Holistic Gynecology FAQ

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Q. What is a Holistic Approach?

A holistic approach to modern medicine is characterized by treating the person as a whole, rather than treating specific diseases or symptoms. It is concerned with the prevention and health care, not simply curing disease after it has taken hold. The support should also consider their physical, emotional, social, and spiritual wellbeing.

Q. What is Holistic Gynecology

Holistic gynecology is a branch of medicine that focuses on preventive care and enhancing well-being. This type of gynecology provides healthcare throughout a woman’s entire life and addresses holistic women’s health, rather than just treating illness once it occurs. 

The holistic approach uses and emphasizes natural therapies that promote wellness for the body, mind, and spirit, as well as using traditional medicine when needed. It also helps vaginal health by using natural remedies instead of harmful chemicals.

Q. How is Holistic Gynecology Different Than the Rest

One main difference has to do with treatment. A mainstream ob-gyn relies on pharmaceutical drugs, synthetic hormones, and surgical procedures to solve women’s health problems. Holistic gynecology chooses treatments such as herbal remedies, supplements, nutrition, and mindfulness.  It also supports the natural processes of the body and traditional treatments when necessary.

Another difference is in how a holistic gynecologist thinks about health care for women. A typical ob-gyn says that with proper medical treatment, she can help most women with their health problems. A holistic practitioner believes this as well, but also knows that healing does not always come from a pill. 

Q. What is Offered with a Holistic Gynecologist

Healthcare at a Holistic Gynecologist, like Midwife360, offers primary care and treatment for women of all ages. From their first PAP-smear through menopause. It includes preventative measures to detect and treat gynecological conditions before they become more difficult to manage. When mainstream medical care is necessary, it also offers a support system that can work in conjunction with other practices or hospitals.

At Midwife360 we offer and educate on:

  • PAP-smears
  • Annual Examinations / Office Visits
  • Problem Visit Examinations
  • HPV
  • Thermography
  • STDs
  • IUD or implant placement
  • Pregnancy and prevention strategies
  • Blood Draw & Testing
  • Birth Control (natural and artificial methods)
  • Fertility issues (natural and artificial methods)
  • Mammograms and ultrasound prescriptions
  • Any vaginal or genital discomfort
  • Convenient electronic prescription and medical records

Q. Is it Important to Use Organic Feminine Products

Yes. It is important to use organic feminine products because you must protect your delicate vaginal mucosa from chemical irritants. This can be done by using 100% cotton tampons or pads and natural, non-chemical-based feminine care products such as menstrual cups.

It can be bad for vaginal health to use non-organic because tampons absorb vaginal and uterine fluid to keep you dry. This allows the vagina’s delicate bacterial balance to be disrupted, allowing bad bacteria to grow. Thus, releasing chemicals into your body (including pesticides from non-organic cotton).

Q. How Do I Find A Holistic Gynecologist

If you are in the South Florida area and are looking for a provider who takes the holistic, look no further. Founded by P. Fadwah Halaby CNM, Midwife360 is a holistic evidence-based practice for midwifery services such as routine women’s care, family planning, pregnancy care, and birthing. 

If you are ready to make an appointment visit the Midwife360 today.

Postpartum Hair Loss

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Hair loss is a natural process that many people experience. However, hair loss or thinning during postpartum can be especially challenging, since it’s often accompanied by breakage, and scalp irritation. The good news is that hair grows back.

The hair loss that many new moms experience a few months after having a baby is called postpartum hair shedding. This hair loss happens because the levels of estrogen and progesterone in your body are decreasing or going back to normal after spiking during pregnancy. This often causes your hair to grow slower and less full. It’s not true hair loss during postpartum because it will grow back. Dermatologists refer to hair loss as excessive hair shedding.

What Causes Postpartum Hair Loss

The hair loss most often associated with pregnancy is due to the hormonal changes during and after pregnancy. During pregnancy women notice their hair growing thicker and looking more full. The hormones during pregnancy keep your hair from falling out. However, following pregnancy, these hormones drop and the hair begins falling out and thinning.

The condition, which is also referred to as postpartum alopecia, is relatively common, affecting between 40-50% of women in the months following childbirth.

How Hormones Affect Hair Loss/ Growth

Estrogen is the leading hormone that affects hair growth during pregnancy, postpartum, as well as in menopausal women. Many women during their pregnancy experience fuller and thicker hair growth. This is due to the increase of the estrogen hormone in the body. Thus, producing more hair follicles during the growing phase of the growth cycle.

However, following the birth of your new baby, your estrogen levels drop and return back to the level pre-pregnancy. This causes the new follicles to enter the resting phase of the growth cycle. During this phase, the hair grows slower and produces fewer strands, and begins to shed. Postpartum Thyroiditis can also result in an imbalance of thyroid hormones, which can also affect hair growth.

How Long Does Postpartum Hair Loss Last?

In most cases hair loss after postpartum is temporary. Hair will start to grow back within a few months. Excessive hair loss usually starts eight weeks after giving birth and will last for six to 12 months. If your hair does not begin growing back by your baby’s first birthday, you may consult with your dermatologist or healthcare provider. Month 15 is the lucky number where most women feel their hair is back to normal.

How To Help with Hair Loss/ Growth

There are natural and home remedies that a new mom can implement into her daily routine to help with postpartum hair loss. Some of these can include all-natural shampoos that are specifically for hair loss and helping with new growth. Fenugreek seeds are also helpful when soaked and used as a scalp/hair mask. This herb is also helpful for the production of breast milk.

Adding “hair-healthy” foods into your diet can also promote healthier and quicker hair growth. Including things like:

  • Leafy greens
  • Eggs
  • Healthy fats (avocado, nuts)
  • Vitamin B12
  • Berries
  • Sweet Potatoes

Before the consumption or use of any of these listed always check with your healthcare provider to ensure the safety of you and your baby.

If You Have Any Other Questions

For all pregnancy and women’s care needs contact the professionals at Midwife360. We provide holistic gynecology and pregnancy services, including home birth and water birth to women throughout South Florida. We support and educate women every step of the way through family planning, healthcare options, and birthing. Contact us today to schedule an appointment or speak with one of our midwives.

A Guide on Postpartum Thyroiditis for New Moms

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Women go through a lot of changes after pregnancy. Some are physical, some are emotional and others cognitive. These changes can be attributed to the pregnancy itself or postpartum depression, which is very common for women in this time period. However, what if these symptoms are actually signs of something more serious like Postpartum Thyroiditis?

Postpartum Thyroiditis is a condition that primarily affects women and it has many symptoms that overlap with pregnancy-related issues such as fatigue, weight loss struggles, hair loss, anxiety, and trouble sleeping. This article will explore all you need to know when you’re expecting.

Know the Symptoms of Postpartum Thyroiditis

It is extremely common for women, especially new mothers, to experience postpartum depression following the birth of their baby. Some of the symptoms are mood swings, withdrawal, loss of appetite, insomnia, and fatigue. Oftentimes, mothers feel extremely depressed as a result of the excess weight they may have gained during their pregnancy.

On the other hand, these symptoms are very similar to what one may feel if one is experiencing postpartum thyroiditis. Some of the common symptoms of both postpartum depression and signs of postpartum thyroiditis are; weight gain, depression, lethargy, muscle weakness, and trouble sleeping. Although it is uncommon for many women to develop postpartum thyroiditis, it can happen and be missed. Due to the similarities in symptoms, many women can have the misconception that they are only experiencing postpartum depression when something much more severe is occurring.

Can It be Detected

Postpartum thyroiditis is a condition that impacts postpartum women. This can occur after the birth of your child and most commonly arises in the first trimester or early second trimester. If you test positive with this antibody during early pregnancy, there is a 40% to 60% higher risk of developing postpartum thyroiditis. Thus, more reason to get checked by your healthcare provider early on.

Types of Postpartum Thyroiditis

It is important for mothers to be aware that they may be experiencing one of the two types of thyroiditis. These being:

  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Hypothyroidism

Knowing and being aware of symptoms of both types is important to be aware of during your term. Although it is easy to miss diagnose these symptoms as something less severe, it is important to report all of them to your healthcare provider.

Hyperthyroidism

This type of postpartum thyroiditis refers to an overactive thyroid. This means the thyroid gland is producing too much thyroid hormone. Thus,  causing the body’s metabolism to speed up, in turn, speeding up other parts of the body.

The symptoms of hyperthyroidism include:

  • Nervousness/ anxiety
  • Spead up heartbeat/ palpitations
  • Weight loss
  • excessive sweating/ heat flashes
  • Increased appetite
  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Frequent or loose stools

Hypothyroidism

Exactly opposite of hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism is when the gland is deficient in thyroid hormones. When an expecting mother has this type of postpartum thyroiditis, the body functions a lot slower.

The symptoms of hypothyroidism include:

  • Depression
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Decreased milk volume
  • Muscle weakness
  • Constimaption
  • Dry or brittle hair/ nails
  • Hair loss
  • High cholesterol
  • Always cold
  • Weight gain

When mothers experience either type of postpartum thyroiditis it can feel as if they aren’t able to fully enjoy their new baby. The symptoms are hard to overcome making everything feel stagnant.

Prevention

One form of therapy that has worked to help prevent postpartum thyroiditis in women who have high antibodies during pregnancy is giving selenium. Selenium is an essential trace mineral that helps to support many bodily processes. When taken during pregnancy, selenium acts as an anti-inflammatory, helping to reduce the chances of developing postpartum thyroiditis. 

Other helpful prevention ideas can include changing your diet to a more anti-inflammatory diet. Reducing or stopping gluten intake can help reduce inflammation. Choosing BPA-free, phthalate-free, and paraben-free also helps avoid toxins that can be a factor in causing thyroid issues.

More Questions?

If you are looking for more information about thyroid issues and the threats of postpartum thyroiditis, talk to your healthcare provider or give us a call at Midwife360. We are a holistic evidence-based practice for women’s care, family planning, pregnancy care, and birthing throughout South Florida. Our practice is designed to meet the individual needs of each woman and family we care for. We believe women should be informed and educated about their healthcare options and empowered to make their own choices.

Ways to Prepare for Pregnancy as a Family

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Pregnancy is an exciting and memorable time for both the mother and father to be. There are lots of preparations and planning to do as you get ready for the child. The bliss you enjoy during gestation is determined by the preparations you make before you get pregnant. For this reason, to help you have a simple pregnancy term and successful delivery, your preparations should start as soon as you start trying to get pregnant. This helps your body get ready for the changes you are likely to go through when you conceive. Additionally, it enables you to be receptive of the inevitable lifestyle changes after gestation. Here are some of the pregnancy preparations to do as a family before you start your term.

Talk About it as a Family

Being expectant affects not only the mother but everyone else in the family. For this reason, there is a lot to talk about and critical decisions to make before you get pregnant. For instance, you need to talk with your partner about handling the issues that may change after getting pregnant. This mainly involves duties and responsibilities that you may be unable to handle when you are pregnant. Additionally, discuss issues concerning the baby after birth. This involves issues such as your priorities and expectations in parenting. Talking about these issues even before you get pregnant unites you, thus, making gestation and parenthood easier.

Make Lifestyle Changes to Prepare as a Family

There are some lifestyle changes necessary to make before you start your gestation term. For instance, you need to strive to have a healthy weight before you get pregnant. Being underweight or overweight in gestation presents some challenges that will put you or your baby at risk. Therefore, as the family, you work together to ensure that the mother-to-be has a recommendable weight for gestation. Other lifestyle changes that you need to make include quitting alcohol or smoking. Making these lifestyle changes before you get pregnant helps you prepare your body to go without these substances throughout the gestation term. It is easier to adapt to such changes if you handle them as a family.

Go for A Pre-Gestation Checkup

Before you get pregnant, you and your partner should visit a doctor together. This visit gives the doctor a chance for a pre-gestation checkup, which helps determine whether your body is ready for gestation. The doctor will then treat some of the issues that may prevent you from getting pregnant or negatively affect your gestation. Additionally, the health care provider will advise you on some ways to make conception easier to prepare for as a family. Going through these checkups as a family or with your partner will ensure they offer you the support you need throughout the pregnancy.

Prepare Your Finances as a Family

As mentioned above, the gestation term will have a great impact on all areas of your life. For this reason, the time before you get pregnant is the time to brace yourself financially and get ready for all changes. Remember that you will have an extra expense during gestation and even more after birth. Additionally, after you conceive, you may not be in a position to work sufficiently and earn as much as you do before the gestation. Therefore, take time and prepare your finances as a family. Come up with a plan to help you manage the pregnancy and raise the baby after birth without struggling financially.

Conclusion

The process of becoming a parent starts before you conceive. Every preparation that you make now determines how easy or complicated your pregnancy term will be. Going through these pre-gestation preparations as a family helps make everybody equipped for the changes ahead after conception. If you’re looking for a pre-conception coach to help you prepare as a family contact us.

Midwife360 and the Scoop on IUDs

Many of my clients ask about birth control options that do not have hormones. There are a few, mostly they are the barrier methods like condoms (male and female), diaphragms, and cervical caps, or surgery. But the copper IUD is the only one that is long term and reversible and does not have any hormones. Since the copper IUD is not the only long term, reversible contraceptive, I wanted to break it down here for you.

What is an IUD?

IUD stands for IntraUterine Device. There are 2 types of IUDs, those with hormones and those without. Both of them are T-shaped plastic rods that are about 1.3 inches long with a string attached to the leg. The ones with hormones contain progesterone impregnated plastic, while those without have some copper wrapped around the arms and/or leg. 

Progesterone IUDs

The hormonal IUDs are called Mirena, Liletta, Kyleena, and Skyla. They are approved to last from 3 to 5 years and the Mirena and Liletta can be effective up to 7 years. The Skyla (3 year device) is a bit smaller than the others and is marketed towards young women who havenʼt had babies yet. The hormones effectively thin the lining of the uterus causing the wearer to have a super light or no period. Women usually still feel that they are cycling, as they can still get bloating or other pre-menstrual symptoms, but without the bleeding. Sometimes the IUD can cause an increase in period bleeding, but this is usually short-lived and will slow down or stop completely within a few months. This can make it more difficult to get pregnant once the IUD is removed as it can be 6 months or longer before the period returns to normal. 

Copper IUDs

The copper IUD that is approved for use in the US is called Paragard. There is another brand that is used in other parts of the world called Nova-T that is the exact same thing as the Paragard – a plastic T-shaped device with 380mm2 surface area of exposed copper. The Paragard is approved for 10 years and effective for at least 12. The Nova-T package insert says itʼs approved for 5 years. 

Pros and cons

The benefit of using an IUD is that it is placed once and then you donʼt have to think about it. You donʼt have to remember to take a daily pill, switch out your patch every week, do a monthly vaginal ring swap, or get a shot every 3 months. They are very effective, partly for this very reason – everyone is a perfect user. They are considered 99% effective in preventing pregnancy.

However, if you do get pregnant, especially with a hormonal IUD, you have a greater chance of having an ectopic pregnancy (when the fertilized egg doesnʼt make it past the tube into the uterus). As mentioned above, the hormonal IUDs can lighten or stop the period which is beneficial for those with super heavy cycles or super painful cramping – such as with endometriosis (a condition where the uterine lining or endometrium grows in places outside the uterus – when she has her period these places also bleed causing extreme cramping).

Another con with the hormonal IUDs is the tendency for those with them to be unable to lose weight or gain unwanted pounds over time.

An advantage of the copper IUDs is that one gets very effective birth control without using hormones. This means that it doesnʼt affect your cycle or your ability to get pregnant once it is removed. The only other birth control that doesnʼt use hormones are the barrier devices (make and female condoms, diaphragms and cervical caps). However if one has a copper allergy, it can cause multiple systemic symptoms and even affect the efficiency of the immune system. 

Placement

When you go to have your IUD placed, you should be on your period. This helps reduce the risk of infection as you have a flow that will carry any unwanted accidentally introduced bacteria out of the uterus. It also means that your cervix is softer and more open. You will be counseled regarding the risks of perforation and infection – which are the more common risks of placement. Your provider may also mention that expulsion of the device is also possible. Perforation would be pushing the inserter through the wall of the uterus and placing the IUD outside of the uterus. 

The provider should use sterile technique and clean inside your vaginal vault with betadine or hibicleanse prior to inserting the IUD. Some providers will numb the cervix with lidocaine, which makes the insertion much less uncomfortable. The uterus should be at least 6 cm deep, which is noted during the insertion as the inserter has cm markings on it. Once the IUD is properly placed the provider will make sure to cauterize any active bleeding with silver nitrate sticks.

Then you should be given a prescription to get an ultrasound to check placement and cautioned to refrain from intercourse for one week. Having an ultrasound assures that the IUD was placed properly in case there are questions about that in the future. It also reassures everyone that there was no perforation at the time of insertion. You can feel the strings which should be about 2-3 cm long hanging out of your cervix. These strings will be used to remove the IUD when you are ready to have it taken out. 

Removal

Getting the IUD removed is typically much easier than placing it. Sometimes the strings are no longer visible in which case an instrument is used to capture them and draw them out where they can be grasped with an instrument and the IUD removed with one swift tug. It does not hurt and I donʼt think Iʼve ever removed one where the client didnʼt say “Thatʼs it? Youʼre done?” It is important to wait a couple of cycles before trying to conceive as the risk of miscarriage is higher in the first 2 cycles of stopping any type of birth control. 

Support your local Nurse Midwife!

You can see an OB/GYN or CNM to get counseled regarding which birth control option is right for you, or if an IUD is a good option for its effectiveness in treating heavy menstrual bleeding and painful periods even if you donʼt need birth control. As always – do your research, know your body, ask questions, expect respect – make sure you are satisfied with the results!