Exercise and Pregnancy

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Exercise and Pregnancy
Taking care of yourself throughout your pregnancy is the best way to help your baby to have a healthy start. Including some form of physical activity in your daily routine can improve your overall health and fitness, which will be good for your baby. One thing to keep in mind is that pregnancy is not the time to exercise with the intention of losing weight.
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For most women, exercise during pregnancy is safe, particularly if you were physically active before you became pregnant. If you are healthy, it is probably safe to start or continue an exercise program during pregnancy, but it’s best to talk to your obstetrician to make sure he or she doesn’t have any concerns or restrictions that you should follow.
 
Benefits of Exercise
Exercise can do more than improve your overall physical fitness. Here are some of the other benefits of exercise

  • Helps improve your mood
  • Can help you sleep better
  • May relieve bloating and constipation
  • Can decrease back pain
  • Increases your energy level
  • Improves your posture
  • Can help you not to gain excess weight
  • May increase your strength and fitness and ultimately make it easier to cope with labor

Exercise may also make it easier for you to lose the pregnancy weight after the baby is born.
 

Choosing an Exercise During Your Pregnancy
If you were doing an exercise program before you got pregnant, you will probably be able to continue doing the same activities. If exercise is new to you, start slowly. Your OBGYN will give you some suggestions of exercises that are safe. Walking is one of the best exercises to help you to be more active without overdoing it. Yoga, swimming, and stretching exercises can also be very beneficial during your pregnancy.
 
You will want to avoid high-intensity aerobics, jumping or contact sports. Make sure to drink plenty of water and be careful not to hold your breath during exercise. Don’t exercise to the point of exhaustion or try to ignore warning signs that your body gives you such as pain or lightheadedness.
 
Conditions That May Make Exercise During Pregnancy Unsafe
There are certain conditions that may make it risky to exercise during pregnancy. Your OBGYN will probably advise against exercise if you have an existing health problem, such as heart disease or lung disease. If you have severe anemia or hypertension, you may also be cautioned against exercise.

If you are carrying multiples, your doctor may advise against exercise because of the risk of going into preterm labor. Other conditions may become apparent as your pregnancy progresses that make exercise no longer safe, such as preeclampsia or placenta previa after 26 weeks of pregnancy.
 
Considerations as Pregnancy Progresses
As your pregnancy progresses, there are other considerations that may affect your ability to exercise. The extra weight you are gaining shifts your center of gravity and increases your risk of falling. Hormones cause joints to become more mobile which could lead to pain or injury.

As your uterus grows, you may find that you are more and more short of breath. This may make it more difficult to do any type of strenuous exercise.
 
Signs That You Should Stop Exercising
There are certain signs that indicate you should stop exercising right away. These signs include:

  • Leaking fluid or blood from the vagina
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Pain or swelling in the calf
  • Painful or regular uterine contractions

If you experience any of these symptoms, call your OB/GYN right away. Throughout your pregnancy, keep in contact with your obstetrician and communicate how much you are exercising and how you are feeling.

​ If you’d like to see a gynecologist at NSAGO, please contact us at our Wilmette or Glenview locations.

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Prenatal Testing in the First Trimester –What and Why

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Prenatal Testing in the First Trimester – What and Why
Prenatal testing will go on throughout your pregnancy. Most tests are routine and not uncomfortable, and they will give your obstetrician a lot of valuable information regarding your health and the health of your baby. The intention of most of these prenatal tests is to confirm that everything is just fine, but they also aim to identify any complications that may be developing.
For most women, exercise during pregnancy is safe, particularly if you were physically active before you became pregnant. If you are healthy, it is probably safe to start or continue an exercise program during pregnancy, but it’s best to talk to your obstetrician to make sure he or she doesn’t have any concerns or restrictions that you should follow.

The first trimester of pregnancy is a time of important development for your baby. Your OBGYN will want to make sure that everything is moving along exactly as it should.

Initial Bloodwork
The first round of prenatal bloodwork will check to make sure you are in good health, and it will look for conditions that could affect your pregnancy. Your blood type will be checked, and your OBGYN will make sure you don’t have anemia. Your obstetrician will also check your Rh factor, a protein in the blood cells. If you are Rh-negative and your fetus is Rh-positive, this can lead to incompatibility problems, which your doctor will want to prevent.

This initial bloodwork will also check for conditions such as syphilis, Hepatitis B, and HIV and will check your immunity for German measles.

Urine Test
You will have a urine test at your first prenatal visit and probably at every subsequent visit as well. In early pregnancy, your urine can be tested for the hCG level, which will confirm you are pregnant. Your OBGYN will also look for signs of kidney infection, glucose or albumin to identify possible problems with gestational diabetes or high blood pressure. Your urine will continue to be monitored for abnormalities throughout your pregnancy.
Do You Want Genetic Testing?
As the first trimester approaches its completion, your obstetrician may ask you if you want genetic testing. These tests are not 100% accurate but may give information on whether your baby is at risk for certain congenital conditions.
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You may prefer to decline this and just let the pregnancy run its course rather than going through the stress of trying to detect possible problems. If you do decide to go through with genetic testing, you should discuss all the options and possible complications with your doctor.
Non-Invasive Tests
Some genetic tests are non-invasive and work like a specialized ultrasound. One or more of these tests may be offered to you, particularly if you are over 35. Non-invasive tests don’t pose any risk to you or the fetus. They screen for chromosomal abnormalities such as spina bifida and Down syndrome. If abnormalities are detected, further testing may be recommended, because screening tests don’t actually diagnose. An abnormal result on a screening test sometimes proves to be false.
Amniocentesis or CVS
Amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling (CVS) are examples of tests that are more invasive. They take samples of the amniotic fluid or placenta to more accurately diagnose genetic abnormalities or genetic defects such as sickle cell anemia, cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy or Down syndrome. CVS is performed during the first trimester and amniocentesis would be done during the second trimester. A genetic counselor may be able to help you decide if you want to go through with one of these tests.
Ultrasound
Early in pregnancy an ultrasound can be useful to confirm viability and get accurate dating. If you are unclear when your last period was, an ultrasound can be used at around eight to ten weeks of pregnancy to estimate your due date. Or your obstetrician may wait until the second trimester to do this non-invasive diagnostic test. You will most likely have an additional ultrasound in each of your second and third trimesters to monitor fetal development and screen for any potential problems.

All your testing options should be discussed with your OBGYN so that you understand what tests are being run and why.

​ If you’d like to see a gynecologist at NSAGO, please contact us at our Wilmette or Glenview locations.

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Tips to Manage Your Blood Pressure While You’re Pregnant

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Tips to Manage Your Blood Pressure While You’re Pregnant
High blood pressure is a condition that can lead to dangerous complications while you are pregnant, and it’s especially concerning for women who have been diagnosed with chronic hypertension before the pregnancy or develop hypertension before reaching 20 weeks of pregnancy.

High blood pressure during pregnancy can be a sign of preeclampsia which is a very serious complication of pregnancy. Hypertension can worsen during pregnancy and lead to other complications such as kidney or liver problems, stroke or seizures. Your obstetrician will always closely monitor your blood pressure and will give you suggestions for managing your blood pressure while you are pregnant.

How High is Too High?
High blood pressure means that as blood pushes against the walls of your blood vessels, the force is too high on a consistent basis. When you have hypertension, your blood pressure is consistently elevated, meaning the heart and blood vessels are working harder and less efficiently.

Normal blood pressure is less than 120/80 mm Hg. Stage one of hypertension means that the top number of your blood pressure reading is between 130 and 139, while the bottom number is 80 to 89. In stage two, the top number is 140 or higher, and the bottom number is 90 or higher. Anything over 180/120 is considered hypertensive.

Taking Charge of Your Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is sometimes brought on by unhealthy habits. There are certain lifestyle changes you can make that may help to reduce blood pressure. If you are a smoker, it is a great time to quit, and your doctor will be happy to help you work toward that. Avoid alcohol, caffeine and illicit drugs, and discuss any over-the-counter medicines with your OBGYN before taking them.

While you will gain weight during your pregnancy, take care not to gain too much. Keeping all your prenatal appointments will help you to keep a close eye on your weight gain and your blood pressure and will allow your obstetrician to continue to monitor your health as well as the health of your baby.

Healthy Diet
Your daily food choices should include fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy. Use saturated fats and cholesterol sparingly, and limit the amount of fried food that you eat. Avoid salt and high sodium foods and try not to eat much fast food. Include foods that are high in potassium to help balance out the negative effects of salt. These foods include bananas, baked potatoes, baked sweet potatoes, and spinach.
Physical Activity
Try to include some form of physical activity during your pregnancy if possible. Discuss what your options are for physical activity with your OBGYN. If you have developed preeclampsia, your doctor may recommend bed rest.
Take Blood Pressure Medications
If you are already being treated for hypertension before your pregnancy or if medication has been prescribed during your pregnancy, be sure to take it as prescribed. Your doctor will be monitoring your medication and will prescribe the best medication for you at the safest dose during pregnancy.
Learn Relaxation Techniques
Stress and tension can make high blood pressure get worse, so learn ways to calm feelings of anxiety during your pregnancy. Take time to sit quietly and breathe deeply. Learning breathing techniques can help reduce feelings of stress.

When you have hypertension, your pregnancy will be classified as high risk because of the potential for serious complications. It is important to do whatever you can to make healthy choices and to take good care of yourself during your pregnancy. Taking care of your own health is the best way to take care of your unborn child.

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Recommendations for Using Birth Control Safetly When You’re Finished Having Children

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Recommendations for Using Birth Control Safely
When You’re Finished Having Children

When you have decided you are finished having children, you don’t want to worry about getting pregnant each month. There are a variety of options for both long-term and permanent birth control. The best gynecologist will be happy to discuss all possible options for safe use of birth control and offer recommendations.
Intrauterine Device (IUD)
An intrauterine device or IUD is a tiny device shaped like a T. Those that are wrapped in copper can prevent pregnancy for as long as 10 years. Other IUDs use the hormone progestin to prevent pregnancy and can be effective for three to six years. IUDs prevent pregnancy by preventing sperm cells from making it to an egg. While this choice is very effective at pregnancy prevention, the device can be removed, giving you an opportunity to get pregnant in the future if you should have a change of heart.
Tubal Ligation
If you are sure that your child-bearing days are behind you, tubal ligation, also known as getting your tubes tied, is a method of permanent birth control. It is done under general anesthesia, and it involves closing off the fallopian tubes by having them clipped, clamped or cauterized. In most cases, the procedure can’t be reversed.
EssureⓇ
EssureⓇ is a form of permanent female sterilization. It’s a nonsurgical alternative to getting your tubes tied. It involves having an implant with soft, flexible metal and fiber coils inserted through the vagina and cervix. They are placed on the fallopian tubes so that scar tissue will form and prevent fertilization of an egg. There will be a waiting period of three months in which alternative forms of birth control will need to be used to be sure the scar tissue has formed.

While some women have been satisfied with EssureⓇ as a permanent birth control alternative to an invasive surgical procedure, in recent years, many women have come forward to report unpleasant side effects such as cramping, dizziness, and pelvic pain. Others have experienced allergic reactions, and some have gotten pregnant after the procedure. Talk to your gynecologist to determine if this is a good option for you.
Birth Control Pills
If you are reluctant to choose permanent birth control even though you feel sure your child-bearing days are over, birth control pills remain one of the most effective methods of preventing unwanted pregnancy. The biggest drawback is the fact that you have to remember to take the pill each day at approximately the same time. As long as you do that, they are extremely effective. There are many options to choose from, including progestin-only pills and pills that are a combination of estrogen and progestin.
Hormone Shots
If you are looking for a form of birth control that prevents ovulation but you don’t have to remember to take a pill every day, consider hormone shots. These shots are given every three months and are a very effective choice for preventing pregnancy.
Vasectomy
Vasectomy is the permanent form of male birth control. If your partner elects to have a vasectomy, the procedure will be performed in a doctor’s office. The vas deferens will be tied, cut or sealed which stops sperm from traveling from the testicles to the penis. The sperm remains in the testicles and is reabsorbed by the body. There will be a three-month waiting period to be sure the procedure has been effective. A vasectomy may be able to be reversed if an individual changes his mind in the future.

Choosing a method of contraception and deciding whether to use permanent or temporary methods is a personal choice that should be discussed with your gynecologist.

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Pap Smears and Why They’re Important

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Pap Smears and Why They’re Important
Testing for cervical cancer and for abnormal cell changes that could lead to cancer is done by your doctor with a Pap smear, also called a Pap test. It’s a routine procedure done at your gynecologist’s office in which cells are scraped from your cervix, the opening of your uterus, in order to test them for abnormal growth. The best gynecologist will always explain the entire procedure, so you know what to expect and why it is being done.
The Importance of Pap Smears
The Pap test is done routinely in order to try to detect changes in your cervical cells that could indicate that cancer might develop in the future. Finding abnormalities early can stop the development of cervical cancer. If cervical cancer is found early from the results of a Pap smear, you have a greater chance at prevention or a cure.
How a Pap Smear is Done
After your gynecologist has done a routine pelvic exam, they will take a tiny sample of cells from your cervix using a soft brush or flat scraping device. You may feel some pressure, but it is usually not painful. The procedure typically takes ten minutes or less. The cells are sent to a lab for review.
Pap Smear Results

The results of your Pap smear should be available within a few days. If they are negative, that means that no abnormalities have been detected. Positive results don’t necessarily mean you have cancer.

Slight abnormalities could indicate minor cell changes that could go away on their own, or an inflammation. If this happens, your gynecologist will probably recommend a repeat Pap smear in a few months.

Abnormal Cells After a Repeat Pap Smear
If the slight abnormalities haven’t cleared up after the repeat test, further testing may be recommended. Your gynecologist may do a colposcopy, which involves looking at the cervix under a microscope. A biopsy may also be done, which involves removing a small amount of tissue from the cervix. The results of these tests will determine the doctor’s recommendation for treatment.
How Often Pap Smears Need to Be Done

Each woman is different, and your doctor will discuss with you how often you should have this test. As a general guideline, a Pap smear is typically done every two years starting at age 21. By age 30, if you have had three consecutive normal Pap tests and you don’t have a weakened immune system or health condition, the frequency may be decreased to every three years. You may also be able to decrease the Pap test to every five years if it is done along with a test for Human Papillomavirus (HPV). Talk to your doctor to find out what is right for you.

By the age of 65, if you have always had normal results, you may be able to discontinue having this test. By this age, the risk of cervical cancer is very low. This is an individual decision that should be made between you and your gynecologist.

Why the Pap Test is Repeated So Often

The Pap test has been more successful than any other test in preventing cervical cancer, but it is a test that relies on the examination of results by the human eye. For this reason, abnormalities could be missed, so you should have the test as often as recommended.

Pap smears are very important because regular Pap tests can detect cervical cancer early or prevent it altogether. When detected, this is one of the most treatable forms of cancer. Have a Pap smear done as often as recommended by your doctor and help your doctor to keep you healthy.

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7 Signs it’s Time to See Your Gynecologist

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7 Signs it’s Time to See Your Gynecologist
Visiting your OBGYN is something you know you have to do on an annual basis, but there are times when you may feel like something about your body doesn’t seem exactly right. Whenever you have womanly concerns that a gynecologist may be able to help you sort out, you shouldn’t hesitate to call or make an appointment. Minor symptoms sometimes indicate major problems.

The best gynecologist will encourage you to be proactive with your health and knows you are the person who is most familiar with your own body. When you have any of these seven signs and feel like something might be wrong, it’s time to see your gynecologist.

1 – Pain or Burning with Urination
Pain or burning when you urinate may indicate a urinary tract infection (UTI). Women are more susceptible than men for developing UTIs. You may also have a fever or even blood in your urine. Have your gynecologist evaluate your symptoms and determine what is causing them and how to treat them.

2 – Menstrual Irregularities
Whenever your menstrual cycle seems different than normal or if it stops showing up at all, see your gynecologist. It could simply be caused by hormonal imbalances or stress, but it could also be a sign of ovarian problems. Ignoring menstrual irregularities could lead to reproductive problems in the future.

3 – Sores or Blisters on Genitals
A blister or sore on your genitals could be a sign that you have been exposed to a sexually transmitted infection. There are also other possible causes of sores that are not sexually transmitted, but often sores or blisters won’t go away without medical intervention, so have your gynecologist check them out.

4 – Vaginal Itching or Discharge
Itching, discharge or a foul odor could indicate a bacterial infection, yeast infection or possibly a sexually transmitted infection. Most of the time, this type of problem won’t go away on its own. It’s important to have your gynecologist evaluate your symptoms so that you can be treated appropriately.

5 – Pelvic Pain or Lower Abdominal Pain
There are a variety of possible causes of pelvic pain or lower abdominal pain. Some causes of pelvic pain include endometriosis, fibroid tumors, ovarian cysts and ectopic pregnancy. You may also have a condition called pelvic inflammatory disease.

Pain and discomfort of any kind are the body’s way of letting you know that something is wrong. Have your gynecologist determine what’s causing your discomfort and what can be done about it.

6 – Painful Intercourse
Some of the same problems that cause pelvic pain, in general, can also cause pain during intercourse. For some women, using lubrication is all that is needed to make sex less painful. If that doesn’t give you relief, your gynecologist can look into other possible causes, which could include endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease or infections, to name just a few possible causes. Your doctor will be the best person to find the solution to this problem.

7 – Breast Pain or Abnormalities
Any abnormalities in your breasts should be checked out by your gynecologist. This includes breast pain or discomfort, lumps, and discharge or bloody discharge from your breasts. Another reason to call your doctor is if you notice any changes in the nipples such as crusty or scaly skin. Redness, swelling or warmth are other signs that should be reported to your doctor.

You will most likely be the first person to notice changes in your own body that others may not. Your gynecologist will help you figure out whether there is anything to be worried about. Don’t try to ignore symptoms that are in any way concerning to you.

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5 Common Early Signs of Pregnancy

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5 Common Early Signs of Pregnancy
Pregnancy signs and symptoms can vary a lot from one woman to the next. Symptoms can also be very different in different pregnancies for the same woman. In early pregnancy, you may or may not have noticeable signs. The severity of symptoms can vary quite a bit, and in some women, symptoms may not be noticed for several weeks.

Subtle signs of early pregnancy often are very similar to the symptoms you experience just before a menstrual period, so they can be easy to miss. Women that are very in tune with their own body recognize almost right away when little things are different than usual. Certain signs could very well indicate pregnancy and mean that it could be time to make an appointment to see your OBGYN.

1 – Missing Your Period
For many women, the very first sign of possible pregnancy is a missed period. If your period is usually irregular, you may not even realize that it is late, but if you are regular, you will notice right away. Some women experience cramping and spotting and may mistake these symptoms for a period. If you are of childbearing age and are more than a week late for your period, see an obstetrician/gynecologist or a certified nurse midwife.

2 – Breast Changes
Swollen, tender breasts may be the first sign that you notice. Your breasts may feel heavy, full or uncomfortable in early pregnancy. This is caused by hormonal changes and is usually not a symptom you experience each month before your period. The area around the nipple, called the areola, may darken in color.

3 – Fatigue
Fatigue and lack of energy is a vague symptom that could have a wide variety of causes, but in some cases, it is a sign of early pregnancy. You may have the urge to stay in bed or to take frequent naps. Sleepiness in early pregnancy can be caused by a surge in the hormone progesterone.

4 – Nausea
Morning sickness is an expected sign of early pregnancy and strikes at different stages and in different degrees for each pregnancy. You may feel just slightly nauseous, or you may feel violently ill and experience vomiting along with nausea. Smells of certain foods may make you feel even more nauseous.
This symptom doesn’t always happen in the morning even though it is known as morning sickness. It usually becomes less intense as your pregnancy progresses. For some women, it continues throughout the entire pregnancy.

5 – Increased Urination
A common symptom of early pregnancy that may come over you without warning is increased urination. Due to hormonal changes that usually occur around six to eight weeks into your pregnancy, your kidneys have extra fluid to process. As the size of your uterus and baby grow throughout the pregnancy, the urge to urinate frequently will continue.

Other Possible Signs of Pregnancy
While these are five common early signs in most pregnancies, there are other signs you might experience. Many of these symptoms resemble premenstrual syndrome. You may have headaches or feel lightheaded. You may have mood swings characterized by weeping and intense emotions. Bloating and constipation are not uncommon in early pregnancy.

The presence of any or all of these symptoms doesn’t necessarily mean you are pregnant. Many times they just mean that your period is about to start. Some people have no symptoms at all in early pregnancy.

If you have missed a period and have noticed any of these signs, take an at-home pregnancy test, or make an appointment to see your OBGYN or midwife. If you are pregnant, it’s important to begin prenatal care early.

​ If you’d like to see a gynecologist at NSAGO, please contact us at our Wilmette or Glenview locations.

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How do Nurse Midwives differ from an Obstetrician?

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How do Nurse Midwives differ from an Obstetrician?
A midwife is a medical professional with specialized training in women’s healthcare. She will offer you expert care and support throughout your pregnancy and beyond.

Midwives recognize that each family has their own personal, religious and cultural beliefs. They encourage families to ask questions, spend a lot of time with you listening to your concerns, and provide information so you can make informed choices and decisions based on what is right for you.

The Scope of Midwifery
While most people think of midwives in terms of pregnancy, most nurse midwives focus on a wide range of healthcare needs throughout a woman’s life. Not only do they offer expert care during labor and birth, but they can also provide care for annual gynecological exams, family planning needs, general health and menopausal care.

Midwives may deliver babies at birthing centers, homes, and they also provide care in hospitals. They are a great option for women who prefer as little medical intervention as possible.

Types of Midwives
There are several different types of midwives, and each has their own level of training.

  • A Certified Nurse-Midwife is a registered nurse with a graduate degree in midwifery. They have passed the national certification exam of the American Midwifery Certification Board. Like obstetricians, they are able to prescribe medications, and treatments as needed.
  • A Certified Midwife has a bachelor’s degree in a subject other than nursing, a graduate degree in midwifery and has passed the national certification exam. They provide the same services as Certified Nurse-Midwives.
  • A Certified Professional Midwife obtains training through apprenticeship or an accredited education program. While they can provide pregnancy and postpartum care, they are not able to prescribe medications.
  • Other midwives such as those known as lay midwives practice midwifery but haven’t received formal education or passed a national exam.

 

Midwives Vs. Obstetricians
Both midwives and obstetricians are skilled in providing care for women during pregnancy, labor, birth and postpartum. Midwives offer a natural, holistic approach to pregnancy and birth. In most cases, they spend more time with you than an OBGYN would, including time spent supporting you while you are in labor. They are experts in low-risk pregnancy and birth. They are not able to perform surgeries.

Obstetricians are doctors who are experts in pregnancy and birth, and they are also trained to handle any complications that may come up. This means they can handle high-risk pregnancies and perform surgeries.

Choosing Between a Midwife and an Obstetrician
Deciding whether to use a midwife or an OBGYN is a personal decision. There are some factors that may affect your decision in one direction or the other. For example, if you have certain medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, epilepsy, high blood pressure or pregnant with multiples, you will probably require an obstetrician to monitor your pregnancy, although your midwife may be able to co-manage your pregnancy with the obstetrician.

If you are looking for a provider who isn’t likely to use medical intervention and will offer personalized care, you may want to use a midwife. You will probably find a midwife is easily accessible to any questions or concerns you have throughout your pregnancy and she will be present throughout labor and delivery.

​ At NSAGO we’re proud to say we have the largest private midwifery practice in the area. If you’d like to learn more and see if working with a midwife is a good option for you, contact us at our Wilmette or Glenview office.

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VBAC – Am I a Good Candidate?

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VBAC – Am I a Good Candidate?
At one time it was believed that once you had a C-section, any future pregnancies would also require a C-section. Today more and more women are candidates for vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC). As many as 60 to 80 percent of women who attempt VBAC are successful.

Each pregnancy is different, so just because one of your pregnancies required a C-section doesn’t mean the next one will. It’s important to know all your options, which can help to reduce any sense of fear, confusion or being out of control of your own pregnancy.
Benefits of VBAC

Choosing VBAC makes sense for a lot of reasons. Having a vaginal delivery if possible avoids having major abdominal surgery, so there would be a shorter recovery time and a shorter hospital stay. You are less likely to have certain complications such as infections, hemorrhages or blood clots. If you are hoping to have other children in the future, having a successful VBAC can help to avoid multiple C-sections. Your recovery is not as uncomfortable after a vaginal birth as it is after a C-section.​

Factors That May Make You a Good Candidate for VBAC

If you are hoping to have a vaginal delivery after you have already had a cesarean, there are certain factors that indicate that you might be a good candidate. These factors include:

  • Your baby is head down
  • Your labor starts on its own
  • You have had at least one successful vaginal delivery in the past, although this is not mandatory
  • A low transverse uterine incision was used for your cesarean section.
Factors That Make It Less Likely You Can Have a Successful VBAC

There are some factors that make it less likely that VBAC is a good option for you. These factors include:

  • Obesity
  • It has been less than 18 to 24 months since your C-section
  • Your fetus is larger than 9 lbs.
  • Your previous C-section was because of failure to progress
  • You are expecting multiples

​You are NOT a VBAC candidate if you have a vertical scar on your uterus or your baby is not in a head down position

Other Things to Consider
If you are hoping to have a VBAC, it’s important to find a hospital or provider who believes in them and doesn’t try to talk you out of having one when you are a good candidate. Your provider should have a VBAC success rate of over 75% and a low cesarean rate.

Consider a midwife, because midwives have a very low rate of C-sections. If you have any doubts about what the caregiver you have chosen is telling you, don’t hesitate to get a second opinion.
Planning a VBAC

Your individual circumstances will affect whether a VBAC is a good option for you. The decision to proceed should be shared between you and your OBGYN.

Let your family and friends know that you need their unconditional support as well. If you don’t feel you’re getting the support you need from them, look for a support group that supports natural birth such as the International Cesarean Awareness Network. Take care of yourself throughout your pregnancy and listen to your body.

​If you’d like to learn more about VBAC and if you’re a good candidate for one, please contact us at our Wilmette or Glenview offices.

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