News & Events
South Shore Women’s Health’s Policy Regarding the Coronavirus (COVID19)
The safety and health of our patients, staff and community will always be our first priority. At this time, South Shore Women’s Health continues to ensure every effort to minimize exposure and reduce transmission of the Coronavirus (COVID19). It is important to stay home if you are sick to prevent spreading the virus. Read the rest of this entry »
To the patients of South Shore Women’s Health,
As you come to your visits in the coming weeks and months, we want you to know what we are doing to keep you safe. The safety of our patients and staff is important to us.
You will be asked screening questions regarding symptoms and known exposures as you enter our buildings. Our staff will be wearing face coverings and we have put social distancing measures in place, including traffic patterns for entering and exiting our offices. We are providing hand washing capabilities and we are regularly sanitizing all high tough areas. Our staff has been trained on social distancing and hygiene protocols.
We ask that you do your part by wearing a mask as you enter the building and wear it, covering your mouth and nose, until you have left the building. We ask that you be vigilant for symptoms and please stay home if you are sick.
We are following guidance from Governor Baker’s reopening plan, announced on May 18th, to determine when and how patients can be added back into our schedules. In phase 1, we have been provided with the clearance to provide high priority preventive care and treatment for high risk patients. Our tracking system allows us to identify patients in this category and we will be contacting patients who meet this criteria to schedule them for appointments.
If you are experiencing a problem, please call and we will help you to make an appointment to be seen or schedule you for a Telehealth visit if that is more appropriate. We will continue to see pregnant patients at appropriate intervals.
Per State guidelines, we are asking that you come alone to your visits, as this will reduce the risk of unnecessary exposure of our staff and patients. We appreciate your patience as we navigate these unprecedented times and want you to feel reassured that we are doing our part to keep you safe.
South Shore Women’s Health
Thinking of getting pregnant? Here’s how you can prepare.
As you and your partner consider pregnancy, there are a few things you should think of before you start trying to conceive. While 50% of pregnancies are unplanned, planning for pregnancy with the following things in mind can help to alleviate unnecessary anxiety and allow you to proceed with more excitement because you feel empowered and ready.
First, consider your medical history. Do you have any medical diagnoses that could complicate pregnancy? Consider having a physical or consultation with your primary care or specialist to discuss your medical history in the context of planning for pregnancy. Are there any goals that should be met prior to getting pregnant, any medications that are unsafe for pregnancy that should be stopped or changed? You can make a consultation appointment with us too, your OB/GYN, to review your medical history and recommendations we may have as you plan for pregnancy. Often times high risk pregnancies can be managed well, as a team, and there are measures that can be taken to minimize risk in your pregnancy.
Consider your mental health as well, is your anxiety or depression under control, and again, are you taking any medications that aren’t safe in pregnancy? We do not recommend discontinuing medications without consulting with your prescriber first, but it is a good idea to discuss these things with them before getting pregnant. Decisions are made after discussing risks and benefits for you and baby. It is important to understand that fetal development occurs early in pregnancy, so making changes to unsafe medications should occur before getting pregnant.
Think about your lifestyle and routines. If you haven’t incorporated a healthy diet and exercise into your routine, it can be helpful to start this prior to getting pregnant. An optimal weight can increase your chances of conceiving. Regular exercise and a healthy diet can help to minimize excess weight gain in pregnancy, reduce your risks of developing diabetes or high blood pressure in pregnancy and keep you more comfortable throughout your pregnancy. Exercise can improve your mood, sleep and reduce your likelihood of getting constipated, it can also help your labor and delivery go smoother. (1) There are so many benefits here, but it’s ideal to get into the routine before pregnancy, the first trimester of pregnancy can be a challenging time to be starting an exercise routine.
In addition to healthy levels of exercise, about 30 minutes per day on most days of the week, eating a balanced diet is recommended as well. This should be rich in assorted fruits and vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains. Fish is beneficial to you and your baby and can be consumed once or twice per week. It helps to promote both heart and brain health. Just avoid large fish like king mackerel, tuna, and sword fish as they contain high levels of mercury. Good options are salmon, shrimp, canned light tuna, cod and catfish.(2) Generally, weight loss is not recommended in pregnancy, so if you are trying to lose weight, to reach your ideal weight, this should be done prior to getting pregnant, but should also be done with a well balanced diet. You may find it helpful to see a nutritionist for a plan, this will help you to avoid a restrictive diet that could be lacking in essential nutrients.
Prenatal vitamins are recommended at least 3 months before you conceive. Folic acid in prenatal vitamins is beneficial in reducing the risk of neural tube defects. The neural tube develops early in pregnancy, so it is important to increase these levels before you get pregnant. Also, there are times when prenatal vitamins can be hard on the digestive system, and it can take some time for you to get used to them, so it can be more difficult to incorporate them during the first trimester when your stomach may already be more sensitive. Increasing fluids and fiber can be helpful in reducing any associated constipation caused by prenatal vitamins. (3)
Avoidance of drugs and alcohol is important to your pregnancy and developing baby. Smoking increases the chances of low birth weight, prematurity, birth defects and can increase chances of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome in newborns. While quitting smoking is difficult, planning for pregnancy and raising a child can be an excellent motivator to quit. (4)
Drug use in pregnancy is also not recommended, if you suffer from a substance use disorder, reach out for help prior to planning pregnancy. There are many risks associated with drug use in pregnancy including low birth weight, birth defects, preterm delivery, maternal infections, and neonatal withdrawal. Drug use in pregnancy can also contribute to slower than normal growth for the child as well as learning and behavior problems. (5)
Lastly, alcohol use is not recommended in pregnancy, so it is also not recommended when trying to conceive. You may not know you are pregnant until 4-6 weeks and alcohol can be unsafe at any point in the pregnancy. No amount of alcohol consumption has been proven to be safe. Consuming alcohol in pregnancy can cause miscarriage, still birth, birth defects, premature birth, intellectual and developmental disabilities including Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. (6)
Intimate partner violence is serious. If you are feeling unsafe in your relationship, please feel free to reach out for help before planning a pregnancy. 1-800-799-SAFE is a national domestic violence hotline, it is available in 200 languages and 24 hours a day, 7 days per week. (7)
Familiarize yourself with your family history. It can be helpful to your OB/GYN team for you to be aware of any family history of genetic conditions or birth defects in family members. If you are unaware of how these conditions may impact your pregnancy, we can help you get more information. We can also perform testing to see if you are a carrier for various genetic conditions.
We hope you find this information helpful as you plan for your pregnancy. This is such an exciting milestone in your life. If you happen to find yourself pregnant and you’re feeling less than prepared, we will still support you in the same way as you navigate this journey of pregnancy and birth of your special bundle.
You can find more in depth information through any of the following resources, and please reach out if you need our assistance or advice.
Written by Janelle Murphy NP
I’ve had three kids and each time I’ve found packing the hospital bag a daunting task. I’ve never liked packing, not because of the actual task of putting items in a bag, but always for fear of forgetting something I really wished I had with me. So this time around, for my December baby, I packed my hospital bag twice. Once, when I woke up in the middle of the night with a few hours of regular contractions and was worried about the fact that I hadn’t gotten to it yet. Yes, that’s happens to all of us- the false alarm. I woke my husband and said, “I don’t know if this is going to turn into anything, but I have to pack my bag just in case, otherwise I won’t get any sleep.” And the second time I added all the things I purchased during a panic Target run. The panic Target run was a trip necessitated by the realization I came to during the first packing job, when I realized all the things I wanted in my hospital bag, but I didn’t have them yet. And yes, I definitely overbought on that shopping trip! I guess that’s what happens when your baby is born at Christmas time and you’ve got a lot going on. So here’s what you should consider, and I recommend doing the majority of this packing between 36-37 weeks.
Comfy clothes – You’re going to be wearing large thick pads in the hospital, so your clothes should accommodate for that. This means you may want to consider loose fitting pants or a sleep dress. You may also want to consider darker colors in case your pad doesn’t sit just right, you don’t want to stain your beautiful pale peach pajamas. You’re also likely to find yourself sweating from the hormone fluctuations so wearing layering pieces can be helpful. This may help you get better sleep, something you’re going to want every last minute of. There are also adorable robes available online now, many in perfect colors for post partum moms. And yes, they come in adorable patterns for those first baby pictures. If you can spring for it, you can even buy matching baby gowns or swaddles. Robes aren’t typically my thing, but here’s why they’re good when you’ve just had a baby. First, you can throw them on if you get a little chilly after you just broke a sweat. Next, you may find nursing tanks or bras convenient if you’re breastfeeding, but you may find they don’t cover as much as you’d like if your doctor, pediatrician, or birth registrar come into the room.
Bring socks – again, your feet may get chilly and you won’t want to be walking around the floor with bare feet. I don’t find the hospital socks to be comfortable, but if you like them, go for it! And of course if you’re unsteady on your feet at all, the little grippies on the hospital socks might be a good thing. You may also want a pair of slippers or flip flops.
Underwear – You won’t really need your own underwear after you deliver, but it’s possible you’ll want some of your own if you’re being induced. The hospital will provide you with their “special underwear” for after you deliver, just wait, you’ll see, it really is special. It’s not attractive, but it works, and who cares if it gets stained, you throw it away.
Bras -this is something you’ll want to think about and I’ll tell you what you’ll want to consider. You want your bras for your post delivery days to be both comfortable and practical. This means you probably don’t want to spend $5, but you don’t need to spend a fortune. Wireless bras with nursing clips can be surprisingly supportive and accommodate for the changes you will notice post partum. As your milk comes in, you can notice a significant change in size of your breasts, so a bra that doesn’t give to this pressure can make that time more uncomfortable than it already is. I’d also recommend only buying a few bras before you deliver. This will allow you to have something right away, but if you need to go get something else for a better fit later, it won’t be too frustrating. Some women prefer nursing tanks with built in bras because they offer a little support to your post baby belly and eliminate the need to wear 2 articles of clothing. You may or may not need breast pads in the hospital for when your milk starts leaking. Most likely they will be something you’ll need when you get home, if you need them at all. If you plan to breast feed they’re a good thing to have on hand in case you need them.
Snacks are a good thing to pack in your bag, especially if you have a few favorite snacks, but don’t go crazy. You will get 3 meals a day and often will have a few things left from your tray that you might save for a snack later. But, don’t forget your support person, they may want to have a few things they can snack on as well. Also make sure to buy all the snacks you like for when you get home, you can definitely get hungry and thirsty during those middle of the night feedings.
Consider some music for when you are in labor. This may help pass the time or help with relaxation. You might even want an iPad to watch your favorite shows while you’re in labor. And don’t forget chargers for your devices!! You won’t want to miss out on capturing all the adorable pictures of your new little one because you have a dead phone.
You might consider bringing your own pillow. This can make sleeping in an unusual bed, just a little bit easier.
Don’t forget to pack your toiletries. They have some personal care items they can give you for showering, but you may find you’re happier using your own products you are used to. A toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner and body wash will be good and you may want your razor and shaving cream too. Chapstick and hair ties are a must have as well!! Don’t forget your brush, contacts and glasses if you wear them.
You may need your insurance card and drivers license, so don’t forget to pack them. If you have a birth plan, bring a few copies. If you haven’t thought of a birth plan, that’s ok, the nurses are good at asking you questions about your desires when you get the hospital.
Going home outfit. This is often something special you have picked out for the baby to wear on the way home. Each time it’s been tough for me, either because we didn’t know the gender of our baby or because we couldn’t decide between newborn or 0-3 months size. Many newborns will fit in newborn clothes, even if they’re on the bigger side, but when in doubt, bring both, then you won’t need to stress about it.
You’ll want to have your car seat already installed in the car and will want to bring it to the hospital when you go. The nurses will make sure you buckle the baby correctly before you leave to go home.
Things you won’t need: diapers for the baby, wipes for the baby, towels, valuables, lots of clothes for the baby
Feel free to adapt this list in away way to suit your needs, but I hope you find this helpful as a starting point.
Written by Janelle Murphy, NP
How do we deal with anxiety and our thoughts when everything around us is changing, sometimes changing by the day or even by the hour? During this time of pandemic caused by COVID 19, we all have changes to our routines. Maybe you you’ve been laid off or you’re facing fear of a lay off. Maybe it’s not that at all, maybe the change for you is more responsibility or stress at work. Maybe you’re home with your kids and not getting a break because your daycare is closed or your kids are home from school until the Fall and you’re suddenly homeschooling your kids. Maybe you’re about to have your first baby and you don’t know what that’s going to look like or when all your loved ones will get to meet that new special someone in your life.
Did you know that the human papillomavirus can cause certain cancers, and the vaccine helps to prevent HPV-related cancers and diseases caused by HPV? Gardasil is a vaccine indicated in females through 45 years of age for the prevention of cervical, vulvar, vaginal, and anal cancers, precancerous or dysplastic lesions, and genital warts caused by HPV. If you have not finished your series of 3 injections, or would like to begin the series to help protect yourself or family from HPV, please call any one of our 3 offices located in Weymouth, Whitman, and Plymouth to schedule an appointment today.
Zika Virus Information
Our physicians and staff would like all of our pregnant patients to be aware of a mosquito borne virus in foreign countries which may be related to birth defects. As of 1/18/2016 the Centers For Disease Control has recommended to postpone travel to any areas where Zika Virus has been reported. If travel is unavoidable it is recommended to do everything possible to avoid being bitten by mosquitos. Currently there are many countries, even our own, affected by this virus. Below we have provided a list. If you have recently traveled to any of these areas and had symptoms of illness please discuss this with one of us the next time you are in the office. Symptoms are fever, rash, joint pain, muscle aches and headaches after being bitten by mosquitoes in these affected areas.
Zika Cases Reported in the United States
Advice for people living in or traveling to South Florida
The Florida Department of Health has identified two areas of Miami-Dade County where Zika is being spread by mosquitoes. In addition to the previously identified area in the Wynwood neighborhood, there is now mosquito-borne spread of Zika virus in a section of Miami Beach.
This guidance is for people who live in or traveled to the identified area of Miami Beach any time after July 14. This guidance also still applies for those who live in or traveled to the previously identified Wynwood area any time after June 15. These timeframes are based on the earliest time symptoms can start and the maximum 2-week incubation period for Zika virus.
Pregnant women and their partners
- Pregnant women should not travel to these areas.
- Pregnant women and their partners living in or traveling to these areas should follow steps to prevent mosquito bites(https://www.cdc.gov/zika/prevention/prevent-mosquito-bites.html).
- Women and men who live in or traveled to these areas and who have a pregnant sex partner should use condoms to prevent infection(https://www.cdc.gov/zika/transmission/sexual-transmission.html) every time they have sex or not have sex during the pregnancy.
- Pregnant women and their partners who are concerned about being exposed to Zika may want to consider postponing nonessential travel to all parts of Miami-Dade County.
- All pregnant women in the United States should be assessed for possible Zika virus exposure and signs or symptoms of Zika during each prenatal care visit.
- Pregnant women who live in or frequently travel to these areas should be tested in the first and second trimester of pregnancy.
- Pregnant women with possible Zika exposure and signs or symptoms of Zika should be tested for Zika.
- Pregnant women who traveled to or had unprotected sex with a partner that traveled to or lives in these areas should talk to their healthcare provider and should be tested(https://www.cdc.gov/zika/symptoms/diagnosis.html) for Zika.
Couples thinking about getting pregnant
- Women with Zika should wait(https://www.cdc.gov/zika/pregnancy/thinking-about-pregnancy.html) at least 8 weeks after symptoms began before trying to get pregnant, and men with Zika should wait at least 6 months after symptoms began.
- Women and men who live in or frequently travel to these areas should talk to their healthcare provider.
- Women and men who traveled to these areas should wait at least 8 weeks before trying to get pregnant.
Women and men of reproductive age
- Effective contraception to prevent pregnancy(https://www.cdc.gov/zika/pregnancy/preventing-pregnancy.html) in women and their partners who want to delay or prevent pregnancy is a key prevention strategy for Zika.
Zika During Pregnancy
Zika during pregnancy has been associated with birth defects, specifically significant microcephaly (abnormal smallness of the head associated with incomplete brain development). Transmission of Zika to the unborn has been documented in all trimesters. The rate of transmission from the mother to her unborn child and the rate with which infected unborn manifest complications is still largely unknown. The absence of this important information makes management and decision making in the setting of potential Zika virus exposure (i.e. travel to endemic areas) or maternal infection, difficult. Currently, there is no vaccine or treatment for this infection.
If you are currently pregnant or planning to become pregnant and have plans to travel to one of the countries listed below, we recommend postponing your trip. If travel cannot be postponed, reduce your risk by preventing mosquito bites including using EPA-approved bug spray with DEET, covering exposed skin, staying in air-conditioned rooms, and treating clothing with permethrin. It is safe for pregnant or nursing women to use EPA-approved repellants if applied according to the package instructions.
Zika and Pregnancy Q & A
What is known about the effects of Zika virus on pregnant women?
We expect that the course of Zika virus disease is similar to that in the general population. No evidence exists to suggest that pregnant women are more susceptible or experience more severe disease during pregnancy. It is not known if pregnant women are more susceptible to Guillain-Barré syndrome.
How can Zika virus infection be prevented?
There is no vaccine to prevent Zika virus infection. Travelers can protect themselves by taking steps to prevent mosquito bites. Use insect repellent; wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants; and stay in places with air conditioning or with window and door screens. Pregnant women can and should choose an EPA-registered insect repellents and use it according to the product label.
Which pregnant women should be tested for Zika virus infection?
Obstetrical providers should obtain a travel history from all pregnant women and use recent travel history to guide decisions about testing. Testing is not indicated for pregnant women without a travel history to an area with Zika virus transmission.
Pregnant women with a history of travel to an area with Zika virus transmission and who report two or more symptoms consistent with Zika virus disease (including acute onset of fever, maculopapular rash, arthralgia or conjunctivitis) during or within two weeks of travel should be tested. In addition, pregnant women with a history of travel to an area with Zika virus transmission and who have ultrasound findings of fetal microcephaly or intracranial calcifications should also be tested for Zika virus infection. Testing should be performed in consultation with state or local health departments.
If a woman who is not pregnant is bitten by a mosquito and infected with Zika virus, will her future pregnancies be at risk?
We do not know the risk to the infant if a woman is infected with Zika virus while she is pregnant. Zika virus usually remains in the blood of an infected person for only a few days to a week. The virus will not cause infections in an infant that is conceived after the virus is cleared from the blood. There is currently no evidence that Zika virus infection poses a risk of birth defects in future pregnancies. A women contemplating pregnancy, who has recently recovered from Zika virus infection, should consult her healthcare provider after recovering.
Is it safe to get pregnant after traveling to a country with Zika virus?
If infected, Zika virus usually remains in the blood of an infected person for about a week. The virus will not cause infections in a baby that is conceived after the virus is cleared from the blood.
If you have any additional questions or concerns, please contact us.