Posts for: November, 2019
If you have been told by your OBGYN that you are a high-risk pregnancy it’s natural to have questions. You may want to know if there are any lifestyle changes you’ll need to make or how often you’ll need to visit your obstetrician for routine checkups throughout your pregnancy. The goal of your OBGYN is to provide the care you and your baby need for a healthy pregnancy and delivery, so don’t be afraid to ask any and all questions that you may have.
What makes a pregnancy high risk?
A high-risk pregnancy may be the result of certain factors that already existed before your pregnancy or the result of a medical condition that occurs during the course of your pregnancy. Here are some factors that can cause a high-risk pregnancy:
Advanced maternal age: pregnancy complications are higher for women who are over 35 years old, as well as women under 17 years old
Lifestyle factors: smoking, alcohol, and using drugs can also affect pregnancy
Medical history: women who have chronic conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure or heart disease are also more likely to experience other health problems during the pregnancy (talk with your OBGYN about any pre-existing health problems you have)
Multiple births: there is a higher chance for pregnancy risks when a woman is carrying two or more babies at a time
If I have a high-risk pregnancy what can I do?
The most important thing you can do to ensure a healthy, risk-free pregnancy is to make sure that you have an obstetrician that you trust. It’s very important that you keep up with routine checkups and exams. Women who have high-risk pregnancies may need to visit their OBGYN more regularly. In some instances, you may be referred to a maternal-fetal medicine specialist or other physicians.
Along with your routine checkups your OBGYN may also recommend various screening tests along with the standard prenatal screening tests. Some of these tests include specialized ultrasounds, amniocentesis, chorionic villus sampling (CVS), cordocentesis, and lab testing.
Eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise and following the necessary steps to protect against infections can also go a long way to maintaining a healthy, risk-free pregnancy. If you find yourself dealing with high levels of stress this is something to discuss with your doctor to find the most effective strategies for reducing stress.
Whether you just found out you are pregnant or you are looking for an OBGYN to provide you with preconception counseling before getting pregnant, you want a doctor who puts your needs first. While a high-risk pregnancy can feel overwhelming at first your obstetrician will help guide you throughout the course of your pregnancy to make sure you get the care you deserve.
If you are experiencing regular pain during sex this can be a source of embarrassment and concern. Something that is enjoyable and a source of pleasure has become uncomfortable. Painful intercourse, also known as dyspareunia, has many causes and affects nearly all women at some point during their lifetime. While it may be a fleeting issue for some, for others this problem may become long term.
Causes of Painful Sex
If you suddenly experience pain during sex this could be a sign of a gynecological problem such as fibroids, endometriosis, or ovarian cysts. Other causes of painful sex include:
- Hormonal fluctuations (e.g. perimenopause)
- Vaginitis: inflammation of the vagina
- Vaginismus: tightening of the muscles near the opening of the vagina
- Skin conditions
- Urinary tract infections
- Vulvodynia: a pain disorder that affects the vulva
Pain can take on many different forms. Some women experience deep vaginal pain, while others may notice muscle spasms or cramping during or after sex. While painful sex may often be physical, when there are no physical problems it’s also important to consider that the problem may be psychological.
The goal of your gynecologist is to pinpoint what’s causing pain during intercourse as soon as possible so that a treatment plan can be created. During your checkup, your OBGYN will ask you questions about your symptoms, as well as medical history. From there, a physical examination and pelvic exam is performed to check for signs such as cysts or fibroids, which could be leading to pain. Depending on your sexual history and the symptoms you are experiencing, your doctor may also recommend getting STD testing to rule out any sexually transmitted infections.
Sometimes an ultrasound or other diagnostic testing is needed to further evaluate the reproductive organs to pinpoint problems. There are some simple measures you can take to try and alleviate pain during sexual intercourse. Some of these options include:
- Taking a warm bath prior to sex
- Using a lubricant
- Talking with your partner
- Applying an ice pack to the area if burning occurs after intercourse
The treatment that your gynecologist will recommend will depend on the cause of your pain. For example, a urinary tract infection can easily be treated with medication. If women experience pain as a result of the effects of menopause they may be given an estrogen vaginal cream to treat atrophy of the vaginal walls. Vaginal relaxation exercises and behavioral therapy may be recommended for certain conditions such as vaginismus, to reduce muscle contractions and tightening around the vagina.
If you are experiencing persistent pain during sex that is taking the enjoyment out of being intimate with your partner it’s important that you turn to an OBGYN who can help you figure out what’s going on and how to best treat it.