Swedish News Blog

One size does NOT fit all: features to consider when choosing your birth control

Anita Tourigny, ARNP

Anita Tourigny, ARNP
Nurse Practitioner, Minor & James OB/GYN

We are lucky to have so many birth control options available to us. Not all methods will be ideal for all couples, so how do you figure out how to pick a method? Here are some features to consider – but keep in mind that not all features will be important to you in your personal circumstances.

Effectiveness: How well will a particular approach work to prevent pregnancy?

There are some times in life where avoiding pregnancy is more important than other times, so most effective forms should be selected when it is critical to prevent pregnancy.

There are two scales of effectiveness, typical user effectiveness and perfect use rates. Some birth control depends a lot on...

Are You Ready?

Jennifer Wojciechowski

When we imagine having children, we have these images of ‘having a baby’. The sweet bundle all swaddled, snuggling, and sleeping peacefully in their crib whilst we gaze lovingly, and then we quietly tip-toe out of the nursery and off to our own bed.

Then reality hits. Babies cry. Diapers explode. Breasts leak. Exhaustion hits. And just when we think we’re getting the hang of it, they grow. Their abilities change. Their needs change. Their brains develop. That sweet baby turns into a defiant toddler, that turns into a messy child, who then turns into a smelly teenager (it’s just the hormones, it’ll pass).

We give our lives over to our children. Every thing we do, every decision we make, we take them into account. There is a fantastic quote by Sophia Loren, “When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts. You are connected to your child and to all those who touch your lives. A mother always has to think twice: once of herself and once for her child.”

Now, we could debate parenting styles but the more important point is how do you know if you’re ready to potentially live your life for that little baby? How do you know, before you have a baby?

Baby blues or something else?

Jennifer Wojciechowski

Most women start planning for their baby’s arrival as soon as they get pregnant, and even sometimes before they’re pregnant. There are clothes to buy, toys to pick out, car seat to decipher. We start sorting out a birth plan. We often hear about how the first few weeks can be difficult, but we don’t realize the truth until we live it.

The changes our bodies go through during the pregnancy is incredible, but what happens afterwards is astounding. There are physical changes (lochia, involution, hemmorhoids, etc.). There are hormonal changes (drop in estrogen & progesterone, increase in prolactin). Psychological changes such as, “I’m a mom” and “That’s my baby”. (There can also be the overwhelming feeling of love towards the baby or sometimes it can take women several days to feel like the baby is really theirs. Both are completely normal and both can be shocking.)

Now let’s add on sleep deprivation.

In our culture, within a few days of childbirth, we are back home with the baby, maybe partner is there, maybe they had to go back to work quickly, but we’re alone or with one support person and trying to take care of a newborn while experiencing all these changes at once.

It’s no wonder we get the blues.

“Baby Blues” are normal. Approximately 85% of new moms get the blues and dads and adoptive parents can get them, too. The blues usually goes away or starts to get better by 3 weeks or so. As we pass the blues, we start to feel better and are beginning to adjust to the ‘new normal’.

There are things we can do to lessen the risks of more serious postpartum mood disorders:

It Is Time

Jennifer Wojciechowski

In honor of World Breastfeeding Week next week, I’d like to talk about the issue of feeding a baby. You’ve probably heard the statistics on the benefits of breastfeeding but, I’d like to talk about the history of breastfeeding, how formula fits in, and tolerance.

Over the last century or more, women have been searching for an alternative means to feed their babies, rather than breastfeed. We’re too busy or we want our Independence. Unfortunately, maybe the mother died during childbirth or the baby was adopted. Then there’s the sexualization of the female breasts which has caused some people to turn away from breastfeeding or to persecute those who choose to breastfeed.

Prior to 1867, there were limited ways for a baby to be fed. The mother could breastfeed, family members or a ‘wet nurse’ (a breastfeeding surrogate nanny), or there was the milk from a nonhuman mammal such as a cow or goat. The latter two options did not prove very successful because of the difficulties for the baby to digest the milk.

A ‘formula’ developed in 1915 based on nonfat cow’s milk, lactose, oleo oils and vegetable oils became the basis for modern, commercially prepared infant formula. Although there have been improvements to infant formula over the years.

As parents, we make 100’s of decisions everyday. There are some that are easier than others, like whether we want to wear pants or a skirt, high heels or flats. We get so used to making decisions that oftentimes we don’t even realize we’re doing it.

Some decisions carry more weight....

To Doula or Not to Doula

Jennifer Wojciechowski

Human nature is such that we don’t like seeing another human in pain. Even the natural pain that comes with childbirth can be disconcerting for the unprepared. The best way I’ve come to describe labor for someone who has never gone through labor is to find something that most people can relate to: ye olde hammer meets thumb moment.

If you have ever hit your thumb hard enough with a hammer that you can’t speak or you can’t think logically enough to do a simple math problem, then that’s sort of what labor can be like with each contraction for hours.

Now, before people get upset by my analogy, let me explain.

What's the perfect baby shower gift

Jennifer Wojciechowski

One of my worst nightmares is receiving an invite to a baby shower. I end up standing in a corner, watching all the presents get opened and in my head repeating things like “Cute, but it’s not safe” and “Yep, everyone has that but it’s not recommended.”

So, here you’ve just received the dreaded Baby Shower Invite, now you’ll need to venture into the land of pink and blue bears to purchase something that chances are the parents will end up not using. There is so much stuff on their registry, so you have to make a decision by reconciling what you like with your budget. If you know nothing of babies, it’s quite a mystery as to where to start.

Here are some great baby shower gifts. They won’t be the flashiest, but they’ll be useful and practical, so the parents will appreciate them all the more when the time comes:

Expecting the Best in Pregnancy and Multiple Sclerosis

Pavle Repovic, MD, PhD

Considering that multiple sclerosis (MS) affects primarily women of childbearing age, it comes as no surprise that for many patients MS and pregnancy often occur together. The issues to consider when discussing pregnancy and MS include:

  • How pregnancy affects MS
  • How MS affects pregnancy
  • How MS treatment should be managed throughout pregnancy

The Pregnancy in MS (PRIMS) study of 254 patients revealed that pregnancy is generally protective against MS relapses, in particular during the third trimester. In contrast, the same study found a rebound of relapses during three months post delivery, with 30 percent of women experiencing a relapse within three months after delivery. Several strategies have been proposed to avert the risk of postpartum relapse, including the use of prophylactic IVIG or corticosteroids. More recently, exclusive breast-feeding has been found to offer some protection against postpartum MS activity; however, this finding was disputed in a subsequent study.

There is no evidence ...

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