• Is It Risky to Smoke While Using Oral Contraceptives

    When you visit your women’s health professional to discuss birth control, one of the things that he or she will consider is your lifestyle and what risks certain contraceptives could pose based on these factors. If you smoke, your OBGYN in Arlington Heights may steer you away from oral contraceptives to protect you from potentially dangerous side effects. Here is what you need to know.

    Smoking and oral contraceptives are a dangerous combination. The estrogen in birth control pills increases the pressure in blood vessels, increasing the risk of blood clots. When you smoke, that pressure is increased even further. When smoking and oral contraceptives are combined, your risk for blood clots, stroke, and heart attack increases, especially if you are over 35.

    If you smoke, talk to your OBGYN about non-hormonal birth control methods that won’t further impact your cardiovascular health. You can also ask your doctor for advice to help you quit smoking. Doing so not only increases your options for birth control but can also dramatically improve your overall health.

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  • VBAC: Understanding the Risks and Evaluating Your Choices

    VBAC—or vaginal birth after Cesarean—is a complex and controversial topic that all mothers face if they become pregnant after a C-section. Although doctors once thought that giving birth vaginally was too dangerous after a C-section, many obstetricians now recommend it. There is no single right answer for every woman. If you’re interested in VBAC, talk to your obstetrician in Arlington Heights about your preferences for giving birth and what is realistic for you. Here is what you need to know about the risks of VBAC and factors to consider when making your choice. second - pregnancy

    The Risks of VBAC

    The biggest risk of VBAC is uterine rupture. During a vaginal delivery, the incision from the previous C-section could reopen, which could put the life of both mother and baby in jeopardy. Fortunately, uterine rupture is rare. Depending on the location of the initial incision, uterine rupture occurs in about 1.5% of VBAC cases . However, the stakes are so high that obstetricians may be reluctant to accept VBAC as an acceptable birth plan if there are other risk factors in place. For instance, uterine ruptures are more common after multiple C-sections and in women who are older. The risk of rupture is also greater if a woman must be induced.

    Deciding if VBAC Is Right for You

    Your obstetrician will review your birth options with you in full, including the idea of VBAC. If VBAC is your preference, your doctor will consider several different factors, including your age, your pre-existing health conditions, the size of your baby, and how many C-sections you’ve had in the past, before deciding if it is safe for you. To be eligible for a VBAC, you generally must have no uterine scars except for those from a past C-section, and you can’t have the reason for your previous C-section present in this pregnancy. The baby must also be head down and a size that is appropriate for vaginal delivery.

  • What to Expect During Your First Midwife Appointment

    If you have decided that a midwife will be part of your birth plan, then you probably have many questions about when to expect from your first appointment. Midwives are commonly used in other countries during pregnancy, but their services have only recently begun to increase in popularity in the U.S. Now, many women are opting to use a midwife in Arlington Heights to help them through pregnancy, labor, and delivery. Your first midwife appointment should occur sometime in the first trimester of your pregnancy, preferably as soon as you know you are pregnant. Here is a look at what to expect during that first visit. midwife - appointment

    Medical History

    Your midwife will review your complete medical history during your first appointment, including your experiences during any past pregnancies. It is important to inform your midwife about all of your medical conditions and any medications you take. In some cases, some chronic conditions, like diabetes, can make your pregnancy high risk. If your midwife determines that you have a high-risk pregnancy, she may refer you back to an obstetrician for your care or have an obstetrician oversee your case closely. You may also need to stop or change the way you take certain medications. Having a complete picture of your health history helps your midwife make decisions about your care.

    Physical Exam

    In most cases, your midwife will perform a physical exam during your first appointment, which may include a pelvic exam and even a Pap smear, depending on your needs. This exam will be the first of many that your midwife will perform to determine if your pregnancy is progressing as expected. As you advance in your pregnancy, your midwife may also listen to your baby’s heartbeat and use an ultrasound machine to watch your baby’s growth.


    Midwives are advocates for women’s health and will often use your appointments to share information about caring for yourself during and after pregnancy. Your midwife will also explain all of your options for labor and delivery with you and help you choose a birth plan that is right for you. This education will continue after you deliver, when your midwife can advise you about things like birth control and breast feeding.

  • A Woman’s Introduction to Menopause

    Menopause is a part of life for all women as they transition out of their childbearing years. During menopause, women stop ovulating and experience a significant drop in estrogen levels that can cause a wide range of symptoms. Fortunately, it is possible to manage your menopause symptoms in Arlington Heights with the help of your gynecologist.

    Menopause typically occurs between the ages of 45 and 50, though the range varies significantly. During menopause, the hormonal changes can cause hot flashes, mood swings, weight gain, night sweats, sleep disturbances, and loss of bone tissue. A gynecologist can help to manage these symptoms with hormone replacement therapy and advice for lifestyle changes that can keep uncomfortable symptoms in check.