How Pregnancy Can Impact Your Skin

When you’re pregnant, so much changes in your life and in your body. While the way your belly grows might be the most obvious difference, your skin also experiences a lot of shifts. From breaking out heavily to becoming a totally different type of skin, every woman experiences skin changes during pregnancy differently.  

If you’d like to learn more, the experts at Covington Women’s Health Specialists are digging into how pregnancy can impact your skin below.  

The Famous Pregnancy Glow 

Many women experience what’s called pregnancy glow, when a pregnant person’s skin seems to be luminous. Experts believe this is due to the increased hormones, oil, and also blood volume.  

Enjoy this time and treat your skin gently! And know that when things go back to normal, your skin will be just as beautiful.  

Stretch Marks  

Your body is growing to make room for the fetus. Stretch marks are an absolutely normal and expected part of pregnancy! They most usually appear around your abdomen, hips, butt, thighs, and breasts after your skin has stretched to cover the expanding parts of your body.  

While some creams and products can help lessen their appearance if your stretch marks are really bothering you, they can’t treat them fully. We recommend understanding they’re natural and that there’s nothing wrong with these marks.  

Breaking Out  

When you’re pregnant, your progesterone levels increased, which means more oil production for your skin. This often leads to breakout, no matter your age when you’re expecting!  

However, it can be difficult treating this issue as many products for acne control can have products that might lead to birth defects. Don’t pick your skin!  And do not use creams with retinol, retinoids, or salicylic acids. Instead, use benzoyl peroxide, wash gently and consider natural essential oils such as sea buckthorn that has anti-inflammatory properties.  

Additions to Your Skin  

Many women experience changes in the appearance of their skin during pregnancy. This could mean moles growing in size or additional ones appearing, skin tags producing, and dark skin patches showing up, a condition called melasma.  

Keep an eye on all these changes. For new moles, it’s always important to get them checked for potential skin cancer. For other issues, it’s best to let them develop and treat them after you give birth and are finished with breastfeeding. Speak with your dermatologist for the best course of action to do so!  

Varicose Veins  

Another impact of increased blood flow during pregnancy is varicose veins. These occur when the leg veins experience additional pressure and swelling. They appear to be darker and more obvious veins, sticking out on the skin of your legs.  

How to beat this? Some of the changes are due to hormones which we cannot change during pregnancy, so change the things you can by avoiding excessive weight gain!  Get up and start moving! Exercise boosts circulation and prevents blood from pooling in the legs. Choose healthy foods and control your portions.  You are not eating for two grown-ups!  As your midwife or doctor about a pregnancy meal plan that considers your pre-pregnancy weight. 

If you have any more questions about how pregnancy can impact your skin, reach out to our experts by clicking here or giving us a call at 770-385-8954.  

Sex Safe Toys: Don’t Be Afraid to Explore!

Not many people are comfortable discussing sex toys. However, sex toys a healthy and fun way to satisfy yourself and your partner, which can lead to wonderful health benefits like sleeping better, dissolving stress, and maintaining the health of your vagina.  

But with an overwhelming number of options out there, it’s important to know what’s safe to buy and what you should be looking out for when shopping. To help all of our patients when it comes to sex safe toys, we’re describing the best options to buy and what to look out for.

Know What You Want  

The number of sex toys available on the market is obscene!  Pun intended! First, consider if you looking for something that will focus on a certain body part? Or would you prefer a toy that requires you and your partner to work together?  There are toy options that will allow your partner to deliver vibrations to your most sensitive areas, whether your partner is in the room with you or in another country!  Would you prefer a rechargeable toy or a battery-operated toy? 

If this is your first purchase, it’ll help tremendously for you to know what you want, so that you get right to the point and don’t get distracted by all the options.  Considering too many options may cause you to shy away.

Research Reviews  

Just like you do when shopping for something else, check out the reviews for a sex toy you have your eye on. See what other people are saying about their satisfaction with the product or if they experienced any issues with comfort or toy performance. 

Check Out What It’s Made Out Of  

This is especially important, as many sex toys aren’t FDA regulated. 

Most commonly, sex toys are made out of three types of products: porous, slightly porous, and non-porous. You’ll want to pick something that is non-porous, as this means you will actually be able to clean all the surfaces and destroy any lingering bacteria. Non-porous materials included silicone, ABS plastics, pyrex, and stainless steel. If you are not sure what ABS plastic is, this is a hard plastic which many children’s playthings are made of such as Legos.  Silicone toys are softer than plastic, are easy to clean and are what most sex toys are made of.  Don’t pick anything with un-tempered glass or something that can break easily and potentially harm yourself.  

Use it Properly  

Once you’ve picked your sex toy, make sure to take care of it properly. This means cleaning it often. We recommend using warm water with soap after every use of the toy, and especially after using it on a different partner. Don’t forget to also let the product dry properly.  Each toy will come with its own care instructions. 

Why is the Rabbit Style the Most Popular Toy?

The rabbit style toy has been popularized in TV shows, such as Sex and the City, and in magazines.  The reason this style of toy is so popular is that because several erogenous zones are stimulated by this toy.  Using a rabbit toy, women are usually always able to achieve an orgasm, and the sensation is often very intense, lasts longer or can even be experienced as several back to back orgasmic waves otherwise know as multiple orgasms.  Check it out!

Still Feeling Shy?

Dr. Cathy Larrimore, the founder of Covington Women’s Health Specialists, has counseled thousands of women over the years concerning their sexual health.  Often, women are worried about what their children or other loved ones will think if they find a toy among their belongings in the event of incapacitating illness or unexpected death.  Dr. Larrimore suggests any ladies worried about this possibility place a note in the drawer or where ever the ladies keep their toys stating simply, “You found my toys, and now you know, that I was normal!  ; ) ”

If you have any more questions about safe sex toys, reach out to our experts by clicking here or giving us a call at 770-385-8954.  

Covington Women’s Health Specialists Student Spotlight: Courtney Dorris

Covington Women’s Health is proud to offer a student program intended to give the next best and brightest training physicians a glimpse into what it’s like working in women’s health. We created the student spotlight blog series to highlight certain members in this program to give everyone an insight into this opportunity and the amazing people who participate.

Next up is Courtney Dorris, SNM. She’s been with Covington Women’s Health Specialists for two weeks. Learn more about Courtney by reading below!

Why did you choose to work in the field of obstetric/gynecologic medicine?

I chose to go into midwifery because I am passionate about reproductive health and wellbeing.  I love being a source of information and support for women during both difficult and exciting times in their lives.

What’s the most rewarding part of your clinical work?

The most rewarding part of working as a midwife is being able to share in the most vulnerable and special moments of a person’s life. Birth is such a sacred process, and it’s an honor to participate in that special moment to be there as a support for the family. 

What are your favorite past-times?

My favorite past times are being outdoors, crafting, and spending time with my family! 

Want to learn more about our student program? Read this blog here! If you have any more questions about Covington Women’s Health, reach out to our women’s health experts here or giving us a call at 770-385-8954.

Deliveries During COVID-19

Written by Patient Kimberly Fambrough

It was worth it….

December of 2019 and we see those two pink lines. She was our secret from the world until we heard “there is a heartbeat and everything looks great”. We were around 8 weeks. We waited until we reached 12 weeks to tell our families.

It was worth it… Then March 2020 hit. An unprecedented pandemic where no one knew what to believe. I remember having so many mixed emotions, but hope being the biggest. Desperate hope that the pandemic would disappear come August. I’d go to doctors visits alone and thinking “this won’t last the whole pregnancy, we will be okay.” As the months continued and new protocols were put into place, I began to get nervous. It was worth it.

I’d think of all the questions I needed to ask. I’d try hard to remember all details and report back to my family. It was overwhelming on my own. Having a second person there to support or help me remember information was supposed to be a given, yet suddenly I missed it and wanted it desperately.

It was worth it.

Ultrasound after ultrasound and scan after scan, I was alone. I looked forward to getting my temperature checked and masking up to see this sweet girl. By July, we are still battling this virus and reality sinks in that it will indeed “still be a thing” when I deliver.

It was worth it.

I find out only my husband can be with me. I was anxious.

It was worth it.

The big morning comes. It’s 5 am induction time and I was nervous about the process, the Covid test, not having my family waiting to rush in to meet her. I was sad knowing that they would meet her through a hospital window. I was worried that her sister would feel less important not being able to see us or meet this new baby for days during our hospital stay.

It was worth it.

She makes her arrival, my husband announces that she is here and we are all doing well. As soon as my family rushes to lay eyes on her, I realize in that moment, it was all worth it. Seeing their tears and smiling faces was the most heartwarming moment. I realized it was never just me. My daughter was with me the whole time and we helped each other get through delivery until our final introduction.

My pandemic baby was perfect and healthy. Had it not been for my amazing doctors, midwives and nurses, this experience would have been truly traumatic. Their support and love made it…truly worth it.

Lesley Clark…More than an Employee

By Cathy T. Larrimore, MD

I’m inspired by a quote I read about a certain couple which is, “many people know what they did, but only the two of them know how it felt.”  I feel this way about Lesley because for people to know she works here does not come close to describing her relationship with me and knowing what she has meant to me.

At times Lesley has been a mother to me, a sister, a friend, a daughter, and my cheerleader.

Sister

It’s common to think of your close friends as sisters, but when you have to go to bat for the other woman, is when you know if those feelings are true.  I was definitely in big sister mode when I supported Lesley as she cared for her ailing father in his final weeks, I admired her strength and knew if I could have had just 15 more minutes with my mom or my dad, I would have taken the opportunity.  Lesley went to her dad’s home each morning to care for him, administer his medications, and lift his spirits.  I had to defend her tardiness to work to her coworkers on an almost daily basis.  I was glad she could spend these minutes with her dad, and she was able to do all of her work when she got into the office without any problems.  I stand in awe of Lesley’s dedication to her family.  

Cheerleader

Outside of the office, Lesley is tirelessly advocating for our practice, finding new patients, and representing our practice with grace and pride.  While at church or the grocery store, Lesley always has us in mind when women need the services we provide.  We’ve spent many summers and falls at the Fuzz Run and other community events together meeting the public and seeing our patients.  I am always amazed when I see that Lesley truly knows everyone in our community, and the people she doesn’t know, she’s related to!  

Friend

We laughed about BobbyQ and shared our concerns for characters on the Walking Dead!  But when we lost Tyreese, Glenn, and Herschel, I think we lost a little of ourselves!  And Noah! In the revolving door, we still get horrified looks on our faces when that scene is mentioned; we didn’t ‘hate Chris,’ really!  Comparing our feelings about characters on serial shows, plot predictions,  and the like was always fun and taught us how we liked to pick the other’s brain.  More recently we’ve shared our “thoughts” on Rio from Good Girls!!  Enough said there!   And although Lesley tried, she was never able to teach me how to dance.  I know that watching me try to even do the YMCA at Christmas parties was very painful to her because Lesley can make the Chicken Dance look good!  

Mother

Lesley is the only person in my office who has seen me really cry.  Misty eyes don’t count!  My baby daughter went to rural India by herself for a month when she was a college student.  The trip was arduous and dangerous by American standards.  My daughter was studying the pollution in the Ganges River in Rishikesh.  Being the modern woman that I am (and possibly a control freak), I had tracking on her phone at all times, we stayed in contact via texts, and I knew how to use the airline plane tracking app.  On her last day in India, my baby contacted me as she was getting into a car for hire on her way to the Delhi airport.  The tracking on her phone stopped, and it looked like her location was in Delhi.  The plane’s takeoff was delayed.  But I wasn’t sure if she was on the plane when the plane finally took off from Delhi since the phone’s location still read Delhi.  I sent her more than 20 messages and they all went unanswered; I was frantic and fearful that she had been kidnapped or in an accident on the other side of the world.  I had no one to call, I couldn’t go there, and I didn’t know what to do.  Lesley found me crying in my office, and she knew what to do.  Lesley wrapped her arms around me and held me like I was a little child, her child, and I really needed that.  I found comfort and peace in her embrace.  I appreciated it so much.  It was not until the next day that I found out my daughter was on the plane and made it safely to Italy, and that she would be home later that day.

Daughter

Lesley was 21 years old when we met.  She was just a kid!  And now she is quite a woman!  She is wise and loving!  A woman we all look up to!  Lesley has been through a lot, and she’s always handled it with strength and grace.  My pride in Lesley’s wisdom as a mother, knowing how well her children are growing up fills me with great happiness for her accomplishments.  She always puts her children and family first.  And now, knowing she is leaving us to pursue a higher education warms my heart with the love of a mother for her daughter.  I can’t wait until she is finished with school! 

Over the last 16 years, Lesley has done it all for us!  The only job she has not done in this office is my job!  Yes, she has worked the front desk, the checkout desk, medical records, helped with audits, she’s helped out with whatever we have needed her to help us with, she has arranged MFM appointments, surgery appointments, and precepts!  Scanning in all of those ultrasound pictures, cutting and taping and scanning and scanning must have inspired her to want to be on the other end of those ultrasound pictures.  I am so pleased that she is pursuing a career in ultrasonography.  And one day, I hope she will be back home, scanning for us!

Lesley, we will miss you, I will miss you!  We wish you the bestNever forget, we are just a call or text away!  I love you!!

Covington Women’s Health Specialists Student Spotlight: Grace Kim

Covington Women’s Health Specialists is proud to offer a student program intended to give the next best and brightest training physicians a glimpse into what it’s like working in women’s health. We created the student spotlight blog series to highlight certain members in this program to give everyone an insight into this opportunity and the amazing people who participate. 

Next up is Grace Kim, Medical Student Year 3 (“MS3”). She’s recently completed a six-week rotation with Covington Women’s Health Specialists. Learn more about Grace by reading below! 

Why did you choose to work in the field of obstetric/gynecologic medicine? 

I love the field of OB/GYN, because it’s a nice balance of both primary care and surgery. I not only get to create long-lasting relationships with patients, but I also get to do procedures in the OR. This further assists my patient, therefore allowing me to create stronger bonds with them! 

What does your daily routine look like?

It’s different each day depending on whether I’m scheduled to be at the office, in surgery, or on L&D call. This diversity is one of the parts I loved about working here.

For office days, we’d usually see a wide variety of patients, including both OB and GYN, in the outpatient setting from 8 AM to 4 PM. These visits could range anywhere from routine visits to emergent, more acute problems.

On surgery days, I’d get to the hospital around 7 am to review the day’s surgeries so I know what to expect, as well as review the patient charts. Depending on the complexity of the surgeries scheduled, each day was very different. After the last surgery of the day, I would go observe ultrasounds in the office.

On L&D call days, I stay at the hospital from 7 am – 7 pm. During that time I see triage patients, visit current patients, and assist in deliveries and C-sections.

What are your favorite past-times? 

I really enjoy spending working out at the gym and cooking up new foods to try. Many of my friends and family know me as a huge foodie! I also love to go on long hikes and watch movies.

If you have any more questions about Covington Women’s Health and our student program, reach out to our women’s health experts by clicking here or giving us a call at 770-385-8954

What Is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

With more than 200,000 cases in the United States per year, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common medical condition that impacts women and their ovaries.

The experts at Covington Women’s Health Specialists are explaining what is polycystic ovary syndrome, describing symptoms, and listing treatment options below!

What Is PCOS?

Known as a hormonal disorder, this medical condition commonly impacts women when they are in their reproductive years. Women who experience this disease usually have infrequent or long menstrual cycles, issues reproducing, and excessive male hormone levels.

While the exact cause of PCOS is unknown, there are some elements that scientists believe might be at the root of this condition. Those are:

  • Excess androgen.
  • Excess insulin.
  • Heritage and family history of the disease.
  • Low-grade inflammation.

What Are the Symptoms?

The following symptoms usually begin during a woman’s first menstrual period:

  • Excess androgen, which causes:
    • Increase in body and facial hair.
    • Male-pattern baldness.
    • Severe acne.
  • Irregular periods.
  • Polycystic ovaries, which are enlarged ovaries that surround the eggs.

How Is PCOS Treated?

If your doctor is able to positively identify that you have polycystic ovary syndrome, the treatment for this condition isn’t necessarily to get rid of the condition. It’s more focused on  fixing certain symptoms.

Here are treatment plans that go along with having polycystic ovary syndrome:

  • Laser treatments, such as electrolysis.
  • Lifestyle changes, such as increasing daily exercise or restricting certain foods from your diet.
  • Medications, such as birth control pills.
  • Progestin therapy.

If you have any more questions, reach out to the women’s health experts at Covington Women’s Health Specialists by clicking here or giving us a call at 770-385-8954.

 

 

Understanding Gynecologic Cancers

One of the biggest threats towards a woman’s health is gynecologic cancers. In fact, about 94,000 women a year will be diagnosed with one of these types of cancers.

To help spread awareness and understanding, we’re explaining the five most common types of gynecologic cancers, how to prevent these major health issues, and the biggest signs something might be developing in you. Through this effort, we hope that everyone who reads this will have a full understanding of gynecologic cancers.

What Are the Most Common Types of Gynecologic Cancers?

 

Though the most common definition of gynecologic cancer is a type of cancer that grows in a woman’s reproductive system, there are five major places it can begin to develop. Where the cancer begins determines the type of gynecologic cancer it is.

Here are the five types to look out for:

  • Cervical Cancer: Occurs when the cancer starts in the cervix, also known as the lower and narrow end of the uterus.
  • Ovarian Cancer: Happens in the ovaries, located on either side of the uterus.
  • Uterine Cancer: This cancer appears in the uterus, where a child develops during pregnancy.
  • Vaginal Cancer: Occurs in the vagina.
  • Vulvar Cancer: Starts in the vulva, which is the outer portion of a female’s genitals.

What Are the Symptoms of Gynecologic Cancers?

Though the symptoms for each type of gynecologic cancer vary, it’s important to know the biggest signs so you can be aware of anything developing with your own health. Here are the major symptoms:

  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding/ discharge.
  • Abdominal and back pain.
  • Difficulty eating.
  • Feeling full quickly.
  • Frequent need to urinate.
  • Itching, burning, pain, or tenderness around the vulva.
  • Pelvic pain and pressure.
  • Rashes around the vulva.
  • Sores around the vulva.
  • Warts around the vulva.

How Do I Lower My Risks?

  • Be proactive in your health. Receive regular health screenings, such as the pap test or the HPV test, and visit your OBGYN yearly to receive annual exams. Doing so can help catch cancer before it’s developed far, increasing your chances of recovering.
  • Get vaccinated. The HPV vaccine can prevent the development of HPV, which causes these major types of gynecologic cancers. If you haven’t received this vaccine yet, speak to your doctor today to see if it’s recommended for you. If you have children below 26 years of age or are that old yourself, it’s highly encouraged that this age group receives this vaccine.
  • Understand the signs. Know the symptoms above so that you can recognize when something is happening in your body. The quicker you can spot troubling signs, the more likely you’ll be able to do something about cancer before it’s spread too far to be treated successfully.

If you have any more questions about understanding gynecologic cancers, reach out to the women’s health experts at Covington Women’s Health Specialists by clicking here or giving us a call at 770-385-8954.

Covington Women’s Health Specialists Student Spotlight: Leah Topper

Covington Women’s Health is proud to offer a student program intended to give the next best and brightest training physicians a glimpse into what it’s like working in women’s health. We created the student spotlight blog series to highlight certain members in this program to give everyone an insight into this opportunity and the amazing people who participate.

Next up is Leah Topper, Medical Student Year 3 (“MS3”) at the AU/UGA Medical Partnership. She’s recently completed a four-week rotation with Covington Women’s Health Specialists. Learn more about Leah by reading below!

What does your daily routine look like?

My routine is different every day! During my month at Covington Women’s Health Specialists, I’ve spent time in a variety of OB/GYN settings. That includes in the clinic, in the labor and delivery unit, and in the operating room. In all of those places, my routine includes learning from and working with the doctors and midwives, studying for school exams, and normal life things like exercising, talking to my family, and cooking meals.

What’s one thing that has surprised you about being at Covington Women’s Health Specialists?

This is my first rotation of medical school, so every day holds new and surprising experiences, plus opportunities to learn! One thing I have really appreciated is how friendly and kind everyone has been to me – the doctors, midwives, nurses, medical assistants, office staff, scrub techs, the list goes on. But I’m especially thankful for the patients, for whom I am grateful for their flexibility, patience, and willingness to help me learn and practice new skills.

Is there a specific patient or work experience that left a lasting impact on you? If so, explain how and why.

I feel so grateful and thankful for the opportunities I had by helping deliver babies while in the labor and delivery unit. These have been truly such incredible, amazing, and humbling experiences. Thank you to all of the mothers who let me be a part of such a significant moment of their lives.

What are your favorite past-times?

I enjoy exercising, hiking, trying new recipes and restaurants, doing jigsaw puzzles, and reading.

If you have any more questions about Covington Women’s Health and our student program, reach out to our women’s health experts by clicking here or giving us a call at 770-385-8954.

Covington Women’s Health Specialists’ COVID-19 In-Office Visits Procedures

Due to the current public health emergency surrounding COVID-19, we want to keep you ​updated on our processes ​for your visit to our offices.​ We are actively monitoring the overall COVID-19 status in the community ​and following all ​CDC and DPH guidelines. As needed, we will adjust our in-office visit policies to protect the health and safety of our patients and employees​.​ Our safety enhancements include:

  • ​We are taking the temperature of everyone before entry.​ ​ Anyone with a fever ​will not be allowed inside.
  • Any person entering our office is required to wear a face-covering​ and keep it on for the duration of your appointment. Click here to learn more about the CDC’s recommendations for cloth face covers. For patients who do not have a mask when they arrive to our office, you can buy a ZShield Wrap Mask for 30 dollars or can rent one for five. The ZShield Wrap allows workers to breathe easily and clearly communicate while protecting themselves and customers. ZShield Wrap creates an effective barrier between the user’s face and the faces of customers or students during any interaction that requires close contact.
  • ​P​regnant patients may bring one support person when an ultrasound is done if the person is the patient’s translator, or if the patient needs physical support due to a disability.​ We understand the variety of needs for a support person at your visit. Please reach out to our office if you want to request an additional reason for a support companion at your upcoming visit. We encourage patients to utilize videoconferencing on their personal devices or have their support person on speakerphone for the duration of the appointment.
  • Wash your hands after touching surfaces that may be frequently touched by other people, such as door handles, tables, etc.  You also need to wash your hands before touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Watch this video on proper handwashing tips and check out the infographic below.
  • We will continue to implement televisits as a scheduling option for certain healthcare needs that can be provided over the phone without an in-person visit. Learn more about this service here.

​These ​processes protect the health of our patients, employees, and the community.​ Thank you for your patience and understanding. We appreciate your cooperation as we strive to accommodate your needs and keep everyone healthy.​

Wash Your Hands guide provided by the CDC.