Category Archives: Blog

fetal alcohol syndrome

What Is Fetal Alcohol Syndrome?

 

Surely, you’re aware of the advice against consuming alcohol during pregnancy, and there’s a good reason behind it. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASDs) represent a range of conditions resulting from prenatal alcohol exposure. These disorders can have profound and lifelong effects on an individual’s physical, mental, and behavioral development. 

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

Understanding the impact of alcohol on fetal development is crucial to raising awareness and preventing these conditions. Here at Raleigh OB/GYN, we have put together a comprehensive guide to help you understand Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. 

What Is Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS)?

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is the most severe form of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders. It occurs when a pregnant person consumes alcohol, and the alcohol crosses the placenta, affecting the developing fetus. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is characterized by a distinct set of facial features, growth deficiencies, and central nervous system problems. These include:

Facial Features:

  • Small eye openings
  • Thin upper lip
  • Flat midface
  • Abnormal facial features, such as a smooth ridge between the nose and upper lip (this ridge is called the philtrum)

Growth Deficiencies:

  • Lower than average birth weight and length
  • Slower growth rate after birth

Central Nervous System Problems:

  • Intellectual disabilities
  • Poor memory
  • Learning and behavioral issues
  • Attention deficits or difficulty paying attention
  • Impaired memory and judgment
  • Vision or hearing problems
  • Hyperactivity

Understanding Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASDs)

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders encompass a broader spectrum of conditions resulting from prenatal alcohol exposure. These conditions may vary in severity and can include Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, partial FAS, alcohol-related neurodevelopmental disorder (ARND), and alcohol-related birth defects (ARBD). The effects can manifest differently in each affected individual.

Risks And Impact Of Prenatal Alcohol Exposure

Alcohol is a known teratogen, a substance that interferes with fetal development. During pregnancy, alcohol can disrupt the delicate process of cell division and organization, particularly affecting the development of the brain and other vital organs. The risks associated with prenatal alcohol exposure include:

 

Physical Abnormalities

Alcohol exposure during critical developmental stages can lead to physical deformities, particularly in facial features and organ systems.

 

Cognitive And Behavioral Issues

FASDs can result in cognitive impairments, learning disabilities, behavioral problems, and difficulties with attention and memory.

 

Emotional And Social Challenges

Individuals with FASDs may struggle with social skills, impulse control, and emotional regulation, impacting their ability to form relationships and navigate daily life.

 

Health Complications

Prenatal alcohol exposure can increase the risk of various health issues, including heart defects, kidney problems, vision or hearing difficulties, and compromised immune function.

 

Prevention And Support

The most effective way to prevent Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders is to avoid alcohol during pregnancy. Even small amounts of alcohol can pose risks to the developing fetus. For individuals planning to conceive or already pregnant, abstaining from alcohol is the safest choice. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, protective factors include:

  • Diagnosis before six years of age
  • Loving, nurturing, and stable home environment during the school years
  • Absence of violence
  • Involvement in special education and social services

Early intervention and support are crucial for individuals affected by FASDs. Diagnosis and intervention services can help manage the symptoms and provide specialized care and educational support tailored to the individual’s needs. This may include speech therapy, occupational therapy, behavioral therapy, and educational accommodations. 

 

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders are entirely preventable conditions, emphasizing the importance of alcohol abstinence during pregnancy. If you have more questions about FAS or FASDs, set up an appointment to talk to one of our providers. You can schedule an appointment through our website or give us a call at (919) 876-8225.

get pregnant

Struggling To Get Pregnant? You Are Not Alone

If you have been struggling to get pregnant, know that you are not alone. Believe it or not, one out of every eight couples in the United States has trouble conceiving. Infertility can be the result of both men and women and has a variety of causes. 

Dealing With Infertility

Here at Raleigh OB/GYN, we understand the impact infertility can have on an individual and in a partnership. Read on to learn more about the causes and risk factors of infertility, as well as what you can do to treat it, get pregnant, and achieve your dream of becoming a parent.  

Causes Of Infertility

The causes of infertility differ in men and women. In men, infertility may occur because of abnormal sperm production or function, issues with the delivery of sperm, overexposure to certain environmental factors such as cigarette smoking, alcohol, and marijuana, and cancer-related damage.

In women, infertility may be present because of ovarian disorders such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), abnormalities with the uterus or cervix, damage or blockage in the fallopian tubes, endometriosis, pelvic adhesions, and early menopause.

Infertility Risk Factors

The risk factors of infertility are the same for men and women and include:

Age

As a woman gets older, her fertility gradually declines. After age 35, her fertility drastically declines because she has fewer and lower-quality eggs. Men over age 40 may be less fertile as well. 

Smoking

When a woman or man smokes, their chances of conceiving declines. Smoking also reduces the effectiveness of fertility treatments.

Alcohol Use

Women and men should avoid alcohol use while they are trying to get pregnant. It can decrease sperm count and increase the risk of birth defects.

Being Overweight

Men and women who would like to have a baby should lead an active lifestyle, as being inactive and overweight may increase infertility risk.

What Can Be Done?

If you are facing infertility, understand that there are a number of treatments that can help you and your partner become parents:

 

  • Ovulation induction: Uses fertility medications to stimulate the release of one or more eggs from the ovary.
  • In-vitro fertilization: Eggs are fertilized outside the body and then implanted in the uterus.
  • Intrauterine Insemination: Placing sperm directly into the uterus during the woman’s fertile window
  • Fertility preservation: Freezing of embryos, eggs, or sperm for future reproduction.

 

Regardless of whether the infertility is caused by a man or woman, one or a combination of the above treatments may help.

Seeking Professional Help

If conception does not occur after a year of trying, it is advisable to seek guidance from a healthcare professional specializing in reproductive medicine. Both partners may undergo a series of tests to identify any underlying issues. These tests can include hormone assessments, imaging studies, and evaluations of sperm quality.

Emotional Impact Of Infertility

The emotional toll of infertility can be significant, affecting individuals and couples on both a personal and relational level. Feelings of frustration, sadness, guilt, and inadequacy are not uncommon. It is essential for those experiencing fertility struggles to communicate openly with each other and seek support, whether from friends, family, or mental health professionals.

If you are under 35 and healthy and have tried to get pregnant for a year with no success, or over 35 and healthy and have not been able to conceive after six months of trying, schedule an appointment at our office today. Here at Raleigh OB/GYN, our team of physicians, nurses, and medical staff are committed to providing patient care in a nurturing, supportive environment. To schedule an appointment, visit our website or give us a call at (919) 876-8225.

Cervical Cancer 101: What You Need To Know

cervical cancer

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each year in the United States, about 11,500 new cases of cervical cancer are diagnosed. Cervical cancer is a type of cancer that develops in the cells of the cervix, the lower part of the uterus that connects to the vagina. 

Cervical Cancer 101

As a significant health concern for women worldwide, understanding its basics can empower individuals to take proactive steps in prevention, early detection, and treatment. Here at Raleigh OB/GYN, we have put together a comprehensive guide for those with any questions regarding cervical cancer. 

The Importance of Early Detection

Early detection is crucial for successful treatment outcomes in cervical cancer. Regular screenings and medical attention, if any symptoms arise, can significantly improve the chances of detecting the disease at an early, more treatable stage.

 

Prevention

HPV Vaccination

Vaccination against HPV is a powerful preventive measure. The HPV vaccine is recommended for both boys and girls and is usually administered in early adolescence before the onset of sexual activity. By protecting against the most common cancer-causing HPV strains, the vaccine significantly reduces the risk of cervical cancer.

Regular Pap Smears

Pap smears are essential for early detection. During a Pap smear, cells from the cervix are collected and examined for abnormalities. Regular screening can identify precancerous changes, allowing for medical attention before cancer develops.

Safe Sexual Practices

Practicing safe sex, including the use of condoms, can reduce the risk of HPV transmission. Limiting the number of sexual partners can also contribute to prevention.

Smoking Cessation

Smoking is a known risk factor for cervical cancer. In fact, women who smoke are about twice as likely as those who don’t smoke to get cervical cancer.  Quitting smoking not only improves overall health but also reduces the risk of developing cervical and other cancers.

Symptoms

In its early stages, this cancer may not present noticeable symptoms. As the disease progresses, common signs may include:

  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding, such as bleeding between periods, after sex, or after menopause
  • Pelvic pain or pain during sexual intercourse
  • Unexplained weight loss and fatigue
  • Regular check-ups with a healthcare provider can help monitor any changes and address concerns promptly

Risk Factors

Several factors can increase the risk of developing cervical cancer. Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is the most common risk factor. HPV is a group of related viruses that can be transmitted through sexual contact. Other risk factors include smoking, a weakened immune system, and a family history of cervical cancer.

Screening Guidelines

Screening guidelines for cervical cancer may vary depending on factors such as age, sexual history, and risk factors. However, general recommendations include:

Pap Smear

Women between the ages of 21 through 29 should have a Pap smear every three years. After the age of 30, a combination of Pap smear and HPV testing is typically recommended every five years.

HPV Testing

HPV testing may be done alone or in conjunction with a Pap smear for women aged 30 and older.

Vaccination

HPV vaccination is recommended for individuals between the ages of 9 and 26, but it is recommended at ages 11-12 years old. 

Treatment Options

If cervical cancer is detected, treatment options depend on the stage of the cancer, the patient’s overall health, and other factors. Common treatment modalities include:

Surgery

Depending on the stage and extent of the cancer, surgical procedures such as a hysterectomy or removal of lymph nodes may be recommended.

Radiation Therapy

High-energy rays are used to target and destroy cancer cells.

Chemotherapy

Medications are administered to kill cancer cells or stop their growth.

Targeted Therapy

Specific drugs are used to target cancer cells without affecting healthy cells.

Cervical cancer is a significant health issue that affects women worldwide, but with awareness and proactive measures, it can be preventable and treatable. If you have more questions about cervical cancer or women’s health, set up an appointment to talk to one of our providers. You can schedule an appointment through our website or give us a call at (919) 876-8225.

baby shower

5 Alternative Baby Shower Ideas For 2024

Baby showers are a wonderful tradition, celebrating the upcoming arrival of a new family member while showering the expectant parents with love and support. As we look ahead to 2024, the world of baby showers is evolving with exciting new trends and ideas. 

Best Non-Traditional Baby Shower Ideas

Although baby showers are wonderful, there are plenty of women who would rather opt for less traditional ideas. These more informal baby shower ideas can bring a refreshing and exciting twist to the celebration, making it a memorable event for both the parents-to-be and the guests. Whether you’re planning a baby shower for a friend or family member or expecting a little one yourself, Raleigh OB/GYN has put together some alternatives for your baby shower in the year 2024.

1. Baby Sprinkle Showers

For parents expecting their second, third, or so-on child, a baby sprinkle shower is a fitting idea for 2024. Unlike traditional baby showers, which typically involve larger gatherings and extensive gift-giving, baby sprinkles are more modest affairs. They focus on celebrating the upcoming addition to the family with close friends and family and often involve smaller, more personalized gifts or essentials that may be needed for the new baby.

2. Couples Shower

When it comes to celebrating the long-awaited arrival of a new member of the family, it’s really an occasion for both parents-to-be. A couples shower aims to celebrate both parents and is aimed to be more of a celebration. Of course, sentimental gifts and baby must-haves can still be expected, this type of baby shower can set the tone for an inclusive get-together that encompasses everyone who is eagerly anticipating the little ones’ arrival. 

3. Sip And See

Another alternative to a traditional baby shower is a “sip & see.” This type of celebration normally happens after the baby has already been born and is more or less a “welcome baby party.” This type of low-key party is used to introduce a newborn to friends and family in a casual manner. Those close to the parents can enjoy a refreshment in an informal manner while meeting the newly arrived baby. A sip & see can also be done in addition to a baby shower. 

4. Baby Shower Experiences

Instead of traditional baby shower gifts, some expectant parents are opting for memorable experiences in 2024. Guests can contribute to a fund that the parents can use to create lasting memories with their new baby, such as a family photo session, a weekend getaway, or tickets to a special event. This approach emphasizes the importance of experiences over material possessions and aims at making your baby shower less traditional. 

5. Book Drive

For those who feel they have just about everything they need for their newborn, a book drive might be the right choice for you. This includes an informal celebration where you ask guests to bring their favorite baby book. To make this an even more special occasion, you can ask each guest to write a short note to the mom-to-be or wishes for the baby. This idea can also be used in other capacities, and instead of books, guests can bring diapers— because, well, no mom ever has enough diapers. 

Baby showers in 2024 are likely to be a blend of tradition and current events. While the core purpose of celebrating the arrival of a new baby remains the same, the way we celebrate is individual. Here at Raleigh OB/GYN, our team of physicians, nurses, and medical staff are committed to providing patient care in a nurturing, supportive environment. To schedule an appointment, visit our website or give us a call at (919) 876-8225.

mental health

Motherhood and Mental Health: Navigating The Challenges

Motherhood is a transformative and rewarding journey, but it can also bring significant challenges to a woman’s mental health. While the experience of becoming a mother varies from person to person, it’s important to acknowledge and address the emotional and psychological aspects of motherhood. 

Motherhood And Mental Health

Here at Raleigh OB/GYN, we understand the challenges that mothers may face regarding mental health and want to educate our patients on the emotions of motherhood and offer strategies for navigating them.

The Emotions Of Motherhood:

Motherhood is often accompanied by a rollercoaster of emotions. While it brings joy, love, and fulfillment, it can also trigger complex and sometimes overwhelming feelings. Common emotions that mothers experience include:

1. Anxiety

Many new mothers worry about their children’s well-being, their ability to parent effectively, and the challenges that lie ahead. This anxiety can be heightened by societal pressures to be a perfect parent.

2. Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression is a prevalent mental health issue that affects some mothers shortly after giving birth. Symptoms include persistent sadness, low energy, changes in appetite, and difficulty bonding with the baby.

3. Guilt

Mothers often feel guilty about not being “good enough” or not meeting their own or society’s expectations. This guilt can stem from taking time for self-care, making parenting decisions, or balancing work and family life.

4. Isolation

Motherhood can sometimes lead to feelings of isolation, as the demands of caring for a newborn or young children can limit social interactions and personal time.

5. Identity Shift

The transition to motherhood can cause a shift in a woman’s identity as she navigates her roles as a parent, partner, and individual. 

Strategies for Navigating Motherhood Challenges:

While the challenges of motherhood are real and significant, there are strategies and resources available to help women navigate this journey while safeguarding their mental health.

1. Seek Support

Don’t hesitate to reach out to your support network. Talk to your partner, family, and friends about your feelings and concerns. Sharing your experiences can alleviate the sense of isolation and provide emotional support.

2. Professional Help

If you experience symptoms of postpartum depression or persistent anxiety, seek professional help from a therapist or counselor. Mental health professionals can offer strategies for coping with these challenges and provide a safe space to explore your feelings.

3. Self-Care

Prioritize self-care as a vital aspect of motherhood. Taking time for yourself, even if it’s just a few minutes a day, can help recharge your energy and improve your mental well-being. Self-care activities may include meditation, exercise, journaling, or pursuing hobbies.

4. Manage Expectations

Challenge unrealistic expectations, both internal and external. Understand that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to motherhood, and it’s normal to make mistakes or need help. Accept that perfection is unattainable and that self-compassion is essential.

5. Connect with Other Mothers

Joining support groups or parenting communities can be invaluable. Sharing experiences, advice, and encouragement with other mothers who are going through similar challenges can provide a sense of camaraderie and reassurance.

6. Set Boundaries

It’s important to establish boundaries to protect your mental and emotional well-being. Communicate your needs and limitations with your partner, family members, and friends to ensure you have the support and space you need.

7. Professional Advice

Consider seeking advice from professionals who specialize in maternal mental health. They can offer tailored guidance and strategies to address the unique challenges of motherhood.

Maternal mental health is not only important for the well-being of mothers but also crucial for the healthy development of children. When mothers prioritize their mental health, they are better equipped to provide a nurturing and supportive environment for their children.

Motherhood is a journey that can bring both joy and challenges to a woman’s mental health. Here at Raleigh OB/GYN, we are dedicated to helping you understand every step of your unique pregnancy journey, including postpartum. If you have questions about motherhood and mental health, 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.

female athlete triad

The Female Athlete Triad: 5 Things To Watch For

The pursuit of excellence in sports often requires dedication, discipline, and rigorous training. Female athletes, in particular, face unique challenges that can impact their physical and mental well-being. One such challenge is the Female Athlete Triad, a complex syndrome characterized by three interrelated components: disordered eating, menstrual dysfunction, and low bone density. 

The Female Athlete Triad

Here at Raleigh OB/GYN, we focus on the health and well-being of all women. That’s why we’ve put together a list of some of the critical aspects of the Female Athlete Triad and highlighted five things to watch for to ensure the health and performance of female athletes.

1. Disordered Eating Patterns

The Female Athlete Triad often begins with disordered eating patterns, which may manifest as restrictive diets, excessive exercise, or an obsession with body weight and composition. These behaviors can lead to inadequate calorie intake, depriving the body of essential nutrients needed for optimal functioning. Coaches, parents, and teammates should be vigilant for signs such as sudden weight loss, preoccupation with food and weight, skipping meals, or avoiding certain food groups. Intervening early can help prevent the progression of disordered eating behaviors.

2. Menstrual Dysfunction

Irregular or absent menstrual periods, known as amenorrhea, are a hallmark of the Female Athlete Triad. Intense training and insufficient calorie intake can disrupt hormonal balance, impacting the menstrual cycle. Female athletes may experience amenorrhea or irregular periods, which not only affect reproductive health but also indicate potential underlying health concerns. Monitoring menstrual patterns and seeking medical advice when irregularities occur is crucial. Addressing menstrual dysfunction promptly can help prevent long-term complications such as fertility issues, weakened bones, or osteoporosis.

3. Bone Health

Low bone density, a consequence of the Female Athlete Triad, poses a serious threat to the overall well-being of female athletes. Insufficient calorie intake and hormonal imbalances can compromise bone health, increasing the risk of stress fractures and osteoporosis. Young athletes in their formative years are especially vulnerable, as their bones are still developing. To decrease this risk, coaches and healthcare professionals should focus on implementing strategies that promote bone health, including adequate calcium and vitamin D intake, weight-bearing exercise, and appropriate rest periods.

4. Psychological Well-being

The psychological aspect of the Female Athlete Triad is equally important to monitor. The pressure to excel, maintain a certain physique, and meet performance expectations can contribute to anxiety, depression, and a negative body image. Female athletes may struggle with self-esteem issues or experience feelings of guilt around eating. Creating a supportive and open environment where athletes feel comfortable discussing their mental health is crucial. Coaches, teammates, and support staff should be aware of changes in mood, behavior, and attitude, offering resources and guidance when needed.

5. Multidisciplinary Approach

Addressing the Female Athlete Triad requires a comprehensive and collaborative approach. Coaches, parents, medical professionals, and athletes themselves must work together to recognize and manage the various components of the syndrome. Regular medical check-ups, nutritional guidance, and mental health support should be integrated into the athlete’s training regimen. Education about the Female Athlete Triad and its potential risks can empower athletes to make informed choices about their health and well-being.

The Female Athlete Triad demands careful attention and proactive measures. Female athletes contribute immensely to the world of sports, showcasing strength, determination, and resilience. To ensure their success and longevity in their chosen fields, it is imperative to prioritize their health and well-being. 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 a health issue, call our office at (919) 876-8225 to make an appointment.

thanksgiving

8 Thanksgiving Foods That Make Great Baby Meals

As Thanksgiving approaches, families eagerly anticipate a feast filled with traditional dishes and time together. While parents and older siblings eat, it’s a perfect opportunity to introduce your littlest family member to the joy of Thanksgiving flavors.

Thanksgiving Foods For Babies

As you gather to give thanks, consider incorporating baby-friendly versions of classic dishes that are not only nutritious but also introduce your baby to a world of different tastes. Raleigh OB/GYN has put together a list of Thanksgiving foods that double as great meals for babies. 

1. Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are a nutritional powerhouse, rich in vitamins and minerals. For your baby’s meal, prepare a smooth and creamy mashed sweet potato dish. Simply boil or bake sweet potato pieces until tender, then mash or puree them to the desired consistency. You can add a touch of cinnamon or nutmeg to enhance the flavor. Mashed sweet potatoes introduce your baby to a naturally sweet and colorful food, making it an ideal Thanksgiving option.

2. Turkey and Vegetable Puree

Thanksgiving wouldn’t be complete without turkey. For your baby, create a turkey and vegetable puree by cooking turkey meat until tender and blending it with steamed or roasted vegetables like carrots, peas, and green beans. This balanced puree provides protein, essential nutrients, and a range of flavors, helping your little one develop a diverse palate.

3. Pumpkin and Apple Blend

Combine the seasonal goodness of pumpkin and apples to craft a delightful baby meal. Steam or bake pumpkin and apples until soft, then puree them together for a blend of flavors. Pumpkin offers fiber and vitamins, while apples introduce a touch of natural sweetness. This combination also introduces your baby to the autumnal spirit of Thanksgiving.

4. Cranberry Pear Puree

Infuse a touch of tangy sweetness into your baby’s meal with cranberry pear puree. Cook cranberries until they burst and become soft, then blend them with ripe pears. The result is a vibrant and flavorful puree that your baby will love.

5. Butternut Squash Soup

A velvety butternut squash soup can be transformed into a baby-friendly meal by adjusting the texture and seasoning. Boil or roast butternut squash until tender, then blend it into a smooth and thin soup. You can thin it further with breast milk, formula, or water to achieve the desired consistency. A dash of mild spices like cinnamon or nutmeg can enhance the taste.

6. Green Bean and Potato Mash

Green beans and potatoes can create a nutritious blend for your baby’s Thanksgiving meal. Steam or boil green beans and potatoes until soft, then mash or puree them together. This dish introduces your baby to different textures.

7. Homemade Applesauce

Applesauce is a versatile and easily digestible option for your baby’s Thanksgiving meal. Steam or cook apples until they are soft, then blend them into a smooth applesauce. You can introduce different apple varieties for a variety of flavors. Applesauce provides a gentle introduction to fruit flavors and can be enjoyed on its own or mixed with other purees.

8. Simple Cranberry Sauce

Craft a mild cranberry sauce by cooking cranberries with a touch of water and a natural sweetener like apple juice. Blend the mixture until smooth or leave it slightly chunky. This sauce introduces your baby to the tangy taste of cranberries and complements other purees.

 

As you celebrate Thanksgiving and gather with your loved ones, don’t forget to share the joy of flavorful and nutritious meals with your littlest family member. Here at Raleigh OB/GYN Centre, our team of physicians, nurses, and medical staff is committed to providing a nurturing, supportive environment. We are thankful for having had the privilege of caring for mothers, daughters, and now granddaughters during our time in the community. If you have any questions or concerns, call our office at (919) 876-8225 to make an appointment.

pregnant in the winter

5 Best Things About Being Pregnant in the Winter

When it comes to deciding on the perfect time of year to have a baby, it’s important to remember that there is no one-size-fits-all answer— the right time to have a baby is whenever you’re ready. Yet, it is important to keep in mind that every season carries its own unique set of advantages and challenges. Being pregnant in the winter, however, can indeed bring with it a multitude of benefits that are worth exploring.

Being Pregnant In The Winter

Being pregnant is a remarkable and transformative journey, and experiencing it during the winter season has its unique advantages. From cozy comforts to festive cheer, many have coined wintertime as the best time to be pregnant. Raleigh OB/GYN has put together a list of some of the best things about being pregnant in the winter. 

1. Temperature

Perhaps the most obvious benefit is that 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’ll likely stay warm throughout the season without having to bundle up in excessive layers. 

2. Clothes

Winter clothing can be cozy and snug, making it easier to dress comfortably with a growing baby bump. Layering with sweaters and scarves allows pregnant women to adjust their clothing to stay warm without feeling restricted. Not to mention, it is easier to hide your bump if you aren’t ready to announce your pregnancy. 

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. This is also a great time to make your Christmas wishlist of baby must-haves to prepare for your little miracle. 

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. Preparing for the baby’s arrival involves nesting and getting the home ready. In winter, expectant parents can enjoy staying indoors, setting up the nursery, and creating a warm and inviting space for the baby.

5. Less Swelling

Because the winter months offer a break from the sweltering heat, many women experience a reduction in swelling in the extremities, such as hands and feet. Swelling is a common pregnancy symptom, especially in the later stages. However, in the presence of cooler temperatures, the blood vessels constrict in response to these lower temperatures.

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 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.

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. To learn more about being pregnant in the winter or to schedule an appointment with our team of dedicated providers, call 919-875-8225.

fourth trimester

The Fourth Trimester: Life After Birth

It’s common knowledge that “tri” signifies three, yet when it comes to pregnancy, it is sometimes considered to actually have four “tri”mesters, including one following childbirth. However, the term “quadmesters” doesn’t have quite the same ring to it. 

The “Fourth” Trimester

The fourth trimester is usually referred to as the three months of a baby’s life after birth. During this period, both you and your baby experience significant physical and emotional transformations. Your new one is adapting to life outside the womb while you begin navigating all of the joys and challenges of motherhood. At Raleigh OB/GYN, our aim is to equip you with essential knowledge so that you can confidently nurture your newborn’s well-being while also taking care of your own.

What Does The “Fourth” Trimester Mean?

The fourth trimester is essentially the weeks following birth. It normally extends from the day of birth to around three months postpartum. During this time, you’re going through just about the same amount of changes, if not more, than when you were pregnant. Your body is recovering all while you are learning to care for your newborn. Although the fourth trimester is not actually considered one of the phases of pregnancy, understanding and acknowledging the importance of this time can lead to better care for both the baby and parents. 

What Can You Expect During The Fourth Trimester?

In the fourth trimester, moms are recovering from childbirth and may be experiencing soreness, cramping, healing of wounds, and will experience several weeks of postpartum bleeding. Not to mention that mothers must go through immense emotional adjustment. Many women report feelings of exhaustion, anxiety, and self-doubt. Although these are all valid emotions to have, they are common due to hormonal fluctuations, sleep deprivation, and the trials and tribulations of becoming a mother. 

How Can You Care For Yourself During The Fourth Trimester? 

Postnatal care, also known as postpartum care, is crucial during the fourth trimester for both the baby and the mother. As a new mother, you need to be getting sufficient rest along with a nutritious diet to recover from childbirth and support breastfeeding if you choose to breastfeed. Healthcare professionals such as your OB/GYN play a significant role in monitoring the mother’s physical and emotional health during this period. Additionally, during this time, it is important to create a supportive environment and ask for help if you need it. 

How To Soothe A Baby In The Fourth Trimester

Some of the most important information you can possess during the fourth trimester is how to soothe your newborn. Some of our favorite techniques to do so include

  • Swaddling, which can mimic the feeling of being in the womb
  • Gently rocking or swaying to help them feel relaxed and comforted
  • White noise, which can mimic the sounds they heard in the womb
  • Holding or cuddling to satisfy their need for physical contact
  • Checking for discomfort, such as a soiled diaper
  • Feeding, as hunger can be the number one cause of a fussy baby
  • Burping to release trapped air that may be causing discomfort
  • Pacifier to satisfy your baby’s need to suck 

It is important to remember that every baby is unique, and what may work for one baby and mother may not work for another. Pay attention to different techniques and how your baby reacts to each. If you are having trouble soothing your newborn, reach out to your healthcare provider. 

Here at Raleigh OB/GYN, we are dedicated to helping you understand every step of your unique pregnancy journey—including postpartum. If you have questions about the fourth trimester, 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.

high-risk pregnancy

High-Risk Pregnancy: What You Need To Know

Pregnancy is one of the world’s most amazing gifts. Yet, learning that your pregnancy is considered high-risk can illicit feelings of anxiety and stress. A high-risk pregnancy refers to a pregnancy in which there are increased chances of complications for the mother and/or the baby. 

What You Need To Know About A High-Risk Pregnancy

It is important for expectant mothers to understand the causes of a high-risk pregnancy and implement appropriate management strategies to ensure the best possible outcome for both mother and baby. At Raleigh OB/GYN, we have compiled a comprehensive guide to provide you with the essential information you need regarding a high-risk pregnancy.

Pre-Existing Medical Conditions

Pre-existing medical conditions can increase the risk of complications during pregnancy. Some of the most common pre-existing medical conditions that can lead to a high-risk pregnancy include

  • Diabetes: For women with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, high blood sugar around the time of conception increases babies’ risk of birth defects, stillbirth and preterm birth.
  • Kidney disease: Women with kidney disease may experience hypertension and anemia, which affect blood flow to the fetus.
  • Heart disease: Cardiovascular diseases are a leading cause of pregnancy complications in women, including an increased risk of inherited cardiac genetic disorders, fetal growth restriction, and premature delivery.

In order to decrease your risk of a high-risk pregnancy, it is essential to schedule pre-pregnancy checkups. Here, your doctor will check your overall health to make sure your body is ready to take on pregnancy. 

Maternal Age

Advanced maternal age refers to the term used when a woman becomes pregnant at the age of 35 or older. This term is used because as women age, there is an increased likelihood of certain pregnancy-related complications. Advanced maternal age is often associated with higher risks, including 

  • Chromosomal abnormalities: Down’s syndrome, Edward’s syndrome, or Patau syndrome.
  • Gestational diabetes: This condition, characterized by elevated blood sugar levels during pregnancy, can lead to macrosomia (large birth weight), preeclampsia, and an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.
  • Hypertension: Also known as high blood pressure, hypertension during pregnancy can harm a mother’s kidneys and other organs.

Although there are special considerations for women over 35 and looking to conceive, a majority of them will go on to have safe and healthy pregnancies. If you are worried about maternal age and high-risk pregnancy, contact your OB/GYN or healthcare provider.

Pregnancy Complications

Aside from pre-existing medical conditions and maternal age, which are both present before pregnancy, there are also complications that can happen as a result of pregnancy. These complications can range from mild to severe and can include:

  • Preterm Birth: High-risk pregnancies are more prone to preterm labor, which increases the risk of respiratory and developmental issues in the baby.
  • Preeclampsia: Preeclampsia is a condition characterized by high blood pressure and organ damage. It can lead to complications such as restricted fetal growth, premature birth, and maternal complications.
  • Placental Problems: Placental abruption (premature detachment) or placenta previa (placenta covering the cervix) can result in bleeding, increased risk of infection, and potential harm to the baby.

Your OB/GYN is equipped to handle the complications that are present during a high-risk pregnancy. For more questions regarding possible pregnancy complications, contact your provider. 

Fetal Complications

There are several reasons why women may experience fetal complications. Some of the most common risk factors include obesity, drugs and alcohol, advanced maternal age, or other genetic, infectious, nutritional, or environmental factors. Fetal complications can include

  • Birth defects: Down syndrome, cleft lip or cleft palate, club foot, congenital heart defects (CHDs), neural tube defects (NTDs), and more.
  • Infections: Certain infections, such as HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, or sexually transmitted infections, can impact the health of the mother and baby during pregnancy.
  • Restricted Fetal Growth: In some high-risk pregnancies, the baby may experience restricted growth due to placental issues or maternal health conditions.

A high-risk pregnancy requires careful management to ensure the best possible outcome for both the mother and the baby. Here at Raleigh OB/GYN, we are dedicated to helping you understand every step of your unique pregnancy journey. If you have questions about a high-risk 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.