Meet the Lovell Family of Twins in Kansas City
Meet the family of Kristin and John Lovell, who delivered their twin babies with Kansas City ObGyn on December 18, 2014. We followed up mom Kristin to find out how the babies and family are doing.
KCO: Which physicians delivered your babies?
Kristin Lovell: Dr. Arroyo, my obstetrician, and Dr. Newby delivered our baby girls via C-section. They were amazing! They both were very calm and did a great job of explaining what was happening, what was next and how I might feel. My husband recorded the entire birth and we cherish it so much. We can’t wait to show our girls one day. Dr. Arroyo was awesome during my entire pregnancy experience. This was my first pregnancy and I had no clue what I was doing. He was resourceful, honest, calming and always so pleasant! We used a fertility clinic out-of-state and he was open and accepting to work with them throughout the pregnancy. We had so many ultrasounds I lost count because we were pregnant via in-vitro fertilization and had twins. We really got to know Kim, the ultrasound tech. She’s down to earth and fun, which made the experience that much better. She’s really great at her job; even our IVF clinic commented on the attention to detail of our ultrasound pics - you could clearly see hands and toes!
Meet the Laster Family of Twins in Kansas City
One of the many families of multiples who have passed through the Kansas City ObGyn office is the family of Renee and Ben Laster, who delivered their babies on the morning of July 4, 2016. We followed up mom Renee to find out how the babies and family are doing.
KCO: Which physician delivered your babies?
Renee Laster: Dr. Heit delivered our twins, but Dr. Arroyo is my regular doctor. Since our girls were born the morning of July 4th, my husband's tee time was cancelled, Dr. Heit came straight from the golf course, and Dr. Arroyo was golfing too far away to make it to their birth in time. Two little girls cancelled two golf games that day - the first of many for their dad!
KCO: How was your experience?
Renee: Our experience with the Kansas City ObGyn doctors was top notch! Dr. Arroyo was extremely positive and supportive throughout my entire pregnancy while providing the most sound medical advice. My favorite thing about Dr. Arroyo is how calm he is. Babies come with a lot of hoopla, but Dr. Arroyo can shut all of that out. Dr. Heit provided wonderful delivery and labor advice during what was a very overwhelming day. I had not planned on delivering my twins via C-section, but our “Baby B” was breech. I had spent most of my pregnancy planning (ha!) on a vaginal birth. If I chose to deliver vaginally I ran the risk of laboring for who knows how long for “Baby A,” and then having a C-section for “Baby B” if they were unable to flip her. I was so overwhelmed with needing to make a timely decision in triage that I was crying. My husband was helping me weigh our risks, but it was ultimately my choice (smart man). When Dr. Heit said to me, “If you were my daughter, I would advise you not to take the risk of a vaginal birth and go with a C-section.” That was all he had to say, my mind was made up - C-section it was! Dr. Heit told me after the C-section that “Baby B” would have been nearly impossible to flip and that I'd made the right decision. I reminded him that it was his expert advice that had lead me to that good decision. Dr. Arroyo kept me and my babies healthy for nine months and Dr. Heit finished the job with a smooth and healthy delivery.
Amenorrhea (Lack of Menstruation)
What is Amenorrhea?
According to the Mayo Clinic, amenorrhea (pronounced uh-men-o-REE-uh) is the absence of menstruation or missing at least one menstrual period. This includes girls who have not begun having periods by age 15, as well as women who miss at least three periods in a row after having normal menstrual cycles.
Women may be more at risk of amenorrhea if they have a family history of it, if they have an eating disorder, or if they participate in strenuous athletic training. According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, pregnancy is the primary cause of amenorrhea. Other normal life events such as breastfeeding and menopause also cause amenorrhea. Approximately three to four percent of women will experience amenorrhea from other cause during their lifetime.
Premature (Preterm) Labor
What is preterm labor?
Preterm labor occurs when the contractions begin before the 37th week of pregnancy. Along with contractions, changes in the cervix occur which signal labor is beginning. The cervix begins to thin, a process called effacement, and it starts to dilate so that the baby can enter the birth canal. Normal pregnancies last around 40 weeks, so any labor that starts before then is called early labor or preterm labor.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that preterm birth occurred in about one out of every 10 deliveries in the United States in 2014. The rate peaked in 2006 when the rate was nearly 13%, more than one-third higher than the rate had been in the early 1980s. In most cases, no specific cause is known for early labor. Some risk factors have been identified that make a woman more likely to go into labor early. Besides the premature rupture of the amniotic sac, some of these major risk factors identified by the Mayo Clinic include the following:
Maternal factors for preterm labor:
- Preeclampsia, or high blood pressure during pregnancy
- Chronic medical problems, including diabetes and kidney disease
- Infections, especially strep, urinary tract infections, vaginal infections, and infections of the fetal or placental tissues
- Abnormal structure of the uterus
- Cervical incompetence, or a weak cervix that cannot stay closed as the baby grows larger
- Previous preterm births
Pregnancy Tests: How They Work & What to Expect
How do pregnancy tests work?
There are two kinds of pregnancy tests: urine tests, which women can use in the privacy of their homes, and blood tests which must be done by an obstetrician’s office. The urine tests done at home are also run at doctors’ offices. Both home and office tests check for the presence of human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) hormone in the urine. HCG is produced by cells that eventually form the placenta.
The hormone first enters a woman’s bloodstream when the fertilized egg implants into the lining of her uterus, sometimes as early as six days after the egg has been fertilized. After that, the levels of HCG increase very rapidly – often doubling every 48 hours for a time. Once the levels are detectable in a woman’s urine, her pregnancy test should show positive.
Eggs take about one week to travel from the ovary to the uterus after ovulation. The egg can be fertilized any time during its travels or once it reaches the uterus. HCG only begins production after the fertilized egg implants. It can be hard to predict exactly when fertilization occurred because sperm cells can live for up to five days inside the woman’s body. For this reason, most home pregnancy tests advise women to wait until they are at least two or three days late for their periods – or approximately 15 to 16 days after ovulation – before they take a pregnancy test.
What’s that color? Vaginal discharge and your gynecological health
What causes normal vaginal discharge?
Vaginal discharge is normal for most women, sometimes every day and other times just under certain circumstances. Many women see increased discharge after exercise, when they use birth control pills, when they are sexually aroused, or when they are under stress.
Normal vaginal discharge consists of cells and fluid from the uterus and vagina. It keeps tissues in the vagina healthy and lubricated, protected from irritation and infections. The consistency and amount of vaginal discharge usually vary throughout a woman’s menstrual cycle.
What does normal vaginal discharge look like?
During most times of the month, vaginal discharge is clear or white and watery or slightly sticky. When a woman ovulates, the discharge may be thicker and more like mucous. These are all normal conditions. Many women also experience bloody-brown or brown vaginal discharge at the end of their periods or right after their menstrual cycle ends. This, too, is normal.
What does abnormal vaginal discharge look like?
Any time vaginal discharge looks or smells different than normal, or if it becomes heavier than usual for no apparent reason, it may indicate an infection or other problem. Sometimes pain, itching or inflammation accompanies a change in vaginal discharge characteristics. The discharge may become thick and white, chunky, yellow, green, or have a foul or fishy odor. Any of these symptoms signal a possible problem and should be assessed by your gynecologist.
Kansas City STD Statistics & the Importance of Getting Regular STD Tests
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 19 million new sexually transmitted infections (STIs) occur in the United States every year, and nearly half of those infections are in young people ages 15 to 24.
More than half of all people will get an STI at some point in their lifetime, so it is important to take proactive measures against infection and disease transmission. The best way to protect against sexually transmitted infection is to use protection during intercourse and to receive regular STI testing.
What is a Sexually Transmitted Infection?
A sexually transmitted infection is a virus, bacteria or parasite that is transmitted via sexual intercourse, including vaginal, anal and oral sex. STIs are highly contagious but many do not usually present with symptoms and frequently go undiagnosed. When an infection does show signs of disease, the condition is diagnosed as the more familiar term, sexually transmitted disease (STD).
Breast Health Exam Guidelines
Why should I do a monthly self-breast exam?
A monthly self-breast exam (SBE) is part of a three-part breast health arsenal every woman needs to use to be on guard against breast cancer. The SBE is an inspection of your breasts to increase your awareness of how they look and feel when you are in good health so that you can report any changes or concerns to your doctor. Monthly self-exams also let you take action to help protect yourself against cysts, cancers and infections that affect the breasts.
Monthly self-exams let women be more comfortable with their bodies, and able to provide vital information to their doctors at their yearly physical exams. The monthly BSE should be done along with annual clinical breast exams at the doctor’s office and mammograms according to the recommended schedule.
Up to 40 percent of breast cancers are initially detected by women who felt a lump at home during a self-exam, according to Johns Hopkins Medical Center. Clinical breast exams and mammograms help diagnose the nature of lumps and other abnormalities, and they are the other two vital parts of the three-part breast health arsenal.
Women should become familiar with the look and feel of their breasts, and report any changes or concerns immediately to their doctors. Most changes women note at home are eventually determined to be benign, but some changes do indicate something more serious is happening. Early detection of a problem is the key to successful resolution.
Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) and Cervical Cancer
The Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted disease (STD) in the world. About 79 million Americans are currently infected with HPV and approximately 14 million new infections occur nationwide every year. In most cases the immune system is able to fight the virus off without lasting side effects or complications, but sometimes HPV can cause serious health problems.
What is HPV?
HPV is not a single virus. There are hundreds of types of Human Papilloma Virus ranging from harmless warts people commonly get on their hands and feet to more dangerous sexually transmitted varieties. Most types of the virus have no outward symptoms with the exception of the HPV type that causes genital warts. Other types of HPV causes no visible symptoms, but cause lesions that can become cancerous.
Transmission and Risk Factors
Sexually transmitted HPV is spread when a person has vaginal, anal or oral sexual intercourse with a partner who is already infected. Both men and women can contract the disease, and symptoms can take years to become apparent. It is also possible to be infected with more than one type of the virus at a given time. Any person who is sexually active can get HPV, but some factors can increase risk.
Dr. Heit Earns Compassionate Doctor Award
The award recognizes doctors who treat patients - not just conditions - with care and grace. In a recent Vitals Index survey, one of three respondents said that a doctor who “listens and spends time” with them was the most important quality indicator.
Research shows that the better the patient experience, the better the clinical outcome. That’s because patients who trust their doctor are more likely to adhere to a physician’s advice and take prescribed medications according to schedule.
“The doctor-patient relationship is not much different from any other relationship we value,” said Mitch Rothschild, Executive Chairman and Founder of Vitals. “It’s based on mutual respect and fairness, as well as the ability to communicate with one another effectively. Patients who leave doctor ratings and reviews make it easier for everyone to identify these doctors who practice medicine with humanity.”
Compassionate Doctor award winners are chosen based on the number of reviews a doctor receives from patients for the calendar year and minimum rating values. The algorithm also takes into account other quality metrics that the provider must meet. With nearly eight million ratings and reviews, Vitals has the largest collection of crowdsourced data on doctors than any other online site.
Getting Pregnant After Age 35 (Advanced Maternal Age)
Advanced Maternal Age. Geriatric pregnancy. Elderly primigravida. None of these phrases are particularly endearing, but they are all terms used to describe a pregnancy in a woman in her mid-30s and beyond. Of course, women in their 30s and 40s are not old, but the female reproductive system evolved so that women are most fertile in the teens and 20s, and it’s a fact of biology that childbearing pregnancy becomes more complicated with age. This is particularly true for women aged 35 and older, and the medical community uses the term “advanced maternal age” to indicate women who are pregnant or want to become pregnant and may need to consider the risks associated with having a child later in life.
How Does Age Affect Pregnancy?
A woman is born with all the eggs she will ever produce and those cells age along with the rest of her body. By the time a woman enters her 30s her eggs have become more difficult to fertilize and some, over time, are damaged. This resistance to fertilization can delay or impede conception and the possible damage to the egg cells increases the rate of possible birth defects. Furthermore, pregnancy stresses the body, and women who conceive at a later age are more susceptible to having a high-risk pregnancy.
Women who are considered being of “advanced maternal age” may not struggle with pregnancy and it is still absolutely possible for women in this age bracket to have healthy pregnancies. Nevertheless, when considering having children after the age of 35, it is wise to understand the realities of pregnancy later in life and to know what to expect throughout the whole process, from pre-conception to delivery.