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We are all familiar with the first, second and third trimester during pregnancy, as these time periods are talked about quite often among pregnant women and read about in articles about women’s health tips during pregnancy.

But what about those three months after the baby is born? 

This time frame, which is often referred to as the fourth trimester, are very important to the baby’s development, as well as the relationship that is formed between mother and baby. This time period sets the stage for long-term health and well-being. There are a lot of physical, mental and social changes that occur during the weeks after childbirth, and it’s important for all moms to take care of themselves so they don’t fall too deep into the challenges that can arise during postpartum. 

Almost 70% of women have experienced at least one physical problem within the first year of postpartum. These physical ailments can include fatigue, lack of sleep, pain, difficulty breastfeeding, lack of sexual desire and urinary incontinence. 

New mothers may also experience physical changes to the body after giving birth, such as bleeding or vaginal discharge, sore and/or leaking breasts as she gets used to breastfeeding, and mood swings due to hormonal changes. These mood swings may be barely noticeable for some, but for others there is risk of postpartum depression, where intense feelings of sadness and anxiety may take over and affect her ability to properly take care of herself, and her baby.

These feelings are normal and happen to many mothers, so don’t be ashamed to talk about it. If you are experiencing this, please do reach out to your friends, family, or even a female OBGYN who understands what you are going through. Having that support system is crucial to this recovery period. 

This toolkit, along with help from your OBGYN and healthcare providers, will certainly help you through this transition period, and allow you to recover from birth, nurture your infant, and be the best mother you can be. 

The fourth trimester is a beautiful time in both you and your baby’s life, and it is very important that you take proper care of yourself during this time. If you would like to speak with a female Fort Lauderdale obstetrician about how to care for yourself, mentally and physically, Dr. Ghea is the top OBGYN in Plantation to call. Call Westside OBGYN Group at 954-473-2011 to schedule an appointment, or submit a request online.

Periods. 

Once a month is enough, wouldn’t you agree? Sometimes, however, we are surprised by random spotting, or vaginal bleeding occurring between your regular monthly periods. The spotting could be as light as a few drops of blood on your underwear, or you could bleed as much as you would when you start your period. 

Spotting is common. The reasons for this irregular bleeding can vary depending on each individual woman’s health situation, but there are some very common causes, such as pregnancy, birth control and infection. 

Let’s look at these top three reasons for spotting in between periods more closely. 

If you have just become pregnant, you may experience spotting between periods at the time when the fertilized egg has been implanted into the uterus and is starting to grow. This is referred to as implantation bleeding. 

Implantation bleeding may seem like your actual period, but it is different. One of the main ways it differs is in appearance — implantation bleeding may be lighter in color and amount than what you are used to seeing during your period. You won’t experience any aching, pain or cramping like you may during your regular period either. 

Approximately 25-30% of pregnant women will experience some amount of spotting early on in their normal pregnancy. It could also be the sign of a miscarriage. Spotting may also occur during an ectopic pregnancy, which means that a fertilized egg has been implanted on the outside of the uterus. 

Spotting is normal for those who have just started or just stopped taking birth control or estrogen pills. It can also occur if you’ve accidentally missed taking one of those pills. A contraceptive patch, implant, injection or the IUD can also be a cause.

Certain vaginal, cervical and uterine infections and inflammation conditions can cause spotting, as can sexually transmitted infections including chlamydia, gonorrhea and genital warts.

There are other factors that can cause irregular bleeding in between periods, such as your thyroid levels being too high or too low, having pelvic inflammatory disease or polycystic ovary syndrome (PSOS), and vaginal dryness or atrophy after menopause. 

Spotting may also occur because of certain medications, such as blood thinning medications, antidepressants and corticosteroids. It can even happen because of something as simple as stress.

If you notice that your vaginal bleeding has become heavier than normal, you’ve noticed a change in the bleeding pattern or you’ve passed blood clots, it’s time to investigate. This is the time to make sure and visit your OBGYN.

If you experience spotting or irregular bleeding between periods, you may feel confused or worried about what is happening to your body. If you feel any concern, you should reach out to your OBGYN. As a female OBGYN in Fort Lauderdale, Dr. Ghea can discuss this matter with you and go over the possibilities of what could be causing the spotting to occur.

If you are looking for a Fort Lauderdale obstetrician to discuss your menstrual cycle with, Dr. Ghea is here to help. You can schedule an appointment with her at her Plantation OBGYN office, Westside OBGYN Group by calling 954-473-2011.

The process of giving birth is a natural and beautiful phenomenon, but labor isn’t the most comfortable thing in the world. Whether you decide to perform a natural delivery or not, there are some breathing techniques that may help you through that discomfort. 

Here are some methods to make labor easier on you and your baby. Patterned breathing involves the act of breathing at any range of feasible rates and depths. Some women prefer to breathe deeply through the use of their diaphragm to fill their abdomen with air. Other women favor light breathing, inhaling as much as necessary to fill their chest. Your intention should be to find breathing patterns that leave you feeling calm and relaxed. Your breathing should be at a rate in which you feel comfortable and shouldn’t make you feel winded or light-headed.

As you learn more about labor and birth, you’ll find that different patterns of breathing are used at different stages. You’ll figure out how to use breathing as a way to focus on making every contraction a productive part of the birthing process. 

There are several benefits to mastering patterned breathing. It evolves into an automatic reaction to pain while also making you feel calm, collected, and in control. The steady pace of breathing is comforting throughout labor, and will allow you to be in a more relaxed state and respond in a more positive way to the first sign of pain. The increased oxygen will give you the strength and energy you need. It’ll bring focus to every contraction, making them more productive. You can also apply these techniques whenever you’re feeling stressed, overwhelmed, or anxious.

It’s important to inhale deeply at the start and end of every contraction. This not only helps hone you focus, but also gives off more oxygen for your baby, your muscles and your uterus.

For the first stage of labor, start breathing slowly once your contractions are too intense for you to be able to walk or talk through them without stopping. Breath slowly for as long as you find it useful. Transition to another pattern of breathing if you grow tense and can no longer relax through the contractions.

The key is to take a solid breath and release a big sigh as soon as the contraction starts. Let go of all tension (go limp from head to toe) as you exhale. Focus all your attention on your breath. Inhale slowly through your nose and exhale through your mouth, as you allow all that air to flow out with a sigh. Through each exhale, focus on calming a different part of your body.

Most women feel the need to shift to light accelerated breathing at some point during the active phase of labor. Let the intensity of your contractions help you decide if and when to use light breathing. Breathe in and out quickly through your mouth at about one breath per second. Keep your breathing light. Your inhalations should make no sound, but your exhalation should be detectable.

Accelerate and lighten the breaths you take as the contraction gets more intense. If the contraction peaks earlier than you expected, then you’ll just have to accelerate early within the contraction. If it peaks more progressively, just build up to peak speed at a slower rate. Keep your mouth and shoulders relaxed.

Follow your light breath along with the peak of your contraction by advancing your breath rate. Breathe in and out through your mouth. Once your contractions start to decrease in intensity, you can slow down your breathing rate and return back to breathing through your nose and out your mouth.

Take your final breath and exhale with a sigh when the contraction ends.

There’s also a variation of light breathing referred to as variable (transition) breathing. It’s sometimes called “pant-pant-blow” or “hee-hee-who” breathing. Variable breathing integrates light breathing with a periodic longer or more prominent exhalation. Variable breathing is practiced in the first stage if you feel overwhelmed, unable to relax, in despair, or exhausted.

For this type of breathing, focus your attention on your partner or a focal point (i.e. a photo). Make sure to breathe through your mouth taking light breaths at a rate of 5-20 breaths in 10 seconds during the contraction.

After every second, third, fourth, or fifth breath, let out a longer breath. You may attempt expressing this longer exhale with a “who.”

When the contraction finishes, take one or two deep breaths with a sigh.

There will be times throughout both stages of labor when you’ll want to push or bear down, but it’s not the right time. Most women try to hold their breath during these especially challenging moments. Avoid holding your breath by breathing in and out consistently or by raising your chin and blowing or panting. This will keep you from adding to the pushing that your body is already doing.

For the second stage of labor, you’ll want to practice expulsion breathing. It’s helpful for when the cervix is completely dilated.

As you take a deep breath and allow your body to loosen up, focus on the baby moving down and out, or on another positive image.

Breathe slowly and let the contraction assist you. Speed up or lighten your breathing if necessary for comfort. When you can’t resist the urge to push, take a large breath, tuck your chin to your chest, curl your body and lean forward. Then bear down, while holding your breath or slowly letting out air by grunting or moaning. Remember to lax the pelvic floor. Help the baby come down by freeing any tension in the perineum.

After 5-6 seconds, let go of your breath, and breathe in and out. How hard you push is determined by your sensation. You will continue the process until the contraction dies down. The urge to push will come and go like waves throughout the contraction. Use these breaks as a chance to breathe deeply and sustain oxygen to your blood and baby.

When the contraction ends, allow your body to relax and take one or two calming breaths.

Learning breathing techniques such as these can help you feel less intimidated and more prepared for when the due date comes knocking. For more important women’s health tips like these, you can talk to Dr. Ghea, a female OBGYN in Fort Lauderdale who devotes herself to making sure you’re comfortable, answering all of your questions, and easing you through those intense months of pregnancy. 

If you’re in need of a female obstetrician who you can feel open with speaking to about your pregnancy and well-being, make an appointment to visit her office at Westside OB/GYN Group by calling 954-473-2011 or by filling out a request online!

It’s perfectly normal to have questions about the use of medication during pregnancy. You may be attempting to get pregnant and wonder how current use of medication could affect your efforts to conceive, or maybe you just realized that you’re pregnant and wonder if any medication you are currently taking is a risk to your baby.

Talk to your OBGYN who prescribed the medication. You might come to find that the benefits of taking the medication outweigh the potential risks. You can work through these factors with them and try to figure out what course of action is best for both you and your baby.

Please note that many women take prescription medication when pregnant for necessary reasons such as diabetes, depression, seizures, anxiety, and other medical conditions. Some pregnant women take medications to help with typical discomforts of pregnancy like heartburn, headaches, or morning sickness. 

Pregnancy can influence the effectiveness of your medication. When you’re pregnant, your blood volume shoots up, and your heart and kidneys both work harder. This means that medications have the potential to pass through your body faster than normal. This could mean that you either have to take more medicine or take it in a different way.

In most cases, there are different kinds of medications to take care of a specific problem. Your OBGYN can switch the type of medication you’re on to take care of your medical needs while reducing any risk to your developing baby.

Every medication has its own risk factor classification associated with potential risk factors throughout pregnancy. These ratings, as well as an evaluation of the risks and benefits of using a certain medication in your situation, will help you and your doctor figure out what medication is best for you to take.

There are also alternatives to medication. Your doctor has the best in mind for both you and your little one. You might take a different approach and change the course of treatment by incorporating other methodologies like acupuncture or behavioral techniques. Of course, this depends on what medical conditions you’re dealing with.

You should never start or stop taking medication while pregnant without first consulting your OBGYN. Here are some ways to help make sure you and your baby are properly cared for.

  • First things first, remember to always consult your doctor.
  • Read the Label. Look for warnings or indications of pregnancy. You should also look out for potential allergic reactions along with expiration dates.
  • Be aware of side effects. Speak with your doctor or a pharmacist about potential side effects. Some medications cause side effects like sleepiness, vomiting, or headaches which could be heightened due to pregnancy hormones.
  • Organize your medications: Be careful not to mix up your medications to avoid overdosing.
  • Do not skip medications. Take as prescribed by your doctor. 
  • Do not share medications.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Ask about the medication name, generic alternatives, benefits and risks, and problems to watch for.
  • Keep records: It is always wise to hold on to a record of medications taken whether pregnant or not. This becomes even more important if you’re expecting.
  • Look over pregnancy medication registries: The FDA has a new pregnancy and medication registry that you may find useful.

For more helpful women’s tips like these, contact Dr. Ghea, a top female OBGYN in Fort Lauderdale whose goal is to make you feel comfortable covering anything about your overall health and well-being. If you want to set up an appointment with her, you can call her office at Westside OB/GYN Group at 954-473-2011 or submit a request online.

Have you experienced missed or irregular periods, weight gain or adult acne? These are some of the symptoms that may be associated with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). You are not alone! For a better understanding of what PCOS is and what to do about it, here are some frequently asked questions about PCOS. 

What is polycystic ovarian syndrome? PCOS is a common health problem that occurs when there’s an imbalance of reproductive hormones. The hormonal imbalance creates issues in normal ovarian function. As part of a healthy menstrual cycle, the ovaries are meant to create an egg that is released every month. With PCOS, the egg might not develop the way it’s supposed to or it may not be released during ovulation as it should. 

PCOS can cause missed or irregular periods, failure to release an egg every month ( anovulation) and sometimes lead to infertility. The failure to ovulate happens to be one of the most common causes of infertility in women. PCOS can also lead to the development of multiple tiny cysts in the ovaries. 

What are the symptoms of PCOS? Women with PCOS might miss their periods or have less than eight within a year, which is considered irregular. These women may have periods that come every 21 days, or sometimes even more frequently. Some women with PCOS stop getting their period altogether. 

Another symptom would be having excessive hair on the face, chin, chest or back. This is referred to as hirsutism. Seventy percent of women with PCOS are affected by this. 

Other symptoms include acne on the face, chest, and upper back, thinning hair or hair loss on the scalp, otherwise known as male-pattern baldness, weight gain or struggling to lose weight, darkening of the skin, specifically around neck creases, in the groin, and under your breasts, and often with skin tags, which are small excess flaps of skin in the armpits or neck. 

What causes PCOS? No one knows the exact cause of PCOS. Most experts believe that it is caused by various hormonal factors. 

One cause could be the high levels of androgens, also sometimes called male hormones. All women produce small amounts of androgens, which regulate the development of male characteristics, such as male-pattern baldness. Women with PCOS have more androgens than normal. Higher than expected androgen levels in women can prevent ovulation throughout each menstrual cycle, causing that extra hair growth and acne.

High levels of insulin also play a part in PCOS. Insulin is the hormone that rules how the food you consume is converted into energy. Insulin resistance is when the body’s cells don’t properly react to insulin. Because of this, your insulin blood levels are higher than usual. Many women with PCOS have insulin resistance, especially those who struggle with obesity, take on unhealthy eating habits, don’t work out enough, and have a family history of diabetes (generally type 2 diabetes). Eventually, insulin resistance can cause type 2 diabetes. 

Can I still get pregnant if I have PCOS? Yes. Having PCOS does not mean you can’t get pregnant. You may get pregnant without medical assistance, but know that PCOS is one of the most common and treatable causes of infertility in women. 

Your obgyn can discuss ways to help you ovulate in order to increase your chances of getting pregnant. 

Is PCOS related to other health issues? Yes, studies have discovered links between PCOS and other health problems, such as: 

● Diabetes. More than half of women with PCOS are predicted to have diabetes or prediabetes (glucose intolerance) before they reach 40. 

● High blood pressure. Women with PCOS are at greater risk of having high blood pressure compared to women of the same age without PCOS. High blood pressure is a prominent cause of heart disease and stroke. 

● Unhealthy cholesterol. Women with PCOS usually have greater levels of bad cholesterol and low levels of good cholesterol. High cholesterol also increases your risk of heart disease and stroke. 

● Sleep apnea. This is when momentary and repeated stops in breathing get in the way of sleep. Many women with PCOS are obese, which may cause sleep apnea. Sleep apnea heightens your risk of heart disease and diabetes. 

● Depression and anxiety. Both are more likely among women with PCOS. 

● Endometrial cancer. Problems with ovulation, obesity, insulin resistance, and diabetes (all common in women with PCOS) increase the risk of developing cancer of the endometrium (lining of the uterus or womb). 

Will my PCOS symptoms go away at menopause? Yes and no. PCOS affects many of the body’s systems. Many women with PCOS start getting more of a regular period as they get closer to menopause. Unfortunately, their PCOS hormonal imbalance doesn’t change with age, so they may keep facing symptoms of PCOS. Also, the risks of PCOS-related health problems increase as you get older. 

How is PCOS diagnosed? There’s no single test to diagnose PCOS. To help diagnose PCOS and rule out other sources of your symptoms, your OBGYN may ask about your medical history and perform a physical exam along with different tests: 

For a physical exam, your blood pressure, body mass index (BMI), and waist size will be measured. Your skin will be inspected for extra hair on your face, chest or back, acne, or skin discoloration, as will your head for any hair loss. Any signs of other health conditions will also be observed, such as an enlarged thyroid gland. You might have to go through a pelvic exam to look out for signs of extra male hormones (i.e. an enlarged clitoris) and check to see if your ovaries are augmented or swollen. 

Another test that may be performed is a pelvic ultrasound, which uses sound waves to inspect your ovaries for cysts and check the endometrium. However, multiple ovarian cysts alone cannot diagnose PCOS and are sometimes seen in women without PCOS. 

Your OBGYN will have to run blood tests to check your androgen hormone levels. You’ll also be examined for other hormones related to other common health issues that can be mistaken for PCOS, such as thyroid disease. You may also be tested for diabetes and your cholesterol levels. 

By the time other conditions are ruled out, you could be diagnosed with PCOS if you show at least two of the symptoms of PCOS mentioned before. 

How is PCOS treated? There’s no cure for PCOS, but the symptoms can still be managed. With the right OBGYN, you’ll work on a treatment plan based on your symptoms, your plans for having kids, and your risk of long-term health problems. 

What steps can I take at home to improve my PCOS symptoms? You can try to lose weight by eating healthy and being active, which will not only relieve your symptoms, but also lower your blood glucose levels, improve the way your body takes insulin, and help your hormones reach a normal level. Just losing 10% of your body weight can regulate your cycle and increase your chances of getting pregnant. 

To address excess unwanted hair you can try hair removal creams or for more long lasting results laser hair removal to get rid of extra hair. Note that procedures like laser hair removal or electrolysis may not be covered by your health insurance. 

You can also slow your hair growth by using a prescription skin treatment (eflornithine HCl cream) to help slow down the growth rate of the hair in unwanted areas. 

What types of medicines treat PCOS? For women who don’t want to get pregnant, hormonal birth control can help to regulate your period, lessen your risk of endometrial cancer, and help with acne and that unwanted extra hair on the face and body. 

You may need to request birth control that contains both estrogen and progesterone. You can choose between the pill, the patch or vaginal ring. 

One medication to treat Type-2 diabetes, known as Metformin or Glucophage, affects the way insulin regulates glucose and lowers the production of testosterone. Doctors discovered that when some women with PCOS take this drug, ovulation can return to normal and abnormal hair growth can slow down after a few months of use. Recent studies show that another medication, letrozole may be associated with even higher pregnancy and birth rates. 

For women who have trouble getting pregnant, fertility drugs can be used to stimulate ovulation. 

Keeping up a healthy weight can also help women handle PCOS. Having a workout routine and a healthy diet will help the body lower glucose levels, use insulin more productively, and can restore normal periods. 

How does PCOS affect pregnancy? PCOS can cause problems during pregnancy for you and for your baby. Women with PCOS have higher rates of miscarriage, gestational diabetes, pregnancy associated high blood pressure, and Cesarean section (C-section). Your baby also has a greater risk of spending more time in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). 

How can I prevent problems from PCOS during pregnancy? You can lower your risk of problems during pregnancy by eating a healthy diet, watching your BMI and starting a good fitness routine before pregnancy. 

PCOS is nothing to be shy about. If you have any more questions about whether or not you have PCOS or how to treat it, or wish to get pregnant and treat your symptoms, don’t hesitate to ask Dr. Ghea, a top female OBGYN in Fort Lauderdale, for guidance. If you’re looking for an OBGYN to speak freely with about your physical and mental well-being and receive useful tips on women’s health, set up an appointment with her offices in Westside OB/GYN Group by calling 954-473-2011 or filling out an online request.

Whether you’re traveling by car, bus, or train, it is typically safe to travel while you’re pregnant; however, there are a few things to make note of that could make your trip safer and more comfortable. 

Always buckle up whenever you ride in a car and keep the airbags turned on. This is a rule of thumb to follow whether you are pregnant or not! Try to limit the time you spend cooped up in the car, bus, or train. Take frequent breaks if possible. Use rest stops to take short strolls and do stretches. This will help maintain blood circulation. 

Traveling by air is considered safe for pregnant women up until a certain point. The second trimester would probably be the best time to fly. Later, your growing belly could make airport maneuvers less comfortable. 

Most airlines have narrow aisles and smaller bathrooms, so it could be challenge to walk and may be uncomfortable when you need to use the restroom. Due to potential turbulence that could cause the plane to shake, hold on to the seat backs while navigating the aisle. Avoid gassy foods (i.e., beans, cabbage, broccoli). They could make you more uncomfortable in-flight. Stay hydrated during the flight. If you get dehydrated, it can diminish blood flow to the uterus. Pick an aisle seat so it’s easier for you to get up when you need to use the restroom, or simply to stretch your legs and back. Try to walk every half hour or so during a smooth flight. It’ll help keep blood flowing. In the seat, flex and extend your ankles to improve circulation. Schedule a check up with your ob-gyn before you leave and consider travel insurance should your plans need to change. Some international flights prohibit travel after 28 weeks. Check with your airline prior to booking Travel is not recommended for pregnant women in areas where Zika infection is ongoing. For up to date travel advisories check wwwnc,cdc,gov/travel/notices/ 

It’s recommended for women who have complicated pregnancies with risk factors for premature labor, preeclampsia, soon-to-be-momma’s carrying multiples, to avoid travel later in pregnancy. Risk factors that warrant travel considerations would include things like severe anemia, cardiac disease, respiratory disease, labile hypertension, a recent hemorrhage, or current or recent bone fractures. 

Traveling overseas is safe for the most part for pregnant women, but the motion of the boat can bring out any morning sickness or make you feel nauseous all over again. Follow these guidelines to avoid and you will be smooth sailing! 

Check with the cruise line to make sure that there’s a health care provider on board in case you experience any pregnancy complications. Look over the route and port-of-calls to see if there’s access to any medical facilities if needed. Make sure any medications for seasickness are approved for pregnant women and that there’s no risk to the developing baby. Seasickness bands use acupressure points to help prevent an upset tummy and may be a good alternative to medication. 

If you are traveling internationally, it’s important to speak with your health care provider before your trip to address safety factors for you and your baby. Go over immunizations with your health care provider and carry a copy of your health records with you. 

When it comes to international travel, you could be exposed to a disease that is rare here in the United States, but is common in the country you visit. 

Diarrhea, for example is a common concern when traveling overseas because you’re not used to the germs and organisms found in the food and water of other countries. This can lead to dehydration. To avoid this, be sure to drink lots of bottled water, or use a reusable bottle of your own to refill. You can also avoid getting sick and get the most out of your travels by: 

Making sure the milk is pasteurized. Avoiding fresh fruits and veggies unless they’ve been cooked or peeled (i.e. orange, banana) Making sure all the meat and fish has been cooked the right amount. Don’t eat it if it seems questionable. Dressing comfortably and wearing comfy shoes. Bringing your go-to pillow. Carrying healthy snacks with you. 

If you’re traveling any distance, don’t forget to carry a copy of your prenatal records. 

If your travel plans involve you and your young children high up in the air, here are some of the best tips to follow to make toddler air travel more bearable

Take advantage of an aisle seat. Your little tot might beg to see what’s out the window, but you’ll be glad you’re in the aisle seat when you start losing track of how many times your fidgety toddler wants to get out of their seat to walk, asks you for something else that’s stored in the overhead bin, or needs a trip to the bathroom. 

Plan wisely for the security line. Your best bet is to have a light, foldable stroller for when going through security. It’ll make your life easier to fold it up when it’s your turn and place it on the conveyor belt. You’ll probably want the stroller to keep your kid moving while you’re in the airport. Verify with your airline to be sure, you might be able to check it in at the curb, ticket counter, or gate, or take it right down the jet way and leave it at the plane’s door before you board. If that’s the case, it’ll be waiting for you at the door once you land. Slip-on shoes (for you and your toddler) are also a great idea at the security checkpoint. 

If you’re by yourself, don’t be timid about asking the flight crew for assistance. It can be almost impossible to lift a bag and put it in the overhead bin while holding a child. So ask a flight attendant (or fellow passenger) for a hand, they should be happy to help. And while you’re at it, consider asking for extra pillows, blankets, or water if necessary. 

Remember that there’s no such thing as over packing supplies. Bring as many snacks and toys as you can fit into your carry-on luggage. Snack ideas include mini sandwiches, cut-up vegetables, and string cheese. Bring twice as many diapers as you could possibly need (if your toddler is still wearing them), endless wipes and hand sanitizer, and at least one change of clothes for your child. 

Regulate ear pain by bringing lollipops for takeoff and landing. The sucking will help prevent your child’s little ears from feeling the pain of the air-pressure changes in the cabin during those times. Another method to keep ears clear is to munch on crunchy snacks that require a lot of chewing. Last but not least, try encouraging your toddler to yawn by yawning yourself, as yawns are contagious! This should help pop his or her ears if they get clogged on the plane’s way up or down. 

Childproof your suitcases and carry-ons. Hide anything potentially hazardous or eye-grabbing from your kid. Have your medications stored separately in Ziploc bags for the security line or one-a-day pill containers. Make sure the pills in the baggies stay in their original childproofed bottles and those bags are sealed shut. Pack them in your zipped carry-on luggage if you can’t put them in your checked suitcase. 

If you need more tips on how to handle traveling during pregnancy and/or with your little one, sit down and chat with Dr. Ghea, a top female OBGYN in Fort Lauderdale that would be more than happy to assist you and provide you with other related women’s health tips. You can set up an appointment with her at Westside OB/GYN Group, a Plantation OBGYN office, by calling 954-473-2011 or filling out an online request. 

“Kangaroo care” and “skin-to-skin” are common phrases expectant and new parents eventually have to learn, but while it may be easy to guess what they mean, why do they matter? Let’s go over the benefits of kangaroo care and skin-to-skin contact for both babies and parents. 

So what exactly is Kangaroo Care anyway? 

The phrase “kangaroo care” gets its term for its similarities to how marsupials carry their young. Skin-to-skin care imitates the protective and nurturing setting of a kangaroo pouch. By definition, kangaroo care is developmental care by holding an infant skin-to-skin against the mom or dad’s bare chest. The more you do it, the better — especially in the first two hours after birth, as it will ease your baby into the world. 

Kangaroo care initially emerged in the 1970s as a way to promote bonding and early breastfeeding for full-term infants. In the late 70s, this practice was drawn out to preterm infants because of the over-crowded nurseries, high mortality rates, high infection rates and a lack of resources, like warming devices, or isolettes. Fast forward to almost 50 years, and the practice of kangaroo care is continually practiced in NICUs around the world, based on its profound benefits to both momma and infant. 

The idea of skin-to-skin is a lot like kangaroo care, and in most cases, the terms are used interchangeably. Today, skin-to-skin is generally a term directed to full-term infants, describing how much of the first hours and days of the infant’s life are spent against their mother’s chest, promoting both bonding and the production of breast milk. Kangaroo care is more typically used when someone’s talking about the care a preterm baby in the NICU gets. 

Kangaroo care gives physiological and psychological advantages, both to infants and parents. It can take place any time of day, as frequently as the infant tolerates. It’s recommended daily, for a minimum of one hour, but any amount of kangaroo care can be good for you and your little one. 

There are plenty of benefits of kangaroo care when it comes to infants. It helps the baby adapt through physiologic stability (temperature and blood pressure regulation), it encourages a healthy heart rate and respiratory stability, it boosts their brain cognitive and motor development, improves immunity, promotes a healthy weight gain, helps the baby get better, deep sleep, and minimizes their stress and pain. 

As for the parents, it promotes a better sense of attachment and bonding, increases the milk supply, makes breastfeeding less of a hassle, promotes bonding with dad. 

Infants are often comforted by the sound of their mom or dad’s heartbeat. If your baby starts to get fussy, try covering them with a warm blanket while against your chest and reduce external stimuli. Remember to practice safe skin-to-skin time while staying awake throughout kangaroo care. It’ll promote safe practices at home due to the risk of infant falls and sudden infant death 

syndrome (SIDS). Parents are encouraged to continue skin-to-skin as long as both parents and baby benefit from the experience. 

Don’t get discouraged if a kangaroo attempt doesn’t go how you hoped it would. Give your little one a few days to recuperate, and try again! 

If you need to get started with kangaroo care, you and your partner don’t have to approach it by yourselves. Dr. Ghea, a top female OBGYN in Fort Lauderdale, is the OBGYN to turn to for your journey as a parent and your journey as a woman, with all the beneficial women’s health tips you could ask for. You can set up an appointment with her offices at Westside OB/GYN Group by calling 954-473-2011 or simply filling out an online request. 

Breastfeeding may seem like it should come naturally to new moms once they’ve given birth, but it’s also a skill that, like many things in life, requires practice. If you’re pregnant and this is your first go at breastfeeding, don’t stress! Here are some common breastfeeding FAQs to help calm those nerves. 

The first question that probably crosses most soon-to-be-mothers’ minds is how does breastfeeding benefit the baby? Breastfeeding benefits your baby in the following ways: 

Breast milk has the right amount of sugar, fat, water, protein, and minerals necessary for a baby’s growth and development. As your baby grows, your breast milk changes to accommodate to the baby’s fluctuating nutritional needs. Breast milk is easier to digest as opposed to formula. Breast milk carries antibodies that protect infants from diarrhea, ear infections, respiratory illnesses, allergies, etc. Infants who are breastfed have a lower chance of facing sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Any amount of breastfeeding helps lower this risk. If your baby is born preterm, breast milk can actually help lessen the risk of many of the short-term and long-term health issues that preterm babies go through, like necrotizing enterocolitis or other infections. 

With this being said, another important question would be how does breastfeeding benefit you? Breastfeeding benefits you in the following ways: 

Breastfeeding burns about 500 calories per day, which could make it easier to lose that weight you gain during pregnancy. Women who breastfeed for longer periods of time have lower rates of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Women who breastfeed have lower rates of breast cancer and ovarian cancer. Breastfeeding releases the hormone oxytocin that makes the uterus contract. This helps the uterus revert back to its regular size faster and can subside the amount of bleeding you experience after giving birth. 

Now you know the benefits of breastfeeding for both you and your baby, but how long should a mother breastfeed? It is recommended that infants be exclusively breastfed for about the initial 6 months of life, followed by continuous breastfeeding combined with the introduction of appropriate complementary foods for a year or so. The more time an infant is breastfed, the better protection from certain illnesses and long-term diseases there is. However, any amount of breastfeeding has benefits so don’t stress if you do not reach your original duration goals. 

The longer a woman breastfeeds (combined breastfeeding of all her kids), the greater the benefits to her health as well. Children should be introduced to foods besides breast milk or infant formula when they’re about 6 months old. 

When should you start to breastfeed? Most healthy newborns are ready to breastfeed within the first hour after birth. Hold your baby directly against your bare skin right after birth. Doing so will trigger reflexes that help your baby to latch onto to your breast. As your baby latches on and starts to breastfeed intently, you may feel a tingly pins-and-needles sensation. Not all babies latch on within the first hour. Don’t worry if your baby takes a little longer. 

How will you know when your baby’s hungry? When babies are hungry, they’ll nuzzle against your breast, suck on their hands, flex their arms and fingers, and clench their fists. Crying is typically a late sign of hunger. Once they’re full, they relax their arms, legs, and hands and close their eyes. 

How will you know your baby is getting enough milk? Your baby’s tummy is very tiny, and breast milk empties from a baby’s stomach more quickly than formula. Based on those reasons alone, you’re looking at having to breastfeed at least 8 to 12 times within 24 hours throughout the first weeks of your baby’s life. If it’s been over 4 hours since the last feeding, you might have to wake up your baby to feed them. Once your breast milk transitions from colostrum to mature milk, your baby will soak at least six diapers a day with urine and have at least three bowel movements a day. After 10 days, your baby should be back up to near birth weight. Although breastfeeding works for most women, it may not work for everyone. 

What are the different stages of breast milk, and how can they be distinguished? Breast milk has three different and distinct stages: colostrum, transitional milk, and mature milk. Colostrum is the first stage of breast milk. It happens throughout pregnancy and lasts for several days after birth. It looks either yellowish or creamy in color. It’s also a lot thicker than the milk that’s produced later in breastfeeding. Colostrum is high in protein, fat-soluble vitamins, minerals, and immunoglobulins. Immunoglobulins are antibodies that transfer from the momma to the baby and give off passive immunity for the baby, protecting them from bacterial and viral illnesses. Two to four days after birth, colostrum will be replenished by transitional milk. 

Transitional milk comes after colostrum and lasts for roughly two weeks. It is comprised of high contents of fat, lactose, and water-soluble vitamins, and has more calories than colostrum. 

Mature milk is the last of the milk that’s produced. 90% of it is water, which is imperative to keep the infant hydrated. The other 10% is made up of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats that are essential for both growth and energy. 

If this is your first time with breastfeeding, you don’t have to figure it all out on your own. Dr. Ghea, a top female obgyn in Fort Lauderdale, will happily go over all the breastfeeding concerns you may have while also providing you with other necessary women’s health tips, and can help you plan accordingly for a productive start to breastfeeding. 

Call 954-473-2011 to request an appointment with her offices at Westside OB/GYN Group or fill out an online request today! 

When you discovered that you were having a boy, you probably started to consider the option of circumcision. The choice to have your son circumcised is not an easy one to make, and can include a number of factors based on your culture, religion, and personal preferences.

Remember that boys are born with skin that covers the head of the penis, referred to as foreskin. During circumcision, that foreskin is surgically removed. Circumcision is generally done within the first one to three weeks after the baby’s born.

Despite the potential benefits and risks, note that circumcision is neither crucial nor detrimental to your son’s health.

Usually the decision to circumcise has to do with religious beliefs, concerns regarding hygiene, preventive health care, or various other cultural or social determinants. Circumcision is common among the United States, Canada, and the Middle East. More specifically, for centuries it has been a religious or cultural ritual for many Jewish and Islamic families. Circumcision is less common in Asia, South America, Central America, and most of Europe.

Circumcision reduces the bacteria that can live beneath the foreskin. With that being said, it may decrease urinary tract infections in infants, penile cancer in adult men, and may also lower the threat of sexually transmitted infections. Some people feel that it eases hygiene by making it simpler to clean the penis. Even so, boys with uncircumcised penises can still be taught to wash regularly under the foreskin.

In most cases, the skin should heal in roughly 7–10 days. You may notice that the tip of the penis is slightly red and there might be a small amount of yellow fluid. Don’t worry — this typically is a normal sign of healing. Follow your doctor’s instructions regarding post-procedure care and signs when you should call.

There are rare occasions where circumcision can result in problems with the foreskin, such as it being cut too short or too long, failing to heal properly, or the leftover foreskin reattaching to the end of the penis, which would require minor surgical repair. Some risks  include bleeding, infection, or scarring.

Circumcision should only be performed when the newborn is stable and healthy. A few reasons to temporarily delay the procedure would be if the baby is born very early, has certain issues with his blood or a family history of bleeding disorders, or if the baby has congenital abnormalities.

At the end of the day, it is your call whether or not to have your son circumcised. Because circumcision is an elective procedure, it might not be covered by your health insurance policy. Make sure to call your health insurance provider to find out if your policy covers the procedure.
If you have any questions or concerns about circumcision or other women’s health tips, contact Dr. Ghea, a female OBGYN in Plantation, and set up an appointment in her office at Westside OB/GYN Group by calling 954-473-2011 or filling out an online request. She will give you all the information you need about circumcision and answer any of your questions and concerns.

Before freaking out if you miss your pill and trying to self-diagnose on Google, read this to have a better understanding of what you should do after you’ve missed the pill. Giving yourself anxiety about it will only make you feel worse!

Even though the pill is reported as being 99 percent effective, the reality is that the pill has to be taken properly in order for that to be the case. This means taking it at the same time every single day.

The effectiveness of your birth control pill tends to crash if you accidentally miss a dose. This raises the likelihood of pregnancy, but it’s all dependent on where exactly you are in your cycle and what type of pill you’re on. 

If you’re on the pill that has progestin and estrogen, you’re at highest risk of unwanted pregnancy if you missed one pill during the first week of a new pack and had sex within the last 5 days. 

If you happen to miss a placebo or sugar pill, don’t lose your cool. Since they don’t include hormones, they shouldn’t affect your chances of preventing pregnancy. 

If you’re on progestin-only birth control and you happen to be more than three hours late taking it, it’s more likely for you to get pregnant. 

Generally speaking, progestin-only pill packs don’t include sugar pills, so be sure to follow precautions accordingly if you do forget to take any of your pills.

If you’re taking combined contraceptive pills, technically you don’t actually need backup birth control or emergency contraception unless you already missed more than one pill since combined oral contraceptives prevent ovulation. 

If you missed another pill during your last cycle or earlier in your current cycle and you’ve had unprotected sex, you might want to save yourself with emergency contraception like the Plan B.

If you haven’t had sex but missed more than one pill throughout this cycle or in between this cycle and the last one, use a condom the next time you have sex. 

Continue using extra protection until you’ve finally taken seven hormonal pills in a row. Or just play it safe and don’t have sex until you’ve reached this point.  

If you take progestin-only birth control and you missed your time to take it by more than three hours, you need to use backup birth control until you’ve taken the pill on time for two consecutive days.

If you’ve had sex after forgetting to take your pill, you may want to consider going for that emergency contraception option.

Once you realize you missed your regularly scheduled pill, take it right away. Then, take your next pill when you normally would.

Be aware that there are side effects to doubling up. The most common side effect of doubling up if you missed your birth control pill is nausea because of the high level of hormones in your body. Some women find that taking their pill with a snack or a meal decreases those chances.

If you’re still worried about whether or not you can remember to take the pill on a regular basis, try taking the pill after doing something you would normally do at the end of the day, like brushing your teeth. That first habit will be your cue to remember to take it. You can also set a reminder on your phone, or find an app that reminds you every day at the same time to take it. 

If you find yourself forgetting your pill (and are nervous about an unwanted pregnancy) on more than one occasion, you might want to think about getting on another method of birth control that is more low-maintenance, such as an IUD or the ring. It can lead to hormonal imbalance if you’re on the pill and don’t take it on the daily. That’s why it’s good to have a trustworthy OBGYN to help figure out what’s best for you based on your habits and preferences.

If you want to explore other options of birth control besides the pill, reach out to Dr. Ghea, a female OBGYN in Fort Lauderdale who aims to make you feel at peace, not just with your body – but also with your mind. Based on your needs, she will list the pros and cons to each method you consider, and suggest which would fit best into your lifestyle. 

You can either call 954-473-2011 to make an appointment with her at Westside OB/GYN Group, a Plantation OBGYN office, or fill out a request online.

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