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Notes on Women's Health

Notes on Women's Health

2nd Trimester Pregnancy Week by Week: What to Expect Weeks 18-26 and Your Second Trimester Ultrasound

Pregnant woman getting an ultrasound Prenatal Appointments: Weeks 18-20

Now four weeks into your second trimester, your fourth prenatal appointment occurs between the 18th and 20th week of pregnancy. Most expecting couples look forward to this appointment in anticipation of the anatomic scan, also known as an ultrasound. Read More

Preeclampsia Symptoms and Treatment: Can Low-Dose Aspirin Reduce the Risk of Preeclampsia?

Pregnant woman standing near windowPregnancy can be confusing, especially if it’s your first time. As your body goes through changes, it can be difficult to know what’s normal and what’s a concern. One of the most serious conditions of pregnancy is called preeclampsia, and it’s characterized by high blood pressure. High blood pressure is a condition that you might not notice, and other preeclampsia symptoms, such as headaches, nausea and vomiting, are common pregnancy symptoms.

Many women who have preeclampsia don’t feel sick at all. Read More

The Baby Blues and Signs of Postpartum Depression

Young mother - postpartum depression signsLife shouldn’t get any better than when you finally have your new baby home with you, right? While the long awaited arrival should make you feel happy and blissful, the truth is that some 9 to 16 percent of women show the signs of postpartum depression after childbirth.*

Many new moms feel guilty if they don’t feel like having their new baby home is the happiest time of their lives. But there shouldn’t be any guilt associated with experiencing postpartum blues (“baby blues”). During pregnancy, levels of the hormones estrogen and progesterone are sky-high and after delivering a baby and the placenta, they drastically plummet, triggering the baby blues.  Combine the change in hormones with an exhausting delivery and your new role of caretaker, and it’s no wonder so many moms experience postpartum mood changes.

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When Painful Menstrual Cramps Aren’t Normal

This is the fifth in a series of five blogs about conditions that can be related to abnormal uterine bleeding.

painful menstrual cramps

Mild vs. serious menstrual cramp pain

Most women experience mild to moderate menstrual cramping on occasion. When it occurs, the medical term for it is usually “primary dysmenorrhea,” which means painful menstrual cramps caused only by normal menstruation and not by an underlying condition or disease. Symptoms of normal primary dysmenorrhea can include pain that:

  • feels like mild to moderate cramps in your lower pelvis or back
  • occurs a day or two before your period or during the first few days of your period
  • is accompanied by mild nausea or diarrhea
  • doesn’t interfere with your daily activities
  • improves with one or two doses of ibuprofen

Primary dysmenorrhea is caused by the release of chemical compounds called prostaglandins in your uterus, and it often improves as you get older. Primary dysmenorrhea often responds well to prostaglandin-lowering treatments such as ibuprofen, magnesium and certain dietary changes. Read More

Traveling During Pregnancy: When to Go, How to Prepare and When to Seek Medical Attention

Traveling During PregnancyBeing pregnant should not hold you back when it comes to traveling. But before planning your next trip, it’s best to talk with your prenatal care provider to make sure you get the green light. For most women, traveling during pregnancy is safe until 36 weeks, but be prepared to change your plans should the health of you and your baby require it.

Best Time to Travel during Pregnancy

With the most common pregnancy problems occurring in the first and third trimesters, we recommend making travel plans during your second trimester, weeks 14 – 28. At this point in your pregnancy, morning sickness has most likely subsided and you should feel your energy returning. Feeling better and not yet carrying a third trimester-sized baby bump makes the mid pregnancy time period ideal for travel. Yet even though you may be medically cleared for travel, we tell our patients to always let how they’re feeling take the lead when it comes to traveling. Read More

Taking Control of Heavy Menstrual Bleeding

heavy menstrual bleeding

This is the fourth in a series of five blogs about abnormal uterine bleeding.

What is normal menstrual bleeding and what isn’t?

Many of our patients experience abnormally heavy bleeding during their periods. In many cases, they suspect it’s not normal, but because they’re used to menstrual bleeding every month, they think that it’s just because of how their bodies are made, and that they just have to make some lifestyle adjustments.

Many women begin to experience heavy menstrual bleeding in their 30’s or 40’s, or when menopause is getting closer. Menstrual periods vary for each woman, so it may be hard to know what’s normal and what’s abnormal bleeding. But although there is no solid definition for abnormal bleeding amounts, you may be bleeding too much if you: Read More

Exercise for Pregnant Women: Is it Safe and What You Should Know Before You Start

exercise for pregnant womenUnless you’re practicing hot yoga or scuba diving, most likely you’re not going to get an official excuse from your doctor to miss your workout given the numerous benefits of exercise for pregnant women. But before you continue or start exercising during pregnancy, it’s important to get the green light from your provider, as well as learn the red flags to watch for.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that physical activity in pregnancy has minimal risks and has been shown to benefit most women. If you are healthy and your pregnancy is normal, it is safe to continue or start most types of exercise, but you may need to make a few modifications to your routine to accommodate the normal anatomic and physiologic changes that you can expect with your pregnancy. Read More

Connecticut OBGYN Dr. John Garofalo is Appointed Assistant Clinical Professor at the University of Vermont College of Medicine

Connecticut OBGYN ProfessorThe University of Vermont Larner College of Medicine is pleased to announce that Faculty Affairs has appointed Connecticut OBGYN Dr. John Garofalo Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

The University’s Office of Faculty Affairs assists and supports the faculty of the Robert Larner M.D. College of Medicine in their clinical, teaching, research, and administrative roles on the UVM Medical Center campus, as well as our teaching faculty throughout Vermont and New York, and at affiliate clinical teaching sites at Norwalk and Danbury Hospitals in Connecticut, Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor, and St. Mary’s Medical Center in West Palm Beach, Florida. Read More

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease Symptoms and When to be Concerned

This is the third in a series of five blogs about common conditions that can cause abnormal uterine bleeding.

pelvic inflammatory disease symptomsWhat is pelvic inflammatory disease?

Infections are never pleasant. They can cause pain, fever, chills, dizziness, fatigue and other symptoms. But when infections occur in your reproductive organs, they can be especially difficult. When your reproductive organs are subjected to bacteria from by a sexually transmitted disease, inflammation can occur. When it does, this condition is called pelvic inflammatory disease, or PID. If left untreated, pelvic inflammatory disease can interfere with your ability to have children: It’s the leading cause of preventable infertility in women. It’s also a rising concern at our practice, because we’ve seen higher-than-usual incidence of chlamydia, which is one of many sexually transmitted diseases that can lead to PID if untreated. Nationwide, the rates of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis, which are the three most commonly reported sexually transmitted diseases in the United States, have reached record levels in recent years. And because many women are used to periodic pain or are too embarrassed to act, PID can be undiagnosed and untreated, which can lead to additional complications, such as internal scarring, ongoing pain, miscarriages and difficulty getting pregnant, so it’s imperative to understand pelvic inflammatory disease symptoms. Read More

Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy (especially this summer)

foods to avoid during pregnancyWith the onset of summer and July 4th just around the corner, so are the poolside lunches, beach picnics and barbeques that offer many of our favorite summertime staples – hotdogs, clambakes, potato salad, club sandwiches – just to name a few. For pregnant women, these events can provide an easy way to get the extra nutrition and calories needed to help ensure the health of you and your baby, but the foods you may want to eat may also be on the list of foods to avoid during pregnancy. Keep in mind, just as important as what you’re eating is what you’re not eating as you head into summer.

The Danger of Listeriosis

Listeriosis is a type of food-borne illness caused by bacteria and pregnant women are 20 times more likely to get listeriosis than the general population. While it may only cause mild, flu-like illness in a pregnant woman, the results to your baby can be life-threatening, so it’s best to avoid foods that are known to carry the bacteria. Read More