Notes on Women's Health

Notes on Women's Health

Aging, Fertility and a Woman’s Biological Clock

Pregnant woman on bed American women are having babies later in life. The last few decades have seen the average age at which women have their first child gradually rise, and this trend has been particularly notable since 2016. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics, more women are first becoming mothers in their thirties rather than their twenties. This is the first time this phenomenon has been observed in American history. Furthermore, the only segment of the population to see an overall increase in birth rates since 2016 is women over 40.

A combination of factors is likely driving this shift in average maternal age. Now that women have access to a plethora of educational opportunities and occupations, many choose to firmly establish their careers before having children. Additionally, advances in in-vitro fertilization (IVF) and other fertility treatments mean that older women are now more likely to have successful pregnancies than in the past. So, is there still such a thing as the biological clock for women today? Read More

Over-the-Counter Medications During Pregnancy

over the counter medications during pregnancyAnything that a pregnant woman puts into her body has the potential to affect her baby. Diet, illicit substances, prescription drugs, and even over-the-counter (OTC) medications can all have a profound impact on the health and development of a baby. While your medical team should be aware of your pregnancy so that they do not prescribe potentially harmful medications, what about over the counter medications during pregnancy?

Pregnant women are susceptible to the same common medical issues as anyone else – colds, allergies, diarrhea, etc. Additionally, it is not uncommon for expectant mothers to encounter problems with a variety of minor complaints like heartburn, constipation and body aches. You need to know which non-prescription medications are safe for you and your baby.

You should always consult your prenatal care provider starting any medication or vitamins and supplements during pregnancy. In fact, many OB-GYN offices will provide you with a list of safe medications – just ask. That said, here are some general  guidelines for over the counter medications during pregnancy. Read More

Gestational Diabetes: Management and Prevention

gestational diabetes

Gestational diabetes is a temporary form of diabetes mellitus, a disease where blood sugar levels rise higher than normal. Blood sugar is usually regulated by the hormone called insulin. However, in gestational diabetes, a woman’s body does not produce sufficient insulin to control blood sugar levels, and with high amounts of blood sugar can come short and long-term problems in both expectant mothers and their babies.

Unfortunately, cases of gestational diabetes are becoming more frequent, with approximately 2-5% of pregnant women developing it, which increases to 7-9% if there are additional risk factors. This increase is mainly due to the obesity epidemic in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that about half of all women with gestational diabetes continue to suffer from diabetes mellitus after their pregnancy. Read More

Menstruation and Hormones: What You Need to Know About Your Monthly Cycle

OBGYN Doctor reviewing Menstruation and HormonesA woman begins her menstrual cycle at the onset of puberty (menarche), and this cycle more or less continues, occasionally interrupted by pregnancy or illness, until menopause. You probably already know that the menstrual cycle functions as a fertility mechanism, playing a huge role in ovulation and possible pregnancy. What you may not realize is that your menstrual cycle is also closely linked with your sex hormones.

In fact, these hormones control almost every physical aspect of your menstrual cycle – from the buildup of your uterine lining to release of an egg during ovulation. Additionally, your sex hormones can have a profound effect on your mood. Feelings of sadness, crankiness, or even elation during your monthly cycle are not caused solely by physical sensations like cramps and bloating. These emotions can also be caused by a change in hormone levels. Read More

HPV Vaccine: Facts to Consider for Your Preteen or Teen

The HPV VaccineIn the continuing fight to prevent cancer, there are known and unknown risk factors. For example, we know that certain environmental exposures increase the risk of developing some cancers, like lung and skin cancer. Research has also shown that family history sometimes plays a role in the risk of other cancers, such as colon and breast cancer. Studies have now demonstrated that there is a strong link between infection with human papillomavirus (HPV) and cervical cancer.

There is currently no cure for HPV. Fortunately, a vaccine for many of the oncogenic – or cancer-causing – strains of HPV is available. Having your child vaccinated against HPV can significantly reduce their risk of developing several types of cancer, including cancers of the cervix, vulva, vagina, anus, and throat. Additionally, the HPV vaccine can help guard against genital warts and warts in other locations. Read More

Critical Vitamins and Minerals Needed During Pregnancy (and Why You Need Them)

vitamins-minerals-pregnancyPregnancy is a big change—a major life change which will prompt you to investigate what to eat, how to exercise, whether to avoid your usual medications, and all of the other things you need to know now that you are living as two persons. The good news is that you were designed to do this. There are things in our evolution that have helped guide the way. For example, craving certain foods is thought to be related to seeking out what your pregnancy needs. But at certain stages of your life your nutritional requirements cannot be met through nutrition alone, which is why specific vitamins and minerals during pregnancy are necessary to supplement.

Your baby will take what he/she needs and then leave the rest for you. This is certainly true of energy and the same goes for nutritional requirements. However, as part of your prenatal care, your doctor will want to insure that you’re getting enough of the following vitamins and minerals to support best possible pregnancy for and your baby. Read More

Questions to Ask at Your First Pregnancy Appointment

OBGYN shaking hand with a patient after appointmentThink back to any first visit with a new doctor and you will probably remember pages upon pages of questions to answer. Of course, these days you may be filling out such a questionnaire online or on a computer tablet in the office. And when it comes to your first prenatal care appointment, you’re also going to be answering a lot of questions. It’s a necessary evil – your medical history, family history, and social history are invaluable to your OB-GYN and are used in practically every aspect of care for you and your baby.

But you need to remember that YOU should ask questions too! It is easy to forget to bring up a query when you’re trying to recall if your paternal uncle had diabetes or lupus, so write down questions before your appointment as a reminder. Also, when it comes to your obstetrician, there really is no such thing as a dumb question. We’ll cover a few common first pregnancy appointment interrogatives below, and you’ll probably come up with plenty of your own as well. Read More

What to Look for When Searching for an Obstetrician in Fairfield County, Connecticut

Garofalo Obgyn Norwalk CT - surgical care & patient recoveryIf you’re looking for tips on choosing an obstetrician in Fairfield County, chances are, you’re pregnant. Congratulations! It’s natural to want the best possible prenatal care during your pregnancy – maybe you’re not super comfortable with your current OB/GYN, or maybe he or she practices solely gynecology. Whatever the reason, we’re guessing that you need to find a doctor quickly and are wondering how to begin.

There’s no simple answer here, as which type of doctor you choose is mostly based on personal preference. That’ why it’s important to consider what you want first and then find a doctor that fills those needs. To get started, ask yourself the below seven questions when searching for an obstetrician to help you find the perfect match. Read More

March is Endometriosis Awareness Month: Know the Facts

endometriosis awarenessEndometriosis Awareness takes place across the globe during the month of March with a mission to raise awareness of the disease, which occurs in about one in ten women of reproductive age. It is most often diagnosed in women in their 30s and 40s. Endometriosis can impact a woman’s quality of life if mild to severe pain exists, and if left untreated, can lead to infertility. Because of its impact, it’s important to understand the facts around endometriosis so that you can benefit from early detection and treatment. Read More