• What You Need to Know about Geriatric Pregnancy

    If you’ve heard the term “geriatric pregnancy” you may have visions of a gray-haired woman with a baby bump, but this term is misleading—and, thankfully, not used too often in this day and age. The term actually refers to pregnant women over the age of 35, and it is now often stated as “advanced maternal age” to set it apart from other types of pregnancy.

    Although many women are choosing to become pregnant at a later time in life these days, those over the age of 35 may have some special circumstances to consider, depending on a variety of different factors. An experienced OB/GYN can be very helpful in walking you through all of the details, letting you know of any special areas of concern. If you are in this age range and are thinking about getting pregnant, it can be a good idea to visit an OB/GYN clinic that specializes in this type of care.Women’s Healthcare Associates is a resource you can use in the Houston area if you like.

    Having a healthy pregnancy

    Many of the same recommendations will apply to you as to your younger counterparts. Here are a few of the most important:

    • Eating healthy
    • Exercising in moderation
    • Monitoring weight gain
    • Getting good prenatal care

    Taking care of your health is important when you are pregnant, so many of the recommendations for having a healthy baby will be the same for women of all ages.

    Some pregnancy cautions

    The majority of women who have babies after the age of 35 have healthy deliveries and healthy babies, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be aware of possible issues that may arise. Again, working with your OB/GYN clinic in Houston, TX, is the smartest way to stay on top of any potential problems, since they will know you and your medical history best. Even so, it helps to know that the following things may be more likely in women over 35 years of age:

    • Difficulty conceiving – it may be harder to get pregnant now than when you were younger
    • Gestational diabetes
    • High blood pressure
    • Certain birth defects – the risk of Down syndrome and other birth defects is higher in older women
    • Multiple pregnancies (twins, triplets, etc.)
    • Premature birth
    • Pregnancy loss

    It is important to note that although your risks for these factors go up with age, simply being older does not mean you will have any of these issues. Just like every woman is different, every pregnancy is different!

    Depending on your health history and family health history, there may be some additional risk factors for you if you are over the age of 35 and considering pregnancy. Talk to your physician about what you should be aware of ahead of time.

    If you have any questions about pregnancy at an advanced maternal age, feel free to contact our team at Women’s Healthcare Associates. We’d be glad to provide you with more information, or schedule an appointment for you.

    Contact us for information!

  • Reasons for Endometrial Biopsies

    During an endometrial biopsy, your gynecologist will remove a small sample of tissue from the lining of your uterus, called the endometrium. There are several reasons your gynecologist may recommend an endometrial biopsy, which is a short procedure that can usually be performed in your OB/GYN clinic in about 10 minutes.

    Endometrial biopsies are performed in order to diagnose diseases of the endometrium. Your gynecologist may perform a biopsy to find out what is causing bleeding after menopause or persistent breakthrough bleeding, to screen for endometrial cancer, or to see how hormonal therapy is impacting your endometrial tissue. A biopsy can also be used to evaluate your fertility if you are trying to become pregnant. No anesthesia is necessary for the procedure, but your gynecologist may recommend that you take an over-the-counter pain medication or a sedative before your biopsy for your comfort.

    Endometrial biopsy is one of the diagnostic services we offer at Women’s Healthcare Associates in Houston. Call us today at (713) 654-8128 to make an appointment with a gynecologist.

  • Breastfeeding Challenges and Solutions

    does come with some challenges. Your OB/GYN can provide advice and resources to make breastfeeding easier for you as you adjust to motherhood.

    Watch this video to learn about some of the common challenges mothers face when breastfeeding. Not understanding how to manage a poor or painful latch, not knowing when to pump, and dealing with questions from family and friends can all be problematic, but help is available at your OB/GYN clinic.

    At Women’s Healthcare Associates , our OB/GYN providers in Houston are here to guide you through every step of your pregnancy, from conception to breastfeeding, as well as all of your women’s health need. Schedule an appointment today by calling (713) 654-8128.

  • I’m in Perimenopause. What Are My Birth Control Options?

    Being in perimenopause does not mean that you cannot get pregnant. At this stage of your life, it is still necessary to use birth control if you do not wish to have any children. The best way to choose a birth control that is right for you is to make an appointment with a gynecologist for contraceptive counseling. Generally, most forms of hormonal birth control that were appropriate before perimenopause will still work for you, but these each have their pros and cons. Here is a look at some of your options.

    Combination Contraceptives

    Combination birth control pills , vaginal rings, and skin patches include both estrogen and progestin to prevent pregnancy. These birth controls can be extremely effective, but they are not appropriate for everyone. Some women should not use contraceptives that contain estrogen because of the risk of blood clots. Combination estrogen and progestin birth control pills and rings contain less estrogen than patches, so they carry a lower risk of blood clots. Your gynecologist will weigh the risk factors before deciding if this kind of contraceptive is right for you.

    Progestin Contraceptives

    Progestin contraceptives do not contain estrogen, so they are often safer for women who are prone to blood clots. These kinds of contraceptives are available as an IUD, implant, and pill. They also have the added benefit of reducing the risk of endometrium cancer. This kind of birth control, particularly the progestin pill, may be slightly less effective than combination birth control, but it is still considered to be a reliable option.

    Sterilization Procedures

    If you are certain that you do not wish to have any more children, you may wish to consider a tubal ligation or request that your partner undergoes a vasectomy. These procedures alleviate the need for ongoing birth control.

    During contraceptive counseling, your gynecologist at Women’s Healthcare Associates will review all of your options and help you select a birth control that is right for your health and future family planning goals. To make an appointment to discuss birth control in Houston, call (713) 654-8128.

  • What Women Should Know About Ovarian Cancer

    It’s a common misconception that gynecologists can screen patients for ovarian cancer with pap tests and pelvic exams. Actually, pap tests can only check for precancerous conditions of the cervix—not the ovaries. That’s one reason why about eight out of every 10 women who develop ovarian cancer are diagnosed when the cancer has already spread beyond the ovaries.

    As you’ll learn when you watch this featured video, detecting ovarian cancer as early as possible is crucial for a favorable outcome. Talk to your gynecologist about whether you might be at a higher risk for this cancer, and if so, whether you might be a good candidate for ovarian cancer screening tests. These include transvaginal ultrasound and a blood test that checks for the serum marker CA-125.

    Compassionate gynecology services in Houston are available at Women’s Healthcare Associates. Call (713) 654-8128 to request a health screening, such as a pap smear or breast exam.

  • How Frequently Do I Need to Get a Pap Smear?

    It can be a challenge to know how frequently you need to have a Pap smear , but it is an extremely important test when it comes to women’s health. Pap smears can help your doctor find any potential issues before they become serious. The test helps doctors identify any abnormal or precancerous cells, which can be an early sign of cervical cancer, HPV, or other problems.

    The procedure itself is virtually painless, whether you go to a gynecology office in Houston or have it done by your regular physician. The important thing is to have the test done often enough to identify problems quickly, when they can be most easily treated. If you’re not sure what happens during a Pap test, we encourage you to contact Women’s Healthcare Associates at our Houston, TX, office. We’ll be glad to tell you more.

    General Pap test guidelines

    The first question to answer when it comes to Pap testing is what age you should begin having them. As with anything, the best guideline is to consult with your physician, but most women are advised to start testing no later than age 21. You can have them done by your regular doctor, or if you prefer, you can go to a gynecologist.

    Generally, Pap smears don’t have to be done annually. Women aged 21 to 65 can schedule them every three years if they have has normal results from the previous test. If you are 30 years of age or older, you can consider getting them done every five years, but only if they are combined with a test for HPV. Once a woman reaches the age of 65, regular Pap tests can be discontinued if results have been normal.

    An abnormal Pap test may result in a more frequent testing schedule for women of any age. Please consult with your physician or gynecologist’s office to find out how often you should go for testing after an abnormal test.

    Other things can come into play when it comes to how often a woman should be tested. Certain risk factors, such as HIV, organ transplantation, and chemotherapy, may require a change in Pap test frequency. Again, a physician is in the best position to evaluate these individual situations.

    Screening saves lives

    It’s important to know how often you should go for a Pap smear. Regular testing can save lives, as this test finds abnormal cells and precancerous cells easily—and early. It also bears mention that getting an abnormal Pap test result doesn’t mean you have cancer: It simply means some of the cells that were collected are not normal cells. You may need to be retested, or your doctor might want to consult with you in person to go over the results.

    If you need more information about when you should get a Pap smear, please don’t hesitate to contact Women’s Healthcare Associates for additional clarification. We’re always happy to help you figure out when you should schedule your next appointment.

    Call to learn more about Pap smears.