Pregnant women and their unborn children are particularly vulnerable to many common infections. While these infections may not normally impact the general population, they are exceptionally dangerous for expectant mothers and can cause serious health problems. There are several steps you can take to prevent prenatal infections in both yourself and your baby. Here is a compendium of critical tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Ask any doctor and they’ll tell you… One of the most important parts of their job is to answer patients’ questions accurately and thoroughly. By providing this education, we can develop a stronger patient-provider relationship and empower women to make the most informed health decisions possible. Answering reproductive questions daily in our Connecticut office, we think it’s helpful to share the most common questions about women’s health, specifically those concerning female reproduction, as well as our answers.
The normal human gestation period is nine months or 40 weeks. Of course, real life is rarely textbook perfect, and most women do not go into spontaneous labor at exactly 40 weeks, 0 days of pregnancy. The majority of babies arrive a few days before or after this mark, and this mild unpunctuality is usually not a cause for concern.
As of 2009, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) reported that almost one-quarter (22%) of all pregnant women in the United States underwent induction of labor. This figure had more than doubled since 1990. Of course, many women have inductions for medically-indicated reasons, but elective inductions are also popular for reasons of convenience or to choose their child’s birth date. Read More
Many women are concerned about health risks during pregnancy that may affect both themselves and their child. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a high-risk pregnancy is “one that threatens the health or life of the mother or her fetus.” But what are these risk factors, and how do you know if your pregnancy is high-risk? And if your pregnancy is high-risk, how will your prenatal course differ from a “normal” pregnancy? We will answer these questions below and provide some general advice for women during a high-risk pregnancy.
What Makes a Pregnancy High-Risk?
There are hundreds of factors that could raise the risk of any pregnancy. These factors can be broadly separated into controllable and uncontrollable categories. Controllable risk factors include problems like smoking or other substance abuse, obesity and poor diet. Examples of uncontrollable risk factors are maternal age, family medical history, preexisting diseases like diabetes or cardiovascular disease, and infections such as HIV. Read More
A Cesarean section, more commonly known as a C-section, is a method of delivery that involves making an incision through a woman’s lower abdomen and into her uterus to deliver the infant. C-sections are very common. In fact, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that 31.9% of all recorded US births in 2016 were by C-section. This figure means that roughly one in three deliveries occurred via C-section.
When a C-Section May be Medically Necessary
Worldwide C-sections have saved the lives and preserved the health of hundreds of thousands of babies and mothers when they are medically necessary. Following our instances where a c-section may be required: Read More
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
Anything 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
Whether you are expecting your first baby or your fifth, it is natural to have questions about your pregnancy, as no two pregnancies seem to be alike. We field some general queries, while others have more specific questions, but below are some of the most common questions asked by pregnant women in our Connecticut office. Read More
Pregnancy 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
Think 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