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Exercise and Pregnancy

5 Myths About Exercise and Pregnancy

When you’re pregnant, especially for the first time, you naturally start to worry about the health of yourself and your growing baby. So when it comes to exercising during pregnancy, you may wonder, is it safe? When should you start? How much is too much? Unfortunately, the internet is flooded with contradictory and misleading information. The good news is that exercise and pregnancy are perfectly safe and even beneficial! 

Myths About Exercise During Pregnancy

Because the fitness industry is so crowded, it is understandable why there are so many myths revolving around women, exercise, pregnancy, and weight loss. Here at Raleigh OB/GYN, we want to ensure you are provided with reliable information regarding your pregnancy journey. We’re here to bust 5 myths about exercise and pregnancy:

Myth #1: Lifting Weights During Pregnancy Is Dangerous

Lifting weights has been shown to increase your overall health while decreasing your risk for a heart attack, stroke, and osteoporosis. In fact, studies have found that lifting weights may reduce your risk for a heart attack by 40 to 70 percent. The benefits of lifting weights don’t reverse when you fall pregnant. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology lists resistance exercises, which includes lifting weights, as safe during pregnancy. Light to moderate weight lifting three to four times a week has great benefits such as strengthening your muscles, protecting your core and lower back, and building or maintaining endurance. 

Myth #2: Only Low-Impact, Gentle Workouts Are OK

As long as your doctor clears it and your pregnancy is not high risk, by no means does exercise during pregnancy have to be limited to walking or gentle yoga. Running, indoor cycling, interval training, cross-training, and similar activities are all encouraged. And between those types of exercise, low-impact and gentle workouts are great for keeping your body moving too! Keep in mind that pregnant women are not encouraged to participate in contact sports such as kickboxing, karate, soccer, or softball.

Myth #3: If I Didn’t Workout Before Pregnancy, I Shouldn’t Start Now

You can run a half marathon or practice gentle yoga– there is never a “right” way to move your body. Even if you were sedentary before falling pregnant, working out during pregnancy is almost always recommended. The only reason it is not recommended is if your doctor does not clear it or if there is a possibility of a high-risk pregnancy. Studies show many benefits, as exercise reduces: 

 

  • The risk of excessive weight gain
  • Preterm birth
  • Low birth weight
  • Risk of C-section and developing diabetes
  • High blood pressure during pregnancy.

 

Additionally, physical activity may help ease the aches and pains of pregnancy and even reduce the risk of postpartum depression. Remember that because every woman and pregnancy is different, it is essential to listen to your body during exercise and not push it too far past its limits. 

Myth #4: It’s Not Safe To Do Abdominal Workouts

A strong core helps with everyday activities, from tying your shoes to walking upstairs. Abdominal muscles promote a healthy back, good posture, balance, and stability. These reasons alone may be enough to get you doing sit-ups. Whattoexpect.com suggests strengthening your abs when you’re expecting supports your pelvic organs as your baby bump gets bigger. Some pregnancy-safe abdominal exercises include:

 

  • Forearm planks and side planks
  • Bird-dogs
  • Glue bridge
  • Squat with rotation 
  • Knee lift
  • Cat-cows
  • Incline mountain climbers

 

With clearance from your doctor, adding abdominal exercises into your workout routine has many benefits and can even be done from the comfort of your own home!

Myth #5: By Working Out Too Much, I Will Pull Nutrients From My Baby

Although it may make sense on paper, working out will not pull nutrients from your baby. In fact, according to WebMD, if your body is going to draw nutrients from somewhere, it will be your own nutrient store and not the babies. To ensure you and your baby are getting adequate nourishment, try eating small, frequent, and nutritious meals. This will also help you keep your blood sugar levels balanced which is essential for optimum health and functionality, pregnant or not!

Do you have more questions about exercise and pregnancy? Our team of physicians, nurses, and medical staff are committed to answering all your questions regarding your unique pregnancy journey. For more information, give us a call at 919-876-8225 or request an appointment.

vaginal dryness

5 Reasons You’re Experiencing Vaginal Dryness

Many stereotypes surrounding intercourse have clouded the general population’s understanding of normal performing bodies and healthy sex functions. Vaginal dryness is more common than one may think, rarely harmful, and can be treated in several different ways.   

Common Reasons For Vaginal Dryness

Just because you can’t get wet before or during sex does not necessarily mean you aren’t turned on. The list of reasons that have nothing to do with lack of arousal goes on and on. Here at Raleigh OB/GYN, our goal is to separate fact from fiction and give proper education on why your body reacts the way it does in certain situations. Read below to learn 5 reasons you may be experiencing vaginal dryness.  

Medical Conditions

One main reason you may be experiencing vaginal dryness is due to underlying medical conditions. Diabetes which can result in high blood sugars can cause damage to the blood vessels in your vagina, leading to a lack of lubrication. Chemotherapy, a cancer treatment, may cause a loss of estrogen production in your ovaries, contributing to vaginal dryness. 

 

Yeast infections are a medical infection that can interfere with your ability to get wet, as they disrupt the balance of flora in the vagina. Other symptoms that often accompany yeast infections include itching and irritation in the vagina and vulva, a burning sensation, or a vaginal rash. Other medical conditions that can lead to vaginal dryness include thyroid disorders, immune system disorders, and even STDs.

Unhealthy Lifestyle Habits

Engaging in unhealthy lifestyle habits has a track record of contributing to several underlying illnesses or problems, vaginal dryness included. Nicotine and smoking cigarettes are directly linked to increased difficulty in getting wet. According to Women’s Health Mag, vaginal lubrication results from increased blood flow to the vagina. Smoking causes a decrease in circulation of blood flow, making it challenging to become lubricated. Douching and water-based lube also may contribute to you being drier than usual.

Stress And Mental Health

Anxiety, stress, and depression are demons of their own but can also host several side effects. It is easy to become distracted during stressful times, making it challenging to be fully present, especially in the bedroom. Hopkins Medicine suggests a primary symptom of anxiety and depression is a decrease in your libido or natural sex drive. A common way to try and combat low libido and depression includes therapy, such as cognitive behavior therapy.    

Menopause Or Perimenopause

Although not something many women look forward to, menopause is inevitable and often comes with some whacky and unpleasant side effects. The Mayo Clinic suggests that during menopause, your vaginal tissues become thinner and easily irritated, resulting from the natural decline in your body’s estrogen levels. Similarly, perimenopause is the time around menopause when your body begins to make the natural transition to menopause. Both menopause and perimenopause can decrease your natural vaginal lubrication. 

Certain Medications

Although some medications are necessary for our overall well-being, certain ones can mess with bodily functions. A few medications known to hinder your ability to get wet include antihistamines, Accutane, and antidepressants. Anti-depressants, specifically, can directly impact your sex drive through a decrease of estrogen. Additionally, birth control pills can affect lubrication in a way similar to antidepressants, as a low-dose birth control pill can decrease levels of estrogen in the body.

There are many reasons you may be experiencing vaginal dryness, both psychological and physiological. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to go about treatments and resolving the underlying issue at hand. If you have any concerns with vaginal lubrication or any other questions regarding sexual intercourse, give Raleigh OB/GYN a call at 919-876-8225 or request an appointment.

Pregnancy Symptoms

Pregnancy Symptoms You Haven’t Heard Of

Pregnancy symptoms are not one-fits-all. In fact, pregnancy symptoms hardly will ever look the same from woman to woman. Some women begin to experience pregnancy symptoms as early as 2-3 weeks, while others may experience little to no symptoms throughout their pregnancy. Either way, there are a host of pregnancy symptoms that, although bizarre, are totally normal.

Unexpected Pregnancy Symptoms 

Although every pregnancy is a unique and memorable journey, some pregnancy symptoms are more frequent than others. Some of the most common early pregnancy symptoms, according to the American Pregnancy Association, include:

 

  • Nausea with or without vomiting
  • Missed period
  • Tender and swollen breasts
  • Increased urination
  • Fatigue

 

As conventional as these symptoms seem, as your pregnancy continues, the hormonal changes in your body may lead to unusual pregnancy symptoms beyond the first signs and symptoms. Here at Raleigh OB/GYN, we want to ensure you are prepared for anything pregnancy might throw your way.

Nosebleeds

Though alarming, nosebleeds are relatively common during pregnancy. When pregnant, your blood volume increases to support the growing baby, and the pressure from the extra blood may sometimes cause vessels to rupture. These ruptures often happen in the nasal cavity because the nose has tiny blood vessels that can irritate and dry out from normal breathing. 

Dysgeusia

Dysgeusia, or distortion in taste, is caused in pregnant women due to hormone changes. Many women describe having a metallic taste in their mouth or complete aversions to the foods they liked pre-pregnancy. Even though there isn’t a specific way to avoid dysgeusia, some tricks to try include:

 

  • Eat what you can, and don’t feel bad about avoiding certain foods  
  • Drink citrus juices like lemonade to combat the metallic taste
  • Stay consistent in brushing your teeth
  • Try rinsing your mouth with a mild salt or baking soda solution
  • Considering switching your prenatal vitamin 

 

It is important to remember that dysgeusia doesn’t last forever and usually subsides by the second trimester. You’ll be back to eating your favorite foods in no time!   

Increased Heart Rate

Around the 8-10 week mark of pregnancy, your heart may begin to pump faster and harder. This is usually no cause for concern, as having heart palpitations and arrhythmias are frequent side effects of pregnancy. When pregnant, your blood volume increases significantly, and your heart must work harder to pump the blood throughout your body. Healthline suggests your blood flow will increase between 30 and 50 percent during pregnancy. 

 

If you experience palpitations accompanied by chest pain, trouble breathing, dizziness, or confusion, seek medical help immediately. 

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a condition of the hand and fingers caused by the compression of a major nerve that often causes pain, tingling, numbness, or burning through the carpal bones, wrist, and flexor tendons of the hand. When pregnant, your hormones trigger fluid retention, which causes swelling. This swelling can push against the carpal tunnel’s median nerve, which increases pressure in the carpal tunnel and may lead to pain in the wrist and hand. Approximately 31% to 62% of pregnant patients experience carpal tunnel syndrome. Typically, CTS starts during the third trimester of pregnancy and will subside after your baby is born.

Sore And Bleeding Gums

As other symptoms, sore and bleeding gums, often referred to as pregnancy gingivitis, occur due to hormonal changes in the body and result from plaque build-up on the teeth. The best way to combat sore and bleeding gums is to practice good oral hygiene. Some other remedies include:

 

  • Use an anti-gingivitis toothpaste or mouthwash
  • Floss at least once a day
  • Fully remove plaque when brushing your teeth

 

If pregnancy gingivitis becomes painful and unmanageable, it is always recommended to consult your dentist or hygienist.

 

Becoming pregnant is followed by an array of different symptoms, some of which are more common than others. Raleigh OB/GYN is dedicated to helping you understand every step of your unique pregnancy journey. If you have been struggling with pregnancy symptoms, set up an appointment to talk to your doctor. You can schedule an appointment through our website or give us a call at (919) 876-8225.

Understanding The Fertility Journey

Understanding The Fertility Journey

The body works in magical yet mysterious ways. The phases of the fertility journey can often be confusing, from understanding the timing and length of your menstrual cycle to what changes can happen during the different stages of your cycle. Learning the ins and outs of the fertility journey is an important first step in your adventure to motherhood.  

The Fertility Journey

Falling pregnant is easy for some, but it can be a long and distressing process for many. It can be difficult to feel hopeful amid fertility challenges, but fortunately, there are many things that you can do on your side to improve your chances of getting pregnant. Here at Raleigh OB/GYN,  we can help aid you through your fertility journey. 

 

Infertility And Reproductive Health

According to the American Pregnancy Association, fertility is the natural capability to conceive. On the other hand, infertility prevents the conception of children due to a condition of the reproductive system. Infertility affects roughly 10-15% of couples throughout the United States. It is also essential to note that several factors contribute to conception and pregnancy success. Some of these factors include

 

  • The production of healthy sperm by the man and healthy eggs by the women
  • Ovulation: The ovary releases an egg
  • Fertilization: Sperm meets the egg
  • Implantation: The fertilized egg attaches to the lining of the uterus

 

When implantation occurs, pregnancy officially begins. If one of these factors is impaired or compromised, infertility can result. 

Timing Is Key

Each month, your body prepares for pregnancy. Women are born with about 1 million eggs, yet only release 300 to 400 during ovulation throughout the span of their lifetime. When trying to get pregnant, timing intercourse is crucial for improving the likelihood of millions of sperm meeting one single egg. According to PubMed research, a study of 625 women found conception only occurred when intercourse took place during a six-day period that ended on the estimated day of ovulation. In other words, knowing when you are ovulating can help you plan to have intercourse when you are most likely to conceive.

Infertility Treatments

With ever-advancing technology, infertility continues to be successfully treated in a multitude of women. Two of the most common fertility treatments are Intrauterine Inseminations (IUI) and In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). IUI is when healthy sperm is inserted directly into a woman’s uterus during ovulation, while IVF is when eggs are taken from a woman’s ovaries, fertilized by sperm, and then transferred into a woman’s uterus. The national average for women younger than 35 able to become pregnant by in-vitro fertilization (IVF) on the first try is 55%, yet drops as the women ages. The success rate of IUI is lower at around 10-20% each cycle, but your chances increase the more cycles you go through.   

Additional Options

Aside from IVF and IUI, there are other great options for women struggling with infertility. Common fertility medications include:

 

  • Clomifene – Encourages ovulation in women who do not ovulate regularly
  • Tamoxifen – An alternative to Clomifene if you have irregular ovulation
  • Metformin – For women who struggle with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
  • Gonadotropins – Can help stimulate ovulation in women and improve fertility in men

 

Additionally, there are several surgical procedures that women can undergo to help with infertility, such as fallopian tube surgery, laparoscopic surgery, and surgery to correct an epididymal blockage. 

Here at Raleigh OB/GYN, we’re all about helping you understand everything about your fertility journey and how having a healthy cycle impacts your overall well-being. If you have been struggling with your fertility journey, set up an appointment to talk to your doctor. You can schedule an appointment through our website or give us a call at (919) 876-8225.

Pregnant this Summer? Here are 8 Ways to Beat the Heat

Pregnant this Summer? Here are 8 Ways to Beat the Heat

Summertime is officially here, and while this season brings tons of fun in the sun for many, it can create some discomfort for those who are pregnant this summer. Taking care of yourself while pregnant can be a challenge in and of itself, but powerful UV rays and hot temperatures can create an even higher risk of health issues, like dehydration, heatstroke, and more. To help keep you comfortable and safe while pregnant this summer, we’re sharing our top tips to help you beat the heat. 

Sip on something cold 

While alcoholic beverages are out of the question this summer, it doesn’t mean you have to miss out on all of the fun drinks of summer. Get crafty with some summer mocktails, enjoy some freshly squeezed lemonade, or cool down with a smoothie or slushie. Lowering your internal temperature is a great way to find relief on sweltering days. Even finding time to enjoy a popsicle can provide a quick moment of reprieve.

Relax in the pool

Spending time in the pool is a staple activity that you don’t have to miss out on just because you’re pregnant this summer. In fact, you may find that pool time is even more relaxing, as being weightless in the water helps take pressure off of your feet and lower back. 

Don’t forget the sunscreen

While time spent at the pool is a great way to beat the heat when you’re pregnant this summer, be sure not to skip the SPF! In many women, pregnancy increases sun sensitivity, making pregnant women more susceptible to sunburns and sunspots. While spending time and tanning outdoors is generally considered safe during pregnancy, it’s essential that you take the proper sun care precautions.

Wear lightweight clothing

Summertime is the perfect season to wear loose-fitting, breathable clothes like flowing dresses, skirts, and tops. Not only do these styles align with the summer trends, but they’re also readily available in the maternity section. 

Hydrate 

Increased water consumption is recommended for just about everyone during the hot summer months, and this includes pregnant women. Staying hydrated helps regulate your body temperature, keep your systems functioning properly and flush out any toxins. During pregnancy, drinking enough water helps ​​form amniotic fluid, produce extra blood, build new tissue, and carry nutrients to your growing baby. Stay cool and healthy by prioritizing your hydration.

Rest 

The sun can drain you of your energy, and if you’re pregnant this summer, you have probably already noticed a decrease in your normal energy levels. Take time to rest this summer, especially during the hottest parts of the day. Elevating your feet can help reduce swelling and restore some of your energy. 

Enjoy the fresh fruits and vegetables

Eating well is essential to a healthy pregnancy, and one of the best parts of the summer season is the abundance of fruits and vegetables. Create a refreshing salad with seasonal produce, enjoy a newly harvested watermelon, or create a juicy (and hydrating) fruit salad and indulge in all of the summer flavors.

Plan your physical activities 

Getting regular exercise throughout your pregnancy is recommended, but hot summertime temperatures can have an impact on your routine. Take advantage of the longer days by waking up early and getting some exercise in the morning while the temperatures are still mild. Staying physically active can have numerous benefits, including better sleep and improved mood.

Contact Raleigh OB/GYN Centre

At Raleigh OB/GYN Centre, we offer a full range of obstetrical care from preconception to delivery. We have offered state-of-the-art care for mothers, daughters, and now granddaughters since 1974 and have since grown to three locations to best serve our patients in Raleigh, North Carolina. For more information about how to stay cool while pregnant this summer or to schedule an appointment with our team of dedicated providers, call 919-875-8225.

Menopause Management: Hot Weather Edition

Menopause Management: Hot Weather Edition

June is the month where spring gives way to summer, and with the longer days come warmer temperatures and stronger UV rays. While many look forward to the summer season, for women experiencing menopause, the heat and humidity can trigger or worsen hot flashes and can complicate existing menopause management techniques. Over 80% of middle-aged women experience hot flashes, making it a common and disruptive symptom, especially in the summertime. To help keep you cool this summer, we’re sharing some hot heather menopause management tips.

 

Dress for the weather

Finding the proper summer clothing can be challenging, especially when you’re concerned with hot flashes. Between limiting exposure to harmful UV rays, staying cool, and avoiding hot flash triggers, figuring out what to wear can be more time-consuming than you’d think. We recommend avoiding all restrictive clothing and opting for loose, flowing styles instead. Selecting a breathable fabric like cotton and linen can also serve as menopause management and hot flash prevention.

 

Choose the right sunscreen

We all know that sunscreen is essential to maintaining healthy, youthful skin, but when it comes to menopause, selecting the right sunscreen is key to menopause management. Ensure your SPF is breathable and contains active ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium oxide. Heavy sunscreens can cause overheating, sweating, and hot flashes. Avoid any SPF products containing synthetic estrogens like oxybenzone and avobenzone that may disrupt your hormonal balance.

 

Avoid your hot flash triggers

There’s no doubt that hot temperatures through a wrench in your menopause management plan, but you can help keep hot flashes at bay by avoiding other factors that you have control over. This includes steering clear of other well-known hot flash triggers like smoking, alcohol, wearing tight clothing, caffeine, and spicy foods. For more personalized menopause management techniques, take note of your environment and surroundings when you feel a hot flash coming on so you can have a better understanding of your personal triggers. It’s also important to remember that when you feel a hot flash coming on, focusing on your breath and inhaling and exhaling slowly and evenly can help reduce the effects of the hot flash. Research has shown that practicing controlled breathing can help reduce the severity of hot flashes by up to 44%.

 

Schedule your plans with the weather in mind

Staying indoors during the hottest parts of the day can help make for a more comfortable summer. Enjoying the outdoors in the mornings and evenings allows you to keep cool and minimize your risk of hot flashes. On particularly hot days, schedule your social plans and activities at a cafe, movie theater, mall, or somewhere there’s sure to be air conditioning. Take time to cool down at the end of the day by taking a cool shower. Keeping your shades drawn and using dehumidifiers in your bedroom can also help keep your house cool which can help you avoid or minimize nighttime hot flashes.

 

Stay active

While working up a sweat may seem counterintuitive, getting regular exercise can actually help counteract the effects of menopause. Staying physically active helps women maintain a healthy body weight, which is key to menopause management.

 

Don’t forget to hydrate

Drinking water is essential in the summertime, but it becomes even more vital when you’re experiencing menopause. Not only can staying hydrated help prevent the onset of a hot flash but drinking ice water during a hot flash can help cool down your internal temperature and cool yourself down. 

 

Visit Raleigh OB/GYN

Regular visits to our office can help you monitor your health and learn about how you can manage your symptoms and lead a happy, healthy life before, during, and after menopause. Contact us today to schedule an appointment and learn more about menopause management and care.

A woman surrounded by many different birth control methods to represent a guide to birth control

A Quick Guide to Birth Control for Women

At Raleigh OB/GYN Centre, we believe that patient education is an invaluable tool, and this education includes providing information about the various birth control options available. It can be overwhelming when selecting a contraceptive option, so we wanted to give you a quick guide to birth control that summarizes some of the most popular methods. Schedule an appointment with your provider for more detailed information about a specific form of birth control or to discuss if the contraceptive is right for you. Whether you’re just getting started, interested in a change, or just looking for some more information, here is our comprehensive guide to birth control.

Consider Your Lifestyle

When selecting a birth control method, you should choose a contraceptive that will align with your lifestyle, not the other way around. The main elements to consider when choosing a contraceptive are safety, effectiveness, and availability. In our guide to birth control, we will list out the different options available to you, as well as the administration methods, the general effectiveness, and other important factors that would help you decide which option could work for you. Depending on your individual circumstances, your doctor can provide more information about side effects, contraindications, and other considerations to help inform your decision.

The Pill

The birth control pill is arguably the most well-known form of birth control. Also referred to as an oral contraceptive, the birth control pill contains the hormones estrogen and progestin and is taken at the same time daily for three weeks. The birth control pack’s final week includes sugar pills that do not contain hormones, which allows the body to menstruate.

Patch

The birth control patch is another form of hormonal birth control prescribed by a doctor. This skin patch is worn on the lower abdomen, buttocks, or upper body but should not be placed on the breasts. The patch releases hormones progestin and estrogen into the bloodstream. The patch is changed weekly for three weeks, and then during the fourth week, it is removed to allow for menstruation.

Ring

The hormonal vaginal ring is placed inside of the vagina, is worn for three weeks, and then removed during the fourth week to have a period. The ring works by releasing estrogen and progestin into the body to prevent pregnancy. Birth control pills, patches, and the ring are all about 91% effective in preventing pregnancy.

Shot

The birth control shot is an injection administered in a doctor’s office every three months. The recipient can choose to have the progestin injection in either their arm or buttocks. The shot is about 96% effective in preventing pregnancy.

IUD 

An intrauterine device (IUD) is a small “t” shaped device placed inside the uterus by a doctor. The hormonal version releases a small amount of progestin each day to keep you from getting pregnant. A non-hormonal copper IUD is similar to a hormonal IUD, minus the progestin. IUDs have gained popularity over the year because of their effectiveness (99%) and convenience.  

Implant

With similar effectiveness as IUDs, the birth control implant is a small, thin rod inserted under the skin of a woman’s upper arm. It prevents pregnancy by slowly releasing progestin into the body over the course of three years.

Your Guide to Birth Control at Raleigh OB/GYN Centre

At Raleigh OB/GYN Centre, you have many options for preventing pregnancy, and we are here to support you with a full range of contraceptive options. In addition to prescriptions for birth control, we also offer long-acting contraceptives, including birth control implants and removal, IUD insertion and removal, birth control shots, and sterilization procedures. If you’re still unsure of where to start, consult with one of our providers. We can consider your individual needs and lifestyle and streamline your options into which contraceptive may be the best fit for you. We provide consultations for complex contraceptive care for patients with medical conditions that make contraception a challenge.

About Raleigh OB/GYN Centre

Raleigh OB/GYN has over 45 years of experience serving the women in our communities. We commit to your care in each stage of life. No matter if you are looking for a general guide to birth control or would like to begin or change your contraceptive, we are here to help. Schedule an appointment through our website or give us a call at (919) 876-8225.

a woman sleeping soundly in bed to represent tips for better sleep

5 Tips for Better Sleep

There’s no doubt that sleep is one of the main foundations of health and wellness, which is why if you’ve been tossing and turning, it’s time to pay attention to some tips for better sleep. Our mood, energy levels, immunity, and overall health depends on regular, high-quality sleep. Not getting enough sleep puts us at risk for disorders and diseases like obesity, heart disease, strokes, and dementia. If you’ve been struggling with waking up in the night, insomnia, or other sleep-altering factors, consider some of our tips for better sleep.

The Importance of Sleep

As we previously mentioned, a poor or inconsistent sleep schedule can lead to various health, mental, and physical health implications. The recommended 7-9 hours of sleep allows your body to heal, repair, and rebalance itself. Our growth, development, and ability to fight off illnesses all depend on a regular, quality sleep schedule. Sleep is also fundamental in other stages of life, such as pregnancy. Getting adequate sleep while pregnant helps keep you and your baby healthy, leading to easier labor and delivery. A lack of sleep during pregnancy has been associated with several complications, including preeclampsia. Pregnant or not, here are some of our top tips for better sleep.

Tips for Better Sleep

Stick to a schedule

There’s a scientific reason behind the “sleep schedule” feature on your smartphone. Going to bed and waking up around the same time each day helps to reinforce your body’s sleep-wake cycle. As you’re getting used to a sleep schedule, allow your body time to readjust. If you don’t fall asleep within 20 minutes of going to bed, leave your room and do something that relaxes you, and only go back to bed when you’re tired. This will help soothe any anxiety or frustration that you feel lying in bed restlessly.

Create a relaxing environment

Bright lights, loud noises, and other distractions can take their toll on a restful night’s sleep. Optimum sleeping environments are typically quiet, dark, and cool in temperature. Earplugs, eye masks, and fans are all easy additions to help create a more relaxing environment.

Create a nighttime routine

Establishing a routine that helps relax you and prepare you for bed is a great way to improve your sleep. Drinking a cup of nighttime tea, reading a book, listening to calming music, and journaling are just some of the ways you can wind down from the day. Much of our day is spent focused on a screen, so it’s recommended you do your best to unplug as part of your nighttime routine. 

Engage in daily physical activity

In most cases, your sleep is impacted by what you do during the day. Physical activity, especially outdoor physical activity, can help increase circulation and tire the body, making for an easier time falling asleep. Try to ensure that you’re not working out too close to bedtime, as this may give you a boost of energy that will make it more difficult to fall asleep.

Know when to contact your doctor

If you’ve tried all of these tips for better sleep and are still having trouble, it might be time to seek advice from your doctor. A healthcare professional can help you identify any underlying cause and help you with more specific treatment methods, from medications to more individualized lifestyle changes.

About Raleigh OB/GYN Centre

Raleigh OB/GYN has over 45 years of experience serving the women in our communities. We are here for you in every stage of life. If you have been struggling with getting enough sleep, especially during pregnancy, set up an appointment to talk to your doctor. You can schedule an appointment through our website or give us a call at (919) 876-8225. 

cancer screenings

A Woman’s Guide to Cancer Screenings

Cancer is a health condition that impacts almost everyone in some way or another during their lifetime. For women, certain forms of cancer are more common. It can be challenging to understand each one. A general guide to cancer screenings is an excellent resource for staying on top of your health. 

A Guide To Cancer Screenings 

At Raleigh OB/GYN, we understand that it may seem overwhelming to consider each of these cancer screenings at once. However, the best way to stay healthy is to be aware of your health, especially when age can play a role in the possibility. 

A vital factor to consider when considering cancer screenings is family health history. If someone in your family has experience with cancer, this can lead to you considering screening earlier than someone who does not have that same genetic connection. This is essential information to share with your doctor. 

Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer women face. According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, breast cancer screening means checking a woman’s breasts for cancer before there are any signs of the disease. While screening does not prevent breast cancer, it does provide earlier detection that can make treatment more accessible. 

The primary screening test for breast cancer is a mammogram. A mammogram is an X-ray of the breast. This test is the most effective way of finding breast cancer early. Women are typically advised to begin getting annual mammograms at 40 to 44 years old. However, if there is a history of breast cancer in the family, it will be advised to start earlier. 

Cervical Cancer

Cervical cancer is commonly caused by a mutation of HPV (human papillomavirus). HPV is a sexually transmitted infection. While there are vaccines against HPV to consider as a defense against cervical cancer, screenings are also a consideration. 

A pap smear is the most common way to screen for cervical cancer. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, once you reach the age of 21, you should begin to have a pap test every three years unless you experience an abnormality during a test. This is the best way to detect cervical cancer early. 

Ovarian Cancer

Ovarian cancer typically affects women later in life, although it is not impossible to have it at a younger age. There are no standard screening tests for ovarian cancer. However, if you began to have symptoms commonly associated with ovarian cancer, the medical professional would go to blood tests or even an ultrasound to determine if you have ovarian cancer. 

Colorectal Cancer

While colorectal cancer can be just as common as other cancers women can face, it has a very straightforward screening process – a colonoscopy. An individual’s health factors can determine the frequency of receiving a colonoscopy. Once a patient turns 50, it is advised to receive one every ten years. However, if past health concerns impact the matter, a patient may be advised to receive them more frequently.   

Uterine Cancer

Uterine cancer is another form of cancer that does not have direct screening techniques. A common misconception is that pap smears to test for uterine cancer, but they do not. This means that it is even more important to pay attention to possible symptoms and warning signs that you may encounter. If you notice these, your doctor may perform an endometrial biopsy or a transvaginal ultrasound. If the symptoms persist, the doctor may recommend a more specialized doctor or run more tests. 

About Raleigh OB/GYN Centre

Raleigh OB/GYN has over 45 years of experience serving the women in our communities. We commit to your care in each stage of life. If you are looking to schedule cancer screenings for your gynecological needs, we are here to help. Schedule an appointment through our website or give us a call at (919) 876-8225. 

permanent birth control

Is Permanent Birth Control Right for You?

From pills to implants and everything in between, there are a wide variety of birth control options available. However, most methods are temporary – meaning you can start or discontinue use at any time.

Permanent birth control may be the better solution for women who know they do not want to have children or are confident they are finished having children. It eliminates the need to remember to take a pill each day or the periodic maintenance of an implant or IUD.

Types of Permanent Birth Control

To help determine if permanent birth control is right for you, it is important to know what your options are. There are currently two methods of permanent birth control available.

1. Tubal Ligation
Commonly referred to as “having your tubes tied,” tubal ligation is a procedure for women that is performed at a hospital or outpatient surgical clinic. Using a small telescope (called a laparoscope) through one or two small incisions, the fallopian tubes are cut, sealed, banded, clamped, or tied shut. The tubes can also be removed in their entirety. This prevents eggs from traveling from the ovaries to the uterus so you can’t get pregnant. The procedure is performed under anesthesia, but you are able to go home a few hours later.

2. Vasectomy
A vasectomy is a term for the male sterilization procedure. Your male partner can have this procedure done at a physician’s office with the use of a local anesthetic. The procedure prevents the sperm from being able to leave the testes and ever enter a woman’s body.

Is permanent birth control 100% effective?

Each of these methods is nearly 100 percent effective when it comes to preventing pregnancy. However, there is a waiting period that follows when you will want to use a secondary method of birth control. The amount of time depends on the type of procedure.

It is important to understand that while all types of permanent birth control work to prevent pregnancy, they do not protect against the spread of sexually transmitted infections.

You shouldn’t pursue permanent birth control unless you are sure you and your partner do not want to get pregnant in the future. While in some instances the procedures may be successfully reversed, they should largely be considered irreversible.

How to choose which type is right for you

In the U.S., tubal ligations outnumber vasectomies three to one – with roughly 600,000 tubal ligations and 200,000 vasectomies performed each year. Determining if permanent birth control is right for you should be discussed with your partner, as well as a healthcare professional. Based on your circumstances, your physician can help you decide which method is most suitable.

Raleigh OB/GYN Centre has three convenient locations in Raleigh and Wakefield, North Carolina. With nearly 45 years of experience serving women in their community, the healthcare team at Raleigh OB/GYN is committed to providing quality care for every stage of a woman’s life. To discuss your birth control options with one of our six dedicated and experienced providers, call (919) 876-8225 to schedule an appointment today.