Category Archives: Blog

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. 

Differences Between a Midwife and OB/GYN

Raleigh OB/GYN Centre often works closely with midwives of City of Oaks Midwifery. Some people aren’t very familiar with midwives and what they do, 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 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 a 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). 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 themselves and their families. This includes working with City of Oaks Midwifery if our patients want to explore what midwifery offers. 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.

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.

Christmas time spent at the beach in summer. Young woman wearing sunscreen that spells 2020; blog: 8 Healthy Habits for the New Year

8 Healthy Habits for the New Year

January will be here before you know it. Many women like to use this time to set goals for self-improvement in mental and physical health. To start down the path towards a healthier and happier you, follow these healthy habits for the new year.

1. Get Active 

According to the American Heart Association, only one in five adults and teens get sufficient exercise. They recommend 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise during the week. So, one of your healthy habits for the new year should be setting a regular exercise routine. Find an activity or class that you look forward to can help stick to your fitness goals.

2. Stay Hydrated

Dehydration can lead to headaches, skin problems, lack of energy, and mental fog. Make an effort to drink enough water. There are apps and special water bottles that can remind you to drink throughout the day, or you can set an alarm on your phone to remind you until it becomes a habit.

3. Step Up Your Oral Hygiene Routine

You make think that you are taking good enough care of your teeth by brushing twice a day. But many people don’t floss regularly, if at all. The American Dental Association recommends cleaning between your teeth daily using floss or another interdental cleaner. This can help prevent cavities and gum disease by removing plaque. And don’t forget to see your dentist for a cleaning and check-up every six months, or at least once a year.

4. Eat Right

One of the best healthy habits for the new year you can pick up is eating better. That doesn’t have to mean a highly restrictive diet, but some simple changes can make a difference. Get most of your nutrients from whole foods instead of processed ones. That means whole grains, lean proteins, fruits, and vegetables. Limit things like fast food or other guilty pleasures to no more than once a week.

You should also focus on eating at the right times during the day. Make sure to eat breakfast, even if it’s something small. Have some yogurt or egg whites for protein and whole grains or fruits for fiber. This will prevent you from getting too hungry before lunchtime. Stop eating a couple of hours before you go to bed. This can help prevent becoming too hungry and help with digestion.

5. Get More Sleep

When making your list of healthy habits for the new year, make sure you put getting enough sleep near the top of the list. Being well-rested is important for many aspects of mental and physical health, and most adults don’t get the 7-9 hours recommended the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends for adults between 18 and 60 years old. 

If you’re having trouble sleeping you can try improving sleep hygiene by:

  • Removing electronic devices like phones, and even the TV from the bedroom
  • Keeping the bedroom quiet, dark, and at a comfortable temperature
  • Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day, even on weekends
  • Being physically active during the day
  • Avoiding big meals, alcohol, and caffeine for a few hours before bedtime

6. Set Realistic Goals

When the new year approaches, many of us fall into the trap of making big resolutions. While trying to make big changes is admirable, it can set you up for failure. Instead set a series of smaller, more realistic goals. It’s more likely you make progress this way, and you can still achieve your greater goal if it’s broken up into smaller pieces. This can be a good strategy for things like healthy weight loss and fitness goals.

7. Practice Self-Care

Take time to care for yourself mentally as well as physically. We often focus on caring for others and our own needs get pushed to the side. Set aside to do things to improve your mental health and center yourself. Practicing all of the above habits are essential for self-care. Finding someone to talk about your feelings with is also important. Self-care might also mean saying no to things so you don’t get rundown. Overcommitment is a problem for many women.

8. Make an Appointment with Your OB/GYN

To start the new year off right, make sure you are seeing your OB/GYN regularly for preventive care. The physicians and staff at Raleigh OB/GYN Centre have decades of experience providing women with full-scope obstetric and gynecological care. Call our Raleigh, NC office at (919) 876-8225 to make an appointment

if that is part of your ideal birth plan.

PCOS: What You Need to Know

Women of all ages can experience a number of gynecological and hormonal issues. Luckily, OB/GYNs and other medical professionals can successfully treat and manage them. One condition that affects a number of women is polycystic ovarian syndrome, which is often referred to by the initials PCOS.

What is PCOS?

Polycystic ovarian syndrome, or PCOS, is a hormonal condition that affects females. It is the most common cause of infertility in women. The cause is unknown but it is thought to be related to environmental factors as well as genetic influences. Though “polycystic” implies that multiple cysts are involved, not all women have cysts on the ovaries. As the PCOS Awareness Association explains, three main hormones come into play in polycystic ovarian syndrome:

  1. Androgens: Though androgens are considered male hormones, all females make them as well. In PCOS, the levels of androgens are often elevated, leading to symptoms like acne, hair growth, and irregular periods.
  2. Insulin: This hormone helps regulate blood sugar and helps the body turn it into energy. Women with polycystic ovarian syndrome sometimes become insulin resistant, so the body produces more. High levels of insulin lead to high levels of androgens.
  3. Progesterone: This female sex hormone helps regulate the menstrual cycle and ovulation. People with PCOS have low levels of progesterone, which makes periods irregular.

Signs and Symptoms of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

Sometimes people experience the symptoms of PCOS soon after puberty, but some women will not see symptoms until early adulthood. The symptoms can be attributed to other conditions, so sometimes it takes a while for polycystic ovarian syndrome to be diagnosed. Common symptoms include:

  • Irregular or missed periods: ovulation is often interrupted so menstruation does not occur regularly.
  • Infertility: PCOS is one of the most commonly diagnosed causes of infertility. Not all women will have fertility issues. Some can conceive naturally and some can conceive with fertility treatments.
  • Weight gain: Difficulty losing and managing weight is common, as is obesity.
  • Unwanted hair growth on body/hirsutism: Excess hair growth on the face, back, chest, arms
  • Thinning hair on head: While unwanted hair appears on the body, hair on the head may fall out and thin, which can increase in middle age.
  • Mood changes: There is an increased likelihood of mood swings and/or developing anxiety and depression.
  • Fatigue: Feelings of tiredness and low energy may be related to sleep disturbances.
  • Sleep disturbance: People may experience insomnia or sleep disorders such as sleep apnea.
  • Skin changes: Hormonal changes can cause skin changes such as acne, skin tags, or hyperpigmentation.
  • Pelvic pain: Pelvic pain during periods is a common symptom, as is heavy bleeding. Pelvic pain may be present when not bleeding as well.
  • Headaches: Disturbances in hormonal balance can cause frequent headaches.

Diagnosis and Treatment of PCOS

If you have symptoms, there is not a specific test to diagnose polycystic ovarian syndrome. The doctor will ask you questions about your symptoms and perform a physical exam with a family history. Other tests may be ordered to rule out other conditions. These tests might include ultrasounds to evaluate the ovaries and look for cysts. Blood tests to check sugar and hormone levels are also used.

If you are diagnosed with PCOS, you may or may not be referred to an endocrinologist that can work with your regular doctor for treatment. An endocrinologist is a doctor that specializes in hormonal issues. There are several treatment options that can help manage symptoms and promote regular ovulation, but the condition cannot be cured.

Medications used to treat polycystic ovarian syndrome include:

  • Hormonal birth control: Birth control with both progestin and estrogen can help with regulating menstruation, reduce excess hair growth, and reduce acne. It can be taken orally or via a patch or vaginal ring.
  • Spironolactone: Treats acne by blocking androgen’s effect on the skin. Should not be used if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant because it has been linked to birth defects.
  • Clomiphene: Anti-estrogen medication used to help stimulate ovulation and help with fertility.
  • Metformin: Originally used to treat type 2 diabetes, this medication can help control insulin levels. It is often given in conjunction with clomiphene and can help with weight loss.
  • Letrozole: A breast cancer treatment that can stimulate the ovaries for ovulation.
  • Progestin therapy: Can help regulate the menstrual cycle and guard against endometrial cancer.
  • Gonadotropins: Hormonal injections that stimulate ovulation.

You can also make lifestyle changes to improve and manage symptoms. The changes seem simple but can make a real impact. Eat a healthy diet low in simple carbohydrates to control insulin levels and get regular exercise. Both of these can also help you manage your weight, which can make a big difference in symptoms. Maintaining a healthy weight can help keep insulin lower as well as androgens. This might restore regular ovulation.

Make an Appointment

The team of physicians, nurses, and medical staff at Raleigh OB/GYN Centre have been providing the women of the Raleigh area with personalized and comprehensive care for 45 years. From the first well-woman appointment to menopause management and every stage in between, our team will be there. If you have concerns about any obstetric or gynecological issues, including PCOS, call us at (919) 876-8225 to make an appointment. You can also request an appointment online

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.

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.