COOB – Do You Need an OBGYN for Pregnancy?

Becoming pregnant can be one of the most beautiful, exciting, yet scary times in a woman’s life. A mixture of emotions can flood your mind while you arrange plans for the new arrival. With all the questions and concerns you might have, one question you may ask yourself—do you need an OBGYN for the pregnancy?

What is an OBGYN?

OBGYN is an acronym for obstetrics and gynecology. These physicians specialize in women’s health and pregnancy. They take care of female patients from puberty and up regarding an assortment of needs such as birth control, STD care, prenatal visits, delivering babies, menopausal care, and various surgeries and procedures related to the female reproductive system.

When Do You Need an OBGYN for Pregnancy?

Once you find out you are pregnant through a home pregnancy test or from your regular doctor’s office, be sure to schedule an appointment with Colorado Obstetrics and Women’s Health your OBGYN in Colorado Springs as soon as possible. Your first visit should be around 8 weeks gestation, or about a month after your first missed period. If you are having problems such as vaginal bleeding or abdominal pain, contact our clinic immediately as you may need to come in earlier.

During your first prenatal visit, we want to get to know you so we can plan the best prenatal care for your specific needs. This appointment involves confirming pregnancy, discussing your due date, health history, and possible risk factors. In addition, plan on scheduling your future visits. Most women see their OBGYN 10-15 times throughout the pregnancy.

A routine prenatal schedule:

  • Weeks 4 to 27 (first and second trimester)—visits are once a month
  • Weeks 28 to 36 (beginning of third trimester)—visits are every two weeks
  • Weeks 37 to birth (end of third trimester)—visits are every week until delivery


Why Do You Need an OBGYN for Pregnancy?

Prenatal care is a vital part of a woman’s pregnancy. Your obstetrician will provide physical exams, blood tests, and ultrasounds to monitor for complications, measure fetal growth, and make sure you and your baby are as healthy and safe as possible.

Every pregnancy is different and carries its own risks, so it is important to visit your OBGYN regularly. Health risks your doctor may want to discuss include:

  • Family history/hereditary risks
  • Past pregnancies
  • Age of mom
  • Toxin exposures
  • Medications
  • Drug use such as tobacco, caffeine, alcohol, or illegal drugs
  • Recent travel
  • Other health issues such as heart disease or diabetes

Genetic testing is also available as an option if you are interested in screening for specific birth defects or genetic disorders. As your local OBGYN in Colorado Springs, we will walk you through the information so you can choose with confidence whether you want any testing performed or not.

Our OBGYNs in Colorado Springs answer the question, “Do you need an OBGYN for pregnancy”, every day! We will be here for you through your pregnancy journey and are experts in providing the support and medical care our patients can depend on. Contact us for an appointment with an OBGYN at Colorado Obstetrics and Women’s Health today 719-634-8800.

The Importance of Annual Wellness Exams for Women

Life can get busy but taking the time to focus on health is important to quality of life. A healthy lifestyle includes preventative care services, like yearly well woman exams and screenings. Wellness exams for women at Colorado Obstetrics & Women’s Health are a vital element of prevention and offer an array of valuable information, guidance, and referrals. The importance of annual wellness exams for women is that it helps detect health problems early, prevent diseases, and target optimal health.

What is a Well Woman Exam?

A well woman exam is a wellness exam with a focus on female-specific conditions. The importance of this annual wellness exams for women is that it aims to reduce health risks for women and prevent health problems. This is an ongoing service available throughout a woman’s life and can begin at age 13, when menstruation starts, or once sexually active.

General Wellness

During the well woman appointment, a routine wellness exam is provided. This includes:

  • Basic vital signs – Height, weight, blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate, and temperature.
  • Personal and family medical history.
  • Current medications including over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements.
  • Recent immunizations.
  • Psychosocial conditions and lifestyle behaviors such as smoking, alcohol use, and depression.

Discussions in well woman visits are dependent on the woman’s personal situation, such as age, medical conditions, and sexual activity. Topics include birth control, family planning, pregnancy, menstrual cycle and flow, risk for sexually transmitted diseases, and menopause.

Women’s Health Exam and Screenings

Gynecological exams at well woman visits are the paps, pelvic exam and the breast exam. They are performed with your comfort and privacy in mind. Discuss any concerns with your medical provider before your annual wellness exam to help lower anxiety.

  • A pelvic exam is a physical examination of the pelvic region, including the vulva, cervix, uterus, ovaries, and rectum. This exam can be performed annually for at-risk women or every 3-5 years for low-risk women.
  • During the pelvic exam, a Pap smear can be conducted to screen for cervical cancer and test for the human papillomavirus (HPV).
  • A breast exam takes just a few moments and is used to screen for breast cancer.

Following these exams, your provider will discuss concerns, recommendations, and referrals based on their findings that cater to your personal health needs.

Why is a Yearly Woman’s Exam Important?

One of the importance of annual wellness exams for women is that it’s essential for maintaining good health. These exams can interrupt developing health problems and help you change poor habits easier. Benefits of completing an annual well woman exam include:

  • Updating and reviewing your health chart to help your healthcare provider stay in tune with your health.
  • Opportunities to discuss health concerns that you may be at risk for. These concerns can be addressed with preventative screenings.
  • Finding health issues early and strategize improvements quickly.
  • Planning other screenings and referrals, depending on age and risk.

Early Prevention

Preventative screenings is one of the importance of annual wellness exams for women to help detect cancers like cervical, ovarian, and breast cancer, or other health conditions like osteoporosis and pelvic inflammatory disease. Catching these and other diseases before they cause major problems can save your life.

Once prevention is no longer an option, treatment is the next step. These services may include more tests, medications, surgeries, and hospitalizations. A yearly wellness exam can prevent these detrimental situations.

A Healthier You

Ultimately, the importance of annual wellness exams for women is that it can change, extend, or save your life. Even if all you need is peace of mind, you will leave your appointment with our women’s health clinic with improved self-awareness.

Why wait any longer? Schedule a wellness exam for women at Colorado Obstetrics & Women’s Health in Colorado Springs and invest in a healthier you.

Ultrasound Services and Benefits

Ultrasound imaging is one of the safest, easiest ways for healthcare providers to examine inside of the body. At Colorado Obstetrics and Women’s Health facilities, our OB/GYNs use obstetric ultrasounds for pregnancy and sonograms or scans for women’s health care. Our practice encourages these services for many beneficial reasons.

What are Ultrasounds?

During this service, sound waves are sent off which bounce off structures and return as echoes. The echoes are transformed into images, showing formations of internal tissues and organs. These images are measured in real time, and a data report is sent to the physician for review.

Ultrasound Services

We at Colorado Obstetrics and Women’s Health provide several types of ultrasound services which can be performed in the office. Our friendly, dedicated staff strives to make you as comfortable as possible during the procedure. Most women feel light pressure and the cold, gooey lubricant used for soundwave enhancement.

Obstetric Ultrasounds

Routine pregnancy ultrasounds are typically scheduled during certain weeks of gestation. Your physician will determine the need for an obstetric ultrasound based on you and your baby’s specific needs. With each of these sonograms, you receive keepsake snapshots of your baby to take home with you. The purpose for each scan is described below:

  • Dating screening (6-9 weeks gestation)
    • Due date
    • Gestational age
    • First view of your baby
  • First Trimester screening (12 weeks)
    • Confirming due date
    • Investigating for possible abnormalities
    • Checking on baby’s wellbeing
  • Second Trimester Anatomical Screening (18-20 weeks)
    • Measuring baby’s anatomy
    • Analyzing physical development
    • Possibly seeing a glimpse of your baby’s arms and legs, facial profile, and gender (if desired)
  • Third Trimester Ultrasound
    • Recommended for high-risk circumstances such as twins, prior abnormal scans, risk of preterm labor, or gestational diabetes.

 Types of Prenatal Ultrasounds

  • Standard 2D: A 2-dimensional view of your baby. You might see your baby wave or kick in real time or see baby’s heart beating.
  • 3D/4D: A 3-dimensional image of your baby. 4D is a 3-dimensional picture in motion, like a video clip.
  • Targeted: This advanced approach is used to further examine a suspected abnormality.
  • Doppler monitor: This small, portable device is used to easily check you and your baby’s heart rates and blood flow. You can hear the whooshing sound of the blood flow as the doppler picks up the echoes.

Gynecological Ultrasounds

At Colorado Obstetrics and Women’s Health, our services are for woman’s health needs, including pain, cysts, abnormal bleeding, and more. Gynecological ultrasounds are used in health services that are not related to pregnancy.

  • Abdominal scan: Examine structures within the abdominal cavity such as the liver, pancreas, gallbladder, and appendix.
  • Pelvic scan: Examine the female reproductive organs such as the uterus, cervix, fallopian tubes, and ovaries.
  • Transvaginal: A type of pelvic scan with a vaginal approach. Some details are seen better with this method.


This service is the go-to diagnostic for multiple beneficial reasons. The procedure typically only takes a few minutes and can be completed in our office. These are primarily non-invasive, meaning they do not invade the body or puncture the skin. They do not require IV or oral dye (contrast) for viewing, nor do they emit harmful radiation. In fact, little to no discomfort is expected. They are more comfortable, more affordable, safer, and more convenient than most other diagnostic tests.

If you are pregnant, prenatal ultrasound benefits are abundant. You can see your baby in real time, watch movements, and take home photos that can be cherished forever. You can even complete a gender ultrasound to see if you are welcoming a boy or girl into your family. Feelings of joy, enhanced bonding, and receiving reassurance are some excellent reasons moms-to-be enjoy our prenatal services and obstetric ultrasounds.

Make an appointment today and ask about our services.

Menopause Care

Menopause is a phase in the aging process when a woman stops having menstrual periods completely and cannot conceive children. Many women find this transition unpleasant due to the changes, symptoms, and health risks. Knowing what to expect can reduce feelings of apprehension and help you embrace the inevitable. Additionally, there are many ways women can achieve symptom relief during their menopausal years. 

When Does Menopause Start? 

Menopause can start at various ages, but the typical age range in the U.S. is 45-58, with the average being 51 or 52. Early menopause is between 40-45, and late is 55+. Premature menopause occurs in 1% of women, beginning in their 30s. Surgical removal of the ovaries causes menopause immediately, at any age. 

Natural menopause is official when the woman experiences 12 consecutive months without a period. However, the menopausal phase can begin years before this happens and has three subphases.


When a woman says, “I’m going through menopause,” she is actually going through perimenopause. Perimenopause is the long phase before hitting menopause, as the body is transitioning. Perimenopause can start years before menopause, typically in your 40s. Hormone levels are yo-yoing, causing an array of symptoms to emerge. Some changes are subtle, while others are more noticeable. Perimenopausal women experience many of the symptoms listed below. 

  • Irregular periods 
  • Longer or shorter menstrual cycles 
  • Inconsistent ovulation 
  • Hot flashes  
  • Cognitive/memory changes  
  • Worsening mood swings 
  • Anxiety 
  • Fatigue 
  • Sleep problems  
  • Weight gain 
  • Decreased libido 
  • Intercourse discomfort  
  • Breast tenderness 
  • Heart palpitations 
  • Bone loss 
  • Altered cholesterol levels  
  • Bladder problems/urgency 


Perimenopause ends and menopause is reached after one full year without periods. Nearing the end of perimenopause, some symptoms are not as intense. The most common menopause symptoms include: 

  • Vaginal dryness 
  • Hot flashes/night sweats 
  • Mood swings 
  • Depression 
  • Insomnia 
  • Hair changes 
  • Dry mouth, eyes, and skin 
  • UTIs 

Post Menopause 

After 12 months period-free, a woman is now postmenopausal. Menopausal symptoms begin to subside, such as hot flashes and mood swings. Other symptoms may become long-term conditions such as chronic UTIs and vaginal dryness. 

After reaching menopause, women are at higher risk for certain health conditions such as osteoporosis and heart disease. Consult a physician regarding these and other health risks.

Self-help Ideas 

Menopause management is a rollercoaster that can be difficult to manage, but there are ways you can ease the symptoms.  

Enhance your wellbeing: The importance of healthy living cannot be overstated. By adjusting your lifestyle, you can remedy the symptoms with menopause care while improving your overall wellbeing.  

  • Exercising 
  • Healthy food choices 
  • Stop smoking  
  • A consistent sleep schedule and earlier bedtime 
  • Vitamins and supplements 
  • Meditation 
  • Self-calming activities and hobbies 

Sexual wellness: Conditions like low libido and vaginal dryness can make intimacy difficult. Water-soluble lubricants can help with the discomfort. Communicate with your partner about your concerns and know that it is ok to talk to a doctor if you are experiencing intimacy issues. 

Social support: It helps to discuss your concerns and emotions with friends or family members you trust. They may offer great advice and support. 

Positive outlook: Menopause is a natural progression in a woman’s life. Embracing your body’s changes in a positive light can help you get through the tough times and support a healthy mental state. This can lead to more symptom relief and stress reduction. Positive outcomes include: 

  • No worry of pregnancy 
  • No more periods 
  • Symptoms like mood swings subside 
  • Self-focus—You might notice you are more aware of your body and, therefore, able to care for it better than before. 
  • Empowerment—For many women, reaching menopause can be a powerful feeling of freedom and control over their lives. 

Colorado Obstetrics and Women’s Health If you are unsure if you are going through menopause or need assistance balancing symptoms and life, contact Colorado Obstetricians and Women’s Health. Our experienced OB/GYNs and staff can help you during this transition and educate you on menopause care and management. Call 719-634-8800 to schedule an appointment.

Will Ovarian Cysts Resolve Themselves?

If you haven’t been diagnosed with ovarian cysts before by an OBGYN doctor, you may have heard your female friends and family members talk about having them and wonder if you may be affected as well.

The truth is, ovarian cysts are quite common, and many women have this condition at some point in their life. The good news is, ovarian cysts often cause very little or no discomfort, so sometimes, women who get them don’t even know they’ve had them.

What Are Ovarian Cysts?

Ovarian cysts are fluid-filled sacs found on or inside a woman’s ovary. Women have two ovaries, one on each side of the uterus (or womb), which produce eggs (or ova) during a woman’s menstrual cycle.

Most ovarian cysts are functional cysts (discussed below). More rarely though, a woman may develop disease-related cysts caused by polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or ovarian cancer.

How Do Ovarian Cysts Form?

Most ovarian cysts develop from functional cysts that are normally produced to release an egg during a woman’s menstrual cycle. During a woman’s monthly menstrual cycle, one of her ovaries produces a fluid-filled sac called a follicle. This follicle contains one of the woman’s eggs. Follicles also release the hormones progesterone and estrogen in women during their monthly cycle.

When a woman ovulates, the follicle ruptures and releases the mature egg into the fallopian tube. From the fallopian tube, the released egg travels to the uterus, where it embeds itself in the lining of the uterus.

If the embedded egg receives a sperm, the woman becomes pregnant. If it does not, the egg is shed with the uterine lining during a woman’s menstrual period.

However, sometimes the follicle does not rupture and release the egg but continues to grow, at which it is a functional cyst.

There are two types of functional cysts: follicular cysts and corpus luteum cysts.

A follicular cyst occurs when the normal follicle containing the egg does not rupture and release the egg but continues to grow. A corpus luteum cyst occurs when the follicle does rupture and release the egg, but it retains some of its fluid. The ruptured follicle that is left after releasing the egg is called the corpus luteum.

What Are Ovarian Cyst Symptoms?

Many women experience no symptoms at all from ovarian cysts.

If a woman does develop symptoms from an ovary cyst, the most common symptoms include abdominal bloating, pressure, swelling, and/or lower abdominal pain. The abdominal pain usually occurs in the left or right lower side of the abdomen and can come and go and be dull or sharp. Sudden, severe abdominal pain can occur if an ovarian cyst ruptures.

Nausea and vomiting can also occur along with abdominal pain if the cyst has caused the ovary to become twisted.

Other possible, but less common, ovarian cyst symptoms include:

  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding
  • Tender breasts
  • Dull aching pain in the thighs and low back
  • Pain during sex
  • Pain during the menstrual period
  • Pelvic pain
  • Trouble fully emptying the bladder and/or bowels
  • Urinating more often
  • Weight gain that can’t be explained

When Should I See My OBGYN Doctor?

It’s important to contact your OBGYN doctor or seek medical attention right away if you have any of the following ovarian cyst symptoms:

  • Abdominal pain with vomiting and/or fever
  • Severe, sudden pelvic or abdominal pain
  • Symptoms of shock such as weakness, feeling lightheaded, fast breathing, cool and clammy skin

Will Ovarian Cysts Go Away on Their Own?

Ovarian functional cysts usually resolve on their own without any treatment. However, disease-related cysts may require treatment based on what caused them.

Colorado Springs Obstetrics and Gynecology

Colorado Obstetrics & Women’s Health

If you’re concerned you might have an ovarian cyst, make an appointment to see one of our Colorado Springs OBGYN doctors. At Colorado Obstetrics & Women’s Health, we offer pelvic ultrasound services to identify ovarian cysts. Our team of expert clinicians is here to answer your questions and put your mind at ease. Contact us today at (719) 634-8800 to schedule your appointment.

False Pregnancy Test Results

It may be that you have taken a pregnancy test because you are actively trying to get pregnant. Or, perhaps quite the opposite, and you are concerned you are pregnant but not trying to conceive.  Whatever the reason, false-negative or false-positive results can happen. Let’s look at pregnancy tests in a little more detail and why a false result may occur.

False Pregnancy Test Results

How do Pregnancy Tests Work?

Your body produces a hormone called Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) when you get pregnant. When a fertilized egg attaches to the lining of your uterus (right at the beginning of pregnancy), your body begins to release HCG. It starts to produce hCG around six days after fertilization. 

Pregnancy tests detect hCG levels in the urine. hCG levels rise quickly, doubling every two to three days. Most pregnancy tests advise that they are accurate when taken from the first day of a missed period. But, if you don’t know when your next period is due or you have irregular periods, you can do the test at least 21 days after you last had unprotected sex. 

Some pregnancy tests are more sensitive and claim you can use them before a missed period. However, they are not likely to be as accurate when taken early.

How accurate are home pregnancy tests?

Home pregnancy tests are usually very accurate. When taken on the first day of a missed period, some home pregnancy tests claim to be 99% accurate. This accuracy reduces the earlier you take the test before your missed period. 

Home pregnancy test accuracy can depend on:

  • When you take the test
  • The time of day you take the test
  • How you take the test
  • The brand of the test

If you think you have a false test result, the best option is to wait a few days and then try again. 

What are false pregnancy tests, and how do they happen?

Even though home pregnancy tests are very accurate, they can provide false results very occasionally. 

  • A false positive is a test result that shows you are pregnant when you are not.
  • A false negative is a test result that shows you are not pregnant when you are. 

Reasons your test might be wrong

False-positive results can occur due to:

  • Reading the test after the recommended time frame. Some tests develop evaporation lines after a certain amount of time, making the pregnancy test look positive. Therefore, it’s important to read the test within the described time frame. 
  • A molar pregnancy (which is a condition where a tumor grows in the uterus mimicking pregnancy).
  • Medications that contain synthetic hCG, such as some fertility medications.
  • Medical conditions such as ovarian cysts, some cancers, kidney disease, or disorders that affect the pituitary gland and hormones. 
  • A recent miscarriage, incomplete miscarriage, or abortion where your hCG levels have not yet returned to normal. 

False-negative results can occur if:

  • You take a pregnancy test too early, before your missed period, so there is not enough hCG in your urine to detect.
  • You check test results too soon, and it hasn’t had time to process correctly. It’s essential to follow the instructions on the pregnancy test packet or leaflet to have the best chance of getting an accurate result. 
  • You take the test late in the day, and your urine is more diluted. Although pregnancy tests can work at any time of day, you are more likely to get a more accurate result if you take a pregnancy test first thing in the morning. This is because hCG levels are more concentrated in the urine at this time.
Colorado Springs Obstetrics and Gynecology

Colorado Obstetrics & Women’s Health

If you are concerned that your pregnancy test result is false, you can see an obstetrician for a blood test. At Colorado Obstetrics & Women’s Health, our team of expert clinicians is here to support you through every stage of pregnancy. Right from before conception. Contact us today at (719) 634-8800 to schedule your appointment. 

How does an OBGYN Test for Pregnancy?

When you take a pregnancy test, and it’s positive, it can be overwhelming emotional in various ways. And it can be challenging to know what to do next. If you think you may be pregnant, the best place to start is to schedule an appointment with an OB/GYN as soon as possible. 

Why See An OB/GYN?

Home pregnancy tests are highly accurate when used correctly. However, taking the test at the wrong time or incorrectly could lead to a false-positive or false-negative result. Also, home pregnancy tests differ in diagnosing pregnancy in women who have recently missed a period. So, if your periods are irregular, it might be a bit more complicated. To determine if you are pregnant, it’s best to get tested by an OB/GYN. It’s also a positive step to see a doctor early in your pregnancy to help you and your baby stay healthy.

How does an OB/GYN test for pregnancy? 

Whether bought over the counter or taken at a doctor’s office, all urine pregnancy tests work by screening for a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). hCG is also known as the pregnancy hormone. When a fertilized egg implants itself in your uterus, your body starts to produce hCG. You can detect trace levels of hCG from as early as eight days after ovulation. This means some women can get a positive pregnancy test several days before their period starts. 

If you suspect you are pregnant, one of the benefits of being examined by an OB/GYN is that the doctor can use additional tests to confirm the pregnancy — such as a blood test and a pelvic ultrasound. The blood test your doctor performs can detect pregnancy earlier than a urine pregnancy test. The drawback is that it usually takes 24 hours to get results.

Ultrasound Scans for Determining Pregnancy

Your OB/GYN can also do a pelvic/transvaginal ultrasound if required. It is a type of ultrasound scan carried out by placing a probe in the vagina. A pelvic/transvaginal ultrasound can detect the heartbeat very early in your pregnancy—earlier than a standard abdominal ultrasound done on your stomach. A pelvic/transvaginal ultrasound can confirm early pregnancy and assist with due date calculation. This is done at 6 – 7 weeks after your last cycle. It is safe for both you and the fetus. 

Further along in pregnancy, your OB/GYN might do an abdominal ultrasound (sonogram). It uses reflected sound waves to produce a picture of a fetus. It can determine how far along the pregnancy has progressed. Sonographers will also carefully examine your baby’s body to check its health and development. The scan can be used to:

  • Calculate your estimated due date
  • Check the size of the baby and that it is growing normally
  • Identify if there is more than one baby
  • Detect certain physical conditions
  • Show the position of the baby and the placenta
  • Varify the gender of the baby if requested

Whether transvaginal or abdominal, there are no known risks to you or the baby from having an ultrasound scan. 

Colorado Obstetrics & Women’s Health

At Colorado Obstetrics & Women’s Health, we pride ourselves on providing the highest quality OB/GYN care. We offer complete obstetrical and prenatal care through routine or high-risk pregnancies. Our team of dedicated women’s health professionals understands that every pregnancy and childbirth is a unique experience for everyone. 

If you are looking for an OB/GYN who will work with you to have the best possible experience throughout your pregnancy, give us a call today at (719) 634-8800 to schedule an appointment.

4 Potential Causes for Infertility

In official terms, infertility is defined as being unable to get pregnant after one year or more of unprotected sex. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 12% of women aged 15-44 years have difficulty getting pregnant or carrying a pregnancy to term in the United States. 

4 Causes of Infertility

  1. Ovulation disorders. These are problems that affect the release of eggs from the ovaries, such as:
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS): is the most common cause of female infertility. It is a condition that affects the hormones causing women to ovulate irregularly or not ovulate at all. 
  • Primary ovarian insufficiency (POI):  is a condition sometimes referred to as premature menopause. It happens when a woman’s ovaries stop working before the age of 40. 
  • Hyperprolactinemia: where the body produces too much of the hormone prolactin, which can interfere with ovulation.
  • Hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism: Thyroid problems can affect the menstrual cycle or cause infertility.
  • Functional hypothalamic amenorrhea (FHA): This can affect ovulation and is caused by excessive exercise, weight loss, stress, eating disorders, or a combination of these factors. 

    2.Structural Problems of the reproductive system.
  • Uterine fibroids: are benign growths in and around the wall of the uterus. They do not always affect fertility. 
  • Polyps: are benign growths on the inside surface of the uterus which can make it difficult to get pregnant or carry to term. They can sometimes be surgically removed to help improve fertility chances. 
  • Scarring in the uterus:  can be caused by previous injuries, infections, or surgery and can affect implantation. 
  • Fallopian tube damage or blockage: may happen for several reasons, such as pelvic inflammatory disease, endometriosis, or adhesions.
  • An unusually shaped uterus can also affect fertility. 

2. Endometriosis is where tissue similar to the tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus begins to grow in other places (like blocking the fallopian tubes). 

  • 3. Age.  With aging comes menopause, where there is a decline in ovarian function, and it usually happens around the age of 50. A condition to consider that is not natural due to aging is diminished ovarian reserve. This is when fewer eggs remain in the ovaries than expected for the woman’s age. 

Worried About Infertility? Coping with Infertility?

If you have any concerns about fertility and getting pregnant, it is best to speak to an OBGYN. At Colorado Obstetrics & Women’s Health we are dedicated to providing high-quality OBGYN care in a compassionate, friendly, and comfortable environment. You can contact us on (719) 634-8800 to discuss all your OBGYN concerns and needs. We are here to support you. 

What Causes You to Itch While Pregnant & Tips to Help

Pregnancy can cause all sorts of symptoms. You may have heard of, or experienced, some of the more common symptoms such as nausea, sickness, heartburn, or fatigue. However, itching can also be an uncomfortable symptom that occurs. 

Ranging from mild to intense itching, it can happen for several reasons. If you wonder what causes itching during pregnancy, when itching is a concern, and what to do about it, then read on to find out more. 

What causes itching during pregnancy?

Mild itching is actually pretty common in pregnancy. It tends to happen for a few reasons:

  • Raised levels of certain chemicals in the blood, such as hormones, can cause mild itching
  • Hormone changes can also lead to skin dryness which in turn can lead to itching. Your skin can also become more sensitive to scented skin products due to hormonal changes
  • When your bump grows in the later stages of pregnancy, your tummy’s skin is stretched and may feel itchy
  • Pregnancy-related skin conditions such as pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy (PUPPP) or prurigo

However, when itching becomes more intense, it can signify a more serious liver problem called obstetric cholestasis (OC), also called intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy (ICP). So, let’s take a look at this and the skin conditions that can cause itching in pregnancy in more detail. 

Signs of obstetric cholestasis (OC)

OC is a liver condition where a buildup of bile acids in the blood causes feelings of itchiness. It most commonly occurs at around 30 weeks of pregnancy. However, it can present as early as eight weeks in some women. 

As you may have guessed, the main symptom is itching. It is often very intense, but in most cases, there is no rash. Itching tends to be more noticeable on the hands and feet, but some women can experience it all over the body. Usually, the itching gets worse at night. 

As it is a liver condition, you may also notice other symptoms alongside the itching, such as:

  • Lack of appetite and/or nausea
  • Dark urine
  • Pale/light poo
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes)

OC can be serious, and some studies have linked OC to a higher chance of premature birth or stillbirth. Therefore, if you are worried that you may have signs of OC, it is essential to seek medical advice and support.

Signs of Pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy (PUPPP)

PUPPP is a type of rash that appears during the later stages of pregnancy and extends from stretch marks. The rash starts as small, red, raised pimple-like dots. However, it can develop into plaques (patches of raised skin lesions) and blisters. 

PUPPP rashes tend to first appear on the stomach, particularly around stretch marks – but some women get the rash even if they don’t have stretch marks.

This type of rash is intensely itchy, especially at night. It usually lasts for four to six weeks towards the end of pregnancy. It then disappears within a few days or weeks after delivery. 

PUPPP isn’t dangerous, and your doctor will be able to diagnose it through a skin examination.

Signs of Prurigo

Prurigo is intensely itchy spots and bumps that appear on the arms, legs, or abdomen. The spots are often grouped together and may crust over. 

Prurigo is not dangerous and occurs in approximately 1 in 300 to 1 in 450 pregnancies. It most commonly appears in the 2nd or 3rd trimester, but women have reported it happening in all stages of pregnancy.

It’s usually treated with topical steroids or oral antihistamines and clears up after the baby is born. 

What can you do to help with itching during pregnancy?

There are several ways you can help relieve pregnancy itching if you are finding it challenging to get comfortable:

  • Avoid scratching
  • Take an oatmeal bath 
  • Avoid heavily scented skin products and change perfumes or detergents if necessary
  • Wear loose clothing made from natural fabrics to help your skin breathe and stay cool 
  • Use cold, wet compresses on areas of intense itching
  • Use a moisturizer to help with dry skin
  • Increase your water intake and stay hydrated to help prevent dry skin
  • Try to keep the room cool with air conditioning or a fan
  • Some people find aloe vera gel, or calamine lotion can help relieve itching

When to see your doctor or OBGYN:

Itching can be mild and harmless, but it can be a sign of OC in some cases. If your itching is:

  • Distressing or relentless
  • Worse at night
  • Worse on the palms of your hands and soles of your feet
  • Progressively getting worse

Then it is best to give your doctor a call. It’s always safer to seek help early so that you can get the medical support you need.

At Colorado Obstetrics & Women’s Health, we are dedicated to providing you with the highest quality OBGYN care. Our expert team of clinicians are compassionate, friendly and want to make your experience as comfortable as possible. If you are looking for OBGYN care, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us by calling (719) 634-8800. 

We look forward to supporting you with all your women’s health needs. 

Understanding Irregular Periods

Irregular periods can be triggered by a myriad of factors, such as age, the medications you are taking, medical conditions, and even certain lifestyle choices.

Understanding irregular periods is an essential step women can take to first recognize the pattern in their cycle, and spot the signs that could indicate that a visit to your gynecologist might be necessary.

As you might already know, the average menstrual cycle results in a period every 28 days. But many women do not fall under the “average” category and can experience a period between 21 to 35 days, which can also last as little as 2 days to even a full week.

What an Irregular Cycle Looks Like

A period is considered irregular when the period is early, late, missed, or even when it occurs more frequently. The patterns of irregularities can vary:

  • Adolescents – cycles outside the 21-45 day range;
  • Adults – cycles outside the 24-38 day range;
  • Adults – cycles that vary in length by more than a week (such as having a 24-day cycle Month A, then a 40-day cycle Month B)

To know if your period is irregular, you must first keep track of your cycle. Count the number of days that pass between the first day of your previous period until the first day of your next, and keep this record for a few months. You can write it down on a piece of paper, or even turn to an app specifically designed for period tracking.

Note that in some period irregularities, your period can also stop for 90 or more days, without having a potential explanation for it, such as pregnancy, menopause, or medication.

Causes of Irregular Periods

1. Exercise and Diet

Exercise and diet fall into the “lifestyle choice” factor that can lead to irregular periods. Those who exercise extensively are likely to experience irregular periods as the workout can affect your metabolism. A lot of athletes, for example, who routinely exercise can often have this period side-effect, and even experience a total stop in getting their period.

Additionally, poor nutrition caused by extreme dieting can have a similar effect. It’s common for underweight women to struggle with their periods, as they can become irregular or stop.

2. Stress

High levels of stress or even anxiety can affect your hormonal balance, which could lead to even temporary irregular periods. You might experience a cycle delay or even experience spotting in between periods.

3. Sleep

Lack of sleep, which can happen as a result of sleep disorders, shift work that makes you switch activity patterns from night to day, or even long-distance travels can also lead to period irregularities.

When you don’t sleep properly, your body will produce higher levels of cortisol, which can even lead to a missed period.

4. Birth Control

Taking birth control involves introducing additional hormones into your body, which could lead to some period chances.

People can often experience lighter or shorter periods, but in some cases, birth control can also lead to skipped periods.

5. Pregnancy

The most common cause for late periods in sexually active adults is pregnancy. If you are pregnant, your body will produce a higher level of a hormone called progestin, which will suppress ovulation and lead to no periods throughout the pregnancy.

6. Illness

Irregular periods can also be a symptom of other medical conditions, such as thyroid disorder, STDs, diabetes, or endometrial cancer.

Why It Matters

While it’s common to experience some irregularities in the first 2-3 years once you get your period, irregularities in adults are usually a good sign that something else is going on.

When You Should Talk to a Gynecologist

As you begin to track your cycle more closely, you should also watch out for additional symptoms.

For instance, if the irregular period is followed by heavy bleeding once you do get your period, and you are having to change your tampon or pad every two hours, this is a sign of excessive bleeding, and you should contact your doctor right away.

Some irregular periods might also be accompanied by additional symptoms, like having lots of abdominal pain, fever, or having a strange fluid secretion with a strong smell. These can be signs of infection and require medical attention as soon as possible.

Contact Us

To put your mind at ease and find out the cause of your irregular period, contact an OB/GYN who will provide you with the best medical care possible.

At Colorado Obstetrics & Women’s Health, we are committed to helping you achieve your best health. Contact us at (719) 634-8800 to schedule an appointment.