Pinterest Facebook Twitter Google Plus Youtube
Northbrook/Northern Suburbs



Food Safety for Pregnant Women

Your Prenatal Care at a Glance

Doctor’s Visits

      • At the initial visit, a complete history and physical will be obtained. You will then receive detailed information and counseling. Your partner is welcome to attend this and all other visits.
      • Follow-up visits are generally every 4 weeks. At these visits, your weight, blood pressure and urine specimen will be checked for glucose and protein. The baby’s heart tones, size and growth will also be checked.

Routine Labs

      • At the initial visit, routine prenatal labs will be done as well as an ultrasound, if necessary.
      • At approximately 16 weeks, blood will be drawn for the triple screen test, which determines if your baby is at risk for Down’s syndrome or neural tube defects.

Special Tests

      • Genetic testing will be offered if your ethnic origin is Ashkenazi Jewish or Northern European. Hemoglobin testing will be offered if your ethnic origin is Mediterranean or African American.
      • First Trimester Screening is a new test which can better determine if your baby is at risk for Down’s syndrome. For more information, ask your physician.
      • If you are going to be 35 years or older at the time of delivery or have a family history of certain genetic diseases, a CVS or amniocentesis will be offered.

Things You Should Do Now

      • Eat small, frequent and bland meals to help with morning sickness. Avoid shellfish, soft cheeses and raw fish/meats. You can expect to gain up to approximately 1 pound per week.
      • Take your prenatal vitamins daily and drink plenty of fluids. Avoid medications, alcohol and caffeine, exposure to paint and household chemicals, saunas, hot tubs, and changing kitty litter.
      • Try to maintain an exercise routine that is right for you. It can help with back pain, insomnia, circulation and weight gain.
      • Call the office (312) 726-3917 if you experience vaginal bleeding, abdominal pains that do not go away with rest, painful urination, chills, fever, persistent vomiting or abnormal vaginal discharge (watery or tinged with blood or mucous)



Doctor’s Visits

      • Follow-up visits are generally every 4 weeks. At these visits, your weight, blood pressure and urine specimen will be checked. The baby’s heart tones, size and growth will also be checked.

Routine Labs

      • Screening ultrasound is done around 20 weeks to examine fetal growth and anatomy. At this visit, the baby’s sex may be determined.
      • A glucose tolerance test will be done between 24 and 28 weeks to determine if you have gestational diabetes.

Special Tests

      • Amniocentesis is a test which will be offered if your baby is at risk for birth defects. It involves removing a small sample of fluid from around the baby for chromosomal analysis.
      • Flu vaccines are recommended during flu season. Ask your physician how you can obtain them.

Things You Should Do Now

      • Continue to take your prenatal vitamins daily. Also, be sure you are consuming enough calcium (at least 1200 mg daily). Over the counter medications, which are safe for common problems are listed in the below section, titled; Over-the-counter medications.
      • Register for prenatal classes and send in registration paperwork to the hospital. Some good basic prenatal classes are Great Expectations, Infant CPR and Breast-feeding.
      • Choose a pediatrician and shop for the baby.
      • Call the office if you experience vaginal bleeding, abdominal pains that do not go away with rest, painful urination, chills, fever, persistent vomiting or abnormal vaginal discharge (watery or tinged with blood or mucous).
      • Some signs of pre-term labor can be more than 4 uterine contractions in one hour, low backache or pelvic pressure, abdominal or “menstrual” cramps. Be sure to call the office if you experience any of these symptoms.
      • Pre-register with the hospital using the below link or by phone at (312) 926-3612.



Doctor’s Visits

      • Routine visits are generally every 1-2 weeks. At these visits, your blood pressure, weight and urine specimen will be checked. The baby’s heart tones, size and growth will also be checked. A vaginal exam may also be performed.

Routine Labs

      • Group B Streptococcus is a vaginal culture done between 35 and 36 weeks to determine if you are a carrier and will need antibiotics in labor.
      • Hematocrit is a blood test done to determine if you are anemic and will need more iron before delivery.
      • Non-stress test is monitoring the baby’s heart rate which may be done between 40 and 42 weeks to ensure the baby is doing well, if you progress past your due date. An ultrasound may also be performed at that time.

Special Tests

      • Rhogam is an injection given around 28 weeks if your blood type is Rh- to prevent hemolytic disease in future pregnancies.

Things You Should Do Now

    • Some signs to be careful of are severe or continuous headaches, blurred vision, swelling of your hands or face and decreased fetal movement. Be sure to call the office if you experience any of these symptoms.
    • Signs of labor include painful contractions, which are regular and progressively closer together and last for at least 30 seconds, bloody show (mucous mixed with blood) or leakage of amniotic fluid.
    • When you think you are in labor call the office first (312) 726-3917. If you are told to go to the hospital, go to the 5th floor of Prentice Women’s Hospital at 250 E. Superior Street. At that point, you should not eat a heavy meal.
    • If you have concerns regarding fetal movement, you should call the office.

First prenatal visit

    Take a tour of the labor and delivery and postpartum floors of Prentice Women’s Hospital. Tours are offered on the following days:
    • Mondays at 7 p.m.
    • Wednesdays at 2 p.m.
    • The first and third Saturday of every month at 10 a.m. and 11 a.m.

    Effective April 1, 2013, you must now register to attend one of the expectant parent tours, as groups will now be limited to no more than 20 attendees per group.
    Please click on the link below to begin registration, or you may call 312-926-8400 to speak directly to Northwestern Memorial Hospital representatives.

Genetic testing

  • Understanding Genetic Testing
    Why are some genetic conditions more common in particular ethnic groups?

    • Some genetic disorders are more likely to occur among people who trace their ancestry to a particular geographic area. People in an ethnic group often share certain versions of their genes, which have been passed down from common ancestors. If one of these shared genes contains a disease-causing mutation, a particular genetic disorder may be more frequently seen in the group.
    • Examples of genetic conditions that are more common in particular ethnic groups are sickle cell anemia, which is more common in people of African, African-American, or Mediterranean heritage; and Tay-Sachs disease, which is more likely to occur among people of Ashkenazi (eastern and central European) Jewish or French Canadian ancestry. It is important to note, however, that these disorders can occur in any ethnic group.

    What is Bloom Syndrome?

    • Bloom syndrome is an inherited disorder characterized by a short and thin stature, sun-sensitive skin changes, and an increased risk of any of the cancers found in the general population. Cancers in people with Bloom syndrome arise unusually early in life, and affected individuals often develop more than one type of cancer.
    • Other complications of this disease are learning disabilities, an increased risk of diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and recurrent infections of the upper respiratory tract, ears, and lungs during pregnancy. Men with Bloom syndrome usually do not produce sperm, and as a result are unable to father children (infertile). Women with the disorder generally have reduced fertility and experience menopause earlier than usual.

    What is Canavan Disease?

    • Canavan disease is an inherited disorder that causes progressive damage to nerve cells in the brain by degeneration of myelin, which is the fatty covering that insulates nerve fibers. The signs and symptoms of this disease usually begin in early infancy; however, the course of the condition can be quite variable. Infants with Canavan disease typically appear normal for the first few months of life. By age 3 to 5 months, affected infants begin having problems with development, including a delay in motor skills such as turning over, controlling head movement, and sitting without support. These infants typically also have weak muscle tone, unusually large head size, abnormal posture, and intellectual disability. Feeding and swallowing difficulties, seizures, and sleep disturbances may also develop. The life expectancy for people with Canavan disease varies. Most affected individuals live only into childhood, although some survive into adolescence and beyond.

    What is Familial Dysautonomia?

    • Familial dysautonomia is a genetic disorder that affects the development and survival of certain nerve cells. The disorder disturbs the cells in the autonomic nervous system, which controls involuntary actions such as digestion, breathing, production of tears, and the regulation of blood pressure and body temperature. The disorder also affects the sensory nervous system, which controls activities related to the senses, such as taste and the perception of pain, heat and cold?
    • Problems related to this disorder first appear during infancy. Early signs and symptoms include poor muscle tone, feeding difficulties, poor growth, lack of tears, frequent lung infections, and difficulty maintaining body temperature. Older infants and young children with familial dysautonomia may hold their breath for prolonged periods of time, which may cause a bluish appearance of the skin or lips (cyanosis) or fainting. The breath-holding behavior usually stops by age 6. Developmental milestones, such as walking and speech, are usually delayed, although some affected individuals show no signs of developmental delay.
    • Additional signs and symptoms in school-age children include bed wetting, episodes of vomiting, reduced sensitivity to temperature changes and pain, poor balance, abnormal curvature of the spine (scoliosis), poor bone quality and increased risk of bone fractures, and kidney and heart problems. Affected individuals also have poor regulation of blood pressure. They may experience a sharp drop in blood pressure upon standing, which can cause dizziness, blurred vision, or fainting. They can also have episodes of high blood pressure when nervous or excited, or during vomiting incidents. About one-third of children with familial dysautonomia have learning disabilities, such as short attention span that require special education classes. By adulthood, affected individuals often have increasing difficulties with balance and walking unaided. Other problems that may appear in adolescence or early adulthood include lung damage due to repeated infections, impaired kidney function, and worsening vision due to the shrinking size of optic nerves, which carry information from the eyes to the brain.

    What is Gaucher disease?

    • Gaucher disease is an inherited disorder that affects many of the body’s organs and tissues. The signs and symptoms of this condition vary widely among affected individuals. Researchers have described several types of Gaucher disease based on their characteristic features.
    • Type 1 Gaucher disease is the most common form of this condition. Type 1 is also called non-neuropathic Gaucher disease because the brain and spinal cord (the central nervous system) are usually not affected. The features of this condition range from mild to severe and may appear anytime from childhood to adulthood. Major signs and symptoms include enlargement of the liver and spleen, a low number of red blood cells (anemia), easy bruising caused by a decrease in blood platelets, ling disease, and bone abnormalities such as bone pain, fractures, and arthritis.
    • Types 2 and 3 Gaucher diseases are known as neuropathic forms of the disorder because they are characterized by problems that affect the central nervous system. In addition to the signs and symptoms described above, these conditions can cause abnormal eye movements, seizures, and brain damage. Type 2 Gaucher disease usually cause life-threatening medical problems beginning in infancy. Type 3 Gaucher disease also affects the nervous system, but tends to progress more slowly than Type 2.

    What is Spinal Muscular Atrophy?

    • Spinal muscular atrophy is a disorder that affects the control of muscle movement. It is caused by a loss of specialized nerve cells, called motor neurons, in the spinal cord and the part of the brain that is connected to the spinal cord (the brainstem). The loss of motor neurons leads to weakness and wasting (atrophy) of muscles used for activities such as crawling, walking, sitting up, and controlling head movement. In severe cases of spinal muscular atrophy, the muscles used for breathing and swallowing are affected. Spinal muscular atrophy is divided into subtypes based on the severity of the disease and the age when symptoms appear.
    • Four types of spinal muscular atrophy affect children before the age of 1. Type 1 spinal muscular atrophy (also called Werdnig-Hoffman disease) is a severe form of the disorder that is evident at birth or within the first few months of life. Typically, affected infants have difficulty breathing and swallowing and are unable to sit without support.
    • Type II spinal muscular atrophy is characterized by muscle weakness that develops in children between ages 6 and 12 months. Children with type II can sit without support, although they cannot stand or walk unaided.
    • X-linked infantile spinal muscular atrophy has features that are very similar to Type I, except that children with this type are typically born with joint deformities that impair movement. In severe cases, affected infants are born with broken bones. Poor muscle tone before birth may contribute to the contractures and broken bones seen in these children.
    • The fourth type of spinal muscular atrophy that appears in infancy is called distal spinal muscular atrophy type 1. This form of the disorder is characterized by progressive muscle weakness in the hands and feet that eventually spreads to the limbs. Affected individuals also develop paralysis of the muscles that separate the abdomen from the chest cavity (the diaphragm), which leads to respiratory failure. The signs and symptoms of distal spinal muscular atrophy type 1 typically appear between ages 6 weeks and 6 months. Rarely, people with this condition do not show symptoms until late childhood or adolescence.
    • Three other types of spinal muscular atrophy can affect people in early childhood and adulthood. Type III spinal muscular atrophy (also called Kugelberg-Welander disease or juvenile type) is a milder form of the disorder than types I and II, or the X-linked form. Symptoms appear between early childhood and early adulthood. Individuals with type III spinal muscular atrophy can stand and walk unaided, but usually lose this ability later in life. Two types of spinal muscular atrophy, type IV and Finkel type usually occur after age 30. Symptoms of these adult-onset types of spinal muscular atrophy are typically mild to moderate and include muscle weakness, tremors and twitching.
  • Genetic Counseling
  • Screening for Birth Defects
  • Genetic Disorders
  • Cystic Fibrosis: Prenatal Screening and Diagnosis
  • Later Childbearing


Gestational diabetes screening


Over-the-counter medications

Over the Counter Medications for Pregnant and Breastfeeding Women

The following medications are available over-the-counter and may be safely taken after 12 weeks gestation. The medications that are known to be safe while breastfeeding, are underlined. Follow the directions on the container and the precautions stated below.

    Acetaminophen (Tylenol)

    • Use for mild headaches and/or aches and pains. Call your doctor if symptoms become severe and/or persistent.

    Sudafed, Afrin or Ocean Mist Nasal Spray

    • Use for nasal congestion due to a cold, sinusitis or allergies. Call your doctor if your symptoms do not get better within 5 days. Do not use this medication for more than 5 days.

    Robitussion (Guafenesin) or other non-alcoholic cough syrup

    • Use for a cough due to minor throat irritations. Call your doctor if symptoms persist for more than a week.

    Chloraseptic or other lozenges that are alcohol-free

    • Use for a sore throat. Call your doctor if symptoms become severe and last for more than a week.


    • Use for mild to moderate diarrhea. Call your doctor if symptoms become severe, bloody, are accompanied by a fever and last for more than 2 days.

    Metamucil or Citrucel, Milk of Magnesium, Colace

    • Use for constipation. Call your doctor if you are severely straining.

    Maalox, Mylanta, Tums or Rolaids

    • Use for heartburn. Call your doctor if medication does not provide relief from symptoms.

    Gas-X (Simethicone), or Gelusil

    • Use for gas.

    Chilled Witch Hazel Packs, Sitz Baths, Anusol HC Cream

    • Use for hemorrhoids.

    Vitamin B6 50-100 mg/day, Ginger Root Tea, Bio Bands or Sea Bands

    • Use for morning sickness.
  • Pregnancy and medicines fact sheet
  • 10 over-the-counter drugs to avoid during pregnancy

Pregnancy and Oral Health

You need to be concerned about oral health during pregnancy in order to protect your own well-being and that of your child.

Why is good oral hygiene necessary?

  • Good oral hygiene is even more important when you are pregnant because tooth and gum problems are more likely to occur during pregnancy and good oral hygiene can lessen and prevent such problems.

How to maintain good oral hygiene.

  • Proper nutrition is crucial for your own good health as well as for the development of your baby’s teeth. The tooth buds develop during the 3rd through 6th month of your pregnancy and a balanced diet will ensure that your baby receives the nutrients necessary for proper tooth formation. You should limit sugar-rich foods and take your prenatal vitamins and adequate calcium.
  • Regular visits to your dentist are important. He/she will address any problems, which exist and reinforce proper oral hygiene techniques. Brushing and flossing are as important now as they were before. You should do both after all meals and snacks to prevent build-up of plaque: a thin, sticky, invisible layer of harmful bacteria that constantly forms on your teeth. If you experience nausea after brushing during the first trimester, you may try using a mixture of baking soda and water instead of toothpaste. You can also try to clean between your teeth with a toothpick until you can floss again.

Pregnancy Gingivitis

  • Because of a rise in hormone levels during pregnancy, gums may become over sensitive and especially irritated by plaque causing them to be red and puffy and to bleed easily. Thoroughly brushing and flossing will remove plaque and a balanced diet will help keep your gums healthy.

Dental Procedures

  • If possible, dental procedures other than regular cleaning should wait until after your baby is born. If your dentist feels that a specific dental procedure is necessary; however, it is generally safe to proceed. It is best to avoid procedures requiring anesthetics during the first trimester. If you require an anesthetic or antibiotics, it may be a good idea for your dentist and your physician to consult on any proposed treatment. Also be sure to tell your dentist about any medications you are taking, even aspirin.
  • Although radiation exposure from a single x-ray is very slight, only those x-rays essential for proper diagnosis in an emergency such as pain or swelling should be taken. Be sure your abdomen is shielded with a lead apron during such an x-ray.

Problems during pregnancy

Common Discomforts of Pregnancy

Pregnancy is associated with a few common problems related to hormonal changes and the growing baby. The following are suggestions to help you deal with these discomforts. If, however, at any time you have questions, you may call the office and speak to your physician.

    Nausea and Vomiting

    • Before getting out of bed, eat a few crackers, a handful of dry cereal, or a piece of bread. These can be placed at the bedside the night before.
    • Try to eat at least every 2 hours.
    • Eat small frequent meals and avoid long periods without food.
    • Drink plenty of fluids.
    • Avoid large, heavy meals. Do not recline after meals.
    • Avoid greasy, fried foods.
    • Eat lightly seasoned foods; avoid a lot of pepper, garlic, chili powder, etc.


    • Eat small frequent meals and avoid highly spiced foods.
    • Do not recline immediately after meals.
    • If it is severe, your doctor may recommend an antacid (Tums or Mylanta) or other medications.


    • Eat foods high in fiber such as bran, whole grains, nuts, beans, dark green leafy vegetables (lettuce, endive, cabbage), fresh and dried fruit (prunes, apples, raisins or apricots).
    • Drink large amounts of water (greater than 8 glasses a day) between meals.
    • Add Metamucil, Citrucel, Fibercon, or Colace tablets to your daily regimen if necessary.
    • DO NOT use enemas, laxatives, or other drugs without consulting your doctor.


    • Take lukewarm baths in 3-4 inches of water.
    • Relief may also be obtained with Tucks pads or Anusol cream.

    Leg Cramps

    • Stretching exercises can help prevent leg cramps.
    • For immediate relief, sharply flex your foot pointing your toes toward face until the cramp goes away.
    • Massage and heat may also help.
    • Make sure you are taking at least 1200 mg of calcium daily plus one serving of potassium containing foods (i.e. bananas or dried fruit).


    • Always concentrate on standing up straight, pulling your abdominal muscles in and pushing your shoulders back.
    • Periodic rest, back rubs and heat also help.

    Vaginal Discharge

    • This is normal (if it is white) in pregnancy due to the increase in hormones.
    • If you experience severe itching, burning, or leakage of clear fluid, notify your doctor.

    Urinary Frequency

    • Early and late in pregnancy, you go to the bathroom more often because the baby and uterus are pressing on your bladder. This is normal. Try not to drink a lot of liquids two hours or less before bedtime.

    Varicose Veins

    • These are common. You may be able to prevent varicose veins by putting your legs up as often as possible and wearing support hose.
  • Morning Sickness
  • Bleeding During Pregnancy
  • Early Preterm Birth
  • Preterm Labor
  • High Blood Pressure During Pregnancy
  • Skin Conditions During Pregnancy
  • Easing Back Pain During Pregnancy

Twins and multiples

Preparing for delivery

Northwestern Memorial Hospital and other major medical centers have recently changed their policy regarding photography and videotaping in Labor and Delivery. This change has obviously been precipitated by the malpractice climate, where taped content from deliveries have been edited or taken out of context in attempts to create litigation.Photographing and videotaping of patients in Labor and Delivery may be conducted before and after delivery of the infant. The following may not be photographed or videotaped:

  • Any procedure before, during or after the delivery, including but not limited to epidural placement and episiotomy repair.
  • Delivery of the infant.
  • Evaluation or resuscitation of the infant.

We apologize for the inconvenience to you, but we will support the hospital policy.

    Instructions for the final weeks of pregnancy:

    You are now entering the last few weeks of your pregnancy. Your condition is no different now than it was a week ago. Therefore, you may continue everything you have been doing as long as it is comfortable, safe and desirable. This includes activities such as sexual intercourse and bathing.It is important for you to know where and when to call with regard to going to the hospital. Always call the office number, (312) 726-3917. There is a 24-hour service for the telephone. One of our group is always available to meet your needs.

    What You Should Call About:

    1. Severe headaches or visual disturbances.
    2. Severe and unusual abdominal pain
    3. Vaginal bleeding; unless it is spotting after intercourse, a pelvic examination, or bloody show (mucous mixed with blood)
    4. Rupture of the membranes (water bag)
    5. Contractions: With a first baby, it is generally safe to wait until the contractions are 30-40 second in duration, occurring every 5 minutes for approximately 1 hour. You will be informed by your physician if unusual circumstance require a change in this procedure. If this is a second or subsequent pregnancy, your examining physician will advise you when to call.
    6. ONCE LABOR STARTS, DO NOT EAT SOLID FOODS. You may continue to drink liquids in early labor. This is for your protection in case a general anesthetic is needed in an emergency situation.
  • How to Tell When Labor Begins
  • Labor Induction
  • Group B Streptococcus and Pregnancy
  • Cord Blood Banking
  • If Your Baby is Breech
  • What to Expect After Your Due Date
  • Special Tests for Monitoring Fetal Health

Cesarean section


  • Postpartum Guidelines

    General information

    • Spend the first week as if you were still in the hospital. Take care of yourself and the baby.
    • Don’t lift anything heavier than the baby.
    • Take a nap everyday.
    • Eat and drink well. Your weight will gradually decline.
    • Do the Kegel exercises (see below) 10 times four times a day.
    • Limit your visitors during the first two weeks. This is the time for you and your husband to get acquainted with your new child.

    Follow-up care

    • Call the office to schedule an appointment for 6 weeks after delivery. If you had a C-Section, you need a visit in 2 weeks and in 6 weeks.

    Vaginal Bleeding & Discharge

    • It is normal to have some vaginal bleeding for up to 6 – 8 weeks after delivery. You may expect some increased bleeding when you go home because you are likely to be more active than you have been in the hospital.
    • Report to the office if you soak a pad in 1 hour or if you pass clots larger than a plum. Report any foul smelling discharge. Do not put anything in the vagina for 6 weeks, any tampons or intercourse. Call if you have a temperature 100.5 or greater.

    Episiotomy Care

    • We recommend warm tub baths (sitz baths) 2 – 3 times each day until the area feels more comfortable (for about 2 weeks). Continue to use your spray bottle after you go to the bathroom.
    • Report any worsening pain, drainage of pus, or separation of the stitches.

    Inclusion Care for C-Section

    • You may shower and clean the incision with water, but don’t scrub the incision. You will usually have steri strips on the incision, you may remove them on week if they haven’t fallen off.
    • Please call if you notice redness around the incision, drainage, excessive pain, or separation of the incision.


    • Breast-feeding moms may experience some difficulty with breast-feeding for the first 2 weeks. The Prentice lactation consultants are very helpful and may be contacted by calling (312) 472-3755. For sore or cracked nipples, you may rub the colostrum or breast milk on the nipples after feeding and let air-dry.
    • Rest and limiting visitors are important because you will be up for all the a baby’s feeding. Remember, a newborn nursing infant will nurse approximately every two to three hours for the first few weeks.
    • Drink to satisfy thirst. Your choice of drinks should depend upon your preference. You do not have to drink milk to make milk.
    • Your diet should be varied – a lot of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and meat. Try to avoid empty calories such as are found in junk foods, soda, and higher sugar foods. You need 1200 mg of Calcium daily. Alcohol and caffeine are OK in moderation.
    • You will know the baby is getting enough if he/she has 3-4 wet diapers with 1-2 bowel movements during the first 5 days. After five days the wet diapers should increase to 6-8 wet ones with 1-2 bowel movements. Baby may have more than this amount. If less than the above, call the pediatrician’s office right away.
    • Engorgement usually occurs between day 2 and 5 after birth. This is when your milk comes in. Apply hot compresses every 3 -4 hours during the day, for three days.
    • Report to the office if any red, hot, tender area on the breast. This is often associated with a fever. Report any new lumps of masses.


    • Bottle-feeding moms should begin wearing a tight fitting bra (e.g., a sports bra) after delivery. Your breasts will become engorged 2 -5 days after delivery. You may take pain medication which is prescribed, or Tylenol. Ice packs also help soothe the pain. Usually the engorgement improves within 48 hours.


    • You may walk and take a short walks after delivery and you may drive a car 2 weeks after delivery if you had a C-section and are not too exhausted. Be careful not to drive as long as you are taking prescription pain medication. Do not resume your exercise program for 6 weeks.
    • If you have had a cesarean, do not lift anything heavier than your baby for 6 weeks.


    • Continue to take your prenatal vitamins until your 6-week check-up. If you are breast-feeding, continue to take your prenatal vitamins until you stop breast-feeding. For pain you may use Tylenol, ibuprofen, or your prescription pain medication. For constipation, you may increase fiber in your diet or use a fiber product. You may also wish to use Colace, an over the counter stool softener, at least until you have had your first bowel movement. Please not that your prescription pain medication may be more constipating than Tylenol or ibuprofen.

    Birth control

    • You will need to discuss birth control prior to your postpartum visit, as it will be brought up at your appointment. Please remember that breast-feeding is not a birth control method.

    Kegel Exercises

      The following exercises were developed to improve urinary control. These exercises can help strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor. The muscles of the pelvic floor support the bladder and uterus. These muscles extend around the tube through which urine is passed (the urethra). These muscles become weakened by vaginal delivery and by the aging process. Performing these exercises will help prevent the loss of urine and prolapse of the uterus.To help in identifying these muscles, try to “hold urine” or prevent the “passage of gas”. The easiest way to gain awareness that the proper muscles are being used is to stop stream of urine while you are urinating. Try releasing the muscles and allow the flow of urine again, then, contract the muscles to stop the flow. This is just to help you identify the muscles and to get used to the sensation of the contraction, this should not be used as a form of exercise. After you have identified the muscles and the sensation that contracting these muscles create, you can do these exercises anywhere.

      • Contract the muscles and hold- remember the sensation of like pulling everything “up inside” and not “pushing down.”
      • Count “one thousand and one” (one second), “one thousand and two (two seconds), until you are unable to hold contraction. Rest for 5 to 10 seconds and then start again. Repeat this 10 times. With practice, you should be able to sustain the contraction for up to 10 seconds.
      • Perform one set of 10 exercises at least 3 times a day. As you become more proficient try to perform one set of 10 exercises each hour while you are awake. Remember that these muscles are like muscles in your arms and legs and that if they are not exercised they will lose tone and strength.
      • Improvement should be evident after 5 – 6 weeks if the exercises have been performed regularly.

      As the muscles become stronger and control has been achieved, the strength of the muscles can be maintained by doing one set of 10 exercises 2 – 3 times a week. Make these exercises a part of your daily routine. Kegel exercises are a good health habit that will reward you all of your life.
  • Breastfeeding Your Baby
  • Newborn Circumcision
  • Car Safety for You and Your Baby
  • Postpartum Depression
  • Getting in Shape After Your Baby is Born

Physical Therapy

    Postpartum Recovery

    The excitement of new motherhood can sometimes be overshadowed by issues during the postpartum period. Our physical therapists are here to help with a variety of issues to help you achieve full recovery. We offer help for the following issues:

    • Incontinence
    • Diastasis Recti
    • Scar Management
    • Back/Pelvic Pain
    What to Expect

    Your Physical Therapy appointments will last about one hour. Your first appointment will be for the initial evaluation. During this session, the therapist will interview you about your condition and then perform a physical evaluation that pertains to your condition. Based on the evaluation, your therapist will perform treatment, instruct you in an exercise program, and make recommendations for follow-up appointments.
    What is Treatment Like?

    Treatment is based on the patient’s diagnosis as well as their individual needs. As some conditions may require more intimate treatment techniques, our therapists are very sensitive to patient modesty and will explain everything prior to beginning treatment. Treatment techniques may include:

    • Massage or soft tissue work
    • Biofeedback
    • Exercise Instruction
    • Behavioral Modification
    • Body Mechanics Instruction
    Making an Appointment

    Once it has been decided that you are in need of Physical Therapy, your physician will write a prescription. You can schedule your first visit through your physician’s secretary or at the checkout desk.

Click here to learn more about the physical therapy services offered by The Association for Women’s Healthcare