Before you can have an important discussion a gynecologist about your cervical health, you need to choose a gynecologist after thinking carefully about the type of care you want to receive and the type of relationship you want to have with your healthcare provider. Not only should you find a gynecologist who is well-qualified and well-experienced, but also someone whom you can relate to easily.
If you’ve no choice in the matter when it comes to selecting your gynecologist as in the case of those having to visit a particular hospital, then make it a point to communicate well with your gynecologist. Don’t hold anything back when it comes to your cervical health.
For those who aren’t aware what a gynecologist is, such a medical professional is knowledgeable about health matters pertaining to the female body especially the reproductive and sexual organs. Cervix refers to the lower area of a woman’s uterus that joins the vagina. Women who aren’t pregnant usually have a rigid or closed cervix. During pregnancy, the cervix continues to dilate and soften in relation to the baby’s growth. Nature meant this to happen so that women have a smooth delivery without the aid of surgery.
So what you tell your gynecologist about your lifestyle, body, medical history and other pertinent details will help your gynecologist decide which measures and advice to give you accordingly for the sake of your cervical health. Here are some important discussions to have with your gynecologist about your cervical health in relation to your pregnancy:
8 Tell Them Who the Father of Your Baby Is
It doesn’t matter whether you’re married to the father of your unborn child or not. Tell the gynecologist about him. What is his blood group? Don’t worry if your hubby is not the father of your child.
A good gynecologist knows better than to reveal your personal secrets. They are bound by a medical code of ethics not to break your confidence. For example, let’s say that your blood group is “A-“ while your unborn child’s father’s blood group is “B+.” This means that you have Rh negative blood and your partner has Rh positive blood. Briefly, those with Rh negative blood don’t have any protein on the surface of their blood cells.
When a fetus is created by a mother with Rh negative blood and a father with Rh positive blood, the fetus may end up following the father and have Rh positive blood or with protein on the surface of their blood cells. As a result, the mother’s body starts to make specific antibodies due to this Rh incompatibility.
This may not affect your current pregnancy, but it may cause serious implications during your following pregnancy. The antibodies that were created may end up destroying your next baby’s red blood cells, endangering its life.
In such an instance, your gynecologist may recommend that you have a Rh immune globulin injection, which is intramuscular and intravenous. The purpose of this injection is to counteract the Rh incompatibility and enable a safer pregnancy next time. You should be open about the family history of yourself and the child's for a complete genetic profile in case of hereditary diseases.
7 A Full STD Screening
If you schedule annual medical screenings, don’t assume that you’re free from any kind of STI or sexually transmitted infection. Firstly, not all the annual medical screening programs include testing for any kind of STI. Secondly, you can’t be sure if you have acquired HIV or any other STD or from the time of your last annual medical screening.
Thirdly, a full STD screening will ensure you don’t have herpes, HIV, gonorrhea, chlamydia or any other type of STD disease, something that an annual medical screening may not accomplish.
Bear in mind that not all STDs are transferred through sexual intercourse. Some STDs transmit through anal or even oral sex. Testing for STDs like chlamydia or gonorrhea involves taking samples of your vaginal tissue for a cultural screening.
A pregnant woman who is infected with chlamydia not only endangers her body’s reproductive system, but may also end up having a pregnancy that is outside her womb, or what is known as fatal ectopic pregnancy. If you’re infected with gonorrhea, you might end up transferring it to your unborn child.
In the event that you have a kind of sore or lesion on your cervical area, your doctor may decide to culture the sore or lesion for determining whether you have herpes. In the absence of any kind of lesion or sore, the gynaecologist may use your blood’s DNA to test for herpes.
Bear in mind that if you’re pregnant and infected with herpes, your unborn child might be infected with neonatal herpes, which is potentially deadly to your baby. That’s not all. You may suffer a miscarriage if proper prenatal care is not administered.
Your blood will be used to test for any signs of syphilis, hepatitis and HIV, which are all different kinds of sexually transmitted diseases. If you’re sexually active during your pregnancy and depending on other factors, your gynaecologist may increase the frequency of full STD testing.
6 Pap smear and HPV tests
HPV, which stands for human papillomavirus, it’s the most common STI or sexually transmitted infection in the United States, Canada and elsewhere in the world. Many men and women who are sexually active get it at one point or another of their lives. In the US alone, there is an estimate of 79 million people who are presently infected with HPV, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In fact, there are various kinds of HPV with some of them classified as harmless. But there are some which can cause cervical cancer, anal cancer, vaginal cancer or genital warts. HPV can be transmitted via oral, vaginal or anal sex. A Pap smear test, which involves taking swabs of cell samples from your cervix or vagina for determining any abnormal cervical changes, gives an early detection of cervical cancer. This may also give an indication of whether you have HPV.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend Americans who are above 21 but less than 30 years of age to take at least one Pap smear test every year immaterial of how active the person is sexually. For those who are above 30 and who aren’t HPV positive, a Pap smear test every three years is recommended by the said organization.
In the event that you are over 30 and were diagnosed as HPV positive, a special HPV test will indicate what kind of HPV strain you have, whether it is harmless or harmful enough to cause cervical cancer or genital warts.
5 The Number of Sexual Partners You’ve Had
If you’re married and your hubby is not your only sexual partner, tell your gynaecologist. Don’t worry about your gynaecologist telling your husband. A well-trained and well-experienced gynaecologist knows better than to break patient confidences.
If you’re wondering why this is important, it’s in relation to the aforementioned tests, Pap smear, HPV and full STD screening. If you have more than one sexual partner or have the habit of changing partners frequently, you might stand a higher risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease. So the gynaecologist may decide to perform more frequent STD screening to ensure that you don’t have any STDs.
4 How Much Alcohol You Drink Daily or Weekly
Telling your gynecologist how much alcohol you take daily or weekly may not seem important to you, but it is. There’s the possibility of the alcohol interacting with whatever medications that your gynecologist may prescribe for your cervical health.
Then there’s the possibility of harmful effects to your health or even your unborn child’s health due to the intake of alcohol.
3 Declining or Low Sexual Drive
If you have a low sex drive, it’s best to discuss the issue with your gynecologist. Some women may naturally have a lower sex drive compared to others. Talk to your gynecologist so that he or she can decide whether there’s an issue. A declining sexual drive might be an issue, it can indicate a hormonal issue that you may have.
For example, if you have a thyroid disease, one of the symptoms is declining or low sexual drive. Another thing which can contribute to a lower or declining sexual drive is depression. Depression can lead to health issues pertaining to your cervical health a well. It may also affect the wellbeing of your unborn child.
2 Discuss Previous Pregnancies and Miscarriages
Discussing with your gynecologist about your past pregnancies or miscarriages is a good move. For example, if you had bleeding complications due to pregnancy, inform your gynecologist. Your past medical history pertaining to pregnancy influences your current pregnancy. So don’t hold anything back from your gynecologist.
Though your gynecologist would most probably carry out a pelvic exam to find out if there are any abnormalities or infections in your pelvic area, it’s best to discuss the above things with your gynecologist. All this information helps your gynecologist to determine what steps to be taken and the frequency of tests to be done.
Not to mention how closely your pregnancy should be monitored for the sake of your cervical health. Remember that your cervical health is important to ensure that you have an easy or smooth delivery.
1 The Number of Abortions You’ve Had
Don’t be shy about talking to your gynecologist about the number of abortions you’ve had. Some gynecologists might be pro-life. But, this doesn’t mean you can’t discuss with them about your previous abortions. As mentioned earlier, if it’s possible, find a gynecologist whom you feel that you can talk to comfortably and openly without feeling shy, guilty or ashamed in any way.
Some women may have scar tissue or infection as a result of an abortion. If that’s the case, your doctor may find it harder to carry out a uterus or cervical surgery on you if such a surgery becomes necessary. So informing your gynecologist about it is truly important. Also, women who’ve had many abortions stand a higher risk of premature birth or miscarriage.
If your gynecologist is made aware of your abortions, he or she can take the necessary steps and advise you accordingly for the sake of your cervical health.