if You Can

If possible, hold off on feeding with a bottle until you and your baby are completely comfortable with breastfeeding. Once you’ve gotten good at nursing, you can start expressing milk with a pump and feeding with a bottle. Many people find that they can introduce the bottle at 4-6 weeks.

8. Make Sure You’re Eating Right (And Enough!)

Unlike during pregnancy, what you eat and drink doesn’t pass directly to your baby when you breastfeed. However, the things you consume can still affect the baby. Plus, you need to maintain good nutrition for yourself so you can continue to produce nutritious breast milk and have enough good stuff left to fuel your own body. And make sure you’re always well hydrated.

9. Research a Good Pump

If you plan to pump, do some research before you commit to one. Most insurance plans will cover the cost of a breast pump, and we’ll take care of starting the ordering process during your pregnancy. If you plan to buy one yourself, check reviews and ask your friends for recommendations. You don’t want to invest in something that doesn’t work for you.

10. Find Ways to Soothe Soreness

As you continue to nurse, you and your baby will both get more comfortable with it. However, along the way, you might still have some soreness or chapped skin on your nipples. There are many products available to soreness and keep nipples moisturized. Some moms like ointments and creams with lanolin but there are vegan options as well. Cooling pads or compresses can also help with discomfort.

11. Be Kind to Yourself

You might have heard that breastfeeding is the most natural thing in the world. But the truth is that everyone needs a bit of time to adjust to it. And it’s difficult for some people even after they spend time working at it. Just do the best you can for you and your baby and don’t beat yourself up if you feel like you’re struggling. And know you can always reach out for help.

The physicians, nurses, and medical staff at Raleigh OB/GYN offer a comprehensive list of gynecological and obstetric services to the women of the Raleigh, NC area. If you have questions about pregnancy and breastfeeding, call our office at (919) 876-8225 to make an appointment.

Beautiful young brunette woman at doctor's office; blog: 5 Reasons Your Annual Women’s Wellness Exam Is Important

5 Reasons Your Annual Women’s Wellness Exam Is Important

Though it’s probably not your favorite thing to do, your annual women’s wellness exam is one of the most important things you can do for your long-term health. Even though in most cases an annual pap smear is no longer required, that doesn’t mean you should skip out on your annual wellness exam altogether. Here’s why:

1. You Need to Build a Relationship With Your Physician

In order for your gynecologist to be an effective partner in your care, you need to build a relationship. Over time, you and your physician will get to know each other. In doing so, they’ll have a better understanding of your medical history and can help you navigate through various life experiences.

2. Annual Appointments Establish Health Trends

Part of your annual women’s wellness exam will include ensuring systems in your body are functioning correctly. Checking your baseline vitals like heart rate and blood pressure will establish trends that can help your physician spot and address irregularities in a timely manner.

3. Screenings May Lead To Early Detection

Even if you aren’t due for a pap smear, other screenings including a pelvic exam, breast exam, or sexually transmitted disease screening are equally important. These exams can help your physician identify problems before they start. Early detection can mean the difference between catching a serious problem while it can still be managed or having to undergo treatment when it’s already advanced.

4. Annual Women’s Wellness Exams Are Preventative Care

New studies, equipment, medication and healthcare guidelines come out often. Making sure you get your annual women’s wellness exam will ensure you stay up-to-date on all preventative treatments available to you like the best birth control method for your individual needs or the HPV vaccine.

5. You’ll Get Necessary Supplemental Care

You may think that because you already had your annual physical with your primary care physician that you don’t need to see your gynecologist every year. However, the two actually work together to give you a more comprehensive picture of your overall health. While there may be some overlap like a blood pressure check, your gynecologist will screen for things your primary care physician won’t and vice versa.

Raleigh OB/GYN Centre COVID-19 Update 

At Raleigh OB/GYN Centre, the health and safety of our patients, as well as our staff, remain our top priorities during the COVID-19 outbreak. We are no longer restricting types of appointments, so we are currently scheduling annual women’s wellness exams again. However, we are seeing a limited number of patients in the office per day in an effort to maintain social distancing.

We are taking other steps to protect our patients and staff as well. Only patients and staff are permitted in the office to limit interaction and potential virus exposure. Therefore, you should attend your appointment alone. We are minimizing the amount of time that patients spend waiting in public spaces. Of course, we are also following CDC guidelines on cleaning, disinfecting, handwashing, and facial coverings.

If you are due for an annual exam, you can contact your provider at Raleigh OB/GYN Centre about delaying your appointment if you need to. Patients can also schedule telehealth appointments for certain issues if they do not feel comfortable coming into the office. However, annual exams do require a physical exam, so you will need to come in at some point for that part of the wellness exam. 

To schedule an appointment or talk to a member of our staff about your healthcare options, contact Raleigh OB/GYN Centre at 919-876-8225.

Pregnant woman with allergy sitting on bed at home; blog: ways to avoid getting sgick while pregnant

9 Ways to Avoid Getting Sick While Pregnant

It’s always worrying when there’s a contagious illness going around. It can be even more worrying if you’re in a high-risk group or are pregnant. Some viruses are more dangerous to pregnant women and their babies than to the general population. The good news is that there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of getting sick while pregnant.

1. Practice Good Hygiene

The first step to take to avoid getting sick while pregnant is to make sure you’re washing your hands frequently. You have to wash them thoroughly and for at least 20 seconds. For information on the proper way t practice good hand hygiene, check the CDC’s guide on hand washing

Other things to do include disinfecting commonly touched surfaces like counters, doorknobs, electronics, and light switches. Launder clothing, sheets, and towels frequently. Some doctors also recommend showering daily when there are contagious illnesses spreading.

2. Get Vaccinated

Vaccination is important at all stages of life, and there are some vaccines you should get during pregnancy. Pregnant women should get flu and Tdap vaccines. Consult this March of Dimes vaccination chart to find out what other immunizations you should get before, during, and after pregnancy.

3. Eat Well

The best defense against getting sick while pregnant is to be proactive about your overall health. When you’re pregnant, what you eat is important in keeping both you and your baby healthy. Eat whole foods including lean protein, healthy fats, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Make sure you follow any guidelines and restrictions your OB/GYN or other healthcare provider gives you.

4. Get Enough Sleep

Sleep is a critical part of your overall health. And as we’ve already said, being healthy in the first place is the best defense against getting sick (whether you’re pregnant or not). Lack of sleep can negatively affect your mental and physical health and weaken your immune system. When you’re sleep-deprived, your body secretes extra stress hormones.

5. Take Your Vitamins & Supplements

A healthy diet is the best way to get all the necessary nutrients you need to stay healthy. However, sometimes you need more of certain nutrients than you can get from foods. You should also take your prenatal vitamins and any other supplements your doctor recommends. 

6. Try Not to Stress

Being stressed can make you feel run down and may even make you more likely to get sick. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), there is evidence that people under stress have weaker immune systems. Find ways to relax and take your mind off things. Meditation, yoga, reading, or listening to calming music can help you unwind.

7. Stay Active

Again, the best way to avoid catching an illness is to be the healthiest version of yourself. Along with following a healthy diet and getting plenty of sleep, you should stay active. Not only will this help with your overall health, but there is evidence that it can help your immune system. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, exercise causes your white blood cells (WBCs) to circulate more rapidly, which may help fight illness sooner. Exercise also slows the release of stress hormones.

8. Avoid Sick People

If you know someone who is sick, avoid contact with them. This can be difficult if you already have children and one of them or your partner is sick and you have to care for them. If you can’t avoid it, take your hygiene routine up a notch. Wash your hands after contact with the sick person, disinfect surfaces more frequently, and follow all the tips above for self-care to keep yourself healthy.

9. Follow Public Health Guidelines

When there are widespread or highly contagious illnesses in an area, look for warnings and guidelines from public health organizations like the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), National Institutes of Health (NIH), or the World Health Organization (WHO). These may include stay-at-home orders, travel restrictions, and recommendations on hygiene or protective clothing. Make sure you follow any recommendations and guidelines and stay home to avoid contact with others if needed.

The physicians, nurses, and medical staff at Raleigh OB/GYN offer a comprehensive list of gynecological and obstetric services to the women of the Raleigh, NC area. If you have questions or concerns about how to avoid getting sick while pregnant, call our office at (919) 876-8225 to make an appointment.

*If you do think you’ve caught a contagious illness, it’s important to contact your healthcare provider immediately. Make sure all providers know about your pregnancy before they treat you.