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Category: General

June 22, 2017

woman eating healthy before getting pregnantYou’re considering getting pregnant! Mentally, you’re beginning to commit to the idea, so one of the first few questions you might ask yourself is, “What can I do before getting pregnant? How can I be sure my baby will be healthy? Is there anything I can do ahead of time to make sure everything goes right?”

While the physical part of creating new life is pretty simple to comprehend, but many women don’t actually consider that there are ways to prepare their bodies for reproduction well ahead of time. Even if you’re not ready to conceive right away, there’s lots you can do before getting pregnant, and most of it is pretty basic.

When you leased your very first apartment, you wanted everything to be just right. Before you even moved in, you eagerly imagined how you would decorate it. You carefully selected the best furniture and matching accessories you could afford. You thought of where you would put your bed and bought food for the refrigerator and pantry. Everything was positioned just right for the new home you were to live in.

When you get pregnant, your body is going to be your baby’s ’apartment’ for approximately the next 280 days. Your womb (uterus) will be its bedroom, the amniotic sac will be its bed and the umbilical cord will be its fridge and pantry. Why not prepare your body to give your child the best possible home until its first ‘lease’ is up? There are steps you can take to make that happen.

Long before the actual union of sperm with egg, there are numerous measures you can take to optimally prepare your body. You can make gradual, positive lifestyle changes in the months preceding pregnancy. Some of these include:

Diet: If you haven’t done so yet, begin incorporating more fruits, fiber, and vegetables into your daily meals. Cut out excess fat, sugar, and caffeine. Eat junk food in moderation. Eliminate as many additives and preservatives as possible from your food by carefully reading labels and avoiding those with a long list of ingredients that you need a Hubble telescope to read or a scientific dictionary to translate.

• Exercise: Getting into the habit of walking even a block or two regularly can strengthen bone, muscle, circulation, tissue, blood and organ function, benefiting not only your own overall health but that of your future baby as well.

• Lose weight: If you are overweight, slowly shedding those extra pounds and achieving your ideal weight during the months before conceiving ensures a much better chance of becoming pregnant and carrying full term. The same holds true if you are underweight and need to bulk up a little. A healthier weight will also allow for an easier labor and delivery.

• Eliminate toxins: It’s no secret that smoking is dangerous to both you and those around you, so it stands to reason that it can be disastrous to the fetus growing inside you as well, Smoking while pregnant can deprive the fetus of oxygen, compromise heart rate, and result in premature birth or low birth weight. It can also increase the chances of miscarriage, birth defects, and stillbirth. Studies show there is a higher risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) in babies whose mothers smoked. Even exposure to secondhand smoke can have an adverse effect on your baby. Quitting before conception should be one of your top priorities. This also applies to excessive alcohol intake and any recreational drug use. Prescribed or over the counter medications should be discussed with our doctors before you become pregnant.

• Birth control: Ovulation can be calculated easier when you have had at least one normal menstrual cycle before getting pregnant. Though it’s not absolutely necessary to stop taking birth control months before you plan to get pregnant, this is something that should be discussed at your preconception counseling session with us, especially if you are currently using a long-lasting form of birth control, such as progestin, which may inhibit fertility for several months.

• Preconception counseling: Preconception counseling can evaluate, test for, diagnose, and determine any problems that may be a setback to a full, healthy and safe pregnancy for both mother and child. Your preconception counseling session with us will delve into a much more thorough list of steps you can take to make your future pregnancy as safe, smooth and healthy as possible. Ideally, it is best to book an appointment with us to discuss your plans approximately three months before you wish to conceive. At Cherokee Women’s Health Specialists, we are committed to giving you the best possible preconception care available to women today in order to ensure the optimum health of both you and the baby you are planning to have.

These are only several of the many things you can do before you decide to get pregnant. Our comprehensive staff includes Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgeons (FPMRS), urologists, nutritionists, OB-GYNs, physical therapists and midwives. Their combined decades of experience and expertise can guide you through the preconception process, pinpointing any problems that may inhibit or be detrimental to your pregnancy. They can correct any physical abnormalities that may be hindering the process as well. Your reproductive health and the wellness of your future baby is our primary concern. No question is too trivial or embarrassing, and you will be treated with the utmost respect and confidentiality.

To book an appointment, please call our clinic at 770.720.7733.

June 12, 2017

Genital herpes is an STI that can be contracted by any sexually active person. Herpes is very common throughout the United States. In fact, nearly 1 in 6 people ranging in age from 14-49 have genital herpes.

It can be passed from one partner to another through oral, vaginal, or anal sex. You, or your partner, may not even be aware that the herpes strain is being transmitted.

Although both men and women are at risk for STI, women are at a much higher risk. This is because the virus is more easily sexually transmitted from men to women than women to men.

There are two types of herpes; HSV1 (Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1) and HSV2 (Herpes Simplex Virus Type 2). Each spreads through skin to skin contact, however, only HSV1 known to cause cold sores or fever blisters as well.

Herpes is highly contagious and can be transferred to one partner from another through the fluids excreted from a blister or sore. Even if you are not showing signs of an outbreak, herpes can still be passed from partner to partner through the skin.

Genital Herpes Symptoms

Most people don’t know they have genital herpes. Symptoms can be minor or even non-existent if you have herpes.

The most commonly known symptoms or genital herpes include painful blisters or sores around the genitals or anus. The can appear as a single sore or be clustered together.

Often, genital herpes goes undetected. Many people mistake HSV2 for other minor skin conditions such as a pimple or ingrown hair.

While there are not always clear signs that you may have herpes, there are symptoms associated with genital herpes that you should be aware of besides outbreaks. Take a look at some of these lesser-known signs that you could have herpes.

  • Flu-like symptoms (especially during the first outbreak)
  • Smelly discharge
  • Genital dryness or itchiness
  • Burning when urinating
  • Bleeding in between periods

If you or your partner have any of the above symptoms, you should consider making an appointment with your healthcare provider.

Diagnosing Genital Herpes

Often, your healthcare provider will be able to diagnose you just by looking at the affected area. Once you are suspected of having genital herpes, your doctor will take a sample and test fluid from a sore.

Blood tests can also be performed to determine if you have genital herpes and are showing no signs. If you suspect you or your partner have contracted the herpes virus, ask your doctor to test you as soon as possible to prevent further spreading.

Treatment for Genital Herpes

There is no cure for genital herpes. However, there are ways to manage the virus. If you are diagnosed with genital herpes, your doctor may provide you with daily medication. This medication can help prevent and shorten outbreaks.

In the early stages of herpes, you may have up to 4 or 5 outbreaks a year. Generally, you’ll experience more outbreaks early on. Even though herpes is something you will need to deal with your whole life, outbreaks should become less often over time.

Prevent Getting Genital Herpes

While genital herpes does not usually cause serious health problems, it is still important to take proper safety precautions when having oral, vaginal, or anal intercourse.

Herpes can be passed from person to person without even knowing it, which is why it’s especially important to take precautions against possible transmission.

So, what can you do?

  1. Abstain from sex. Abstaining from sexual contact is one of the best ways to prevent contracting genital herpes and other STIs.
  2. Commit to a monogamous relationship. Because genital herpes can go undetected, you may want to consider scheduling a doctor’s visit for both you and your partner.
  3. Use condoms correctly. Although, not 100% effective, condoms can prevent spreading of genital herpes in some cases. Be aware, genital herpes can still be transmitted through skin-to-skin contact while having intercourse.

Prevent Transmitting Genital Herpes

If you or your partner have genital herpes, you should talk to your doctor about preventive measures to ensure you do not infect your partner.

Because genital herpes is so contagious, you should avoid touching sores or blisters. Otherwise, you may run the risk of infecting other parts of your body. Always, wash hands thoroughly if you come in contact with a sore.

For those who have multiple outbreaks a year, your doctor may prescribe a medication called ‘daily suppressive therapy’ which can lower the risk of your partner getting genital herpes.

It’s always important to maintain open communication with your sexual partner(s) about any STIs that you may have and agree on options moving forward.

Final Thoughts

Knowing your body is the first step in preventing or transmitting genital herpes. If you or your partner notice any symptoms such as unusual sores, you should both schedule an appointment with your doctor.

Getting tested regularly along with being open and honest with your healthcare provider is essential to maintaining a healthy sexual lifestyle

Don’t hesitate to give us a call with any concerns regarding genital herpes or other STIs. We’d be happy to confidentially answer any questions you may have or schedule an appointment with your doctor.

June 3, 2017

Banking umbilical cord blood can benefit children as they grow.Expectant parents can be overwhelmed with everything that goes into preparing for a new child. It’s important to understand your options ahead of time. Donating cord blood can be easily achieved and potentially help others.

What is Cord Blood?

Cord blood is simply the left inside the umbilical cord and placenta after your baby is born. Cord blood contains hematopoietic stem cells which are important in treating certain diseases. Unlike most other cells in the body, hematopoietic stem cells have the ability to mature into different types of blood cells within the body.

Benefits of Blood Cord Banking

There are numerous reasons expectant parents may want to choose to collect and store cord blood. Both bone marrow and cord blood have benefits, namely the potential to contain life-saving hematopoietic stem cells.

Cord blood transplants have helped over 30,000 people with the correction of inborn errors such as metabolism, hematopoietic malignancies and genetic disorders both in the blood and immune system.

Currently, it is also being studied for regenerative medicine and infectious diseases.

Today we’ll take a look at a few reasons cord blood is more advantageous than receiving hematopoietic stem cells than from bone marrow.

  • More matches available. Stem cells from cord blood are more versatile and can be given to a wider range of people than those that come from bone marrow.
  • Can be stored. Unlike bone marrow that needs to be used right away, cord blood can be frozen and store for future use.
  • Helps to strengthen the immune system. Cord blood has been shown to strengthen the immune system for patients going through cancer treatment. Bone marrow has not.
  • Less painful for the donor. Donating cord blood is less risky and less painful than donating bone marrow.
  • Less chance of rejection. Bone marrow has a larger chance of being rejected by the recipient than cord blood.

What Should You Consider Before Donating?

There are two types of facilities that can collect and store umbilical cord blood; public and private. When considering blood cord banking, talk to your OB/GYN or midwife about the differences between the two so you can make an informed decision.

Both public and private blood banks are required to follow the same rigorous screenings and infectious disease testing meeting the standards of the U.S. Food and Drug administration.

Here are some of the differences between each to give you an idea of what might be right for you.

Public Cord Blood Banks

The first public cord blood bank was established in 1991, however, now there are now many spread throughout the US that collect and store cord blood free of charge. Many are funded through government grants, public donations, and compensation for cord units used for transplant.

Public blood banks primarily store blood for use for anyone; related or not. However, if you have a family member who has a disease that could potentially be treated with a transplant, some public banks will store that blood for free as a directed donation.

Because ethnic minorities are not as well represented in cord blood banks, donating to one can increase the chance of all ethnic groups finding a match.

Private Cord Blood Banks

Private cord blood banks were not established until 2005 and are widely marketed for ‘biological insurance.’ Private or family banks are funded through processing and annual storage fees. Before you go into labor, you’ll be asked to sign a contract for the collection, processing, and storage.

If you plan to store your cord blood for your baby later in life or directed donation for a family member or sibling, you may want to think about a private bank.

It should be noted, however, that the scientific evidence is lacking when it comes to cord blood helping the same individual. In fact, stored blood cannot be used to treat the same person in many instances because most conditions already exist in his or her own cells which is why biological insurance is often not recommended.

How Does Blood Cord Banking Work?

Once you’ve chosen whether you’d like to donate to a public or private blood bank, you’ll need to let your doctor know as soon as possible. Collecting cord blood is not routine obstetric care or medically indicated.

Many hospitals have collection kits on-hand but on occasion, it can take up to 6 weeks for the hospital to receive one from the bank if an order needs to be placed.

Blood can be collected before or after the placenta is removed. The fresher the blood is the better. Cord blood is collected by puncturing the umbilical vein with a needle and gravity fed to a bag. Even with 40mL of blood needed to ensure there are enough blood cells for transplantation, the process generally takes around 10 minutes.

After blood is collected it will be ‘typed’ and tracked for quick delivery the moment someone is in need of it.

Keep in mind, there are some circumstances during labor or delivery that can prevent the collection of enough cord blood.

Your OB/GYN will not compromise the obstetric or neonatal care to obtain cord blood. Nor should the collection of cord blood alter the routine practice or timing of the umbilical cord clamping.

Final Thoughts

Talk to your doctor to learn more about understanding your options when it comes to donating cord blood. Blood cord banking is not a routine procedure in obstetric or neonatal care, so it’s imperative that you let your OB/GYN know before you go into labor if you decide to donate.

Don’t hesitate to call with any further questions you may have or schedule an appointment regarding blood cord banking. Education is key, and our staff is always happy to help provide knowledgeable advice.

June 2, 2017

HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection. Nearly all sexually active people contract it. If fact, nearly 79-million people are estimated to be currently infected. Each year, another 18-million people will be diagnosed with it. So, what is it?

HPV is a treatable STI that many sexually active adults encounter.HPV or Human Papillomavirus has over 100 unique types, many of which have no symptoms. These types are broken down into ‘low-risk’ and ‘high-risk.’ High-risk types of HPV usually have little to no signs and can cause serious health risks such as cancer.

Signs and Symptoms of HPV

Almost all sexually active people get HPV sometime in their lifetime. It is most commonly passed from partner to partner during vaginal or anal sex. However, it may be transferred during oral sex or intimate skin-to-skin conduct as well.

In many cases, certain types of the Human Papillomavirus will go away on its own. Other high-risk types may show zero symptoms and can lead to serious health issues such as cancer.

If you or your partner are experiencing any of the following symptoms for low-risk types of HPV, you should consider scheduling an appointment with your healthcare provider.

  • Genital Warts-Soft, fleshy bumps
  • Irritation or discomfort
  • Itching or swelling
  • Bleeding with intercourse

You should be aware that HPV can be passed from one partner to another even when there are no signs of symptoms. If you suspect you or your partner have HPV, preventive measures are recommended.

How is HPV Diagnosed?

Most people that have a high-risk type of HPV don’t even know they have it. Depending on the type very little signs are shown in the beginning stages. The longer the virus stays in your body, the bigger the chance that you’ll be at risk of developing health problems.

It is especially important to have regularly scheduled Pap Smears before real damage to your health can be done. Pap Smears do not directly test for HPV, however, they can detect abnormal cells in your cervix, that are often caused by HPV.

If your doctor diagnoses you with HPV, they may request that you get tested more regularly to ensure you are healthy and cancer free. Having HPV and getting cancer don’t always go hand in hand but it does put you at a higher risk for getting cancer down the line.

Being pro-active in treating an occurrence of HPV and regularly scheduling follow-up screenings and appointments with your OB/GYN can prevent serious health problems in your future.

Preventive Measures for HPV

The safest and most effective way of preventing HPV is a vaccine. Vaccines such as Gardasil can protect women from getting HPV by helping prevent the transmission of certain types of HPV.

Vaccines are more effective when given prior to exposure of Human Papillomavirus or sexual activity. HPV vaccines are recommended for both boys and girls starting at around the age of 11 or 12. A second dosage approximately 6 months to a year later is ideal.

Gardasil or other forms of HPV vaccination should be administered to young women throughout the age of 26 and in young men throughout the age of 21.

Even if you aren’t vaccinated, there are ways that sexually active people can lower their risk for contracting HPV or passing it to their partner.

  • Use Latex Condoms. While condoms are not 100% effective, they can help limit skin-to-skin contact when used properly.
  • Commit to Monogamous Sex. You are less likely to contract HPV if you and your partner are in a single partner relationship.
  • Abstain from Sex. If you’ve recently be diagnosed with HPV, talk to your doctor about recommended abstinence.

Final Thoughts

Women who are concerned they may have or be at risk for contracting HPV should consult their doctor. Regular Pap Smears are important in catching HPV early and preventing it from causing more serious health issues.

If you’ve already been diagnosed with HPV, keep an open dialog with your health care provider. Together you can come up with a plan to be pro-active in treating it and screening for cancer in the future.

May 30, 2017

You asked, we answered!

Cherokee Women's Health has created a medical weight loss program specifically for women.Cherokee Women’s Heath is now offering a medically based weight loss program that actually gets results. Not only will we put you on the right path to shedding pounds with simple lifestyle changes, but we’ll give you the skill set you need to keep weight off for good.

We base your weight loss on YOUR needs so you can have a weight loss program tailored just for you. Our program is designed specifically for women by our MD’s who specialize in women’s health.  Because of their specialty they are well equipped to identify specific hormone issues that may make losing weight more difficult.

If you’re ready to commit to a lifestyle change that lets you eat your favorite foods while still giving you results, this might be the program for you. We’ll walk you through the process step-by-step to set you up for success.

Our lifestyle based program focuses on the simple concept of learning the ratio of calories your body burns to portions of your favorite food, rather than cutting out the meals you love completely. We also give you the knowledge you need to maintain your weight loss and break the cycle of harmful yo-yo diets.

Weight loss is personal thing. Each person has their own reasons “WHY”, but the health benefits are universal.

  • Lowers the Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
  • Lowers the Risk of Diabetes
  • Increase Energy Levels

We offer several weight loss packages designed around your needs to help you get the best results and achieve a life-long change.

Our program give you the knowledge, support, accountability and medical supervision to achieve your weight loss goal to better help you maintain your goal weight for life.

What does our program entail?

  • Weekly Fat Fighting Injections
  • FDA approved appetite suppressant
  • Pharmaceutical Grade Dietary Supplements
  • HCG therapy
  • Body Fat Analysis
  • Dietary and Exercise Support and Counseling

Call Today to Schedule Your Free Weight Loss Consultation!

Disclaimer:
hCG has not been demonstrated to be effective adjunctive therapy in the treatment of obesity. There is no substantial evidence that it increases weight loss beyond that resulting from caloric restriction, that it causes a more attractive or “normal” distribution of fat, or that it decreases the hunger and discomfort associated with calorie-restricted diets.
May 23, 2017
Dr. Kawami Clay

Dr. Clay

Dr. Kawami Clay will join the CWHS team this summer. Learn more about what inspired her to become an OB-GYN and what she enjoys most about working with her patients.

Dr. Clay was born and raised in Mississippi and came to Georgia for her undergraduate and graduate degrees. After spending about eight years in Georgia, and completing her residency during that time, she moved back to Mississippi to spend time with family. She soon realized that she missed Georgia, and eventually moved back to the area.

When did you know you wanted to practice medicine or did you always know you wanted to be a doctor?

My grandmother was a diabetic and I remember being 7 years old and having to give her insulin injections. That’s when I knew that I wanted to practice medicine. I liked knowing that I helped her and she felt better. When I was in high school, I shadowed my uncle, who was an OB-GYN, for a few years during the summer.  Those summer confirmed that I wanted to treat women and provide them with excellent healthcare. My Uncle was a great mentor to me during this time. I was always around him, and the knowledge kind of came to me secondhand.

How is your work different from what you envisioned when you were younger? How is it the same?

I’m not sure if it’s different, really. It’s definitely the same in that I’m helping patients every day, providing care that will make them feel better, make their situation better, and resolve their health issues. At the same time, I get a warm fuzzy feeling knowing I’m helping them.

What was it about obstetrics and gynecology that interested you?

I was interested in working with women and providing them good health care. I knew early on from working with my Uncle that I wanted to focus specifically on women’s health. On the side of obstetrics, delivering babies is always a plus. It’s such a happy time, and being a part of that always makes me feel good about my work.

Dr. Clay with Dr. HaleyAre there any specific areas within OB/GYN that you specialize in or that interest you?

I am especially interested in minimally invasive surgery, also referred to as Laparoscopic Surgery. Laparoscopic surgery means smaller incisions and quicker recoveries for our patients.

What do you enjoy most about working with your patients?

I enjoy the relationships with the patients. When you really get to know a patient, for example, when you start taking care of them during their pregnancy, you develop a special relationship that continues to grow over time. Then, after the baby comes, they come back to see you (for an annual checkup, or to solve a problem) and you’ve gotten to know them as a person. That relationship is so important to allow patients to open up and tell you what’s really going on, like talking to an old friend. It provides better healthcare when the physician and patient can have an honest dialogue about the issues so they can solve them together.

What is your patient philosophy of care?

I have a sister; a mother. I have girlfriends. My patient philosophy is when I walk into a patient room or operating room, I try to treat every patient as a family member. Every patient deserves respect and great health care, and when I encounter a patient, I try to give it to them as I would my sister, or my mother, or one of my very close friends.

What is the best way anyone could compliment you about your work?

I am very bad about not letting things go. My sister will call me and say, “You’re still at work? You need to go home!” It’s a compliment, really; other people recognize I’m working hard, but I have a tendency to keep working and not stop. It’s hard when you relate to and care about your patients, you find yourself really going the extra mile for each and every one to make sure they’re getting the best care.

You came back to Georgia after spending time in Mississippi after graduating. What brought you back?

I lived in Georgia for four years during my undergraduate and four years during residency, and had some of my most memorable experiences here. I missed the arts and culture, festivals, sports and history and heritage of the area.

Dr. Clay spends some quality time with of our #northsidebabiesWhat do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

I like to travel when I get a chance (mostly domestic), and I enjoy spending time with my family. I have a 2-year old godson, and I enjoy attending all of his special events and birthday parties.

If you weren’t an OB/GYN, what other profession would you like to have?

I think I would want to be a writer. I love to write, and love to read, and I don’t get to do much of either anymore. But I really enjoyed writing in high school and college. I could really see myself taking a stab at it if given the opportunity in another life.

Cherokee Women’s is so excited to have Dr. Clay join our team. Please join us in giving her a warm welcome!

May 11, 2017
Dr. James Cross in the New Northside Hospital Cherokee Atrium

Dr. James Cross in the New Northside Hospital Cherokee Atrium.

James Cross, MD, founder of Cherokee Women’s Health Specialists, was the first OB-GYN in Georgia to offer epidurals to women in labor. He was among the original 17 obstetricians who opened Atlanta’s Northside Hospital. And in 1993, he came out of retirement to single-handedly provide OB services for metro Atlanta’s Cherokee County, delivering babies in the facility that is now Northside Hospital Cherokee. His presence was credited for cutting in half the perinatal morbidity and mortality rate for the county’s babies, a rate which before his arrival had been among the highest in the state.

James Cross, MD, still practicing medicine at 86 years old, has made his mark in Obstetrics History in metro Atlanta over the past half century.

As the glamorous new Northside Hospital Cherokee opens its doors, we thought it was a good time to interview the obstetrician whose memories span six decades, and who has delivered over 15,000 babies during his career in medicine.

Introducing Epidurals To Atlanta’s Pregnant Women: From Texas Air Force Base to the South

We meet with Dr. Cross on the campus of the new Northside Hospital Cherokee, three weeks before the facility is to open. A utility truck outside the wing of the Women’s Center lifts a window washer high against the plate glass windows, while Dr. Cross enters the soaring main atrium and marvels at the hanging chandelier. He shakes his head and laughs. “More like a hotel, don’t you think?” He is cheerful and spry, wearing his white doctor’s coat and remarking he is “happy to do anything” to spread the news about the new hospital. “A hospital makes all the difference in a community,” he says, with the air of someone who has said it hundreds of times.

Born in a small Colorado mining town in 1931, James Cross (“Jim” to friends and family) graduated from college when he was 19. With a degree in Chemistry and the encouragement of his professors, he was in medical school four days later.

OB-GYN Residency Class at Grady Hospital Dr. James Cross

Dr. Cross with his OB-GYN Residency class at Grady Hospital. He is at the far right of the front row.

After three years training in Emory University’s OB-GYN residency at Grady Memorial Hospital, the young doctor was stationed at the Amarillo Air Force base. There he delivered 2,600 babies in four years. More significantly, he learned the then-innovative practice of administering epidural analgesia. Previously, laboring women were given ether to dull the pain of childbirth, resulting in not only sleepy mothers, but also oxygen-deprived babies, who emerged in a ‘twilight sleep” with impaired breathing and a telltale blue skin color. Dr. Cross comments that mothers given ether often slept for hours, or even days, waking up “only when the hairdresser got there.”

Spinal anesthesia, which was later used in place of ether, had equally undesirable complications such as headache, compromised blood pressure, spinal damage, infection etc.

Upon Dr. Cross’s return to Georgia and a practice at Georgia Baptist Hospital, he immediately introduced the use of epidurals for laboring mothers, becoming, he believes, the first physician to employ the technique in Georgia. He says with a smile, “I’m happy to report that epidurals have been used now for decades all across the country.” He comments that the benefits were much reduced side effects over former pain treatments, a drop in the Caesarean rate down to about 5-6%. Furthermore, administering epidurals was delegated to anesthesiologists, freeing obstetricians to attend to critical matters that might arise during a delivery. Best of all, he says, babies came into the world a healthy pink, crying, alert and wide awake. “It was nice to see those babies finally come out squalling,” he exclaims.

He went on to help establish an epidural training program for more than 30 residents over the next decade at Georgia Baptist Hospital.

Northside Hospital Atlanta: Helping To Open the Country’s Largest Maternity Hospital

In 1967 Dr. Cross joined the staff and building committee at Northside Hospital in Atlanta. Three years later, he watched proudly as Northside Hospital Labor and Delivery opened its doors. “There were 17 of us OB-GYN’s when we started,” he relates. “I remember we were shortchanged one delivery room, but it all worked out,” he chuckles. With visible pride, he fondly points out that Northside Hospital Atlanta has today evolved into the largest maternity hospital in the country.

In the interim, Dr. Cross helped found the OB-GYN practice Atlanta Women’s Specialists in 1968, a practice that eventually expanded into four offices, including a residency program with 6 doctors. Over the next two decades, he states, he strove to make sure that no physician at any of those clinics was overworked, overwhelmed, or otherwise “prevented from providing quality care.”

“It was a growing process – one step at a time. If you give patients quality care and are hardworking, they respect you.”

Dr. Cross speaks about his philosophy of care, that he considered every patient “family,” treating each one as such. He says, “you can be honest, but tactful,” to strengthen the resolve of pregnant women to change the way they treat their bodies. He encouraged healthy diets, smoke and drug cessation, careful vigilance of medicinal products, and weight loss. He felt that though women may sometimes be resistant to change, once they begin to take care of themselves – thus insuring the additional health of their unborn children – they realize and appreciate the positive benefits. By approaching them the same way he would any female in his own family circle, they became receptive to his advice and genuine concern.

Dr. Cross also developed a unique approach, whereby pregnancy was not a sole female issue, but a family one, involving fathers and children in the whole process. A post natal care appointment was not attended only by the woman. The partner was also involved, especially when the couple decided that their family was complete and they no longer wished to have children. It was then that Dr. Cross would explain to them both that modern cosmetic and reconstructive surgeries could transform the woman’s internal and external reproductive organs back to the state they were ‘when she was eighteen’, a revelation that often made folks’ “ears perk up like a German Shepherd’s,” Dr. Cross says, smiling and matter-of-fact. He regularly did “at least two such surgeries daily.”

Dr. James Cross smiling at Dad-friendly parking.Raising the Survival Rate for an Entire County’s Newborns

Dr. Cross had begun to contemplate retiring from private practice in Atlanta when he learned of a desperate situation developing in Cherokee County. The county’s local hospital, known then as R.T Jones, was about to lose its certification to deliver babies. Although the staff numbered 50 doctors, no obstetricians remained in this small facility on Atlanta’s rural outskirts. Women in the community were forced to travel long distances for prenatal care and deliveries, driving the morbidity and mortality rates among pregnant women to a whopping 9 1/2%.

To Dr. Cross, the community’s situation seemed dire. The correction would be a Herculean task. Dr. Cross believes that at the time, Cherokee’s 9 1/2% morbidity and mortality rate was among the highest in the state.

With “no hesitation,” he responded to the distress call. “When you see that red flag, you come charging.” Thus in 1993, at the age of 62, Dr. Cross ran straight into his next challenge.

He began in solo practice. For two and a half years, he took calls around the clock, bringing prenatal OB care to the county’s women, delivering their newborns safely.

But in 1994, Dr. Cross faced a setback. Treatment for a bowel obstruction led to the discovery of malignant lymphosarcoma. Confronting a debilitating bout with cancer, he completed extensive chemotherapy, then jumped right back into obstetrics. “I had a nurse stand by at the ready with a basin in case I had to get sick,” he relates. Post-treatment side effects continued to plague him, but he doggedly continued to work, refusing to abandon his post in the growing county.

In 1996, Dr. Cross incorporated his practice, Cherokee Women’s Health Specialists, as the clinic grew to serve the OB-GYN needs of the local population. Perinatal morbidity rates had plummeted drastically. But delivering over 90 babies a month had become a staggering effort, and he began to look for help.

Help came. Dr. Michael Litrel had just completed his OB-GYN residency at Emory University, and joined Dr. Cross in 1997 as his first partner in Cherokee County. A few years later, the hospital began negotiations with Northside Atlanta. And in 2007, R.T. Jones Hospital was bought by Northside, offcially becoming Northside Hospital Cherokee. Today, that hospital and the numbers it serves, have grown exponentially, bringing about the need for a larger and more technologically advanced facility which will hold its grand opening in May.

Looking Back – and To the Future

At the time of this interview, Dr. Cross’s wife of 65 years, Becky, was in intensive care following a health crisis. Speaking of her condition off and on throughout the interview, Dr. Cross relates their story in bits and pieces.

In 1952, a young Jim Cross was working as a dog catcher in Canton, when he noticed a beautiful young lady who stepped off the bus at the same stop daily. “I thought to myself, ‘Boy, she is one great looking gal.’” He eventually introduced himself, learning that they did not live too far apart from each other and had several friends in common, including her ex-boyfriend who happened to play on the same baseball team as Jim at the time. The friendship between Rebecca and James evolved until one day he decided to propose. Still in medical school, he told her “I’m starting to run out of money. Why don’t you get a job or two and we can get married?” Dr. Cross relates that Rebecca answered ‘yes’ in a heartbeat. They have been married 65 years.

Dr. Cross expresses deep gratitude for his ’Beck’, narrating how the love, support and patience of his ‘soul mate’ carried them through the lean and busy years. When times got better, she gave him 5 children (none of which he delivered). Together, the Cross family managed to find time to travel all over the globe, forging precious memories that continue to keep them close.

Dr. Cross delivered over 15,000 babies throughout his years as an OB-GYN. Asked about regrets, he relates with wistful melancholy only one story – losing a young mother to an aneurysm. “The child survives today, but we had to take the mother off her life support system a week after the birth.”

Questioned about what technology has contributed most to women’s health, Dr. Cross names ‘computers’ without hesitation. He also credits the fetal monitor and belt for accurately pinpointing any problem during labor, allowing doctors to address those immediately, saving lives and avoiding tragedy. He applauds the co-operation between medical schools which now share information with each other to better medicine and save lives. His personal favorites, however, are the many laser and manual surgical instruments that have been introduced over the decades. “I’m like any fellow with a new toy,” he admits. “I just love to try out new ones to see what they can do.”

Time to Retire—Or Is It?

Dr James Cross at Women's Center of new Northside Cherokee Campus

Dr. James Cross at the Women’s Center of the new Northside Hospital Cherokee Campus.

In 2006, at the respectable age of 75, Dr. Cross delivered his last baby and walked away from everything that had been his career for the past 5 decades.

Dr. Cross stayed retired for three years. “I was never so bored in my entire life.”

When an offer came from Northside Hospital Cherokee, inviting him to join their radiology department in dye studies, Dr. Cross relates that he didn’t walk, but “ran” to get his certification. He is presently called in on an emergency basis 6 to 7 days a month.

He also accepted a position in Marietta specializing in pain management and addiction medicine, where he works every Thursday and Friday, ministering to approximately 75 patients. He has been there for the last 9 years and indicates he has no plans to stop any time soon. At 86 years of age, Dr. Cross still exercises for an hour every day and appears just as dedicated to his newest ventures as he was to Obstetrics.

James Cross, MD, was recently given an honorary staff membership position at Northside Hospital Cherokee.

When asked if looking back, he would do anything differently, Dr. Cross smiles and shoots out, “I’ve been so darn busy, I haven’t had time to think about that.”

Such is the reply of a man not so much reflecting on his long life, but continuing to live it, instead.

May 9, 2017

postoperative careThe physicians at Cherokee Women’s Health Specialists are committed to ensuring that your experience after surgery is as comfortable as possible. The following information will help answer frequently asked questions and will help you understand some of the common experiences that may occur after your surgery. Please do not hesitate to call the office with any additional questions about your recovery.

  • Call the office to schedule a post-operative appointment two to four weeks after your surgery.
  • If an ER visit is necessary post-operatively, go to Northside Hospital Cherokee if possible, but if you are an out of town patient or live in another state, then your closest hospital is appropriate.

Call the office at 770-720-7733 right away if you experience:

  • Fever higher than 100.4 degrees
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Heavy vaginal bleeding
  • Severe pain not relieved with your pain medication
  • Persistent nausea or vomiting
  • Increased pain, redness, or swelling at the incision

IF THE SYMPTOMS ARE SEVERE, GO TO THE EMERGENCY ROOM OR CALL 911 FOR AN AMBULANCE IF NECESSARY.

How Much Activity Can I Do After Surgery?

General – There are no standard limitations with regards to activity after gynecological surgery except for driving and sexual activity (see below). If you stayed in the hospital overnight, you should plan to rest with minimal activity for at least a week. If you were sent home the same day you should plan to rest with minimal activity for three days. If you had a procedure with no incisions (such as a D and C or endometrial ablation) then you probably only need to rest for a day. Use common sense and listen to your body. Every patient is different, and different patients will have differing degrees of recovery. Gradually advance your activity. If the activity you are doing increases your discomfort, then STOP. If you are feeling well during increased activity but have increased pain the next day you need to decrease your activity.

Adequate rest and nutrition is required to heal from surgery. LISTEN TO YOUR BODY.

Stairs – Apprehension about stairs or weakness in mobility may require help when climbing up and down stairs. You are allowed to use the stairs if you feel you are able. It’s a good idea to put both feet on each step to not lessen the strain on your body for a week or longer after surgery.

Exercise – If you had incisions on your body wait until you get clearance from your surgeon. Use common sense when starting an exercise routine after surgery. Start out slowly and gradually increase time, distance and speed. Once you are cleared to exercise a general recommendation is to start out at 25% of what you were doing before surgery for a week or two and increase by 25% at each one or two week interval.

Driving – Driving should only begin only after you have stopped taking narcotics, and if you feel strong enough to be able to stop the vehicle in an emergency. At this point you should be able to walk up and down stairs comfortably and sit down and stand up without experiencing discomfort. Have someone drive you if you are still experiencing discomfort.

What Should I Eat After Surgery?

After surgery, your body needs enough calories and nutrients to fully recover from the procedure. Eating the right foods after surgery can decrease risk of infection, speed healing of the incision and increase strength and energy. The best post-surgery foods to eat are packed full of vitamins and minerals.

Here are some foods and nutrients you should focus on in your post-surgery diet:

Fiber – A common complaint after surgery is constipation. To avoid this uncomfortable post-surgery complication, eat plenty of fiber. Some high-fiber foods include fresh fruit and vegetables. Whole grain breads and oatmeal are other great sources of fiber. To prevent constipation, avoid foods like dried or dehydrated foods, processed foods, cheese and dairy products, red meats and sweets.

Protein – The amino acids in protein help with wound healing and tissue regeneration. Protein can also help with strength and energy following surgery. Lean meats such as chicken, turkey, pork and seafood are excellent sources of protein. You can also get protein from eggs, nuts, beans and tofu. Dairy also contains protein, but if you’re struggling with constipation, go for the other sources of protein instead of dairy options. If you have trouble getting enough protein in your diet after surgery, try adding protein powder to drinks or smoothies. Several Physicians at Cherokee Women’s recommend a Vegan diet which is absence of animal products including meat, dairy and eggs. Eat to Live by Joel Furman MD gives excellent recipes and recommendations for those inclined.

Carbohydrates – Fatigue is common following any surgical procedure, but eating the right kinds of carbs can help restore your energy levels. Get carbs from high-fiber foods like whole grains, fruits and veggies, and beans and legumes. These foods will boost energy levels without causing constipation.

Fat – Healthy fats from olive oil, avocados, coconut oil, nuts and seeds will improve immune response and aid the body’s absorption of vitamins. Fat will also help increase energy levels after surgery.

Vitamins and Minerals – Perhaps the most important nutrients in your post-surgery diet are vitamins and minerals. Vitamin A (found in orange and dark green veggies like carrots, sweet potatoes, kale and spinach) and vitamin C (found in citrus fruits, berries, potatoes, tomatoes, melons, and sweet bell peppers) help with wound healing. Vitamin D (found in milk, fish, eggs, and fortified cereals) promotes bone health. Vitamin E (found in vegetable oils, nuts, beef liver, milk and eggs) protects the body from free radicals. Vitamin K (found in green leafy veggies, fish, liver and vegetable oils) is necessary for blood clotting.

Zinc – (found in meat, seafood, dairy and beans) and Iron (found in meat and poultry, beans, apricots, eggs, whole grains and iron-fortified cereals) are also helpful for wound healing and energy following surgery.

Water – In addition to eating foods that are rich in fiber, protein, healthy fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals, you must stay hydrated after surgery. Proper hydration isn’t only necessary for healing, but may also be necessary to help your body absorb medications following surgery. Be sure to drink at least eight glasses of water every day after surgery to stay hydrated.

The foods you should and shouldn’t eat can vary depending on the type of surgery and any medications you may be on so speak with your surgeon about your specific post-surgery dietary questions.

When Can I Take a Shower?

You may take a shower the day after surgery. Baths are typically fine the day after surgery if you desire. Make sure you have someone around to help you should you need assistance. If you are experiencing discomfort a sponge bath is a fine substitute.

How Should I Care For My Incisions?

Keep your abdominal incisions clean and dry. No special creams or ointments are needed. Your incisions are closed with a suture underneath your skin, which will dissolve on its own. It is then covered with a surgical-grade liquid band-aid. This protects the incision and will stay in place for up to two weeks or longer. The glue can be removed after two weeks by applying some Vaseline to the glue for several minutes and then using soap and water and gentle scrubbing with a washcloth after two weeks. A small amount of bleeding at the incision sites is not uncommon. If it persists, call your doctor. Once the glue is removed it is OK to apply Neosporin to the incisions if they are red or inflamed. If you notice sutures poking through the skin you can trim them with nail clippers and/or see your surgeon.

How Long Will I Have Bleeding After Surgery?

Vaginal spotting may last for several weeks after gynecological surgery. Call the office if you have heavy bleeding, increasing bleeding, a foul odor, or if you have urinary or rectal bleeding. Removal of ovarian cysts or other gynecological procedures may cause your period to come within a few days after surgery.

I Have Large Bruise Near My Incision, Is That Normal?

Some patients will develop bruises at the incision sites. The incision sites are made by “trocars”, a plastic sleeve that is used for access during the surgery for the camera and for instruments. Sometimes these trocars cut tiny vessels just beneath the skin that cause limited bleeding. Even under the best of circumstances, it is sometimes impossible to see these small vessels. A bruise will develop that will resolve. Those patients with very large masses or fibroids may also develop bleeding at the incisions that can be more extensive due to longer manipulation of the trocar sites. Rarely, this bleeding can be very extensive, leading to a large bruise that tracts to the groin area. Please note that this type of bleeding almost always resolves. Pain or warmth may develop from the blood under the skin. Use Motrin 600 mg every six hours or 800 mg every eight hours to relieve the pain.

How Much Pain Will I Have After Surgery?

Incision – Pain around the incision sites is not uncommon, and will resolve over several days. Most patients describe pain as minimal or moderate, and will improve daily.

Pelvic and Rectal – Some patients describe pressure and pain with urination or with bowel movements. These symptoms resolve and are due to irritation to the rectum and bladder from the surgical procedure, and will resolve with time.

Chest and Shoulder – If you had laparoscopic surgery, the carbon dioxide gas used to insufflate the abdomen during the procedure (so the surgeon can see) will irritate the phrenic nerve in some patients, leading to mild to severe pain. This nerve tracks pain impulses from the lining of the chest cavity. The pain can occur during deep breaths. This resolves within two to three days, and is not worrisome. If the pain is extreme or does not resolve, a visit to the local ER is important to rule out other causes of chest pain, such as heart or lung issues.

Sore Throat – Some patients will have a sore throat from the tube that is placed during anesthesia. Throat lozenges or warm tea will help soothe the discomfort, and this will resolve within a few days.

General – Pain should resolve over time, and will get better every day. If pain persists or becomes worse, a visit to the ER at the hospital where the procedure was performed is recommended.

How Should I Manage My Pain After Surgery?

You will be given a prescription for Motrin and a narcotic (Percocet, Norco or Dilaudid) at the hospital prior to your discharge. To be effective, Motrin should be used in doses of 600 mg every six hours, or 800 mg every eight hours. Narcotics should be used sparingly since they will cause constipation. The first several days following surgery, most patients use mainly Motrin during the day, with use of a narcotic sometimes at night to help with sleep. Using a heating pad on the lower abdomen is safe. Coughing can be uncomfortable initially because of abdominal discomfort. Placing a pillow on the abdomen to support your abdomen while coughing can be helpful.

Is It Normal to Have Swelling?

Abdominal – Some degree of abdominal distension (swelling) is to be expected after surgery. This is due to distension of the intestines, and resolves over time. It is usually mild to moderate only.

Extremities – Swelling of the legs and sometimes arms is not uncommon after surgery. This is due to increased fluid given during the procedure. This will resolve over several days. If you notice persistent or increasing swelling, tenderness to the calf or calf pain, please call the office immediately. If one leg is more swollen and red than the other you should be evaluated by your surgeon or in the emergency room because of the risk of a blood clot in your leg (DVT) that can be life threatening.

I Have Constipation, What Should I Do?

Constipation is common after surgery and usually resolves with time and/or treatment. Constipation means that you do not have a bowel movement regularly or that stools are hard or difficult to pass. Constipation can be made worse by narcotic pain medications or decreased activity or decreased fluid intake.

If you are having vomiting in addition to constipation, or if your surgery involved the stomach or intestines, call your surgeon before using medications to treat constipation.

A common approach to constipation after surgery is to take a laxative (eg, magnesium hydroxide [milk of magnesia]) or fiber supplement (eg, psyllium [Metamucil, Hydrocil] or methylcellulose [Citrucel]); this can be taken with a stool softener (eg, docusate [Colace]).

If the initial treatment does not produce a bowel movement within 24 to 48 hours, the next step is to take a stimulant laxative that contains senna (e.g,, Black Draught, Ex-lax, Fletcher’s Castoria, Senokot) or bisacodyl (e.g,, Correctol, Doxidan, Dulcolax). Read the directions and precautions on the package before using these treatments.

If these treatments do not produce a bowel movement within 24 hours, you should call your healthcare provider for further advice.

Once the bowels begin to move, you may want to continue using a stool softener (e.g., docusate (Colace) or a non-stimulant laxative (e.g., MiraLAX/GlycoLax) on a daily basis to keep the stools soft. This treatment may be taken for as long as needed.

I Have Diarrhea, What Should I Do?

Diarrhea sometimes is caused by antibiotics and will resolve once the antibiotics are stopped. A probiotic such as lactobacillus can help with this process. Rarely, severe diarrhea can develop. Call your doctor if you have severe diarrhea, bloody diarrhea, or if your diarrhea is accompanied by fever or worsening pain.

I’m Nauseated, What Can I Do?

Anesthesia is the main cause for nausea immediately after surgery. After the first 24 hours, nausea is more likely caused by either your narcotic pain medication or your antibiotics. You will be sent home with nausea medication such as Phenergan or Zofran. If you are experiencing severe nausea, please call your doctor.

Will I Have Problems With My Bladder?

Is it normal if it hurts when I urinate? — If you have had vaginal surgery, you may feel a pulling sensation during urination or you may feel sore if the urine falls on vaginal stitches. It can be normal to urinate frequently after surgery. Call your surgeon if you have any of the following:

  • Burning with urination
  • Needing to urinate frequently or urgently and then urinating only a few drops
  • Temperature greater than 101ºF or 38ºC (measure with a thermometer)
  • Pain on one side of your upper back that continues for more than one hour or keeps coming back
  • Blood in your urine (you can check to see if this is just vaginal blood falling into the toilet by holding toilet tissue over your vagina)

What Should I Do if it is Difficult to Urinate?

Most women urinate at least every four to six hours, and sometimes more frequently. If you have not urinated for six or more hours (while you are awake) or if you feel the need to urinate and it will not come out, you should call your healthcare provider. Urinary retention is the inability to pass urine through the bladder.

A very small number of patients will develop this problem due to the anesthetic used for the surgery or if they had incontinence surgery. If you are sent home and are not able to pass urine, please go to a local emergency room. A catheter may be placed to allow the bladder to “rest” after the surgery, and will be removed several days later in the office. It is important to have this catheter placed to avoid injury to the bladder. If you have a self cath kit and instructions how to use it, you may do this instead of seeking medical care. (You can look at a video by Bard on Youtube called “Female Self-Cath Instructional video (animated) Magic3” or watch other available videos on cherokeewomenshealth.com or on YouTube.)

When Can I Resume Sex?

Intercourse should be avoided until cleared by your surgeon. If your surgery did not involve the vagina or cervix, intercourse can typically resume in two to three weeks. If you had a hysterectomy or surgery in the vagina, you should avoid intercourse for a minimum of eight weeks to allow the top of the vagina to fully heal. Make sure you are examined by your surgeon and cleared. Avoid deep penetration initially until you are completely comfortable. Clitoral orgasm (stimulating the clitoris without vaginal penetration) is typically fine after gynecological surgery if you desire unless you had surgery on your labia minora or majora (in which case you need to get clearance from your surgeon.)

April 24, 2017

Natural Childbirth is a labor and delivery that does not include the use of routine medical interventions, particularly anesthesia, the most common forms being epidurals and spinal blocks. It also attempts to minimize surgical interventions such as episiotomies, forceps, and caesarean sections.

Many women prefer natural childbirth.A natural childbirth may occur in a hospital while under the supervision of a physician or midwife, or at home assisted by a midwife. Statistics show that in 2008 approximately 39 percent of documented vaginal births in the United States were natural.

Natural Child Birth Options

Pregnant women who are approaching their due date may often become anxious about the process of delivering a healthy baby and what it may entail. In order to relieve any unnecessary anxiety or concern, it is helpful to become informed about childbirth, which options are available and have a birth plan ready for when it is time for delivery.

It is important to speak with your health care provider to explore both natural and medical options for you and your baby. This way you can be prepared and empowered to make a decision. Each birth is different, and the health of mother and baby is ultimately paramount.

The following are different options that are available as an alternative to medical interventions.

Massage

Massage stimulates your body to release endorphins that can help ease the pain, reduce anxiety and make contractions feel less intense. Massage can be performed on the shoulders, back, feet/hands and the perineal area.

Breathing and Relaxation Exercises

This can include a variety of methods such as mindfulness and meditation, specific breathing techniques, vocalization, visualization, and progressive muscle relaxation.

Acupressure

A form of Traditional Chinese Medicine, acupressure can be used to apply pressure on specific points to provide pain relief, calm anxiety and encourage an efficient labor. This can be learned and practiced on yourself or by your partner.

Positioning and Movement

Certain birth positions have been favored in natural childbirth including squatting, and being on hands and knees versus the traditional lithotomy – laying on the back with hips and knees flexed – position. Walking, gentle stretching and the use of a birthing ball can also be helpful in the labor process.

Hot and Cold Therapy

Intermittent heat and cold in the form of warm and cold packs may be used on the lower back, lower abdomen and perineum during labor to help with pain and discomfort.

Hypnotherapy

This is an integrative mind-body technique which can aid women to replace fear and expectations of pain with expectations of a safe, gentle and comfortable birth. It can be self-performed or performed by a partner using deep breathing, vocabulary cues or visualization.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to childbirth today, women have a variety of options to explore and choose from. It is important that you feel as comfortable, prepared and relaxed as possible when preparing for your labor and delivery.

Being educated about both natural and traditional medical birth options will allow you and your doctor to make an informed plan that best suits you and your baby’s needs.

Please don’t hesitate to call with any further questions or concerns you may have regarding Natural Childbirth.

Prenatal vitamins help with a healthy pregnancy.Healthy nutrition is important throughout life, and especially during pregnancy. Even with a wide variety of whole foods, a mother and baby may require nutrients above and beyond what is contained in food. Think of prenatal vitamins as insurance to make sure you are getting all of the essential nutrients during pregnancy.

Whether currently pregnant or planning to become pregnant, women can benefit from taking prenatal vitamin and mineral supplements as early as possible. It is particularly important if you meet any of the following criteria:

  • Follow a vegetarian or vegan diet
  • Are lactose intolerant or have other food intolerance
  • Smoke or abuse other substances
  • Have a blood disorder
  • Have an eating disorder
  • Experience chronic disease
  • Have had gastric bypass surgery
  • Are having twins or higher multiples

Even if you do not fall into these categories, ensuring you get all of your nutrient requirements daily will help give you optimal strength and energy levels. It will also give your baby the best head start possible during all of the important stages of development in the womb.

Important Vitamins and Minerals Before and During Pregnancy

You may be wondering which nutrients are especially important when pregnant, and how to choose the best supplement. Consult with your health provider to discuss your individual needs and which prenatal vitamins you should take before, during and after pregnancy.

  • Many pregnant women do not get enough of this mineral from their diet to meet the body’s increased need. This can lead to a deficiency called anemia, in which the blood has a low number of healthy red blood cells. Iron supports the baby’s growth and development and can cut your risk for preterm delivery, low birth weight and even infant mortality.
  • Folic Acid. This B vitamin is important to take even if you are in the planning stages of conceiving. The body absorbs the synthetic version of folic acid better than the natural one typically found in food, so even with a balanced diet, a folic acid supplement is recommended. It can reduce your baby’s risk of neural tube, heart, and other defects.
  • Iodine is important for healthy thyroid function during pregnancy. It can also lower the risk of miscarriage, stillbirth and stunted fetal growth and development.
  • Calcium helps your baby grow a healthy heart, strong bones, and teeth, nerves, and muscles as well as develop a normal heart rhythm. It can also reduce your risk of hypertension and preeclampsia. This mineral is important even after you give birth and if you are breastfeeding.
  • Vitamin D. This vitamin is necessary for the absorption and metabolism of Calcium and Phosphorus. It is beneficial for immune function, healthy cell division and bone health in both mother and baby.

You may be wondering if you should be concerned about other nutrients. Not all prenatal vitamins include omega-3 fatty acids which may help promote your baby’s brain development. Your health care provider may recommend this or other supplements, particularly if you do not eat fish or other omega-3 rich foods.

Which Prenatal Vitamin Should I Take?

There are many prenatal vitamins available in pharmacies to purchase over-the-counter. Consult with your health care provider if you are unsure which specific brand best meets your needs. He or she may recommend a prenatal vitamin that has the proper doses of nutrients for your particular circumstance.

Final Thoughts

If you still have questions or concerns about prenatal vitamins, don’t hesitate to contact us. Our physicians at Northside Hospital Cherokee provide nutritional counseling and can quickly get you on the right path to the proper allotment of vitamins and supplements for you and your little one on the way.

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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.”
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