There’s a dizzying array of health care information out there—some reliable, others not. As we head into 2020, you may be considering a list of resolutions to help you live a healthier life. Our Certified Nurse Midwives have some great tips and wonderful information to help you.
As the leading OBGYNs in Chapel Hill and Durham, we wanted to provide a list of some important health tips.
Top Women’s Health Tips from Our Certified Nurse Midwives
1. Don’t Diet
“Dieting” is actually counterproductive. Healthy eating is a lifelong endeavor, not a project that is geared to lose a few pounds in a short period of time. It’s important to eat nutritious meals of lean proteins, fiber and “good” fats.
Nutrition is especially important if you are pregnant or want to become pregnant.
“If you’re not sure where to begin, just speak with us,” said said Leigh Ann Joel, one of our Certified Nurse Midwives. “We’ll help you formulate a plan that will help you lose weight in the long-term by transforming the way you eat and the way you view nutrition.”
2. Get Enough Sleep
If you have a baby, this task may seem impossible, but it’s important that you understand how sleep affects your health.
In fact, Americans as a whole are sleep-deprived. Around 45 percent state that insufficient sleep affects their day-to-day activities at least once a week. (National Sleep Foundation) [link to:/https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/healthy-sleep-tips ]
Sleep deprivation can put you at risk for conditions such as obesity, cardiovascular disease and even Type 2 diabetes. (Harvard Medical School)
If you have a baby, consider letting family members or trusted friends help you so you can at least take a few “cat naps.”
Following are a few tips to help you get a better night’s sleep:
- Go to bed at the same time every night
- Stick to your sleep schedule, even on weekends
- Avoid screens just before going to bed—this means tablets, phones and computers
- Get regular exercise
- Drink peppermint tea
- Use lavender essential oils
- Get a massage
- Don’t worry about cleaning the house
3. Learn to Manage Your Stress
You’re juggling a busy schedule with a million things to do. Stress is almost inevitable. However, there are ways you can minimize anxiety and the effect stress has on your day-to-day life.
“Stress can lead to a lot of health-related problems,” said Stacie Diette, one of our Certified Nurse Midwives. “These include gastrointestinal distress, headaches, heart disease, and even depression.”
In addition, stress releases the hormone cortisol, which can contribute to obesity. (Mayo Clinic)
Meditation, exercise and getting enough sleep are things that can help you cope with stress.
If you’re still having trouble managing your anxiety, please speak with us. Your mental health is just as important to us as your physical health, and we’re here to help.
Of course, you know that exercise has fantastic benefits for your physical and mental health. It can reduce your risk of conditions such as heart disease, stroke and Type 2 diabetes. But were you aware that it can keep your brain healthy as you age?
Exercise causes your body to release chemicals that improve your brain’s structure and its functioning.
Exercise can also help you quit smoking, reduce your risk of falls and improve your sexual health. (U.S. National Library of Medicine)
5. Take Folic Acid
This vitamin is important for everyone, but if you’re planning to get pregnant or if you can get pregnant, it’s vital. Folic acid helps prevent birth defects of the fetal spine and nervous system. Ideally, you should take at least 400 micrograms a day.
Want to know more about folic acid? Take this quiz.
6. Don’t Skip Your Annual Exams
We understand. You’re busy. Between work and home, you have a million things to do, and often, your annual appointment can fall by the wayside. However, please remember that health care screenings are an important part of your overall health.
“Many uterine and cervical cancers are highly treatable when caught early, and that’s one reason why we want to check-in with our patients at least once a year, or more if they are exhibiting troublesome symptoms,” said said Amy Dixon, Certified Nurse Midwife.
7. Wash Your Hands
It sounds almost deceptively simple, yet washing your hands regularly is one of the most important aspects of staying healthy. It’s particularly important to wash your hands if you’re caring for or you have been around someone who is sick.
If you use hand sanitizer, realize that it must be at least 60 percent alcohol in order to clean your hands effectively.
8. Regularly Check for Breast Cancer
This is one of the most common cancers among women. It’s also a leading cause of cancer deaths. In addition to a clinical breast exam, we suggest getting a mammogram in addition to regular self-exams.
“How often you should get a mammogram depends upon your age and your overall risk. If you have any symptoms of breast cancer or changes in your breast, you should schedule an appointment with us as soon as possible,” said Mary Ellen Lowry, CNM, CLC.
9. Practice Safety When it Comes to Medication
This health tip is threefold:
First, make sure you’re taking your medication as directed. If you have any questions, contact your doctor.
Second, be sure that your health care provider is aware of any supplements, herbal or natural remedies you are taking. In some cases, these can cause interactions with prescription or over-the-counter medications. Be sure to read labels carefully.
Third, if you have young children, it’s vitally important that your medications are kept in a safe place. While childproof lids help, be aware that some natural products or supplements may not have them. These can be harmful to children if taken in large doses.
10. Make a List of Questions for Us
We’re partners in your health, and as the area’s provider of choice, we provide much more than reproductive services. We offer well-woman exams, help with painful periods and treatment for conditions such as vaginitis.
“We want you to feel free to ask us any questions about your health. So go ahead and make a list of things that are concerning you and ask us,” said Jen Oxley, CNM. “We want you to get the most out of your appointment, and we never want you to be embarrassed. We always have time to answer your questions.”
Discover a Better Way Toward a Healthier Life with Our OBGYNs in Chapel Hill and Durham
Schedule an appointment with us today—many times we can fit you in within two weeks after your call. See why we’re the trusted OBGYNs in the area.
For more than 40 years, Chapel Hill OBGYN has served women in the Triangle area, sharing the joy of little miracles and supporting them during challenges. Our board-certified physicians and certified nurse midwives bring together the personal experience and convenience of a private practice with the state-of-the-art resources found at larger organizations. To schedule an appointment, please contact us for more information.