- Exercise: While no one is suggesting you run a marathon to get ready for birth, light to moderate exercise can help prepare your body. In some cases, it has been shown to encourage dilation and loosen a woman's hips. It is always best not to overdo it, though. It is important to save your energy for the actual labor!
- Sex: Some women report that their sex drive is heightened during pregnancy, while others insist it is the furthest thing from their minds. Whichever side you fall on, sex does have some undeniable benefits, like bonding with your significant other, relaxation, and sometimes even softening the cervix. Nipple stimulation has also been shown to bring on contractions, but proceed with caution due to the rare chance that contractions can become severe and prolonged.
- Membrane Stripping: Some providers offer a simple in-office procedure known as membrane stripping. This occurs when the doctor inserts a finger and separates the thin membrane lining from the uterine wall. Research shows that spontaneous labor often follows in the days after the procedure, but not always.
What are the signs and symptoms of uterine fibroids?
If you have uterine fibroids you may experience:
- Frequent urination
- Pain with intercourse
- Lower back pain or rectal pressure
- Bloating or fullness in the abdomen
- Breakthrough bleeding
- Heavy, painful periods
Can uterine fibroids impact my pregnancy?
For some women, having uterine fibroids during pregnancy may present a problem, which is why you should speak with your OBGYN and go to all your scheduled prenatal appointments and checkups. While you may never experience any issues during your pregnancy, uterine fibroids may be more likely to result in:
- A breech birth
- Needing a cesarean section
- Labor that doesn’t progress
- Preterm delivery
- Placental abruption
If a woman isn’t pregnant there are certain medications that she can take to help improve symptoms. Surgery may also be recommended to remove more severe fibroids; however, treatment for uterine fibroids in pregnant women is rather limited because many of these treatment options could pose a threat to the unborn child. In this case, bed rest and staying hydrated are two of the best ways for expectant mothers to manage fibroids. Also, talk with your gynecologist about the right pain medications to take to help control your discomfort.
Even though most fibroids won’t cause any problems for most women during pregnancy, an OBGYN also understands what to look for and signs that could put you and your unborn child at risk to ensure that you get the immediate care and attention you need.
How is cervical dysplasia treated?
The best course of action for treating your cervical dysplasia will depend on the severity of your dysplasia. During a biopsy, your gynecologist will be able to analyze the cervical tissue to determine the level of cervical dysplasia. There are three cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) levels, with CIN I being mild, CIN II being moderate and CIN III being severe.
If you’ve been diagnosed with CIN I, it may clear up on its own without even needing treatment; however, you will still need to see your gynecologist about every six months for a Pap smear to detect further changes or to determine if the cells have gone away.
If you’ve been diagnosed with moderate to severe cervical dysplasia, treatment options include cryosurgery to freeze the abnormal cells, a loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP) to burn away the cells, or a more traditional surgical approach that will remove the cervical cells with surgical tools or a laser. Since cervical dysplasia can return, you must be visiting your gynecologist regularly for screenings and checkups.
Is there a way to prevent cervical dysplasia?
One of the best ways for women to protect themselves against cervical dysplasia is to get the HPV vaccine. This vaccine has been approved to protect against several strains of HPV that can lead to cervical cancer. The vaccine is often administered around the age of 11 or 12, but anyone up to age 26 years should consider getting vaccinated. If you are over the age of 26, you should speak with your gynecologist to find out if getting the vaccine is right for you.
Since any woman can develop cervical cancer at any age you must be visiting your OBGYN regularly for routine checkups and screenings. Don’t put off these important annual women’s health checkups.
The pancreas is responsible for producing insulin, which helps your body store sugar from food to use for energy; however, when you are pregnant the placenta also produces hormones that can impact insulin levels and lead to insulin resistance. If your body doesn’t produce enough insulin, this can result in gestational diabetes.
It is possible for a pregnant woman to have gestational diabetes and not even know it, which is why you should keep up with prenatal visits with your OBGYN so that they can perform the necessary testing to keep both you and your baby healthy throughout your pregnancy and delivery.
- Blurry vision
- Increased hunger and thirst
- Urinating more often
Many women can improve their blood sugar levels through simple measures such as healthy eating, exercising regularly, managing stress, and monitoring their blood sugar levels. By controlling this issue now you can prevent gestational diabetes in the future, as well as the development of type 2 diabetes. Sometimes your doctor may also prescribe insulin medication to help control your blood sugar.
Signs of PPH
It’s important to recognize the signs of PPH so you can call your OBGYN or 911 to get immediate medical attention. Some signs of PPH include,
- Heavy vaginal bleeding that won’t stop
- A drop in blood pressure (a sign of shock)
- Nausea or vomiting
- Pale and/or clammy skin
- Pain or swelling around the vagina
Risk Factors for PPH
While PPH can happen without warning, there are risk factors that can predispose women to develop PPH. If you’ve had PPH in the past, you are more likely to have it in the future. PPH is also more common among Hispanic and Asian women.
You may also be more likely to develop PPH if you have any of these health problems,
- Uterine atony: When the muscles of the uterus don’t contract or tighten there is nothing to stop the bleeding
- Uterine inversion: When the uterus turns inside out during childbirth
- Ruptured uterus: When the uterus tears during delivery (this is rare)
- Conditions that impact the placenta such as placenta increta or placenta previa
- Undergoing a C-section
- Undergoing general anesthesia (often for a C-section)
- Medicines that induce labor such as Pitocin
- Vaginal tearing during childbirth
- Fast labor (less than six hours if this isn’t your first child) or augmented labor (more than 14 hours if this is your first baby)
- Placental infections
- Gestational hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Blood conditions
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