Age and Conception

Getting Pregnant, Ob/ Gyn, Gynecologist Age is a factor that affects a woman’s chances of conceiving.  Women become less fertile as they grow older because they have fewer eggs.  The quality of a woman’s eggs also declines with age.

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), fertility in women can begin to decrease at the age of 32 and they can become more at risk of developing complications after the age of 35.

Although becoming pregnant after the age of 35 may have its challenges, there are things a woman can do to help increase her chances of having a baby including:

  • Receiving preconception care from her gynecologist
  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Losing weight if overweight or obese
  • Avoiding chemicals or substances in the home or workplace that can be harmful to pregnancy
  • Avoiding smoking and drinking alcohol
  • Taking supplements that contain folic acid
  • Exercising regularly

If you are over the age of 35, you should not be discouraged from trying to conceive. Advancements in gynecological care and fertility treatments are making it possible for many women to have a baby after that age.   However, it is important that you speak with your doctor about your risks and challenges you may encounter.

To schedule an appointment with an Ob/Gyn at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, please call  718-206-6808.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Shingles and Pregnant Women

shingles 495765256Almost 1 out of every 3 people in the United States will develop shingles. Shingles is the term used for a skin rash that is caused by the herpes-zoster (varicella) virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox. In some cases it can reactivate and cause shingles. Anyone who has had chickenpox may develop shingles, including pregnant women and even children.

As a new or expecting mother there are a lot of concerns for staying as healthy as you can for you and your baby during pregnancy. Although you can’t give anybody shingles, you can pass the virus on as chickenpox. Whereas shingles is harmless in pregnancy, chickenpox can cause problems for an unborn baby. For this reason, stay away from other pregnant women while you have shingles.

If you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant:

  • First, get a blood test to find out if you’re immune to chickenpox. If you’re not immune, you can get a vaccine. It’s best to wait 1 month after the vaccine before getting pregnant.
  • If you’re already pregnant, don’t get the vaccine until after you give birth. In the meantime, avoid contact with anyone who has chickenpox or shingles.
  • If you’re not immune to chickenpox and you come into contact with someone who has it, tell your doctor right away. Your doctor can treat you with medicine that has chickenpox antibodies.
  • Tell your doctor if you come in contact with a person who has shingles. Your doctor may want to treat you with an antiviral medication. Antiviral medication will shorten the length of time that the symptoms will be present.

There isn’t a cure for shingles but a physician will usually prescribe medications to make the symptoms less intense. If you have questions about shingles send them to AskUs@marchofdimes.org

To learn more about prenatal treatments please call the Women’s Health Center at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center at 718-291-3276.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Birth Defect Prevention

Every four minutes, a baby is born with a major birth defect in the United States. Babies born with birth defects have a greater chance of illness and long term disability than babies without birth defects. They are a leading cause of death among infants, accounting for about 20% of mortality in the first year of life. To raise awareness about the impact of birth defects and the steps taken to prevent them, January is National Birth Defect Prevention Month. Although every birth defect cannot be prevented, there are things a woman can do to prepare for a healthy pregnancy, such as:

  • Maintain a healthy diet by eating well balanced and nutritional meals. Consult with your doctor about taking a multivitamin to gain more nutrients for mother and baby.
  • Avoid consuming harmful toxins that lead to birth defects, including alcohol, tobacco, illicit drugs, and caffeine.
  • Obtain genetic counseling and birth defect screening, particularly if you have any family history of birth defects.
  • Stay active and get fit. The babies of overweight women have an increased risk of birth defects.
  • Treating long-term conditions such as diabetes are the keys to a healthy lifestyle before and during pregnancy.

Men are also encouraged to make lifestyle changes when planning ahead for pregnancy with their partner. As some birth defects are genetic, it is important that men participate fully in any family medical history research that takes place.

Steady communication with your doctor is very important to assist with planning ahead. All medications should be discussed with a doctor prior to being taken, including prescription medication, over-the-counter medication and dietary and herbal supplements.

Pregnancy is an exciting time, but it also can be stressful. Knowing that you are doing all that you can to get ready for pregnancy, staying healthy during pregnancy, and giving your baby a healthy start in life will help you to have peace of mind.

If you are an expecting mother in need of a physician, the Women’s Health Center at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center is open six days a week. Appointments are necessary to see a physician and can be made by calling 718-291-3276.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

National Birth Defect Prevention Month

Baby with cleft before and after surgery

January is Birth Defects Prevention Month. Among the most common birth defects is cleft lip. Cleft lip is a birth defect that occurs when a baby’s lip or mouth does not form properly in the womb. Collectively, these birth defects commonly are called “orofacial clefts”.

The lip forms between the fourth and seventh weeks of pregnancy. A cleft lip develops if the lip tissue does not join completely before birth, resulting in an opening of the upper lip. The opening in the lip varies in size from a small slit or a large opening that goes through the lip into the nose.

The causes of orofacial clefts among most infants are unknown. However, they are thought to be caused by a combination of genetics or other factors, such as things the mother comes in contact with in her environment, or what the mother eats or drinks, or certain medications she uses during pregnancy. Recently the Center for Disease Control reported findings from research studies about risk factors that increase the chance of infant orofacial cleft:

  • Smoking―Women who smoke during pregnancy are more likely to have a baby with an orofacial cleft than women who do not smoke
  • Diabetes―Women with diabetes diagnosed before pregnancy have an increased risk of having a child with a cleft lip with or without cleft palate, compared to women who did not have diabetes
  • Use of certain medicines―Women who used certain medicines to treat epilepsy during the first trimester (the first 3 months) of pregnancy are at greater risk

Orofacial clefts, especially cleft lip with or without cleft palate, can be diagnosed during pregnancy during a routine ultrasound. Services and treatment for children with orofacial clefts can vary depending on:

  • The severity of the cleft
  • The child’s age and needs
  • The presence of associated syndromes
  • Other birth defects

Surgery to repair a cleft lip usually occurs in the first few months of life and is recommended within the first 12 months of life. Children born with orofacial clefts might need other types of treatments and services, such as special dental or orthodontic care or speech therapy.

If you are an expecting mother in need of a doctor, Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Obstetrical Division practices family-centered care. The obstetrical unit is furnished with state-of-the-art equipment, including high tech monitors and sonographic equipment. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call 718-206-6808.

For more hospital events, highlights, health and  fitness tips, visit us on Facebook.com/JamaicaHospital and follow us on Twitter @JamaicaHospital 

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Can Lifestyle Choices Affect Infertility

Fit young woman fighting off fast food

Did you know that infertility affects 10-15% of couples in the United States.  Although it is commonly assumed that this condition occurs only in women; it affects both genders.

Infertility is usually diagnosed after a couple has tried to conceive for over one year without success.  In women this problem can be the result of several problems such as ovulation disorders, pelvic inflammatory disease, blocked Fallopian tubes or uterine fibroids.  Factors that can cause infertility in men may include oligospermia (very few sperm cells are produced) or azoospermia (no sperm cells are produced).

There are also lifestyle practices that can increase the risk of infertility. Smoking, consuming too much alcohol, mental stress and poor diet are all known to affect fertility.

Excess stress can affect the function of the hypothalamus gland; which regulates the hormones that tells the ovaries to release eggs.  Recent studies have also indicated that women experiencing greater amounts of stress were more likely to produce high levels of alpha-amylase and had a more difficult time getting pregnant.

The toxins inhaled from cigarette smoke can affect fertility by causing damage to reproductive organs, eggs and sperm.  Heavy and prolonged alcohol consumption can also cause imbalances in the hormones of the reproductive systems of women and can also damage sperm in men.

Adopting a healthy diet that includes foods known to improve reproductive health and boost fertility can increase the chances of healthy ovulation. Dietitians often recommend eating organic foods and cold water fish such as salmon, increasing the intake of whole grains and drinking freshly squeezed fruit juices to couples who are trying to conceive.

If you have been trying to conceive for at least one year without success, it is possible that your lifestyle could be a contributing factor. It is recommended that you consult an Ob/Gyn to explore the possible causes of your infertility.

To learn more about infertility and treatments please call the Women’s Health Center at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center at 718-291-3276.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Sickle Cell Awareness for Expecting Mothers

pregnancy health September is National Sickle Cell Awareness Month. Sickle cell disease (also called SCD) is a condition in which the red blood cells in your body are shaped like a sickle (like the letter C). This can result in interruption of blood flow, and prevent oxygen from reaching tissue and organs. When this occurs, painful events can occur with an associated risk of muscle, bone and organ damage.

A careful history should be taken from all pregnant women seeking to identify risk factors for genetic disorders. A simple blood test either before conception or during pregnancy can determine whether either parent carries a sickle cell trait. During pregnancy, SCD poses problems to both mother and fetus.

With regular prenatal care, most women with SCD can have a healthy pregnancy. However, if you have SCD, you’re more likely than other women to have health complications that can affect your pregnancy. These complications include pain episodes, infection and vision problems. During pregnancy, SCD may become more severe, and pain episodes may happen more often. Pain episodes usually happen in the organs and joints. They can last a few hours to a few days, but some last for weeks.

As a pregnant woman with sickle cell disease certain risk factors may increase:

  • Miscarriage
  • Premature birth
  • Having a baby with low birth weight (less than 5 pounds, 8 ounces)

If you have SCD and you’re pregnant or planning to get pregnant, talk to your health care provider about the medicines you are taking. Your provider may change your medicine to one that is safe for your baby during pregnancy.

For more hospital events, highlights, health and  fitness tips, visit us on Facebook.com/JamaicaHospital and follow us on Twitter @JamaicaHospital 

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

What Expecting Mothers Don’t Expect

pregnancy healthAs wonderful and exciting as pregnancy is, it comes with a lot of anxiety and curiosity due to changes your body undergoes on the journey to motherhood. Some of these changes aren’t the most comfortable or fun and some are totally unexpected. Here’s a list of three unexpected changes some women go through when expecting.

  1. Forgetfulness. Short-term memory loss caused by pregnancy , also called “pregnancy brain,” may cause you to forget appointments, what you just walked into the store for, where you left your purse, whether you turned off the stove — and, maybe, your phone number. A fun fact: for reasons unknown, some research has shown that women pregnant with girls are, on average, more forgetful than those carrying boys. Forgetfulness is completely normal, and thile it’sfrustrating it is only temporary.
  2. Snoring. Even if you’ve never done it before in your life snoring is fairly common during pregnancy, affecting about one in three pregnant women. The most likely culprits of your new sleep habit are nasal congestion caused by surging pregnancy hormones, that cause the mucous membranes in your nose to swell, and excess weight gain, which results in extra tissue around your head and neck – both of which are common pregnancy symptoms. Usually snoring is just an annoyance but sometimes can be the result of more serious issues like gestational diabetes, sleep apnea, or preeclampsia. It is very important to share your snoring concerns with your doctor if you have been snoring more than usual.
  3. Discolored Skin. Most women expect to start glowing in their second trimester but some women find that they get spotty or dry, itchy skin, that they get skin tags and also brown patches of skin. Some women also find they get a dark line down their belly – called the linea nigra. You can also get redness on the palms of your hand and the soles of your feet.

There are all sorts of changes that happen to your body during pregnancy. Pregnancy books and prenatal classes tell you about the obvious ones but there are also all sorts of weird changes that happen to your body that no one talks about. Keep in mind that all women don’t go through the same changes during pregnancy. If any of your symptoms are alarming and too uncomfortable make an appointment with your doctor immediately.

Jamaica Hospital now offers a new, group model for prenatal care called Centering Pregnancy, that offers expectant moms the opportunity to share experiences and learn from other women who are in the same stages of pregnancy as they are. For more information about our Centering Program, please call 718-206-6866.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Zika

According to the Centers for Disease, Control and Prevention, the Zika virus is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito.  The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis.

Most recently, the Zika virus has been linked to microcephaly in babies of mother’s who contracted the virus during pregnancy. Microcephaly is a condition where a baby’s brain with microcephaly does not develop properly during the pregnancy or has stopped growing after birth, this results in a smaller sized head.

What we DO know:

  • Zika virus can be passed from pregnant women to their fetus during pregnancy or at delivery.
  • Pregnant women can be infected with the Zika virus through the bite of an infected mosquito
  • You can become infected by a male sex partner
  • Pregnant women should not travel to areas affected by Zika
  • Based on available evidence, the Zika virus infection in a woman who is not pregnant would not pose a risk for birth defects in future pregnancies after the virus has cleared from her blood.

What we DO NOT know:

  • How likely a pregnant woman who has been exposed to Zika will get the virus
  • How the virus will affect her pregnancy or how likely it is that Zika will pass to her fetus
  • If the infected fetus will develop other birth defects or when in the pregnancy the infection might cause harm to the fetus
  • If sexual transmission of Zika virus poses a different risk of birth defects that mosquito-borne transmission

If you must travel to Zika areas affected by Zika, speak with your healthcare provider about the risks of Zika Virus before you travel.  Learn how to protect yourself from mosquito bites and try to avoid regions where Zika is present.

If you have traveled to a region where Zika is present and are pregnant, talk to your health care provider about Zika symptoms. If you would like to speak with a physician, you can make an appointment at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Women’s Health Center, call 718-291-3276.

For more FAQ’s on Zika Virus you will find the following websites helpful –www.health.ny.gov/diseases/zika_virus/

http://www.cdc.gov/zika/

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

A Healthy Pregnancy over 35

More and more women are waiting to have families well into their late 30’s and beyond. According to the Centers for Disease Control, one in five women now wait until they’re 35 or older to have their first child. There may be some risks involved with a pregnancy conceived later in life, but a healthy lifestyle, along with regular visits to your Ob-Gyn can create a healthy pregnancy.

Oftentimes, women worry more about the risks of pregnancy at a later age than conception itself. While a woman’s fertility does decrease after the age of 30, certain risk factors associated with pregnancy do increase including:
• Higher risk of gestational diabetes and high blood pressure
• Greater risk of chromosomal abnormalities such as Down Syndrome
• Miscarriages and still birth
• Low birth weight

Later in Life PregnancyA pregnancy should be happy and welcomed news and planning should be no different. Increased risk factors and statistics should not be discouraging news. Often, statistics do not account for life style choices or pre-existing conditions. Here are a few tips to help you take the necessary steps toward a healthy pregnancy later in life:
• Schedule an appointment with your Ob-Gyn for a visit. Be very honest with your practitioner about any existing health conditions.
• Your Doctor may recommend additional testing such as genetic testing and counseling or sonograms.
• Begin taking pre-natal vitamin. Since folic-acid is important for prevention of birth defects, taking folic acid can add an important level of protection for older women.
• Exercise regularly; eat a well-balanced diet to maintain your weight. Gaining the appropriate amount of weight lessens the chance of your baby growing slowly and reduces the risk of preterm birth.
• Avoid smoking and drinking.

If you are interested in pre-pregnancy and fertility counseling, contact Jamaica Hospital Women’s Health Center at 718-291-3276 to make an appointment.

For more information on health and fitness  find us on Facebook.com/JamaicaHospital.

 

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.