Voted "Best OB-GYN" in Towne Lake, Woodstock and Canton Voted "Mom-Approved OBs" by Atlanta Parent magazine readers
July 14, 2016

A mother’s body is more than just a home as her baby grows: it is protection, sustenance, and strength. When a mother eats well, exercises, and takes care of her body, she is also helping her baby grow healthy and strong. Vaccines can help both mother and baby stay healthy during pregnancy and the early postpartum months. But not all immunizations are safe for pregnant women. If you’re trying to expand your family, here’s everything you need to know about vaccines during pregnancy.

Pre-Pregnancy Vaccines

If you’re trying to become pregnant, you likely have a list of things to eat, avoid, measure, and track. Moms-to-(Hopefully)-Be can add “vaccinations” to the list. Vaccines that contain traces of live viruses aren’t safe for pregnant women. Get these immunizations at least one month before trying to become pregnant. To prevent illness and infection during pregnancy (for both yourself and your baby), make sure you’re up-to-date on these vaccines.

  • MMR (Measles, Mumps, and Rubella vaccine)
  • Chickenpox vaccine

Safe Vaccines During Pregnancy

mom holding baby's handAccording to the CDC, some vaccines are safe for pregnant or breastfeeding mothers. The flu shot is recommended for pregnant women during flu season (November-March). The flu shot, which is made of dead strains of the virus, is safe for both mother and child. Vaccines that contain live viruses, such as some flu nasal sprays, are not safe during pregnancy. The TDAP vaccine, which protects against whooping cough, is made with toxoids (bacterial proteins which have been chemically altered), and is also safe for pregnant women. Other low-risk vaccines, such as the Pneumococcal vaccine and Hepatitis B vaccine, may be recommended by your physician based on your individual risk of contracting the disease.

Post-Pregnancy Vaccines

If you weren’t able to get up-to-date before welcoming your bundle of joy aboard, the postnatal period is the time to get caught up on your adult vaccinations. Parents should get immunized to protect their infants while they’re still too young for some vaccinations. Breastfeeding mothers can follow a normal adult vaccination schedule.

For more information about which vaccines are safe during pregnancy, call Cherokee Women’s Health.

Mother and Child

What Is Fecal Incontinence?

Fecal incontinence is a condition where one lacks the ability to control bowel movements. In some cases, even the sensation associated with the need to move one’s bowels is not felt. In these cases, stool or mucus may be impossible to hold back and can oftentimes result in mortifying accidents.

fecal incontinence photoNormally, strong healthy muscles and nerves in the anus and rectum cooperate with each other, working together to keep stool in the rectum where it belongs until it’s time to have a bowel movement.

This works much the same way as a garden hose with a fitting attached to a spray nozzle. When the tap is turned on, the water remains contained in the hose until the trigger of the nozzle is squeezed, releasing water spray. If the nozzle or fitting is faulty, depending on the extent of the damage, water will either dribble out slowly or gush uncontrollably. Fecal incontinence is similar. There is either some uncontrolled leakage or full incontinence.

Fecal incontinence can be occasional or chronic. Most of us suffer from gastric issues from time to time and can experience some loss of bowel control. But sometimes, what we presume will be simple flatulence may result in an unwelcome surprise of anal leakage.
Urge bowel incontinence is the need to defecate without warning. Those who have it know they need to get to a toilet, but usually cannot get there in time. Passive incontinence is being completely unaware of the need to defecate. The sensation is simply not there, and stool is passed with no warning.

Because of humiliating factors such as sound, odor and visible staining associated with this condition, it can often draw unwanted attention. In time, psychological issues like humiliation, depression, shame and even self-disgust may arise, causing those afflicted to withdraw and isolate themselves from society.

Who is Affected?

Fecal incontinence affects one in 12 adults in the United States alone. There is no age limit, however it affects older adults more often, and slightly more women than men. To put this ratio into perspective, at least one person at every family reunion or five people at any moderate church gathering may be suffering from fecal incontinence. It’s not uncommon.

What Causes Fecal Incontinence?

• Inactivity: Bed or wheelchair bound individuals, the elderly who lead a less vigorous lifestyle and those who spend most of their day in a sitting or prone position are more susceptible. A sedate lifestyle is more likely to cause stool retention in the rectum. Softer or more liquid fecal matter can leak past the harder stool causing fecal incontinence.

• Constipation: Hard, thick stool can develop with constipation, stretching the rectum and relaxing sphincter muscles. More watery fecal matter forms behind this stool and may leak out. Subsequent straining to relieve constipation may weaken pelvic floor muscles.

• Diarrhea: We’ve all had it at one time or another and know how hard it is to get to a bathroom in time. Accidents often result because watery fecal matter is harder to hold in than firmer stool and fills the rectum faster.

• Loss of rectal elasticity: The rectum stretches to allow room for fecal waste, however scarring, sores and irritation caused by such things as radiation, inflammatory bowel disease and rectal surgery may cause the rectum to stiffen and no longer expand.

• Childbirth via vaginal delivery: Giving birth vaginally, especially if forceps are used, can cause damage to nerves and muscles in the pelvic floor. So can surgically cutting (episiotomy) in an effort to minimize vaginal tearing during birth. Fecal incontinence may occur years later or immediately after giving birth.

• Hemorrhoids: Hemorrhoids that develop around the anus may prevent sphincter muscles from closing completely. Since this muscle keeps feces in the rectum, any small portal can allow leakage to escape.
• Rectal prolapse: Sometimes the rectum can descend through the anus, causing the sphincter to not do its job properly.

• Rectocele: The rectum and vagina are separated by a thin layer of muscle. If that layer weakens, the rectum may jut down into the vagina forming bulges. In more severe cases, it can visibly hang outside the vagina, resulting in possible retention of stool in the rectum. It is speculated, though not certain, that this may cause fecal incontinence.

• Diet: Certain drinks such as dairy products or caffeine beverages may have a laxative effect, aggravating fecal incontinence symptoms, as can spicy, greasy foods.

• Overuse of laxatives: Sometimes mother nature may need a little medicinal nudge, but chronic use of laxatives poses a higher risk for developing fecal incontinence.

• Muscle weakness or damage: Circular muscles called sphincters located in the rectum contract tightly to prevent feces from passing through the anus (similar to the concept of aperture on a camera). These muscles can be damaged or weaken with age, losing strength and tautness.

• Nerve damage: Impairment of the nerves in the sphincter muscles, and those that sense the need to pass stool can also result in leakage.

Damage to both the sphincters and nerves can be caused by childbirth, cancer or hemorrhoid surgery. Additionally, nerves may be damaged due to stroke, constant forcing of stool, head trauma, injury to the spinal cord and diseases that affect nerve function such as multiple sclerosis and diabetes.

How is Fecal Incontinence Diagnosed?

After questions are asked, symptoms charted and a physical examination is completed, your doctor may order a series of tests to correctly diagnose fecal incontinence. These tests may include:

• Anal Ultrasound: This test specifically pinpoints the anus and rectum. Sound waves form an image of the sphincter muscles.

• Anal Manometry: An inflated balloon and pressure sensors check rectal sensitivity and function, along with sphincter muscle tightness.

• Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): Magnets and radio waves produce images of soft internal issues and organs.

• Anal Electromyography (Anal EMG): This checks the health and electrical activity of the pelvic floor nerves and muscles, translating those into images and sounds.

• Defecography: An x-ray of the area surrounding the anus and rectum indicates the patient’s ability to hold and void stool. It also shows any structural damage in the rectum, pelvic floor and anus.

• Flexible Sigmoidoscopy or Colonoscopy: Similar to a regular colonoscopy, this test concentrates only on the lower colon and rectum to check for fecal incontinence. In some cases, if necessary, a small piece of tissue is harvested for a biopsy.


• Diet: About 20 to 25 grams of fiber, along with plenty of water should slowly be introduced into the diet to counteract diarrhea and constipation. It’s always best to get fiber from natural sources, but there are plenty of flavored and unflavored fiber supplements on the market. We’ve come a long way from the phlegmy, thick, pasty drinks. Keeping a diary of foods that can aggravate incontinence is always a good idea too.

• Bowel Training: It can take a few weeks to several months, but training your body to obey you by having bowel movements at certain times of the day can help minimize fecal incontinence.

• Medication: If chronic diarrhea is a problem, bulk laxatives can help for more controllable and solid bowel movements. Antidiarrheal medications may also be prescribed.

• Pelvic floor exercise and biofeedback: Exercises targeted to strengthen the muscles on the pelvic floor by squeezing and relaxing can help with bowel function and control. Biofeedback, using sensors can make sure the correct muscles are pinpointed.


Surgery is usually reserved as a final option, but when all other forms of treatment prove ineffective, it may be necessary. If so, you’ll receive a detailed description of all you need to know about the procedure and any possible risks associated with it.

You don’t have to suffer with fecal incontinence. It can almost always be corrected with non-invasive methods. Sometimes, a more aggressive approach may be needed, but in almost all cases, the problem CAN be fixed.
Our doctors are here to help. Call today to schedule an appointment so you can get your life back on track.

vaginal discharge photoWhat is vaginal discharge and what causes it?

The vagina is similar to a corridor that leads from outside of woman’s body to her inner reproductive organs. The vagina and cervix contain tiny internal glands that create and secrete fluids. The purpose of these fluids is to wash away bacteria and dead cells. This natural cleansing process protects the vagina, and prevents infection– much the same way a kitchen sieve holds strawberries while a good rinsing flushes away harmful dirt, grit and anything else those berries might have been lying in as they grew.
While vaginal discharge can be annoying, often staining and occasionally ruining those favorite, overpriced panties, it is a perfectly natural bodily function and should not be tampered with unless problems arise. If something interferes with the delicate balance of vaginal secretions, uncomfortable, painful and even serious infection may occur.

What is normal healthy vaginal discharge?

The color of healthy vaginal discharge can range from clear to milky white, the latter usually occurring during ovulation. It may also be clear with white stringy flecks. When dry, white discharge may turn yellow on underclothing.
A bloody discharge is also perfectly normal during a woman’s period and is no cause for alarm. At times, droplets of blood can be mingled in with discharge between menstrual periods and this is known as spotting. Unless excessive, or accompanied by discomfort, this is also normal.

The amount can vary anywhere from 20 mg to 60mg a day (yes, it feels like much more!) This can increase to about 600mg during ovulation. Increase in discharge can also occur during exercise, breastfeeding, contraceptive use, sexual arousal and even emotional stress. Vaginal discharge decreases at menopause due to lower estrogen levels.

The texture of normal discharge also fluctuates. During ovulation, it can be thin and watery. This texture is Nature’s way of enabling sperm to pass into the uterus allowing a better chance of fertilization. At other times, it is thicker, more acidic, and less hospitable towards sperm. This is temporary, just like a mild marital spat.

Discharge texture varies depending on the body’s levels of the hormones estrogen and progesterone, both found in birth control pills. This is why women who take oral contraceptives produce thicker discharge, thus preventing unwanted pregnancy.

During pregnancy, a thick mucus plug (operculum) forms inside the cervical canal. Containing antibacterial properties, its function is similar to that of a cork or safety seal for the uterus, protecting it from uterine fluid leakage or pathogen invasion. When dilation begins to occur before childbirth, the plug loosens and drops out, resembling discharge tinged with blood.

Discharge odor can vary depending on medication, menstrual cycle, diet, activity, personal hygiene, pregnancy, lubricants, and hygienic cleansing products, but usually a slight musky, though not unpleasant odor is normal. Receiving oral sex can sometimes produce a different odor.

When should you see your doctor?

Although vaginal discharge is vital in maintaining optimal health of the reproductive organs, the delicate Ph balance can sometimes be compromised leading to infection. Infections may occur at any time, but are more likely to happen when the Ph balance is less acidic, right before or during menstruation.

If you experience any of the following symptoms, see your doctor. These can possibly be indications of infections or sexually transmitted diseases such as Bacterial Vaginosis, Yeast Infection(Candida), Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, Human Papillomavirus, Trichomoniasis, Gonorrhea, or Chlamydia –to name a few:

• Pain or inflammation accompanying discharge
• Redness in vulvar or vaginal areas
• Strong unpleasant smelling discharge immediately after intercourse
• Burning or itching
• Rash
• Burning while urinating
• A cottage cheese like texture.
• Thick, lumpy, or pasty discharge
• Foul smelling green, yellow, grey, or cloudy discharge
• Excessive or recurring brown or bloody discharge, especially when not on your menstrual cycle
• Strong, foul, fishy odor
• Watery discharge
• Any unusual discharge accompanied by abdominal pain, uncommon fatigue, fever, sudden weight loss, and increased urination.
• Blisters or sores in the vaginal or vulvar area.
• Painful intercourse


After a brief medical examination which is usually enough to identify the problem, your doctor may request additional tests to analyze skin, cervical or discharge samples.
When the problem is identified, most vaginal discharge abnormalities can be treated with prescription medications such as antibiotics, creams, antifungals, or suppositories. These should always be taken for the full amount of time prescribed by your doctor, no matter how much better you feel.
In some cases, it may be necessary to treat both the patient and her sexual partner, and both may be asked to refrain from sexual intercourse until treatment is successfully completed.
If symptoms persist after medication is completed, a follow up visit may be necessary.
Over the counter medications are available for common yeast infections, but should be avoided if pregnant unless approved by a physician.
Abnormal discharge may be indicative of some cancers, but this is rare.

How you can help prevent problems

• Use condoms, especially with new sexual partners.
• Have an annual pap smear to screen for possible cancer. It’s only uncomfortable for a minute
• Keep the genital area dry and clean with regular bathing, showering and gentle wiping from front to back after urination or defecation.
• Avoid harsh soaps, feminine sprays, powders, chemicals or douches around the vaginal area. They can may upset the Ph balance and kill important bacteria. Being field flower fresh can sometimes do more harm than good
• Avoid deodorized pads and tampons, especially those discount store brands that can be smelled before you enter a room.
• Wear absorbent cotton underwear, and save the sexy, synthetic ones for special occasions unless they have a cotton crotch piece.
• Be vigilant when you wear tampons. Anyone can forget, especially near the end of a period when there is little or no blood. It happens more often that women think.
• Use products designed specifically for vaginal lubrication. Avoid petroleum jelly or other household lubricants your grandmother suggested.
• Eat a healthy, well balanced diet and drink plenty of fluids. Yogurt containing live cultures helps to prevent yeast infections.
• If treating an infection, use sanitary napkins instead of tampons and avoid intercourse if advised by your doctor.

Normal vaginal discharge is essential good pelvic health, but any unusual symptoms should be addressed immediately. Speak to your doctor honestly and frankly to alleviate the problem as soon as possible. There’s no need for embarrassment. Open dialogue is vital to an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment.

June 29, 2016

Every expectant mother has heard jokes about pregnant women running to the bathroom all the time. Overactive bladder is one of the most common symptoms of pregnancy in the first trimester, and it only gets worse as your pregnancy develops. But for some, overactive bladder causes an even more embarrassing symptom: pregnancy incontinence.

What to Know about Pregnancy Incontinence

pregnant woman laughingPregnancy incontinence, or bladder leakage, gets less press than overactive bladder syndrome (possibly because fewer dads-to-be find it a funny road trip joke), but many pregnant women suffer it. Bladder leakage most frequently occurs when coughing, laughing, sneezing, or straining, but it can happen almost anytime. The good news is that pregnancy incontinence is usually temporary. When your hormone levels go back to normal and your body heals, your bladder should return to normal too.

How to Treat Pregnancy Incontinence

Before trying home remedies, make sure you’re leaking urine. If the liquid is clear and odorless, it may be amniotic fluid. It’s rare, but if you are leaking amniotic fluid, contact your obstetrician immediately.

Okay, you sure it’s urine? Here’s what you can do to treat pregnancy incontinence.

  • Do Kegels to strengthen your pelvic muscles.
  • Train your bladder to behave by slowly extending the amount of time between trips to void your bladder.
  • Monitor your weight. Unnecessary weight gain during pregnancy puts undue pressure on your bladder.
  • Try to avoid constipation, which also puts pressure on your bladder.
  • Keep drinking water! Limiting your water intake doesn’t minimize pregnancy incontinence, it only dehydrates your body and increases your risk of UTI (another cause of bladder leakage).
  • Avoid foods that irritate the bladder such as citrus, tomatoes, coffee, and alcohol (which you shouldn’t be having anyway!).
  • Use pads in case of accidental leaks.
  • Brace your pelvic muscles before laughing or sneezing by crossing your legs or doing Kegels.
  • Pay attention to any patterns. If you notice a specific behavior causes bladder leakage, stop that behavior.
  • Talk to your practitioner. Your OB or CNM does this for a living, so you can be sure they have some good tricks for minimizing bladder leakage.

Pregnancy incontinence may be frustrating, but it’s a normal part of pregnancy. If your incontinence lasts up to six weeks postpartum, speak to your physician about treating incontinence before it becomes a long-term issue. For more information on pregnancy incontinence, call Cherokee Women’s Health.

Laughing Mom-to-Be

June 24, 2016

breastfeeding mother

Breastfeeding is probably the first most intimate bond a mother will ever create with her child, but sometimes it can take a little while to get it right—both for mother and baby. Much like picking up rice with chopsticks for the very first time, breastfeeding requires patience, practice, time and effort. Although babies are born with a natural instinct to suckle, and mothers usually produce the colostrum and milk they need immediately, sometimes getting the two natural occurrences to cooperate with each other can be difficult.

Apart from the time and discomfort needed to recover from childbirth, baby’s constant demands for food, cuddling, changing– not to mention possible colic- the first few days can be overwhelming on a new parent. Lack of sleep can also cause impatience, which in turn is something a baby can easily sense. No matter how many decibels you attempt to lower your voice after drowsily walking into walls during that three o’clock feeding, your baby will still pick up on your irritability and react accordingly with fussing, flailing or crying.

Compounding all this with a difficulty to breastfeed could easily leave the mother experiencing feelings of failure, shame and anxiety. Rapid hormonal changes on her part add to the melting pot of emotional stew.

Latching Problems
Breastfeeding can be a painful, uncomfortable experience during the first few postpartum weeks. Although hungry newborns may not have teeth, their gums can certainly clamp on well enough to make a new mother wince, even yelp at times. Until tender, engorged nipples become accustomed to the sensation, it can be highly unpleasant for the first little while.

If pain persists after this adjustment period, however, it may possibly be caused by a bad latch. A bad latch may occur for a number of reasons, such as cradling the baby’s head at an improper angle, positioning your breast incorrectly, flat or inverted nipples, or an infant who hasn’t quite yet grasped the intricacies of sucking and getting tasty results.

Learning to latch may take time. If you look down and see that your areole or nipple are visible, your baby may not be latching correctly. Both serve a purpose similar to a bull’s eye on a target. Baby needs to zone in and clamp on the center to achieve proper suction. The sensation of the nipple, and in some cases the tiny bumps surrounding it on the areole serve as a type of braille to baby’s sensitive mouth. Nursing pillows may facilitate finding the correct angle, thus gently coaxing your child to a better position.

If you can’t resolve the latching problems on your own, there is no need to get frustrated or to feel badly about it. At your next appointment, ask your obstetrician or certified nurse-midwife for information on overcoming breastfeeding problems. They are familiar with the problem and will gladly help to make breastfeeding a more enjoyable nurturing time for you and your infant.

Inverted or Flat Nipples
1 to 3% of all women have flat or inverted nipples which can create a challenge when breastfeeding. Speak to your obstetrician about breastfeeding with inverted nipples. Some methods he or she may recommend would be to pump before breastfeeding to stimulate milk flow, or using a silicone shield to help your baby latch.

Some women with flat or inverted nipples may require the help of their spouses to get a good latch going. In a way, this can also be a pleasant bonding time for their partners.

Breast milk provides babies with vital nutrients to help them grow and develop into healthy, strong little people. It is recommended that mothers try as much as possible to introduce their infants to not only this beneficial form of nourishment, but the resulting closeness and warmth both mother and baby can derive from it.

For more information on lactation, Northside Hospital-Cherokee has a center dedicated to lactation and their website offers lots of great tips.

June 23, 2016

happy baby picCommon Breastfeeding Problems
Apart from providing valuable colostrum and vital nutrition for babies, breastfeeding can create an intimate bond between a mother and newborn. Another plus is that breastfeeding requires more calories than pregnancy, Mother Nature’s way of rewarding a new mother by giving her a jump start on the road to ‘baby weight” loss.

At first, however, to the dismay of many new parents, it isn’t always the warm fuzzy experience they imagined it would be. Breastfeeding does not always happen naturally. The milk is in the mother’s breast, and the baby instinctively makes sucking motions looking for food, but the act of successful breastfeeding itself is a skill that requires a little practice on both parts.

Motherhood can be challenging and intimidating enough, especially for first time moms who want to do the very best job possible. Even the sweetest, undemanding baby can be intimidating due to lack of experience, let alone a colicky fussy child. Encountering breastfeeding problems can raise stress and anxiety levels at the very best of times, and this frustration may result in abandoning breastfeeding altogether. Most breastfeeding difficulties, however, are easily remedied with minor position adjustments or a few timeless suggestions from your OB-GYN.

Solving Common Breastfeeding Problems
Low milk production. Many moms underestimate their milk levels, especially when first learning to breastfeed. But a few tricks can increase your supply: ensure your baby latches well and drains both breasts at each feeding, drink plenty of water, use a breast pump between feedings, and nurse at night when milk production hormones surge. You can also ask your doctor to modify your diet to include foods that encourage healthy milk production.
Latching pain. Latching pain is expected for new moms, but it shouldn’t last. If latching pain lasts longer than a minute, reposition your baby to an asymmetrical latch, where his mouth covers the nipple and the lower part of the areola.
Cracked nipples. A common result of latching problems, improper pumping, or thrush, cracked or bloody nipples can cause serious anxiety in new moms. But a little blood won’t harm the baby, and the solution is simple: lanolin cream. Other remedies include repositioning your baby’s latch, breastfeeding more frequently for shorter intervals, and letting some milk air dry on your nipples.
Thrush. A yeast infection that may develop in infants’ mouths, thrush can spread to the breasts, causing itching, soreness, and sometimes a rash. See your doctor, who will provide an antifungal cream to be applied to both your nipple and the baby’s mouth.

Every woman faces her own challenges during pregnancy and postpartum. We encourage our patients to take advantage of the rich resources in our health community, including the Lactation Program at Northside Hospital-Cherokee, where we deliver all our moms.

If you have concerns about breastfeeding, schedule an appointment with us today.

May 17, 2016

woman with incontinence photoOne in five women endures the symptoms of Urinary Incontinence. Yet often, a suffering woman does not acknowledge it as an issue. She may be self-conscious about mentioning the condition to her doctor, or she may assume it’s a normal part of being a woman. Two of the most commonly accepted situations are incontinence after pregnancy and incontinence during exercise.

The truth is, although urinary incontinence is common, it is not considered normal. Needing to urinate frequently, as well as urinary urgency, are signs that one may be dealing with Urinary Incontinence. Fortunately, for a woman experiencing these symptoms, she can find both surgical and non-surgical options in treatment to minimize or even eliminate these symptoms permanently.

What is Urinary Incontinence?
Weakening of the pelvic floor can affect bladder control and urethra function, causing issues with urination. Women suffering from Urinary Incontinence find themselves running to the bathroom frequently. Strong urges to use the restroom, even after urinating, is another sign that a woman may be dealing with Urinary Incontinence. It is important to not brush off the occasional leak experienced while exercising or shifting position, because there are treatments available for women dealing with Urinary Incontinence.

One important step in the diagnosis process is identifying the type of Urinary Incontinence, in order to find the best treatment option.

  • Stress Incontinence
    This type of incontinence occurs when urine leaks out of the bladder during certain strenuous activities. Jogging or other exercising can cause urine leakage. Coughing and laughing can also bring on an unexpected leak. More severe symptoms of Stress Incontinence may include urine leakage during low stress activities such as changing position or walking. Many pregnant women can experience Stress Incontinence as the growing uterus puts pressure on their relaxed pelvic floor and the organs shift to make room for baby. Sometimes the symptoms are dismissed as an annoying pregnancy symptom, but if they do not subside after delivery, they may need medical assistance to prevent symptoms from worsening.
  • Urge Incontinence
    Commonly referred to as Overactive Bladder, or OAB, Urge Incontinence is a continued sensation of needing to urinate. This sensation is often an overwhelming, powerful urge which sends women dodging for the nearest restroom. Urge Incontinence is different from Stress Incontinence in that it occurs suddenly, without pressure on the bladder from strenuous activity. In addition to strong urges to urinate, women with Urge Incontinence may find themselves waking up at night to use the restroom, interfering with a full night’s rest. Sometimes, there may be an underlying condition that is causing the undeniable urges to urinate. An honest discussion about symptoms with a doctor can help them determine any underlying conditions so they can better treat you.

Preventing Urinary Incontinence:
Many situations can result in Urinary Incontinence. There are some factors that do make a woman more prone to the condition, including pregnancy and childbirth. Women who want to lessen the chance of experiencing Urinary Incontinence can follow the advice below:

  • Quit smoking- those who smoke are at a greater risk of developing Urinary Incontinence.
  • Maintain a normal weight-carrying excess weight can cause more problematic symptoms because of the pressure on the pelvic floor.
  • Exercise- regular exercise improves body function. Exercising the pelvic floor as well can keep symptoms at bay.
  • Regular Bowel Movements- pressure from waste can put unnecessary pressure on the organs of the pelvic floor. Women can lessen symptoms by maintaining regular bowel movements.

Leaky Bladder Remedies:
Don’t be ashamed or embarrassed to mention your symptoms to your doctor. Treatment options will be chosen based on the severity of the symptoms but can include:

  • Changes to diet and fitness lifestyle
  • Physical Therapy
  • Medications
  • Minimally-invasive surgical procedures

Don’t accept the meddlesome symptoms of Urinary Incontinence as part of your life. Seek out the advice of one of our specialists in Urogynecology, and discuss treatments options today.

The birth of a child is a time of joy and excitement, but for many new moms, it can also be a time of anxiety, stress, and inexplicable sadness. Postpartum mood disorders affect 10-15% of all new mothers. Postpartum depression can develop in the weeks after birth, and some begin women showing signs as late as 6 months post-labor. If you’re experiencing symptoms of postpartum depression, it’s important to realize that your feelings are valid. Reach out to get the help you need for the sake of you and your baby.

depressed woman pic

Signs You May Be Suffering Postpartum Depression

The postpartum blues, or “baby blues,” are feelings of stress, depression, anxiety, and frustration that many mothers experience in the days after childbirth. The baby blues rarely last longer than 1-2 weeks, and don’t require medical treatment. Postpartum depression, however, is a more serious condition that usually requires medical care. Signs of postpartum depression include:

  • Difficulty bonding with your newborn
  • Feeling overwhelmed by the responsibilities of motherhood
  • Withdrawing from your spouse, family members, and friends
  • Guilt about your shortcomings as a mother or feelings of shame and worthlessness
  • Loss of appetite or increased eating habits
  • Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Fatigue and loss of energy
  • Feeling numb or disconnected from the world around you
  • Inability to enjoy activities you used to love
  • Cloudy thoughts and an inability to concentrate
  • Anxiety and/or panic attacks
  • Mood swings
  • Feelings of depression or suicidal thoughts
  • Thoughts of harming yourself or your baby
  • Fear that if you reach out, your baby will be taken away

Every mother experiences postnatal depression differently. Some women may have each of these symptoms at one point or another, while other mothers may experience only a few. If your symptoms last longer than two weeks or become a barrier to living life normally, don’t hesitate to contact your doctor. If you have thoughts of suicide or of harming yourself or your baby, seek immediate assistance.

If you think you may be experiencing postpartum depression, there is hope. Postnatal depression and anxiety are both temporary and treatable. Call Cherokee Women’s Health to schedule an appointment today.

Postpartum Depression

May 10, 2016
Zika Virus pregnant woman photo

The recent Zika virus outbreak is frightening, especially for expectant mothers. Though the virus itself has mild symptoms, the transmission of the virus from mother to fetus is linked to birth defects in infants. Carried by Aedes mosquitoes, it can also be transmitted by sexual contact.

Protect Yourself from Zika
No vaccine exists for Zika, but by taking precautions, you can minimize your risk of contracting the virus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is urging pregnant women and their partners to take strong precautions against mosquito bites.

What Bug Repellent Is Safe to Use When You’re Pregnant?
No repellent is right every time, and no repellent is 100% effective. The Environmental Working Group (EWG), which specializes in research on toxic chemicals, has published a complete guide to Bug Repellents in the Age of Zika.

Check out EWG’s Guide to the safest BUG Repellents

Avoid Travel to Certain Areas
The Zika virus has not spread to most of the US; however, all known cases of Zika in the United States are due to travel. The CDC recommends that pregnant women avoid travel, especially to areas with known outbreaks of the Zika virus. If you’re trying to get pregnant, both you and your partner should avoid travel.

If you have recently traveled, schedule a visit with your OB-GYN. Your healthcare provider can test for the virus, even if you’re not symptomatic. The Zika virus stays in the blood for about a week, and in semen for slightly longer.  Based on current information, Zika causes no risk to future pregnancies once it has run its course.

Zika Safety
The CDC recommends special precautions for the following groups:

  • Women who are pregnant: Check the CDC recommendations for travel to specific areas such as: Cape Verde, Mexico, The Caribbean, Central America, The Pacific Islands and South America.
  • Women who are trying to become pregnant: Before you or your male partner travel, talk to your doctor about your plans to become pregnant and the risk of Zika virus infection.
  • You and your male partner should strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites during your trip.
  • If you have a male partner who lives in or has traveled to certain areas, either use condoms or do not have sex (vaginal, anal, or oral) during your pregnancy.
  • See CDC guidance for how long you should wait to get pregnant after traveling to specific areas.
  • Men who have traveled to an area with Zika and have a pregnant partner should use condoms or not have sex (vaginal, anal, or oral) during the pregnancy.

Symptoms of Zika Virus
The symptoms of the virus are fairly mild in adults, typically only lasting a few days, but can cause developmental defects in infants. Symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Rash
  • Joint Pain
  • Red eyes
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache

Contact your doctor immediately if you may have come in contact with the Zika virus.

At Cherokee Women’s Health, we’re dedicated to keeping you and your baby healthy throughout your pregnancy. Please contact our offices if you think you may have been exposed to the Zika virus.

May 5, 2016

Because preeclampsia only affects women during pregnancy and the postpartum period, many first time mothers are unaware of the effects and symptoms of preeclampsia. Proper prenatal care with a certified obstetrician or CNM is typically enough to catch the early signs of preeclampsia; however, new mothers should be aware of the symptoms and notify their doctor about any changes in their health. 

What Is Preeclampsia?

Preeclampsia is pregnancy induced hypertension that affects mothers and infants during late pregnancy. Symptoms typically develop after week 20, and can show up as late as 6 weeks postpartum. Researchers have yet to isolate the cause of preeclampsia, but the disorder affects 5-8% of all pregnancies. Preeclampsia is most common in first time mothers. It is one of the leading causes of illness and death in mothers and infants, but identifying the problem in its early stages allows for the best possible outcome.

Recognizing the Problemfotolia_104899014

Although some women show few symptoms of pregnancy induced hypertension, preeclampsia is typically characterized by high blood pressure and protein in the urine. Your obstetrician will monitor your pregnancy for signs of preeclampsia, but it’s important to tell your physician if you’re experiencing any symptoms.

Symptoms of preeclampsia may include:

  • Swelling
  • Sudden weight gain
  • Stomach or shoulder pain
  • Lower back pain
  • Headaches
  • Changes in vision
  • Anxiety
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea or Vomiting

Preeclampsia develops rapidly, so it’s important to notify your doctor as soon as you experience symptoms. But with early detection and proper care, your physician can provide the best possible outcome for you and your baby.

To learn more about preeclampsia or to schedule a prenatal appointment with a certified OB or CNM, contact Cherokee Women’s Health in Canton.

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