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What Age Should My Daughter See a Gynecologist?

What Age Should My Daughter See a Gynecologist?

Most parents are well-versed in preventative healthcare for their children. They follow the recommended schedule for well visits and immunization and schedule the sports physical so their child can play soccer. They know when it’s time for dental cleanings, and inevitably when it’s time to consult an orthodontist. But, when it comes to raising girls, parents may not realize a first gynecologist visit should be scheduled between ages 13 and 15.

What to Expect

Most girls will not need a pelvic exam during the first visit. Many gynecologists will just do a regular health exam and talk to your daughter about her development. A regular health exam typically includes:

  • Basic checks for vitals such as weight, heart rate and blood pressure
  • Breast exam to detect lumps, cysts or breast problems
  • External exam
  • Pelvic (internal) exam, if needed
  • STD testing, if sexually active

The provider will ask questions that can help determine which tests to run and what issues to discuss, such as:

  • When was your last period?
  • Are you having any problems with your period, such as pain or heavy bleeding?
  • Have you noticed any unusual vaginal discharge or sores, itchiness or discomfort in the vaginal area?
  • Are you, or have you ever been, sexually active?
  • If so, are you using birth control or protection for sexually transmitted diseases?
  • Do you think you could be pregnant?

These question may your daughter feel uncomfortable, but before the appointment discuss the importance of answering truthfully.

How to Prepare

Before your daughter’s first well-woman exam with a gynecologist, there are a few things you can do to help prepare and make her feel more comfortable.

For starters, before her first appointment, you may consider bringing her with you to one of your exams. This will help alleviate any nerves by letting her see firsthand what a well-woman visit entails.

If either of you doesn’t feel comfortable attending one of your appointments together, have a conversation about what to expect and why the doctor is doing it.

Here you can introduce to her gynecologist and prepare her for the first examination.  Also mostly the first examination is just a simple regular health check and talk about the developments.  Apart from that, if any case your daughter is sexually active, she should take her exams with the gynecologist. Even she is not; still, she needs to know about how to keep her healthy and protected.

Contact Raleigh OB/GYN Centre

The team at Raleigh OB/GYN includes six board-certified physicians–both male and female should you or your daughter have a preference for which she sees. Our practice believes that routine gynecological care is key to living a happy, healthy life. For this reason, we begin seeing patients in their adolescence and continue this relationship throughout their lifetime. To schedule an appointment for your daughter’s first gynecological exam, call (919) 876-8225.

 

hospital bag packing list

Labor & Delivery Hospital Bag Packing List

Preparing for the arrival of your baby is exciting, but it can also be overwhelming–especially if you are a first-time mom. Once you’re around 34 weeks pregnant, you should start preparing for your delivery date. Even if you have a scheduled C-section or induction date, there is still the possibility you could go into labor naturally before then. So, it’s a good idea to be as prepared as possible well in advanced.

Once you’ve set up the crib or bassinet and installed the car seat, go ahead and start packing your hospital bag for labor and delivery. We suggest designating an area, like the nursery or a spare bedroom, to gather all your items before you pack them.

Here is a helpful labor and delivery hospital bag packing list that you can check off as you go:

  • Personal documents & ID: At a minimum, you will need your health insurance card and a government-issued photo ID. Of course, these are items traditionally kept in your wallet and purse so they won’t actually get “packed.” It’s also a good idea to carry a printed copy of any hospital paperwork you have already filled out such as a pre-registration form. If you anticipate being away from the local area where you plan to deliver, request a copy of your medical records from your physician’s office to keep with you.
  • Birth Plan: If you’ve chosen to write a birth plan, bring a few copies with you to the hospital. You care team will include several doctors and nurses, so this can be a helpful reference to ensure everyone is on the same page about your labor and delivery preferences.
  • Phone Charger: Aside from using it to update your loved ones, your phone can help you pass the time while you labor. You may want to play music, scroll through social media or use helpful apps like a contraction timer or for guided meditation. You may opt to bring a traditional camera, but you’re bound to take some snaps with your phone as well. All of this can drain your battery quickly, so don’t forget to pack a charger. You might consider purchasing a charging cord with extended length since there’s no way to predict where power outlets will be in the labor or recovery rooms.
  • Toiletries: Deodorant, body wash, shampoo, facial cleansing wipes, toothpaste, and a toothbrush are necessities. Don’t forget the lip balm and moisturizer – hospitals are dry, and pregnancy has likely already taken a toll on your skin! If you aren’t keen on the idea of using the hospital’s, you may also want to pack your own towel from home. Those who wear glasses or contacts should back those in their hospital bag as well.
  • Hair Care and Cosmetic Products: Stick to the bare minimum on this category. A ponytail holder can help keep your hair out of your face during labor, and brush and dry shampoo will come in handy for those first photos with your new baby. If a swipe of mascara or pat of blush make you feel better, by all means, pack them. Though you’re not likely to need or use your entire makeup bag.
  • Flip-Flops for the shower. No explanation, necessary.
  • Slippers or Dark-Colored Socks: Whether you’re in bed or need to walk on the cold tile floor, socks can keep your feet warm and clean. These can get dirty, so pack a dark-colored pair or ones you don’t mind throwing away. Slippers or a pair of shoes you can easily slide on can be helpful when getting in and out of bed or walking the halls of the labor and delivery wing.
  • Sleepwear, Robe, and Underwear: A lightweight nightgown will be much more comfortable than a hospital gown, and a robe will come in handy for walking the hallways or when visitors stop by. if you don’t want to wear the mesh underwear the hospital gives you after delivery, pack a few pairs of underwear like briefs, maternity, or disposables (ex. Depends). As with the socks, these should be items you would not be upset if they got ruined.
  • Nursing Bra: Don’t forget to pack a nursing tank top or bra. If you buy them at the end of your pregnancy, most women are about the same size postpartum. They are obviously designed to help make it easier to nurse, but are also more comfortable to sleep in. If you need to use a pump, the hospital will provide one to use during your stay along with any parts or bottles that you need to go along with it.
  • Homecoming Outfit for Baby: The hospital will provide everything that your baby needs during your stay. Unless you have your heart set on a specific style, don’t worry about packing any swaddles or blankets. You won’t need multiple outfits for each day, but be sure to pack an outfit for going home. Newborn gowns make for easy diaper changes, but if you opt for a kimono-style shirt and footed pants you don’t have to worry about packing socks. This style top wraps around the baby and fastens with snaps so you don’t have to put it over their head. Most also have built-in cuffs to keep tiny fingernails from scratching, so you can skip the mittens too.
  • Homecoming Outfit for You: You’ll most likely still look around 5 months pregnant when you leave the hospital, so don’t throw out your maternity clothes just yet. Depending on the weather, pack your favorite maternity dress or leggings and tunic.
  • Extra Bag: All of your items should fit nicely in a weekender-style bag or small roller-style luggage. With all the supplies from the hospital—diapers, blankets, and creams—and gifts from any visitors, you’re likely to have more stuff coming out than you did going in. We suggest tucking one or two extra bags into your hospital bag. Reusable shopping bags that can easily be folded up are great for this.

Extras

Other items that you may want to consider putting on your hospital bag packing list aren’t exactly necessities, though some women may consider them as such. Rather, most are comfort items that can help provide relief during your labor or post-delivery.

  • Pillow for you and/or your partner
  • Relaxation tools such as back massager, stress-relief ball or massage oil/lotion
  • Cash for the vending machine just in case
  • Snacks for you and/or your partner to munch on
  • Thank you gift for the doctors and nurses that care for you and your baby. Something as simple as fun-size candy are great or, if you prefer, you can schedule for a fruit basket or something similar to be delivered. There are great ideas on Pinterest if that’s your sort of things.
  • Eye mask & earplugs to help you sleep. There are generally quiet hours in the labor and delivery department, but hospitals can be noisy.
  • Camera and charger if you’d like to capture baby’s first days with something besides your smartphone

You might feel inclined to overpack because after all, you’ll never know what you’re going to need. But, keep in mind the average hospital stay for labor and delivery is typically only 2-3 days. The hospital will provide most items you and your baby will need during your stay, and for comfort items, your partner or another loved one can always run out to pick up something you’ve forgotten or decided you would like.

Talk to your doctor if you have additional questions about how to prepare for your upcoming labor and delivery. The team of providers at Raleigh OB/GYN has been delivering babies for decades, so their knowledge is based on experience. For more information or to request an appointment, call (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 the 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 where 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, Wake Forest and Clayton, 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.

signs of endometriosis

6 Signs of Endometriosis You Need to Know

Each time we turn on the news or scroll through social media, it seems like another female celebrity is sharing her experience with endometriosis–a disease in which the lining of the uterus grows in other places in the body.

From Dancing with the Stars’ Julianne Hough and Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi to Susan Sarandon and Whoopi Goldberg, it’s apparent that endometriosis doesn’t appear to discriminate based on race, ethnicity or socioeconomic background. While these women and countless others have helped raise awareness about this disease, it’s important to focus on the facts.

Here are six signs of endometriosis that all women should know:

  • Painful periods: An estimated 75% of women with endometriosis have been found to have a history of painful, crampy periods that can be traced back to their adolescence. We’re not talking about the occasional slight cramps on your heavier day, but pain to the extent that it interferes with daily life like your work day, relationships, ability to have intercourse or ability to exercise. You may start to feel pain before your period starts and possibly for several days after.
  • Abnormal bleeding: Heavy periods lasting longer than 7 days that may or may not include large clots, or breakthrough spotting or bleeding between periods, may be signs of endometriosis.
  • Pain with intercourse: Pain during or after sex is a common symptom of endometriosis, particularly with deep penetration or orgasm. This can be due to positioning, but it often means that the endometriosis is deep in the rectovaginal septum and pelvic walls. Women who experience this symptom may lose their desire to have sex and develop intimacy issues.
  • Pain with bowel movements: Depending on the areas of the body affected by endometriosis, it may hurt to go to the bathroom. In severe cases, it might also cause bleeding and/or constipation.
  • Changes with urination: In some cases, endometriosis may affect the bladder which can cause pain with urination, a greater sense of urgency or increased frequency.
  • Infertility: An estimated 40% of women with infertility have endometriosis. In fact, seeking treatment for infertility is often how many women are first diagnosed with endometriosis. Inflammation caused by endometriosis may damage the sperm or egg or interfere with their movement through the fallopian tubes and uterus. The fallopian tubes may be blocked entirely by adhesions or scar tissue in severe cases.

Additional symptoms, especially during menstrual periods, may include diarrhea, constipation, nausea or bloating. Because endometriosis shares many of the same symptoms as other conditions it is sometimes mistaken for pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), ovarian cysts or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).  

It’s important to note that not all women with endometriosis experience pain. If you have any of the signs that may indicate endometriosis, you should consult a physician. The condition can be difficult to manage, but not impossible and early detection may result in more effective management of your symptoms. Call Raleigh OB/GYN Centre at (919) 875-8225 to schedule an appointment today.

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 including Raleigh, Wake Forest and Clayton, North Carolina. For more information or to schedule an appointment with our team of dedicated providers, call 919-875-8225.

Differences Between a Midwife and OB/GYN

Raleigh OB/GYN Centre recently began offering midwifery services. This service is not commonplace among most OB/GYN practices, so we wanted to highlight the key differences between a midwife and an obstetrician.

Education

Perhaps the most notable difference, midwives and OB/GYNs complete different levels of medical training. An OB/GYN completes four years of medical school followed by an additional four years of residency plus three years of specialized training. To become a certified nurse midwife (CNM), you must first become a registered nurse then complete a graduate program in midwifery and pass a national certification exam. This certification allows a CNM they are able to practice in any of the 50 states.

While both types of practitioners are trained and experienced in labor and delivery, nurse midwives cannot provide all of the services that a doctor can. In the event surgery is needed to deliver a baby, such as a cesarean section, only an obstetrician has the training to deliver the baby under those circumstances.

Services

Both a midwife and OB/GYN offer family planning, pre-conceptual care, delivery and postpartum care. Additionally, they both offer gynecological care including preventative screenings. Midwives are able to care for women during pregnancy who are considered low risk, while physicians can provide care for both low and high-risk pregnancies. Your first visit to our office will include a thorough medical history and exam to determine whether your pregnancy is considered high-risk.

While many midwives are advocates for natural childbirth, they are able to prescribe medications and provide an epidural for pain relief if that is your preference during labor. However, it is important that you understand your midwife’s position on pain medication before you select midwifery care.

While research shows that OB/GYNs are more likely to use interventions during birth such as instrument deliveries, that is simply because midwives are legally prohibited from doing so. In a study published by the American Journal of Public Health comparing two groups of women with low-risk pregnancies, research indicated that fetal and maternal outcomes are equally good when comparing midwife and OB/GYN births.

Birthing location

An OB/GYN offers delivery in a hospital setting, whereas midwives have the option to work in a variety of settings. These may include private practice, private homes, birth centers and hospitals.

Which should you choose?

Whether you choose a midwife or OB/GYN for your pregnancy care is a personal choice. You must consider the type of birthing experience that you would like. Start by answering these basic questions:

  • Is a vaginal birth your priority? Ask your doctor about his or her C-section rate and philosophy. If a vaginal birth is important to you, make sure your care provider supports it.
  • What kind of support do you during labor? Midwives are able to spend more time with patients to offer labor support because they generally are not pulled in as many different directions as a physician. If having a caregiver through your entire labor is important to you, you may want to consider hiring a doula who is trained to support and advocate for you throughout the labor and delivery process.
  • What are your plans for pain management? While they are able to administer pain medication, midwives are likely to encourage medication-free methods of pain management. This might include showers, massage, acupressure, trying different positions or using a birthing ball.
  • What are your expectations while at the hospital? Make sure that your expectations align with your caregiver’s policies for childbirth in the hospital. Will you be restricted to a bed and hooked up to a continuous fetal monitor or are you able to move around freely while taking pause for intermittent monitoring?
  • Are you considered high-risk? If you have a condition that will make your pregnancy high-risk you should seek care from an OB/GYN and deliver in a hospital setting. A high-risk pregnancy is defined as one that threatens the life of the mother or her fetus. These may include women with pre-existing health conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure, advanced maternal age, and pregnancies with multiples (twins or more). A collaborative practice may allow for a midwife to co-manage higher-risk patients alongside OB/GYNS during a pregnancy. Which one delivers your baby will ultimately depend on your medical circumstances.
  • Is this your first birth? If you had a C-section in a previous birth, that doesn’t necessarily mean you cannot choose midwifery care for a future pregnancy. However, you should discuss with your current OB/GYN and prospective midwife whether you are a candidate for vaginal birth after Cesarean section (VBAC). In some cases, the answer may be dictated by hospital policy.

About Raleigh OB/GYN Centre

At Raleigh OB/GYN Centre, we believe in empowering women to make the best birthing choices for her and her family. This includes offering midwifery services. By offering this collaborative approach with a certified nurse midwife and a team of obstetricians under the same roof, we can better achieve our goal of helping parents have a positive birthing experience. To learn more about our midwifery services or to schedule an appointment, call 919-876-8225 today.

5 Best Things About Being Pregnant in the Winter

There is no such thing as the perfect time of year to have a baby. Each season comes with its own pros and cons to consider, however being pregnant in the winter can have its benefits.

  1. Temperature: Perhaps the most obvious benefit, when you’re pregnant in the winter you don’t have to worry about carrying around an extra 25 to 35 pounds in the sweltering heat and humidity. And thanks to the extra insulation and blood pumping through your body, you’re likely to stay warm throughout the season without having to bundle up in excessive layers.
  2. Clothes: Take a survey of pregnant women and we can be very few will say they look forward to sporting a bathing suit while pregnant, especially during that “is she or isn’t she?” phase of pregnancy. During the winter, you can cozy up in soft sweaters and cute scarves.
  3. Celebrate the season: Being pregnant in the winter adds an extra reason to celebrate and be thankful during the holiday season. Not to mention the endless ideas for holiday-themed pregnancy announcements, gender reveals and bump photos.
  4. Free pass: It can be hard to find room to breathe on your calendar from Halloween through New Year’s. But, when you’re pregnant you have the perfect reason to hit the pause button and relax without having to worry about the guilt trip. Plus, it gives you a free pass to wear comfortable, stretchy pants without judgment.
  5. Sleep: Thanks to daylight savings time, there’s barely time to eat dinner before the sun goes down. On the bright side, this means you can go to bed earlier. You need all the rest you can get during pregnancy, and what better time to hibernate than winter?

Don’t let this list fool you. While all of these perks are great, there are also some notable downsides to being pregnant in the winter. Some of your otherwise favorite holiday foods may now make you nauseous, you have to be extra careful walking around when there’s snow or ice, and don’t get us started on the heightened anxiety of being pregnant or giving birth during peak cold and flu season.

The bottom line is that growing a human being inside your body will impact your daily life. There is no right time to get pregnant, only the right time for you.

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 including Raleigh, Wake Forest and Clayton, North Carolina. For more information or to schedule an appointment with our team of dedicated providers, call 919-875-8225.

3 Warning Signs of Postpartum Depression You Shouldn’t Ignore

A full-term pregnancy is made up of three trimesters, but did you know there’s actually a fourth trimester? Postpartum refers to the time period after the birth of a child when a mother’s body transitions back to its non-pregnant state. Every woman and every birth is different, but postpartum recovery may include the following:

  • Abdominal pain, as your uterus shrinks back to normal size
  • Baby blues
  • Constipation
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Hormonal shifts
  • Perineum soreness
  • Sore nipples and breasts
  • Stitches
  • Vaginal bleeding and discharge
  • Water retention
  • Weight loss

If that sounds like a lot, that’s because it is. Mothers should be patient with their bodies both physically and mentally during this time. We know, easier said than done, right? If you are having a difficult time adjusting in the weeks and months following labor and delivery, you are not alone. An estimated 1 in 9 women experience symptoms of postpartum depression. Even more experience a postpartum mood disorder which includes the following subcategories:

  • Baby blues
  • Postpartum depression
  • Postpartum psychosis
  • Postpartum anxiety
  • Postpartum obsessive-  disorder
  • Postpartum post-traumatic stress disorder

Approximately 70-80% of all new mothers experience some negative feelings or mood swings following the birth of their child. Depending on how the birth of the baby went, the symptoms of “baby blues” will often hit within four to five days after the birth. Sometimes they may be noticeable early.

Common symptoms of the “baby blues” include crying for no apparent reason, irritability, anxiety, fatigue, insomnia, sadness, mood changes, and restlessness. These feelings typically last for a few minutes or up to a few hours each day, and often resolve within two weeks post-delivery.

In some cases, these symptoms last longer which may be an indication of a more serious postpartum mood disorder. While they are similar to the “baby blues,”  postpartum depression symptoms are much more severe.

Red flags that may be a sign of postpartum depression are:

  1. You might find yourself withdrawing from your partner or other loved ones, and are experiencing an inability to bond well with your baby.
  2. You might find that your anxiety is out of control to the point of preventing you from sleeping, even when your baby asleep, or eating appropriately.
  3. You might find overwhelming feelings of guilt or worthlessness or begin to develop thoughts preoccupied with death or even wish you were not alive.

If you are unsure whether your feelings fall within the normal range of “baby blues,” you can use the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale–a screening tool designed to detect postpartum depression. Follow the instructions carefully and answer the questions honestly. If you score greater than 13, it is important that you consult a healthcare professional as soon as possible for a more thorough assessment.

The team of physicians at Raleigh OB/GYN are experienced in caring for women in all stages of life including postpartum. Call 919-876-8225 to schedule an appointment today.

flu shot during pregancy

Is the Flu Shot Safe During Pregnancy?

Fall is finally in the air. But, cooler temperatures also mean that flu season is on the horizon. Cases of the influenza virus are diagnosed year-round, but peak flu season typically occurs during the fall and winter from November to March. The time to get vaccinated is now, but is the flu shot safe during pregnancy?

Is it recommended?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists both recommend that all pregnant women who are pregnant during flu season get the flu shot regardless of trimester.

While the FluMist nasal spray form of the vaccine has been approved for use for the 2018-2019 flu season, it is NOT recommended for expectant mothers. The flu shot is made from the inactivated (dead) flu virus, whereas the nasal mist is made from a live, but weakened version of the virus.

How it helps

Getting the flu shot during pregnancy is important for several reasons. Of course, it can help prevent the flu and any maternal complications that may arise from it, but it can also help prevent potential fetal health problems. Having a high fever during pregnancy can increase the risk of fetal birth defects.

The flu shot during pregnancy also provides protection for your baby after birth. Your baby cannot receive the flu vaccine itself until he or she is 6 months old. By getting the flu shot during pregnancy, the antibodies you develop are then passed onto your baby through the placenta and later breastmilk if you choose to breastfeed.

Encourage others

Not only is important for you to receive the flu vaccine during pregnancy, but you should also encourage anyone in your household or even those you come into contact with regularly (co-workers) to get their flu shot. This will help further reduce your risk of contracting the flu, and they’ll already be vaccinated when the baby arrives.

What if I still get the flu?

The flu shot is not 100% effective at preventing the flu, but getting the shot can help reduce the severity of the symptoms if you do contract it. Many over-the-counter medications that one would normally take to relieve flu symptoms are not safe to take during pregnancy. If you think you have the flu, contact your obstetrician immediately. The prescription antiviral medication is most effective within 48 hours from the onset of symptoms.

Where do I get the flu shot?

You can simply ask for the flu at your next prenatal appointment. Keep in mind, that the CDC recommends getting the flu shot as soon as possible and ideally before the end of October. If you need to schedule an appointment, call Raleigh OB/GYN Centre at (919) 876-8225.

birth control method

Which Type of Birth Control is Right for You?

Birth control is not a one-size-fits-all solution, nor is it even one-size-fits-most. From pills to implants and everything in between, there are a wide variety of birth control options available.

The type of birth control that is best for you will be determined by your health, lifestyle, access to certain methods, and even your insurance coverage. Your physician can help you make the most informed decision, but be prepared that you may have to try several different methods before finding the best one for you.

Here is a general overview of the different birth control methods that may be available to you:

  • Oral Contraception (the pill): Some birth control pills contain only the progestin hormone, while others contain a combination of estrogen and progestin. In addition to preventing pregnancy, they can also help lessen painful menstrual cramps, achieve lighter periods, or help reduce symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). The downside is that it can be difficult to remember to take daily, and it’s most effective when taken at the same time each day.
  • Barrier Methods: Barrier methods of birth control such as diaphragms block sperm from entering into the uterus. The greatest benefit is that it is a hormone-free method. However, to be most effective they should be used in combination with spermicide and left in place for a minimum of six hours after intercourse.
  • Condoms: Condoms are the only birth control option that also prevents the spread of sexually transmitted diseases and infections. There are options available for both women and men.
  • Patch or Ring: The patch or ring are hormonal birth control methods similar to the pill, but don’t require the daily activity of having to remember to use it. The patch is a small piece of plastic that can be placed externally on your arm, stomach or buttock. It does need to be replaced weekly. The ring is a small, flexible device that is inserted in the vagina. It can be used for three weeks at a time but requires removal for one week each month in order for you to have a period.
  • Shots: For longer-term results, a hormone (progestin) shot in the arm every three months can block ovulation to prevent pregnancy. This method may also reduce the risk of uterine cancer and protect you from pelvic inflammatory disease. On the downside, you will have to go to the doctor’s office each time you need a shot. It can also cause more irregular bleeding, especially in the first few months of use, compared to the pill, patch or ring.
  • Intrauterine Device (IUD): An intrauterine device is considered one of the most effective forms of birth control. A T-shaped device is inserted into the uterus by your doctor. There are both hormonal and non-hormonal IUDs. Hormonal IUDs will likely make periods lighter if not completely absent, but whereas non-hormonal IUDs may make periods heavier with more cramping.
  • Hormone Implant: Hormone implants are another invisible method. Your physician will insert a small, matchstick-sized piece of plastic containing progestin just under the skin on the upper arm. Some women will not have a period at all, but many women will have irregular bleeding, which can be a downside. It can prevent pregnancy for three years before needing to be replaced.
  • Permanent Birth Control: The above birth control methods are all temporary–meaning you can start or discontinue use at any time. For women who know they do not want to have children or are confident they are finished having children, permanent birth control is another option.

    The two methods of permanent birth control available are tubal ligation (often referred to as having your tubes tied) and vasectomy (for men).

Contact Raleigh OB/GYN Centre

Based on your individual circumstances and medical history, your physician can help you decide which birth control method is most suitable for your needs and lifestyle.

Raleigh OB/GYN Centre has three convenient locations in Raleigh, Wake Forest, and Clayton. The practice has been serving the community for more than 40 years, and currently has seven obstetricians and gynecologists committed to providing quality care for every stage of a woman’s life. To schedule an appointment, call (919) 876-8225 or complete our online appointment request form.

annual women's wellness exam

Why You Should Never Skip Your Annual Women’s Wellness Exam

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:

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.

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.

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.

Preventative treatment

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.

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.

Contact Raleigh OB/GYN Centre

If it has been more than 12 months since your last annual exam, or if you are a new patient seeking a gynecology practice to partner with for your care, contact Raleigh OB/GYN Centre today to schedule an appointment.