Tag Archive for: Pregnancy

Questions About The COVID-19 Vaccine As A Pregnant Woman? Read This!

If you’re a pregnant woman with questions about the COVID-19 vaccine, we understand your worries and concern. However, Covington Women’s Health Specialists is here with information to answer any questions you may have and bring reassurance. 

Protect yourself and your baby by getting the COVID-19 vaccination.  Our very own Dr. Samuels received her first COVID-19 vaccination when she was 27 weeks pregnant and her second vaccination when she was 30 weeks. She is participating in a study that monitors pregnancy outcomes for women who are vaccinated during their pregnancies. The study results will help us all! 

Covington Women’s Health Specialist Dr. Samuels is pregnant and recently received the COVID-19 vaccination.

  • The physicians of Covington Women’s Health Specialists (CWHS), the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG), The Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM), The March of Dimes, and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommend that COVID-19 vaccines should be administered to pregnant individuals who meet the criteria for vaccination. 
  • People considering a COVID-19 vaccination should have access to available information about the safety and efficacy of the vaccine, including being advised that the vaccine safety studies did not include pregnant or breastfeeding individuals.  
  • Important things for you to consider are:
    • the number of people with COVID-19 infection in your community
    • the effectiveness of the vaccine which provides 50% protection after one dose and 95% protection after two doses
    • the risk that the COVID-19 virus may cause an illness for you which may have effects on you, your fetus, and/or your newborn
    • the safety of the vaccine for pregnant patients and their fetuses which have not been studied, however since the vaccine does not contain a “live” virus, it is considered safe as are other vaccines that do not contain a “live” virus
  • Additionally, being a messenger RNA vaccine, the COVID-19 vaccine does not enter the area where the DNA is and therefore cannot cause genetic changes in DNA to occur
  • Pregnant patients who decline COVID-19 vaccination should be supported in their decision. These patients as all people should perform other prevention measures such as hand washing, physical distancing, and wearing a mask.

COVID-19 Infection poses a greater risk in pregnancy:

  • In other words, if you cannot breathe, your baby will suffer!
  • Studies show that pregnant patients with COVID-19 infection are at increased risk of more severe illnesses compared with nonpregnant patients. Pregnant women face an increased risk of ICU admission, need for mechanical ventilation, and death compared to patients who are not pregnant. 
  • If you are pregnant, protect yourself and your baby now by performing prevention measures such as hand washing, physical distancing, and wearing an N95 mask.
  • Please also get your flu shot because the SAME logic and warnings apply.

If you have any more questions about the COVID-19 vaccine as a pregnant woman, our staff are here to help. Reach out to our experts by clicking here or giving us a call at 770-385-8954

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.  

How Partners Can Help Their Person Go Through Childbirth

If your partner is about to go through childbirth, it’s totally natural to be a nervous wreck! After all, your entire life is about to change and for the better. You’ll have a new person to love and care for, but, first, you have to get through childbirth. 

The good news is that there are many ways you can help your partner through the process. If you’re hoping to learn how, keep reading below as the experts at Covington Women’s Health Specialists explain how partners can help their person go through childbirth. 

Take Classes Together

New to childbirth? The best thing you can do is to take classes together as a couple! Signing up for these means educating yourself on the best techniques, learning more about what’s to come, and figuring what you two can do together to make the experience as painless as possible. All of this is a fantastic way to plan out how you’ll support your partner and will lessen any surprises during the experience. 

Work Through the Birth Plan 

Plan as a couple your ideal birth plan! Options to consider as you make decisions are where it will take place, if you want to hire any additional help such as a doula, and what your partner would like to see you do during the birth. Communicating these details beforehand is the best way to figure out what your partner needs the most so you can give it to them. Being on the same page is essential. 

Focus on Support and Distractions 

Since you’re not giving birth yourself, the best thing you can do for your partner is to be there for them as they go through it. Help them with their breaths, assist them with counting their contractions, pour praises and encouragement over them, and give them a distraction when they need one from the pain. 

If you focus on doing your best to support your partner as they bring your baby into the world, you’ll be helping them tremendously. 

Remember to Take Care of Yourself 

When you can, remember to take care of yourself throughout the process too. If your partner is sleeping, take a nap too. If your partner is eating, make sure to eat too. Your partner needs your energy and focus as high as possible, so don’t forget to fulfill your basic needs as much as you can. 

If you have any more questions about the birthing process and how partners can help their person go through childbirth, reach out to the birthing experts at Covington Women’s Health Specialists by clicking here or giving us a call at 770-385-8954

Avoid Alcohol-based Hand Sanitizers During Pregnancy

Hand Washing with Soap and Water is BEST!

By Cathy T. Larrimore, MD, FACOG

Dr. Cathy Larrimore of Covington, Georgia

Cathy T. Larrimore, M.D. is Board Certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology by the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG).

Even before Coronavirus, pregnant women were worried about germs.  But now, with the coronavirus, the concern is at a fever’s pitch!  

Handwashing and the use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers are the currently recommended procedures for the control of infections such as the flu, colds, and even coronavirus.  But the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecology (ACOG) advises that “women should avoid alcohol entirely while pregnant or trying to conceive.” So, is the use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers by pregnant women a risk to their unborn fetuses?  Do we know if any of the alcohol is absorbed through the skin?  And what if the women breathe the sanitizer in while it is drying on their hands?  And how many applications a day are safe?

Few studies have been done to measure blood alcohol concentrations after the use of these alcohol-based hand sanitizers.  But the studies that have been done concerning the application of hand sanitizer to the skin and breathing it in showed that a small level of alcohol is absorbed and can be found in the user’s bloodstream.  

The amount of alcohol absorbed would increase with multiple uses of the hand sanitizer.  That is concerning because ACOG states that “adverse effects of prenatal alcohol exposure on child behavior at age 6 to 7 years are evident even at low levels of exposure.”  So, the safety of the repetitive use of hand sanitizer during pregnancy is uncertain.  

Handwashing with soap and water is the preferable way to clean your hands and fight germs during pregnancy.  Reserve hand sanitizer use for once in a blue moon when water and soap are not accessible to you.

The Benefits of Breastfeeding

By Brenda Barlowe, CNM, MSN

Breastfeeding is the most natural way to feed your new baby. It’s also one of the best ways to bond with baby and has numerous benefits for the health of both mom and child. However, breastfeeding can also be a confusing and frustrating time. Often times, new moms worry baby isn’t getting enough nutrition, wonder why their baby is rejecting their breasts, and can, in general, find the whole process difficult. The truth is that, even though breasts produce milk naturally, new moms and babies still have to learn to breastfeed together. Confidence is gained with practice, and breastfeeding can often require taking extra steps to get it right.

If you’re struggling to breastfeed correctly or want to learn more about the process in general, keep reading below.

How to Learn More About Breastfeeding

There are many resources available for support and additional information about breastfeeding.  Some examples include the internet, lactation specialists, nurses, midwives, physicians, community lactation groups, and professional organizations like La Leche League.  However, it’s important to note that every mom and baby pair is unique. What you learn best from might be different than other women in your life, so take the time to explore all your options.

Seek help, be calm, and don’t give up if you want to breastfeed your baby!

Benefits of Breastfeeding

There are so many benefits to breastfeeding. For starters, breastmilk is the perfect food and is easily digested.

Other benefits include:

  • reduces risks of viruses and infections of respiratory/ GI tract, asthma, and ears
  • protects against allergies and eczema
  • lessens SIDS risk
  • contains immunity-boosting antibodies and healthy enzymes
  • protects against diseases with mom’s immune factors and white blood cells
  • new studies show that breastmilk may decrease adult obesity and increase IQ scores

There are benefits for mom also:

  • lowers the risk of breast and ovarian cancer
  • helps mom to lose pregnancy weight faster by burning 300-500 calories per day
  • may reduce the risk of osteoporosis
  • saves money (formula cost approximately $134-491/month)
  • promotes closeness to infant
  • cultivates friendships with other breastfeeding moms.

How is Breast Milk Produced?

4-5 ounces of breastmilk is the nutritional equivalent of 8 ounces of formula. The body’s production of breastmilk is linked to the needs of the infant. It increases during growth spurts and as baby nurses more frequently. If production is an issue, as in premature birth, then there are herbs to help increase the milk supply as well as pumping. Herbs that are helpful are alfalfa, milk thistle, and mothers milk, to name a few.

This article is meant to encourage breastfeeding if only for a week, month, or year.  Any amount is beneficial for baby and challenges can be overcome if they arrive. If you need assistance with breastfeeding or would like to learn more, click here to contact the experts at Covington Women’s Health Specialists.

Dr. Larrimore Appears on “The Weekly Check-Up”

Dr. Cathy Larrimore of Covington Women’s Health Specialist’s appeared on “The Weekly Check-Up” on News/Talk WSB Radio on Sunday, September 1st.

During her segment, Dr. Larrimore discussed a variety of women’s health issues such as the Zika virus, cervical cancer, HPV vaccinations, and how age can affect pregnancies. 

Dr. Larrimore also explained how her practice, Covington’s Women’s Health Specialists, offers an intimate option that is between a large hospital and home births. She talked about the risks that can come with home deliveries and how it’s safer to deliver in a hospital or center. Dr. Larrimore commented, “That’s why–if you can offer some natural childbirth techniques in the hospital–it’s the best scenario.” 

Additionally, Dr. Larrimore provided details on a program that her practice offers called CenteringPregnancy. Visits at this clinic last two hours and occur with a consistent group of 8 to 12 women who all have similar due dates. 

Participants learn how to take their own vital signs and be active in their prenatal care. Topics discussed during these visits include what to expect during labor, childcare, breastfeeding, parenting, and healthy diet habits.

Dr. Larrimore explained, “I like to think of the CenteringPregnancy program as excellent medical care combined with group therapy and good old fashioned peer pressure. The program is the only method that’s been proven to eliminate the health discrepancies between white and black expectant mothers.” 

Listen to archive of this show.