Questions to Ask Before Hysterectomy

A hysterectomy is the removal of the uterus. The uterus may be removed for a variety of reasons such as abnormal uterine bleeding, uterine fibroids causing bleeding, pain or other difficulties, ongoing pelvic pain, uterine prolapse where the uterus has moved into the vaginal canal, endometriosis, thickening of the uterus, and cancer. Physicians recommend a hysterectomy for a woman usually after other alternatives for resolving her medical condition have been unsuccessful.

Hospital discharge after a hysterectomy may happen the same day or a few days later and recovery time can be as short as 2 weeks up to 8 weeks long, depending on the type of hysterectomy that is performed. During the recovery time, walking is usually encouraged but you shouldn’t do any lifting until you’ve fully recovered or at the doctor’s instructions.

6 Types of Hysterectomy Procedures

There are six different types of hysterectomy procedures and your recovery time in hospital and at home depends on the type of procedure you have.

1.  Abdominal hysterectomy

During an abdominal hysterectomy, an incision is made in the lower abdomen to remove the uterus. This is the most invasive type of hysterectomy and requires the longest recovery time of 6 to 8 weeks. In a total hysterectomy, both the uterus and cervix are removed which may or may not include the tube and ovaries. With a partial, subtotal, or supracervical hysterectomy, only the uterus is removed, and the cervix is left in place. Your surgeon may recommend this procedure if you have a large uterus, your surgeon wants to inspect the organs in your pelvis for signs of disease, or they believe it’s the most suitable procedure for you.

2.  Vaginal hysterectomy

With a vaginal hysterectomy, an incision is made in the vaginal wall. Using long instruments through the vagina, the uterus is separated from its ligaments and surrounding structures and removed. Recovery time is approximately 3 to 6 weeks.

3.  Laparoscopic hysterectomy

In this procedure, the surgeon makes small incisions in the abdomen to insert a viewing device called a laparoscope and other instruments to remove the uterus in small pieces. Because these are very small incisions, they require less healing time than an abdominal hysterectomy that requires a much larger incision.

4.  Laparoscopic assisted vaginal hysterectomy (LAVH)

In LAVH, a laparoscope and other small instruments are inserted through very small incisions in the abdomen. The uterus is removed from the ligaments that hold it in place and it is removed through the vagina by making a small incision in the vaginal wall. Recovery time varies greatly from just 2 weeks to 4 to 6 weeks.

5.  Laparoscopic supracervical hysterectomy (LSH)

LSH is performed by making very small incisions in the abdomen to insert a laparoscope and other small instruments to remove only the uterus while leaving the cervix in place to support the vagina and other structures.

This is the least invasive type of hysterectomy with a recovery time of 6 days to 2 weeks.

6.  Robotic hysterectomy

During a robotic hysterectomy, the surgeon inserts surgical instruments including a camera through small abdominal incisions similar to a laparoscopic hysterectomy, but he/she performs the surgery by controlling the instruments through a computer. By performing the surgery this way, the surgeon can access smaller areas and view the area better than with a traditional laparoscope.

Your physician will determine the type of hysterectomy that is best for you based on your condition, the reason you need a hysterectomy, and your medical history.

What to Expect Before a Hysterectomy

Before your hysterectomy, your physician will discuss the procedure with you and any potential risks and complications. Consider the layout of your home and where you will want to sleep during your recovery because climbing stairs may be difficult for you. You may also want to stock up on any prescriptions, groceries, and easy to prepare meals for your recovery time. You will be advised not to eat or drink anything for 24 hours before your surgery.

What to Expect During a Hysterectomy

To prepare for the procedure, you will lie on your back similar to the position used when you have a Pap test. A long flexible tube called a catheter may be put into your bladder to drain your urine during and immediately after your surgery. You will have an intravenous (IV) started in one of your arms and you will be put to sleep with general anesthesia for the procedure. Your uterus will be removed using the procedure your physician described to you.

What to Expect After a Hysterectomy

After your hysterectomy, you may have pain, redness, swelling, bruising, burning, and itching at your incision site. Some women also have a feeling of numbness near the incision or down their leg.

You will need to arrange to have someone drive you home after you are discharged from hospital since your physician will likely recommend that you don’t drive for a couple weeks after surgery. If you are discharged home the same day of your surgery, you will have had general anesthesia so you will not be able to drive. Your physician will tell you how long your recovery should take which will vary depending on the type of hysterectomy you’ve had. You will be advised to not do any lifting, exercise, or have sex until you have healed.

What is Considered a High Risk Pregnancy?

Anticipating the birth of your baby is an exciting time. And you want to do everything you can to ensure your baby is born healthy and that the delivery is as safe as possible for both of you. That’s why it’s important to understand what is a high risk pregnancy and what you can do to reduce these risks.

What Is Considered a High Risk Pregnancy?

According to the Mayo Clinic, a high risk pregnancy occurs when you or your baby may have an “increased risk of health problems before, during or after delivery”. Because of these increased risks, special monitoring is often required for you and your baby while you’re pregnant and may continue for sometime after the delivery.

What Are Common Types of High Risk Pregnancy?

There are many different factors that can result in a high risk pregnancy. However, the most common reasons include:

1.  Pre-existing health conditions

Certain pre-existing health conditions that you have before you become pregnant such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and HIV can put both you and your baby at higher risk of health problems. If you have any of these conditions, your health care provider can help you by making any recommendations they think are important for special monitoring and testing.

what is considered a high risk pregnancy

2.  Obesity

Being overweight or obese can also result in a high risk pregnancy. This is because certain health problems are more common in overweight or obese mothers including preeclampsia, neural tube defects, stillbirth, high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, and the need for a Caesarean section (C-section) delivery.

3.  Age factors

If you’re a teenage mom or a mom over the age of 35, your pregnancy may be considered high risk due to the potential for preeclampsia and high blood pressure during your pregnancy. Preeclampsia is a condition that only occurs during pregnancy and results in high blood pressure and sometimes protein in the urine during and after the pregnancy. It can also cause a disturbance in your blood clotting factors and problems with kidney and liver function.

4.  Multiple births

Becoming pregnant with more than one baby is another factor causing a high risk pregnancy. Women who become pregnant with twins or more than two babies are at higher risk for premature labor, delivering their babies preterm, preeclampsia, and low birth weight babies.

What Can You Expect With a High Risk Pregnancy?

If your health care provider thinks you have what is considered a high risk pregnancy, they will likely recommend you undergo some special monitoring and tests such as:

  • Specialized ultrasound (to identify any potential problems with the baby, to measure cervical length, and to check on the baby’s overall health)
  • Genetic screening (usually requiring invasive tests)
  • Prenatal cell-free DNA (cfDNA) screening
  • Lab tests

What Care Is Needed For High Risk Pregnancies?

As noted earlier, you and your baby may require special monitoring and tests during and after your pregnancy. Your primary health care provider may also want you to schedule more regular appointments to monitor your blood pressure, blood glucose, and urine.

It’s also important that you quickly report any health issues or concerns to your health care provider such as abdominal pain, severe headaches, vaginal bleeding, dizziness, swelling of your face/hands/feet, and decreased movement of your baby.

What Are Some Ways to a Avoid High Risk Pregnancy?

The good news is you can help prevent a high risk pregnancy by seeing your health care provider and discussing pregnancy before you become pregnant, scheduling regular prenatal care when you’re pregnant, and avoiding smoking, alcohol, and illegal drugs when you’re pregnant.

If you have what is considered a high risk pregnancy, there are certain health risks for both you and your baby. However, seeing your health care provider before you become pregnant and following their recommendations can help ensure you and your baby are as healthy and safe as possible through your pregnancy and delivery.

Coping with Infertility

dealing with infertility

Many people who experience fertility problems find that they struggle with strong feelings. If you’re navigating the medical realities of infertility, it can be easy to overlook your emotional needs, but you deserve support in every area as you process all the complex factors of infertility.


You may be dealing with difficult feelings

Adjusting what this new diagnosis means for your life can spark many different emotional reactions. People often feel angry at the situation, or even guilty about something that feels like a failure. Give yourself time to get used to the reality of what you’re facing, and be patient with yourself as you do.


Some tips to cope with infertility

1. Accept that you’re going to experience strong emotions. Having intense feelings isn’t the same thing as being out of control. Give yourself permission to feel what you feel without judging yourself for your reactions.


2. Work to stay on the same team as your spouse or partner. If you’re feeling guilty or angry, then a well-meaning offer of concern can feel like an attack. Let them know what you’re thinking, and listen to them without judgment. You may not know what comes next, but you can face it together.


3. Seek out information. Medical terminology can be confusing. Talk to your doctor about any questions you have, and ask for further resources to learn more.


4. Find support. You don’t have to deal with this alone, and you and your partner shouldn’t be each other’s only source of comfort. Seek out support groups, friends you can trust, or even a professional counselor. Fertility is an extremely private subject, and it’s important to have someone you feel safe enough to talk to.


5. Communicate your needs. Let your spouse know what kind of help you need right now. Do you need to vent, cry, or just think about something else for a while? Talk to them about what you’d like them to do for you.

6. Pay extra attention to self-care. You know what will truly make you feel better, it might be a yoga class, a massage, or meditation. Make an extra effort to do whatever comforts you.


The medical professionals at Colorado Obstetrics and Women’s Health are here to support you in your journey with infertility. For compassionate and thorough care that fully explores your options, contact us for an appointment today.

Memory Loss During Menopause

Memory Loss During Menopause

Brain fog or temporary memory problems are a common occurrence for women during menopause due to hormonal changes – specifically estrogen depletion due to aging ovaries – which take place in the body. However, as memory tends to decline with age, and menopause is an age-related condition, it can be difficult to say if memory loss is actually caused by menopause. Several studies on the effect of estrogen on memory support the notion that memory loss during menopause is caused by a lack of this hormone. The good news is that studies also show that memory improves after menopause.

The 2004 Penn Ovarian Aging Study confirms the finding that hormone changes which occur during perimenopause often cause a decline in verbal memory. The study found that these effects are separate from the natural effects of aging. Many current studies on the relationship between memory loss and menopause are based on the findings from this study.

Another four-year study called Evidence for Cognitive Aging in Midlife Women: Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation found that women had trouble learning during perimenopause,  but once menopause was completed, they returned to the learning levels demonstrated before perimenopause.

Reduced memory and thinking skills in women during perimenopause and menopause were also identified in a review published in the Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. In this review, women also reported problems with concentration and forgetfulness during menopause.

What Causes Menopause Memory Loss?

When the ovaries are no longer producing eggs and the menstrual cycle stops, the body responds by reducing the amount of estrogen produced, since it is no longer needed for reproduction. Evidently, this hormonal depletion can also trigger memory issues. Changes in your estrogen levels affect other parts of our bodies as well, such as:

  • Your bladder
  • Your blood vessels
  • Your bones
  • Your brain
  • Your breast tissue
  • Your skin
  • Your urethra

Tips to Battle Memory Loss During Menopause

What can we do to battle the memory loss associated with menopause and the aging process? There is no fountain of youth or “cure” for menopause, but there are ways to deal with its effects and increase your quality of life as you go through it. Some steps you can take to make menopause easier to deal with include:

  1. Ginko Biloba
  2. Healthy eating
  3. Hormone Therapy
  4. Mind Games
  5. Red Wine
  6. Reduce Stress
  7. Sleep More
  8. Stay Active
  9. Stay Cool

The staff at Colorado Obstetrics and Women’s Health provides personalized, comprehensive health care for Colorado Springs women in all phases of life. Give us a call today at (719) 634-8800 to schedule an appointment. We look forward to serving you.

Benefits of Natural Childbirth

Pregnant Mother and Child sitting happy in a field

There are several methods of giving birth, with the best method being determined based on the circumstances of the individual. From the benefits of natural childbirth (no medications) to medication-assisted births (epidurals) to Caesarean section (surgical assistance), there are valid reasons for each delivery method, from both a medical perspective and a personal choice. You have lots of options when it comes to delivering your baby, including having a coach or doula to help you. Today we will discuss the benefits of natural childbirth and a few variations on that theme. Low-risk pregnancies are the best candidates for a natural, medication-free delivery. If your pregnancy is high risk, your doctor will suggest the best course of action for your delivery.

Labor progresses naturally

When laboring without medication, your body’s natural processes are not interfered with by being sped up as when labor is induced or slowed down as may happen when pain medication is involved. Medications may also affect your sense of equilibrium, cause nausea, and lower your blood pressure. By not using any medications during the birthing process many women feel they have more control and are able to work with the rhythm of their bodies. Labor is often shorter with natural childbirth than with medication. Specifically, epidurals can make it difficult for the laboring mother to know when to push.

You may feel more connected

Newborn Natural Childbirth

When laboring mothers don’t use pain medication or other drugs during labor, they are more alert and aware of the birthing experience. This may provide the mother with an increased connection to the baby and their own bodies. When a mother’s senses are dulled by medication, it can result in a feeling of physical detachment, which can be disconcerting for some women.

Recovery time can be reduced

Because a woman’s body releases endorphins during labor which act as naturally calming and pain-relieving hormones, women who opt for natural childbirth often feel great soon after delivery. With natural birth, more endorphins are released than when pain medication is utilized. New mothers who decide on natural childbirth can get out of bed and move around shortly after birth if they so desire.

Breastfeeding is easier

When pain medication is used during labor, it passes to the newborn baby and can impact their interest in breastfeeding. One of the benefits of natural childbirth for mothers looking to breastfeed is that natural-born babies are generally more alert and have an increased interest in the breastfeeding process.

Bradley Method of Natural Childbirth

A popular method of natural childbirth known as The Bradley Method (also sometimes called husband coached childbirth) emphasizes that birth is a natural process and encourages mothers to focus on diet, proper nutrition, and exercise throughout pregnancy to facilitate childbirth. It also teaches couples how to manage labor through deep breathing and encourages a partner or labor coach to support the birthing mother. Classes on the Bradley Method of Natural Childbirth teach nutrition, relaxation, and natural breathing for pain management, and active participation of the husband as the birthing coach. This method was developed by Robert Bradley, M.D., in 1947 and remains one of the foremost methods of natural childbirth, as it encourages healthy mothers and healthy babies.

Proponents of this method believe that most women can give birth naturally without the use of drugs or surgery, if they are adequately educated and prepared, and have the support and help of a loving birth coach. Dr. Bradley believed the six needs of a laboring woman are:

  1. deep and complete relaxation
  2. abdominal breathing
  3. quiet
  4. darkness and solitude
  5. physical comfort, and
  6. closed eyes and the appearance of sleep

The Bradley Method of Natural Childbirth also teaches various labor positions, comfort measures, and several relaxation techniques.

The Alexander Technique

Developed by F. M. Alexander, this technique teaches pregnant mothers how to sit, stand, and move with safety, efficiency, and ease. This method teaches how to release muscular tension to help increase breathing capacity, restore the body’s original poise, and develop proper posture.

This technique teaches simple modifications in movement that can help alleviate lower back pain, balance, digestive problems, and shortness of breath. This helps mothers breathe better during labor, remain calm, and focus during the birthing process. It also aids in opening the cervix during dilation and facilitates effective pushing when the time comes.

Lamaze

This method was developed by Dr. Ferdinand Lamaze in Russia and utilizes the power of distraction during active contractions to decrease the mother’s perception of pain and reduce her discomfort. Lamaze classes teach controlled deep breathing, concentration, massage, different birthing positions, and how to maintain control during labor. The goal of the Lamaze method of childbirth is to help parents feel comforted, supported, and powerful.

The staff at Colorado Obstetrics and Women’s Health provides personalized, comprehensive health care for Colorado Springs women in all phases of life. Give us a call today at (719) 634-8800 to schedule an appointment. We look forward to serving you.

How To Prepare For Pregnancy

Planned Pregnancy

It is obviously very important to see a doctor and make some dietary and lifestyle changes once you find out that you are pregnant. But to optimize the health of your newborn and to have a smooth pregnancy, it is also important to make changes before you get pregnant. Here are some steps you can take when planning to have a baby.

  1. Get a physical. See your doctor for a complete physical before you plan to get pregnant. Being aware of your overall health and any issues that need to be addressed before or during pregnancy is essential to conceiving and carrying your healthy baby to term. If you have any chronic pre-existing conditions such as thyroid problems, high blood pressure, diabetes, or depression, it’s crucial to clear any medications or supplements with your doctor to make sure they are safe to take during pregnancy.
  2. Stop birth control. This may seem obvious, but depending on the type of birth control you use, you may need to see your doctor. If you are on the pill, you will need to stop taking it at least one month in advance of the time you wish to conceive. This is not a guarantee that you will get pregnant in the first month of trying to conceive, although that is possible. Lots of women experience their first period within two weeks of quitting the pill, but for others it takes a little longer. If you have an IUD, you’ll need to visit your doctor to have it removed.
  3. Start prenatal vitamins. Starting a prenatal vitamin right away will help you avoid any nutritional deficiencies during the early stages of your pregnancy. You’ll also have the time to try a few different brands to see which one works best for you. Women who start prenatal vitamins with folic acid at least one month before becoming pregnant have a reduced risk of nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. Supplementing your diet with 400mc of folic acid daily also helps reduce the risk of fetal spinal cord malformation.
  4. Stop smoking. If you smoke, now is the time to quit. Smoking can make conception more difficult and has been shown to increase the risk of low birth weight babies and birth defects. Smoking also exposes your baby to harmful chemicals, restricts blood flow, increases the risk of a miscarriage, and in some cases may cause preterm labor.
    Prepare For Pregnancy
  5. Reduce or eliminate caffeine. Switching to decaf or cutting coffee out altogether is recommended during pregnancy, and getting a head start makes it easier to handle life without caffeine. If you are a heavy coffee drinker, try weaning yourself off caffeine slowly by beginning to reduce the amount of caffeine by 50%, and gradually work your way down to zero. If you love the taste of coffee, decaf could be the answer. If you absolutely must have regular coffee, keep in mind that daily intake recommendations for pregnant women are only about 12 ounces per day. You may try experimenting with different types of decaffeinated teas, as there is a wide variety of flavor options available both in traditional and herbal teas.
  6. Update your vaccinations. Check to ensure that you are up to date on your vaccinations such as MMR (measles) and Varicella (chickenpox) before becoming pregnant, as these vaccinations cannot be given during pregnancy. It’s important to do all you can to protect your own health as well as the health of your growing baby.
  7. Exercise safely but push yourself a little more. Experts tell us that we can work out at a moderate level while pregnant, so the more you can do now, the more you’ll be able to do when you’re pregnant. By pushing yourself a little harder before you become pregnant, especially when doing cardiovascular exercise, your lungs will be better equipped to handle the extra burden being pregnant put on your body. Work on your flexibility, also, as that is crucial during pregnancy to help prevent injury and stress. Strength training will also help you get in shape and build muscle strength that will be important throughout pregnancy, at birth, and afterward. Yoga is a great way to get the exercise your body needs to stay strong and healthy during pregnancy and beyond.
  8. Review your medical history. If there are genetic health conditions in your family or your partner’s family that could be passed down to your baby, it’s important to have that information and share it with your doctor. Genetic counselors are available to discuss any concerns and help you schedule any testing necessary.
  9. Reduce or eliminate exposure to toxins. There are harmful substances almost everywhere you turn, but there are ways to limit your exposure to common toxins while pregnant. If there is a smoker in your life, ask that they not smoke in your presence to avoid exposure to second hand smoke. Choose organic foods whenever possible, and switch to chemical free home cleaning and personal care products. Make your own household cleaners using vinegar and water, and switch to fragrance free laundry detergent or make your own.
  10. Eat healthy. A balanced diet is always good for you, and that’s never truer than during pregnancy. Following a healthy diet before becoming pregnant will make it easier to stick to healthy foods when those crazy cravings hit. Being at a healthy weight will make pregnancy easier to handle, and losing the excess weight once the baby is born will be easier, too. Reduce or eliminate any empty calories, artificial sweeteners, and seafood, especially those that are known to contain mercury. Eat foods that are fresh, locally grown and organic if possible, and avoid processed foods whenever possible. Focus on lean protein, fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and dairy products.

The staff at Colorado Obstetrics and Women’s Health provides personalized, comprehensive health care for Colorado Springs women in all phases of life. Give us a call today at (719) 634-8800 to schedule an appointment. We look forward to serving you.

Foods to Avoid While Pregnant

Expectant mothers have special dietary needs while pregnant, and therefore must pay close attention to what they eat and avoid harmful foods and beverages. During pregnancy, certain foods should be consumed only rarely, while others should be completely avoided. When you are pregnant, your diet must provide enough nutrients and energy for your growing baby to develop properly. At the same time, they also need to provide your body with the nutrition you need to stay healthy enough to deal with all the changes that happen during your pregnancy. Here are some foods that are best avoided while you are pregnant:


  1. High mercury fish. Mercury is highly toxic and there is no known safe level of exposure. It can be toxic to your immune system, nervous system, and kidneys in large amounts, and may cause serious developmental problems in children. You should limit consumption of high-mercury fish to no more than 1–2 servings per month. Types of high-mercury fish include shark, mackerel swordfish, and tuna, (especially albacore tuna). Consuming low-mercury fish during pregnancy is very healthy, and these fish can be eaten up to 2 times per week. Fatty fish is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for your baby.

  2. Undercooked or raw fish and shellfish. These fish can be contaminated with bacteria and parasites which can cause viral, bacterial or parasitic infections, one of which is Listeria. Some of these infections will only affect you, while others may be passed on to your baby with serious, or even fatal, consequences. Pregnant women are up to 20 times more likely to become infected by Listeria, which is found in soil, contaminated water, and plants. Listeria can be passed through the placenta, possibly leading to miscarriage, premature delivery, stillbirth, and other serious health problems.

  3. Undercooked, raw or processed meat. Eating undercooked or raw meat increases your risk of infection from several bacteria or parasites, including E. coli, Listeria, Toxoplasma, and Salmonella, which can pose a serious threat to the health of your unborn baby. Serious health issues such as severe neurological illnesses, intellectual disability, blindness, epilepsy, and stillbirth are possible. Processed meats such as deli meat and hot dogs should also be avoided while you are pregnant.

  4. Organ meat. Organ meat is a great source of iron, vitamin B12, vitamin A and copper, but consuming too much may cause vitamin A toxicity and abnormally high copper levels, which can result in birth defects and liver toxicity. To prevent this toxicity, pregnant women are advised to eat organ meat no more than once a week.

  5. Soft cheeses made with unpasteurized milk. Unpasteurized milk and soft cheeses may contain bacterial contamination that can have life-threatening consequences for an unborn baby. Pasteurization is the most efficient way to kill harmful bacteria without changing the nutritional value of the food or beverage. Pregnant women are advised to consume only pasteurized milk, cheeses, and fruit juice to minimize the risk of infection.

  6. Raw eggs. Salmonella is not uncommon in raw eggs. Symptoms of Salmonella infections include fever, nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps and diarrhea. In rare cases, Salmonella infections may cause cramps in the uterus, leading to premature birth or stillbirth. While you might not consume eggs raw by themselves, many foods contain raw eggs, including Hollandaise sauce, homemade mayonnaise, homemade ice cream, salad dressings, raw cookie dough, cake batter, and cake icings. Always cook eggs thoroughly or use pasteurized eggs while you are pregnant.

  7. Raw sprouts. The humid environment required by seeds to start sprouting is ideal for the growth of Salmonella, which is virtually impossible to remove by washing as it can be harbored inside the seeds. Pregnant women are advised to avoid raw sprouts altogether, although they are safe to eat after they have been fully cooked.

  8. Unwashed produce. While you’re pregnant, it’s very important to thoroughly rinse, peel, or cook all fruits and vegetables. Unwashed or unpeeled fruits and vegetables can be contaminated with several bacteria and parasites during harvest, production, processing, transportation, storage, or retail that can cause such serious problems as eye damage, blindness, brain damage, or intellectual disabilities in children who become infected.

  9. Caffeine. While you’re pregnant, you should limit your daily caffeine intake to two to three cups of coffee, or switch to decaf. High caffeine intake can limit your baby’s growth and increase the risk of low birth weight, which is associated with an increased risk of infant death. Low birth weight can also be a sign of a higher risk of serious diseases in adulthood, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

  10. Alcohol. It’s a good idea to completely avoid drinking alcohol while you’re pregnant, as it increases the risk of miscarriage, stillbirth, and fetal alcohol syndrome. Even a small amount can negatively impact your baby’s brain development. It can also cause fetal alcohol syndrome, which involves facial deformities, heart defects and intellectual disability.

  11. Processed junk foods. While you are pregnant, a healthy pregnancy diet should consist mostly of whole foods with plenty of nutrients, and little to no processed foods. Eating processed foods during pregnancy can increase your risk of excess weight gain, gestational diabetes and complications, which can have long-term health implications for your child. The excess calories, sugar, and unhealthy fats can dramatically increase the risk of serious health problems, including gestational diabetes, type two diabetes, and heart disease, as well as pregnancy or birth complications.

The staff at Colorado Obstetrics and Women’s Health provides personalized, comprehensive health care for Colorado Springs women from puberty through the childbearing years, into menopause and beyond. If you are looking for a caring group of healthcare professionals to assist you in achieving your best health, please give us a call today at (719) 634-8800 to schedule an appointment. We look forward to serving you.

Best Yoga Poses For Pregnancy

Prenatal Yoga Benefits

Staying healthy and fit, maintaining your strength, and staying flexible while pregnant can all help to make your time spent preparing for motherhood easier to manage physically, mentally, and emotionally. When your body is fit and healthy, pregnancy and delivery can be easier to handle, your body can recover more quickly, and you can enjoy more energy, better quality sleep, and less stress. Many women are unsure if they can or should maintain the same level of activity during their pregnancy as they enjoyed before they became pregnant. Some worry about injury, others are concerned about whether increased activity might put their pregnancies at risk. While some activities should be limited, there are several forms of exercise you can engage in while pregnant that are both safe and effective for you and your baby.

Prenatal yoga, in particular, can be very effective at relieving some of the discomforts of pregnancy while helping you stay fit at the same time with stretching and strengthening. That’s a win-win! many women suffer from fatigue, heartburn, reflux, sciatic nerve pain, painful swollen legs and ankles, and morning sickness that can last all day. Certain prenatal yoga poses can help to relieve tension in the upper back, decrease fluid retention, alleviate anxiety around labor, and build strength in the legs to prepare for the physical side of things. There are certain yoga moves you should avoid while pregnant, such as deep backbends, lower spinal twists, and belly-down postures, and you should avoid hot or Bikram yoga, try not to lie flat on your back for extended periods of time, and watch overstretching. Be sure to check with your medical provider and get approval for any change in your routine, including the addition of yoga, and remember to stop any movement or activity that results in pain.

Here are some of the best yoga poses for pregnancy:

Prenatal Yoga Pose
  • Child’s Pose. With a bolster under your torso for support, this can be a great low back pain stretch. It can also help relieve nausea and relieve anxiety. Just don’t fall asleep while you’re down there!
  • Cat and Cow Pose. This alternate arching and stretching of the back can be done all the way up to and during labor to help relieve tension in the back and assist the baby into the birthing position. It can also help ease contractions.
  • Goddess Pose. This wide stance squat with arms open to the side is good for your digestion and provides a great stretch for both your legs and back.
  • Reclined Bound Angle Pose. The perfect pose for increased blood circulation in the lower abdomen. This pose will also stretch your groin and increase external rotation in your hips. Be sure to modify this posture for pregnancy by creating an incline using a bolster or two under your back and head so you are not flat on your back. Put a block between your feet to expand your pelvis.
  • Squat Pose (Garland). Open your hips and pelvis, stimulate digestion, and stretch your legs and back. Modify the pose for pregnancy by leaning against a wall or squatting on blankets. Only do this pose until you are about 30 weeks along.

If you’re not already in yoga classes, check with your local gym about prenatal yoga. In Colorado Springs, these locations offer yoga classes for pregnant women:

  1. Yoga Studio Satya, 1581 York Road, 80918 (719) 203-4525
  2. Sisterhood Yoga, Falcon, CO info@sisterhoodyoga.com (Also has mommy and baby classes)
  3. Enso Prenatal, 2501 West Colorado Ave., Ste. 3B, 80904 (719) 660-5687

Prenatal yoga classes can help you stay in tune with your body and aware of anything that changes during pregnancy. At Colorado Obstetrics and Women’s Health, our staff offers women in the Colorado Springs area personalized, comprehensive health care for all phases of life, from puberty through the childbearing years, into menopause and beyond. Give us a call today at (719) 634-8800 to schedule an appointment for a pap smear, pregnancy test, or wellness exam. We look forward to helping you achieve your best health.

The Many Methods Of Birth Control: What’s Best?

Birth Control Options & Choices

When it comes to effective methods of birth control, abstinence is still the only 100% guarantee that you will not become pregnant. There are, however, several other methods of contraception that offer effective birth control against an unwanted pregnancy as well as other health benefits such as birth control for hormone imbalance. Depending on your health history, lifestyle, and long term goals, your gynecologist can help you determine which method of birth control will work best for you. Let’s discuss the various types of over the counter birth control and prescription birth control available, their effectiveness, ease of use, and the pros and cons of birth control.


Condoms

One of the most popular methods of barrier birth control, the condom works by blocking the introduction of sperm to the woman’s body, is widely available, and inexpensive to use. When used correctly, this is a very effective, although not infallible, method of preventing pregnancy. Risks in relying on this type of birth control alone include the possibility of improper application and the risk of breakage or displacement during use. Using another form of birth control in addition to a condom increases the effectiveness of this method. Condoms are not reusable.

Diaphragms & Cervical Caps

Another form of barrier birth control, a diaphragm is a rubber dome that is placed over the cervix before intercourse. A cervical cap is very similar to the diaphragm, but smaller. The cons include the need for both of these devices to be fitted by a doctor, and the possibility of improper placement. These devices cannot be used during a menstrual cycle due to the risk of toxic shock syndrome.

Concerned woman looking at contraception at home

Birth Control Sponge

This over the counter birth control barrier device can be purchased without a prescription and is also placed over the cervix like the diaphragm and cervical cap. The sponge is a foam device that has the additional protection of a built in spermicide to help prevent pregnancy. The same risk of improper placement exists, and this device also cannot be used during a menstrual cycle. The condom, diaphragm, cervical cap, and sponge all offer users an 84 to 89% success rate when used correctly.

Vaginal Ring

This device is a flexible ring approximately two inches wide. It is placed inside the vagina and does require a doctor’s prescription. It can be left in place for three weeks before being removed for one week to enable menstruation. The vaginal ring releases progestin and estrogen to help prevent pregnancy by affecting ovulation. Periods are usually lighter with less negative side effects, although breast tenderness and headaches are possible. The ring has a 92% success rate.

Birth Control Pill

The most common methods of contraception when it comes to prescription birth control is the birth control pill. The pill is sometimes prescribed as much as birth control for hormone imbalance as it is for contraception. This method uses estrogen and progestin to prevent ovulation, so that the woman’s body does not release an egg. When taken correctly, this is a very effective method of birth control that offers additional benefits such as lighter periods and less menstrual cramping for many women. The vaginal ring and birth control pill offer users a 92 to 95% success rate. You’ll need to consult with your doctor to obtain a prescription, and the downside of using this method includes the possibility of breast tenderness, increased risk for spotting, blood clots, and increased blood pressure.

Birth Control Patch

If you can’t remember to take a daily pill, you might want to consider a birth control patch, which delivers the same benefits of lighter periods and less cramping without the need to take a pill every day. The patch is worn on the skin for three weeks (changed weekly) and removed for one week. A prescription is required for the patch. It contains the same type of hormones as the birth control pill, with similar benefits and possible side effects. The effectiveness rating is 92%.

Birth Control Shot

The Depo-Provera hormonal birth control injection is a method of contraception that lasts for three months. For most women it works even better than the birth control pill or patch and offers the convenience of being administered in your doctor’s office just four times per year. There is no other device or additional method of birth control necessary. It may cause spotting or other side effects. Extremely effective, this method offers users a 97% success rate. A prescription is required.

Intrauterine Device (IUD)

This device is placed inside the uterus. There are several types of IUDs available today. The hormonal IUD must be replaced after 3-5 years, and the copper IUD can work effectively for as long as 10 years. Both types of intrauterine devices make it difficult for sperm to fertilize a woman’s eggs. This is one of the most long lasting methods of contraception, is very low maintenance, and the hormonal IUDs offer shorter, lighter periods for many women. However, IUDs can cause irregular bleeding or heavier bleeding, and copper IUDs can increase cramping with periods. There is also a risk of displacement. This is a highly effective method of birth control, as the IUD offers a 99% success rate.

Birth Control Implant

Next to abstinence, this may be the most effective method of birth control, with a success rate of 99%. A small rod the size of a matchstick is inserted in a woman’s upper arm and can remain there for three years. The small device releases the same type of hormones used in the birth control shot. The downside of this method is that it is more costly than other methods of birth control due to the exam, the cost of the device, and the insertion. Similar side effects as birth control, irregular periods are most common.

Plan B Pill

Also known as emergency contraception and the “morning after” pill, this method of contraception can be purchased at most pharmacies by persons 18 years of age or older. These pills are not a safe birth control method for regular use and are designed to prevent pregnancy in the event of an emergency. The hormones in these pills prevent an egg from implanting in the uterine wall. The pills offer a 98% success rate and are effective when taken up to 72 hours after unprotected intercourse. Possible side effects include nausea, vomiting, breast tenderness, abdominal pain, headache, dizziness, and fatigue and irregular period.

The effectiveness of birth control depends in large part on correctly employing whichever method you choose. Talk to your doctor to determine the various methods of contraception that would best fit your lifestyle and health needs. At Colorado Obstetrics and Women’s Health, our OBGYN staff offers women in the Colorado Springs area a personalized, comprehensive health care for all phases of life, from puberty through the childbearing years, into menopause and beyond. Give us a call today to schedule an appointment for a pap smear, pregnancy test, or wellness exam. We look forward to helping you achieve your best health.

What is Toxic Shock Syndrome?

Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) is a rare but potentially life threatening bacterial infection caused by the release of toxins from an overgrowth of bacteria. TSS can affect men and women of all ages, including children and postmenopausal women.

What causes it?

Toxins produced by either Staphylococcus aureus (staph) bacteria or group A streptococcus (strep) bacteria can cause Toxic Shock Syndrome. Although TSS has been associated primarily with the use of superabsorbent tampons, it can also result from using diaphragms, cervical caps, or menstrual sponges, as well as burn or wound infection, the use of a prosthetic device, and surgery.

What are the signs/ symptoms?

TSS is considered a medical emergency. If you or someone you know experiences any of these symptoms, seek immediate medical attention.

What is Toxic Shock Syndrome?

  • Sudden high fever
  • Confusion
  • Drop in blood pressure
  • Nausea/ vomiting
  • Red eyes, mouth, throat
  • Headache
  • Diarrhea
  • Muscle aches
  • Red rash on palms and soles of feet
  • Seizures

 

Who is at risk for Toxic Shock Syndrome?

Those at risk for TSS include menstruating women, especially those who use tampons, women who have recently given birth, anyone who has had a staph or strep infection, recent surgery, a wound infection or infected burn, anyone who uses a prosthetic device, and anyone who has had a nosebleed severe enough to need packed medical gauze to stop it.

 

Can Toxic Shock Syndrome be Avoided or Prevented?
What is Toxic Shock Syndrome?

Preventing infection is the best way to avoid TSS. If you have an open wound or burn, properly clean it and keep it clean. Watch for signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, or pus. If you use tampons while menstruating, use a low absorbency type and change them often (every few hours). Always wash your hands before and after inserting a tampon. Alternate between using tampons and pads and use pantiliners on your lightest days. Women who have had TSS are likely to get it again. If you’ve toxic shock syndrome in the past, or a serious staph or strep infection, don’t use tampons.

How is Toxic Shock Syndrome treated?

Left untreated, TSS can lead to organ failure and death, so if you suspect you may have TSS, call your doctor and get to an emergency room as soon as possible; toxic shock syndrome is a medical emergency. If you are a woman with a tampon, diaphragm, sponge, or cervical cap in place, remove it before you get to the E.R. If you forget, the staff will remove it for you. At the hospital, you may get an IV of fluids, antibiotics, and blood pressure medicine. If your TSS is due to an infected wound, the medical staff will clean the wound thoroughly. You may be given blood plasma and kidney dialysis if your kidneys are failing. Early detection and treatment are crucial to prevent toxic shock syndrome from causing organ damage, failure, and death. A hospital is the best place to be if you suspect you may have TSS.

 

At Colorado Obstetrics and Women’s Health, our OBGYN staff offers women in the Colorado Springs area personalized, comprehensive health care for all phases of life, from puberty through the childbearing years, into menopause and beyond. Give us a call today to schedule an appointment for a pap smear, pregnancy test, or wellness exam. We look forward to helping you achieve your best health.