4 Tips for Juggling a New Baby and Business

If you are planning to launch a new business and are also expecting a baby, you certainly have your hands full. Know that you are not alone and that with hard work and organization, you can pull it off. Today, Southwest Contemporary Women’s Care shares four simple tips that will help you through this hectic phase of your life.

1. Create a Routine and Stick With It

Having a new baby is thrilling but also a lot of work. To also start a company at this time, you need to have a routine. Once the baby is awake, it will likely be difficult for you to get ready for the day. So it’s wise to wake before your bundle of joy does and savor a cup of coffee, shower, and try to gather everything you and baby need before leaving the house. If you share parental duties with your partner, try creating a chart illustrating who will take which responsibilities. This helps prevent clashes about daily tasks while rushing around first thing in the morning. It also avoids the scenario of arriving at daycare with no bottles or formula because each parent thought the other had taken care of it.

A 2018 study found that bedtimes are also crucial to child development, so be sure to establish a solid nighttime routine as well for your baby and yourself as well. It’s also important to add a few key items to your wardrobe that help you transition from mom to entrepreneur. You want to be comfortable, but also look professional in case of a video meeting. Find some simple nursing shirts and blouses that will allow you to switch between roles without missing a beat.

Ensure you find the time to eat right and get a little exercise to keep yourself energetic as you juggle parenthood and entrepreneurship. Walking or jogging with your infant in the stroller is a great way to spend time together and stay healthy.

2. Find a Reliable Babysitter

Finding a good babysitter often starts close to home. Ask people you know and trust if they can recommend a good sitter or nanny to help you with your infant. You can also use websites to help you find responsible caregivers in your local area. Questions to ask potential candidates include:

• How much experience do you have working with infants?
• Do you have children?
• Is childcare a long-term career for you?
• Are you willing to tidy up my home?
• What is your hourly rate?
• Are you willing to stay overnight on occasion? What is your rate for this?
• Do you have a driver’s license and are you comfortable driving the baby?
• Are you CPR certified?

3. Take Advantage of Available Technology

If you cannot be with your precious newborn every second of the day, you can have the next best thing by equipping yourself with modern gadgets. From apps to monitors and oxygen-level measuring tools, there are plenty of tools that let you stay connected to your baby even when you are not under the same roof.

Using technology won’t just help you with the baby. Look online for accounting software, social marketing tools, cloud-based team platforms, and more! You’ll even find programs to help. For instance, you can create customized invoices for free using this program. Simply find a style that you like and that suits your business. Then download, edit, and you’re ready to go!

4. Form a Limited Liability Company

Forming a limited liability company protects entrepreneurs from becoming personally liable for business-related debt. In addition, operating through an LLC provides tax benefits and flexibility for company owners. Each state has different rules governing the operations of LLCs, so be sure to check your state’s regulations before forming one. Next, create a detailed business plan in which you analyze your audience and set out a timeline and strategy for reaching your target market through strategic steps. Once your plan is complete, you simply follow it and modify it when needed.

Though these are certainly busy days, with the tips above, you can pull off entrepreneurship and care for a baby simultaneously. Find a schedule that works for you and the baby and stick to it as closely as possible. But remember, the one thing you can count on with a newborn is that things will change, so be flexible. Find ways to be comfortable, but still feel put together and in control. These first few months will be difficult, but you will power through them and feel proud of all you have accomplished.

Southwest Contemporary Women’s Care provides OB/GYN services for all women from their teens through maturity in our offices located in Ahwatukee, Gilbert, and Tempe. If you have any questions, let us know!

Image via Pexels

Contributed by Dana Brown, Healthconditions.info

Self-Care Tips That Will Refresh Every New Mama

Breastfeeding mom
Image from Unsplash

By Lacie Martin, Guest Blogger

Breastfeeding is a special time in every mama’s life. The process of nourishing your little one and watching them develop is incredibly satisfying. However, it does come with its stress and expectations, such as the incredible pressure to get breastfeeding right and make it work.

If you want to build a self-care routine around your new role as a parent learning to breastfeed, Southwest Contemporary Women’s Care has got you covered. Read on for more.

Own Your Space

Try to ensure your space is calm, serene, and relaxing so that you can let go and breastfeed in peace. Clear the air, declutter and clean your preferred space well in advance of baby’s arrival.

Get the most comfortable nursing chair you can get your hands on, and fill a little basket with supplies like burp cloths, ointment, and more. Don’t forget your needs either; The Bump suggests keeping a book or your phone handy so you can do some passive browsing and relaxing. Complete the space with a playlist that sets the mood for conducive pumping and bonding time with your baby.

Always Be Prepared

Moms need to be prepared for virtually any scenario. This could be something as simple as keeping food handy in case the baby gets hungry, but it could also mean being ready to rush to the doctor at a moment’s notice. In addition to all the necessary supplies for your baby, make sure to keep an extra T-shirt in your bag, as well as hair ties, a phone charging cord, lip balm, and hand lotion.

When you’re a mom you’re going to worry, but you can certainly breathe a little easier if you take some time to baby proof now, to prep for when baby is mobile. Keep safety at the top of your mind when it comes to areas like your home office, where stray staples, rubber bands, and thumbtacks can easily end up in baby’s mouth. Also repair or replace any frayed electrical cords, and store other potential hazards like pens, pencils and scissors out of reach.

Make Time for Yourself

‘Me time’ may sound like a foreign phrase to most new mothers, but just remember that prioritizing yourself is critical. Here are some simple ways to incorporate self-care into your busy routine:

  • Shower: Make the time for a luxurious shower every day. It will set you back just 10-15 minutes, but the healing power of hot water is just what the doctor ordered for a mental refresh. Add in a face mask and moisturize your whole body to feel extra special.
  • Hydrate: Be sure to set up spare water bottles at your nursing station because you need those extra fluids to keep you going while breastfeeding! A couple of drinks of water throughout the day are great for a shot of energy and well-being.
  • Move: If you’re not quite ready to jump into the hard-core exercise programs that you did pre-baby, try to find little ways to move your body throughout the day. According to Babycenter, even a 30-minute slow walk or a restorative yin yoga session can do wonders to ease up those worry knots and leave you feeling refreshed.

Many new mothers stop taking the time for themselves as they get caught up with their baby’s needs. The fact is that you’ll likely be a better mom when you’re well-rested, present, and ready to give parenting your best shot.

Sleep, Sleep, Sleep

We can’t say this enough – but you need to be getting at least six hours of sleep a day. Sleep loss can be a significant contributor to postpartum depression and stress, so try to get as much of it as you can. In addition, get your pumping done during the day so your baby has the bottle at night while you catch some zzz’s. Be sure to plan your sleep so as not to impact your supply.

The transition to being a new mother can often be filled with worries and anxieties. But taking time off to treat yourself and your newborn is important to be the best mama possible. And remember – self-care isn’t selfish. You are worthy and deserving of a healthy and joyful life too!

Southwest Contemporary Women’s Care is ready to help you feel and look your best in a nurturing environment and offer guidance from the start of womanhood to giving birth and through menopause. Contact us to find out more today!

Quick Tips for Being an Awesome Work-From-Home Parent

By Lacie Martin, Guest Blogger

work home computer

Are you juggling a full-time career with full-time parenting? There’s no getting around the fact that you’re in quite a challenging position. However, while there are no magic answers for striking the perfect balance, there are things you can do that will help you be a great parent and a great worker at the same time. Here are some examples:

Give Your Children Things to Do
Kids are happier when they’re busy, and you get more done.

● Consider allowing your children a little more screen time on workdays. You could even restrict it to educational shows and games.
● If you have an exercise routine that you do at home, include your kids now and then.
● Invest in a good set of headphones so that your kids can watch shows and play games without distracting you from your work.
Engage and entertain your baby with a jumper.

Take Care of Your Work Responsibilities
Particularly if your family depends on your income, it’s critical to get your work done (and do it well).

● Set up a home office or workspace that helps you maintain your focus.
● Make sure you have all the tools and equipment you need for success.
● Establish a solid work schedule, set boundaries with your family, and be willing to modify your schedule.

Hire Professionals to Help
You don’t have to do everything yourself. Get help for some of the household tasks that take up so much of your time.

● If you need help keeping your lawn and landscaping in shape, hire services for that too.
● For help maintaining a clean and tidy home, hire a cleaning service.
● And look for a good contractor or handyman that you can bring in for home repairs when the need arises.

Remember to Practice Self-Care
Your overall health and well-being play an essential role in your quality of work and parenting.

● Make sure you are getting plenty of rest each night, and find relaxing activities that you can add to your daily/weekly routine.
● Be diligent about eating a healthy diet, including snacks.
● And if you don’t exercise, start today. There are plenty of at-home workouts that can benefit your overall health and productivity levels.

Being a work-from-home parent with kids at home is hard. But if you take certain steps, you can set yourself up to succeed at both parenting and working. Check into these tips and resources so you can keep your home and work life balanced.

Photo credit: Pexels

4 Ways to Prepare for Pregnancy on a Tight Budget

By Emily Graham, Guest Blogger

pregnant woman with baby booties

Pregnancy can be a time for joy, but it can also be a time for worry. Aside from common concerns over the health of your baby and the responsibilities of parenthood, you may also be concerned about preparing for pregnancy with a limited budget. Thankfully, there are some small measures you can take to make the months ahead more affordable and more enjoyable. Here are just a handful of budget-friendly pregnancy tips that can help.

Make Your Gender Reveal Affordable

Gender reveals can be such a wonderful way to share your baby news with the world, but you don’t have to spend a fortune to make your gender reveal announcement memorable. Instead of an elaborate and expensive event, consider keeping things more low-key with a simple, creative gender reveal. Kindred Bravely provides several examples, including inviting some family members over to help you decorate T-shirts with gender-colored paints, or having your dog help make your big announcement. These ideas can be fun to plan and carry out, and creative gender reveals make for some seriously amazing social media photos. You can also use budget-friendly food to celebrate this pregnancy milestone, like baking a gender reveal cake. Simply dye the cake layers the appropriate color for a fun reveal that will taste just as good as it looks.

Dress Your Baby Bump on a Limited Budget

Options for maternity clothes have definitely improved, but it can still be difficult for expectant moms to find maternity fashion that fits their style and budget. Many retailers are beginning to recognize this dilemma by carrying budget-friendly maternity clothes that help moms-to-be keep their baby bump dressed beautifully. For online shoppers, sites like Zulily and ASOS offer some really affordable pregnancy basics, but if you want to try before you buy, you can check out popular stores like Target and Old Navy. You can also opt out of maternity shopping, and try adjusting your current wardrobe to fit your changing body. If you do need some new options, look for wardrobe staples like leggings and flowy dresses, so you can get use out of the same items in post-partum months.

Prep Your Home With Low-Priced Baby Gear

Having a baby can mean making changes to your daily routine and lifestyle. But it can also mean making changes around your home, like stocking up on some baby essentials to keep you and your newborn safe and comfortable. In the nursery, you will need a crib, changing table, and baby monitor. You will also want to pick up a basin or tub, for safer baths, and a bouncy chair, to give your arms a break every now and then. Buying some basic baby gear can make life as a new parent so much simpler, and you’re sure to find other items to make caring and protecting your little one easier as well. Luckily, there are many stores that offer sales, rebates, and coupons on all the gear and essentials new parents need. Check in with these stores often, so you don’t miss out on shopping savings.

Review Your Health Coverage for Savings

Prepping your routine and your home for a new baby can seem like a major expense. However, one of the biggest expenses for expectant mothers is actually affording quality prenatal care. Health insurance coverage can make accessing care throughout your pregnancy much more affordable, and there are several options to fit varying needs and income levels. If your insurance plan comes with an FSA or HSA, you should also review the list of eligible items, so that you can take advantage of pre-tax savings. For those who find themselves pregnant and uninsured, there are also resources and assistance that can make accessing prenatal care and essentials easier for a healthier pregnancy and baby.

Being prepared for a new baby doesn’t need to put you over budget. With simple steps and savings, you can take care of pregnancy needs and wants without overspending. Start practicing these savvy tips now before you bundle of joy arrives.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Your Daughter’s First Gynecology Exam

Patricia B. Janicek DNP, WHNP-BC

As a women’s health care provider, one of the most common questions I am asked from mothers of teen girls during an annual exam is “When do I bring my daughter in for her first gynecology exam?”.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that girls first see a gynecologist when they are between the ages of 10 and 15. This is an opportunity to transition an adolescent from the pediatric to the adult health care setting in the most non-threatening way possible. A general health exam is usually all that is needed.

What if my daughter isn’t ready to start the transition to adult care by the time she is 15?

Adolescence is a complex period of development that involves distinct developmental transitions. It is importance to recognize that growth in one area (intellectual, physical, or emotional) may or may not correspond with the teen’s chronological age. All teens, on the other hand, are expected to deal with peer pressures associated with their school (social) setting. Thinking in these terms guides the gynecologist in providing a supportive environment to discuss everything from body image to healthy relationships. Understanding that it can be normal to get a period as young as 9 and as late as 15 is importance during this fragile time. It also allows teens to make sense of confusion or challenges that they may face with school or at home.

The first wellness exam in the gynecology office can provide three main purposes:

  1. To provide accurate information and confidential answers to questions regarding her changing body, menstruation, sex, and sexuality.
  2. To learn about healthy lifestyles, sexually transmitted diseases, and pregnancy prevention.
  3. To provide evaluation and treatment for teenagers who experience abnormal vaginal bleeding, painful periods, unusual vaginal secretions, or other problems that may be associated with reproductive health.

I made an appointment for my daughter’s first gynecology exam, but she is refusing to go!

Providing your adolescent daughter with an opportunity to transition to women’s health care may sound like a great idea to an adult but the message received by the “teen brain” can be quite different.

Most teen girls know that their mothers see a gynecologist regularly. It has been stigmatized as a painful rite of passage to endure ones first pelvic exam. It is no wonder that the idea of seeing a gynecologist for the first time can make any adolescent feel nervous, embarrassed, or even scared. Studies show that mothers have the biggest impact on their daughters self esteem. Start by reassuring your daughter that even though there are a lot of different parts of the gynecological visit, the actual physical exam — and the part she might feel most uncomfortable about — doesn’t take long or include very much.

Explaining why the visit is necessary, giving the adolescent a sense of what to expect, and addressing fears are important precursors to this first visit. Reassure your daughter that the visit allows both teen and parent the chance to visit together to further alleviate fears and develop trust. Ask her if she would like you to be in the exam room with her. Whatever your daughter decides, allow her some time alone with the provider. Remember that alone time will allow her to recognize the provider as an objective and knowledgeable person to talk to about any concerns she may have in the future. What a great way for your daughter to develop a relationship with her gynecologist, so that she is comfortable sharing personal information in the future!

My daughter just had her first with the gynecologist, now what?

Congratulations on taking that first step to helping empower your daughter’s journey into women’s health! Once you and your daughter have gone to the first visit, encourage her to talk about the experience (as much as she is comfortable). If she indicates that the provider made her feel uncomfortable, discuss finding a new one. Once she starts, your daughter should continue to go for gynecologic visits every year to keep her informed and healthy.


Zika, Our Community, and You

Michelle Szymanowski, RNC, MSN, WHNP-BC

Zika in Our Community

As of May 2016, there have only been three identified cases of Zika in the state of Arizona. All three were acquired during travel. As of this time, there have been NO cases of transmission in Arizona. We as a community need to be diligent about keeping it out of our community and avoid any potential outbreak.

What is Zika?

Zika is a virus that has been linked to birth defects if a pregnant woman becomes infected during pregnancy. These birth defects can include microcephaly (a small head), and some sensory deficits such as eye abnormalities. At this time, we do not know the extent of the birth defects as we are still gathering information about babies born to moms who were infected with Zika. Because of both the known and the unknown birth defects that are associated with Zika, all women who are currently pregnant, as well as women who are considering pregnancy, are encouraged to speak with their health care providers to find out how to best protect themselves and their babies.

Zika Symptoms

Recent studies show 80% of people infected with Zika have no symptoms. For those who have symptoms, the symptoms can include fever, joint pain, achiness, and red eyes. Most of these are symptoms similar to many other viral infections. Therefore, it is impossible to diagnose Zika by symptoms alone. There have been no cases reported in Arizona that were acquired here. The three reported cases were all attributed to travel or from having sexual contact with a person who traveled to one of the communities known to be infected with Zika. If you have traveled to South America or the Caribbean two weeks before developing these symptoms, you should contact your healthcare provider. Also, if you have had sexual contact with someone who traveled recently to a community of known infection, you should speak with your healthcare provider.

Preventing Zika Infection

Since Zika is spread through mosquito bites, the best way to prevent infection is to avoid getting bit especially if you are traveling to a Zika infected area. Travelers should check with the Center for Disease Control (CDC) to see if the area they are traveling to is experiencing an outbreak of Zika. (Note: Visit the CDC for the most up-to-date Zika-infected communities, statistics, and information.) If traveling to Zika-infected areas, you should use an insect repellant such as DEET the entire time you are there.

Because 80% of infected individuals will never have symptoms, many people will never know they became infected while on vacation. For this reason, you need to apply insect repellant three times per day for three weeks when you return from vacation to avoid passing the infection on to our mosquitoes. The goal is to prevent transmission of Zika to our mosquitoes.

The list of recommended insect repellents are:
DEET (found in Off!, Cutter, Sawyer, Ultrathon)*
Picardin (Cutter Advanced, Skin So Soft Gug Guard Plus)*
IRS3535 (Skin So Soft Bug Guard Plus, Expedition, SkinSmart)*
Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (Repel)*- not for use on children under the age of 3
Para-methane-dio (Repel)*- not for use on children under the age of 3
(*Name brands are provided for your information only; we do not endorse any specific products.)

Insect repellent is not safe to use on infants under the age of two months. Consider mosquito netting for infants younger than two months.

Additionally, you can protect yourself by eliminating all standing water around and in your home. The mosquito that carries Zika only needs a capful of water in which to breed. Be sure to remove objects such as children’s toys, pet food bowls, and old tires from your yard and surrounding area. Do not overwater plants in pots. The trays to catch the water can become breeding areas for mosquitoes both inside and outside your home. Protect the interior of your home by using screens on windows and doors that are free of holes and tears.

What about Pregnancy?

Pregnant women should be advised to avoid all travel to Zika-infected communities for the duration of their pregnancy. If their sexual partner travels to these areas, the recommendation is they use condoms (the entire time, every time, from start to finish) for six months. The virus lasts longer in semen than blood. For this reason, we know that men who were exposed can remain infectious for at least 62 days, and possibly longer. Because Zika may last longer and we are unsure of the effects on the fetus, the CDC recommends pregnant women use condoms for the duration of the pregnancy if their sexual partner has traveled to an infected community.

Women who are not yet pregnant and travel to these areas should avoid becoming pregnant for eight weeks even if they are asymptomatic. Men should avoid getting anyone pregnant for six months upon return. Remember, 80% of patients will never know that they were infected when traveling to Zika infected communities, so assume that all travelers were infected.

Together we can all prevent the spread of Zika into our community if we all do our part and educate those around us! For additional information, be sure to visit the CDC and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.




Understanding Healthcare Insurance – 102

Monica Alderman, Chandler Office

Most insurance policies do not cover all your medical costs, but they do help you pay your medical bills.

Your health insurance plan premium is the cost most people pay on a monthly basis. Your premium is the payment you and your employer make to your health insurance company to keep your coverage active.

A deductible is a set amount you have to pay every plan year for your medical bills before your insurance company starts paying.

Example: Your plan has a $1,000 deductible. That means you pay your medical providers yourself for charges up to $1,000 per plan year. Once you reach or meet the deductible, your healthcare insurance plan starts helping to pay your medical bills.

Let’s see how this might look:

Your annual deductible $1,000

X-ray charges $400 (you pay)

New deductible balance $600

Urgent Care visit $150 (you pay)

New deductible balance $450

Specialist office visit $150 (you pay)

New deductible balance $300

ER visit $300 (you pay)

Your deductible is met $0

Coinsurance refers to money an individual is required to pay for services after paying the deductible amount out of pocket. Coinsurance is often specified as a percentage.

Example: You have an 80/20 plan. An 80/20 plan means your insurance plan pays 80% of your qualifying medical costs after you meet your deductible. You are responsible for paying the remaining 20%.

Let’s see how this might look:

Deductible is met $0

X-ray charges $400
80% – insurance $320
20% – you pay $ 80

Coinsurance is different and separate from any copayment. A copayment or copay is a fixed amount paid each time an insured person accesses a qualifying medical service.

Example: You have a $20 copayment for non-routine doctor visits meaning you must pay $20 each time you see your doctor for an illness or a problem. Copayments are different from coinsurance. A copayment may include all services provided at the visit or services provided in addition to the office visit may apply to the deductible and co-insurance in addition to the copayment.

Insurance companies define Primary Care Physicians (PCPs) as Pediatricians, Family Practitioners, or Internists. All other physicians are considered to be Specialists, including OB/GYNs. However, some insurance policies make an exception and include OB/GYNs in their list of PCPs.

Each medical insurance policy is different, and yours may or may not include each of the features discussed above. Always consult you plan document which can be accessed by mail or online, for these details. Contact your insurance company or your employer’s human resources department if you have further questions.

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

Jackie Johnstone, CNM

So you have heard about it but what is it all about?

PCOS is the most common hormonal disorder among women of reproductive age. It occurs when a woman’s levels of estrogen and progesterone are out of balance which then leads to the growth of ovarian cysts and a multitude of other things.

PCOS has been linked to an increased risk of developing other medical conditions such as insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and heart disease.


*10% women of childbearing age are estimated to have PCOS
*50% of women are undiagnosed
*50% will develop type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes before the age of 40
*4.3 billion is the estimated cost to the healthcare system to diagnose and treat those with PCOS
*The risk of developing endometrial cancer is increased by 3x
*PCOS is responsible for 70% of infertility issues in women who have difficulty ovulating

Who is at risk?

*Those with a family history.
*Those who have increased insulin levels (increased insulin levels stimulate increased male hormone production)
*Those who are obese, especially if it began before puberty.

What are the signs and symptoms?

* Irregular/no periods
*Excess facial and/or body hair
*Severe acne
*Multiple cysts on the ovaries
*Weight gain or obesity
*Insulin Resistance
* Anxiety/depression

How is PCOS diagnosed?

According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine there must be 2 of the 3 following signs and symptoms:
1.) Irregular ovulation or no ovulation
2.) Signs of increased androgen (male hormone) levels
3.) Multiple small cysts on the ovaries (this alone cannot diagnose PCOS)

How is it treated?

There is no cure for PCOs but the main focus is to control the symptoms so that the effects of PCOS on the rest of the body are minimal. Measures include: improving insulin sensitivity, restoring normal ovulation and decreasing androgen levels.

The key factors in improving these measures boil down to diet – low glycemic index diet, exercise – increasing physical activity and emotional well-being.

With PCOS, correcting abnormal hormone levels, losing weight and managing cosmetic concerns are key for those not planning on pregnancy. If pregnancy is desired losing weight and promoting ovulation is key! Medications are often used to help regulate periods, control hair loss and acne, as well as help with insulin resistance. Medications can also help decrease long-term complications such as high cholesterol and heart disease.

PCOS is very complex and not always easy to understand but with a little help, it can be managed!

Sexually Transmitted Disease

Guest blogger, Meghan Delaney, WHNP-BC, C-EFM, talks about some of the basics of Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD). It does not just happen to someone else. The statistics are startling so it is important to know what to do if you suspect STDs.

Sexually transmitted diseases are those that are passed from one person to another via sexual contact and include Chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), Herpes Simplex Virus, Hepatitis, and HIV. These diseases can be spread via intercourse but some, including herpes and HPV, can be spread merely by genital contact.

Many STDs can be present without symptoms and, if they remain untreated, can result in long-term health consequences including damage to fallopian tubes leading to increased risk of infertility in the future. As a result, it is recommended that women under the age of 26 get routine annual Chlamydia and Gonorrhea testing as part of their Women’s Wellness exam and more frequent comprehensive STD testing with partner changes.

STD prevention is an important part of maintaining your female sexual health. If you are sexually active, it is important that a condom is used and used correctly with all sexual encounters until you and your partner have both been tested and treated for any STD, if present.

Southwest Contemporary Women’s Care provides comprehensive STD testing, treatment, and counseling. Please call our office to schedule routine STD testing or further discuss safe sex practices with one of our physicians or nurse practitioners.

For more information on STDs, click here to view the CDCs infographic, Sexually Transmitted Infections Among Young Americans.



Centers for Disease Control. (2016). Adolescents and STDs. Retrieved from


Centers for Disease Control. (October 2016). Reported STDs in the United States. Retrieved

from https://www.cdc.gov/nchhstp/newsroom/docs/factsheets/std-trends-508.pdf



Overcoming Fear of Mammography

Patricia B. Janicek DNP, WHNP-BC

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American College of Radiology, the American Cancer Society, and the Society of Breast Imaging recommend starting annual mammograms at age 40.   Women who have immediate family members who have dealt with breast cancer should mention it to their physicians to determine if a mammogram should be ordered before age 40.

A mammogram is simply an x-ray of the breast. It has been proven to be the best screening option for early diagnosis of breast cancer. Why, then, do so many women avoid mammograms?  Let’s explore this topic by acknowledging our mammogram fears!


Some women do find the examination to be uncomfortable, especially if they are premenopausal. Many women do not realize that the pain experienced from compression of the breasts is very brief. Taking x-rays should take only seconds in each view. In fact, the entire exam should take only 15 minutes in total.  There are ways to diminish any discomfort experienced during your exam if you are concerned with having tender breasts.  Schedule your mammogram for the week after your period, and avoid caffeine for 24 hours prior, will help to minimize the discomfort from the compression of the exam significantly.


The amount of radiation emitted in a mammogram is very small, less than a standard chest x-ray (.4mSv). To put dose into perspective, people in the US are normally exposed to an average of about 3mSv of radiation each year just from their natural surroundings. This is called background radiation. The dose of radiation used for a screening mammogram of both breasts is about the same amount of radiation a woman would get from her natural surroundings over about seven weeks.

The amount of radiation that touches the rest of the body, called scatter radiation, is minuscule and does not cause any harm. The benefits of mammography clearly outweigh the risks of radiation exposure.

The Unknown

Not knowing what to expect before an exam can be frightening, especially if you’ve been hearing from others or reading online about experiences that other women have had.

Share your concerns with your provider during your annual exam. They can answer questions as well as provide you with information from reliable resources. Share your concerns, especially if you have had previous painful experiences, with your mammographer. Use this time to provide feedback as well.

Possible Abnormal Results

Many women avoid annual mammograms for just this reason. What if they find something wrong? Most findings in screening mammograms are benign; in fact, 90% is considered normal. But fears over a cancer diagnosis can produce overwhelming anxiety for some women. These fears are understandable; however, unfortunately postponing a mammogram over potential bad news can actually prevent early detection of cancer when it is most treatable. Finding breast cancer early reduces your risk of dying from the disease by 25-30% or more. Women are eligible for screening mammograms at the age of 40, or earlier if they are at high risk. So make that appointment, and go.


Mammography technology has evolved over the years. A 3D mammogram is a more accurate way to screen for breast cancer.  Conventional 2D mammograms provide doctors with a 2D image to evaluate the breast.  Such a view can be limiting due to overlapping layers of tissue, which can sometimes produce unclear results, false alarms, or worse – cancer being missed.

The Genius 3D mammograms deliver a series of detailed breast images, allowing your doctor to evaluate your breasts layer by layer better. Genius 3D exams are FDA approved, and over 100 clinical studies have shown that by using this technology, doctors can screen for breast cancer with much greater accuracy – regardless of a woman’s age or breast density.

Greater accuracy means better breast cancer detection and a reduced chance of being called back for additional screenings. Any woman who is due to have a traditional mammogram can elect to have a Genius 3D exam.  They are covered and paid for by Medicare, as well as a growing number of private insurers.  Again, check with your health insurance provider.

The Genius 3D exam is superior to a conventional 2D mammogram which is why many women are switching. Since 2011, over 8 million women in the US have had a Genius 3D exam.

The 3D experience is comparable to a 2D mammogram. With the latest low dose mammogram technology, the 3D scan takes less than four seconds.  It involves a low dose of radiation that is comparable to conventional 2D exams and is well below the safe level set by the FDA.

Consider the difference between looking at a single sheet of paper versus flipping through a book. That is the difference between viewing a 2D and 3D mammogram.  Radiologists view “slice after slice” of the breast rather than a single image.

In 2014 alone, more than 200,000 women were diagnosed with an invasive form of breast cancer. That is why innovative screening technology that allows for better, earlier breast cancer detection is critical.

Call SWCWC today to schedule your well-woman exam and your Genius 3D mammogram!