No More Kids Doesn’t Mean No More Gynecologist

While you likely established a close relationship with your OB/GYN during your pregnancy and childbearing stage of life, you may be tempted to abandon this physician when you are done having kids. This is an unfortunate mistake. Your gynecologist can do far more for you than care for you during pregnancy and childbirth. While it doesn’t have to be every month, there is significant value in maintaining routine visits with your OB/GYN after your childbearing years.

Here are some top reasons why it is still important to see your OB/GYN when you are no longer trying to get pregnant:

Your annual gynecologic exam matters to your overall health and wellness.

Your body doesn’t stop changing, even after having kids. An annual wellness visit with your gynecologist include specific evaluations that pertain to a woman’s health, such as pelvic exams, breast cancer screenings, PAP smears and much more. These appointments help you address small issues before they become major problems.

You can address concerns and issues about your sexual health.

Many women silently suffer from discomfort or dysfunction during sex. Your gynecologist, however, is the perfect one to discuss these concerns with. A gynecologist can not only help, but they understand that female sexuality can be influenced by physical, psychological, and social factors.

Your menstrual cycle continues.

There are typically many years between having kids and menopause, which means you’ll still be managing your menstrual cycle. This can become tricky in your late 30’s and 40’s as perimenopause symptoms develop. Your gyno can address issues like heavy flow, disruptive cramping and other period symptoms.

Birth control may be needed.

Just because your mind is made up to stop having kids, doesn’t mean your body is on board. If you are still physically able to get pregnant and sexually active, you’ll need to consider a birth control method. For women who are past childbearing, this can be a more long-term birth control solution. A gynecologist can present you with the pros and cons of each option.

Menopause management

Many women find that they need their gynecologist more than ever once they hit menopause, as this can be a turbulent phase of life with mood swings, hot flashes, low libido, weight gain. A gynecologist is specifically trained to help you navigate and lessen these menopause symptoms.

Just because you’ve sold your maternity clothes, doesn’t mean that you should forget your OB/GYN. At North Pointe OB/GYN, we have plenty to offer in terms of your health, well-being and quality of life as a woman before, during and after childbearing years.

What About Perimenopause?

We all know menopause as that dreaded stage of life when wacky hormones bring hot flashes, mood swings and weight gain as our menstrual period comes to an end. But what about the time period leading up to menopause? Perimenopause may be less talked about, but it is a stage of life that can be equally frustrating and disrupted by hormone fluctuations.

Perimenopause refers to the time in which a woman’s body makes its natural transition toward permanent infertility (menopause). Women go through perimenopause at different ages, but the most common time is around the early 40s. The level of estrogen rises and falls unevenly during perimenopause causing the menstrual cycles to lengthen or shorten and to become heavier or lighter. Many women also experience symptoms similar to menopause, such as hot flashes, sleep problems and vaginal dryness. Unfortunately, this phase can last longer than you want it to.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, “the average length of perimenopause is about four years. Some people may only be in this stage for a few months, while others will be in this transition phase for more than four years.” Once it has been more than 12 months since your last monthly period, you can consider yourself out of perimenopause.

You Can Still Get Treatment

Just because you are not in full blown menopause, doesn’t mean you don’t qualify for treatment. As your trusted physicians at North Pointe OB/GYN, we understand the setbacks of menopause as well as the frustrations of perimenopause that lead up to this stage of life. This transition phase can be difficult to manage on your own, especially if you are not expecting it at such an early age. Some women experience the onset of perimenopause in their 30’s!

Women typically notice a change in their menstrual cycles or length of periods when perimenopause begins. The following are considered common warning signs that you may be in the inevitable stage of perimenopause:

  • Irregular periods
  • Hot flashes and sleep problems
  • Mood changes
  • Vaginal and bladder problems
  • Decreasing fertility
  • Changes in sexual function
  • Loss of bone
  • Changing cholesterol levels

Depending on your tolerance for hormone replacement, we can recommend conventional menopause therapy as well as holistic therapies such as lifestyle adjustments and supplements to manage your symptoms. Call North Point OB/GYN today to book your consult in Cumming. We believe in a better quality of life – despite your changing hormones.

What Happens to Blood Pressure During Pregnancy

It’s no surprise that pregnancy causes changes throughout the body. While most of these changes are healthy and necessary, there may also be some changes that need attention. It is critical that you attend your regularly scheduled prenatal visits to ensure unhealthy body changes don’t go unnoticed and cause harm to your unborn baby. One of the concerns that your doctor will monitor closely throughout your prenatal care is your blood pressure.

As your heart is working overtime to support the growth of a fetus, it is understandable that your blood pressure may change a bit during pregnancy. During the first two trimesters, it is not uncommon for your blood pressure to drop. This is due to released hormones in early pregnancy that relax blood vessels. Blood pressure can also be lower than normal during these initial weeks due to dehydration, or when an expectant mom has not yet increased her water intake to suitable levels.

By the time the third trimester begins, however, your blood pressure may swing to be higher than normal instead of lower. At this point, your body is producing an extra pint of blood to support the pregnancy so it can naturally increase. Healthy blood pressure is measured at 120/80 mm Hg or below. When it’s elevated beyond these measurements, it is considered hypertension (or high blood pressure). High blood pressure is not ideal for any patient, but especially those that are pregnant.

While not all forms of hypertension during pregnancy are cause for serious concern, it is important to let your OB manage your condition. Gestational hypertension is temporary and may not be noticeable. However, it does put you at risk for preeclampsia, a serious complication of high blood pressure during pregnancy.

Symptoms of Preeclampsia

Preeclampsia typically develops after 20 weeks of pregnancy and is marked by the following symptoms or warning signs:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Pain in your upper abdomen
  • Poor liver function
  • Protein in your urine
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sudden weight gain
  • Swelling in your hands or feet
  • Vision changes
  • Vomiting

Why is Preeclampsia Serious?

Preeclampsia can be life-threatening for both mother and baby! This type of high blood pressure can cause damage to the mother’s organs as well as low birth weight, premature birth and a higher risk of infection for the baby.  

What is your risk factor for high blood pressure during pregnancy? We can help you at North Pointe OB/GYN. Our Cumming obstetricians can provide complete prenatal care that also includes managing your gestational hypertension or preeclampsia. Our highest priority is keeping mothers and babies safe.

4 Facts About Pap Smears

If you are an adult woman, Pap smears are a necessary part of your routine care. While it may be a slightly uncomfortable procedure, it takes just seconds to perform and offers life-saving information. A Pap smear, which is different than a pelvic exam, is a test that can detect abnormal or cancerous cells on your cervix. You may feel slight pressure as your gynecologist gently scrapes cells from your cervix so that they can be sent to a lab for further evaluation and testing.

Even if you have had a Pap Smear before, you may still have questions about this important component of your wellness care as a woman.

Here are four quick facts about Pap Smears that may want to know:

#1 Pap smears do not test for STDs.

Pap smears are only designed to detect cell changes within your cervix. They do not test for sexually transmitted diseases, such as gonorrhea or chlamydia.

#2 You still need a Pap smear, even if you are not sexually active.

Not all cervical cancers come from the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus (HPV), which means you can still have cervical cancer if you are not sexually active.

#3 You may need to reschedule your Pap Smear if you are on your period.

While a Pap smear can be performed during your menstrual cycle, a heavy flow could impact the results. Always let your physician know ahead of time if you will be on your period at your routine visit. It may be best to reschedule your Pap smear.

#4 Women need Pap smears every three years.

Starting at age 21, it has been generally recommended that women get routine Pap smears every three years. Pap smears may be suggested more often if you are at an increased risk for cervical cancer.  Guidelines for the recommended Pap smear schedule continues to change with new research, so make sure ask your doctor about when your next Pap smear should take place.

At North Pointe OB/GYN, we take pride in our ability to provide excellent care for women in a comfortable and rewarding environment. Routine Pap smears are just one way that we can stay on top of your health and catch problems at their earliest and most treatable stage. How long has it been since your last Pap? Call our Cumming office today to schedule your appointment.

Caring for Yourself as a New Mom

It is not uncommon for new moms to be overwhelmed and frustrated with the way they look and feel. You’ve got a tiny being that needs you around the clock, you are tending to yourself much less than you were before you gave birth. It is not uncommon to avoid looking in the mirror, feel run down or carry a low self-esteem when caring for a newborn. Being dissatisfied with yourself physically can often fuel a negative mindset, and the cycle continues.

At North Pointe OB/GYN, we understand feeling self-conscious about your figure as a new mom. We want women to establish healthy habits and ways of thinking to look and feel better.

Choose Balance Over Extreme

While you may be tempted to dive into extreme measures to regain your pre-pregnancy figure, you should be careful of what that means for your energy and health as a new mom. Drastically reducing calories or engaging in excessive exercise can zap the energy your body desperately needs to care for your baby. In fact, if you are breastfeeding, an extreme dieting plan can lower or eliminate your rich milk supply.

Don’t worry; being a good mom doesn’t mean you have to neglect yourself altogether. But there’s a balance – a healthy balance. Try to work with your physician to develop a program that focuses on healthy weight loss without neglecting your responsibilities as a mom. Such programs may involve the following:

Nutrition Counseling

Eating looks different when you are a busy mom. A nutritionist can help you choose healthy snacks for your ‘on the go’ lifestyle as well as develop a customized caloric intake plan that ensures you lose weight in a healthy manner.

Physical Activity

Moving your body improves many aspects of your physical and emotional wellbeing. Establishing an exercise plan not only helps to balance your eating habits, but it also provides opportunities that you can exercise with your child!

Mood Monitoring

Ongoing support for new moms is extremely important. You’ll undoubtedly have good days and bad days. Days when you feel great about yourself, and days when you feel like you are falling short. Find a network of family and friends that can not only give you advice and encouragement, but also help monitor your moods and emotional health. If you are experiencing signs of post-partum depression, you should talk to your doctor sooner rather


Don’t be too hard on yourself. You’ve formed a precious life and are doing the hard work of raising a child. While the weight loss can be discouraging at times, it is important to have a healthy perspective and seek ways to make you feel better about yourself. This can include a massage or facial or simply having lunch with a friend without your baby. Taking time for yourself can be one of the best gifts you give your child!

To learn more about caring for yourself as a new mom, call North Pointe OB/GYN in Cumming.

When to Consider Non-Hormonal Birth Control

Contraception, or birth control, is the most popular way to prevent pregnancy. However, not all contraception is the same. In general, birth control falls into two main categories: hormonal and non-hormonal. Every female body is unique, and it is important to choose the best form of contraception that fits your needs and goals. For many women, this means weighing the risk of pregnancy against the side effects of hormonal birth control.

Birth control that contains hormones carries a very high success rate in preventing pregnancy, especially when compared to condoms or diaphragms. Hormonal birth control methods release hormones that alter the body’s chemistry to prevent pregnancy. This can involve thinning the uterine lining, preventing ovulation or other hormonal deviations that will prevent the natural conception process from occurring. While hormonal birth control typically involves taking a daily pill, there are other forms of hormonal contraception including rings, patches, shots or IUDs.

The hormones that are released into your body to prevent pregnancy can agree with you and even help your condition, such as when you have bad acne or heavy periods. However, not all women can tolerate the addition or hormones that come from this type of birth control. In fact, the side effects can be rather rough for some females, even after the initial adjustment period.

The Potential Setbacks of Hormonal Contraception

While there are various strengths and hormone combinations to choose from, there are some very common side effects that can occur with hormonal birth control. For women who experience the following risks and downsides from birth control, a non-hormonal version may be better:

  • Bleeding between periods
  • Headaches
  • High blood pressure
  • Increased risk of blood clots and high blood pressure 
  • Irregular periods
  • Mood swings
  • Nausea
  • Sore breasts
  • Spotting between periods
  • Weight gain
  • Failure to protect against STDs

Non-Hormonal Birth Control Options

Non-hormonal forms of birth control provide on-demand protection from pregnancy as well as sexually transmitted diseases. They work by creating a physical barrier that stops sperm from entering the uterus. Hormone-free birth control options include condoms, diaphragms, sponges, cervical caps, cervical shields, IUDs, spermicide and an acid-based vaginal gel. It is important to note that these options may not work as well as hormonal birth control, and they are not nearly as convenient (“in the moment”). However, for females who do not tolerate the extra hormones or want to deal with the side effects, non-hormonal contraception may be the better choice.

At North Pointe OB/GYN, we are here to help you choose the best contraception for you. Our physicians are highly knowledgeable when it comes to the latest and most effective birth control options available. We consider personal health profile, your sex life and your family-planning goals. Call our Cumming clinic today for expert advice.

The Big Benefits of Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is a very natural process, but it doesn’t come easy for every mother and baby. It may also not be a feasible feeding solution for some families. While breastfeeding has numerous benefits, the decision to breastfeed your baby is a personal one. At North Pointe OB/GYN, we support moms who want to breastfeed as well as those that prefer formula feeding. Our clinicians, however, are always available to help you determine what method is best for you and your baby. In doing so, we like to outline the pros and cons of each. When it comes to breastfeeding, we explain the astounding benefits for both mom and baby.

According to the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA), breastfeeding provides not only the best possible nutrition, but also protects your baby by increasing their immunity against many childhood diseases.

Benefits for Baby

When breastfeeding exclusively until your baby is six months old, you’ll reap the following rewards for your baby:

  • Provides all nutrients for physical and mental development
  • Helps build immune system
  • Prevents infections caused by germs that contaminate artificial feeding bottles
  • Reduces the risk of developing obesity and allergies
  • Creates healthy bond between mother and child through skin-to-skin contact

Advantages for Mom

The benefits of breastfeeding aren’t solely for your baby. As a new mom, you’ll be able to take advantage of the following if you choose to nurse your child:

  • Supports faster recovery from childbirth
  • Delays returned ovulation/fertility after birth to foster wider child spacing and safer childbearing
  • Helps uterus return to pre-pregnancy size
  • Lowers risk of ovarian and breast cancer, type 2 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and heart disease
  • Releases Prolactin hormone to relax the body and produce peaceful sensation
  • Releases Oxytocin to enhance the sense of love and attachment

At North Pointe OB/GYN, we don’t stop caring for you at childbirth. In fact, your experience as a new mom is very important to us, which includes how you feed your baby. To learn more about the benefits of breastfeeding, please call our Cumming clinic today.

Labor Induction: Evaluating Risk and Necessity

The end of pregnancy can be tough. Not only are you ready to meet your baby, but you may also be getting very physically uncomfortable as the third trimester nears its end. Whether it is out of discomfort, excitement or scheduling convenience, many pregnant moms want to know their options for inducing labor. Labor induction involves a scheduled medical intervention to induce or provoke labor earlier than the full 40-week term of a pregnancy. The rate of induction of labor in the U.S. has risen from 9.6% in 1990 to 25.7% in 2018, including 31.7% of first-time births.

Inducing labor, however, should not be a flippant or casual decision. Labor induction comes with notable risks that must be clearly understood – especially if it is performed without medical cause.

The Danger of Elective Labor Induction

Labor induction involves interventional therapy to stimulate uterine contractions and promote labor before the body naturally does so on its own. This can be achieved with pharmaceutical medicines that ripen the cervix and typically involves a physician breaking the water sac. While labor induction can be done safely and successfully, it does not come without risks. A baby needs the full 40-week term of pregnancy to fully develop, especially in terms of the lungs and mental development.

Elective labor induction, or inducing without medical cause, poses the following risks to both mother and baby:

  • Increased risk of NICU admittance
  • Higher chance of prematurity
  • Higher chance of jaundice
  • Low heart rate
  • Umbilical cord complications
  • Increased risk for a C-section birth
  • Uterine rupture
  • Bleeding after delivery
  • Infection risk for mother and baby

When is Labor Induction Necessary?

There is a time and reason for labor induction. In fact, there are medical situations in which inducing the labor prior to 40 weeks offers more benefits than risks. The following are situations in which there is medical necessity for labor induction:

  • Decreased fetal movement
  • High blood pressure (preeclampsia)
  • Hypertension gestational diabetes
  • Fetal growth restriction
  • Placental abruption
  • Broken water bag while not being in labor
  • Beyond 41+ weeks of pregnancy (post-date induction)

At North Point OB/GYN, our providers put the health and safety of you and your baby as our highest priority. When it comes to schedule labor and delivery, we use our expansive knowledge and expertise in obstetrics to make the best decision for the timing of delivery.  If intervening with labor induction is necessary, you can trust us to perform this step with unrivaled care. Call today to learn more about whether labor induction is right for you.

Breast Cancer Screening: Doing Your Part at Home

As a woman, you can’t always rely on your physician or annual imaging to detect abnormal breast tissue. While these scheduled mammograms and breast exams are highly recommended and effective when detecting early breast cancer, it doesn’t mean you can dismiss your part in between visits. When it comes to breast cancer detection, you have a job to do. This includes breast self-exams at home. How well do you know your breasts? Could you detect changes if they occur?

Here are some general guidelines for this type of do-it-yourself breast cancer screening:

  • Know what your breasts should look like. Any change in shape, size and color or seeing bulging skin, nipple position changes, redness or soreness could be a clue to go get checked.
  • Look in the mirror straight on and from both sides. Then raise your arms and look for the same changes in tissue or skin.
  • Lie down and feel the breast tissue. Use the opposite hand for the breast you are checking. Using your fingertips, massage in small circular motions to check for any lumps on the entire breast. 
  • Be comprehensive when you perform a breast self-exam, include the breast tissue around your collarbone, abdomen, armpit and cleavage area. 

Repeat this same self-exam while standing, since your tissues will naturally shift into a new position.

Do you notice changes in the way your breasts look or feel? Don’t ignore it. We want to see you at North Pointe OB/GYN Associates when you need breast cancer screenings. This is a prevalent and deadly cancer that can be treated when it is in the early stages. To learn more about your personal risk for breast cancer or to schedule a breast cancer screening at our Cumming office, please call us today.

Call us at 770-886-3555 to request your appointment today!

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Our Cumming Office

The office of North Pointe OB/GYN Associates is located on the Northside Hospital-Forsyth campus, and we perform deliveries at the Women's Center at Northside Hospital-Forsyth.

  • Address

  • 1800 Northside Forsyth Dr.
    Suite 350
    Cumming, GA 30041
  • Office Hours

  • Monday - Thursday: 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
    Friday: 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
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