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Being pregnant is not easy! Growing a healthy baby while staying healthy yourself requires you to be responsible about your nutrition, weight and fitness.

Prenatal Nutrition, Weight and Fitness

Eating A Balanced Diet

Many pregnant women make nutritional choices that can lead to health complications. A common misconception is that pregnancy is a time for indulgence and "eating for two". Being overweight increases the risk for cardiovascular conditions such as hypertension and heart disease. Stick to eating a balanced diet with the right amount of fat, protein, vitamins and minerals so that your baby will develop well and you will stay healthy.

by Dr. Crystal M. Newby, MD

Healthcare is important but often overlooked. Those who enjoy good health tend to only visit the doctor when something is wrong. It's a new year, and 2019 is the time for us to stay on top of our health and maintain it throughout the year by setting maintainable goals.

Adopting an active mindset toward your health will allow you to not only feel better, but also to become an advocate for other women. There are many aspects of women's health that routine visits to your doctor can address. From questions about your period and menopause, to the importance of fiber, bone density and exercise, your lifestyle and collaboration with your ob/gyn will make a big difference.

Here are a few health goals for 2019 for a happier, healthier you.

Women's Health Goals for the New Year

Prematurity Awareness Month

What is Prematurity Awareness Month?

Prematurity Awareness Month is part of the March of Dimes’ Prematurity Campaign. This campaign has two purposes:

  • To raise awareness of premature birth and its consequences
  • To reduce premature birth in the United States.

The March of Dimes launched both the Prematurity Campaign and Prematurity Awareness Month in 2003.

What does the Prematurity Awareness Campaign do?

The Prematurity Campaign has developed a number of initiatives to help combat some of the risk factors listed above. For example, the March of Dimes donated $1.4 million to group prenatal care programs in 38 states in 2015. Group prenatal care programs provide care, educate mothers, and provide social support.

The Prematurity Campaign also encourages women to space pregnancies so they are at least 18 months, which lowers a woman’s risk of premature labor. Since tobacco use can increase many pregnancy complications, including premature labor, the March of Dimes funds programs that help people quit smoking.

Regular prenatal care may help identify women who are at risk for premature labor. Additionally, good prenatal care and nutrition are the best ways to lower your risk.

by Dr. Crystal M. Newby, MD

How To Eat, Drink, And Be Merry For 2!

How To Eat, Drink And Be Merry For 2!

It's that most joyous time of year again, and this year it's particularly exciting, because you're expecting a little one! Just what is the trick to savoring the holidays while pregnant? The holiday season is stressful enough without the added fluctuating hormones and physical discomfort of pregnancy. You may not be able to enjoy a champagne toast at midnight on New Years Eve or have spiked eggnog on Christmas Day, but you should still celebrate your time with family and friends while awaiting the arrival of your little one. Here are some tips on how to eat, drink and be merry for the both of you throughout the holidays.

Mama Tip #1 - Make The Season About You

It will be awhile again before you can focus on yourself and your needs exclusively; relish in the time and indulge in some extra self-care, some extra treats, and even some pampering. Don’t feel bad about declining an invitation or saying no. Be self-indulgent right now, your body is growing a child after all! Parenthood is the most selfless act. Now is the time to start good self-care habits and make them stick. This is also a good time to consider your postpartum and post birth care plan.

Whether you are trying to conceive or just found out you are pregnant, there are a number of steps you'll need to take to prepare for your baby. The first step is finding an obstetrician who you trust to care for you and your baby through pregnancy and birth. Every pregnancy is unique (and so are you!), and your obstetrician should feel that too. Whether this is your first pregnancy or you are just looking for a new provider, these guidelines may prove helpful in finding the right obstetrician for you.

How to Choose an Obstetrician

Looking for the perfect obstetrician doesn’t need to be a daunting task, but you should take the time to find someone who you trust and who makes you feel comfortable. Start by asking for tips from friends and family. When you get referrals from people you trust, you're likely to feel more at ease. Women who have already been through pregnancy can help you decide what to look for in an obstetrician to ensure that you're happy with your experience when it comes to check-ups and procedures during your pregnancy. Your primary care physician may also be a good resource for referrals.

If you have recently moved or you are not ready to share your news with anyone, consider looking online for reviews for the obstetrician practice you are considering. Don’t just randomly choose an obstetrician your insurance covers.

by Dr. Crystal M. Newby, MD

What you need to know about contraceptive options available to you

What Contraceptive Options are Available to Me?

With a vast array of different contraceptive options available to you, how do you know which is best for you? Does one method offer more benefits over another? How do you decide on what option or options would be best for you and what factors might influence your decision?

To help you decide the best contraceptive method for you, here is information on the various options available to you.


Condoms are inexpensive, easily accessible and when used properly, offer 98% effectiveness at preventing pregnancy. Unfortunately, people make mistakes sometimes so this figure in the real world is closer to 85%. Because of this, condoms are best used in combination with another contraceptive method.

Although not foolproof, condoms are one of the only options available to you to that can also protect you against STDs, such as HPV or chlamydia, so if you have more than one sexual partner or STDs are a risk for other reasons, condoms are often recommended even when using another method of birth control.

Birth Control Pills

Birth Control Pills are an excellent choice for contraceptive as they're convenient, offer few side effects, and have a host of positive benefits besides just being a means of contraception.

Hormonal birth control pills are good for those who want the peace of mind knowing that as long as they take the pill as directed, they are protected from pregnancy. If ever you decide you want to get pregnant, you can stop taking the pill right away and normal fertility will be resume nearly immediately.

As a hormonal method of contraception, these do not protect you against STDs.

A gynecologist, a specialist in women’s reproductive health, screens you for disease, assists with family planning and troubleshoots any issues that may arise with your most intimate and private parts of your body. Making sure your gynecologist is someone you feel comfortable with and can trust completely is essential. Your gynecologist will discuss personal information with you involving your health, lifestyle and sexual activity.

How to choose the right gynecologist for you

Before seeking recommendations, take a moment to consider what is personally important to you and your healthcare experience. Consider a gynecologist’s education, experience and expertise. After that, delve into some more personal factors.

Are you more comfortable with a female or male gynecologist, or are you equally comfortable with either? Not all women have a gender preference in their provider and it’s important to understand that gender does not play a role in qualifications. If you go to a male gynecologist and feel at ease and in good hands, that is more important than their gender. But if you still prefer a female provider, it is essential to listen to your needs. Other factors worth considering are location, affiliated hospital if needed (for example, Kansas City ObGyn is affiliated with Overland Park Regional Medical Center), and philosophy on topics such as birth control.

What you need to know about your menstrual cycle and health

How to Manage Your Period Problems

Your period can tell you a lot about your body and your health. Having regular, normal periods let you know your body is in working order. Period problems such as painful cramps or irregular periods can be a sign of a health problem. Period problems can lead to other health problems such as anemia, diabetes and heart disease.

How Your Period Affects Your Emotions and Energy

Throughout your cycle, your hormones can have an effect on your emotions, energy and overall mood. In the first part of your cycle (the first two weeks after your period starts in a typical 28-day cycle), you may have some or all of the following symptoms:

  • Your energy levels are higher than normal.
  • Your cognitive memory is sharper than normal.
  • Your pain tolerance is higher during this time, making it easier to perform or cram in an intense gym session.

In the second half of your cycle (ovulation period), you may feel some or all of the following symptoms:

  • You feel sluggish and lazy.
  • You feel forgetful or have a hard time retaining information.

If you suffer from depression or irritable bowel syndrome, the symptoms may get worse before your period.

If you have diabetes, your glucose levels may be harder to control. They may be higher or lower during this time. This is common in women who suffer from premenstrual syndrome (PMS). The levels of the brain chemical serotonin drop during this time. Along with your glucose levels, you could be craving sugary or starchy foods during this time.

Finding a bump or lump on your body can often be a reason for concern, especially when it comes to your vaginal area. It is good practice to regularly check your genital area so that you can quickly identify anything out of the ordinary. This might include unwelcome additions such as lumps, bumps, rashes or anything in between.

It is important to monitor your genital health, because bumps appearing on or around the vagina could be indicative of the early signs of a condition that needs medical attention, such as a sexually transmitted infection. Spotting them as soon as they occur is ideal so you can seek appropriate medical attention when necessary.

This article will discuss five potential explanations for the bumps near or on your labia. Certainly, vaginal lumps and bumps do not always spell doom and could be just regular pimples. However, it is essential that you see your gynecologist if you spot these lumps, so they can evaluate whether they are dangerous or not.

Woman Consulting Gynecologist about Vaginal Bump Symptoms

choosing medical insurance

When faced with open enrollment or finding a new health insurance plan, it’s important to make sure you can continue to see the providers you’ve developed trust with. With that in mind, it’s important to make sure your current doctors and local hospitals accept the plan you’re thinking of choosing. Reading the fine print in your health insurance policy is not exactly light weekend reading, but when you are trying to conceive or have just found out you are expecting a child, it may be more important than you think.

Medical coverage can vary widely depending on your policy so as you are considering your new insurance coverage, consider these key factors.

Know Your Network Provider

It seems counterintuitive that a doctor and a hospital aren’t always on the same insurance network, but it’s sometimes the reality of healthcare in the United States.

Not only do you need to be sure that your physician is covered in your network of providers, but also you need to confirm that the hospital your doctor has privileges at is also in your network.

This is especially crucial for OB patients who would like their provider present at the birth of their child. It’s also relevant for all surgery. No one wants to find out in their third trimester that they can’t give birth with their doctor because the hospital is out-of-network.

When you choose an in-network ob/gyn and hospital, it’s much more likely that all medical professionals who may treat you, including nurses and the anesthesiologist, are in your network.

The difference between in-network and out-of-network care can mean thousands of dollars of out-of-pocket expenses.

Vaginal itching is sometimes painful and can cause extreme discomfort, but it is incredibly common among women. You know that when the delicate areas of the vagina, clitoris and vulva are inflamed and irritated, your entire day can be ruined.

There are many possible reasons that your vagina may be irritated, including bacterial vaginosis, sexually transmitted diseases, a yeast infection or menopause.

The use of chemical irritants such as creams, douches and condoms can also cause itching. Many women are sensitive to contraceptive foams, fabric softeners, laundry detergents and scented toilet paper, too. There is also a condition called lichen sclerosus that can make white patches form on the skin around the vulva and scar the vagina.

How can a woman know if the symptoms are abnormal?

The vagina usually produces a discharge that is clear to milky white. This discharge is created by the glands in the cervix and vaginal walls and has a thick, thin or pasty texture. Normal vaginal discharge may have an unpleasant odor or no odor at all. Once it is exposed to air, it turns white or yellow in color.

If you do not have an infection, the vaginal itching may go away on its own. An allergy to soaps and scented toilet paper can be cured by simply not using these products, particularly near your vagina. However, if you are having vaginal discharge that is foul smelling and has a change in color, you may have an infection. Abnormal discharge can be thick, white and clumpy or green and yellowish in color and produce a foul-smelling odor.