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Frequently Asked Questions

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Gynecology FAQs | Obstetrics FAQs | Birth Control FAQs | Ultrasound FAQs | Hospital Afilliations | Links

Gynecology FAQs
Here at Meridian OB/GYN we have made a vow to make every single woman's visit to our office as pleasant, professional, and personal as possible. For any general questions that you may have, here is a short list of commonly asked questions from those who are seeking to learn more about health care for women.

What do I need to bring with me to my first visit?
Patients should bring their insurance card, and for anyone who is younger than 18 years old, we request that a parent or guardian is present in order to discuss parental consent and confidentiality. First-time patients can also download the New Patient Form and bring with you on your first visit.

When should I bring my young daughter in for her first Gynecological exam?
It is recommended that young women have their first Gynecologic exam between the ages 13-15 or when they become sexually active and have questions about contraception and STD's.

I experience cramping and moodiness during my period. Is there anything that I can do to help with this?
Since Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder, or PMDD, is very common for a lot of women, there are a variety of ways to ease its symptoms of bloating, irritability, and moodiness. Women are encouraged to avoid or decrease caffeine intake, limit salt, and to develop a healthy exercise routine, among other things. There are also vitamin supplements that are intended to specifically help with the symptoms of PMDD. If natural methods don't alleviate your symptoms, there are certain medications that can be prescribed by a physician.

When do I need to start thinking about getting a Mammogram?
Women aged 40 and older should have a mammogram every 1 to 2 years. Women with an increased risk of breast cancer due to things such as family history are advised to talk with their physician about whether to have mammograms before the age of 40.

I am experiencing some burning while urination, is there anything to help with the pain?
When dealing with burning urination, it is advised that you increase your fluid intake. Drinking Cranberry Juice has also long been recognized as helpful in alleviating the symptoms of what might be a bladder infection. Women who experience burning while urinating are strongly encouraged to have a urinalysis performed so that the exact problem can be identified and diagnosed. Your gynecologist may then recommend other treatment, or they may decide that the prescription of medicine is the best course of action.

I am experiencing vaginal discharge and some vaginal itching. Could I have an infection?
It's very common for most women to have some vaginal discharge, which may occur more or less at different times of the month, depending on the individual. However, it is important to note whether or not the vaginal discharge has a foul odor to it, as this may indicate a bacterial infection. Vaginal itching accompanied by a thick, white discharge could potentially indicate a yeast infection. It is advisable to seek out a gynecologist for a simple exam to confirm the diagnosis and for swift and effective treatment, as abnormal vaginal discharge can usually be treated with medication.

I skipped one of my birth control pills, and I am now experiencing vaginal bleeding. What should I do?
The skipping of just one birth control pill can potentially produce a hormone imbalance, and which can cause a symptom referred to as "breakthrough bleeding." This is a relatively normal occurrence, and you should take the missed pill as soon as you realize you've skipped it. If you have skipped more than two birth control pills, you should use another form of birth control for the remainder of the month, and then contact your physician.

I missed my period but the pregnancy test is negative. What should I do?
Women who miss a period but find their pregnancy test result to be negative should cautiously monitor the situation, as sometimes something as simple as an increase in stress can cause a woman to miss her period. However, if the same thing happens during the next cycle, you should contact your physician immediately to schedule an appointment; you may need to change your birth control.

I'm having problems with constipation. What can I do?
The natural ways to alleviate constipation include, but are not limited to, eating certain foods like apples, bran cereal, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, dried peaches, prunes, raw carrots, and any other high in Fiber foods. Women are also encouraged to increase their water intake to 6 glasses per day. Some medication that can help with constipation includes Fibercon, Dialose, and Duphalac Liquid, just to name a few.

I recently found a lump in my breast. What should I do?
Women who have found a lump in one of their breasts should contact their physician IMMEDIATELY to schedule an appointment for an evaluation.

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Obstetrics FAQs
The world of Women's health care can be overwhelming to many, especially when it comes to the complex field of Obstetrics.  Given how vitally important it is for expecting mothers to be familiar with the Do's and Dont's of prenatal care, we have provided below a short list of commonly asked questions from mothers-to-be.

How much can I exercise while pregnant?
For people who regularly maintain active lifestyles, it is safe to continue to do so during pregnancy, though women should strive to stick to an exercise pace that is not too vigorous or exhausting. For women who don't regularly keep an active lifestyle, it is recommended that at least some light exercise be incorporated in to their daily life; just walking a moderate pace every day should suffice.

What medications can I take during pregnancy?
For a complete list of medications, please click here.

What should I avoid eating while pregnant?
Women are strongly urged to avoid alcohol during pregnancy, and to limit caffeine to no more than 300 mg. per day, which equals roughly two 5-ounce cups of coffee. Women are also encouraged to avoid the use of saccharin, soft or unpasteurized cheeses, raw meats & fish, and unpasteurized deli meats.

Can I continue to eat and drink foods that contain artificial sweeteners?
Women are encouraged to avoid anything that contains aspartame, which is found in products like Sweet and Low. However the artificial sweetener Splenda is deemed to be okay to consume while pregnant, since it is made from all-natural ingredients.

How should I treat a cold?
It is recommended that you do not take anything with ibuprofen in it. Aside from drinking fluids and resting, pregnant women who are past their first trimester are permitted to take Sudafed, tylenol, Dimetapp, and Robitussin.

May I travel while pregnant?
For uncomplicated pregnancies, travel is not a problem, though steps should be taken to avoid unnecessary stress on both you and the baby. When traveling by car, make plans to stop at least every 2 hours to get out and walk. Plus, any women at the 34 week mark should consult with their physician before engaging in travel.

Are dental x-rays okay?
Yes, but be sure that your abdomen is completely shielded when having the x-rays taken.

What symptoms should be reported to my physician?
Just some of the symptoms that should be reported to your physician includes contractions, bleeding, intense headaches, cramping, decreased movement of the baby, a fever of over 100 degrees, loss of fluid from the vagina, or any other symptoms that seem abnormal.

What are some suggestions for dealing with morning sickness?
Some recommendations for easing morning sickness includes:
• Get out of bed slowly in the morning, and try to avoid sudden or jolty movements
• Eat several small meals during the day so your stomach doesn't remain empty for long
• Avoid fried, greasy, and spicy foods
• Drink soups and other liquids between meals
• Eat a piece of bread or a few crackers before you get out of bed in the morning, or whenever you feel nauseous.
• Have some juice, milk, yogurt, or cottage cheese before you go to bed or before you wake up.
• Ginger candy or tea can help nausea.
• Vitamin B supplements can also help relieve nausea.

What can I do about constipation?
To ease constipation during pregnancy, women are encouraged to try adding high in fiber foods to their diet like bran, fruit and vegetables, on top of increasing their daily water intake. You may also try products like Fibercon, Metamucil, Citrucel.

What prenatal vitamins should I be taking?
Women should look for prenatal vitamins that contain Vitamin's A, D, C, E, and B, Folic Acid, Calcium, Pyridoxine, Zinc, Iron, Riboflavin, Thiamine, and DHA.

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What is the most effective form of birth control
There are many birth control methods on the market today that are highly effective. The primary methods of birth control available include:

Barrier Methods - Generally speaking, barrier methods do not prevent pregnancy as effectively as hormonal methods or IUD's, and they must be used EVERY TIME that you have sex. Barrier methods Include condoms, sponges, and diaphragms.
Hormonal Methods - Statistically very good at preventing pregnancy. Hormonal methods include birth control pills, shots (Depo-Provera), and the vaginal ring.
Intrauterine Devices (IUD's) - IUD's are inserted into your uterus, work for 5-10 years at a time, and are a generally safe and effective way to prevent pregnancy. The Mirena IUD contains a hormone that can help with heavy periods and cramping.
Natural Family Planning - Also referred to as "fertility awareness," Natural Family Planning can be effective provided that you and your sexual partner are extremely careful, and are especially mindful of what times of the month are best to engage in sexual activity. Women practicing natural family planning are strongly encouraged to keep good records so as to know when they are fertile; and for times when you ARE fertile, you will need to abstain from sex, or use a barrier method.
With all of this in mind, it's important to remember that all women are different, and that the best way to find out what method is best for you is by consulting with a licensed OB GYN.

What are some of the potential side-effects of birth control pills?
Some possible side effects of birth control pills includes nausea, bloating, breast enlargement and tenderness, spotting between periods, decreased sex drive, and migraines. The best way to know which form of birth control will minimize undesirable side-effects is to consult with your physician first.

Do birth control pills protect against STD's?
No, It is extremely important to remember that birth control pills do NOT prevent against anything but unwanted pregnancies. No form of birth control will help prevent a sexually transmitted disease. There are only two proven methods that protect against both pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases: the male latex condom, and, the only full-proof protection, abstinence.

Do spermicides protect against STD's?
No, spermicides do NOT protect against the transmission of STD's.

How soon after stopping the birth control pill can you conceive?
Generally speaking, a woman may have only a two-week delay before she can ovulate again. Once ovulation resumes, a woman can once again become pregnant. On average, a woman's period will follow about four to six weeks after the last pill is taken.

What if your period doesn't resume even after you stop taking the birth control pill?
If even after stopping the use of birth control pills you find that you are still not getting your period, you may have what is commonly known as post-pill amenorrhea. Typically your period should start again within three months after you stop taking the pill. If after 5-6 months you still haven't had your period, consult your physician immediately.

Where can I get birth control?
Where you get birth control depends on what method you eventually choose, although it should be noted that regardless of what method of birth control you decide on, it is still highly recommended that you consult with your gynecologist first so that you can get a licensed medical professional's opinion on what might be the best method for you-

Over The Counter
• Condoms
• Spermicides
• Sponges
• Emergency Contraception (If under 17, a prescription is needed)

Prescription
• Oral contraceptives (I.e the pill)
• Vaginal ring
• Skin patch
• Diaphragm (After a fitting with your physician)
• Shot/injection (Available at your physician's office)
• IUD (Inserted by a OB GYN)

Surgery/Medical Procedures
• Male or female sterilization

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Ultrasound FAQs

Ultrasound at Meridian OB/GYN follows the AIUM (American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine) guidelines and employs a registered (ARDMS) ultrasonographer who specializes in the field of obstetrics and gynecology. We have high-resolution ultrasound machines, including those with 3D/4D capabilities, and handheld "pocket" scanners for the doctors use during your visit. 3D & 4D imaging is used routinely during your scan as well as a large monitor so you and your family can better see the images. In addition to your medical needs, we also offer keepsake recording and pictures of your baby album.

How many ultrasounds do we get with our pregnancy?
In a normal singleton pregnancy you will receive two routine scans. The first will be for dating purposes and is usually done in the first 13 weeks. The second is done at 20 weeks. This exam is called a fetal survey or malformation screening. We check the baby from head to toe make sure that everything we can see is well formed. At this time we are usually able to tell you the sex if you wish to know. We always try to ask if you want to know before your scan for those folks who don’t. Please feel free to let us know your wishes at that time. We will make every attempt to make sure you don’t see the sex if you don’t wish to know.

These are generally the only ultrasounds that are allowed under most insurance plans, unless there is a complication or underlying medical condition, for example, twin pregnancy or for moms who have high blood pressure or diabetes.

What is NT (Nuchal Translucency) testing or first trimester screening?
Fetal screening for Down Syndrome (Trisomy 21) and Trisomy 18 is available in the first trimester. This involves a simple blood test at the lab and the ultrasound measurement of a small space on the back of the baby’s neck called the "nuchal translucency." This data is analyzed and gives you your risk for having a baby with these genetic malformations. It is important to realize that the test only tells you your risk. For example, your risk for having a baby with Down might come back as 1 in 10,000, or 1 in 500. If your risk is greater than 1 in 200 the screen is considered to be “positive”. This does not mean that your baby has the abnormal gene, only that it falls into a higher risk group. The only way to determine with 100% accuracy that your baby is affected is to have an amniocentesis, which is not performed in our office.

In the second trimester, usually between 15 & 19 weeks you will be offered a second blood test. It revises your risk for Trisomy 18 & 21 and also screens your baby for spina bifida and Smith-Lemli-Opitz Syndrome. The accuracy of the tests is increased because the first and second trimester results are taken together, or integrated. Some insurance companies will cover the cost of these tests, and some do not.

How soon can we find out the sex of the baby?
With rare exceptions we are unable to tell you the gender of the baby until the second trimester at the 20-week anatomy screen. We usually do not schedule this test before 20 weeks.

What is the difference between 4D ULTRASOUND and 3D ULTRASOUND images?
4D ULTRASOUNDS utilize 3D ULTRASOUND images, however, 4D ULTRASOUNDS add the element of time to the process, which results in live-action ULTRASOUND images of your baby. The 4th dimension is time. This means we are able to see the baby moving in 3D.

Do I need a full bladder for my obstetrical or gynecological ultrasound?
Generally you do not need a full bladder. For obstetrical scans we ask that you don’t empty your bladder until your scan is over. We can assess your cervix better if your bladder is somewhat full. Also, you will be leaving a urine specimen if you are seeing your doctor after your scan.

If you are not pregnant we will be scanning vaginally. We always scan vaginally for gynecological scans. The only exception is patient’s who have never been sexually active.

Can I still be scanned if I am on my period?
Yes, we are usually able to scan if you are menstruating. We frequently scan patient’s who are having bleeding issues. Just let us know you are bleeding when we take you into the room. If you are being seen for abnormal bleeding please try to schedule your pelvic ultrasound in the week just after your period ends. We are better able to assess the uterine lining at that time.

What is the difference between an ULTRASOUND and a Sonogram?
An ULTRASOUND is a test that allows you to see your baby during your pregnancy. A sonogram is the picture taken of your baby during the ULTRASOUND procedure.

Is a prenatal ULTRASOUND safe for me and my baby?
Numerous studies have shown that an ULTRASOUND is not harmful to either you or your baby. Unlike an x-ray test, an ULTRASOUND does not use radiation.

How should one prepare for an ULTRASOUND?
No special preparation is needed for an ULTRASOUND. However, some women are encouraged by their doctor to drink 4-6 glasses of water before the test, which, due to the expansion of your bladder, will aid in the visibility of the baby.

Will insurance pay for the ULTRASOUND?
An ULTRASOUND is usually covered under most insurance policies as long as the procedure is deemed to be medically necessary. If you are seeking an ULTRASOUND for reasons deemed to be non-essential, like for purposes of just finding out the sex of the baby, it is possible that your insurance company may not pay for the ULTRASOUND.

What are the primary reasons for performing the ULTRASOUND test?
the primary reasons for conducting the ULTRASOUND test includes dating of the pregnancy, checking for fetal viability, screening for genetic defects or anomalies, and ruling out ectopic pregnancy.

When is the best time to have an ULTRASOUND performed?
The ULTRASOUND can be performed at any point during pregnancy, depending on the results and information that is desired. Most women have an ULTRASOUND between 18-22 weeks.

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