• Zika Virus: What Expectant Moms Need to Know About Traveling

    Are you planning to travel this holiday season to visit your loved ones? If so, you may need to take extra precautions if you’re expecting. Talk to your midwife in Arlington Heights about whether it’s safe for you to travel. The safety concerns associated with air travel during pregnancy aren’t the only issues you should consider. Depending on your destination, your midwife may recommend changing your plans to reduce the risk of your exposure to Zika virus. pregnancy - health

    Understanding the Zika Virus

    The Zika virus, which currently has no vaccine or cure, is spread primarily through mosquito bites. It can also be spread from person to person during sex. Most people who develop Zika experience a mild illness that generally resolves within a week. The major concern with Zika is the potential for the virus to be transmitted to a fetus when the mother becomes infected. Zika has been known to cause severe brain defects, including microcephaly.

    Researching Current Location-Specific Risks

    The geographical spread of Zika is subject to change over time. Your midwife can check the current risks of Zika in the area where you plan to travel. Zika has been confirmed in many locations, including the Bahamas, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, and others. Closer to home, Zika has also been confirmed in Florida.

    Considering a Change of Plans

    If you are already pregnant, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that you do not travel to any areas in which Zika has been confirmed. Consider asking your loved ones if they would be willing to travel to your home instead. If you’re not yet pregnant, but you are trying to conceive, talk to your midwife about whether restricting your travel would be wise. The CDC advises against nonessential travel for women who are trying to conceive. If your partner travels to these areas, you’ll need to take precautions to guard against Zika transmission during sex. Your midwife can advise you of how long you should wait to have unprotected sex after your partner has potentially been exposed to Zika.

  • What to Expect During the Essure® Procedure

    There are many types of birth control available to women, but most of them are temporary and rely on the use of hormones. If you’re looking for a non-hormonal, permanent type of birth control, consider talking to your doctor in Arlington Heights about family planning with Essure®. Essure® is a safe, effective alternative to tubal ligation for women who are positive that they do not wish to have children. It’s a nonsurgical procedure that hundreds of thousands of women have already undergone. birth - control

    Preparation

    Before deciding whether Essure® is right for you, you can consult your doctor to learn more about it. You should be aware that this procedure is irreversible. This birth control procedure involves placing a small, flexible insert into each of the fallopian tubes. This causes a natural barrier to develop around the inserts, which prevents sperm from fertilizing an egg . Your doctor will need to review your medical history to make sure it’s safe for you to receive this type of birth control. Women who have a nickel allergy may have adverse reactions to the insert material. If you decide to go forward with the procedure, you’ll schedule an office appointment for a day not long after your period ends.

    Procedure

    Essure® can be placed in the healthcare provider’s office, since it is a nonsurgical procedure. Your doctor will insert a hysteroscope into the vagina, through the cervix, and into the uterus. The hysteroscope allows your doctor to see the openings of the fallopian tubes. The Essure® inserts are then passed through the device and into the tubes. You may experience some mild discomfort or cramping during and after the procedure. Women often describe the side effects as being similar to what is normally experienced during menstruation.

    Recovery

    The recovery period for Essure® placement is minimal. Most women can return home in about 45 minutes and they usually return to their normal activities within one to two days. Protection against pregnancy does not occur immediately with this procedure. It takes time for the scar tissue to form a natural barrier against sperm. You’ll return to the office in about three months and your doctor will use X-rays or ultrasound images to confirm whether you are protected from pregnancy. Some women may need a second confirmation test at the six-month mark.

  • Coping with Infertility During the Holidays

    When a successful pregnancy seems to be elusive, the holiday season can become difficult to bear. The increased focus on family and children can bring closer scrutiny on your own pregnancy difficulties. If you aren’t already receiving infertility care from an Ob/Gyn in Arlington Heights, consider booking an appointment. Infertility counseling and treatment can help you feel more empowered about the situation. Infertility

    Let Yourself Say “No”

    It can be difficult to turn down holiday invitations, but you may want to consider being selective about your plans this year. Consider attending get-togethers where children will not be the focus, such as office potlucks. Of course, you’ll likely be expected to socialize with your close family, but you might prefer to limit your contact with your extended family this year. Simply send a holiday card along with your regrets; no explanation is necessary.

    Develop a Prepared Answer

    Some women who are struggling to achieve a pregnancy aren’t quite sure how to answer questions like, “So when are you and Bill going to have kids?” To avoid being thrown off-guard, prepare your answer in advance. You might offer a humorous response that discourages further inquiries, such as “We’re just practicing right now,” or “We’re not quite sure how to do that yet.” It’s unlikely that the person inquiring about your pregnancy status will want to continue the conversation and he or she will likely get the hint that pregnancy is not a welcome discussion. After giving your response, you can safely change the topic.

    Spend Time Helping Others

    Even if you successfully navigate awkward social situations, you might find it hard to be alone with your own thoughts, especially if you’re dreaming of all of the cute baby toys you might like to buy. Take your mind off of parenthood for a while and find a volunteer opportunity in your community. Spend some time with the elderly at a nursing home or hospital, volunteer to drive cancer patients to treatments, or serve meals to those who are less fortunate. Helping others in need is a sure way to lift your own spirits and get your mind off that elusive pregnancy for a little while.

  • 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.

    Education

    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 Close-Up Look at Infertility

    When you’re ready to stop using birth control and try to conceive a child, you may become frustrated if pregnancy doesn’t happen right away. However, it’s not uncommon for women and men to experience difficulties with conception. If you’ve been having unprotected sex for one year without achieving pregnancy, it’s time to talk to an obstetrics specialist in Arlington Heights. If you’re aged 35 or older, you can shorten that time period to six months. infertility - symptoms

    Common Causes

    In about one-third of cases, infertility occurs because of an issue with the female partner. Another one-third is attributable to problems with the male partner and the remaining cases involve a combination of female and male infertility issues . When you visit an obstetrics specialist to determine the underlying cause of your problem, it’s wise to encourage your partner to visit his doctor, too. In women, some of the common causes of infertility include anatomical dysfunction such as scar tissue and adhesions. Congenital defects, endometriosis, prior surgeries in the area, a history of ectopic pregnancy, or infections might be to blame for the problem. Infertility can also occur due to hormonal problems such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

    Lifestyle Modifications

    In addition to performing a physical exam and recommending appropriate medical tests, the doctor will likely ask you about your lifestyle habits. It’s likely that you already know that it’s harmful to smoke or drink alcohol during pregnancy, but it’s also harmful to smoke or drink while trying to become pregnant. In women, this can interfere with ovulation, while men can experience problems with sperm count. It’s also advisable to avoid environmental toxins such as pesticides and to practice good stress management. If you’re overweight or underweight, your doctor might advise you to make dietary adjustments as needed, since both of these problems can affect fertility.

    Treatment Options

    Lifestyle modifications can help, but many couples need medical treatment to achieve pregnancy. Your doctor can help you understand your options. Some women can successfully conceive with the help of fertility drugs, while others may need medical procedures such as artificial insemination or in vitro fertilization (IVF).

  • Your Guide to Preventing Osteoporosis

    Osteoporosis is characterized by weak, brittle bones that are at a high risk of fracturing due to falls or even mild physical trauma like coughing. It’s often thought that osteoporosis is inevitable for women who are of menopause age . And indeed, the work of preventing osteoporosis should ideally begin well before a woman enters menopause. However, it’s never too late to begin improving the health of your bones, even if you’ve already begun to experience menopause symptoms. To get started, talk to your provider about having a healthy menopause in Arlington Heights. osteoporosis - symptoms

    Nutrition

    Healthy nutrition is a cornerstone of osteoporosis prevention. For a well-balanced diet, women should choose a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean proteins, and low-fat or nonfat dairy products. A well-balanced diet can help women under 50 get 1,000 milligrams of calcium every day. Older women should aim for 1,200 milligrams of calcium daily for bone health. Vitamin D is also important for building strong bones. Women who are 70 or younger should get 600 units of vitamin D daily, while those who are older should get 800 units daily.

    Exercise

    Regular physical activity is essential at every stage of life. Weight-bearing exercise strengthens bones as well as muscles. Some good examples of weight-bearing exercises include walking, stair climbing, jogging, tennis, dancing, yoga, and hiking. Strength training with weights or resistance bands is also a smart idea.

    Lifestyle

    In addition to eating well and exercising regularly, you can make other healthy lifestyle choices to reduce your risk of osteoporosis. These include not smoking and limiting your alcohol consumption. Smoking is significant for bone health because it inhibits the ability of the bones to absorb calcium by interfering with the way the body uses vitamin D. Smoking also lowers a woman’s estrogen levels. At menopause, a woman’s estrogen levels have already begun declining considerably. Smoking will worsen this effect and further increase the risk of osteoporosis. Additionally, it’s widely recommended that women consume no more than one alcoholic beverage per day, if any. Consuming more alcohol than this may increase your risk of osteoporosis because it can act on the liver in a way that interferes with the activation of vitamin D. Alcohol can also affect the absorption of calcium.

  • Options for Birth Control

    One of the most important women’s health issues patients face is choosing the best birth control option. Although oral contraceptives are perhaps the best-known choice, there are many other birth control options available to women. Choosing the right option starts with making an appointment for gynecology services in Arlington Heights and having a conversation with your doctor or midwife. Here are some of the popular methods that your healthcare provider may review with you.

    Birth Control Pills

    Birth Control Pills Birth control pills are popular because they are easy to take and effective. They come in a variety of forms, including low-dose hormone pills and progesterone-only pills. As long as you take them at the same time every day without missing a dose, birth control pills are up to 99 percent effective in preventing pregnancy, with slight variations in effectiveness depending on the type. Most side effects include spotting, tender breasts, and weight gain resolve in two to four months. Failing to take the contraceptives as recommended can dramatically reduce their effectiveness, only some antibiotics can interfere with birth control pills, but can make accidental pregnancy more likely.

    Nexplanon

    Nexplanon is an implantable birth control device. The implant is placed in your upper arm in your OBGYN office during a simple procedure and provides three years of pregnancy prevention. If you decide to get pregnant before the three years is up, the device is easily removed at any time. Nexplanon is a hormonal birth control option. The most common side effect is that you will not have a regular period.

    IUD

    An intrauterine device, or IUD, is a small device shaped like a T that is placed in the uterus during a quick, in-office procedure by your gynecologist. There are two versions of IUDs: copper and hormonal. Copper IUDs do not contain hormones and work by interfering with the way sperm move so that they cannot reach the egg. Hormonal IUDs also interfere with sperm movement and may also thicken cervical mucous and prevent ovulation. Copper IUDs can be an ideal solution for women who cannot tolerate hormonal birth control. IUDs are effective for three to ten years depending on which one you choose, but can be removed if you wish to start a family.

  • How Birth Control Pills Work

    There are many different options for birth control near Arlington Heights. Birth control pills are among the most widely used, although many women prefer IUD contraceptives or ESSURE sterilization. Your women’s health provider can help you choose the right type of birth control for your needs and preferences. Although there are many different formulations, birth control pills generally work by releasing synthetic hormones to suppress ovulation . They may prevent the release of a mature egg, inhibit the ability of the sperm to fertilize an egg, and alter the uterine lining so that a fertilized egg cannot implant.

    You can hear more about using birth control properly by consulting your gynecologist and watching this video. It explains that women should take the pill at the same time every day and be mindful of whether they need to take a placebo pill for one week every month or to discontinue the pill altogether for a week.