At Neighborhood Health Center, women's health is a priority.
To celebrate National Women's Health & Fitness Day, we asked Dr. Safa Lohrasbi, DO to share some women's health tips.
Q – At what age should someone begin seeing an OB?
A – OB/GYNs train to address the wellness needs of women throughout all phases of life! That said, we recommend people visit us around the time of a person’s first menstrual period, typically between the age of 13 to 15.
Q – According to the CDC, Gestational diabetes affects 2 - 10% of pregnancies in the United States. What is gestational Diabetes? How can one safely & healthily manage or avoid it?
A - During pregnancy, sugar passes from the mother’s blood to the baby through the placenta. A baby needs sugar to thrive, but just like you or I, too much sugar will negatively impact the baby, sometimes even causing stillbirth. Gestational diabetes typically develops in the late second trimester, which is when screening begins, however if a person is at increased risk of developing gestational diabetes they are screened in early pregnancy.
The best way to avoid gestational diabetes is by exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet. We recommend about 20 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise per day while pregnant, and have nutritionists at NHC you can meet with before or during pregnancy to discuss diet and exercise! If diagnosed with gestational diabetes, some people will need medication to keep their sugars at safe levels, but many people are able to control their sugars with diet and exercise alone. There are many resources at NHC to help ensure you have a happy, healthy baby!
Q – Vaccine hesitancy is big public health concern right now, especially with pregnant women. What would you tell a patient who hesitates to get vaccinated?
A - It’s important to note there are many reasons someone might hesitate to get vaccinated: the amount of misinformation circulating in the media, distrust of the government and/or healthcare industry, and/or concerns about possible financial pitfalls associated with obtaining the vaccine, just to name a few. For all these reasons and more, it is understandable to hesitate.
That said, we all hoped that the first wave of COVID19 infection would be the worst and most widespread, but it is a grim reality that the virus persists in the United States and can gravely affect you and your baby’s health. Enough pregnant women have been vaccinated (with all vaccine types available in the US) that we know the mRNA vaccines in particular pose no additional risk to pregnant women, their babies, or breastfeeding mothers and do not cause infertility. The Johnson and Johnson vaccine does not cause infertility and can still be safely given to pregnant women, but with the caveat that blood clotting is an extremely rare but noted complication in women under the age of 50. Contrasted with the dangers of COVID19 that many of us have witnessed dramatically affect and even end the lives of women and children, the vaccine is the single most effective, best thing you can do to minimize and avoid those risks for yourself, your baby, and your community. It is available at no cost at NHC and other vaccination centers, and the side effects are self limited. We recommend it enthusiastically!