Surviving a Summer Pregnancy

Summer heat combined with pregnancy hormones? That’s a recipe for one hot mama! Sometimes it may seem that the heat and humidity is unbearable during your pregnancy, but fortunately there are ways to beat the heat.

Summer Wardrobe

Having a full summer maternity wardrobe will keep you not only stylish but also cool and comfy. It is absolutely essential for pregnant women to have these items on hand:

  • Swimsuits
  • Comfy capris and shorts
  • Lightweight, loose tops
  • Flowing, breezy summer dresses
  • Sunglasses
  • A tote bag to carry all your summer necessities to keep your cool and safe

Water is Your Best Friend:

It is important to stay hydrated in the summer for anyone, but more importantly for pregnant women. Be sure to drink at least eight glasses of cold water each day. Not drinking enough water can worsen pregnancy aches, swelling and even trigger contractions. A creative and tasty way to make drinking water easier is to put a fresh lemon, lime or orange wedge in your glass.

Water isn’t just for drinking! Carry a spray bottle filled with cold water. A few sprays can help to cool you down when the heat just won’t quit! You can also lay a cool washcloth on the back of your neck or a soft freezer pack. If none of these options are doing the trick, go for a swim to cool down!

Check the Weather

When the forecast calls for a hot and humid day, plan to stay indoors where you have access to air conditioning or fans. If you absolutely need to step outside, do so either early in the day or late in the evening when the heat is less extreme. If neither of these options will work for you, be sure to take hydration breaks and cool yourself off if you feel like you are starting to sweat. If you start to feel dizzy or light headed, get indoors immediately and grab a cold glass of water. Once you are refreshed, lie down on your left side. If you don’t feel better soon, be sure call your midwife or doctor right away.

Also be sure to avoid the afternoon sun. Pregnant women are more prone to sunburn, so whenever you are outside in the sun, be sure to apply and reapply sunscreen often to protect yourself from the harmful UV rays.

Plan Vacations Wisely

During the first and third trimester, you may need to rest and take frequent bathroom stops. If you are driving, be sure to stop every hour or two (depending on the length of your trip) to stretch your legs and walk around. If you are flying, take a walk up and down the aisle, or even just to the bathroom. Also be sure to extend your ankles while seated to reduce swelling. Before booking a flight, check their policies. Some airlines restrict travel after 36 weeks into a pregnancy, and others require verification from your doctor that you are fit for travel.

By using these tips, you will be able to keep your cool all summer long! Have any other questions about your prenatal care? Give our specialists a call at 973-968-4611.


Your Complete Guide to a Laparoscopic Hysterectomy

Hysterectomies are one of the most common surgical procedures in the United States; in fact they are the second most common procedure among women. More than 600,000 hysterectomies are performed by OBGYN’s each year. A Laparoscopic Hysterectomy is a minimally invasive procedure used to remove the uterus or womb. A hysterectomy is a permanent and irreversible procedure, which will stop the menstrual cycle and prevent pregnancy. You may need a hysterectomy for various reasons. Also, the extent of a hysterectomy varies depending on the reason for the surgery. In most cases, the entire uterus is removed. Your doctor may also remove the ovaries and the fallopian tubes during the procedure if medically necessary.

What Are Hysterectomies?

A hysterectomy is typically considered a last line of defense, however it is highly effective in treating various reproductive conditions. Your doctor may suggest a hysterectomy if you have any of the following:

  • Chronic pelvic pain
  • Uncontrollable vaginal bleeding
  • Cancer of the uterus, cervix, or ovaries
  • Uterine fibroids that cause pain, bleeding, or other problems
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease: a serious infection of the reproductive organs.
  • Pelvic adhesions
  • Uterine prolapse: occurs when the uterus drops through the cervix and protrudes from the vagina.
  • Endometriosis: a disorder in which the inner lining of the uterus grows outside of the uterine cavity, causing pain and bleeding.
  • Adenomyosis: a condition in which the inner lining of the uterus grows into the muscles of the uterus.

The Process

During a laparoscopic hysterectomy, the patient will be under general anesthesia for about 1 to 3 hours. During this time, your doctor will make a tiny incision at the belly button to insert a tiny instrument called a laparoscope. A laparoscope is a long, thin tube with a high-intensity light and a high-resolution camera at the front. This allows the doctor to see what they are doing and complete the procedure through three very small incisions. This is exceptionally minor compared to a traditional hysterectomy, which requires a three to six inch incision. The small incisions allow your doctor to have a better look at the anatomy and stay extremely precise. Once the surgeon can see your uterus, they’ll cut the uterus into small pieces and remove one piece at a time. Patients of a laparoscopic hysterectomy will experience less blood loss, less scarring, lower chance of infection, and less post-operational pain than the traditional procedure. Patients can also have this procedure on an outpatient basis, and are often fully recovered in only one to two weeks.

It is important for you to understand the reasons that your doctor has suggested a hysterectomy as treatment for your specific gynecological issue. A hysterectomy is a major decision that you should take after careful consultation with your doctor. Dr. Quartell is highly skilled and experienced in performing this type of procedure. He will ensure you are treated with the highest quality of care to guarantee a safe procedure and speedy recovery.

If you think you may need a laparoscopic hysterectomy, be sure to schedule an appointment with Dr. Quartell by calling 973-716-9600 to further discuss if this procedure is right for you.


What New Moms Need to Know About Postpartum Depression

Becoming a new mother can trigger a swarm of powerful emotions, from excitement and joy, to fear and anxiety. But it can also result in something you might not expect – depression. Postpartum depression is a serious mental health condition that can occur in the weeks and months following the birth of a child. For new moms, this can be extremely overwhelming and scary. Postpartum depression can be mistaken for “the baby blues” at first, but the signs and symptoms are more intense and last longer, eventually interfering with your ability to care for your baby and handle daily tasks. Symptoms usually develop within the first few weeks after childbirth, but may begin later – up to six months after birth.

Postpartum depression symptoms may include:

  • Feeling sad, hopeless, empty, or overwhelmed
  • Crying more often that usual or for no apparent reason
  • Worrying or feeling overly anxious
  • Feeling moody, irritable, or restless
  • Oversleeping, or being unable to sleep even when your baby is asleep
  • Having trouble concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
  • Experiencing anger or rage
  • Losing interest in activities that are usually enjoyable
  • Eating too little or too much
  • Withdrawing from or avoiding friends and family
  • Having trouble bonding or forming an emotional attachment with your baby
  • Having constant doubts about your ability to care for your baby
  • Thinking about harming yourself or your baby

Along with these symptoms, there are five general stages of postpartum depression:

  1. Denial: You’ll think, “I can’t have postpartum depression. This must just be what new motherhood is like. I’ll be fine; I just need more sleep. It’ll wear off.”
  2. Anger: You will have a difficult time understanding why this is happening. You will think, “Why is this happening to me? No one understands what I am going through! This is so unfair!”
  3. Bargaining: In this stage, you’ll try to make a deal with yourself to make things better. “I just need to get the baby to sleep through the night, then I’ll be okay. I just need to work harder.”
  4. Depression: You’ve done everything you could to avoid this, but it’s here. This is the stage where you’ll have awful thoughts such as, “My baby doesn’t deserve me as a mother. My family would be better off without me. I’m never going to be a good mother.”
  5. Acceptance: This is the stage where you finally realize this is real and it is time to get help. “This isn’t normal, I need to get help. I’m going to call my doctor.”

There are many things that new moms can do to cope with these symptoms:

  • Set realistic goals and assume a reasonable amount of responsibility. Let your family and friends help you.
  • Break large tasks into small ones and set priorities. Do what you can, as you can.
  • Find someone to confide in. It’s usually better than being alone and secretive.
  • Exercise regularly. Studies have shown regular exercise can regulate your mood.
  • Expect your mood to improve gradually, not immediately. Feeling better takes time.

As a new mom, the most important thing you can do for yourself is to simply relax. Living an overscheduled life can leave you feeling burnt out. This is when the symptoms really start to kick in and take over. The more work you give yourself, the more you are likely to beat yourself up when you can’t get it all done. Being a new mom is hard. You won’t be able to do it all, and you won’t be perfect. Take it day by day; it will get easier.

When left untreated, postpartum depression may last for many months or longer. If you’re feeling depressed after welcoming your new baby, you may be reluctant or embarrassed to admit it. It is important to call your doctor as soon as possible if you are experiencing any symptoms of postpartum depression.


4 Reasons Spring is a Great Birth Season

Image via Pixabay

Once the end of March nears and the first day of spring rolls around, it’s no secret that life outdoors gradually starts to change. Birds are suddenly chirping again, the sun is up and shining before you can even hit snooze and both flowers and plants begin to make their grand reappearance. Aside from spring allergies, it seems as if almost everything about the season is refreshing and new – especially when compared to the winter months prior. If a woman is drawing near to the end of her pregnancy during this seasonal change, she clearly has a lot to be excited about:

  1. The weather becomes nicer.   

Unlike winter, or the chillier months of fall, there is an often welcomed change of weather during the months of spring. The light rainfall and rising temperatures – a “not too hot, not too cold” type of climate – are ideal for a new mother and her baby to spend time in. And the nicer the weather, the more time you get to spend outside, reaping all the physical and mental benefits that fresh air has to offer. One of the biggest perks? Spring weather makes outdoor exercise possible, allowing you to change up your workout routine – and prevent yourself from going a little stir crazy.

  1. You have more hours in a day.  

Okay, so one day still consists of 24 hours no matter what season it is – but once the spring equinox hits, the Earth’s horizon becomes aligned with the sun. Once this alignment is set in place, the sun is out for an extended period of time, creating longer daylight hours and an overall shorter nightfall. This leaves you with more hours in the actual day to get things done – something that will not go unappreciated or unnoticed by a new mom juggling to get hourly feedings, play time, house work, meal prep, an occasional nap, her career duties and everything else in between done.

  1. There are cute baby clothes…everywhere.    

Even if you’re not a fashionista (or into shopping period), it’s pretty hard to deny the adorableness that is spring baby clothes. Soft and pastel hues, playful patterns, shorts, dresses, tank tops, light sweaters, ballet flats, sneakers – whether you’re shopping for a baby boy or girl, the cute combination of clothes and accessories available in the spring season are virtually endless, and exceptionally cheery.  A bonus? The weather is actually nice enough to debut their little outfits, as opposed to the winter months when they would have to be bundled up instead.

  1. Energy and happiness levels increase.

There are plenty of common sense reasons a new mom can be happy in the spring – the weather is finally warmer and your favorite flowers are blooming again. Aside from these simple factors, though, there are actually scientific components behind a person’s increased levels of happiness and energy in the spring. More exposure to the increased hours of sunlight, for example, produces more serotonin hormones, creating feelings of joy. Similarly, more exposure to sunlight will decrease the chemical melatonin in a new mom’s body during the day, and increases it at night, allowing for a much more manageable sleep cycle – something moms will be dying to achieve.

Every season arguably has its perks for bringing a child into the world, but it does seem like there is an extremely strong case to be made for spring as a top contender.  Either way, new mothers are bound to thrive in mommy-hood, so long as they have a positive attitude, support system and an unmatched, maternal love for their child. If you’re looking to receive the top prenatal and obstetrical care, contact Dr. Quartell & Associates today.  Maybe you’ll be enjoying the birth of your baby by the time next spring comes!


Zika Virus and Pregnancy

Pregnant women are testing positive for the mosquito borne illness known as Zika Virus. To be extra safe, expectant mothers are urged to seek out accurate and up-to-date information before traveling. The Zika Virus is dangerous to mothers and their unborn children because the virus can be passed on from the mother to her baby during pregnancy. The Zika Virus belongs to a genus of viruses in the Flaviviridae family. Therefore, the Zika Virus is related to a class of viruses which could cause a potentially life threatening condition called encephalitis. Besides the Zika Virus, the Flaviviridae family class of viruses includes viruses like the West Nile virus,

There are currently no antivirals available for viruses like the Zika Virus. There are also no vaccines or known cures for the Zika Virus. There are a few precautions pregnant women and women trying to get pregnant should take in light of the Zika Virus outbreak. Women should avoid travelling to areas that are heavily affected by the Zika Virus such as Latin America. In the case that they already live there or need to travel- women should wear EPA approved mosquito repellent, keep skin completely covered, and avoid mosquito bites by staying indoors.

(Credit: CBS)

The Zika Virus is a probably this year’s scariest virus, particularly for expectant mothers, due to its detrimental effects on unborn babies. To illustrate, researchers have found alarming evidence linking the virus to a startling rise in babies born with abnormally small heads and brain defects.

Microcephaly is a congenital condition associated with abnormal brain development. This up rise in birth defects and abnormally small heads, a condition known as microcephaly, has mainly been spreading throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. Zika Virus spreads through zika-carrying mosquitoes. However, there have been recent cases where the virus may have been sexually transmitted.

(Credit: Wikipedia)

The Zika Virus originated in parts of Africa and South East Asia. Haphazardly, this past year more than 1.5 million have been infected as the virus spread to Latin America, the Caribbean, and Mexico. By the end of 2015, there have even been incidents of Zika Virus spreading to American soil. In response, the World Health Organization has declared this virus a public health emergency and outbreak in an effort to reduce the risk of further international spread.

Due to this public health emergency, if you are an expectant mother your primary concern should be to avoid this mosquito-borne illness at all costs. For this reason, unnecessary travel to any region currently under outbreak of the Zika Virus is not recommended for pregnant women. It’s also not recommended for couples actively trying to conceive. All in all, travel to any area where the Zika Virus is actively spreading should be postponed.

(Credit: Wikipedia)

Zika Virus is currently active in 25 countries. If you are pregnant and travel is unavoidable, then you should continually refer to the Center for Disease Control’s Zika Travel Information webpage for the most up to date travel recommendations. You should also strictly follow all proper precautions to prevent mosquito bites throughout your travels.

On another note, pregnant women who have already traveled to any region inflicted with Zika Virus should immediately consult with their healthcare providers, even if they aren’t showing symptoms. The symptoms of Zika Virus generally includes fever, rash, joint pain, or red eyes. However, symptoms can be mild thereby going completely unnoticed. To play it safe, be sure to visit your doctor within 2 weeks after returning from any area with Zika Virus.

To learn more about the risks of Zika Virus during pregnancy or to receive a check-up please schedule your appointment at Anthony C. Quartell, M.D. & Associates by calling 973.716.9600.


How to Wean Off Breastfeeding

“When should I stop breastfeeding?”

“How do I stop breastfeeding?”

These are two of the most common questions we get from mothers. We all know the incredible benefits breastfeeding provides to the baby: It helps baby’s fight off infection better, lowers risk for asthma and allergies, and creates a special bond between the baby and mom. When is it time to stop though, and how do you get the baby weaned off the breast milk they have grown to know and love?

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends mothers breastfeed exclusively for 6 months. This means not giving the baby anything else other than what you produce. After 6 months, you can begin to introduce you baby to solid foods, but should continue regular breastfeeding until they are at least one year old. After this point, you can continue breastfeeding as long as you and your child continue to want to. It is going to depend on your child and how much they like the breastfeeding process. Some toddlers are going to be fine breastfeeding, while others won’t want to sit still that long.

Other reasons to stop breastfeeding may be personal, such as the time commitment it requires for both mother and child.  It is completely dependent on your lifestyle and the needs of your child; no ones situation is the same, so don’t compare yourself to other families.

When you have made the decision to stop breastfeeding (hopefully after a year), you may begin a gradual weaning process. You may want to postpone this process if you or the baby is not feeling well, if major changes in the home are occurring, or if you are concerned with allergens.   All of these things will cause unnecessary stress to both the mom and baby, as this is a major change for both.

How-To Wean:

Weaning off of breastfeeding should be exactly that: weaning. Cutting breast milk off cold turkey will be bad for both baby, and painful for mommy. Make the process gradual by cutting off just one feeding per day. Typically, children are more attached to the morning and night feedings, so those should be the last to go.

If your child requests to be fed, don’t deny it from them. Eventually they will be distracted enough throughout the day with different foods and activities, that they will forget all about your breast milk! The time it takes to completely wean your child off breast milk is going to vary from person-to-person. Some women do it within a week, while others take months. Be perceptive about what your child, and you, need.

During the weaning process, ensure that your child is still getting love and affection with mom. Breastfeeding is an intimate experience between a mother and baby, so you don’t want yourself or the baby to feel like they are losing out on affection when the breastfeeding stops.

Nutrition After Weaning

You want to ensure your baby is getting proper nutrition once they begin to wean off of breast milk. If you are weaning before the child is one year old, you want to replace it with a formula. Your baby should not have cow’s milk until after their first birthday.

You also have to consider how the child was drinking prior to the weaning process. Is he/she used to a bottle? A cup? Your baby will have to be weaned off of the breast and learn to use a bottle, and then a cup.

Remember, each family is different and each baby has different needs. Trust yourself and your instincts, along with our recommendations, when it comes to the weaning process. Contact your obstetrician if you have more questions about the breastfeeding and weaning processes to ensure you are doing what is right for you and baby!


Creating a Birth Plan

We all know that everything isn’t going to go perfectly according to plan during pregnancy, labor, and delivery. Anything can happen on the big day, which is why it is so important to be prepared for anything.

Having a clear plan for the birth allows you to go over a lot of decisions that will have to be made on delivery day. Knowing exactly what you want, ahead of time, is guaranteed to make the process easier for you and your medical team. They will have everything printed in front of them so that your wishes are clear and in writing. It will also ensure you have researched all the available options and procedures that may pop up during delivery, so that you are confident in what you do and do not want.

So what things need to go on the birth plan? The most common things on the birth plan include how you want to manage pain while in labor. This is especially important if you plan on having an un-medicated birth. You may want to have other tools available for pain management such as a bathtub, birthing ball, stool, etc. You will want to check your hospital’s policy on these items or see if they have them available. If you do want to use an epidural, you will have the chance to discuss with your doctor ahead of time. Your birth plan can be changed at any time if you decide in the moment that you do or do not want an epidural, so do not feel bound to the plan!

Complications During Labor

Complications are something no one wants to think about. However, being prepared for complications that commonly arise during labor will help you prepare. Writing down what you want to do in the case of complications will ensure you don’t have to make any quick decisions without giving them the thought you deserve.

You should also include your wishes for intervention within your birth plan. This means if labor is not progressing normally, medical personnel may ask how you wish to proceed. Medical staff may insist on augmenting the labor, or breaking your amniotic sac to progress the labor. Determine what you wish to do in the case of something going wrong so that you are confident in your decision should the occasion arise.

Your birth plan should also include specifics on what to do in the case that you need a C-section. Some women prefer to view the c- section through a clear, plastic drape, while others prefer to have the drape lowered so that the baby can be placed immediately on the mother’s chest.

After-Delivery Considerations:

Typically, the baby will be wrapped in a warm blanket and placed on the mother’s chest. Some mothers prefer skin-to-skin contact with baby directly after delivery, while others may want the baby washed and dried as a first priority. Making this decision ahead of time for your birth plan makes it easier on you and the medical staff because everyone will know the immediate next steps you prefer after a whirlwind delivery. You will also want to specify whom you want to cut the umbilical cord following delivery.

Unless the baby requires immediate medical attention, most procedures and tests can be done in the room with you and your partner. You can state in the birth plan that you prefer to be present during these procedures.

Another consideration to make for your birth plan is whether you want to breastfeed or use formula. If you plan on breastfeeding, include it in your birth plan so that the hospital can set you up with a lactation consultant before leaving the hospital. Consider if you want the baby to use a pacifier, if you want to stay with baby through the night, and write down any other concerns or decisions you have made regarding your time at the hospital.

A birth plan is so important because it allows you to write down exactly what you want for your baby’s first day in the world. It is important to be flexible with the plan and understand that your medical team has you and your baby’s best interests at heart. Discuss your plan with your obstetrician and partner prior to delivery day, so that everyone is on the same page.


Pregnancy During The Winter Months: Your Guide to Comfort

Everyone has their preferences when it comes to prepping for the perfect pregnancy, especially 2nd or 3rd time mothers. For instance, some women love being pregnant during the winter, while others absolutely hate it. Whatever your favorite time of year to be pregnant is, one thing’s for sure — these pregnancy tips will have you feeling safe and cozy even if you despise winter solstice.

Some reasons for not wanting a winter pregnancy are the extreme drops in temperature and shortened amounts of daylight. Generally, people feel trapped indoors because snowy roads don’t leave many options for outdoor activities. Most obstetricians probably will not recommend sledding or ice-skating while you’re pregnant! For most expectant mothers, winter sports typically sound like a recipe for disaster.

These types of limitations, piled onto those of us who are already limited due to our pregnancy status, can leave us feeling extremely secluded. Furthermore, the winter seclusion can easily lead to a mild case of the winter blues. And we don’t need extra emotions zipping us around; our pregnancy hormones are perfectly capable of steering that emotional rollercoaster for us.

Feelings and emotions are just one side of the cold, blustery battle. Other mothers are far more concerned over the weather hazards typically associated with wintertime. A common fear is falling or slipping on ice while pregnant — yikes! Other winter related fears include things like emergency snowstorms, travel issues, car problems, or power outages. Whatever issues winter could possibly bring to your doorstep, if you carefully plan ahead you can surely stay safe, happy, and comfortable throughout your winter pregnancy. Here’s how:

Number one, drink plenty of water to combat dry, winter air. Even though it isn’t summer, you can still get dehydrated. Therefore, you should make it a point to drink plenty of water throughout the day. Water will help you avoid that lightheaded, sleepy feeling.

Next, make room for 3 to 5 sessions of exercise each week. Of course walking is great for pregnancy aches and pains, but you can always try prenatal yoga. Sometimes paying for prenatal exercise classes ahead of time will give women the extra pep they need to workout. Winter isn’t an excuse to stay in and watch TV all day. Basic exercise will keep your muscles feeling loose and relaxed — not to mention the amounts of anxiety you’ll eliminate. Exercise is great for stress relief!

Number three, always wash your hands and avoid touching your face. You don’t want to get sick while pregnant. It’s very uncomfortable and you’re limited to the types of medications you can safely take. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “pregnant women should get the influenza vaccine to help prevent the flu”.

Number four; it is crucial to plan for winter weather before it strikes. Invest in non-skid boots. You never want to slip on ice, let alone while being pregnant. Also, make sure you’re receiving regular weather alerts and keep a stash of emergency supplies in your household at all times. Keeping emergency supplies stashed in your car would be ideal too! Supplies should definitely include candles or flashlights, water, and extra food. You never know when there’s going to be a power outage.

Extra blankets and clothes can’t hurt either. Your warmest coat might get too snug once you hit your 3rd trimester! Make sure to stock up on lots of layers, especially if you’re in the 3rd trimester during those cold winter months.

And finally, share some hot tea or hot cocoa with family and friends. Winter is a great time to get cozy and hang out with the people you love most. Spending quality time with others will keep pregnant mommies happy and healthy any time of year! Make sure to still go to your regular appointments with Dr. Quartell throughout your pregnancy.


Gynecological Pain You Should Never Ignore

Whenever it comes to pelvic pain, it is better to be safe than sorry. Ignoring signs and symptoms only makes them worse. If your body is in pain, you should figure out the cause and deal with the underlying issue. Pain is your body’s way of telling you that something is not right.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the following symptoms warrant a trip to your doctor. Women should pay close attention to any of these 3 potentially serious, gynecological-related pain issues.

1. Pelvic Pain and Abdominal Discomfort

It’s important to tell your gynecologist what kind of pain you’re having. Does it come on suddenly or is it constant? This will help the doctor make a proper diagnosis. Sharp pelvic pain may be a warning sign that you have an infection, a ruptured ovarian cyst, or a dangerous ectopic pregnancy (a pregnancy growing outside the uterus). More constant pain or a feeling of fullness in the abdomen is suggestive of uterine fibroids, which are non-cancerous tumors.

Another potential source of regular pelvic pain is endometriosis, a common condition in which the lining of the uterus grows outside the organ. Endometriosis starts with pain during the menstrual cycle but may progress to become an ‘all the time’ pain as endometrial cells grow outside the uterus. The endometrial tissue bleeds during menstruation and can cause terrible pelvic pain. There is no cure for endometriosis, but one option is birth control pills, especially a brand called Seasonale, which limits menstrual periods to four times a year. Another choice is a drug to lower estrogen levels and can slow the growth of endometriosis. Your treatment will depend on how bad the pain is and whether you plan on getting pregnant. In addition to causing pelvic pain, the condition can lead to trouble having a baby.

2. Painful Periods and Unusual Bleeding

Occasional spotting between periods shouldn’t set off any alarm bells. But when the bleeding lasts for days or is heavy and painful, it’s time to call your gynecologist. This could be a sign of an injury to the vagina, a miscarriage, or even cancer of the cervix or uterus, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). It is also important to check in with your doctor if you have stopped having periods due to menopause, but have begun bleeding again. This could be a sign of uterine cancer. It’s important to know what’s normal for you. When something is suddenly abnormal, it is time to call the doctor. Uterine fibroids, an infection, or a thyroid problem could be to blame. Irregular or infrequent periods can be a symptom of an underlying condition such as polycystic ovary syndrome or a hormone imbalance problem. A missed period could be a sign that you are pregnant, or that there is another medical condition requiring attention.

3. Painful Intercourse or Urination

One of life’s greatest pleasures shouldn’t be painful. Pain during sex can be felt as deep pelvic pain or soreness in your genital area. Common causes are vaginal dryness, infections, or uterine fibroids, according to the NIH. Your gynecologist will likely perform a pelvic exam and tests to find out what’s wrong. Urinary incontinence or difficulty moving your bowels can be symptoms of pelvic floor problems. That’s when the tissues that support the pelvic organs become damaged or weakened, often due to childbirth. If the muscles are weak, your gynecologist may suggest special pelvic exercises, called kegels, to strengthen the area. But if there’s a tear, your gynecologist will suggest other treatment options.

Vaginal discharge is the body’s way of keeping the vagina clean and healthy. The thickness of discharge changes at different times of the month, depending on where you are in your menstrual cycle. If you notice a yellow, green, or gray discharge that has a bad odor, it’s time to see your gynecologist. Changes in discharge as well as itching and burning around your vagina could indicate some type of vaginitis. Two major culprits are yeast and bacterial infections, which can be treated with medication.

Call a doctor for immediate care if you have sudden, severe pelvic pain, with or without vaginal bleeding.

Call your gynecologist if:

  • Your periods have changed from relatively pain-free to painful.
  • Pain interferes with your daily activities.
  • You start to have pain during intercourse.
  • You have painful urination, blood in your urine, or an inability to control the flow of urine.
  • You have blood in your stool or a significant, unexplained change in your bowel movements.
  • You notice any new pelvic symptoms.
  • You haven’t yet seen a doctor about your chronic pelvic pain.

What is normal?

Always pay attention to what your body is telling you. If you are experiencing any of these warning signs, your gynecologist can evaluate the problem and provide treatment to help you get back to feeling your best as soon as possible.


Ovulation 101: Tips for conceiving

So you have decided you are ready to expand your family, congratulations! The first important step to conceiving is scheduling a pre-conception appointment with an OB/GYN for a check up of you and your partner’s health. It is also important that you understand the ovulation process for success in conceiving a happy, healthy baby. Here are our top tips for timely conception!

Know when you are ovulating

There are a ton of misconceptions about the ovulation cycle. Many women wrongly assume that they should have sex 14 days after their period, which is the assumed ovulation time. However, this time period is based off a 28-day cycle, which not everyone has. Each woman has a different cycle; so going off the standard 28-day cycle could be hindering your ability to get pregnant.

 It is important to pay attention to your body so that you know when you are ovulating. Some women report different discharge or changes in breast tenderness when they are ovulating, however an ovulation prediction kit is the best method for knowing when you are ovulating. These kits detect the luteinizing hormone in urine, which is at a higher-level 24-48 hours prior to ovulation.

It is also a common misconception that couples should try to conceive on the day of ovulation. In reality, it is actually best to have sex three, two, and one day before ovulation to allow for the most time for the egg to be fertilized. Timing is everything when it comes to conception.

Get healthy

An important part of being able to carry a baby is being in healthy enough shape to do so. You should have all of your bases covered at your preconception check-up. It is ideal to be at a healthy weight, exercise moderately, and maintain a healthy diet. If there are any health concerns, your doctor can advise you on the next steps to take, rather than wasting time trying to conceive when a health issue needs to first be addressed.

Have Sex- lots of it

Having lots of sex will increase the odds that you are able to get pregnant. It doesn’t matter what position, and no you don’t have to put your legs above your head after. Keep it relaxed and fun, this is an exciting time in your life! A common misconception is that men should “save” up their semen for days at a time before intercourse. This is a myth, and it is best to have intercourse every other day around ovulation for the best chances of conceiving. Try not to make sex a chore; it is okay to take a break if you start treating it as such.

Seek help when you need it

If you are healthy and have been trying to conceive naturally for a year with no luck, it is important to see a doctor. Your doctor will be able to advise you on next steps in order to grow your family. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Quartell for more advise on conception, and be sure to confirm your pregnancy with us so we can get you started on prenatal vitamins. Call our Livingston office at 973.716.9600 to speak with a professional today. 

  • Dr. Anthony C. Quartell has been recognized by New York Magazine and New Jersey Monthly numerous times in the category ‘Best Doctors’. In addition, he was rated and awarded ‘The Patients’ Choice Award’ by his patients!


  • Dr. Anthony C. Quartell was rated and awarded ‘The Patients’ Choice Award’ by his patients!



The practice of Anthony C. Quartell, M.D. & Associates is dedicated to providing for the special health needs of women of all ages.

Patient FormsPatient Forms

Patient Forms

Dr. Quartell provides his patients with office forms on this website for your convenience. We recommend you print and fill these forms out at home to save time while in our office.

Frequently Asked QuestionsFrequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

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Office Policies

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