Breast cancer affects a significant number of women each year. It is the second-most-common cancer, and the second-leading cause of cancer death, among women. Most breast cancers are slow-growing, but there are types that are aggressive, which is why early detection is essential. Regular screenings are the best way to detect breast cancer in its early stages. The most common screenings are mammograms and doctor-performed clinical breast exams.
Breast exams are physical and visual inspections of the breasts. They are an important part of an OBGYN checkup because breast exams can help identify any unusual lumps or suspicious growths around the breasts. In addition, a doctor can teach a patient how to perform these exams at home every month in order to recognize any changes on their own breasts. Breast exams can be a very useful tool for the early diagnosis of breast cancer.
A balanced diet is essential to maintaining a healthy pregnancy. It can prevent excessive weight gain, and keep gestational diabetes and high blood pressure (preeclampsia) from developing. Every expectant mother can benefit from following a diet that provides her with sufficient nutrients, vitamins and minerals, and her baby will benefit as well.
Breast-feeding (nursing) allows a new mother to feed her infant directly from her breasts. Ideally, an infant will nurse and get milk directly from the mother’s nipple but, when that is not possible, milk can be expressed (pumped) from the breast and fed to the infant in a bottle. Breast-feeding provides an infant with essential vitamins, protein and fat, as well as antibodies that help the immune system fight off bacteria and viruses. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), if physically possible, women should exclusively breast-feed their infants for at least the first 6 months of life.
Breastfeeding is a natural and healthy process that provides advantages to both baby and mother. Many new mothers have difficulty adjusting to breastfeeding, however, and may benefit from a lactation consultation. A lactation consultation can help the mother fully understand the breastfeeding process and troubleshoot any problems, pain or confusion she may have.
Although any pregnancy has the potential of complications, one defined as “high risk” is more likely to have complications that potentially threaten the health of both the mother and fetus, so requires a greater level of attention and monitoring. A high-risk pregnancy increases a baby’s chances for health and developmental problems at birth and beyond.
As her due date approaches, an expectant mother often looks for signs that her labor is starting. It is important for a woman to be aware of the changes that her body is going through as it prepares for labor, and what to expect when the labor process begins. If a woman suspects that she is in labor, she should contact her doctor or midwife immediately.