What is a Hysterectomy?
A gynecologic hysterectomy is a surgical procedure that removes a woman’s uterus from her body. A patient may choose to receive a hysterectomy to relieve pain or assist in progressing toward a desired lifestyle preference. This operation is safe, highly effective, and eliminates the chances of pregnancy.
Types of Hysterectomy
There is no single approach to this surgery, but each tactic utilized by your surgeon is equally as effective as the next. A hysterectomy can be can be performed through either the vagina or by a laparoscopic incision into the abdomen. The following examples will highlight the procedural options available by most OB-GYN surgeons.
- Total Hysterectomy: Both the entire uterus and cervix are removed during this procedure.
- Subtotal / Partial or Supra-Cervical Hysterectomy: The cervix is left intact, but the upper section of the uterus is removed. This procedure can only be performed abdominally.
- Radical Hysterectomy: This procedure removes the uterus and other surrounding structures (eg. Cervix, Ovaries & Fallopian Tubes).
How is a Hysterectomy Performed?
The patient will receive general anesthesia and a urinary catheter to drain the bladder before initial vertical or horizontal incisions are made. Patients should note that a hysterectomy is performed based on the individual’s physical body. The type of incision depends on the size of the uterus, preexisting scars, and possibly the need to further explore the upper abdomen for a successful surgery. Once all preceding steps are completed – and the surgical tools are cleansed and sterilized – surgery can commence. The surgeon will then pass surgical instruments through the vagina or abdominal incision to work on the designated area. The blood vessels and connective tissues are detached so the uterus can be easily removed. Depending on the type of hysterectomy, other surrounding organs and tissues may be removed as well during the surgery.
Why Receive a Hysterectomy?
Receiving a hysterectomy is contingent on a variety of health conditions and life choices. Below you will find easily treatable conditions and reasons for receiving a hysterectomy.
The symptoms and conditions described here can cause a great deal of pain and discomfort. To correct these abnormalities, a hysterectomy may be the best approach before pain develops into severe cases and chronic recurs.
Your successful hysterectomy procedure will provide you with a generous amount of post-surgical benefits. You’ll find immediate relief from the symptoms that were once causing you pain and menstrual periods will never occur again – due to removal of the organ in which it takes place. Your sex life can return to normal and some women report to even experience more pleasure post-hysterectomy. A hysterectomy will improve your overall quality of life and promote a rejuvenated sense of well-being.
Preparing for a Hysterectomy
When you experience any symptoms like the ones listed above, you should contact a physician right away. Scheduling an appointment will allow the doctor to examine your body and accurately diagnose your condition before symptoms increase in severity. You’ll then undergo initial screening tests to check for various cancers. The presence of cancer will change the surgeon’s approach to your hysterectomy and these tests may include a cervical cytology test, endometrial biopsy, and a pelvic ultrasound. After you’ve undergone precautionary screening – and chosen which procedural method will be performed – the doctor will give you specific instructions to prepare. You’ll be instructed to wash your body with prescribed soap and perform a preoperative cleansing of the vagina and rectum to prevent infection. If all directions are followed, surgery will be a great success.
Board-Certified OB-GYN in Livingston, New Jersey
A hysterectomy is a life-changing procedure that can improve your bodily health and quality of life. Dr. Anthony Quartell, M.D. is a board certified OB-GYN surgeon who specializes in laparoscopic hysterectomy surgery. If you think this procedure may be the solution to relieve your symptoms, please contact us or call 973-716-9600 to schedule an appointment. Dr. Quartell is dedicated to delivering you back to full health so you can enjoy a worry-free life!
How to Manage Menopause During the Holidays
Menopause is an inevitable condition that officially marks the end of a woman’s menstrual cycle. While this might seem like a great reason to jump for joy, menopause comes with a wide range of unwanted symptoms. These common side effects don’t tend to mesh well with the hustle, bustle and stress of the holiday season – but fortunately, there’s a way for menopausal woman to effectively cope with her symptoms.
Get a Better Handle on Extreme Mood Swings
Mood swings are inevitable during menopause, triggered by constant hormonal shifts within a woman’s body. While there is a possibility that a woman experiencing menopause will have extreme levels of happiness, she will also feel depressed, sad and angry. Here are some different ways you can cope with your mood swings:
- Seek support from family, friends and loved ones. Pick up the phone and call a friend, send a family member a sweet greeting card in the mail or meet for coffee with a favorite co-worker. Staying in touch and connected with loved ones will make the difficult mood swings more tolerable.
- Sign up for an activity that helps promote relaxation. Whether it’s scheduling a massage at a local wellness center or trying a yoga class, find a new pastime that allows you to take a deep breath, lower your anxiety levels and feel more at ease.
Keep Yourself at a Healthy Weight
Women who have entered the menopausal stage in life are known to experience serious fluctuations in their weight, and gain weight more often than lose it. Since the holidays involve a lot of cooking and eating, pay close attention to what you’re consuming and doing to counteract the calorie intake. Here’s how you can keep a healthy weight during the holidays:
- Even though it can be tempting to help yourself to one, two or even three plates of food during a holiday party or dinner, menopausal women especially should stick to the dietary guidelines for peopled aged 50 or older. Only consume the recommended portion sizes, and eat food on smaller plates.
- Always stay active during the holidays. Even though outdoor activities like walking or jogging aren’t much of an option due to the cold weather, you can sign up for a gym membership, order a workout DVD or perform some simple at-home exercises every morning and night.
Effectively Deal with Stress
Trouble sleeping, hot flashes, sweating, a lowered sex drive and vaginal dryness are other common symptoms of menopause that add on to a woman’s stress levels. Since the holidays are already a high stress time for most people, it’s important to deal with stress and increased anxiety in a healthy way. Here’s how you can deal with your stress during the holidays:
- Ask for help. Even if your family and friends have relied on you to do most of the holiday cooking and party planning in the past, call on your loved ones to help you out during the holidays. Even if it’s something as simple as a quick grocery store run, or bringing an extra dish to dinner, ask for help. Taking on all of the usual holiday tasks will only bring on more stress, making you feel worse than before.
- Incorporate some (much needed) time for yourself during the holiday. Everyone – stressed out or not – needs a break, but women who are menopausal truly deserve one. Since most of your symptoms are tiring and unbearable, preventing you from living a quality lifestyle, it’s only fair to treat yourself to some rest and relaxation during the holidays. Schedule a manicure and pedicure appointment, read a chapter of your favorite book or go see a movie with friends to recuperate and feel refreshed.
Handle Menopause in a Healthy Way with Dr. Quartell
If you are a woman who is currently experiencing menopause, these tips will be sure to help you keep all your symptoms in check during the holidays. For more information about menopause, and any other gynecological condition, please contact the obstetrics and gynecology practice of Anthony C. Quartell, M.D. and Associates by calling 973-716-9600. You can also fill out an online form to shoot us a quick message or inquiry. We look forward to hearing from you, and helping you remain happy, calm and safe during this holiday season.
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The Top 5 Tips for Selecting an OB-GYN
For women, selecting an obstetrician-gynecologist – more commonly referred to as an OB-GYN – is one of the most significant decisions she will have to face. Whether or not she plans to expect a child in the near future, attending an OB-GYN’s office for routine, regular visits is a crucial component of her overall, optimal health. OB-GYN’s are the doctors who specialize in women’s health, who assist with menstruation, menopause, childbirth and other conditions only women can experience. In other words, going to the OB-GYN is kind of a big deal – so it’s important to choose the best one that is located nearby to you.
1. Make sure you are compatible.
Similar to a regular physician, not every OB-GYN is going to be a good match for you. Sometimes, it takes a few visits with more than one doctor, at more than one practice, to pinpoint exactly what you are looking for in an OB-GYN. While some doctors might miss the mark on every single characteristic you want them to posses, others may be extremely similar to you. Whatever you find the most important – whether it’s extra screening for a serious condition, or trying for an all-natural birth at the time of your delivery – make sure that the OB-GYN is on the same page as you, or at least willing to meet you halfway.
2. Check out patient testimonials and recommendations.
Past and present patient testimonials are the closest word-of-mouth advice you’ll get regarding the prospective OB-GYN you are on the fence about choosing. These patient testimonials can usually be found on the OB-GYN’s website – but a quick Google search could also produce some accurate results as well. If the majority of the patient testimonials are positive, and inform you that the OB-GYN is one that values his or her patients and runs a respectable practice, then that OB-GYN is worth looking into.
3. Research what hospital he or she is affiliated with.
Expectant mothers – and those women who are looking to conceive somewhere down the road – should always ask about the OB-GYN’s hospital affiliation. Some OB-GYN’s strictly deliver babies out of one hospital only, while other practices are affiliated with more than one, giving you more options to choose from. Sometimes, the hospital is a make or break factor for women who are expecting – if they don’t like the hospital that the OB-GYN works out of, they might need to consider finding a new one altogether.
4. Keep an open line of communication.
If you’re trying out an OB-GYN for the first time, but you’re still not so sure about whether or not they are the best fit for you, always voice your opinions. When you are open and honest about how you feel regarding a procedure or the way that the OB-GYN handles something, it will shed some light on how they react, and make you consider if that truly is who you want to see as your OB-GYN.
5. Schedule a consultation.
The best way to pick an OB-GYN is to give them a chance. Schedule a consultation at a prospective OB-GYN practice that you’ve done some previous research on. If you think they might be a good match for you, it is definitely worth contacting the office and making an initial appointment. At this consultation, the staff should be accommodating and friendly to you, making you feel comfortable in their office. This allows you to get a feel for the overall atmosphere of the office, see what type of equipment they use, and most importantly, meet the OB-GYN face-to-face.
Make an Appointment at Anthony C. Quartell, M.D. and Associates
At Anthony C. Quartell, M.D. and Associates, we always welcome new patients with open arms, and we’re more than happy to provide them with any more information they need to make a final decision on whether or not they’d like to choose Dr. Quartell as their OB-GYN. Dr. Quartell is a highly qualified and experienced medical doctor who specializes in obstetrics, gynecology and minimally invasive gynecological surgery. Contact us by calling 973- 968-4611 to make an appointment.
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Even if it’s not your first mammogram, many women often are anxious before appointments. But there’s no need to be stressed! A breast screening is an important step in taking care of your body. Use our blog below to learn more about what the procedure entails and how to prepare for it to help ease your nerves!
What is a Mammogram?
A mammogram is one of the best ways to detect breast cancer as early as possible. Using low-dose X-rays, this specific type of breast imaging allows specialists to look for changes in a woman’s breast tissue. It is crucial that you do not put off your mammogram. The technology that is used can detect lumps that are too small to be felt in a self-examination. This is when breast cancer is easiest to treat.
How to Prepare for Your Mammogram
If you haven’t started menopause, it is best to schedule your mammogram for the week after your period. You don’t want to schedule it in the days leading up to or during your menstrual cycle, especially if that’s when you tend to experience breast tenderness. You may prefer to schedule your appointment for early in the day, as you cannot wear any deodorant, powder, lotion or ointment. Some of the ingredients in these products can show up on an X-ray.
On the day of your appointment, be sure to wear a two-piece outfit. You only have to remove your top for the exam, so separates make things more convenient. Be sure to describe any breast changes or problems to your doctor before the mammogram begins. You also need to tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding or may be pregnant.
What Happens During a Mammogram?
During your screening, you and your technologist will be the only two people in the room. He or she will position you to get two X-rays of each breast. For some women, more pictures may be needed. If that’s the case, no need to worry! A technologist may reposition you for an extra X-ray or two, but this is usually just to get a better view. If you have implants, additional photos are almost always required.
To get the highest quality picture, your breasts need to be flattened. This allows the breast tissue to spread, ensuring a clear view of the breast and reducing the amount of radiation needed to produce an image. Some women experience some pain or discomfort during the compression. While the appointment usually takes about 20 minutes, the compression only lasts about 10 to 20 seconds per picture. Be sure to tell the technologist if you’re experiencing a tremendous amount of pain.
About Your Mammogram Results
A full report of your results will be sent to your health care provider. If there are any abnormal findings, the radiologist will send you a letter in the mail detailing what they found to be abnormal. While abnormal mammogram results can be scary, it does not necessarily mean you have cancer. It could just mean higher-resolution images or an ultrasound is needed to further examine you. Many women who have initial abnormal results are found to be perfectly healthy.
When Should You Schedule Your First Mammogram?
There is a lot of debate as to when women should schedule their first mammogram. Before 2009, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) used to recommend all women over 40 should schedule a yearly mammogram. But in 2009, the USPSTF updated its screening recommendations to state that a woman who is at average risk for breast cancer could wait until she turned 50, and that she could schedule a mammogram every 2 years, instead of yearly. This has caused much debate within the medical community, making it unclear for women as to when they should schedule their mammograms.
The best thing to do is to speak with your doctor. He or she will be able to help you decide what is the right choice for your body, depending on your medical history and risk of developing breast cancer.
Breast Health Services in Livingston, New Jersey
If you are concerned about your risk of developing breast cancer, it is important that you speak with an experienced gynecologist. Dr. Quartell and his staff would be happy to answer any questions or address any concerns you may have about your breast health, or any gynecological condition you may be experiencing. For more information or to schedule a visit to our Livingston, New Jersey office, please contact us today.
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.
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:
- Comfy capris and shorts
- Lightweight, loose tops
- Flowing, breezy summer dresses
- 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.
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.
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.
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:
- 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.”
- 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!”
- 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.”
- 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.”
- 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.
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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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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!