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Birth Control Questions FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

There are many unique questions and concerns when discussing birth control methods.  We are available to answer all your questions at any time.  For any general questions that you may have, here is a short list of commonly asked questions from those who are seeking to learn more about birth control.


Is birth control covered by my insurance? YES.

The Supreme Court stated January 2, 2014 that the PPACA (The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) states all group health plans and insurance issuers must provide, without cost-sharing, reproductive preventative care including all FDA-approved contraceptive methods and services, patient education and counseling.


What is the most effective form of birth control?

There are many birth control methods on the market today that are highly effective.  The primary methods of birth control available include:

Barrier Methods – Generally speaking, barrier methods do not prevent pregnancy as effectively as hormonal methods or IUD’s, and they must be used EVERY TIME that you have sex.  Barrier methods include condoms, sponges, and diaphragms.
Hormonal Methods – Statistically very good at preventing pregnancy. Hormonal methods include birth control pills, shots (Depo-Provera), the vaginal ring, and Nexplanon.
Intrauterine Devices (IUD’s) – IUD’s are inserted into your uterus, work for 5-10 years at a time, and are a generally safe and effective way to prevent pregnancy.  The Mirena IUD contains a hormone that can help with heavy periods and cramping.
Natural Family Planning – Also referred to as “fertility awareness,” Natural Family Planning can be effective provided that you and your sexual partner are extremely careful, and are especially mindful of what times of the month are best to engage in sexual activity.  Women practicing natural family planning are strongly encouraged to keep good records so as to know when they are fertile; and for times when you ARE fertile, you will need to abstain from sex, or use a barrier method.

With all of this in mind, it’s important to remember that all women are different, and that the best way to find out what method is best for you is by consulting with a licensed healthcare provider.


What are some of the potential side-effects of birth control pills?

Some possible side effects of birth control pills includes nausea, bloating, breast enlargement and tenderness, spotting between periods, decreased sex drive, and migraines.  The best way to know which form of birth control will minimize undesirable side-effects is to consult with your healthcare provider.


Do birth control pills protect against STI’s?

No, It is extremely important to remember that birth control pills do NOT prevent against anything but unwanted pregnancies.  No form of birth control will help prevent a sexually transmitted disease.  There are only two proven methods that protect against both pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases: the male or female condom and abstinence.


How soon after stopping the birth control pill can you conceive?

Generally speaking, a woman may have only a two-week delay before she can ovulate again.  Once ovulation resumes, a woman can once again become pregnant. On average, a woman’s period will follow about four to six weeks after the last pill is taken.


What if your period doesn’t resume even after you stop taking the birth control pill?

If even after stopping the use of birth control pills you find that you are still not having your period, you may have what is commonly known as post-pill amenorrhea.  Typically your period should start again within three months after you stop taking the pill.  If after 5-6 months you still haven’t had your period, consult your physician.


Where can I get birth control?

Where you get birth control depends on what method you eventually choose, although it should be noted that regardless of what method of birth control you decide on, it is still highly recommended that you consult with your gynecologist first so that you can get a licensed medical professional’s opinion on what might be the best method for you.

Over The Counter
•Emergency Contraception (If under 15, a prescription is needed)

•Oral contraceptives (i.e the pill)
•Vaginal ring
•Skin patch
•Diaphragm (After a fitting with your healthcare provider)
•Shot/injection (Available at your physician’s office)
•IUD (Inserted by a healthcare provider)
•Nexplanan (Inserted by a healthcare provider)

Surgery/Medical Procedures
•Male or female sterilization


Gynecology FAQs

What do I need to bring with me to my first visit?

Patients should bring their insurance card, and for anyone who is younger than 18 years old, we request that a parent or guardian is present in order to discuss parental consent and confidentiality.  Please also bring a valid photo ID.


When should I bring my young daughter in for her first Gynecological exam?

It is recommended that young women have their first Gynecologic visit at the age of 15, or when they become sexually active and have questions about contraception and STI’s.


I experience cramping and moodiness during my period. Is there anything that I can do to help with this?

Since Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder, or PMDD, is very common for a lot of women, there are a variety of ways to ease its symptoms of bloating, irritability, and moodiness.  Women are encouraged to avoid or decrease caffeine intake, limit salt, and to develop a healthy exercise routine, among other things.  There are also vitamin supplements that are intended to specifically help with the symptoms of PMDD.  If natural methods don’t alleviate your symptoms, there are certain medications that can be prescribed by a physician.


When do I need to start thinking about getting a Mammogram?

Women aged 40 and older should have a mammogram every year.  Women with an increased risk of breast cancer due to things such as family history are advised to talk with their physician about whether to have mammograms before the age of 40.


I am experiencing some burning while urination, is there anything to help with the pain?

When dealing with burning urination, it is advised that you increase your fluid intake.  Drinking cranberry juice has also long been recognized as helpful in alleviating the symptoms of what might be a bladder infection.  Women who experience burning while urinating are strongly encouraged to have a urinalysis performed so that the exact problem can be identified and diagnosed.  Your gynecologist may then recommend other treatment, or they may decide that the prescription of medicine is the best course of action.


I am experiencing vaginal discharge and some vaginal itching. Could I have an infection?

It’s very common for most women to have some vaginal discharge, which may occur more or less at different times of the month, depending on the individual. However, it is important to note whether or not the vaginal discharge has a foul odor to it, as this may indicate a bacterial infection.  Vaginal itching accompanied by a thick, white discharge could potentially indicate a yeast infection.  It is advisable to seek out a gynecologist for a simple exam to confirm the diagnosis and for swift, effective treatment, as abnormal vaginal discharge can usually be treated with medication.  Vaginal discharge may be a symptom of an STI.


I skipped one of my birth control pills, and I am now experiencing vaginal bleeding. What should I do?

The skipping of just one birth control pill can potentially produce a hormone imbalance, and which can cause a symptom referred to as “breakthrough bleeding.” This is a relatively normal occurrence, and you should take the missed pill as soon as you realize you’ve skipped it.  If you have skipped more than two birth control pills, you should use condoms for the remainder of the month.


I missed my period but the pregnancy test is negative. What should I do?

Women who miss a period but find their pregnancy test result to be negative should cautiously monitor the situation, as sometimes something as simple as an increase in stress can cause a woman to miss her period.  However, if the same thing happens during the next cycle, you should contact our office to schedule an appointment; you may need to change your birth control.

I’m having problems with constipation. What can I do?

The natural ways to alleviate constipation include, but are not limited to, eating certain foods like apples, bran cereal, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, dried peaches, prunes, raw carrots, and any other high fiber foods.  Women are also encouraged to increase their water intake to 8 glasses per day. Some medication that can help with constipation includes Fibercon, Dialose, and Miralax, just to name a few.


I recently found a lump in my breast. What should I do?

Women who have found a lump in one of their breasts should contact our office to schedule an appointment for an evaluation.


Obstetrics FAQs

The world of women’s health care can be overwhelming to many, especially when it comes to the complex field of Obstetrics.  Given how vitally important it is for expecting mothers to be familiar with the do’s and dont’s of prenatal care, we have provided below a short list of commonly asked questions from mothers-to-be.


How much can I exercise while pregnant?

For people who regularly maintain active lifestyles, it is safe to continue to do so during pregnancy, though women should strive to stick to an exercise pace that is not too vigorous or exhausting.  For women who don’t regularly keep an active lifestyle, it is recommended that at least some light exercise be incorporated in to their daily life; just walking a moderate pace every day should suffice.


What should I avoid eating while pregnant?

Women are strongly urged to avoid alcohol during pregnancy, and to limit caffeine to no more than 300 mg. per day, which equals roughly two 5-ounce cups of coffee. Women are also encouraged to avoid the use of saccharin, soft or unpasteurized cheeses, raw meats & fish, and unpasteurized deli meats.


Can I continue to eat and drink foods that contain artificial sweeteners?

Women are encouraged to avoid anything that contains aspartame, which is found in products like Sweet and Low.  However the artificial sweetener Splenda is deemed to be okay to consume while pregnant, since it is made from all-natural ingredients.


How should I treat a cold?

It is recommended that you do not take anything with ibuprofen in it.  Aside from drinking fluids and resting, pregnant women who are past their first trimester are permitted to take Sudafed, Tylenol, Dimetapp, and Robitussin.


May I travel while pregnant?

Most women can travel safely in pregnancy but travel plans should be discussed with your physician on an individual basis.  Long plane flights can put women at an increased risk of forming blood clots in their legs.  For this reason, it is important to hydrate well, stand and stretch occasionally and flex your feet/calves while flying.  We do recommend traveling with a copy of your prenatal records, which can be obtained in the office, and limiting your travel in the third trimester.  All travel is at your own risk, as many complications of pregnancy can occur without warning.


Are dental x-rays okay?

Yes, but be sure that your abdomen is completely shielded when having the x-rays taken.


Is it safe to have routine dental work?

Yes, routine dental work is ok, including most antibiotics and numbing injections.


What symptoms should be reported to my physician?

Just some of the symptoms that should be reported to our office includes contractions, bleeding, intense headaches, cramping, decreased movement of the baby, a fever of over 100 degrees, loss of fluid from the vagina, or any other symptoms that seem abnormal.


What are some suggestions for dealing with morning sickness?

Some recommendations for easing morning sickness includes:

•Eat several small meals during the day so your stomach doesn’t remain empty for long
•Avoid fried, greasy, and spicy foods
•Drink soups and other liquids between meals
•Eat a piece of bread or a few crackers before you get out of bed in the morning, or whenever you feel nauseous.
•Have some juice, milk, yogurt, or cottage cheese before you go to bed or before you wake up.
•Ginger candy or tea can help nausea.
•Vitamin B supplements can also help relieve nausea.


What can I do for nausea?

Try taking your prenatal vitamin before bed.  You may switch to Flintstone vitamins if the true prenatal vitamins are too potent for you (but make sure your provider is aware).  Eat small, frequent meals rather than 3 meals per day.  Stay hydrated by sipping liquids and/or ice chips.  Ginger, peppermint, and Vitamin B6 can also help with nausea.  You can take Vitamin B6 25 mg up to three times per day.  If no relief, you can add Unisom 12.5 mg up to three times per day. Acupressure wrist bands, or Sea bands, can be helpful as well.  If you are unable to keep any food or fluid down for greater than 24 hours, please contact the office.


What can I do about constipation?

To ease constipation during pregnancy, women are encouraged to try adding high in fiber foods to their diet like bran, fruit and vegetables, on top of increasing their daily water intake.  You may also try products like Fibercon, Metamucil, Citrucel, or Miralax.


What can I do for a headache?

Make sure you are getting adequate sleep.  Try comfort measures such as increasing water intake, massage, cool compresses and relaxation techniques.  You may try Tylenol (acetaminophen).  If you still have no relief, please discuss this with your physician at your next visit or for urgent matters call the office.


What can I do for heartburn?

Avoid fried or fatty foods, spicy or acidic foods, excessive intake of caffeine (including chocolate) and lying down immediately after eating.  You may try Tums, Rolaids, Pepcid, or liquid Gaviscon.  If you still do not have relief, you should discuss this with your physician.


What can I do for allergies?

Benadryl (after 10 weeks) and Claritin are safe to use.


Is it safe to dye my hair?

Hair dye is safe to use in pregnancy.


Which prenatal vitamin should I take?

Women should look for prenatal vitamins that contain Vitamin’s A, D, C, E, and B, Folic Acid, Calcium, Pyridoxine, Zinc, Iron, Riboflavin, Thiamine, and DHA.  You can take any over-the-counter prenatal vitamin containing at least 600 mcg of folic acid per day.  Fish oil supplementation is safe in pregnancy, up to 3 grams per day, and supplements should either be plant-based or from de-mercurized fish.  Be careful not to take additional supplements during your pregnancy, unless directed by your physician.


How much weight should I gain during my pregnancy?

Appropriate weight gain during pregnancy depends on your pre-pregnancy weight, or body mass index (BMI).  Women who are a normal weight prior to pregnancy (BMI 18.5-24.9) should gain between 25 and 35 pounds throughout their pregnancy.  Women who are overweight (BMI 25 to 29.9) should gain between 15 and 25 pounds and women who are obese (BMI>30) should gain between 11 and 20 pounds throughout their pregnancy.  For women carrying twins, the recommendations for weight gain in pregnancy is between 25 and 52 pounds depending on your BMI.  Please discuss questions regarding weight gain with your physician.

Caloric intake should increase by approximately 340 calories in the second trimester and 450 calories in the third trimester of pregnancy.


What are important nutrition restrictions and recommendations during my pregnancy?

In general, it is recommended to eat a well-balanced diet throughout your pregnancy including lots of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, some low-fat dairy products, and a few sources of protein.  If you have a special type of diet (vegetarian or vegan), you can sometimes be missing important nutrients. Adequate hydration is very important during pregnancy. You should drink 60 to 80 ounces of fluid each day – we recommend plain water as the best source of hydration.  You should discuss any dietary concerns with your physician.

Avoid raw or undercooked foods, high-mercury fish, unpasteurized milks, cheeses and juices, and alcohol.  Food safety is also important in pregnancy.  Washing your hands before and after handling foods, cleaning food preparation areas/utensils, rinsing fresh fruits and vegetables with water, and fully cooking fish, chicken, beef and eggs, are all important steps to reducing the risk of germs in your food.

Ultrasound FAQs

Women’s Health Care of Morgantown employs two sonographers who are certified through the American Registry of Diagnostic Sonography. We utilize high- resolution ultrasound equipment which includes 3D/4D capability.   There is a large monitor in the room so that you and your family members will get an optimum view of the images. You will also receive a few ultrasound images to take home.


How many ultrasounds do we get with our pregnancy?


In a normal singleton pregnancy, you will receive one routine ultrasound. This is done around 20 weeks. This exam is called a fetal survey or malformation screening. The baby is thoroughly checked to ensure that the baby’s anatomy is well formed. Many birth defects can be found through this ultrasound screening, however no ultrasound is 100% accurate. At this time, we are usually (but not always) able to tell the gender of the baby. Please inform the sonographer if you would like to know at that time. We are also willing to place the gender in an envelope if you are planning a “gender reveal” type party.

This is typically the only ultrasound allowed under most insurance plans unless there is a complication with the pregnancy or an underlying medical condition such as twin pregnancy, maternal hypertension or gestational diabetes.


How soon can we find out the sex of the baby?


We offer optional gender ultrasounds as early as 16 weeks. These must be scheduled and are not paid for by any insurance companies. The cost of this scan is $75. See Package Descriptions for details. If you choose not to schedule this ultrasound, our sonographers will do their best to determine gender at your 20 week fetal anatomy scan.


Can I have a 3D/4D “play” ultrasound?


We do offer elective 3D/4D ultrasounds for your enjoyment! The best time to schedule these is between 28 and 32 weeks when the babies begin to look like they will at birth. The cost of this ultrasound is $175. See Package Descriptions for details. Clear and perfect images are NOT guaranteed on the 4D ultrasound as it varies greatly based on the mother’s body habitus, location of placenta, amount of amniotic fluid and position of the baby.


What is the difference between 4D ultrasound and 3D ultrasound?


4D ultrasounds utilize 3D images; however the 4th dimension is time. This results in seeing your baby move in real time which we capture in a clip and place on your flash drive.

DISCLAIMER: These 3D/4D ultrasounds, as well as gender ultrasounds, are an elective, non-medical scan and are completely voluntary. These elective ultrasounds are NOT covered by any health insurances. This ultrasound is not intended to take the place of a diagnostic ultrasound or any tests recommended by your physician.


Do I need a full bladder for my obstetrical or gynecological ultrasound?

You are required to have a full bladder for any OB/GYN ultrasounds that we perform. If you are overly full and uncomfortable, the sonographer may allow you to empty after evaluating certain anatomical structures. If you are not pregnant and having a pelvic ultrasound, or in the first trimester of pregnancy, please be aware this MAY be a transvaginal ultrasound. If the sonographer or doctor chooses for you to have a transvaginal ultrasound, they will allow you to empty your bladder before the scan.


Can I still have an ultrasound while on my period?

An ultrasound while menstruating is completely normal and ok to perform. Sometimes the doctors prescribe them during this time.


Is a prenatal ultrasound safe?

Numerous studies to this date have shown no ill effects from sound waves utilized during an ultrasound. There is no radiation involved with ultrasounds.