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woman calendarIt's Nature's clockwork, and for many women their menstrual period is as predictable as counting to 28 days. But when your period is late, does it mean that you're pregnant?

After ovulation, an egg can be fertilized and implant on the wall of your uterus to begin a pregnancy. If this doesn't happen, your period occurs as your uterus cleans itself out to get ready for a new cycle for the next month. But there are many reasons besides pregnancy to account for a missed period.

healthy-30s smThe time between the ages of 30 and 39 is an important decade in the life of a woman. Many are in a committed relationship and some may be starting families, while others are already watching their children grow into teenagers. Most are trying to find the best work-life balance and major health issues can seem far off in the future.  But it's not a time to be complacent about taking good care of yourself. There are steps you can take in your 30s to ensure better health in mid-life and beyond.

1. Pump It Up For a Stronger You
It's about age 30 when we start losing muscle mass, and that makes it a good time to incorporate strength training into your exercise plan to help keep your muscles strong and functioning well. Lifting weights can also build stronger bones to combat the bone loss that comes with menopause.

2. Make Meals Match Your Metabolism
By age 30, our metabolism begins to slow down and body fat starts to accumulate more around the middle of the body. Both are good reasons to adjust your diet and realize that you probably can't eat like you did in your teens and 20s. Load up more of your plate with fruits and vegetables, and choose lean proteins and foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, like fish and nuts.

3. Take Care Of Your Skin
Sun damage can happen at any age, but some women wait until the signs of premature aging begin to show and hope that a jar of expensive cream will undo years of reckless sun worship. Make sunscreen your friend as soon as possible, and use it daily in every season to reduce the risk of skin cancer, as well as those early wrinkles.

4. Be Ready For a Shift In Fertility
By the time you reach your 30s, your body has shed nearly half of the eggs that you'll have. The shift in hormones that comes with this could cause some changes to your menstrual cycle, and uterine fibroids can become more common. Stay in touch with the changes that you're experiencing and share these with your doctor.

5. Don't Be Afraid Of Tests
The Pap test and HPV test are both a must during your 30s to ensure the best early warning for possible cancers. And keep track of your blood pressure and cholesterol readings with regular screenings that might be give you an alert to “silent” dangers like hypertension and heart disease.

 


woman on scaleIt's no secret that weight gain happens to many women after menopause. The loss of estrogen can slow your metabolism and make it harder to burn those calories. And your body's weight distribution can change, leading to what some call the “menopause middle.” That's bad news because belly fat has been linked to heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers. So, what's a woman to do? Try these half-dozen steps to better weight management after menopause.


woman on scale pregnantWhen you're pregnant, you often worry about your weight. “Am I gaining too much?” is the common concern. According to a recent study in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology, approximately 47 percent of women gain too much weight during pregnancy. Your doctor will give you guidance about weight gain, and there are ways you can help manage your weight while you carry your baby.

Exercise is an important tool in maintaining a healthy weight during pregnancy, and most women should get 30 minutes of light exercise, such as walking, at least three days a week. But don't give up on exercise if you can't make it through a half-hour walk. Even 10 minutes of physical activity will benefit you.

When it comes to eating, try to focus on quality rather than quantity. Eat more fruits, vegetables and lean protein, plus foods high in folic acid, iron, calcium and vitamin D. And realize that it's okay to occasionally enjoy those less-healthy foods, but do so in moderation. Trying to beat food cravings cold turkey during pregnancy can make you miserable.

Plan for three meals each day and always carry healthy snacks with you. You never know when pregnancy hunger will strike or when you'll need a boost of energy. If you're prone to stress eating, ask yourself if food is really the answer. Consider simple alternatives like mindfulness exercises or prenatal yoga that can help get your mind off the idea of eating.

You can also cut calories by watching what you drink. For example, a glass of orange juice or apple juice might seem like a healthy choice, but it can have plenty of sugar. Instead, eat an orange or an apple and drink a glass of water. You'll stay hydrated and get all the natural fiber and vitamins from the whole fruit.

Don't obsess over the scale every week. Some women gain more weight in their first trimester and then taper off. Look for trends and work with your doctor to monitor and manage your weight.

Getting some expert help can also make it easier to eat right during pregnancy. Consult with a nutritionist or take a nutrition class through a local hospital or health agency to learn good eating habits. And if you feel like you’re gaining too much weight and you’re concerned, ask your doctor about it.

 


healthcare costsCost sharing is a reality for many people with health insurance today, but a number of women's preventative services should be available to you with no copayment or coinsurance, even if you haven’t met your yearly deductible, as long as you see an in-network provider for your plan.

Tops on the list for many women is contraception.  According to healthcare.gov, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires that insurers fully cover the cost of at least one form of contraception in each of the methods that the Food and Drug Administration has identified for women in its current Birth Control Guide, which includes birth control pills, the ring, the patch, and intrauterine devices.

The issue came to the forefront recently when the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services restated the wellness care provisions of the law in the face of complaints from women who said that their insurers were not covering the cost of contraception services like birth control pills.

Along with contraception services, your insurer should also be picking up the full cost of screenings for cervical cancer, HIV screening and counseling, screening and counseling for sexually transmitted infections such as chlamydia, and gonorrhea and syphilis screening and counseling.

Also, breast cancer mammography screenings for women over age 40 are fully covered, as is osteoporosis screening for at-risk women over age 60, and Human Papillomavirus (HPV) DNA testing for women age 30 and over.

Other wellness services that are fully covered under the ACA include paying for folic acid supplements for women who may become pregnant, and breastfeeding comprehensive support and counseling from trained providers, including access to breastfeeding supplies for pregnant and nursing women. Insurers are also required to pay the full cost of tobacco use screening and interventions for all women.

 

Northline Women's Health Center Locations:

15675 Northline Road

Southgate, MI 48195

(734) 282-3600
(734) 282-3603 - Fax

23050 West Road, Suite 210

Brownstown Twp., MI 48183

(734) 362-7000
(734) 362-7077 - Fax