Voted "Best OB-GYN" in Towne Lake, Woodstock and Canton Voted "Mom-Approved OBs" by Atlanta Parent magazine readers


July 9, 2014

We are constantly looking for ways to make our patients’ lives easier and to help them get the information they need quickly and easily. Recently, we upgraded to a new and improved online patient portal that will do just that. Cherokee Women’s patients can now check results, message providers, make appointments and view health records online.

How Do I Sign Up?

Signing up for our new patient portal is super-easy. All you have to do is call the office and verify your email address, and we’ll send you a sign-up email. From there, you’ll need to input your password (our front staff will be able to help you with the temporary password) and follow the process to create your new account. Once you have your new account, you will have access to all your medical information, 24-hours a day. If you were signed up for the old system, your information is retained and automatically transferred to the new system, you just need to call the office for the new password and to verify your email address.

By using the Patient Portal, you can: Sign Up for (1)

  • Request appointments that are convenient to your schedule
  • Pre-register and fill out health forms before your appointment, saving you time when you’re at our office.
  • View lab results (As soon as we get them, they’re available on the patient portal.)
  • Access your health records online for FREE. This is handy if you need to take them to a PCP, or for your own personal records, as you can do this with no hassle and no cost.
  • Send a question or message to your health provider
  • Pay your bill online safely and securely
  • Change your address or insurance information

Cherokee Women’s Health Specialists is dedicated to giving the best in OB/GYN care to Canton and Woodstock residents. If you have any questions or concerns regarding our new system, don’t hesitate to contact our office and we’ll make sure we get answers to you. Have a suggestion about the patient portal? Let us know!

July 7, 2014

Miscarriage is a pregnancy complication that happens when a woman’s pregnancy ends on its own before 20 weeks.  Miscarriage is the most common type of pregnancy loss, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Studies reveal that anywhere from 10-25% of all clinically recognized pregnancies will end in miscarriage. Chemical pregnancies, or when a pregnancy is lost shortly after implantation, accounts for 50-75% of all miscarriages. Often, a woman may not realize that she conceived when she experiences a chemical pregnancy, and may think that it’s her expected period instead.

There are common misconceptions about miscarriage and miscarriage rates, according to an article recently published on Health.com called 11 Things You Didn’t Know About Miscarriage. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Age increases likelihood to miscarry. As women get older, the chances of genetic abnormalities increase due to an increasing lack of healthy eggs.
  • Being overweight or underweight can increase your risk of miscarriage.
  • Smoking is a known risk factor linked to miscarriage. Alcohol and drug use can also increase your risk.
  • Sex doesn’t cause miscarriage. Neither does moderate exercise or continuing to work.
  • One miscarriage does not mean that you will have more. Women who have miscarried have gone on to have one or more children. Your doctor will not look for signs for concern unless you have had two or more.

Symptoms of Miscarriage

Spotting is fairly common during early pregnancy, but shouldn’t be overlooked and you should always follow-up with your OB/GYN. Symptoms of miscarriage include:

  • Bleeding that progresses from mild to severe
  • Back pain
  • Heavy cramping
  • Abdominal pain
  • Fever
  • Weakness

If you or someone close to you has suffered from a miscarriage, take the time to grieve. Women connect with a pregnancy early on, so it’s normal to grieve the loss. Some women have depression or depression-like symptoms following a miscarriage, and of course, fathers may suffer the effects as well. It’s important to keep the lines of communication open with family, friends and healthcare providers during this difficult time. Contact Cherokee Women’s Health immediately if you experience any of the above symptoms.


June 23, 2014

If you’re a first-time mom, you may not have expected sleep problems to arise before your little one was born. Sleep problems are common in pregnancy and can affect even the most resilient women. The key is to remember that any discomfort you may be feeling is short-lived, with the result of welcoming your new baby. Staying comfortable as your belly grows is probably the most common sleep problem during pregnancy, with frequent bathroom breaks, changes in temperature and weird pregnancy dreams being some of the other culprits. Here are some of Cherokee Women’s suggestions on getting a good night’s sleep while pregnant.

Finding a Comfortable Sleeping Position Sleeping Pregnant woman

As your belly continues to grow, you won’t be able to sleep on your stomach or on your back, leaving side-sleeping as the only option in those last few months. Back sleeping isn’t advised after your first trimester, since being flat on your back can put unnecessary pressure on blood vessels. More than likely, it won’t be comfortable anyway, as the weight of your uterus and baby pressing up against you will make it difficult to sleep. Sleeping on your side is easier on your circulatory system, and the left side is preferred because it allows for maximum blood flow.

Stock up on Pillows

To help make sleeping on your side more comfortable, especially if you’re a tummy or back sleeper, stock up on pillows. Some pregnant women find relief by putting a pillow between their legs. You can also place one under your belly and behind your back. There are also custom-fit full-body pillows specifically designed for pregnant mamas that cradle all these areas, aiding in a better night’s sleep.

Of course, if you wake up in the middle of the night and realize you’ve shifted to your stomach or back, don’t panic. More than likely, it was your body’s way of telling you to shift positions, or you’re waking up to use the bathroom, again. To help you make the most of your pregnancy sleep cycles, avoid caffeine after lunchtime, curb your liquid intake after dinner (to keep you from those frequent bathroom breaks), and make sure you’re getting plenty of exercise (but avoid exercise right before bed). You can also take a warm bath or practice relaxation exercises to help you drift off easier.

If you’re not getting enough sleep or have concerns about sleep positions during pregnancy, talk to your doctor the next time you’re at our Canton or Woodstock office.

Photo via FreeDigitalPhotos.net


June 20, 2014

Thanks to the significant improvements in obstetrics and labor and delivery, more and more women are choosing to have children later on in life. What does this mean for mamas who want to have a baby after their 40th birthday? Cherokee Women’s Health takes a look at what you need to know if you’re considering waiting to have children.

How Healthy are You?

The chance of becoming pregnant during any one month drops to only 5 percent after age 40 (down from about 20 percent on average in your 20’s). Being able to conceive without the use of fertility drugs in your 40’s depends on a variety of factors, including your level of fitness, daily habits (think smoking, drinking, and diet), and whether this is your first baby. Pregnancy can take a toll on a woman’s body at any age, and making sure you’re the healthiest you can be will give your baby a healthy start.

What are the Risks? pregnant woman standing and holding on to her stomach

While being an older mom can have advantages such as financial stability and more life experience, there are more risks associated with pregnancies later in life. These include:

  • Birth defects – Older women are more likely to have a baby with a chromosome disorder such as Down syndrome. By age 45, the chances are 1 in 30, up from 1 in 1,250 at age 25.
  • High blood pressure and diabetesDiabetes and high blood pressure are more prevalent in women who become pregnant later in life.
  • Placenta problems – Placenta previa, where the placenta covers all or part of your cervix, is more common in pregnancies in women over 40. Placenta previa can cause severe bleeding before or during delivery.
  • Premature birth and low birth weight – Women who have children later in life are at risk for premature birth (babies born before 37 weeks) or having babies weighing less than 5.5 lbs.
  • Higher risk of miscarriage – As you age, your risk of miscarriage goes up. By age 45, your chance is 80%.

Many of these risks can be avoided with excellent prenatal care. Talking to your doctor about your risks and concerns is your first step in determining whether having a baby after 40 is the right decision for you. If you’re considering adding to your family a little later on and have questions about conception, pregnancy, and delivering a healthy baby, don’t hesitate to contact us to make an appointment with one of our healthcare specialists.


May 27, 2014

When it comes to being pregnant during the sweltering summer months, many pregnant mamas think, “whose pool can I spend the next three months in?!” It’s true – being pregnant during the warmer months may not be fun for some, but there’s lots of pros and cons to being pregnant at any time of the year. Here at Cherokee Women’s Health, we wanted to share some summer pregnancy survival tipsPregnant woman drinking water

  • Use the pool – Or the beach, or the lake, or wherever you may find yourself this summer. One of the best perks about being pregnant in the summertime is being able to take a load off in the water. Swimming is also great exercise!
  • Stay hydrated – Drinking plenty of water during your pregnancy is important for any time of the year, but it’s especially important during the summer.
  • Try a mocktail – A cold beer and fruity alcoholic drinks are a no-no during pregnancy, but you can join the fun with a fruit mocktail. There are tons of delicious-looking recipes on Pinterest that will serve every palate.
  • Use that SPF. Protect your skin by wearing a high SPF sunscreen and make sure you apply liberally throughout the day, especially if you’re in the water or prone to sweating. Protect your head with a wide-brimmed hat that will provide extra protection for your face and neck.
  • Maximize your wardrobe – with a stretchy maxi skirt or dress. These summery outfits are perfect for pregnant women, as they accommodate a growing belly and are lightweight and flowing. And for tired, swollen feet, nothing beats a comfortable pair of flip-flops.

It’s important to note that during pregnancy, your body temperature is already higher than normal. Pay attention to the heat index (hot hot the temperature feels due to the combination of heat and humidity) and for days in the 90s, stay in doors as much as possible with your air conditioning turned on.

If you have questions about the do’s and don’ts of summer pregnancies, don’t hesitate to ask your doctor the next time you’re at one of our offices.

Photo via FreeDigitalPhotos.net

May 19, 2014

We are pleased to announce that the Cherokee Women’s Health 2nd Annual Cutest Baby Contest was a smash hit! With the tallies officially in early last Friday, we would like to thank each and every person who entered photos, as we had a wonderful time ooh’ing and aah’ing over them.

With the success of  our 1st and 2nd Annual contests, and with so many adorable babies entering the world each day, we look forward to celebrating them each year with our Cutest Baby Contest. (Mark your calendars for next year, Moms – 2015 will be our 3rd year!) Cherokee Women's Health Cutest Baby Contest

We were lucky enough to have another group of amazing prizes this year, so we’d like to offer a HUGE Thank You to all the organizations who participated. If you haven’t already, please show your support by liking their Facebook pages to stay up-to-date on their events and offerings (Links below.) If you missed our post from last week, here are the winners of our 2nd Annual Cutest Baby Contest!

2014 Cutest Baby Contest Winners

  • 4th place: Hunter and Meegan Price – Bojangles’ tailgate party pack
  • 5th place: Brittany Reece – Chick-Fil-A nugget tray with prizes
  • 6th place: Merle Stepler – Papa John’s large pizza
  • 7th place: Mialanna Cater – Papa John’s large pizza
  • 8th place: Ali Hoad – Papa John’s large pizza
  • 9th place: Tracy Dinsmore – Papa John’s large pizza
  • 10th place: Mandy Hannah – Papa John’s large pizza

Congratulations to all the winners, and we look forward to seeing a brand new crop of adorable babies next year!

May 15, 2014

Mother’s Day kicks off the celebration of National Women’s Health Week, a week designed to encourage the women of our lives (mothers, grandmothers, sisters, aunts, friends, co-workers) to take some time out for them to really focus on their health. Women are known for making sure that their family and friends are taken care of and often put themselves last. However, without properly taking care of yourself, you’re doing them a disservice – you’re not your best self. This week on the Cherokee Women’s Health blog, we wanted to focus on a few key habits that will allow for you and your entire family to remain taken care of. happy woman photo

Annual Gyno Exam

For all women, annual well-visits are the key to maintaining an overall healthy lifestyle. Gynecological services at your well-woman visit include a full pelvic checkup, any necessary tests such as screenings for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and sexually transmitted diseases, among others. You will also be able to discuss family history, family planning, and ways to improve your overall health with your doctor and discuss any concerns you may have. When scheduling your next annual well-visit, make a list of all questions or topics you want to ask your doctor so you’re better prepared.

Breast Exams

Breast exams, which may or may not be performed at your annual well-visit, are also one of the services now offered without additional out-of-pocket costs. Breast exams, both in-office and at home, are imperative in detecting different types of abnormalities and warning signs.

Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle

You’re busy. We understand. Trying to squeeze exercise into an already-jam packed week full of work, school schedules and outside activities can seem like an exhausting task in and of itself, but if you think about exercise in terms of a necessity, carving out 20 minutes here or there to go for a walk can really help keep you healthy. In combination with eating right and quitting smoking, exercise will help you maintain a healthy lifestyle.

To schedule your next well-visit at one of our two locations, contact our office.

Photo via FreeDigitalPhotos.net



May 6, 2014

Think your little sweetheart is the cutest of the cute? Then you’re in luck – Cherokee Women’s Health Specialists is having their 2nd Annual Cutest Baby Contest! We are lucky enough to have some amazing prizes from local businesses in Woodstock, Canton and Kennesaw, and all you have to do is show us those sweet cheeks between now and May 15th! The best thing? Your “baby” can be any age today, as long long as they were up to 24 months in the photo!

TEN Amazing Prizes Including:
A $200 photo shoot from Kaptured Photography
A $100 gift card from Once Upon a Child
A $69.95 one-hour massage from LaVida Massage
And more prizes from Chick-Fil-A, Bojangles and Papa John’s!

How Do I Enter?

1.) Head to our Facebook page and “like” us if you haven’t already.

2.) Next, click on the button in the top right that says Cutest Baby Contest Enter Here!

3.) Then, fill out the form, upload your photo(s) and most importantly, share your photo(s) with your friends so they can vote and enter their own babies!


Can’t wait to enter? Here are the official submission rules and other important contest info:

Entries for the 2nd Annual Cutest Baby Contest may be submitted from May 1st through May 15, 2014. Babies aged 0-24 months are eligible to participate.

1) Submit as many photos as you’d like – there are no limits!

2) Make sure it’s not any ol’ picture. We want to being “oohing” and “ahhing” when we see it so be sure your photo is good quality.

3) Include your baby’s name and something that makes them special (i.e.: “Kelly loves to play peek-a-boo with her daddy.”)

NOTE: All photos submitted to Cherokee Women’s Health will become property of Cherokee Women’s Health Specialists. Upon submission, you grant Cherokee Women’s Health Specialists the right to use the photo(s) in all forms of media, including throughout any of our publications (printed, online, or otherwise) and in our partners’ publications and websites.

  • Babies aged 0-24 months are eligible to win. This means they have to be 0-24 months in the photo and not necessarily what their age is today. And while we know that babies and kids of all ages are wonderful, for this particular feature we’re focusing on this age range.
  • Each photo must be submitted by a parent/legal guardian over the age of 18.
  • The parent/legal guardian must give a valid email address.
  • Please keep images close to 100KB in size.
  • We accept photographs sent in JPEG format only.
  • Parent/legal guardian warrants that the photo submitted is original and that the parent/legal guardian owns the copyright in such photo.

Users will be allowed to vote for as many photos as they like. However, users may only vote for each photo once every 24 hours. Any violations of the rules will be cause for disqualification or other contest changes to be determined by Cherokee Women’s Health Specialists.

The winner(s) of the 2nd Annual Cutest Baby Contest, in its various stages, will be determined by the highest number of votes said photo(s) receives.

Second Annual Cutest Baby Contest – Prizes

Does all of that sound good to you? Want to know what you’ll win if your babe gets the most votes? This year, we’ve added more prizes, which means your chance to win is even higher!

  • 1st place: $200 photo shoot with Kaptured Photography of Canton.
  • 2nd place: $100 gift card from Once Upon A child of Kennesaw.
  • 3rd place: $69.95 one-hour massage from LaVida Massage of Hickory Flat.
  • 4th place: Bojangles’ tailgate party pack
  • 5th place: Chick-Fil-A nugget tray with prizes
  • 6th place: Papa John’s pizza
  • 7th place: Papa John’s pizza
  • 8th place: Papa John’s pizza
  • 9th place: Papa John’s pizza
  • 10th place: Papa John’s pizza

Our contest this year is only a few days in so far (entries are accepted through May 15th), so don’t hesitate to get your babies’ photos in so you can start counting those votes! Good luck to everyone!

*Cherokee Women’s Health Specialists reserves the right to change these rules at any given time.
May 4, 2014

1743574_10152171240838813_4319432320132342469_nDuring your pregnancy, you are no doubt taking every step to keep yourself and your baby as healthy as possible: you are abiding by the foods-not-to-eat list; you are not drinking any alcohol; you are limiting your caffeine; and you are making sure you are drinking plenty of water. So, what about being active? While this is not the time to start training for your first marathon, exercise during pregnancy leads to healthier moms and babies.

The Benefits of Exercising During Pregnancy

Exercise has already been proven to reduce the risk of gestational diabetes as well as improve the endurance of the mother, resulting in an easier delivery. Not to mention, you more likely to get back to your pre-baby weight faster than if you were not active. While we know that pregnancy fitness is beneficial for the mom, new studies indicate that maintaining a regular fitness regime during pregnancy will actually lead to a healthier baby, too.

A New Zealand study is being published in the upcoming issue of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, and it shows that women who exercised regularly during the second half of their pregnancy were more likely to give birth to babies with a lower birth weight. While a lower birth weight might not seem preferable, it actually is healthier since a too-high weight is an indicator of childhood obesity.

How to Exercise Safely During Pregnancy

Now that you know the many benefits to staying active during your pregnancy, you need to make sure you are not doing anything too strenuous that could result in injury. So, here are a few guidelines to safely exercising during your pregnancy:

  • Consult your doctor – It’s a great idea to discuss your fitness regime with your obstetrician and get his/her approval first. While it is healthy to continue exercising, your body is different now and some activities may not be conducive to your pregnant state.
  • Don’t Overdo It – This is not the time to try for a personal record in the upcoming 5K or to push yourself to tackle a new goal. You are growing a human being, and that takes a lot of effort. As a result, your body may need more recovery time in between workouts and you may need to reduce the intensity of your workouts – like switch to power walking or swimming instead of running.
  • Be Aware of Your Pregnant Limitations – Your growing belly comes with a few restrictions in regards to activity, like avoiding any exercises that require you to lie on your back. Also, your balance is not what it used to be, any activities that pose a high risk of falling, like rock-climbing and water skiing, are off-limits, too.

Cherokee Women’s Health encourages you to remain active during their pregnancy, as long as you get the go-ahead from your obstetrician. Don’t hesitate to contact our office with any questions you may have about exercising or pregnancy in general.

April 23, 2014

morning sickness in pregnancyShortly after you get the exciting news that you’re pregnant, the first trimester symptoms begin. One of the most common and unpleasant is morning sickness. Typically, morning sickness begins at about six weeks gestation, and it affects approximately 75% of pregnancies. If you are one of the lucky ones who sail through your first trimester without feeling sick, enjoy it. For the other three quarters of women, morning sickness is  a general term for nausea and vomiting. The severity of the symptoms differ from pregnancy to pregnancy and range from slight nausea to, in rare cases (like the Duchess of Cambridge), hyperemesis gravidarum, which requires hospitalization.

How to Alleviate Morning Sickness

Since you can’t put your life on hold during the first few months of pregnancy while battling morning sickness, you need to find ways to minimize the symptoms. So, Cherokee Women’s Health has a few suggestions to help you get through the day:

  • Avoid Having an Empty Stomach – The idea of eating may not be the most enticing, but having an empty stomach actually intensifies morning sickness. Try eating bland foods – crackers, toast, rice, soup, etc. – anything that will get some food in your stomach. Choosing to eat small meals more frequently throughout the day is a good way to keep your stomach full.
  • Avoid Gulping Beverages – Drinking too much water or other fluid in one sitting can make you feel full and cause you to eat less. It can also be a trigger for vomiting.
  • Try Ginger – Ginger is a natural remedy to ease an upset stomach and queasiness. You can use ginger in your cooking or drink ginger ale, just make sure it is made from real ginger or it won’t have the desired effects.
  • Get Fresh Air – Open a window or go for a walk, whatever you can do to get a breath of fresh air.
  • Don’t Lie Down After Eating – Lying down immediately after eating can disrupt the digestion process and make you feel worse.
  • Medication – There are medications you can take during your pregnancy to help alleviate symptoms. To ensure they’re safety, be sure to discuss any medications with your obstetrician or midwife prior to taking.

While unpleasant, we hope that you can take comfort in the fact that experiencing morning sickness is perfectly normal and these symptoms usually subside during your pregnancy.

If you have any questions or concerns about morning sickness or anything about your pregnancy, don’t hesitate to contact our office.

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“Dr. Litrel was a fantastic doctor. I had my first exam with him, although at first I was skeptical about a male doctor for my GYN. But after I met him I’m glad I kept an open mind, and I couldn’t have dreamed up a better doctor. He cares about you as a person and not just a patient. The front desk ladies and nurses were very friendly and it’s a great office, very clean and not intimidating. I highly recommend Cherokee Women’s Health.”
– Vicki