Dispelling Pregnancy Myths

Dr. Kristen Sharp, UW Health obstetrician gynecologist, realizes there is a lot of misinformation about pregnancy. She co-hosted a Facebook Live session recently to set the record straight on many of the common questions women have. Below are her insights, many of which also are addressed during CenteringPregnancy group prenatal care sessions.

Watch for a future post from her co-host, Dr. Jasmine Zapata, pediatrician, who covered common questions about newborn care.

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Why You Should Get Your Prenatal Care with a Group of Strangers

As a physician, when I first heard about group prenatal care, I thought this was genius!  I have cared for hundreds of pregnant women and have found that many of their questions and concerns are the same. I have also heard many women state that they wish they could have a support group of other pregnant women to share the highs and lows of their pregnancy journey.

However, when I talk to my friends, family and patients about group prenatal care, I am often met with suspicion. More than once, I’ve heard questions like “Why would I want to get prenatal care with a bunch of strangers?” and “Do you have to do pelvic exams in front of each other?!” (The answer to that question is NO!)

I completely understand this response. This type of care is a big departure from how we have received medical care our entire lives.  But I think there are a few compelling reasons to consider group prenatal care!

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Medications that can cause birth defects

MedicationsThere has been a lot of news coverage about the Zika virus and the birth defects it can cause if a woman is infected during pregnancy.  Did you know that the medication in your cabinet may also cause harm to a developing fetus?

When you (or your teenage daughter) start a new medication, it might be the last thing on your mind to think about whether that medication can cause birth defects, otherwise known as a teratogen. After all, if you’re not trying to get pregnant (or you don’t think your teen is having sex, right?), it may not be the first thing you think of when you or your teen start a medication. But…what if? What if you or someone you love were at risk of getting pregnant while on a medication that causes birth defects?

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Bonding with Baby: An Opportunity for Dad

Bonding with BabyHaving a baby can be an exciting time, but it is one that’s also full of anxiety. And it can be difficult for dads. So much is focused on Mom and the baby, it’s easy to feel on the sidelines. But dads play an important role every step of the way.

During pregnancy, dads can offer support and encouragement. It’s a great time to focus on each other and the relationship. Having a baby is a large evolution for a couple as you go from two people to three, one of whom needs undivided attention. As you read parenting books about baby’s growth, remember that the growth of your relationship is also important. Studies show the health of your relationship can influence your child’s mental health and sense of well-being, so it’s critical you give it the attention it deserves.

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