Tag Archives: women’s health

7 Tips for Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby

If you are pregnant, you are likely getting advice from all corners. Hopefully you’re getting good advice from your doctor and nurses. And then everyone from your mother, sisters and friends to that person you just met in the check-out line at the grocery store may also want to chime in. You’ll likely see ads pop up in your Facebook feed to for what to do and not do during pregnancy. Probably some of this advice will conflict with what someone else says. So how do you sort it out?

Pregnant woman
If you are pregnant, you are likely getting advice from all corners. Here are 7 tips to help you sort it out and get you started toward having a healthy mom and a healthy baby.

Talking with your doctor or a nurse is a great place to begin. Be sure to have your list of questions ready when you go to an appointment. Or message your provider through MyChart.

Not seeing your doctor yet? Here are 7 tips to get you started toward having a healthy mom and a healthy baby:

  1. Start taking prenatal vitamins as soon as you find out you’re pregnant. If you haven’t yet established care with a physician to get started on these, First Care Clinic can get you going with your vitamins – free of charge.
  2. Contact your primary care doctor or an OB/GYN or nurse-midwife about establishing prenatal care as soon as possible. Early prenatal care will give you and your baby a great start.
  3. Be sure to get tested for STIs/STDs. This testing usually happens at your first prenatal visit. If you have not yet been tested, First Care Clinic can provide you with testing for STIs/STDs, free of charge. STDs in pregnancy can be dangerous to you and your baby. Both untreated gonorrhea and untreated chlamydia can increase the risk of miscarriage and preterm delivery. A baby that is born while the mother has an active gonorrhea infection can also develop blindness, joint infections or life threatening blood infections. Newborns exposed to chlamydia can get severe eye infections and pneumonia.
  4. Stop smoking, drinking alcohol or taking drugs. These can all be very dangerous to your baby, causing permanent damage. ACOG’s one page FAQ sheet provides an easy to read overview of the major risks associated with maternal smoking and alcohol and drug use. First Care Clinic offers programs to help women quit smoking and stop drinking alcohol.
  5. Establish a healthy diet. Your doctor or our clinic can help you to learn what is essential to be eating and avoiding during pregnancy. Here’s a good start about eating right during pregnancy.
  6. Be sure to get the vaccines recommended during pregnancy. (Yes, there are some vaccines you should get while pregnant.)
    Healthy mom, healthy baby
    Be sure to get the vaccines recommended during pregnancy. (Yes, there are some vaccines you should get while pregnant.) Photo by Julie Johnson on Unsplash.

    The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recently released a one-page immunization guide detailing which vaccines are recommended and which vaccines to avoid during pregnancy. It also lists some vaccines which may or may not be recommended depending on other risk factors. The two vaccines recommended for all women during pregnancy are:

    1. The influenza vaccine – Getting the flu shot during pregnancy protects you from getting the flu. It also makes less likely that your newborn will get the flu for several months after he or she is born. Pregnant women and newborns are at an increased risk for serious complications from the flu. Getting this vaccine is very important for the health of you and your baby.
    2. The Tdap vaccine (Tetanus, diphtheria and acellular pertussis). Pertussis, or whooping cough, can be very dangerous to newborns. About half of babies who get whooping cough end up in the hospital and some die of this life threatening disease. When you get vaccinated against whooping cough, it will help protect your baby from until he or she is old enough to get vaccinated.
  7. Healthy mom, healthy baby
    Following these seven tips will put you on your way to having a healthy mom and healthy baby. Photo by Andrae Ricketts on Unsplash.

    Learn all you can about pregnancy, nutrition, fetal development and preparation for delivery and birth. First Care Clinic offers more than 90 lessons on these topics and more. The sessions are designed to fit your busy schedule. You choose only the sessions you wish to take and schedule them when it is convenient for you. Contact us to get started.

Following these seven tips will put you on your way to having a healthy pregnancy. You’ll be on your way to having a healthy mom and a healthy baby. Please contact us for help with any of these so you can be prepared in pregnancy and beyond to be the best mom you can be.

No More Procrastinating! Take Control of Your Health

It’s so easy to put off things we know we “should” do.  It’s especially easy to just let the months and years go by without scheduling doctor appointments when we feel pretty much fine.

National Women's Health Week
Commit during Women’s Health Week to setting up an appointment to get the care you need to be the healthiest you.

But, it’s time to stop procrastinating. Take control of your health this Women’s Health Week and do what you need to do to be your healthiest self.

When is the last time you had a physical? If it’s been more than a year, it’s time.

If you are 21 years old or older, something high on your “to do” list should be getting a well woman’s exam and a pap smear. This exam will include a pap smear, pelvic exam and breast exam. These exams can detect abnormalities that may indicate breast cancer or cervical cancer.

Early detection can make all the difference in treating cervical cancer and breast cancer – so make time for yourself to visit a clinic for this appointment.

Wondering what’s recommended for you? If you’re sexually active you may also need STI screening, no matter your age. See detailed recommendations about STI screening and pap smears.

First Care Clinic provides pap smears that include pelvic exams and breast exams free of charge in Madison, Wisconsin. To schedule your pap smear/exam or to find out when you’re due to have one, call or text us at 608-259-1605.

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You may not think that it can happen to you – but it can. An abnormal result can make life feel more challenging for a time but finding out about it can also save your life.

Recently in our clinic, we’ve seen women whose pap results come back abnormal. This does not always mean cancer, but it often means that further testing is recommended.

Here’s one example of what can happen.

“Sherry” came to our clinic and had an abnormal pap result at our clinic. Our medical director personally reviewed Sherry’s case. Sherry’s result indicated that further testing was recommended.

Sherry was shocked and overwhelmed with many feelings. What do I do next? What does this mean? Where do I go from here? Can I afford further testing and whatever treatment is recommended?

Fortunately for Sherry, there is a clinic that can provide follow up testing free of charge. Our medical director referred Sherry to Share the Health Free Gynecology Clinic to get the testing she needed.

Now Sherry had her next step determined but she was still feeling overwhelmed. Sherry’s nurse spent time with Sherry. She helped answer Sherry’s questions and made sure Sherry understood her next steps. Sherry appreciated the support. The nurse followed up with Sherry by phone to check in and see how Sherry was doing.

We don’t yet know what Sherry’s long-term prognosis will be, but she is now getting the care that she needs.

No one wants to get the result that Sherry received, but delaying testing would only make Sherry’s prognosis worse.

If you have never had a pap smear and breast exam, or if it’s been several years, you may be overdue for your check-up. Commit during Women’s Health Week to setting up an appointment to get the care you need to be the healthiest you.

Call or text us today at 608-259-1605.

Request an Appointment

Find out more about cervical cancer and it’s prevention.

Read stories from women who are survivors of cervical cancer.

3 Tips to Enjoy – and Not Regret – Spring Break

Spring Break is just around the corner. Spring Break can be a time to relax, stop thinking about school for a few days and have fun. For some, it means going to a Florida beach and partying. Drinking and enjoying time with your friends or significant other might make for a few days of fun. But sometimes this fun has unintended consequences.

What if you come back from Spring Break with more than you bargained for? Maybe an STD or an unintended pregnancy.

With 20 million new sexually transmitted infections in the U.S. each year, this fateful scenario has become a reality for many students just like you.

But this doesn’t have to happen to you this Spring Break. Here are three things you can do to have a fun spring break that you won’t regret a few weeks later:

  1. Stay sober. Even if you enjoy a drink or two, knowing when to stop drinking helps you make sure that you are making the decisions you really want to make. When you’ve had more to drink, your inhibitions are down and it can be easy for you to do things you would not normally do. It also makes it easier for someone else to take advantage of you.
  2. Pre-decide your boundaries. Decide now, before you leave for Spring Break, what boundaries you want to maintain. It’s much easier to stick to a decision you made earlier – when your emotions and hormones were not involved – than to make your best decision in the heat of the moment. Check out 7 Reasons to Not Have Sex on Valentine’s Day. The same things are good to consider before Spring Break too.
  3. Stay safe. Stay with people you know and trust. Stay in groups of three to four or more people. Don’t let someone pressure you or talk you into going off with him alone.
Make it a Spring Break of no regrets.
Have fun with your friends and make this a Spring Break of no regrets.

Then relax, enjoy some warm weather and sun. Have fun with your friends and make it a Spring Break of no regrets.

To talk with someone confidentially, call or text First Care Clinic at 608‑259‑1605 or visit us online at firstcareclinic.org. If you’re concerned about your sexual health or just want to talk, contact us. Get in touch with First Care Clinic today to make your appointment for pregnancy testing or STI/STD testing and treatment for women. It’s free of charge.

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Meet Tanis, Clinic Director

This week is National Nurses Week, which is celebrated every year beginning on May 6 and ending on May 12, Florence Nightingale’s birthday.

During this week we would like to introduce you to our Clinic Director, Tanis Jean-Louis, RN.

When Tanis finished high school, she planned to become an interior designer, but her plans changed the next year when her family traveled to Haiti. While they were in Haiti, they visited a hospital that was vacant but was planning to reopen. In seeing the great need, Tanis decided then that she wanted to go back and work there. She began pursuing nursing.

Tanis graduated with her nursing degree in 1985 and has been practicing nursing for 32 years. Her first nursing job was in a neurosurgery critical care unit. After taking a course in international health, Tanis started doing outpost nursing serving Native populations at various outposts in northern Canada where she was the only medical staff person there so she treated all patients.

Tanis’s next road led to Haiti where she started and ran a community health program. And she assisted in the very hospital she had visited years earlier, working in labor and delivery and in OR.

Five years later, Tanis returned to her native Canada and later moved to the United States with her husband, who she met in Haiti. She has worked as a hospice nurse, in labor and delivery, in school nursing and as a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner.

Tanis began at Care Net in 2004 and brings a commendable dedication and excellence to her work. She is caring toward each of her patients. Her kind, professional manner and the time she will spend with an individual patient shows her commitment to their care.

Tanis is glad to be able to work in women’s health, using her vast experiences and nursing skills to care for women. Further, Tanis enjoys helping patients who are facing difficult life situations, “…like abuse and addictions – and seeing them change their lives around by the support they receive in our clinic.”

When Tanis is not working, she enjoys relaxing with her husband and bargain shopping.