Nutrition in Pregnancy: Finding the Right Balance

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Eating right while you are pregnant is important for both your health and your baby’s. Everything you do when you are pregnant, from what you eat and drink to your level of physical activity has an impact on your baby’s current growth and even future development, so making sure that you are doing it right is important. There are two things you really have to pay attention to when eating right during pregnancy. The first is watching exactly what you eat, and the second is keeping an eye on weight gain.

When it comes to weight gain, it can help to work with a health care professional. For overweight women, it can help to lose weight before becoming pregnant when possible. In terms of pregnancy weight gain, the average woman should gain about 25 to 35 pounds, with only 5 to 10 lbs. of this occurring in the first 20 weeks. After that, the rate of weight gain should be about a pound per week. Women who are overweight should gain only about 15 to 25 pounds, while women who are underweight should gain somewhere between 28 and 40 lbs. Working with your health care professional to manage your weight is highly recommended, as being overweight during pregnancy can increase your risk of miscarriage, the need for an emergency caesarian section, and more.

In terms of what you eat, it is important to avoid all raw or undercooked seafood and meat while you are pregnant. It is also important to avoid things like raw vegetables, shellfish, and unpasteurized milk, as they can carry listeriosis. Choose pasteurized milk and only eat harder cheeses such as parmesan or cheddar. Eat about 8 to 12 ounces of seafood weekly for the Omega 3s and other benefits, but avoid tuna and other fish that are potentially high in mercury. Be certain you are taking your prenatal vitamins and work to avoid things like caffeine and especially alcohol. Not only can drinking during pregnancy result in fetal alcohol syndrome, but studies have linked drinking during pregnancy with an increased risk of alcohol addiction in the child during later life!

Taking care of yourself during pregnancy is a very important task for both you and for baby. Learning how to eat right and to manage your weight can make a big difference in your pregnancy. Don’t hesitate to talk to your OB/GYN if you have questions about which foods to eat or how much weight gain is safe!

A Useful Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy – Trimester 1

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What Is the First Trimester?

The first trimester is the common name given to the first 12 weeks of a pregnancy. During this time, your fetus is just starting to develop and you will start to undergo hormonal and physical changes. Here, we will examine steps you can take to ensure a healthy pregnancy during this time.

Find a Good OB/GYN

Finding a good OB/GYN is a critical part of a healthy pregnancy. Your OB/GYN will be the person who performs your ultrasounds and who answers the many questions you are likely to have throughout the first trimester and beyond. Having a doctor you can trust and who leaves you feeling confident and listened to is very important.

Taking Prenatal Vitamins – Why It’s Important

Prenatal vitamins aren’t just a product marketed towards pregnant women, they are a necessity. When you are pregnant, it is very easy to end up with nutritional deficiencies in your diet that can adversely affect your health or that of your baby. A prenatal vitamin will ensure that you are getting all of the nutrients that you and your baby need.

Dealing with Changes

Your body is going to undergo a wide variety of changes during pregnancy, from weight gain to morning sickness and even emotional and mood changes. The best thing you can do is read up on what to expect so that you know what is normal and what is not. Changes are to be expected, and not all of them are comfortable or fun.

Exercise

While there is a common misconception that you shouldn’t exert yourself while pregnant, regular exercise can actually be one of the best ways to stay healthy during pregnancy. While it is not advised to run a marathon, exercise in moderation is highly recommended. If you are not used to exercise, start out with low intensity activity and move up your activity level as you become accustomed.

Eat Well

When you are pregnant, you will be taking in between 200 and 300 extra calories per day. Ideally, you will be taking in foods that are high in calcium (but avoid unpasteurized milk and soft cheeses), as well as seafood, folic acid (found in whole grains, lean beef and pork, and leafy greens), and other healthy foods. You will also want to avoid alcohol and caffeine.

These tips can help you achieve a healthy pregnancy. Follow them and don’t hesitate to ask your OB/GYN if you have questions about these or any other pregnancy tips you learn!

What Women Should Know About IUDs

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One of the most effective forms of contraception is a hormonal IUD with Progestogen, like Mirena. This long-acting reversal form of contraception should not be confused with an IUD with copper because contraceptives like Mirena are made entirely of plastic. These products are also used to treat a variety of medical conditionals such as Menorrhagia, Endometriosis and Anemia. In some cases, the use of a hormonal IUD may prevent a hysterectomy.

There are numerous advantages to this type of contraceptive. An IUD can minimize menstrual cramps and can lighten a period’s flow, or even stop a monthly period completely. An IUD can also be used safely while breastfeeding when inserted or reinserted after a planned pregnancy.

One of the most recognizable benefits to an IUD is that, unlike many other types of birth control that rely on the user to maintain a schedule, IUDs require little action once inserted. IUDs require no daily, weekly, or monthly regimen, which helps to explain why failure rates are so low. The overall failure rate for a hormonal IUD over a five-year period is just 0.7%.

Perhaps the biggest benefit of the hormonal IUD with Progestogen is the opportunity of pregnancy when a woman is ready. The user can simply schedule an appointment with her doctor to have the unit removed and fertility will return to normal levels in about three months. Once pregnancy goals are fulfilled, the IUD can be reinserted.

Of course, some possible side effects exist for IUD users. Some women experience irregular periods or spotting between periods, and the insertion procedure can sometimes be uncomfortable. This can cause cramping and backaches for a few days after. Also, about five percent of women have their IUD slip out of their uterus (referred to as expulsion) and in some rare cases, serious medical complications such as infection or ovarian cysts may occur.

The Basics of Heavy Menses

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Menorrhagia, or Heavy Menses, is one of the most common issues women report to their OB/GYN. Heavy Menses is an abnormal bleeding from the uterus and affects approximately one in five American women. Menorrhagia occurs when a menstrual period’s flow produces enough blood to soak a pad or tampon every hour for several hours, or if a woman passes blood clots larger than a quarter. While heavy bleeding is a concern for most women, a Menorrhagia patient’s period causes enough blood loss and cramping to derail daily activities. Additionally, Heavy Menses can lead to anemia, which in turn causes fatigue and shortness of breath.

Reasons for Menorrhagia range from natural causes, such as hormonal imbalances to unnatural causes like sexual abuse. However, it is critical to see your doctor to provide an accurate diagnosis and establish a customized treatment plan. Once you have made your appointment, you can help your doctor by preparing some of the following background information ahead of time:
• Contact family members to see if any have been diagnosed or treated for a blood disorder.
• Journal any symptoms you experience and how long they have occurred. It is important you don’t feel embarrassed to document the most personal of details, like breast tenderness and pelvic pain, and share them with your doctor.
• Take note of any changes in your personal life, such as a new job or relationship.
• Document any medications that you are taking and their dosage.
• Write down your questions as you think of them so that you don’t forget at your appointment.

Your doctor will suggest options for your treatment. These are typically medicinal, but more severe cases call for surgical procedures. Iron supplements might be coupled with either type of treatment to help with anemia.

Speak up: don’t let a case of the Menses stop you from living your life to the fullest.

Standing Up to Vulvodynia

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Vulvodynia is a fairly common condition. However, due to its intimate nature many women often do not discuss the symptoms with their doctor. The condition is defined as a vulvar pain that continues for up to three months, or even longer in some cases. Many women describe the pain as a rawness surrounding the vaginal opening or an extreme burning or stinging in the area. While the pain is severe, Vulvodynia is not life threatening.

The condition itself is a bit of an anomaly because there are no definite causes or cures. Instead, treatments exist to manage pain. Vulvodynia is also very unpredictable. It can manifest at any age and then vanish as suddenly as it started. While the pain often occurs when the problem area is touched or pressure is applied, it can also present as an uncomfortable feeling when sitting for long periods or wearing tight clothing.

Having vulvar discomfort is not only painful and frustrating but can also inhibit sexual activity, which may contribute to depression. Other complications include, but are not limited to, anxiety, trouble sleeping, an altered body image, and an overall decreased quality in life.

If a woman experiences extreme pain in her genitals, it is imperative to discuss the issue with a gynecologist. Without a patient’s input, the doctor may not have all the information needed to provide an accurate diagnosis. Also, because Vulvodynia does not typically show visible signs, a doctor must perform tests to rule out other possibilities.

Treatments of Vulvodynia range based on the severity of each case, and focus on relieving the symptoms. No one treatment works for every case, and many doctors prescribe a combination of the available options. Patients can also consult their doctor for several homeopathic therapies.

Don’t suffer if you feel you may have Vulvodynia – talk with your doctor to get treated.

Proper Nutrition for Female Fertility

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If fertility is a priority, there are many things to consider about the way you lead your life. There are things you should avoid, like smoking and drug use, and you should think strongly about limiting caffeine and alcohol intake. Furthermore, all prescription drugs should be monitored closely and discussed with a doctor. Simply put, it is important to know what to put in your body, and what to keep out.

A major factor is maintaining a healthy and nutritious eating regimen. Here are some tips:

First and foremost, water is of the utmost importance. The accepted guideline for water consumption is 64 ounces daily, which provides a long list of benefits. This includes clearing toxins from within your body and moving nutrients throughout, as well as providing cushion and lubrication for organs and keeping a regulated body temperature.

While carbohydrates are often the topic of many weight loss discussions, they are a vital source of energy for the body. While a healthy regimen will limit the empty calories that come from refined sugars, natural sugars and complex carbohydrates are very beneficial. Good carbs supply vitamins and fiber, and should be roughly half of your daily calorie intake.

About a quarter of your daily calorie intake should come in the form of protein. Protein is important for maintaining healthy body tissue, as they aid in tissue growth and repair. Antibodies found in protein are also great for the immune system.

The rest of the calories you consume each day will come from fats. Like carbs with refined sugars, you should avoid empty fat calories. However, healthy foods like nuts, avocados and olive oil provide good unsaturated fats that help protect organs and insulate the body. A nutritious diet will help to maintain proper weight, and in turn keep your reproductive system healthy.

Da Vinci Surgical System: Worthy of it’s Namesake

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For patients in need of surgery for hysterectomy and other gynecologic procedures, the da Vinci Surgical System is both a doctor’s and patients’ dream. It uses a sophisticated robotic platform that expands the surgeon’s capabilities while also minimizing the size of incisions, which reduces scarring for patients.

By using the system to create small openings, a doctor can utilize tiny instruments and a magnified, high definition camera during surgery. This new technology scales, filters, and translates the doctor’s hand movements into calculated micro-movements of the da Vinci instruments.

While the system may appear to be a robot that you might see in a futuristic movie, the tool cannot move or operate on it’s own and must be controlled by the surgeon. The movements that the surgeon performs in the console are immediately translated by the system and performed by the miniature tools on the patient’s end.

Some of the major benefits of this break through system are the increased surgical precision when compared to traditional methods, as well as wider range of motion. Also, the system offers enhanced visualization of the surgical process and easier access to many parts of the human anatomy.

While minimally invasive or laparoscopic surgery has been slow to catch on at many hospitals around the country, this slow growth is mainly due to the constrictions of the existing equipment. These tools are typically rigid and the standard video monitors do not allow the surgeon to have sufficient views. On the other hand, the FDA has approved the da Vinci Surgical System for many different procedures.

While every case is special, the da Vinci Surgical System offers many benefits to both patients and doctors. It is a prime choice for those going under the knife.

The Basics of Urinary Tract Infections

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One of the most common health issues women face is a urinary tract infection. The system in your body that creates urine and helps you flush it out of your body is called the urinary tract. The urinary tract includes your kidneys and bladder, as well as the tubes that connect them to one another. If germs contaminate the system, you may develop a urinary tract infection.

Bladder infections and kidney infections are two types of urinary tract infections, with bladder infections being most common (especially in women), and slightly less serious in the early stages. A bladder infection may lead to a kidney infection if it is not detected and handled properly, which could then lead to long-term damage. Unwanted germs, often from your large intestine, cause infections in the system, typically entering through the urethra.

One of the easiest ways for the germs to enter the urethra is during sex, though UTIs are also more common for women that are pregnant or diabetic. Simply, the likelihood of an infection is greater when urine movement is blocked from the bladder.

Signs of a urinary tract infection include having trouble urinating, unusually colored, smelly or cloudy urine or a burning sensation or other pain while urinating. Also, pain in the lower abdomen is common, as well as in the areas around your kidneys. Further indications include nausea, vomiting, or having chills and a fever.

Once you think you may have an infection, it is important to call your doctor immediately, particularly if have pain in the kidney area or a history of kidney problems. Also, if you have a weak immune system, are 65 years or older, or are pregnant, you should see a doctor because a urine test will be needed to confirm.

Determining if Permanent Birth Control is Right for You

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There could be many reasons to consider your options for permanent birth control. Of course, the most common is when you decide that you no longer want to be able to have children. This is certainly a personal choice, but should be discussed with your partner as well as your doctor. While there are many common procedures for permanent birth control, many women do not discuss them enough ahead of time, particularly with a health care professional, to determine what method is truly best.

A permanent birth control procedure is very efficient, as indicated by the name. Methods vary, but range in effectiveness from 98-99.8%, which are generally higher rates than common contraceptive methods, such as diaphragms and condoms. This will help to put a woman’s mind at ease that no longer wants to have children, fears an unexpected pregnancy, or prefers more freedom.

Beyond the reasoning, the fact remains permanent birth control is a decision that should not be taken lightly. It is permanent, after all. There are several considerations that should be made to determine if permanent birth control is truly the best option for you, now and forever. This includes your age, whether or not you and your partner no longer want the ability to have children, or a medical condition that would complicate a pregnancy. Explore the ways your life could change in the future – would there be any circumstance in which you would regret the decision?

Once you have decided to go through with the procedure, talk to your doctor. There are a range of options that may include surgical procedures or non-surgical techniques, like Essure. Each is different and provides separate benefits, so it is important to fully understand the permanent birth control that is right for you.